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Interview: Geoff Johns Talks JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA

The writer talks about the new series and team as well as why such an odd roster was chosen.

Last August it was announced that Geoff Johns and David Finch were going to launch a new JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA series. In the New 52, the Justice League has consisted of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Cyborg. Aside from an attempt to have Martian Manhunter join the team, there hasn't been other members added to the roster. Looking at the team in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, we've been wondering why certain members were included.

With the series set to debut next month, we asked Geoff Johns a few questions about the series and the characters involved.

Comic Vine: Is the Justice League of America strictly under Steve Trevor's leadership or is he answering to Amanda Waller or anyone in the government?

Geoff Johns: He's answering to Amanda Waller. Or so Amanda thinks. Steve plays a central role for the team. One of the things we talked about with another Justice League title, I wanted to make sure it wasn't 'just another Justice League title.' It has to be driven by necessity, story and character. What's going on with Steve and the team that's assembled and how it interacts with the Justice League and the rest of the DC Universe is all very story driven. This becomes apparent in issue #1. A lot of the why's and questions surrounding what the team's function is, what they're going to do and how they're different from the Justice League are answered in issue 1.

== TEASER ==
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #1

CV: Is Steve still angry after Wonder Woman ended things and is now with Superman?

GJ: He is not right now. He doesn't know they're together. He's trying to find his place in the world. He's a little bit lost and Waller is trying to help him. Steve just doesn't know if Waller is on the up and up. They have a history going back. They worked together in Team 7. Waller went off and formed the Suicide Squad and didn't have to worry about if people died. People were just pawns to her. Steve knows that's how she thinks of people. Now she's doing the same thing with the Justice League of America. Now she's asking Steve to lead a team he has a lot of questions about.

CV: Speaking of the Suicide Squad, there's almost a Suicide Squad feel to the team with some unlikely members, are we going to see any members coerced into joining?

GJ: All the members have become members of the team because of something the JLA can offer them. With Stargirl, she believes 'they really want me because I'm an up and coming hero with a lot of potential.' To her it's all about being part of the next generation and here's this great team so she says, "I'm in!" Things will be extremely different and whether or not she wants to stay on the team is a whole other question.

Every character is on the team for a different reason. For somebody like Catwoman, of course the first thing you'd say is "Why the hell would Catwoman join the JLA?" Especially when fighting next to somebody like Green Arrow and Green Lantern. It doesn't make any sense. What can she do, how does Steve Trevor convince her to do it and why is she on the team in the first place will be clear in issue 1.

What I really wanted to do was create a team line up that makes you ask what in the world is going on? Why would Catwoman be on this team? How do Green Lantern and Green Arrow interact? Why is Katana there? This will all be explored in issue #1. Your questions will start to get answered but there will be a lot more questions coming in.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #8

CV: We've seen tiny glimpses of this team forming with Steve and Green Arrow, will the first issue continue to show the building of the team or will it already be established?

GJ: The team will be gathered within issue 1. It's imperative you see how and why.

CV: And then we'll see why each member was chosen?

GJ: Yeah, you'll find out why each member says, "Okay, I'm part of this team." There's actually a member that's rejected, that's not on the cover.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #2

CV: Are you going to have to update Stargirl's origin for the New 52? Will she still have a connection to Jack Knight?

GJ: She'll have a connection to a 'Starman.' You'll see how we update her origin but it's as close to her original origin as possible. Stargirl is a character that always has a smile on her face. She'll be like, "I can't believe they asked me to be on the Justice League of America. This is great." She's this huge hero that on the rise and gaining a lot of popularity.

She's a hero that people look up to and say, "This is an example of the potential our heroes can bring to us. They don't all have to frown, hide in the shadows or only come out at night. This one, she helps us, she talks to us, she interacts with the community." Stargirl will think, "They want me here because of that. I have all this potential." The book is all about that, unlocking the potential in every character.

You know my work, Tony. I like taking characters like Sinestro or Aquaman, characters that people wouldn't look twice at and try to unlock something in them people haven't seen before and make fans of them. I think the fact that there are big fans of Aquaman, Sinestro or Green Lantern or any of the characters on Justice Society when I worked on that, that's really my goal on this book. Not only on the inside to have that be the mission for Steve Trevor, in trying to get this team into shape but also for me creatively and David Finch creatively, to try to take these characters and elevate them to a place they're not at yet

CV: Will anyone be taking Stargirl under their wing since she's young and on a team with some members with questionable pasts?

GJ: She's a character that really stands on her own but yes, you will see someone gravitate towards Stargirl to try to help her out.

CV: Does Steve want the team to have a public presence or will they protect America from behind the scenes?

GJ: Steve doesn't but Amanda Waller does. They will have a very very public presence. Stargirl is specifically chosen for that reason.

CV: How soon until the Justice League and Justice League of America clash?

GJ: Sometime within the first year.

CV: Does the government hold the copy right on the name? Could they make money off t-shirts and merchandise?

GJ: Yeah. That's something they do almost immediately actually.

CV: What makes Vibe so cool in your eyes?

GJ: People talk about Vibe I think because he's the most unlikely member to be on the team and get the spotlight. Justice League of America is all about characters that are under appreciated, underrated or unpredictable. Because you don't know where Vibe's going to go. At the end of Batman, Batman's gonna be Batman. He's going to stop the guy and be Batman. Superman's going to save the day and be Superman.

Those are great characters but with these characters like Vibe, Stargirl, the new Green Lantern, Hawkman, Catwoman and Katana, you have no idea where they're going to go. You have no idea if they're even going to make it. You have no idea what kind of members of the Justice League of America they're going to turn out to be or why they would even be on the team in the first place. Vibe is sort of the personification of the theme of the book. He's a character people say has zero potential. That's really something we wanted to challenge and get into. Hopefully people will have fun with it.

Why Vibe? Why not Vibe? I think any character, whoever your favorite character is, if you have a thing for Vibe or Stephanie Brown or Cyborg, whatever character you like, I think if you pour your passion into that character, you can make them great. Every character deserves a chance and that's what JLA is all about.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA by Geoff Johns and David Finch is on sale in February.

81 Comments
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Posted by Portimion

@wessaari: Last paragraph, "Vibe, or Stephanie Brown, or Cyborg"

Posted by wessaari

@TheMess1428: dont say that.......I WANT IT TO BE TRUE :/

Posted by wessaari

@Portimion: .....I dont know how i missed it. HOPEFULLY THIS MEANS WE CAN SEE STEPH AGAIN :D

Posted by KINCART

@mpierce2690 said:

Definitely thought it was interesting to see him mention Stephanie Brown at the end there.

Me too!

Posted by colonyofcells

Justice League of America seems like a combination of Freedom Fighters, Team 7, Suicide Squad, Justice League Detroit and the recently erased Justice Society of America. I hope it will last longer than the old Justice League Detroit. It does look like it has members who are not good enough for the real Justice League. America does need its own teams of super people like Suicide Squad, Freedom Fighters and Justice League of America to enforce the interests of America over the planet and I would expect other countries to also rely on super powered forces for a global super powers arms race.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Read the Interview in IGN... I'm super excited for this book. Do your best Geoff!

Posted by Scott_Mateo

I'm guessing the rejected member is the Atom since he's seen with the JL fighting the JLA in that Trinity War double-spread shot.

Posted by davidgrantlloyd

Cool. I'll check this out.

Posted by TheAmazingImmortalMan

@Miss_Garrick said:

@TheAmazingImmortalMan: Oh, you poor thing. You should form your own team, or turn evil and get revenge. It's always one or the other in this situation. X^D

I'm going to do both: start a team of evil people looking for revenge!

Online
Edited by SmashBrawler

Hopefully this is closer to JSA than Justice League in terms of quality.

Posted by Superdork

@MaxSchreck said:

I wonder which Hero was rejected and could not join the team °_°

Spoiler?

Posted by entropy_aegis

Oh look Johns writing ANOTHER book,not interested.

Posted by tupiaz

I like to see what happens with Catwoman and Green Arrow and the conflicts it can make. Don't think that has been touch upon before? But I feel the roster is to big 9 on the team as far as I can understand. IMO 5-6 is the ideal number.

Posted by Omega-Man

I'll pick this up more for J'onn. I'm not the biggest MM fan but he is a cool character. I'm still iffy on the roster on this team. I can already see in the first arc a few members leaving the JLA.

Stargirl will leave because the JLA isn't as good as she thought it was. Catwoman because she doesn't think herself as a hero figure and likes to work alone. And even Katanna will properly leave prefering the BOP over the JLA.

I would have placed Captain Atom, The Ray (The new 52 guy his mini series was awesome BTW) and Batwoman on this roster rather than Catwoman and Katanna and Vibe

Edited by Raw_Material

This new title's going to be sick! Can't wait to see what Geoff has in store for 'Justice League of America' and the members of the newly grouped team. I'm also anxious to seeing how characters such as Catwoman, Stargirl, Simon Baz and Vibe will play a role on the team, as well. Great interview

Posted by chipsnopotatoes

Can't wait to see Catwoman as a JLAer. Heard Morrison was going to do that years ago but chickened out.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Sounds like Johns is already hinting at the Trinity War with this interview. I'm real excited to get this title now, but I'm just having the normal American flag cover. All I need really.

Posted by lifeboy

I hope I can get #1 by mail. I havent started my subscription yet.

Posted by TheMess1428

@wessaari: So do I. lol I was just joking.

Posted by wessaari

@TheMess1428: haha i know me too man :p

Posted by Zereta

@chipsnopotatoes said:

Can't wait to see Catwoman as a JLAer. Heard Morrison was going to do that years ago but chickened out.

This almost seems impossible. Morrison don't get scared about nothing.

Posted by hqn

i think it's a bummer though that they took Manhunter out of Stormwatch. The mix of Wildstorm characters with classic DC was intriguing. I would have liked them to do the same with WildC.A.T.S maybe having O.M.A.C filling the tank role instead of Maul

Posted by sethysquare

@Outside_85: Uhm, I'm guessing it could be one of the members that Justice League recruited first so they'll pass on JLA

Posted by Miss_Garrick

@TheAmazingImmortalMan: Oops. Me and my big mouth!

Posted by Outside_85

@sethysquare: I think he would have used declined instead of rejected if that was the case.

Posted by TheAmazingImmortalMan

@Miss_Garrick said:

@TheAmazingImmortalMan: Oops. Me and my big mouth!

It's ok you'll be safe when my world domination plans go underway!

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Posted by irishking44

Really makes me wish they'd bring back Justice League International with a good writer; Jurgens was so bland and I didn't like how they were trying to force feed Batman into the book. I know he was a member of the JLI during its early 90s run, but of all the characters, he's the least likely to get involved with a PR focused team like the JLI and it kept many of the characters from standing on their own with Batman hovering over them. A lot of good characters are in limbo in the N52 because of its cancellation like Booster Gold, Vixen, Fire, and Ice. Also it ended on a cliffhanger too. JLA looks great but I worry that they won't ever clearly define the relationships and statuses of the different super hero teams and so much will be left ambiguous like much of the DCnU.

Long story made short: I think DC so far in the N52 has gotten a little ahead of itself in developing a new universe and has been way too sporadic and trigger happy when it comes to canceling books and being slaved to the "52 books" thing. I can't believe that Captain Atom and JLI where canceled in the 2nd wave while crap books like Grifter, and the Legion books (which NO ONE gives 2 poops about) have lasted this long.

End Rant

Posted by Miss_Garrick

@TheAmazingImmortalMan: phew!

Posted by sethysquare

@Outside_85: i dun get it. are u saying that there was a member that wanted to get into the not yet formed JLA and was rejected?

Posted by Outside_85

@sethysquare: Well I am not, Geoff Johns is:

CV: And then we'll see why each member was chosen?

GJ: Yeah, you'll find out why each member says, "Okay, I'm part of this team." There's actually a member that's rejected, that's not on the cover.

Posted by sethysquare

@Outside_85: it sounds like the other way and that its a typo bcos he seems to be saying while all these members accept, theres one that rejected the offer.

its anyone guess.