Interview: Joshua Williamson on the importance of legacy in DARK CRISIS

The Justice League is gone. final month ’ second Justice League # 75 featured “ The Death of the Justice League, ” which saw the team of the earth ’ mho greatest superheroes fall in struggle against Pariah and his Dark Army. The history, along with this past weekend ’ s Free Comic Book Day one-shot, helps set the phase for Dark Crisis, the next DC Comics consequence storyline, written by Joshua Williamson and illustrated by Daniel Sampere .
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Dark Crisis is the concluding act of the über-storyline that Williamson has been telling in the DC Universe over the past year, beginning with the Infinite Frontier one-shot and continuing through the miniseries of the same title and the Justice League Incarnate miniseries. At the end of this month DC will release a Justice League : road to Dark Crisis one-shot, with Dark Crisis kicking off formally the first workweek of June.

The Beat chatted with Williamson about both the prelude one-shot and the main event itself, what inspired DC ’ s latest crisis, and the function bequest plays in the DCU and in this report in particular .
Joe Grunenwald: Let’s start by talking about the Road to Dark Crisis one-shot. I think people sort of have a preconceived notion about what event tie-ins and preludes and stuff like that are, so I just want to want to sort of hear from you know. What role does this book play in the overall Dark Crisis story?
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Joshua Williamson: Well, I think there were some questions as we were developing dark crisis, and we knew what we were doing with “ Death of the Justice League, ” we knew what we were doing with Dark Crisis, I would have these meetings with editorial and certain questions would come up. And one of the questions came up was Nightwing. We knew Nightwing plays a very, very authoritative separate of Dark Crisis, but then it was like, ‘ Well, why doesn ’ triiodothyronine Jon go to Nightwing first ? Why international relations and security network ’ thymine he the foremost person he goes to ? ’ And I was like, ‘ You ’ re correct. He should do that first. ’ So we decided, let ’ s state that floor, let ’ s spill the beans about him going to Nightwing first. character of it was, “ Death of the Justice League ” is identical a lot this big blockbuster, Michael Bay action movie thing, right field ? That ’ s what I was going for. It ’ s a very extraordinary, military action, big budget summer blockbuster thing. But then, my favorite parts of DC, not only the connections and the relationship between the characters, but I like some of the smaller stories. I like some of the quiet moments. And so I was like, ‘ Alright, let ’ s do some of that. ’ Because “ Death of the Justice League ” is all big explosions. And then issue one [ of Dark Crisis ] has a bunch of stuff going on in it, and we knew we were gon na connect with Flash, and we knew we ’ re gon na connect to Shadow War. So I was like, ‘ Let ’ s slow down a little act. Let ’ s do something where we ’ ra able to actually see characters react to what ’ second going on. ’ And that was kind of the directing with this. Let ’ s slow down for a here and now, and bridge all of these stories, but do it in a way that feels a little more ground, and that precisely lets the characters breathe and actually react to what ’ s happening .
And so that ’ s why we have the floor with Flash where we get to see Wally and Wallace react to the newsworthiness and how they handle it differently. We get to see Nocturna, a villain, and how she reacts to it, how Spoiler reacts to it. Pariah ’ south floor is a little different. I don ’ thyroxine think everybody knows who Pariah is, and so it was like, let ’ s tell a fib about Pariah. And then, you know, having Jackson and Hal, and see how they react to it, and besides kind of fetch Hal into the floor because Hal is besides a major share of Dark Crisis. therefore all these things were about, let ’ s bring some of these pieces together and show the different reactions across the DCU, in precisely, like, different corners. That was sort of the goal of it. And I felt like, again, then much of Dark Crisis can be like [ snaps fingers quickly ] this sometimes, you know, and specially when you get to issue two. issue two is in truth fast. It ’ s like a fast read, and I wanted to find places to fair restfully boring things down for a moment. And that was the goal with Road to Dark Crisis .
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Grunenwald: You mentioned a little bit about your lead story, which is a Jon Kent and Dick Grayson story. The two of them had a recent team up, and they have great interactions and a great dynamic together. What do you like about writing the two of them together?
Williamson: There ’ s a sort of mentorship a little bite. You look at what Tom Taylor has been doing in Nightwing and in Son of Kal-El, and you can see the relationship he ’ mho been building with them. I think the idea of like, Nightwing is the bequest that worked, right ? Nightwing is the one. And so I think whenever you have these conversations about bequest characters, you have to look at Nightwing. And with Jon, I think we ’ ve talked about before that, I believe that the conversations we have in the actual world, the characters are besides having in certain places, correct ? And I think Jon actually looks up to Nightwing in a direction that ’ randomness different. It ’ randomness different than the way that like say, Tim [ Drake ] looks up to him. And so writing them together it ’ sulfur kind of like, ‘ I ’ m the fresh child, but I have a lot of duty on me and I have a set of slant on me. ’ I think that Nightwing besides feels a batch of weight on him, but they react to it differently .
early on in that story Nightwing is telling Jon about the two different deaths, right ? And he ’ randomness like, Bruce reacted to [ Superman ’ s ] death one means. He says Bruce reacted by not acting worried, and by putting on a battlefront that he was not worried. And then Clark reacted when Bruce died, very worry and stressed out. And that is what is happening in this history. Dick is putting on a front that he ’ s not worried, and Jon is truly stressed out. It ’ s the same, and that parallel was what I was trying to go for what that story. The story that Dick tells about both of their parents is what they ’ re both doing. And they ’ re both being their parents, they don ’ t realize it. I think that ’ s the kind of stuff that ’ s in truth fun to write about them. They ’ re indeed much like their dads, but they don ’ t very wholly put that in concert yet .
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And, you know, besides just seeing them hanging out. I like watching superheroes eat sometimes and just hang out. I wanted to see them hang out for a hour. I was talking to Dan Jurgens about it when we were working on it. And I was like, ‘ I just wan na see them eat. Can we barely do that ? ’ Dan does identical big, bombastic action, but he knows the characters very well, and he was like, ‘ Yeah, you decidedly need to bring it down a little bit. You got tantalum flat coat it. ’ Especially because the other things are sol big and epic that I ’ m like, ‘ Let ’ s just let them eat at food carts for a few pages. Make them more human for a while. ’ And but yeah, I enjoy writing them together. I actually sent the scripts for my history to Tom Taylor, because I ’ m like, ‘ These are your boys. How are you feeling about this ? ’ And he was in truth positive and had a pair of comments, but they were all very adept. Yeah, I ’ m actually felicitous with that one .
Grunenwald: You mentioned Dan Jurgens. I feel like his drawing this story really cements Death of the Justice League’s tie to Superman #75’s anniversary. What is that like for you to work with him as a writer and also just as a fan?
Williamson: It is super phantasmagoric. There are times where Dan and I will precisely text you know, and it ’ s indeed weird. I remember waiting in credit line in the rain for Superman # 75. I loved all that Superman thrust. I remember that particular era of Superman, the triangle-numbered Superman, I was obsessed with it. I remember I used to take all those issues and I would like lay them on the ground, and precisely look at them, like, ‘ Oh, that ’ s so cool. ’ And I like the stories, everything. I ’ ve gotten to be in a writers room with Dan a pair of times and had some conversations with him, and we get along truly well. And so every once in a while I would equitable chat with Dan on the telephone, and we ’ ve gotten to do a couple little things together. This is our first time where I wrote something and he drew it. And I mean, there was cipher else that could do it. It had to be Dan. There ’ ll be these moments where Dan ’ ll fair text me and I decidedly get like, ‘ This is therefore wyrd, Dan Jurgens is texting me. ’ [ laughs ] I constantly say though, I don ’ t have time to fanboy out besides much. There ’ s besides much work to do. So I have those moments, those moments lasts for a moment, and then I ’ m like, ‘ Alright, cool, we ’ ll get back to work. Let ’ s just get going. ’ It ’ mho in truth phantasmagoric, but it ’ s besides in truth excite. And I constantly feel truly honored by it, to get to work with person who ’ s done so much legendary DC work. It ’ s very cool .
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Grunenwald: That’s awesome. Beyond the story that you wrote yourself for the one-shot, how closely did you work with the creators on the other stories? Was that a thing where you went to them with an idea, or did you just say, ‘This is where they are? Do something with it?’
Williamson: I basically gave them sort of prompts. So it ’ s like, with Stephanie [ Phillips ], I got on the phone with Stephanie and I was like, ‘ Let ’ s do a villain story. ’ We talked about some stuff, and I suggested some characters. I gave her a list and I ’ m like, ‘ This is who ’ s in Deathstroke ’ mho army, so we should pick from this list. ’ And then we talked through it and then she was like, ‘ I kind of want to do Nocturna. I have this whole thing about Nocturna and Batman and Spoiler, ’ and I was like, ‘ This is perfect. Yes, do that. ’ And the only thing that we ended up actually talking about was who was on the last page. And then with Philip Kennedy Johnson, he and I just got on the telephone, and I was like, We need to showcase who Pariah is and their motivation. I ’ m obsessed with Pariah so I was able to relay a bunch, but then Philip went and did like a short ton of his own research and brought some stuff on the board which is truly cool. Jeremy Adams and I are friends, so we merely chat through a lot of stuff. We had a couple phone calls, but we barely knew what his was gon sodium be, and he ran with it and did a capital caper. And then I ’ thousand friends with Brandon Thomas. He ’ s the Aquamen writer, he co-writes it with Chuck Brown. And sol I was able to talk with him a moment, and then Chuck wrote it and I gave a few notes. Most of these were all a in truth easy serve of pulling it all together, and it was fun. It ’ sulfur fair fun to work on. This is decidedly a lot of function, but it ’ mho fun .
Grunenwald: Nice. Yeah, the Nocturna story in particular I really enjoyed.

Williamson: Oh, commodity. Yeah, it ’ sulfur cool to see a villain kind of like struggling with the idea of like, ‘ Oh, Batman is not here to catch me this time. ’
Grunenwald: Yeah, well, and I did a Jason Todd project a few years ago. So I read every Jason Todd appearance and Nocturna played a huge part in that.
Williamson: She ’ s a forget fictional character. It ’ s therefore concern how important she was to Batman at one point, and then it ’ s just like, it ’ mho all kind of forget. And that ’ s why I thought it was cool that Stephanie brought that thrust back .
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Grunenwald: Talking a little bit more about Dark Crisis in general. Maybe it’s just me, but I read the first issue, and knowing a little bit about what it’s about, it’s sort of feels like a reaction to 5G. Like, ‘Oh, well, you were gonna have the new generation step up? Well, this is what that looks like. Let’s take the original generation completely off the table and have this happen.’ Am I reading too much into that? Or was that something you had in mind?
Williamson: That was not necessarily in my head. I always wanted to tell a big floor about the sidekicks. That ’ s in truth more where it came from. I in truth wanted to do story about the sidekicks, like the new generation. not just the newer characters like Yara [ Flor ] and Jace [ Fox ] and Jon, but like the Tim Drakes, the Kyle Rayners, and then again, going second to Nightwing and the Titans. What I truly wanted to do is tell a fib about all of the, I guess you call them following genesis characters, right field ? Like, all of the not-Justice League characters. I always wanted to do a report about that. And you can kind of witness a bite of that with Infinite Frontier, that was the beginning of that. I wanted to do a history about unlike points of watch .
actually, to be honest with you, I think it was more about the idea that, like, I ’ ve seen a crisis from the Justice League position. Let ’ s do it from person else ’ second perspective, and that involves all the fresh characters. And then, if you ’ rhenium gon na have all these new characters, they need to be challenged. And so I was like, alright, let ’ s challenge all of these new characters. And when I say new, I ’ thousand not equitable talking about the characters from the last couple of years, I ’ molarity talking about characters that are possibly 30 years previous. But I ’ m like, let ’ s tell a floor about that. And then, as Dark Crisis goes, you ’ ll see other generational characters show up, and other pieces that are excessively early to spoil .
It ’ s not in truth about a reaction to 5G so much as it was my desire to tell a floor about all these different generations and bequest, and how DC only works, or I don ’ metric ton want to say only, but I think DC works its best when all these pieces are working together. My front-runner era of DC is when there was a JSA book, there was a JLA bible, there was Titans, there was Teen Titans, there was Legion of Super-Heroes, you had multiple books from multiple different families. And to me, that ’ s when DC is working at its best, so I kind of wanted to talk about that. Like, let ’ s have all these different families of characters, and put them through a crisis. We ’ ve seen Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman conduct with a crisis a few times, so immediately let ’ s see person else cope with the Crisis and how they react to it. That was more what was in my lead. If I ’ meter going to do a Crisis, I want to do it differently. And I ’ m obsessed with all that material, so I ’ m like, ‘ Alright, it ’ s got tantalum be a crisis with things I ’ m obsessed about. ’ So I ’ thousand manner more haunted with [ telling ] a history about the sidekicks than anything else .
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Grunenwald: Gotcha. I suspected maybe I was reading too much into it, but I was just curious.
Williamson: I ’ m truly curious what people are gon na think when they start to read it. I know issue one is decidedly going to be — I mean it ’ s issue one of a book called Dark Crisis, it ’ mho going to be a little unvoiced. But I think as you go, you ’ ll begin to see what is actually happening with the report and I think people will be in truth happy by the time we get to the ending .
Grunenwald: Nice. So, you know I’m a Wally West guy. It’s exciting to me to see Wally front and center again, in a Crisis book where he’s, you know, not-terrible things are happening. You didn’t get to write a ton of him during your Flash run. What’s your approach to writing him, headspace-wise, versus writing Barry?
Williamson: I love Barry, but Barry is a bit of a nerd, and he ’ s a bit more lost in his read/write head, and I don ’ thyroxine think he actually has deoxyadenosine monophosphate much playfulness being The Flash as Wally does. I think that Wally in truth enjoys being The Flash. He besides grew up with it. I think it ’ s a different experience when you grew up with something, you look up to it, and then you get to do it. I mean, that ’ s kind of like me, you know, as a comedian book writer, loving comics and then getting to write comics. I can kind of relate to that. Whereas I think Barry feels a sting more like it ’ south something he has to do. not is a burden, though. That was a big character of my Flash run, I did not want it to be about a charge. part of the ending of my Flash run was I wanted to make certain it was very clear that Barry is The Flash not because of calamity, but because it ’ s the correct thing to do. I wanted to hit that character at the ending. But with Wally, I think wally just enjoys it differently, and I think he has a fortune more fun with it. You know, it ’ s always interesting, I identical much have a voice for both those characters in my drumhead. Barry ’ s not a jokey character. He ’ s not supposed to make jokes. He ’ s not supposed to be amusing. So whenever I see people write him like that I ’ meter constantly like, ‘ Oh, no no no, that ’ s Wally. Wally does that. Wally ’ s a bite more loosey-goosey about these things. ’
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If you remember before “ The Return of Barry Allen, ” separate of the running thing with Wally was that he was kind of irresponsible. He won the lottery, and he had all these different kinship problems, and you know, all these eldritch things with him, and then he kind of came into his own, he stepped out of the apparition and became his own person, his own bomber. And I think that gives him his own perception on a draw of the stuff. And that ’ s why he says that thing to Jon [ in issue 1 ], he talked to Jon about like, ‘ You ’ ve got to find your own room out of the shadow. ’ Right. Wally is the one, just like Nightwing is, he ’ mho besides the one that made it. Wally got to step up and in truth step into those shoes, no pun intended, and he was able to run with it .
so one of the things with Dark Crisis is this : it ’ s about bequest, but it ’ s besides about different people ’ mho percept on bequest. Nightwing has his understand of bequest. so does Wally and the Flash Family, they ’ ve embraced the mind of bequest, and they feel like, it is something you do, you pass the torch, the class grows, like they understand that, Wally gets that. Black Adam is very conflicted on the mind of bequest, because Black Adam has had a family before that were his bequest characters, and they died. So I think for him, he has a very conflict feel about bequest. He ’ s not against it, but he isn ’ t necessarily for it, and I think he looks down on Billy Batson for sharing his office with his kin .
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then you get person like Hal, who besides embraces bequest as a while of it, right ? He is a bequest character. And he knows that he besides likes the idea of sharing it with his friends. But then you get person like Deathstroke, and Deathstroke hates bequest, it is built into him. And it ’ s not a intellectual feel, because he will never take duty for his own actions and being a severe father, but he believes all these badly things have happened to his children because of bequest, and because of the Titans. The Titans represent bequest in a bunch of ways, proper ? therefore their archenemy is Deathstroke, and he hates bequest. He hates the mind of the kids. He hates the theme of anyone picking up a common mullein. And so for him, he fair wants to destroy bequest. And so I wanted to play with all those different points of view with bequest and that ’ s the kind of stuff that I like playing with in the narrative.

The Justice League : road to Dark Crisis # 1 one-shot is due out in stores and digitally on Tuesday, May 31st. A second impression of Justice League # 75 featuring the Death of the Justice League besides arrives in stores that day. Dark Crisis # 1 is set for acquittance the following workweek, on Tuesday, June 7th .

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