With "Darkseid War" underway in DC's Justice League, Bryan Hitch is opening a new front for the heroes in a new series debuting June 17 titled Justice League of America. This isn't Hitch's first time with DC's flagship hero team, but as the artist transitions to writing and drawing with this series he's looking to defy expectations and bring something new to his work and to the JLA.
"I want to pit them against stuff you've never seen before," Hitch says in an interview with USA Today (who also debuted these linking variant covers). "If it's the same villain they've fought before, you know he's the bad guy, you know how he operates and you know the league's going to win."
Hitch, who recently wrote and drew a creator-owned series titled Real Heroes, says that the villain of his inaugural Justice League of America is someone "old comic fans" will remember, but is unique because "you've never actually seen this character before."
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August's Justice League of America #3 solicitation mentions that the Church of Rao from Kryptonian mythology will return in his series, but given that Rao himself has appeared in comics before then he would be out of the question for Hitch's teased antagonist role.
According to USA Today, Justice League of America #1 will kick off in New York City -- a stark change for DC, who historically use their fictional cities such as Metropolis and Gotham City. Hitch is no stranger to drawing New York City, depicting several huge battle scenes for Marvel's The Ultimates there, which inspired the latter Avengers movie.
Hitch says that although he's known for large scale stories, he finds his "ridiculously large ideas" for Justice League of America daunting.
"... there is some massive scale stuff here I've never tried to draw before," says Hitch. "Given what I've done in my career, that's saying something."
One thing that Hitch found surprising when he started working on Justice League of America -- and one fans might as well when they read it -- is how humorous Batman will be. In current DC continuity Bruce Wayne is presumed dead with James Gordon taking on the role of Batman in a new armored outfit, but the art revealed for Hitch's Justice League of America shows Bruce Wayne's Batman appearing in the story.
"Yes, he's an ultimate hardass and the way he figures his way through problems is great, but I had no idea how much he was going to contribute to the humor of the story," says Hitch. "That's not to say Batman is cracking wise and being a Spider-Man guy — far from it. He has the most arid sense of humor on the planet, actually, but the dry one-liners come with the position he finds himself in with these other characters."