We recently discussed some of the announcements made by DC comics and our feelings on cancelations and changes that were made to creative teams on many of the publisher's titles. What were we disappointed by? What are we now looking forward to? Among the many changes that were revealed were the cancelation of two of the titles: DEATHSTROKE and TEAM 7, both of which are written by writer Justin Jordan. With those canceled titles in mind, and the announcement that Jordan would be taking over writing duties on SUPERBOY, we caught up with the creator to ask him questions about the recent changes as well as what he has in store for Conner in the future.
Comic Vine: You have sort of had a whirlwind career so far in a relatively short period of time. After publishing THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE over at Image Comics, you have already worked on two titles for DC: DEATHSTROKE and TEAM 7. What were some of the challenges you faced writing issues for both these series? What came easy to you?
Justin Jordan: DEATHSTROKE was considerably easier to write. I am pretty good, I think, at writing action and snappy dialogue, which is a what you need to do a good fun Deathstroke book.
TEAM 7 was substanially more of a challenge. Some of this I guess I’d describe as logistical – the book was set five years in the past with characters who were currently appearing in the present DCU, so getting things where they needed to be was tricky.
But more so than that, the problem was I had never written a team book before, and TEAM 7 had eight or nine main characters, so finding a way to balance them all in any given issues and make them more than nameless ciphers was harder than I expected. I was getting a handle on it, I think, when the book got cancelled.== TEASER ==
CV: How did you take the cancelations? Business as usual or did you feel a bit attached to any of these characters?
JJ: Well, the writing was pretty clearly on the wall. I hoped DEATHSTROKE would go on for a while when I started writing it, but the sales were what they were, so I suspected cancellation would probably be sooner rather than later.
Likewise, TEAM 7. That one was probably a hard sell to begin with, but I really wanted to tell the bigger story we had in mind. We had a twenty five issue meta arc that would have taken us to where TEAM 7 fell apart, and we would have covered a lot of ground in terms of both the characters and exploring the nature of power (and you, know, powers) in the new DCU.
So while I wasn’t surprised the books were cancelled, I really wish I got to write more of each. Deathstroke was just fun to write, and I think I could have done something cool with him. Likewise, Team 7 would have went some interesting places, and I wish I’d got to take them there.
CV: You are a relatively new DC writer. Who is your dream DC character to write?
JJ: Batman. Which I strongly suspect is the same answer you’d get from a good ninety percent of writers in comics. Because, you know, Batman is awesome. Right now, though Scott Snyder and company are doing such a good job that if I got to write him, I’d probably look like a hack in comparison. But someday.
CV: You will be taking over for writer Tom DeFalco on SUPERBOY following this recent 'H'el On Earth' story arc. What are some of the repercussions from this arc, if any?
JJ: The H’el On Earth arc has Superboy rethinking his role in the world and what he should be doing. He has, rightly or not, viewed himself as a living weapon, and coming out of the H’el arc he has realized he can be better than that, and should be better than that.
CV: Will you be building off of what we have seen in the current SUPERBOY arc, or will you be starting from scratch?
JJ: We’re taking a new direction, but it’s rooted in the book. He said, hedging his answer. What I mean is, while we’re doing something a little different, it’s something that flows from what has happened to the character and what he wants out of life.
I’d like to have my cake and eat it too: if you’ve been reading the book, this should all seem like a natural progression. If you haven’t been reading the book, then you should be able to pick it up starting with twenty and not feel like you’re in the dark about what the hell is going on.
CV: What are some of the more interesting qualities about SUPERBOY? What do you hope to bring to the character?
JJ: One thing is his perspective. He’s from a different culture than we are, and doesn’t have the same expectations and preconceptions. Superman is very much the realization of a kind of American ideal, but Superboy wasn’t raised that way. So he looks at the situations he’s in from a different viewpoint.
What I want to explore is what that’s like. Superboy is a super teenager. I don’t mean that literally, although that is obviously true as well. What I mean is that when you’re a teenager everything feels new and big and important, mostly because it IS big and new. For Superboy, who has only a few months of his own memories, this is all taken to a new level.
So, at the risk of running headlong into pretension village, what I want to do is use that to look at superheroes from a new POV, by showing why Superboy does or doesn’t do the things we expect from our heroes.
CV: Any plans to introduce new villains into the mix? What are some of the challenges he will be forced to face?
JJ: Oh, I do love creating me some villains, so expect to see bunches of those. I’ve got a very cool one whose power is tactile telepathy as compared to Superboy’s tactile telekinesis. But I want to give him a nice solid rogues gallery all his own.
But not all of his challenges will be villains. One of the things that interests me about superpowers is that they aren’t necessarily enough to actually fix problems.
I mean, for instance, in the real world, you can go and depose a dictator, but that almost never changes the country he was ruling into the land of happiness and flowers overnight. It doesn’t work that way.
So Superboy is going to be challenged to figure out the best way to use his powers and resources to make the world a better place. It won’t be easy.
CV: Can you say anything about your goals for the character moving forward? Anything in particular you want to accomplish?
JJ: My main goal is to tell fun and interesting stories that leaving the reader going “Well, that was awesome.” Which is always the goal for me. I want to make sure that Superboy is very much his own character, and not just Superman with a somewhat different powerset. Superman is awesome, but we already got him.