DC editors promised that WildStorm characters would be integrated into the DCU. And this week, readers got proof it was actually happening.
With September titles like Grifter and Stormwatch, DC is fully integrating the WildStorm characters who were formerly established as part of an "alternate universe" into the same universe with DC heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman.
As a leading team comic, Stormwatch appears to be the place where this whole WildStorm/DC integration will be explained. And according to writer Paul Cornell: "It's at the crux of a lot of things for where DC is going to be in September. It's a bit of a kingpin book. It united a lot of things."
The characters in Stormwatch like Apollo and Midnighter were part of the WildStorm imprint that DC maintained as a separate universe until last year. WildStorm was originally a publishing company, then was part of DC's overall publishing line, but had always been used in-story as an "alternate" to the regular DCU.
Now Cornell, who's coming off an acclaimed run on Action Comics, will apparently explain the integration in Stormwatch, although he isn't talking about how it's going to work. Readers will have to wait and read Stormwatch #1 to find out the details of how the two worlds fit together.
But what we do know is that Martian Manhunter will be an integral part of the title, and former Authority members Apollo and Midnighter, one of the earliest "outed" gay couples in comics, are involved in the new team.
With the caveat that he could not discuss the particulars of how the DC/WildStorm integration will work, Newsarama talked with Cornell to find out what we could about DC's new Stormwatch title.
Newsarama: Paul, I think one of the most exciting things about the announcement is that people finally know where Martian Manhunter ended up. Can you tell us anything about what his function is on this team?
Paul Cornell: Well, he's a superhero, and Stormwatch are not. And there's a certain contradiction there. And he's a major player in the book.
Nrama: It's true that they really don't seem to go together, because Martian Manhunter is like the odd man out.
Cornell: Yeah. He's in there to kind of put a certain gravity to it, to mess things around. He does make sense in the book, though. Very much so. And you'll see why he makes sense when the idea behind the book gets talked about. But I think it's obvious that there's going to be some friction there. There are going to be some issues.
Nrama: The information DC released said he'll try to "change their mind." That doesn't imply mind control or anything, does it?
Cornell: Ah, no. He's trying to change their minds about being recruits. He's not controlling their minds. That would be bad!
Nrama: OK, OK... just checking. But so many people know Martian Manhunter, even in the mainstream world, since he was such a huge part of cartoons like Justice League. Is the same character we know? Or has he changed?
Cornell: Those things that you liked are still there.
Nrama: Let's talk about Stormwatch. What's it like to take a WildStorm title and team and all of the sudden bring into the DCU?
Cornell: That's the most exciting thing. A lot of Stormwatch and the Authority came from the fact that they were playing off being in a different universe. Characters who are kind of parallel to and recognized as duplicates of DC characters, or even Marvel characters, actually, during the Millar run.
That's not there anymore. We're right, smack in the middle of the DC Universe. And this creates the biggest waves, the most ripples.
And that's a really great place for this book to be, because it's making an enormous impact because of that.
So Midnighter and Apollo are now in the same universe as Superman and Batman! Isn't that fantastic?
Nrama: Will we see their relationship in this comic?
Cornell: Yes. And I think it's a really good sign that DC immediately told me I could say that. I straightaway got questions from fans.Yes, Apollo and Midnighter are still gay men. They're still out and proud. I wouldn't have written it otherwise.
Nrama: Is there a real challenge to pulling together these two different histories of the WildStorm Universe and the DC Universe?
Cornell: Yes, it was a challenge, but I think we've done well with it.
Nrama: We've seen the three characters on the cover who are in the new Stormwatch comic. Who else can you tell us beyond that?
Cornell: On the cover, we've got Jack Hawksmoor, Martian Manhunter, and Midnighter. And Apollo's in the book as well.
Apart from that, there will be other people on the team, some of which are recognizable and some of which are brand new.
Nrama: How is Stormwatch differentiated from all the other teams in the DCU?
Cornell: They're not superheroes. They are very insistent upon that fact. They have a particular purpose, which I will not reveal right now. They actually have a very solid purpose that is not the general kind of superhero "oh-we're-hanging-around-to-fight-crime" sort of thing. They have a very solid purpose in mind.
Nrama: What's the tone of the comic?
Cornell: Being among the "Edge" comics, there's a certain freedom to experiment about this. One of the things I really liked about the Authority, Stormwatch and Planetary comics back in the day was that they could take things further. We're still keeping that type of swagger. It's a very attitudinal book. It's kind of in-your-face. That kind of "looking down on the rest of the universe" is very attractive about Stormwatch. So that's very much part of this.
It's very fast-moving as well. We jam a hell of a lot into that first issue. There are lots of characters, there's lots of action, there's lots of locations. It's sort of immediately obvious that this has a real point.
It's at the crux of a lot of things for where DC is going to be in September. It's a bit of a kingpin book. It united a lot of things.
Nrama: I assume you've seen some pages from Miguel Sepulveda. Is this in the style of the old Stormwatch?
Cornell: No, we don't feel confined by the art style of the old WildStorm stuff. It's not particularly different, but anyone who has in their head a WildStorm style, it's not like that.
Nrama: Are you a long-time fan of these characters?
Cornell: Actually, until the last year or so, I'd only read Planetary, which is possibly my favorite comic book of all time along with Scott Pilgrim and Fables. But I think it's astonishing.
Then I went back and checked where it came from, and then I started to read Stormwatch and The Authority in collections and as back issues. And I loved them. So it's not a love since they came out, but a recent love really.
Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything you want to tell fans about your work on the DCnU relaunch?
Cornell: Just that I couldn't be happier, because the two books I've got are first of all team books, which I love, and secondly, really odd team books. Weird team books. Quite extreme team books, both of which have a new mission. Both aren't just another team book; they both have a big theme they're doing and a big style. I've got some freedom to play there. I'm very, very pleased.Got a comment? There's lots of Newsarama conversation on FACEBOOK and TWITTER. More on DCnU:
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