Justice League: No Justice, DC's universe-wide event that takes over much of the publisher's shipping in May and involves characters from throughout its pantheon, wasn't originally planned to pave the way to this summer's new series launches.
But the sheer number of story elements and characters involved required a separate event, according to No Justice architect Scott Snyder.
"We were like, 'We need one more step,'" Snyder said. "So No Justice is kind of taking the effects of Dark Nights: Metal and then just blowing them up bigger."
What resulted is a story that pays homage to 1988's Cosmic Odyssey and features heroes and villains teaming up in several separate teams - in fact, there are more than just the four previously announced teams, Snyder said.
The writer, who spoke to Newsarama during this weekend's WonderCon event, is co-writing the four-issue No Justice event with James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson. The story of No Justice will then lead into what comes in the DCU in June and after, including Snyder's Justice League, Tynion's Justice League Dark, Williamson's Justice League Odyssey, Dan Abnett's Titans, and Adam Glass's Teen Titans.
Snyder said he originally planned to use his June-launching Justice League series to pick up the threads from the current event series, Dark Nights: Metal, but the consequences of Metal were too "DCU-shaking."
"What we realized was so many books asked to be a part of it, that we said, 'Why don’t we do kind of a transitional event that allows for a whole bunch of books to spin out of it besides Justice League?'" Snyder said. "And for the effects of Metal to be felt in an amplified way through this, because they’re sort of spun in new directions in the books we have already."
In No Justice, the heroes and villains who are trying to save the universe from Brainiac will split into various teams that are made up of unlikely teammates. Previously, DC had announced four teams to try to save the universe - Team Mystery, Team Entropy, Team Wonder, and Team Wisdom. But Snyder aid there are more than that, actually. "There’s an Earth squad that’s Amanda Waller and Nightwing," he said.
Snyder said the "unlikely" make-up of the teams was by design, because switching up teams forced the writers to come up with new ways of fighting.
"Why not have a story where Starro is thrown like a throwing star by Superman at Brainiac?" Snyder said. "That’s literally what happens. And Starro is like, 'Go ahead, Superman, I give you permission!' It’s the craziest."
The teams also represent the different energies that writers felt were present in the DCU, Snyder said.
"What happens is that Brainiac comes down - spoiler - and he takes the teams down and says, 'What happens at the end of Metal, what you did at the end of Metal, opened up the universe to threats you don’t even understand. And my planet Colu, this ancient myth they have about this thing coming back, you need to come help me with it right now.'"
"We wanted the teams to mirror some of the forces we see organizing the entire neighborhoods of the DCU - so magic, cosmic wonder, human endeavor, technological and Earthbound perseverance, and entropy, self-destructive, pathological, villainous impulses," Snyder said. "So, it was about trying to say, 'What are our heroes organized around if we didn’t have to make teams? What could we say are our poles that matter?'"
"We wanted to say that makes sense for this story, because the oldest, most ancient beings we didn’t even know existed, at the edge of the Source Wall, like the sharks that existed before the guppies, they’ve come back, and they’re would feed on things that are so ancient we don’t even think about them anymore."
Snyder explained, for example, that Team Entropy is composed of characters that "have self-destructive impulses - Luthor, Batman (surprise, Batman)." And characters that are "always about exploring cosmic wonders" are on Team Mystery, like Superman, Starro, and Sinestro.
"So, we wanted to show you both the fun of gaming the DCU and moneyballing the teams," he said, "but we wanted it to mean something and say, we want to think about the DCU in ways you haven’t, that harken back to things that are older as well as new things that are coming."
The writer rattled off a slew of heroes who are going to be affected by this week's conclusion of Dark Nights: Metal: "Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman," he said, adding that "some of the effects of Metal roll into No Justice, and then No Justice spins out into Hawkman, Titans, Teen Titans, Justice League Odyssey, Justice League Dark, Justice League…"
As Snyder described the plans for May and June, he echoed some of the language used by DC executives about the "Rebirth" initiative from summer 2016 - using phrases and words like "honoring the past" and the character's "core."
"You’re not trying to shatter things and be sensational the way we have been sometimes," he said. "Instead, honoring the past but using that to get to some place brand-new. And No Justice is deeply about that."
No Justice is "almost a tribute," the writer said, to one of his favorite stories - Cosmic Odyssey, the 1988 mini-series that also spanned the DCU and involved a huge number of characters. "It has that feeling of taking characters you think you know, showing them the way you love, but taking them some place that's psychically, figuratively and emotionally [and] that just surprises you," Snyder said.
The No Justice series is also giving Snyder and friends the chance to write characters they've never touched before in the DCU. And what are Snyder's new favorites from the ones he's getting to control in No Justice?
"Oh, dude - I love writing Lobo, Starro," he said. "Luthor is my new favorite, period. I loved writing Luthor in Superman: Unchained, but he’s in a new evolution that I just adore. And Beast Boy - Beast Boy has been a lot of fun."