Spoilers ahead for this week's Justice League #30.
This week’s Justice League #30 not only featured the long-anticipated return of the Justice Society of America (and future last-boy-on-Earth Kamandi), but the story revealed that the “Justice Doom War” event also hinges on a powerful force based on faith.
Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, with art by Jorge Jimenez, Justice League #30 serves as a culmination of the various plotlines since the title launched last year.
Snyder revealed to Newsarama in June that he had “big plans” for the JSA, but the team is also expected to play a major part in the end of Doomsday Clock. And although Snyder and Tynion are featuring Kamandi in this story, the character is also being introduced to the DCU in DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium event coming up in September.
Newsarama talked to Snyder and Tynion to find out more about the power of this faith-based force, how faith in DC’s heroes coming into play, and how the return of the JSA and Kamandi will fit with Doomsday Clock and Millennium.
Newsarama: Scott and James, you spent a lot of time in this issue on the six known forces used by the heroes the opposing forces Lex is harnessing. But we finally found out a little bit about the last, seventh force - that it has something to do with faith?
Scott Snyder: Yeah, we don’t really reveal it, but the heroes know that it has something to do with faith. It has something to do with belief in innate goodness in the universe, and in life, or a sort of innate evil in the universe and in all life.
And so what they have to realize throughout this arc is how to harness that seventh force, how to activate it for Justice instead of Doom. That’s a big part of what it’s about - for us, I think, not just taking down the Legion of Doom, but proving to the world that they should have faith in their heroes and in themselves as opposed to having faith in the selfish, impulsive nature of villainy.
It’s about saying, I have faith that the little good I do in the world will go a long way and be worth it. I’m not going to do everything I can to win and get mine right now. That’s what the heroes are fighting over. It isn’t just a physical fight with them. It’s a fight for the hearts and souls of everybody on the planet and in the universe to side with them or not.
James Tynion IV: And this is also where this story really intersects with the entire concept of “Year of the Villain,” because we’ve seen Lex Luthor’s offers go out to the villains of the DC Universe, and we see the larger machinations of his plan.
Now I think we’re starting to understand that, really, he’s trying to prove something to the world when he gets people to lose their faith in heroes by powering up the villains and all these attacks that are happening in books across the line.
We’re seeing the scales tip in the favor of the villains, and as they tip further and further, Perpetua gets stronger and stronger.
This is really what the seventh force is all about.
Luthor is rigging the game in his favor. And it’s going to take everything the heroes have to fight back.
Nrama: We also saw, at the end of the issue, one group of Justice League members meeting Kamandi and friends, and the other encountering the Justice Society of America. They all announced that it’s “too late,” and Starman has already predicted that they’re going to lose. How do you have faith in that situation?
Snyder: That’s the question. We wanted to create a story that builds month after month and makes things more dire. It seems completely hopeless. Do you still keep fighting, or do you give in?
Do you cheat to win, or do something you shouldn’t do to win? The heroes are very tempted by that. And you’ll see characters within the story make mistakes in that regard that really determine the fate of the universe.
Is it going to be a tragedy? Is it going to be a happy ending?
I think there will be some very big shocks for readers in this one - everything from who acts heroically and saves the say, who fails, who dies. All of it.
There’s the highest stakes possible in this one. We can’t emphasize it enough. It’s really the big, big finale to everything we’ve been building.
So every glove is off.
Nrama: I noticed you have a few different artists working on this arc. Is this a sort of greatest hits of artists?
Tynion: Yeah, “Justice Doom War” as a story brings back all of the amazing artists that we’ve worked with for this entire Justice League run up to this point. We’re starting with Jorge Jimenez, who has been doing absolutely stunning work on the series going all the way back to the beginning. Seeing him really establish these moments where we see the villains and the heroes all come together and launch the entire story forward is a lot of fun.
This is only the beginning. The pages that we’re getting in right now for the issues - like, a few down the road - feature some of the craziest, big, bombastic superhero fun I’ve ever written or been a part of in a superhero comic. Our team of artists are delivering such incredible work. So I’m extremely, extremely excited.
Nrama: We’ve already heard some confusion from fans about how the returns of the JSA and Kamandi in Justice League #30 may be conflicting with the JSA story in Doomsday Clock, or the Kamandi story in the Millennium event. Is this all going to fit together? Or is this an alternate timeline? Or should we just stop worrying about continuity as we read this?
Snyder: We’re all working in one big tapestry. What Geoff [Johns] is doing in Doomsday Clock is definitely going to inform what we’re doing here. And think what Brian [Michael Bendis] is doing with Millennium is part of a big story that we’re trying to coordinate with.
We definitely want you to feel like, as you read these, that there are connections, and that they make sense, and that they tie together and all of that.
If you’re patient with us and just wait and see, some of those connections and some of those ties are going to come in later when we explain how things cross over from one neighborhood of the DCU to another.
For example, the version of Kamandi that we’re using here is taken directly from his classic timeline, but what you might see in Brian’s story is something that could happen after the events of our story are concluded and his narrative goes a different way.
But at the time you’re reading them both, you might see two different versions of Kamandi in existence.
So in that way, we’re looking to make everything fit, everything part of one Uber-story. Same thing with JSA with Geoff.
And there will be ways in which that’s explained later — in 2020.
For now, what we’d say is, enjoy it; be patient. We’ll try to bring you the best explanations and connections and story continuity possible as we go.
Tynion: In Justice League #31, the second part of this story, we’re going to see some of our characters ask these exact same questions that the readers might have about how the present and the past - how much the heroes in the present are aware of the Justice Society and the mysteries that are still present in these two timelines.
So you will see that there is this larger picture.
Nrama: Before the issue came out, Scott, you talked about this being a finale. As we finish up this interview, do you want to tell fans anything else about this story?
Snyder: We really wanted this to be a culmination of everything we’ve done all year, artistically as well, so you’ll see everybody return. Like James said earlier, you’re going to see Howard Porter coming back, Francis Manapul coming back, Jim Cheung …
We really want this to feel like it’s the kind of full-circle finale of everything we’ve been building on every level, story-wise and art-wise. I think it’ll be very gratifying to fans to see everybody do things that reference the art that they drew on the series.
This has been such a great ride so far on Justice League. We’re so proud of what the whole team on the book - from the editors, to the artists, the letterer, everyone - has built, and the fact that fans have been so supportive of us from the very beginning until now.
The fans seem to be buying in, and there seems to be a building energy and sales behind it, and that really means a lot.
We promise - this one is a thank you to everybody. We’re going to go all-out for it. We really can’t wait for everybody to see what we build, and we’re very, very grateful to everyone for being in our corner this whole time.