With DC's new Silencer title, the story's war between criminal factions has been noticed by the fan-favorite villain Deathstroke.
And with this week's Silencer #4, readers not only found out that Deathstroke met Silencer before, but there's a rematch on the horizon as Honor returns to the world of Leviathan, the organization for which she served as a deadly assassin.
The title, which launched as part of DC's "New Age of Heroes" books earlier this year, also has a new artist after the departure of John Romita Jr., who co-created the title with writer Dan Abnett. As this week's issue #4 was released, the new artist on the book is Viktor Bogdanovic, who's listed with Abnett as the issue's "storytellers," reflecting the collaborative approach on the "New Age" titles. Newsarama talked to Abnett about the addition of Bogdanovic, the addition of Deathstroke to the title, and what readers can expect next from Silencer.
Newsarama: Dan, Silencer #4 ended with Deathstroke attacking Honor, ready to do battle with her. She barely triumphed last time she met him. But can you describe how Deathstroke has a connection to the war within Leviathan and what kind of rematch showdown we can expect from Honor vs. Slade in issue #5 and beyond?
Dan Abnett: Well, it’s Deathstroke… so what do you expect!?
One of the things this book is revealing is the “Underlife,” the criminal society that exists and thrives beneath the skin of the DCU, a complex culture of criminal organizations, organized crime cartels, and freelance individuals such as hitmen. It has its own codes and rules and customs.
As I fleshed this idea out for Silencer, it occurred to me that other DCU characters would be involved in, or even part of, the Underlife. And Deathstroke sprung to mind. He’s a freelancer, but the sort of work he does must connect him to the Underlife, even if he avoids the "big organizations" like Leviathan.
I thought it would be great to have Slade in this, as the voice of the "freelance" part of the Underlife society, complaining that the Leviathan civil war is destroying the structure of the hidden culture. He wants it fixed, and he wants Silencer to fix it. The confrontation is going to be as physical as you might expect, but Slade is also a cunning and treacherous tactician…
Nrama: We learned a little bit in issue #4 about how Silencer left the organization. Are you going to continue telling us more about the Silencer's history in upcoming issues?
Abnett: Oh yes, there’s a lot to reveal about her past, her origins, and also how Leviathan itself works….and what’s gone wrong! Leviathan is the biggest, most influential force in the Underlife.
Nrama: Honor told Aftermarket that she just wanted to defend her new way of life as a mother and wife. But it feels like she isn't going to be able to keep her two lives separate for much longer. Does that continue to be a problem for her, or can her life get some resemblance to normal again?
Abentt: It’s vital to her to keep the two halves apart… and indeed to draw a line under, and end, the “Silencer” part.
But that’s not easy, so keeping the secret is going to get much, much harder.
Expect fireworks! Unexpected fireworks!
Nrama: Talia Al Ghul has been an important part of the comic book so far, but there are insinuations in past issues that she might not really be an ally to Honor. That said, Aftermarket thinks she's the best solution to a bad situation, even if he doesn't trust her. Can you talk about Talia's role in this war, how the Leviathan organization is breaking down, and whether Talia isn't actually the ally she appears to be to Honor?
Abnett: Talia founded Leviathan, and she’s been the leader of it since day one, with a council of specialist "underbosses" running the various divisions ([such as] cybernetics, weapons, genetics) beneath her. It’s her baby.
But as we’re now seeing, her own actions have led to a complete loss of trust in her by the powerful underboss, characters like Quietus and Gunn. And these are individuals with immense power, resources and ambition. They want her gone, and they each want the top spot of Leviathan for themselves.
That’s the civil war that rocking the whole Underlife, and that’s what Honor is caught up in.
Talia is her friend and her mentor. They were close. But is she really an ally? We know she can’t be trusted, and the truth is about to come out.
Nrama: How has response been to the comic book so far? Have you heard any feedback from fans?
Abnett: The feedback I’ve had so far, from both the public and from (very gracious) fellow professionals, has been amazing. People really seem to dig this story and these new characters.
Nrama: You've just had a change in the art team. What's Viktor Bogdanovic bringing to the book now that your co-creator John Romita Jr. has left?
Abnett: We need to rotate, of course, to maintain the schedule. Viktor is taking up the reins from issue #4. He brings an incredible, dynamic and visceral power to the art.
And, as you know, this imprint is designed to be driven by artistic storytelling, so it’s really interesting to see how his ideas and creative input alter the trajectory of the story. I set the whole idea up, and I have a course and stories in mind, but now I’m responding to the ideas the artists launch at me.
Nrama: Then to finish up, what else do you want to tell fans about what's coming up in Silencer?
Abnett: There’s an extraordinary showdown about to come in the next issue, and then Honor takes a holiday. Seriously. But it won’t be all sun, sand and surf. It will be the sort of vacation only the Silencer could go on! And alongside the action and intrigue, there will be a lot of sidelong humor thanks to the resort she chooses to vacation in.