It's something every teenager's parent thinks about: Will my teen hang out with the good kids or the bad?
In the DCU, a recently resurrected teen named Osiris is most decidedly picking the bad guys as he becomes part of the Titans team in a storyline that kicks off next week with Titans: Villains for Hire Special #1.
Led by Deathstroke, the team that takes over the Titans title is made up of villains and fallen heroes. And as Slade takes over as leader, taking over writing duties for the comic will be Eric Wallace, the television-turned-comics-writer who debuted at DC with Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink.
Osiris, who was killed during the weekly series 52, was resurrected at the end of Blackest Night and is now one of the 12 characters whose return from the dead is making them a focus in Brightest Day.
Although we've spoken to Wallace before about his upcoming run on Titans, now that Osiris' return is revealed, we extended the interview to find out some more details about what goes down in Titans: Villains for Hire. And while he wouldn't talk about how this might set up a return of the Marvel family or Black Adam, he did answer a few questions, including stating that there are "big things planned" for Osiris.
Newsarama: Were you a reader of 52 when Osiris was introduced and killed, or was his character someone you had to research for your comics work? And what did you think of his character and story when you first read it?
Eric Wallace: I was not familiar with Osiris, so I had to go back and catch up on his appearances in 52, which I loved. His situation was so tragic. A young man who means well, who just wants to be a hero… then accidentally commits a horrific crime. And what is his punishment? Death and betrayal at the hands of a friend. That’s just great stuff, dramatically speaking. I was able to continue that story directly with Power of Shazam #48, but now with Titans, the fallout from Osiris’ guilt, death, and rebirth will be used to take the character to an even deeper, darker, and hopefully very interesting place.
Nrama: When you were writing Power of Shazam #48, were you aware that Osiris would be returning from the dead permanently? Did you set up the story you'll be exploring in Titans?
Wallace: Yes, to both questions. That’s why I wanted that story to stand alone and have a definitive ending. I wanted folks to be surprised when it was announced that Osiris would join the Titans.
Nrama: When Osiris was originally introduced, he was just the kind kid brother of Isis. What can you tell us about who this character is now, after the events of Blackest Night?
Wallace: Osiris has lost his innocence. After his betrayal and murder at the hands of Sobek, he was resurrected as a Black Lantern. But even then, there was something different about him, something tortured. Osiris is what I call a “haunted” character. What haunts him is more than just his past, it’s his inner demons. Those demons will surface very quickly in the Titans stories. Where they take him… I can’t tell you just yet. Let’s just say Osiris is about to travel down a very bumpy road, emotionally speaking!
Nrama: How does Osiris get involved in the story of Titans and how do other characters in the series react?
Wallace: How Osiris joins the Titans is revealed in Titans: Villains For Hire Special #1. As for how the other Titans react to having an inexperienced kid on their team, they don’t treat him with much respect. And that causes big problems early on for the team, starting in Titans #24.
Nrama: I know we've discussed your opening story before, but now that you can discuss things a little more openly, what kind of story are you telling in Titans?
Wallace: The first overall story arc is an epic tragedy. The results are dark smaller stories that tell pieces of a very intense puzzle. An unflinching tone is set immediately with the Special and in the first regular issue, Titans #24. There’s a reason these people are “villains for hire.” And believe me when I say that the missions they take aren’t to save cats from trees. They’re brutal.
Nrama: What kind of a journey will we see Osiris going through? Is it a type of story that people can identify with?Wallace: Yes, I think people will identify with what Osiris is going through. I don’t know about everyone else, but I know that there are things in my life I’ve done, things I wish I could change. But I can’t. No one can. And that’s life. How we deal with those things, how we overcome the tragedies in our lives, defines us. And if you’re lucky, it can save us. Even redeem us. This is the journey Osiris will undertake. But it’s a long road. And he’ll have to get through a long night, in order to make it to a brighter morning.
Nrama: What is Deathstroke's motivation for what he's doing? And what's it been like writing this character in this story?
Wallace: I can’t tell you just yet. I will say everything that happens to Osiris and the other Titans will be Deathstroke’s fault, be it good or bad. As for what it’s like to write him, it’s just plain fun! The guy can go to such dark, horrific places. Yet at the same time, there’s a really humane side to him. So yeah, I’m having a blast.
Nrama: Are you working in conjunction with Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi and their work on Brightest Day? Does your story tie directly into what they're doing?
Wallace: I’m working very closely with Geoff, especially on the Special #1, sketching out plans for where both he and I would like Osiris to go. And let me tell you, there are some very big things planned for this character. It’s really exciting to be a part of it.
Nrama: It was revealed in this month's Brightest Day #0 that Osiris now has the statues of Black Adam and Isis, and he intends to bring them back. How is his time with the Titans related to his quest for the return of his family?
Wallace: They're completely intertwined, but I can't reveal the details about how just yet. I can say that you'll start to see answers as to how the statues fit into the Osiris/Titans storylines almost immediately, beginning in the regular Titans run that starts with issue #24.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell readers about Titans and Brightest Day?
Wallace: Every member of this new Titans team begins their own "Brightest Day" storyline hoping to find some form of inner peace, redemption, or resolution in their troubled lives. But these Titans are not friends or allies. They’re villains and fallen heroes who have been forced together by circumstance. This means it’s only a matter of time before their dark pasts catch up with them. If they can find a way to work together, they might survive the dawn. But if they can’t, there’s an even greater darkness waiting to consume them, and their individual hopes for a brighter day will fade forever. That’s what’s a stake for these characters. Stay tuned to find out what happens.