Putting a Face on Evil: Dan DiDio on 'Faces of Evil'

Faces of Evil: Kobra

This week, DC fans are finding themselves in the midst of an invasion by the villains of the DC Universe. “Faces of Evil” is the name given to the January initiative by DC Comics that puts the villains front and center, both on the covers of the books, and in their own stories.

With last week’s books giving a taste, and the “Faces” continuing to hit this week, we caught up with DC Universe Executive Editor Dan DiDio for more on the “Faces of Evil.”

Newsarama: As you’ve said before Dan, with the “Faces of Evil” issues, you wanted to give the villains’ perspective on the DC Universe…

Dan DiDio: Exactly, and throughout this, you’re going to see a wide variety of stories being told. Some of them move slightly towards the villains’ perspective in regards to what he or she is thinking, others really take the story from the point of view of the villain and go from there.

In the case of the four one-shots, it is purely the villains’ story. So you’ll see it expressed in different ways to fit in with how the individual stories were developing, and it’s really just a fun way to showcase some of the villains, because I’ve always had a lot of belief in our villains as being a very exciting group of characters.

NRAMA: And the idea came from you…or a group of editors, or…who?

DD: Really it came from us having so much fun creating those house ads that ran last year, and it really got started with the idea of making something that was compelling and visually exciting on the covers, and we worked the idea backwards from there.

NRAMA: What were the writers told?

Faces of Evil: Deathstroke

DD: We told them that we wanted to have a story from the villains’ point of view, or a story that had a stronger perspective on the villain. You’re going to see various degrees in how that concept is achieved – in some cases it might seem very subtle, and in others it will be right in your face. The goal is to showcase the villains on the covers, and to create an exciting visual style for the covers themselves, and to get a chance to remind people how exciting the DCU villain pool is.

NRAMA: So it was up to the creators if they wanted to use this as a pause, or a means to advance their ongoing storyline, albeit from a different point of view?

DD: Absolutely. As I said, when you do things like this, and each story is moving at its own pace, it’s hard to interrupt the flow of a certain story or two. When you look at something like Superman or Action Comics, which is a Part 10 of a longer story, you don’t want to change the focus of what the story’s about. But at the same time, the villains are always prominent, so it allows you to change the spotlight a little, and maybe pull the villain out a little more in the story than they might have been before.

NRAMA: Let’s talk about the four one-shots – Prometheus, Kobra, Deathstroke and Solomon Grundy

DD: Right – those are the four which will clearly have the longest-reaching storylines, as they are all key characters in 2009. For example, Solomon Grundy is being featured in his own miniseries immediately following his one shot, where Scott Kolins is going to be exploring the character of Solomon Grundy, and more importantly, the human whose body he’s built from, Cyrus Gold.

NRAMA: So Solomon Grundy is going into his own miniseries. Let’s run down the rest – Prometheus is going into…

Faces of Evil: Prometheus

DD: Prometheus will be the lead villain when James Robinson’s Justice League story starts. Deathstroke will be seen in other series that I just can’t mention yet, and Kobra will be taking part in a storyline within one of our other franchises.

NRAMA: We’ve talked to Sterling about Prometheus, and how this is the chance to dust him off a little bit, right?

DD: Yeah. I never understood how Prometheus ended up as the henchman for Hush for a period of time there, but this really moves him back as a Justice League-class villain.

NRAMA: Moving back to Deathstroke – this is his first big storyline since he was taken down by Geo-Force in Last Will, right?

DD: Correct. It literally picks up with Deathstroke in the hospital following Last Will and Testament of the DCU, and shows where his mindset is, and what he needs to do to reestablish himself as one of the premier villains of the DCU.

NRAMA: And Kobra – this is putting him back together as both an individual and an organization?

Action Comics #683

DD: Absolutely. We bring back a long-standing character of the Kobra story, and more importantly, re-build what I feel is the strength of the character and the strength of the organization that Kobra is. Ivan Brandon did a great job on that script.

NRAMA: Coming away from this, what would you say the ultimate goal is for the themed issues?

DD: To both explore and celebrate the villains of the DCU clearly. It’s the start of the new year, and we wanted to have a little fun to start off the new year. We thought also that coming out of the holidays, we wanted to do something visually exciting, to make people sit up and take notice and see that this is a new year and there’s new excitement within the DCU. And more importantly, and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this, that one of our greatest strengths is the villains that inhabit the DC Universe, and it just seemed appropriate to give them the spotlight both on the covers and the interior pages as well.

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