Tom DeFalco is hoping lightning strikes twice.
With August's Superman Beyond #0, Tom DeFalco will spotlight a character introduced in the Batman Beyond universe, giving him the same type of chance he once gave Spider-Girl.
Fans of DeFalco's run on Spider-Girl know the story of how the alternate universe character was originally supposed to only have a one-story appearance, but readers enjoyed her so much that she stuck around for a more than 100-issue run.
DeFalco and his Spider-Girl collaborator, artist Ron Frenz, are hoping that magic might happen again with Superman Beyond. But the timing might be a little off, considering readers don't even know for sure if Batman Beyond is returning after DC's big September relaunch, although writer Adam Beechen has indicated the book will soon be back.
Newsarama talked with DeFalco to find out more about Superman Beyond and what kind of magic he and Frenz are putting in the bottle that might give this character the same kind of opportunity the creators gave to Spider-Girl.
Newsarama: Tom, what can you tell us about the Superman Beyond #0 one-shot? This is the same character we've seen in other recent comics, right?
Tom DeFalco: Yes, this character has appeared a couple times before, on one of the animated episodes, and he was in a Superman/Batman Annual. When we last saw, he was taken off into space to be, essentially, a space tourist. He just wanted to go hang out in space.
Nrama: When DC came to you, that's basically all you had?
DeFalco: Yep. I had the background, and they said to me, can you do a story where he comes back to earth?
So we're bringing him back to earth!
Of course, that's the easy part. Superman grew up in Kansas, and he's a resident of Earth. It makes perfect sense for him to come home.
But sometimes when you go home, after having been away for a while, things have changed.
Nrama: What's going on with this character as he returns home?
DeFalco: He's in that place of life that I think anyone can identify with, because he's trying to figure out his new role now that things have changed. I think everyone's searching, and for Superman, the search is because he's lost his wife, his one true love,. He has lost his wife, his one true love. And he's getting up there in the years, in the twilight of his career. And he wants to figure out what comes next.
He has spent most of his years at the "office," so to speak, fighting supervillains. But now the world has kind of passed him by. He has to figure out, where does he fit in? What kind of a life is he going to have now in the "Beyond" world?
Nrama: Have most the people in his life died? Or will we see some familiar faces?
DeFalco: A lot of people have, but we'll see some old friends in the course of this story. A lot of people that he's known have passed away. The Beyond universe is set about 40 years in the future, so some of his old friends are still around.
We'll see some people from the Superman universe, some people from the Batman Beyond universe, and we'll see a guest appearance of the Batman Beyond version of the Justice League, since he was leading those guys for awhile.
Nrama: Besides his own personal journey, what else will we see in the issue?
DeFalco: Are you asking me if there's any action?
Nrama: Yeah, pretty much.
DeFalco: Have you ever seen a story by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz? Of course there's action! There's action up the wazoo! We even start off with a big action sequence.
Aside from Superman's personal journey, we've created a new supervillain for him to fight, and it's somebody who's actually a little more powerful than he is. And the villain that we've created has his own story arc as he deals with his own personal journey.
Nrama: Besides the villain, will there be some other new characters?
DeFalco: Yeah, because what fun is it to do comics if you aren't creating things? We have to challenge the readers and challenge ourselves. So you'll see some new faces along the way.
Nrama: What can people expect from the art on the issue?
DeFalco: Ron is probably one of the most dynamic storytellers still in the business, and nobody lays down ink like Sal Buscema. If you like sedate, quiet comics with a lot of talking and nothing really happening, this is not the comic for you.
If you want to get your adrenaline up and are looking for a little action and angst, Ron Frenz is the artist you live for.
Nrama: Have you been reading the current Batman Beyond comic?
DeFalco: I've gotten a bunch of Batman Beyond comic books as reference, and I've gotten all the stories about the Beyond version of the JLA. And I've even been reading all the current Superman and Batman stuff, so I'm up to date on everything, because we're all in one universe now!
Nrama: What are your thoughts about setting a series of stories in the future of Batman and Superman?
DeFalco: The Batman Beyond universe is a very specific universe, and I know it has ties to current continuity. But from what I understand, it's just a possible future. I think it's a great honor and a great privilege to write a possible future for Superman, and so far it's been a lot of fun. Superman is one of the greatest characters in our industry, and it's nice to deal with him again.
Nrama: Any chance we'll see more of Superman Beyond?
DeFalco: So far, it's just a one-shot. But I just want to remind everybody of What If #105, which was the first appearance of Spider-Girl. We thought that was also going to be a one-shot. So maybe history will repeat itself. I don't know if Ron and I are ready to do 13 years on this book, but who knows what the future will bring?