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Thursday, August 29, 2013 

DC turns Superman into a killer in preludes to Forever Evil

Big Shiny Robot did an interview with Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire about the Forever Evil crossover, and bring up how Johns had the Man of Steel kill Dr. Light in the preludes to their latest time and money waster:
BY: The first part of this came out right before Man of Steel, and there was a lot of controversy about Zach Snyder’s Superman killing someone, and there was sort of this small but loud contingent of people saying the only reason you had Superman killing someone at the beginning of this was in a response to that to show people that yes, it can happen. But I don’t think that’s the case. How did it all happen?

Jeff: When Geoff and I were plotting this it was months before, like January or February, and I had never seen Man of Steel and knew nothing about the plot. I think it was coincidence.

BY: I don’t think it had anything to do with it, but how did you come up with Superman is going to kill somebody in this context?

Geoff: In this context, we wanted the three Justice Leagues to really be taken down, the very first thing you’re going to do, the most powerful thing in my mind that the DC Universe has as a whole is inspiration in Superman. And the inspiration in Superman, the villains behind this really wanted the first casualty has to be facing Superman. And facing Superman means, they planned and took this opportunity to take an already untrusting group of superheroes, and they targeted Superman himself, so when he seemingly kills a fellow hero, this isn’t killing somebody, the heat vision goes off and kills Dr. Light, who’s a member of the JLA, and that, for us, if you’re going to do a story about taking down the Justice Leagues and trust is going to break even further, they’re all going to be focused on one thing “can they rely on Superman,” I think that’s a huge, you take that chip away, and a lot of characters in the Justice League start to collapse and a lot of them stand up for him and say he would never do that, but there’s still that voice in the back of their mind saying “what happened?” And that became a big focal point for us.
Even if Superman was under mind control, this is embarrassing at worst, and it sounds like Johns and Lemire's story is an insult to the very concept of Superman's inspirational image. I recall one reviewer telling a few years ago how a conversation between the heroes in Flash: Rebirth was written to sound like an argument on a message board, and it sounds here like Johns (and Lemire) are trying to pull a dopey stunt like that again. But all that suggests is they're trying to mock the audience for caring about the characters.
BY: I read the first 5, and it doesn’t feel until the end moment of this penultimate issue that this is launching something bigger; it feels so self contained and epic in its own right, that it never once feels like a prelude to something bigger. How did you work on managing that?

Geoff: There is a kind of close ended nature to this story and the mystery of Superman and Dr Light, so there is a nice close ended nature to this mystery, but there’s kind of this epic under current coming, like a tremor that’s going to erupt into an earthquake. By design, it’s almost hidden, like we wanted it to kind of hidden from the Justice League and the readers, and it will ultimately explode at the end of Justice League 23. Just because they solve the mystery doesn’t mean they solved the problem.

Jeff: We were also just trying to make it a Justice League event instead of a DC event, so I think that’s why it feels sort of contained to those books at least for the first 2/3 of it.

Geoff: The central focus is a conflict between the Justice League and the JLA and the Justice League Dark coming in to discover exactly what happened, and it’s very specifically a Justice League story and built on the fundamental distrust between the teams and the differences between the teams. Putting these 3 teams together, you get odd reactions and team ups which are a lot of fun to watch. There are a lot of strange members both in the JLA and Justice League Dark and even Justice League to an extent.
Who cares? It's obviously just another forced and contrived tale of division and distrust between heroes. One of the promo ads I found for this says what Johns said in an earlier interview, that "evil is relative". As part of an advertising campaign, it sounds even more offensive.

They can say they're trying to just make this an "event" for the League, but it's long ceased to be one. And they already sowed seeds of distrust and division in the League after Identity Crisis.

They also intend to change the series title to Justice League of Canada:
CBR News: You and Geoff Johns have been working together on "Trinity War" for most of 2013. Was taking over "Justice League of America," moving the team north and renaming the series "Justice League of Canada" always the plan or did that come about organically?

Jeff Lemire: I knew my "Justice League Dark" run was coming to an end with "Trinity War." I just felt like it was a good place for me to stop. I'm happy with the run that I've done and I knew that the events of "Trinity War" and "Forever Evil" were going to have some pretty dramatic repercussions across the DC Universe but especially with the Justice League franchise. Without spoiling what's coming, this is only one of the changes that will happen in the "Justice League" books after "Forever Evil."

It all came out of those stories and working with Geoff and working with a lot of those characters. At the same time, it's obviously something that's pretty personal to me. It's me taking the reins on a "Justice League" book and making it my own and building something here that I can be proud of.
Lemire can say what he likes, but "organic" has not been a part of their storytelling approach for years. "Repercussions" has been another cliche for a long time too. And he sure sounds like quite a self-indulgent writer since what he and they have offered isn't what others can be proud of.

And, guess who thought to make this move over the border?
Like me, you're Canadian. Did you threaten Geoff and DC Comics by saying that you would only take the book if you could move the team to Canada?

[Laughs] No, not at all. I took it as "Justice League of America." And I was really excited to have that. The actual idea to move the team to Canada wasn't mine. It was [DC Co-Publisher] Dan DiDio's. When we started talking about the book and the direction we were taking it, he actually threw that idea out there. At first, I thought he was just joking but then I realized that he was serious and I embraced it. And really went crazy with it. This "Justice League of Canada" storyline is going to be a lot of fun and I'm really going to try to make something really special for Canadian fans. And it actually leads to something even bigger for the team.
And something smaller for anybody who wastes their money on this pointless joke. This is further confirmation DiDio still has tremendous influence and not Bob Harras, even though he's long proven himself incompetent. I remember when, after his appointment, Harras gave a few interviews, but then dropped off the radar and had very little to say since. If he's not really running the show, what's the point in even hiring him to start with? He wasn't a very good editor during his time at Marvel either.

Update: the Washington Post spoke with these two pedestrian writers, and said:
David Betancourt: One of the first things to kick off the Trinity War was Superman "killing" Doctor Light. Was it important to establish right away that someone else was behind this, given Superman's moral code?

Geoff Johns: I think it was important for us to start the mystery right away. The how and why. By the end of the first chapter, we wanted all those questions being asked.
His retcon of Green Lantern also allegedly established that someone else was behind Hal Jordan's shift to mass slaughter of other heroes in the GLC, but it makes little difference, since Hal was still technically responsible, even if he was possessed, and the whole plot where he wipes out scores of other GLs is still one of the most vulgar ideas ever to litter superhero comics. And "mysteries" have already been cliched into the ground, to the point where even I don't find them particularly appealing. Not when people like Johns are writing them anyway.

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Total nightmare. I've switched my whole pull list to Image and Top Cow. I look at scans daily and the previews for DC and am not buying DC books until things get better.

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