When Dan Abnett takes over Justice League Odyssey beginning this week, his goal is to “bring the cosmic.”
And as Abnett himself admits, he does love cosmic.
Abnett had been talking to DC for awhile now about writing a comic book that focused on the cosmic side of the DCU. And with Justice League Odyssey and its focus on the Ghost Sector and Darkseid, Abnett is hoping to craft a cosmic treasure hunt adventure he’s laughingly calling “Raiders of the Lost (Space) Ark.”
Working with artist Carmine Di Giandomenico, Abnett will also be bringing Blackfire into the book for some conflict with her sister Starfire, who makes up the team with Cyborg, Jessica Cruz, and Azrael.
And among the more personal moments, he’s also exploring grander concepts, like the purpose of the Ghost Sector, the true meaning of Darkseid’s plan, and the destiny of the four heroic main characters.
Newsarama talked to Abnett to find out more about the title as the writer starts on the book with this week’s Justice League Odyssey #6.
Newsarama: Dan, as you take over Justice League Odyssey, what’s your hope for the book? How are you putting your own spin on it as you’re guiding it forward?
Abnett: I think it’s a great and huge story, with a central combination of really interesting characters. My aim to is 'bring the cosmic' in a big way, make it even more alien and wild and sci-fi, and deliver a huge storyline with Darkseid at the heart of it.
Nrama: What attracted you to this series? What about these characters and the unique challenges they’re facing compelled you as a writer?
Abnett: To be honest, I had been talking to DC for a long time about doing a cosmic series. I think that’s a sub-genre I do really well, and have list of priors to prove it.
But I found this series very appealing specifically. First off, there’s Darkseid, the coolest and biggest DC cosmic character.
Second, there’s the chance to explore and world-build a whole new part of the DCU.
Third, there’s an opportunity to tie up, explain and develop a lot of storylines that have been playing out in Justice League books in the last year or so, like the mystery of the Ghost Sector itself (why Brainiac and the Coluans bottled and hid so many worlds), and Cyborg’s sense of guilt that so many of the problems in the universe were either his fault directly or the Justice League’s (that they kept doing momentous big things to save the day but never thought about the consequences or the lives affected).
Finally, there’s the central four characters, such an interesting combination. Cyborg and Starfire are all-time greats, but often get overshadowed by the big guns; Jess Cruz is a terrific character who needs more screen time and focus; and Azrael - I’ve always loved Azrael, and he seems such an unlikely fit here, but it turns out he’s perfect for a cosmic adventure.
Nrama: We saw a recent change in the solicitation. Last-minute changes tend to make readers nervous. Was it just the story being tweaked, or was there something larger at play?
Abnett: Just tweaking really. It’s a big story with a lot of big moving parts, and we had to check and double-check that what we were doing wasn’t going to derail or dent anything in the main Justice League story arc … and vice versa.
As it turned out, it was all good, but checking all the possible ramifications was vital and complex, and took time, hence the slight solicit shift. Worth it.
Nrama: You already mentioned the Ghost Sector and Darkseid. Can you talk about how the Ghost Sector and its implications for Darkseid and the team drive the story as you’re taking over the book?
Abnett: We get to find out what it’s all about. What is the Ghost Sector (conceptually) and what’s it like as a multi-planet environment in all its alien strangeness?
Finding out how the Ghost Sector ties to Darkseid and what he’s up to is the main driver, and the team also has to come to terms with their part in a grand cosmic plan, which is not something they asked for.
Nrama: As you’re exploring the mysteries of the Ghost Sector, the book will encounter Blackfire. How does she get involved in the story?
Abnett: Tamaran was one of the worlds mysterious stolen and lost, hidden by the Coluans. Starfire’s main motive for making this unauthorized trip is to find her homeworld. Her sister will be waiting for her, having weathered the storm of being abducted by the Coluans. There’s going to be tension.
Nrama: Anything you can tease about what readers will learn as this team deals with the fate of the Ghost Sector in the coming issues?
Abnett: Big cosmic secrets and surprises! The purpose of the Ghost Sector, the true meaning of Darkseid’s plan, the destiny of the four heroes, and bigger questions about the Multiverse itself. Plus a treasure hunt - it’s like Raiders of the Lost (Space) Ark.
Nrama: When this series started, it tied directly into the other Justice League books, and we’ve seen some references to the events in Odyssey in the main Justice League book. Will they continue to function separately going forward, or does this tie into other books?
Abnett: It definitely ties in, because it plays off and reflects big events and storylines int he DCU generally (such as the Source Wall, which I’ve already been connecting to in Titans).
But it is also its own thing, a story that happens in response to outside events. You can follow it without reference to other books. We do a deft job of keeping you up to speed.
Nrama: Will the team be staying the same going forward, or are you making some changes?
Abnett: Now that would be telling.
Nrama: OK, then let’s switch gears a little. You’re starting on the book with artist Carmine Di Giandomenico. How has it been working with him on this book?
Abnett: His work is wonderful. I utterly love the science fiction power and wonder he’s brought to my first issue.
Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell readers about Justice League Odyssey?
Abnett: I’m loving it. It’s a major story with great characters, it’s a properly important DCU story with big moments… and it’s DCU cosmic. I do love cosmic!