Writer Tim Seeley calls the latest Tales from the Dark Multiverse story a “straight-up horror comic,” one that imagines a world where Blackest Night ended with the bad guys winning.
The story, which is drawn by horror-experienced artist Kyle Hotz, takes place 23 days after the Black Lanterns have destroyed the world, giving it an apocalyptic feel. Seeley centers the story on Sinestro as the “Limbo Lantern,” trapped between life and death as a White and Black Lantern, along with the last living beings in the universe - Dove, Lobo and Mister Miracle.
Previous Tales from the Dark Multiverse issues have declared that a “crisis” is looming, and Scott Snyder told Newsarama that the characters in the Tales from the Dark Multiverse issues will be part of the build-up toward the 2020 event he’s creating with his Metal co-creator Greg Capullo.
And some of these new Dark Multiverse characters, if they’re popular enough with fans, will become part of the main DCU, similar to the Batman Who Laughs.
Newsarama talked to Seeley to find out more about Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night #1.
Newsarama: Tim, it’s cool seeing you involved with an event like this, but you really got to explore a different side of the Blackest Night event — an alternate ending where the good guys didn’t win. Was that the attraction?
Tim Seeley: Yeah, for me it was a chance to do a horror story - a very distinct kind of survival horror story - using DC superheroes. And getting to start from a different side of it.
The original one is very much a cosmic kind of war story. But this taking place after that, it’s a post-apocalyptic road story, which is way up my alley.
So it’s somewhere between Mad Max and Night of the Living Dead, with Green Lantern and Dove and Lobo. You can’t get much more fun than that.
Nrama: So for people familiar with the Blackest Night storyline, what is the turning point that made that end differently on this world in the Dark Multiverse?
Seeley: The moment in the original story that Sinestro basically gives up the power of the White Lantern to make the White Lantern Corps, and that helps to turn the tide against the Black Lanterns.
That was a redemptive moment for him, to give up power.
But here, in this story, we say no - he was still too bitter. He was never going to let Hal Jordan have anything. So he kept it.
And that brings about their deaths, and it screws up everything. And everything goes to hell.
Nrama: We know that every one of the Tales of the Dark Multiverse one-shots is introducing a character or two that could “bubble up” into the main universe permanently. How would you describe what you hope kind of bubbles up like that? And where would you like to see them used?
Seeley: I mean, if we can get our Limbo Lantern Sinestro to show up in Green Lantern stories, I think that would be really cool.
And I think there’s something - I mean, having a Sinestro that’s more broken and more of a failure than the Sinestro of our world would be a pretty good motivation to stick Hal and Sinestro together.
And then, you know, I could also totally stand to put “Cosmic Messiah” Lobo in another story. I think that would be OK with me too.
Nrama: Yeah, I think most readers would be OK with seeing more of him. So with this story, you got to do something unusual —- the good guys didn’t win. Was that also part of the appeal for you?
Seeley: Yeah, and the failure of it is so great that it threatens to infect the other universes.
So having Tempest Fuginaut there - yeah, these things are “what ifs,” but they’re also real places in the DCU. And I think that kind of gives them a little more weight because we know those characters could show up, or somebody could unfortunately end up in that universe too.
Nrama: This world is so dark, and the art is a big part of that. How’s it been working with Kyle on this story?
Seeley: He’s a horror guy, so he drew a straight-up horror comic. I mean, he didn’t mess around. There’s no superhero elements to it in a way that you’d traditionally do it. He just drew a horror comic, and it’s awesome.
You need a certain kind of story to do this, and I think having Kyle Hotz on every month of the Green Lantern title would significantly change the tone of that book, but in this case, it fits perfectly.
Nrama: Just overall, what do you think of the idea to have a Dark Multiverse where not only can alternate endings be explored like this, but maybe some alternate versions of characters can be invented to interact with the main universe?
Seeley: I think more toys in the playbox is good in superhero comics, especially ones that have been going on for 80 years. You know, always having possibilities - reasons for threats and reasons for conflicts and reasons for new characters.
I don’t know if it’s something in the air, but I think that readers are so - like, almost to some degree, the best new ideas have been used. So I feel like everybody’s kind of turning to and are curious about, hey, how can we see the versions of the characters we love, but differently?
People are loving that sort of stuff right now.
You know, with Spider-Verse and the Batman Who Laughs — that stuff is really taking over pop culture.
I mean, I’m doing a He-Man series which features multiple versions of He-Man, for Christ’s sake.
So there’s something to it. I think readers have been in this stuff so long that they’re really curious to see other variations of the stuff they already love.