Captain Atom, the new comic DC is launching as one of its 52 new #1 issues in September, will be written by Krul with art by Freddie Williams II.
Krul, who is also relaunching his Green Arrow title in September, is hoping to explore the theme of how small and insignificant planet Earth is in the universe, yet how unique and important humanity is. It's a comic the writer is calling "intense" with a "sci-fi feel."
Newsarama talked with Krul to find out more about the new comic.
Newsarama: J.T., what interested you about writing Captain Atom in particular?
J.T. Krul: I'd probably say the scope and focus of the book. This is a departure from the kinds of books I've done in the past. Captain Atom exists on an entirely different level than most other characters. He has near limitless — if not actually limitless — powers, which give him a very different perspective of our world. That unique perspective is what drew me to the book. At the same time that Captain Atom wields such immense power, he's not a scientist — he was an Air Force pilot, so there is an everyman quality to him as well. A normal man forced to confront some rather weighty concepts about life and reality and existence.
Nrama: Why do you think he'll appeal in this comic to new and existing readers alike?
Krul: I think he'll appeal to all readers because he is a compelling character, struggling to cope with these tremendous powers he's been given. We all fantasize about having special abilities, being able to do things nobody else can - well that's Captain Atom. Even in a world of superheroes, he stands above them all. Or maybe, hovers. Yeah, he likes hovering.
At its core, this book is about humanity and our place in this world - and universe for that matter. We are all so unique and special in our own way. It's a miracle that all our molecules and atoms and such managed to come together to create life, and form, and this world. But at the same time, looking out beyond our backyard, we are so very small when you take into account the totality of the universe as a whole. So, while we are so very special, we are also so very insignificant. It's an interesting dynamic. As Captain Atom copes with the powers he wields, this dichotomy will play heavily on his mind.
Nrama: What's Captain Atom's role in the DCU as you pick up his story in #1?
Krul: He's isolated. With all the powers he possesses, people aren't entirely sure they want him around. And that goes for people in the superhero community as well. Superman may be an alien, but people have warmed to the idea of him being around - they trust him. Captain Atom is another story. He may be human, but he sure doesn't look like one of us. Add to that the "nuclear" nature of his powers, and you can imagine why there is a healthy amount of apprehension when it comes to him. It's like he's a stranger in a strange land without being a stranger in a strange land.
Nrama: Are you building out his world? Supporting cast? Rogues? Anything you can tell us about them?
Krul: Yes. I can't get into specifics, but there will definitely be a supporting cast involved in Captain Atom's story. Remember, he's not a scientist, so having some people around to help him through these strange times would definitely be a benefit to him. Especially people who knew something about such matters.
Nrama: How are you keeping new readers in mind in particular?
Krul: You always try to keep new readers in mind for every issue because any comic is somebody's first. And with this DC initiative that concept is key. All across the line, the goal is to make these fresh clean starts — enticing to new readers, while also appealing to longtime readers because, at their core, the characters are still the ones they know and love.
In terms of Captain Atom, part of the story involves exploring his powers and his understanding of them. Everything that comes out - everything that clues people into who Captain Atom is what he's about - happens very organically. At least, that's my goal.
Nrama: What's the overall tone of the comic? Dark? Superhero fun? Action? Adventure?
Krul: I'd say it's on the intense side — and brings a very sci-fi feel to the character. Again, we wanted to explore the vast powers Captain Atom possesses and really make it a journey of discovery - both for the reader and the character as well. It's not a primer on quantum mechanics and physics, but the scope of Captain Atom's abilities touch upon such areas, so that science fiction vibe comes through loud and clear. But at the same time, it's a visceral story — pushing Captain Atom to his very limits — even in the first issue.
Nrama: What's Freddie bringing to the comic? and how does his style inform the overall tone?
Krul: I've worked with some amazing and talented artists before, and Freddie instantly catapulted toward the top of that list. It's been the most collaborative process I've had in comics in years. Every time we talk on the phone, a "quick question" turns into an hour-long discussion about the book and the character — brainstorming about things we can do. And don’t even get me started on the art. Freddie really brought a lot of energy to JSA All-Stars, but with Captain Atom he's taking another big step forward. What he's doing for this book is not only stunning, but also fits perfectly with the kind of stories we are trying to tell. It's cool and dynamic and edgy, and even a bit creepy at times. I seriously cannot say enough about what Freddie is adding to this book. The first issue hasn't even come out yet, but I can already feel how special this project is for both of us.
Nrama: What are you hoping to do with Captain Atom during this run? Any specific goals of what you want to explore?
Krul: Again, it goes back to that questioning of humanity and its role in the world and the universe. I know that may sound vague, but it's true. Captain Atom is a changed man, and one could argue whether or not the term "man" even applies to him anymore.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about Captain Atom?
Krul: You know how they say good things come in small packages? Well, sometimes the opposite is true.Got a comment? There's lots of Newsarama conversation on FACEBOOK and TWITTER. More on DCnU:
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