As the DC Universe gets closer to Blackest Night, J.T. Krul is guiding the Titans as they encounter the Black Lantern versions of some of their former team members -- including the return of Terra.
Krul, the writer on both the Fathom and Soulfire series at Aspen Comics, is not only writing the three-issue Blackest Night: Titans beginning in August, but he's also writing July's issue of Titans #15 with artist Jose Luis – an issue he said will be important to fans Tempest.
"It's all Tempest. He's coming back in a big way. Having been MIA as a late, this is our chance to catch up with him and see what his life has become and what it will mean for everyone around him," the writer said of Titans #15. "If you're a long-time fan of Garth and have been looking for him to make a comeback, this is your issue. And, if you don't know or care about Garth, you will in the end."
Beast Boy Gar Logan also plays an important part in Blackest Night: Titans, as his former relationship with Terra becomes a psychological point for her return as a Black Lantern. Readers were just recently shown the cover for Blackest Night: Titans #1, drawn by Ed Benes, on which Beast Boy is kissing a zombie Terra.
"That cover with Terra and Gar is just sick, in the best way possible," Krul said. "and just as I couldn't ask for a better project, I couldn't ask for a better artist... I am checking my email every two minutes in the hopes of catching my first glimpse of Ed's interior pages. It's going to be incredible."
Krul, who has worked with DC before, said he got the opportunity to work on Blackest Night after talking with the event's editors Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman, and this project fit into his schedule perfectly. "I even was able to visit New York to talk with them, and meet Brian Cunningham and Rex Ogle, who I was already working with for the Tempest story in Titans. I couldn't have asked for a better project. I think I thanked them every day for a week, and I've promised to destroy the incriminating karoake videos I have in my possession. That helped too," he laughed.
The writer said the three-issue Blackest Night series will stand on its own -- without crossing into the regular Titans series – but "obviously, the effects of Blackest Night will be felt in the main books."
But the mini-series is also important because it tells the stories that Blackest Night isn't able to take a break and tell in detail, Krul explained. "Blackest Night is such an epic story that has grave (that's a pun right?) implications for many in the DC Universe," he said. "These other titles allow the opportunity to dig deeper and explore the conflicts and challenges the Titans, for instance, will face during this ordeal. It's literally like we are taking a small segment of Geoff's Blackest Night story and shining a spotlight on it."
Krul said there are a lot of candidates for Black Lanterns among the Titans because "I guess as a team, the Titans have suffered more than most others."
"When you are training young heroes to be better and they come into harm's way, the combination can have deadly consequences. The more veteran heroes are built for their hard lives. They can survive the experience. I mean, it's not like Batman would ever die...wait, what?" he joked.
As the writer told Newsarama in March, he's known Blackest Night writer Geoff Johns for years -- it was Johns who first introduced Krul to the editors at Aspen -- so he's been following what Johns has been doing in Green Lantern as he's been building the title toward this summer's Blackest Night event.
"It's kind of tremendous when you think about the buildup to Blackest Night that's been going on in Green Lantern," Krul said. "It's also refreshing to see something so epic that is so easily digested. I think one of Geoff's strengths is that ability to distill a character or a title or a concept down to its essence. Don't get me wrong, there's a great deal of depth and nuance, but new readers can pick up a book and say 'Red Lanterns...feed on rage. I get it!' It's been fun seeing what he comes up with for each of the colors, not to mention what a creative playground it is for the artists."
Krul said he was glad to be able to work Blackest Night into his busy schedule, since he has a lot of projects right now at Aspen Comics, including the final few issues of Fathom: Volume Three with Ale Garza, Sal Regla, and John Starr. "Aspen Matthews is caught in the middle as the Blue and Humans have formed an alliance of necessity in order to battle the ancient beings from below called the Black," Krul said of the series.
The first volume of Michael Turner's Soulfire is also coming to a close as Krul works to finish the series with artist Joe Benitez. "[Joe] is turning in the best art of his career, working with Peter Steigerwald to make the final two issues just as special as the ones Michael was able to finish," he said.
Krul said he has a project of his own launching with Aspen toward the end of 2009, but he wouldn't comment about the chance he could be working on the Titans characters more permanently. "I'm just focusing Blackest Night: Titans for the time being, making it the best it can possibly be," he said.
The writer was also quiet about any specifics of the story in Blackest Night: Titans, but he did reluctantly share his impressions of the overall Blackest Night event.
"The only thing I will say is that while the 'what' of the story is awesome – the dead will rise, Black Lanterns; how can you not be excited about that? – the real impact of the story is the "why" of it," Krul said. "Geoff is speaking to a larger theme within the DC Universe and the impact of this story will resonate for a long time."