For DC's line-wide Futures End event in September, Charles Soule is writing four issues — just further emphasizing how prolific the lawyer-turned-comics-creator has become.
And although Soule is approaching the issues as if they're Elseworlds stories, he's also seeding hints about upcoming events and new characters that will be introduced in the DCU.
Two of the issues he's writing — Wonder Woman: Futures End #1 (with art by Wonder Woman alum Rags Morales) and Superman/Wonder Woman: Futures End #1 (with artist Tom Raney) — make up a two-part story that introduces the new character Nemesis, who is someone that will be playing a role in DC's present-day stories.
The other two, Red Lanterns: Futures End #1 (with artist Jim Califiore) and Swamp Thing: Futures End #1 (with Jesús Saíz), follow up on themes and events that are happening currently in those ongoing series, which Soule also writes.
Newsarama already spoke with Soule about the Swamp Thing story he's doing in September, which features a new "Bacteria" avatar while also introducing the Machine Kingdom that will be featured in his October-launching storyline.
But now we talked to the writer about the other three issues and what readers can expect from characters like Guy Gardner, Wonder Woman and Superman when we see them five years later.
Newsarama: Charles, you're doing several different issues for the September event. How are you approaching the event?
Charles Soule: Yeah, I was lucky enough to do four of them. I did Swamp Thing, Red Lanterns, and then a two-part story in Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman.
For all of them, I tried to think about, first of all, if you're visualizing an alternate future, where would be a fun place to put these characters, and something that would be weird and cool to do with them? It was a chance to almost, kind of "side-step" into an Elseworlds situation.
But also, the five years later in all of these stories are places where I think maybe the characters could go at some point. They certainly don't have to go that way. And who knows who will be writing them in five years? But it was something that seemed plausible to me, based on my run, that some of these things could happen.
I think myself, and a bunch of other writers that I've talked to who have done these have seeded in some little things for storylines that maybe we'll get to do in the future, maybe we won't.
If you look at, particularly, the Wonder Woman, Superman/Wonder Woman and Swamp Thing issues, they all refer to a big event that happened in the previous five years, which hasn't been written. And maybe I'll do it someday. Maybe I won't. But if I ever do it, it will be neat to be able to say, "back in 2014, I wrote these issues and it was all laid out right there." So we'll see.
Nrama: We already talked about the Machine Kingdom and Bacteria avatars that appear in the Swamp Thing issue, but what can you tell us about Red Lanterns: Futures End #1? Guy is a Blue Lantern?
Soule: Yeah, he's a hopeful, hippy-dippy Blue Lantern.
Nrama: I'm having a tough time imagining that right now, but I can see where it would be fun to imagine.
Soule: Yeah, it's fun. You're not going to think of Guy Gardner as a Blue Lantern. In the Red Lanterns issues, he's a huge hothead. He's a biker gang dude.
So the idea that he would now be someone who has embraced hope and peacefulness and all that is a real change.
Finding out how he got there, and why he got there, and what he's trying to do now as a Blue Lantern is the story.
Also, I don't now if people had a chance to check out the Red Lanterns Annual yet or the big "Atrocities" story that's finishing up, but right before Futures End, we end with this gigantic battle issue where half the cast doesn't make it. And all these terrible things happen. And it's really traumatic and terrible.
So the Futures End issue stems directly out of those events. But it's just one path. One way things could go. But it's going to feel like a nice coda to that big "Atrocities" event.
Nrama: And then you've got a two-part story running through Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman. The solicitations say something about a new Nemesis. Can you give any indication about what this story involves or who that Nemesis is?
Soule: This is, again, part of me taking the idea of doing something Elseworlds and just running with it.
The Wonder Woman story digs in pretty deeply into the idea that she's the God of War, which is obviously something that Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang did in their landmark run in that book.
So it's looking what it might be like if you're Wonder Woman and you'd been the God of War for five years.
You know, when you're the God of War, you're ostensibly the deity for anybody who's entering into war. People enter into war for all sorts of reasons, good or bad.
So my thinking is that Wonder Woman has been hearing all of that stuff for five years. She's been trying to change war from the inside out, but it isn't necessarily easy to do. So she's been affected by this.
We find her in a very cool, very … almost Game of Thrones setting. I mean, I know everybody uses that as kind of the watchword for everything these days. But that's sort of what I was going for.
So she's in the midst of this gigantic battle, or war even, involving soldiers from all different time periods through history. And she's one of the generals on one side, and the other side is Nemesis.
Who Nemesis is, and what Nemesis is, is something I kind of want to leave for the issue. But it's clearly a big enough threat that Wonder Woman has gotten involved in this gigantic military situation to deal with it.
So that's the first issue, the Wonder Woman issue.
And then the Superman/Wonder Woman issue takes everything that happened in the Wonder Woman issue and flips it on its head, in a way that I think is going to be pretty surprising and cool.
And they go off and have kind of an adventure to deal with the things that were flipped on their heads from the Wonder Woman issue.
I'm very proud of it. I've seen some of the art from the Wonder Woman issue, which Rags Morales is drawing, and it's amazing. It has exactly the right kind of mythological tone I'm looking for. So I think those will be super cool, and I hope people like them.
Nrama: It looks like these two issues especially are not tied into the Futures End weekly series?
Soule: Yeah. I think that's fairly true for all four of the comics I did [for September]. It seemed like a nice opportunity to tell some cool stories.
That said, I know that this [Wonder Woman] story — Nemesis and so on, it's a character that DC has plans for.
So it's a way to sort of do both things at once — nod to things that are going to be happening to the DC Universe, but also tell a cool story that stands on its own.