Getting Away from Electric City: Ivan Brandon on Escape
Brandon on FC Aftermath: Escape
The hook of the series? The Global Peace Agency is kidnapping operatives, agents and other individuals in the DC Universe who know too much. Those captured are taken to the mysterious Electric City where they are subjected to torture to get what’s in their head…out.
As for the whys and hows, we spoke with Brandon.
Newsarama: First off, Ivan, how did you land on Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape? You’ve been doing bits here and there at DC, so was this pitched your way, or were you actively lobbying for something new?
Ivan Brandon: It was pitched my way, sorta, but it was a shred of an idea that needed developing. I was approached by DC a while back about doing work for them and we'd gone back and forth without landing on anything until Dan Didio offered me Escape, which was literally at that point a short sentence that established the purpose of the Global Peace Agency in the DCU. I came back with an idea of how I wanted to handle things and Dan and I threw ideas back and forth until we got to where we are now.NRAMA: That said, what was it about this project that made it something you couldn't refuse?
IB: Dan Didio told me he wanted me to make a DC comic that feels like my creator owned work and appeals to the readers of those books.
NRAMA: With the other projects, the connection to Final Crisis seems pretty clear and linear. With Escape, it's a touch...well...let's have you explain it. The organization that's nabbed Nemesis and the others - they're the ones who recruited The Question in Final Crisis, right?
IB: Honestly, I can't even confirm that they're who you think they are. All I can say is that to their way of thinking, the world can't be trusted to keep itself out of trouble. They're looking to ensure we don't ever see another Crisis. By any means necessary.
NRAMA: Well, is The Question still with the GPA at this point?IB: That's a good Question. NRAMA: Alright – then why is the GPA grabbing operatives or those in the DCU who know too much? Are they trying to find these things out for themselves, or are they trying to contain the possible information leaks that these individuals present?
IB: The GPA want very specific and very different things from every person we'll meet in the book. What's wanted from each person is in many cases as creepy as how they're going to go about getting it.
NRAMA: So tell us about Nemesis - he's as "engaged" as one can get to Wonder Woman, and now, he's grabbed? What does the GPA think he knows?
IB: What the GPA wants from Nemesis is something he doesn't even know he has.
NRAMA: Where does the GPA fit into the hierarchy of the other secret organizations within the DCU, such as Checkmate and the others?
IB: The GPA are their own hierarchy. No one outside of Electric City is aware of them until it's too late.
NRAMA: Speaking of that – what is Nemesis' and the others' location - Electric City - like?
IB: Electric City is sleek and modern...my goal was to make it the sexiest and scariest place on Earth. (if on Earth is really where it is. ) It's a decadent place which seems to have everything you could ever possibly want... except an Exit.
NRAMA: Who else is with Nemesis in Electric City? Are they all suspected of "knowing things" by the GPA?
IB: I can't reveal everyone, but Amanda Waller is there, Cameron Chase is there. If information is the goal, Waller in particular knows more secrets than almost anyone in the DCU. But is that why she's there? Like most anything with Waller, if she knows, she's not telling. But if you look closely, some things are enough to break even Amanda Waller's cool.
NRAMA: This project seems to have some very direct riffs on The Prisoner in it, as well as what we've hears/seen/lived through in recent years - rendition, "disappearing," and worse due to what's in your head. I take it you're finding that blend a pretty easy thing to bring into the DCU?
IB: There's a lot to riff off of in the real world but, it's definitely not easy... the book is one of the most strange and intricate things I've ever worked on, there are a lot of pieces and they all fit together where you least expect.
And beyond our own reality... the beauty to having the DCU as your sandbox for this kind of thing is that I don't have the constraints of the real world... The stakes are elevated substantially in a world where people can fly. The characters in any story should always read as familiar and real, but the great thing about the DCU since the beginning is that their reality is a familiar but heightened reality... they inhabit a place where anything's possible, no matter how amazing or terrible.
NRAMA: Finally, what gets the ball rolling in issue #1?
IB: Nemesis wakes up in Electric City with no memory of how he got there and no idea where he is. He's surrounded by people he knows and they all look more than a little bit terrified of whatever they've seen before Nemesis got there. But they pass by him like ghosts in a fog... no one will talk to him, no one will turn to look him in the eye. He's drugged and weak and jumps in and out of consciousness, every time he opens his eyes again, not everything is quite the way he left it. He can barely walk, he can barely see, but all he knows is that he wants out of this place. He finds a door that leads outside.... but why is everyone afraid to leave?Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape #1 (of 6) by Brandon, with art by Marco Rudi, is due in stores May 13th