Scott Snyder wasn’t kidding when he promised readers that Dark Nights: Metal would continue to influence comic books in the DCU. The latest event spinning out from Metal? The return of the Will Payton, the ‘80s version of Starman.
The character, who was revealed to be returning earlier this week by Snyder, only showed up for a single panel in Metal, which revealed that he worked with other characters in the past to investigate mysteries of the Multiverse.
Now Snyder is returning Will Payton to the DCU as part of his Justice League story, saying he plays a “really important” role in upcoming stories. The character, Snyder said, will be connected to the Totality that just fell to the Earth after the destruction of the DCU’s Source Wall.
Newsarama talked to Snyder to find out more about Starman’s role in the story, how he’s connected to the Totality, and whether other characters from that exploration group in Metal might show up in Justice League.
Newsarama: Scott, you’ve hinted previously that in upcoming issues, you’re going to be utilizing Starman. Can you talk about what brought you to that franchise and which Starman you’re utilizing here? I think we’ve talked before about you being a Starman fan.
Scott Snyder: Oh yeah. I’ve always loved that mythology, from Ted Knight all the way down, and the generational aspect of it as well, and what James Robinson was able to do with Ted and Jack and everything. The whole Opal City saga was part of what got me into wanting to write comics.
But trying to find a way into that mythology is hard, because so many of the stories are done or are attached to other things, the way Ted Knight is attached to JSA and Jack Knight, that story is really … you know, it’s James [Robinson]’s and is complete, in a lot of ways.
So for us, one of the things we really wanted to do was bring in that mythos but do it in a way, from a standpoint that would give us some elasticity creatively.
So we really started thinking about Will Payton, because he’s a really under-explored character.
Nrama: OK, we saw a hint about Starman in Justice League #1. But we’re talking about the one who showed up briefly in Metal, the Starman of the late ‘80s?
Snyder: Yeah, we started thinking about him back then, during Metal. That’s why he’s featured on the wall back in Challengers Mountain.
So you see a picture of him all the way back then and you sort of understand that he’s been part of these explorations of the very boundaries of the Multiverse and its different energies and its limits, since 30 or 40 years ago.
So we wanted to bring that story in where we could in Metal, but we’ll really bring it in full here.
Nrama: In Justice League, right?
Snyder: Yeah. You’ll learn about his connection to the Totality in the “Legion of Doom” issue.
Nrama: Which is Justice League #8, the upcoming September issue by James Tynion IV and Mikel Janín. So can you reveal anything about his role in the story? Does it continue beyond that issue?
Snyder: His role going forward is really important to the Justice League. He’s in the next arc, in “Drowned Earth,” and he figures into the following issues prominently as well.
What he knows about the Totality and what’s inside of it, what they’ve been able to discover in the past — because what you realize is that all of the kind of super-scientists that you saw in Metal, like the Challengers of the Unknown and Will Magnus, they’ve also been exploring this larger mystery, beyond just the mystery of Nth Metal and the Dark Multiverse.
They’ve been trying to figure out what the Multiverse wants to be. What is its core? What is its origin? Who made us? What do they expect of us? Is there some key to unlock and kind of evolve us into what we’re supposed to become? Is that thing good or bad? Is it horrible or wonderful?
Nrama: So it’s really a continuation of some of the searching that was going on to kick off Metal.
Snyder: A lot of it is a continuation. I mean, Metal is a self-standing story that we’re really proud of. But it really was intended as a launch pad for a lot of ideas and a lot of story that we’re going to be weaving in for the next year and a half to two years.
Nrama: The New Challengers book finishes up its six-issue run in a couple months. So will we see them? And will other characters from that group of characters, like Hawkman, show up in this Justice League story?
Snyder: One hundred percent. Yeah.
I mean, the Challengers — I wanted to give that book a little bit of room, because I think it’s so good under Aaron [Gillespie]’s pen. And I’m very, very proud of what that team’s been able to do.
But we’re going to be referencing that.
And the Hawkman mythology, like what’s going on with Hawkgirl, Kendra, and what’s going on with Carter is a huge part of what happens in this arc.
Nrama: We already saw something weird happening with Kendra at the Totality.
Snyder: Yeah, you’ve already seen in issue #6 that Kendra, for some reason, is unaffected by the Totality as it’s kind of funneled through the doorknob that Lex has. He’s unable to kind of get rid of her. And her wings are lighting up in a way that doesn’t make sense to her.
So the mystery of her whole reincarnation cycle and who she really is, and what her role is in this sort of giant, uber-story about the Multiverse is something that’s key to the whole year in Justice League.
All the stuff that we wanted to set up in Metal, with her being part of the Blackhawks and her relationship to Carter, and the different ways they were reincarnated over the years, and the patterns by which they were reincarnated — all that stuff kind of comes in and is done in tandem with what Rob [Venditti]’s doing on his great Hawkman series with Bryan Hitch.