GEOFF JOHNS: June's JUSTICE LEAGUE #41 'Major Shift In Status Quo'

Justice League #41
Justice League #41 cover
Credit: DC
Justice League #41 cover
Justice League #41 cover
Credit: DC

Justice League has long been the DC title where things come together—both characters, and massive storylines. That will continue with DC’s mini-relaunch in June.

Writer Geoff Johns and artist Jason Fabok continue as the ongoing creative team on Justice League, even as a new Justice League America title by writer/artist Bryan Hitch enters the fray. Justice League will be the home of the “Darkseid War,” one of DC’s three biggest events happening come June.

DC has provided Newsarama with the solicitation text for June's Justice League #41 which kicks off "Darkseid War:"

"The critically acclaimed team of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok present the much anticipated, extra-sized first chapter of “DARKSEID WAR”! When the Justice League investigate a series of unexplained murders on Earth, it leads them to the frontlines of a war unlike any the DC Universe has ever seen – a battle between the two most powerful villains in existence: Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor! Meet Darkseid’s daughter – a mysterious force of evil with a bizarre connection to the Justice League! Plus: The horrible secret of Superwoman’s baby! The ultimate temptation of Batman! Lex Luthor vs. Superman – no holds barred! New villains! New allies! And so much more in the DC Event that has been building since JUSTICE LEAGUE #1!"

Newsarama talked with Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok about the series when it returns in June, ranging from new members joining to some changes in status-quo for the team and for individual members.

Newsarama: We have a Justice League; we have a Justice League America. What is the demarcation between the two?

Geoff Johns: Justice League America, I think, is out of continuity with just “general adventures” of the team, but you’d have to talk to Bryan more about that

Nrama: So what’s going on in Justice League, without the America?

Johns: Well, we kick off the "Darkseid War" with Free Comic Book Day and the 8-pager in that. And that is our fuse that lights the bomb that is Justice League #41. That’s a 40-page issue that’s the first part of the "Darkseid War" event.

Nrama: In the promo images we’ve seen, Justice League America has a lineup. What’s the lineup in the Justice League book?

Johns: We’re continuing the same lineup that we’ve been using. There are a couple other characters that are going to be showing up as well.

Credit: DC Comics

Jason Fabok: Yeah, we’re going to be adding Mr. Miracle to the team, which ties in with the whole "Darkseid War" theme. Mr. Miracle is one of those characters I’ve always wanted to draw, to work on. Fans of the character will still see the character as the one they know, but we want to bring him to a new generation of kids and readers who might have never seen Mr. Miracle before, and show how awesome of a character this guy is.

Johns: One of the fun things about Justice League is we’ve got Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Cyborg. But there are going to be other characters in the story and one of the things that we love doing is taking a character who’s off the beaten path, who hasn’t been in the spotlight in a long time and put them center stage.

Nrama: That reminds me a tad of when you started on Flash, Geoff, and revised many of the old Flash Rogues Gallery characters. Is there any thought of a change in powers or a new design for Mr. Miracle here?

Johns: There’s definitely a change…I’ll let Jason talk about the design, but I’ve definitely dove deeper into his backstory, though we’re moving him forward as well. But his role in this storyline will clearly establish that he is unique in the entire DC Universe. And that’s what I get excited about. He hasn’t had a focus in a really long time. And his new design is amazing.

Fabok: Yeah, design-wise, I want the fans to see him and know him in the classic way, but also modernize him. The way I try to approach a lot of these character designs is, “If they were going to make a DC movie with this character in it, how would you portray him on a screen?” So I’m trying to play off the sci-fi vibe of the New Gods, mixed with this classic Jack Kirby design, which is awesome. So the question is how do you mix it up? What do you to so that a teenager or a cosplayer says, “I want to dress like that. I want to be Mr. Miracle, because he looks awesome and he’s a great character.” And…that’s something you’d probably not hear anyone say right now, but Geoff is a master of taking these C-list characters and bringing them to the forefront.

Nrama: DC really seems to be playing up the three major storylines in May and June: Batman and Superman changing their status quo, and the "Darkseid War." But there’s no “changing of the status quo,” which seems so prevalent in the others. So what makes "Darkseid War"
and Justice League on a par with those others, and a major crux point?

Johns: Well, I wouldn’t say it doesn’t change the status quo, because it actually does in a big, big way.

Fabok: It is the most mind-bendingly awesome, sweet geek-out thing you could possibly think of.

Johns: "Darkseid War" is a major shift in the status quo. But it’s also a battle between the two biggest, most powerful villains in the DC Universe: The Anti-Monitor and Darkseid. You’ve never seen that before, and the Justice League is caught in the middle. And the who starts that battle, what the effects of the battle are, what everyone’s goals are, who will win…it’s a very big storyline, but it’s focuses on very personal and emotional goals for these two villains. And we’re exploring both Anti-Monitor and Darkseid in ways that haven’t been explored before.

And it will change the status quo. Our story in the Free Comic Book Day book…we haven’t even hinted at or talked about what that story is. And we don’t want to. We want people to read that story cold, because that’s going to change your perception of what the "Darkseid War" is actually about.

Nrama: Come June, DC has 49 books, and a lot of them new. Just as readers, what are you most looking forward to seeing?

Johns: Well, I’m looking forward to reading them all. There’s a lot of our friends on these books. I’m sure they’ll all be fun to read.

Nrama: Come on. One book.

Johns: One book? Robin, Son of Batman.

Fabok: That’s the same one I was going to say. Pat Gleason and I are good friends, and he was telling me about his pitch on the phone and all I could say was, “Maaaaaaan!”

Johns: I love Pat Gleason. I love his take on Damian. I think Robin, Son of Batman is the book I’m looking forward to the most.

Nrama: Jason, you’re handling a big team book and a major event, and that’s just a lot of hours at the board. How do you handle your process and your workload in this?

Fabok: Yeah, this is different for me. I’ve worked on a lot of single-character books, and it took me years to break in on that. I couldn’t have risen to this opportunity maybe a year ago. But I’ve learned a lot about discipline and the craft. This is the hardest I’ve ever worked, the longest hours I’ve ever worked. It’s a seven days a week kind of thing. But it’s also been the most rewarding thing and fun thing I’ve ever done in my career. It’s hard, but it’s exciting, and the best part is, I’m confident. I really love what we’re doing. Geoff and I talk two to three times a week, and every time I get off the phone, I’m that much more confident that this is the job I’ve always wanted.

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