Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire spoke to me last week week about the goings-on in the Trinity War and what we can expect looking forward on the books.
As part of this interview, The Huffington Post will also be unveiling an exclusive look at some pages from the final issue of the Trinity War.
So, without further ado, here's my conversation with these two titans of comics:
Bryan Young: What was the process between you guys in collaborating on this book?
Jeff Lemire: It was kind of natural. I would write Dark, and Geoff would write Justice League and since he plotted the story, we'd split JLA, so it was a pretty easy division of labor there.
Geoff Johns: The funny thing is when Jeff and I got together to do Trinity War, I think we both, when we started putting things up on the board and got to talking about Justice League, our instincts on the storytelling overlap a lot, and it was very seamless how we plotted it. We'd go over a bunch of different ideas and have it come together, but it felt like we had worked together before. When Jeff would throw out an idea, I knew exactly why he threw out that idea and what he was going for, and vice versa. It plotted together very easily. Once we figured out the main structure of it and the through line and what we wanted to accomplish, it flowed very smoothly. And writing JLA with Jeff was a breeze. It was writing scenes, putting them together and it was a natural bridge between Justice League and Justice League Dark. And because this story isn't broken up in chapters where it's solely focused on Justice League Dark, or Justice League or JLA, the characters all got mixed up, so we were writing all sorts of sub teams made up of the different leagues and it became one big story, and I like that because having it out almost every week, the momentum is really fun to watch; it's fun to have a story this big just go every single week.
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.
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.
BY: Where are you going next?
Geoff: I can tell you the focus is Justice League: Forever Evil and the Crime Syndicate arriving on earth and the whole series is about good and evil and the shades of grey that society is. I don't think there's necessarily pure good and evil people in the DC universe or reality, but there are all sorts of shades of grey that people exist on a spectrum of morality. So we see the Crime Syndicate come in and it's really that Lex Luthor becomes a focal point in Forever Evil as one guy that thinks it's his job to stop them. There are some really great reveals in Justice League 23 that we've been building to since the very first arc of Justice League and JLA and there's some stuff in Justice League Dark that really pays off. 23 really and into 24, which highlights Ultraman and what he's here for, what he's all about and where he's from, so there's a lot of fun stuff coming up.
At that point, the interview descended into much praise for Jeff Lemire's book Trillium. Geoff and I both agreed that everyone needs to race out to buy that book as well.
The final chapter of Trinity War comes out on Wednesday.