When DC's "Rebirth" initiative launched in 2016, one of the initial mysteries involved Wonder Woman having a twin brother named Jason.
Two years later in this week's oversized Wonder Woman #50, the saga exploring Diana's discovery of Jason and the character's subsequent story arc come to a close as James Robinson ends his 20-issue run on the title.
During Robinson's tenure, the character of Jason has grown from an untrustworthy adversary for Diana to one of her more trusted allies. He's also added a few new powers, thanks to armor that from his father that allows him to call upon the powers of the Greek gods.
This week's issue saw Jason willingly sacrificing himself to save the Earth from a group of Dark Gods, although in a way that means he's still alive for some other writer to revisit the character.
As Robinson finishes his run with this week’s Wonder Woman #50, Newsarama talked to Robinson about the genesis of Jason's story, how Jason's character has evolved, and whether the writer would ever come back for more stories about Diana's brother.
Newsarama: James, the one through-line of your entire run is Wonder Woman's twin brother, Jason. I know he was the motivation for you working on this book. Did you know the whole story before you started? Or did this story evolve as you wrote it?
James Robinson: I knew to a degree. As you said, I was specifically asked to pay off the gigantic plot point that Geoff Johns had left at the end of "Darkseid War." So it was always part of my plan.
Originally, I was going to be on it for a shorter period of time. I had originally planned to be on it for about eight issues, I think. And then when I was getting the twice-monthly book in on time (which is tough; they really beat you up), they asked me to stay on.
And that gave me more time to develop Jason and play with him more.
I was careful to make sure it wasn't only about Jason, however. I was already getting crap from social media about how this is Wonder Woman's book and she should be the center of attention at all time. You know how strident Wonder Woman fans can be.
But this time on the book allowed me to do the Silver Swan arc, which I very much enjoyed. And I had time to add his armor and all kinds of other things that I think have helped to make this a fun run for the people that are enjoying what I've been doing.
Nrama: You were given this character of Jason, but you really made it your own. Geoff Johns came up with the idea, but you got to form who he was, right?
Robinson: Yeah, he was a baby when he was first introduced. Most of who the character is now is stuff that I've actually come up with. Geoff's a buddy, and I give credit where it's due, because he came up with the idea in the first place. But I'm proud of how I've grown and developed the character from that seed of an idea.
Nrama: During your run, you tied into several events that were going on elsewhere in the DC Universe. Even this current story arc ties into Dark Nights: Metal and involves the Justice League. Was that a goal, to make Jason part of the greater DCU?
Robinson: Yes. I always do that stuff, though. I always try to tie into bigger stories. Whether it was my stuff at DC or what I did at Marvel, like Fantastic Four and Invaders and what-not, I always enjoy that about comic book universes. I like when writers try to embrace the whole place.
So yes, it was my intention to involve Jason and the book in the DCU.
And the Dark Gods was about Scott Snyder calling me up and saying … I think he just wanted Wonder Woman involved some way in Metal more than just being one of the Justice League members. So he was very keen that I involve the Dark Gods, although I didn't have very much direction. So I don't know ultimately if they were what he would have chosen as the Dark Gods, but there you are.
Nrama: One of the things that Wonder Woman says in issue #50 is that she's not delicate, and that she survives. Was that dialogue something you specifically wanted to highlight, as you ended your run?
Robinson: Yeah, that's really what I consider good drama. You throw stuff at the heroes and sometimes they are damaged physically or mentally by the threat, but they persevere and they rise above and they conquer.
But what I've always loved about Wonder Woman is her strength. Even when she was in that phase in the white costume, where she didn't have her powers, she had great strength. One of the reasons that era ended was because Gloria Steinham said, "Hey, she's Wonder Woman! She's a superhero and you've taken away her powers!"
But I actually thought her lacking powers was like saying, I don't need them to be a strong woman. And I think that was almost a more powerful message. I was surprised Ms. Steinem didn't get that, to be quite honest with you.
She has resilience, and it's something I've loved about the character all along. I've always been a fan of the character, from her pervy era by William Marston to the era where they had her set in the 1940's during the time of the Wonder Woman TV show.
I was especially struck by how they utilized that in the Wonder Woman movie. I was reading later, there was a scene that the people around Patty Jenkins didn't want to film, and she insisted, where they're in the trenches and she's like, "Where's the enemy?" And they were like, they're on the other side of No Man's Land. And she's like, "Let's go get them!" And they're like, no, you can't do it like that. You have to plan.
And while the men are still huffing and puffing and mansplaining each other about how they're going to do it, she's already halfway across the battlefield to take on the machine guns of the Germans.
That scene, to me, was the epitome of her being an Amazonian warrior, being fearless, and being almost eager for battle. I think maybe people shied away from it because it felt like it might come across as war-mongering, but it was just an enthusiasm for battle that Gal Gadot brought to the film that I found very exciting and appealing.
So I was trying to bring a mix of all these things that have portrayed her strength.
But I also wanted to throw some misfortune her way, like Jason betraying her originally and the way the story turned in issue #50.
Despite everything that she's doing, and the battles and everything else, there is this sort of longing for her home and her mother and these things that she's lost.
So that's what I always intended to do, was make her this strong, resilient character. And I think I did that without having Jason overshadowing her in the book too much, although obviously there were a couple of issues where I had to develop his character more.
Nrama: Do you think Jason picked up some of her strength over the course of his story arc during your run?
Robinson: I think so, at least at the beginning as he was starting to develop. Now, technically, I suppose he's more powerful than her in that he has the power of their father Zeus and the power of storms and air control and things like that.
I like the fact that when he's given this armor, he realizes that his sister should have gotten it.
And he knows that the powers he has do not make him the better hero.
He knows his sister is the better hero.
So by the end of it, he just wants to be worthy of her, which I think was a nice character arc for him.
Nrama: Wonder Woman #50 definitely feels like it's an ending to your time on Jason's character, and even his time in the book.
Robinson: It definitely has an element of finality to it, but Jason can be there for other writers, or indeed me, if I ever got to write him again.
Nrama: Is that a hint?
Robinson: I do enjoy writing him. I have this vague fantasy of one day doing a story and calling the comic Jason's Quest, which is an old DC title.
But no one's asked me so far and probably won't. So it's just something in my mind right now.