One of the most unexpected series to be announced at DC Comics is VIBE, by Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns. The new series is set to take a cliche 80's character that first appeared in the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ANNUAL #2, and give him a modern twist. So, what is Vibe really about? Is he still going to be a break dancing, former gangster that joins the Justice League? Or is he being given a new identity? How much will change and how much will stay the same? We caught up with the series writer Andrew Kreisberg to find out all about VIBE, check it out below.
Comic Vine: Vibe is an interesting choice to get his own solo-series, how did you get attached to this series and also, why Vibe?
Andrew Kreisberg: Why Vibe, that's funny that's how every interview begins! Why, why are you doing this? What are you thinking? I guess it's a bunch of different things. One, I think it's hard to create a brand new superhero and it's exciting for Geoff and I to be taking this character who isn't really remembered at all and if he is remembered, he's not remembered very well…The idea of re-conceptualizing him where you can still see the original DNA of the character, but then have him feel like a completely new character and really get people rooting for him. Geoff has always said "no risk no reward," and we're taking a big risk but we hope there is a reward.== TEASER ==
I think what's most exciting for us is that there are a lot of God-like characters in the DCU like Superman, Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter. Even people without super powers like Batman…all these characters are sort of "unknowable." Their powers and their drive prevents them from truly interacting as people. What we sort of touched on for Vibe was, what if we make Vibe just a kid? Just a real teenage kid with all his insecurities and we did a real "coming of age" story? In a lot of ways, Vibe is us. He's a fan and he loves these superheroes and he's worshipped them all his life and now all of a sudden he has powers and he's sitting at a table with Hawkman on one side and Green Arrow on the other. He's asking a lot of the questions we think we would be asking, like, why am I here? What do you want with me? Am I going to get killed? I think that's what made it the most fun for us because there isn't anyone like that in the DCU, especially given all the giant plans that are coming up with Justice League of America…To have a sort of "gateway" character like that for people to relate to we think is really exciting. It's getting so close to the book's release now, it's so nice to see that our original conception is something we've stuck to and it's been really fun to write.
CV: In a recent interview Geoff Johns discussed his Justice League of America book and Vibe's involvement in that and the way that he described Vibe and the rest of the team was that he and these characters are sort of the "personification of underrated, under appreciated, or unpredictable" characters. So what is it like for you like personally to tackle this kind of a character? What are the advantages and disadvantages.
AK: The advantage is that not many people remember him well, and if they do remember him they don't think very kindly on him. So this gave us a lot of leeway to adapt and update the character…which was both the most challenging aspect of it like what to keep and what not to keep, but it's also very freeing. Like when you sit down to write Batman and Superman, you're competing with 75 years of history. Everyone has their version of Superman they like the best, and best version of Batman, and so-forth. When you have Vibe who isn't as well known you can start from scratch in a lot of ways and cherry pick the bits that you like without fearing that you're going to be upsetting a lot of people.
CV: And the disadvantages?
AK: I would say…I don't know. We didn't really have any disadvantages, it's been a pleasure to write and build from the ground up. I think the biggest disadvantage will probably be overcoming people's prejudice. I mean people might see the title and think, 'ugh, Vibe.' I don't have any illusions about my last name on the cover be getting people to buy the book, but when people see Pete Woods and Geoff Johns on involved that they will say 'oh, if they took the time to get involved then maybe I should take a look at in,' and hopefully they will be surprised by the book. So like I said, I think the biggest disadvantage will be people's pre-conceived notions that I hope if they take the time to read the book they will see it's a great stand-alone book, which was really important for us, but also that it ties in so well with the Justice League book and the Justice League of America book, you really feel like you're not just getting a side-dish to those books but that this series feels like a book that is on par with those.
CV: When he was first introduced in the 1980's in the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ANNUAL, he sort of embodied a lot of different stereotypes for what was popular at the time, so he was this Latin, former gang member, break dancer among other things. What qualities of this pre-New 52 version of the character will carry over into this new adaptation? Will he still be a break dancer? Is he still going to have the same powers?
AK: He's not going to be a breakdancer (laughs), just as most people today aren't break dancers. His Hispanic heritage is one of the things that was very appealing to us, we kept that part of his story. He's no longer a gang member. I think that a lot of the character, and I don't know the specifics, but it felt very born out of what was popular at the time. Like gangs were coming out onto the front page and break dancing was very popular in the 80's, but it felt like it was just a bunch of 80's talking points in terms of a character. Geoff and I really started from a different place, we wanted to create an interesting character that we wanted to see that would fit in with what is going on now. Like I said before, there's the whole idea of having a character who is a real person who gets the extraordinary powers and is suddenly sitting amongst Gods and he's asking all the questions that maybe real human beings would ask, like am I really worthy of these powers? Am I going to get killed? And I think that makes him a very real and relatable character. As for his powers, he is still going to be able to generate vibrations, but his origin is slightly different.
He got his powers because he was caught in the event horizon of the first Boom Tube that opened with Darkseid's invasion in Geoff's reboot of Justice League, which is also where his older brother was killed. In addition to being able to use vibrations, he is also able to detect when beings and technology from other dimensions are here, so he's sort of become this human geiger counter for inter-dimensional incursions and I think that leads to one of the biggest changes in the book which is that we've given him a really strong franchise, which was one of Geoff's great ideas. Rather than having him be who he was and fight bad guys every week, we gave him a really strong structure for the book that you understand week in and week out what he's doing and what his mission is. Since Detroit was where Darkseid's invasion began and it's sort of like the Normandy Beach, it's where the membrane of the multi-verse is weakest. So he's sort of grown to become a "border cop" between dimensions in this series.
CV: So what are some of the challenges Vibe will face in this series? Can you talk about villains we'll be seeing?
AK: I don't want to get into the specifics of what villains we will be seeing because that's sort of exciting, and some of them are brand-new, but I think the challenges are that he's dragged into all this. He's not kicking and screaming, and you'll see he has an innate sense of goodness…he was trying to help people on his own when he is recruited to this position by Dale Gunn who becomes his mentor figure. It's a very similar relationship to the Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith relationship we see in Men In Black, Dale Gunn being the older, seen it all Agent who has a soft spot for his younger, brasher partner, and that's been fun to explore.
I think what's most exciting is that some of the biggest dangers to Vibe are not coming from the villains he's fighting but from the people that he is working for. I think that they, as much as Amanda Waller and Dale Gunn need Vibe, that they all sort of underestimate him and his abilities to be his own person. At the end of the day one of the earliest lines that Geoff and I came up with was this idea that this was really a coming of age story, it's really about growing up. Vibe is this teenage kid who sort of has his entire life ahead of him and he's got all these great powers but he doesn't know what to do with him. Everyone is trying to make him into the person that they want him to be; whether it's his brother, Dale Gunn or Amanda Waller, and through the course of the book he really becomes his own person. It's really thrilling for us because he's the kind of character that we haven't really seen too much of in the DC Universe. Like I said there are a lot of fully formed characters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and that's great, but to see somebody who is "real" sort of step into that world, the audience might be able to relate to him as a person a little bit more. That's been really exciting.
CV: Will we see a cross-over between VIBE and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA? If so, when?
AK: Absolutely. The Justice League of America will make an appearance in issue #2 of VIBE, and he is a member of the Justice League of America, so we will be seeing a lot of crossovers…It's one of the cool things about this book is that it's part of the whole, it's not a side-dish. The VIBE title is just as important as the JUSTICE LEAGUE or the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA to really get the full story. At the same time, the book also has its own story and its own franchise and you don't need to read JUSTICE LEAGUE and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA to read VIBE. And that's actually been one of the trickiest things to solve because when you are involved in writing books that are tied to other books it can be difficult to try to figure out where things go, and how things are paced, it's a lot easier with Geoff writing all those other books too.
What do you think of Vibe? Are you looking forward to reading this new solo series from DC Comics?