The heroes of the Golden Age are back.
Now what do they do?
Dynamite Entertainment’s Project Superpowers saw Alex Ross and Jim Krueger bring literally dozens of Golden Age superheroes into the present day in one, unified world. As readers of the first Project Superpowers series saw, the heroes returned to the present-day after being trapped in the Urn of Pandora for decades.
Led by the likes of the Black Terror, the Green Lama, the Fighting Yank, Masquerade and the Death Defying ‘Devil, the heroes stood against Dynamic Man and the Dynamic Family as well as The Supremacy – powerful individuals who had changed the world to something far different than what the heroes who fought their way through the worst of World War II knew.
Starting in June with #0 (priced at $1.00), Ross, Krueger and interior artist Edgar Salazar kick off the next installment of the story, showing just what lengths the heroes who saved the planet will go to in order to make the world a better place.
We spoke with Krueger, who’s returning to co-plot and script the 12-part Book Two for more about what’s to come.
Newsarama: Jim, the first Project Superpowers series really focused on the heroes returning to the world they'd left decades earlier, and seeing what the present day was like. In similar broad strokes, what's Project Superpowers 2 about?
Jim Krueger: It's about the team's disconnect with the way things are done today. They begin to do what men and women of power always do as a result of such a disconnect - change and rework things. To fix them as they see them needing to be fixed. Project Superpowers also goes into greater depth on the nature of the Urn, what was done to them, and what's going to happen next.
NRAMA: It seems as if, by taking on the whole world, we're seeing these heroes carry through their Golden Age ideals to the present day, which, in many ways, is their real Golden Age, unchanged. After all, Superman gave up on changing the world a long time ago in favor of playing fight games with his costumed pals and being an Intellectual Property. What fuels these heroes' feelings that they can, in fact, change the world?
JK: Well, having fought in WWII, they've changed the world before. They've seen what happens to a world once an evil threat has been disposed of. They know how to make a difference and are not bound by the compromises between enemies that have become the status quo of the relationships between nations and business. Because they don't know how peace is sustained through compromise, they are seeking a different way to ensure that peace.
NRAMA: But when you do that - have one powerful group come in and attempt to change the world for a way that they think or know is "better." Isn't the displacement by the bad powers that be by the Superpowers kinda like just replacing them with another group of powerful people who say, "You must follow me"?
JK: Not only do I follow you, but this is exactly where I want to take not only PS2 but PS3. In my mind, power corrupts. It corrupts and corrupts and corrupts. The more the Superpowers characters act out with their abilities, the more mistakes they're going to make. And those mistakes are a big part of where the series goes in the future.
NRAMA: Speaking of the groups that have a say in what the future of the world will be like, what can you say about the sidekicks and the role they will be playing in Project Superpowers 2?
JK: I love the sidekicks. My favorite part of the second series is played out in the sidekicks. And Alex's name for them, the Inheritors, is, I think, his best name ever. I sort of pride myself on my names, and love what Alex created here.
NRAMA: Just to update things, what's the status quo of the Project Superpowers universe in regards to Dynamic Man and his family, as well as the Supremacy? They're both still calling many of the shots, and standing against the superpowers, right?
JK: In issue #6 of Project: Superpowers 1, we saw that Dynamic Man and the Dynamic Family is not as "in control" as we think, and certainly, not as much as they would have us believe. When we first see them in the second series, it will be very obvious that they desire to be more than merely puppets, or actually, robots, for the supremacy.
NRAMA: Moving into Book Two, what effect does Lama's broadcast at the end of Book 1 have on drawing out heroes? Are more coming out of the woodwork, as Fighting Yank suggested? Names, man - give us some names...
JK: Yes, more heroes will be showing up. A lot more. But unlike Superpowers Vol 1, in which we highlighted two new heroes per issue, this series is going to still really focus on the heroes who have so far come on the stage, and the development on their story.
Don't get me wrong, there will be new characters that you will be introduced to (the Inheritors), but I think that one of the problems with a series that introduces so many characters is that the human part gives way or falls away to the "super-plot". I'd like to focus on just a few characters this time around. For example, the relationship between Kitten and Kid Terror will be a giant part of this series. As will Pyroman and his relationship to the Urn. New heroes will also include Truth & Dare, Captain Future, and more. Many more. But as I say many, it's selective and it's a different structure to get all the beats out, not two per issue like the first time.
NRAMA: Alex said he still is looking to bring loads of characters back through Project Superpowers - what's your role in all of that in this new series? Do both of you work together on where to fit them in, or does he give you the list, and it's up to you?
JK: It's interesting. Alex has been more involved in the process in Superpowers and Avengers/Invaders than say Earth X or Justice (not to say he wasn't a big part of both those projects, of course). But on the side of plot and even sometimes the scripting, Alex has some very clear visions of what this should be. He lets me know, I write a plot from that, get notes then on the plot and the elements I've added in based on how I think it needs to work, and then write a script. That script then gets more notes. And the process continues. I make lots of suggestions and bring ideas in. Some of them end up in the book. Others don't.
NRAMA: There are still some outstanding mysteries left after the first chapter, such as the whereabouts of the American Crusader as well as the full story of what happened with the Yank and how he decided to betray all he knew and trap his friends in the urn. Will you be getting to those in Book Two?
JK: Well, the American Crusader part of the story will introduce a major characterization shift for the Black Terror in the midst of the series. It may actually be the entire B story of the series. As to Fighting Yank. PS2 will deal less with him, but in context, will focus more on the Urn, what it is, where it comes from, and how the heroes have been changed by it.
NRAMA: In terms of the larger picture, are you and Alex looking at Book Two in a similar fashion to Book One, that is, a main story, and later satellite books spinning off of it, or will Black Terror, Masquerade, and Death Defying 'Devil serve as the three "bridge books"?
JK: Those certainly are bridge books. I would say that PS1 was actually an even bigger bridge book. It brings us into this entirely different world. It also planted many seeds that won't even begin to noticeably grow and break the surface of the story until we're halfway through the series. If people were wondering about our madness, the method is going to show very soon.
NRAMA: Black Terror, Fighting Yank and the Green Lama were at the front of Book One - will they be the same in Book Two? Who else will be seeing major action?
JK: I said that Pyroman would be a major player in this next series. Black Terror, Green Lama, 'Devil and Boy King are sort of the major Players this time. Also, Dynamic Man will be far more of a character in this arc, as opposed to just a bad guy. I don’t know how many people saw it, but the Wizard #1/2 SuperPowers issue is probably my favorite issue of the series so far, and is a sure set up to a major thing going on in PS2.
NRAMA: Finally, how do things get rolling in issue #0 and #1? Part of the selling point seems to be that this series is "Faster! More Intense! The World at Stake!" The first series was the build up, but this series will feature more action. How do you feel about getting the ball rolling like this?
JK: I think it's necessary. Once the characters are on stage. They have to do something. That's story at its most basic. I will say that there's more than one antagonist this time. And that saving the world, like doing anything good, comes with its own price for our heroes.Newsarama Note: As we previewed yesterday, each issue will feature a two-page origin of the series' major characters, painted by Doug Klauba.