WARNING: There are massive spoilers ahead for Justice League Annual #1, which is out in comic stores today. Don’t continue with this post until after you read it!
This week, writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion are uniting with artist Daniel Sampere in Justice League Annual #1; with Juan Albarran, Adriano Lucas, and Tom Napolitano rounding out the creative team. While many annuals are standalone tales that don’t play into the ongoing stories, Justice League Annual #1 is bucking that trend. It’s following up on Dark Nights: Metal, the story where the Source Wall was breached. The Justice League had a plan to fix it, but let’s just say that it doesn’t go well. In fact, it’s been a long time since the heroes have failed this badly.
Recently, Superhero Hype had a chance to speak with Snyder and Tynion about Justice League Annual #1. According to Snyder, this issue is setting up some dark times ahead.
“Yeah, the heroes failed really hard,” said Snyder. “But we wanted you to feel that you’re also in a huge emotional keystone, where the heroes realize that everything thought they would be able to accomplish, everything they’ve found that’s led them this far, would allow this to be the ending of the story for them. And that they would repair the Source Wall and bring to a close this conflict that began at the end of Metal. Actually, [things] got exponentially worse. this begins the second act or our narrative, where what they really need to do is to save the multiverse. Things are going to get much more dire and much more catastrophic really soon. It gets a lot worse.”
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“This is a turning point in the story,” added Tynion. “[The Justice League] defeated the Legion of Doom multiple times now. They’ve managed to save the world a few times, but they’ve lost these crucial pieces in each of those victories. Now, we are seeing the full ramifications of that because Luthor’s larger plan is still in play. Now, we are seeing the rise of a terrifying cosmic figure that is going to shake the very foundations of the DC Universe.”
That cosmic figure in question is named Perpetua, the ancient being who was held captive behind the Source Wall…until now. Snyder also shared some insight into Perpetua, and her connection to a few of DC’s other cosmic icons.
“Our uber-mythology for this thing is [that] the Monitor, the Anti-Monitor, and the World Forger (who we haven’t met yet], are three celestial beings with a parent that was unknown,” related Snyder. [Perpetua] winds up being a figure that’s more ancient and powerful than them, as their mother, She is definitely a big bad, but I think her motivations, who she is, and what she has planned will really surprise people. Because we wanted to create someone who wouldn’t just be a monster who comes out of the Source Wall. Instead, [she] has a very rich history and mythology, and a rich psychological profile, and a full emotional motivation for doing what she does. I really love her as a character.”
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Perpetua’s return wasn’t the only surprise of the issue. As seen above, the Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl shared an unexpectedly romantic moment.
“That is absolutely something we’ve been building in the series,” noted Tynion. “Two characters who have been the most impacted by the big shakeup in their core mythology and what their role is in the larger story are Martian Manhunter and Kendra [Hawkgirl]. They both feel adrift and frightened about where this road is leading. The two of them are kind of feeling that and experiencing that together and it’s drawing them closer than they ever expected.”
“We see that come to a head in this issue,” added Tynion. “We’re going to see more ramifications of the kiss that happened in the annual as it plays out over the next year. And how each of them feel about it. J’onn is still mourning the loss of of his wife on Mars, Kendra has the whole complicated history with all of the different iterations of Carter Hall [Hawkman].” Tynion also noted that the impending end of the multiverse will give both J’onn and Kendra a chance to explore those feelings.
Snyder acknowledged that the destruction of the multiverse may lead to a new DC event. However, he declined to offer specific details.
“I would just say that when you build something that goes from 2017 to 2019 and 2020, it’s going to culminate in something pretty epic,” said Snyder. “We’re planning on building to something that will incorporate a lot of different characters, a lot of different storylines, a lot of different books. We can’t say what it is yet, but it is definitely meant to be a crescendo for a story that began in huge events, and then will culminate in something even bigger.”
“This our core driving story,” added Tynion. “This is what we’ve been planning for well over a year now, and it’s just a very exciting thing single issue to get to.”
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“I want to say some kind words about Daniel Simpare, who worked on the annual with us,” said Tynion. “We gave him an issue that if you look at the script, I was very upfront: ‘these are huge cosmic ideas and I don’t know how exactly we’re going to draw them. But let’s have a conversation!’ And Danny really delivered an emotional powerhouse issue that I am incredibly proud to have worked on with him.”
In the immediate future, next week’s Justice League #17 will be an epilogue to the disastrous events of the annual. In this one-off tale, Martian Manhunter and Lex Luthor meet to negotiate and share intel.
“That’s a huge, huge, huge issue,” exclaimed Snyder. “Jim Cheung and I started working on it a long time ago so he could do the entire issue. Martian Manhunter meets Lex Luthor on Mars The two of them alone, so that Martian Manhunter can reveal to Lex that the things that he learned from the Martian Keep. That might affect Lex’s thinking, and his whole plan for the Legion of Doom, the Totality, Perpetua, and who she is and what he plans to do with her. It’s a really seminal stand alone issue. I wanted to write it almost as a Western on Mars with these two characters. I’m very, very proud of it.”
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“it was important for us to start January with these…issues,” continued Snyder. “But this issue [the annual] in particular just says everything coming is only going to get better and bigger… One of the benefits of having Metal land as well as it did, is that ever since, we’ve been putting out threads. So when we build to something this time…we want you, as a reader, to feel that the joy and the fun of comics is how immersive it is. And how it’s one big cumulative story that you’re getting…So many of things we’ve done over the past two years were meant as foundation blocks for the story that we’re getting to now.”
Justice League Annual #1 is out now, while Justice League #17 will be released on Wednesday, February 5.
Are you excited by the latest developments in the DC Universe? Let us know in the comment section below!