DC Comics writer Tom DeFalco is about to have one busy fall as he kicks off not one but two multi-part stories in his monthly ongoing comic book series, “Legion Lost” with artist Pete Woods and “Superboy” with artist R.B. Silva.
In “Legion Lost,” the misplaced Legionnaires must team up with the lesser of two evils when a horde from space threatens Earth and the only one who can help is Harvest. Crossing over with “The Ravagers” and “Superboy” for a four-part story, the event reunites the books following the events of “The Crossing.”
Another major crossover is in the works for DeFalco in “Superboy.” Titled “H’ell On Earth,” Kon-El faces a Kryptonian who appears to wreck havoc on Earth and the Super family, which will echo throughout fellow Super-family books “Superman” and “Supergirl.”
Juggling both two books and a two-issue fill-in story in October for “Nightwing,” DeFalco took time out of his jam-packed schedule to speak with CBR about the dangers facing his teen heroes, the #0 issues and why Superboy seems to be getting trounced on every single November “H’ell On Earth” cover.
CBR News: Tom, in “Legion Lost” the #0 issue is Timber Wolf’s origin — of all the members of the team, why concentrate on Timber Wolf?
Tom DeFalco: Well, he is a very fascinating character. I guess when they said to me, “Hey if you could explore one guy in the #0 issue, what guy would be the most interesting for you to explore?” I looked at them and that’s such a real hard thing. They’re all so unique; any one of them could have a fascinating story. I was really torn between Tellus and Timber Wolf. I thought Timber Wolf would be a much more action-oriented story, although the Tellus one might have been a more interesting story, I just felt like doing a hoo-haw story, so I went with Timber Wolf! [Laughs]
After that, Harvest returns in issue #13 — while he’s plagued all the Young Justice books, do you feel this is a character that’s especially set up well to hit the Legion Lost kids?
I see Harvest as a threat to the entire DC Universe. I think that his most intimate connection is with “The Ravagers” book. After “The Ravagers,” I’m not sure if it’s “Teen Titans” or “Legion Lost” because as we’ll see, this has ended up to be a four part story and there are many intimate connections between Harvest and the Legion. We’re going to get some very subtle hints about a lot of connections, deeply connected to the entire New 52 in the course of this thing.
So everything that’s going on with Harvest could have an impact on the greater DC Universe?
I think so — I don’t know if anyone else does, but I certainly do! [Laughs]
“Legion Lost” will tie into “Superboy” and “The Ravagers” with this four-part story. The solicits say they’ve got an uneasy alliance with Harvest — why would all of these teams want to deal with him again?
Oh, they don’t! [Laughs] Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. The only one looking to see Harvest again is Chameleon Girl because she just wants to kill him. But aside from that, no one else is anxious to see him again. The circumstances are you’ve got to deal the cards you’re dealt and the Legion is dealt a rather crummy hand.
At this point what can you say about the story? What’s this threat that’s so dire that it’d bring them all together?
The team gets an emergency message from their time period and they also become aware of a major threat heading towards Earth and these things are both related and end up clashing — and our guys are caught right in the middle! When you’re dedicated to protecting a planet, oftentimes you are.
Flipping over to art, you are continuing to work with Pete Woods as the “Legion Lost” artist. Personally, what do you like best about his rendering of your Legion Lost team?
I think it’s kind of the reverse! [Laughs] He’s rendering his “Legion Lost” team, and how does he like how well I’m writing them? Pete was here first — it’s his team, it ain’t mine! I think Pete is just an exceptional illustrator and he’s just knocking it out of the park in every issue. I just want to tip the hat to my old buddy Ron Frenz who was dropped in to help with the occasional layouts. But Pete is doing the finished art, and come on, this is one of the most gorgeous books being produced! I hope he’s one-tenth as pleased with what I’m giving him to draw as I am the way he draws it.
Switching over to “Superboy,” you’ve got him crossing over with the Ravagers and later on “Legion Lost.” What does meeting up with these characters from “The Culling” again mean to him?
Those characters are the closest things he has to brothers, sisters, because they’re all from the same place. They are the closest thing he has to a family and his time with the Ravagers, he’ll be with the Ravagers for a few issues, will be very important to his growth as a person because we’re going to learn the Superboy that could have been. We’re going to see his chance for happily ever after — before we shatter it! [Laughs]
It’s interesting to say it’s the closest he has to a family because even in the early issues of Superboy you had a sense of him growing and changing just in response to Caitlin. Going in, do you think that he and Caitlin still have a deeper, more intense connection than with the others?
Oh yeah, definitely. In “Superboy” #13, he actively starts off in search of Caitlin because he runs into Detective Lure and Detective Lure needs a favor, but so does Superboy. The last time he saw Caitlin is when he turned her over to Jocelyn Lure. He turned Caitlin over so she would be safe, but Caitlin ran away and joined the Culling and Superboy has been wanting to hook up with Caitlin ever since. I think it’s in “Ravagers” #4 is when Superboy first shows up and will be with Caitlin from #5 to I think it’s #7 and then from there he’ll be involved with the “Legion Lost” storyline with Caitlin.
Backtracking to September, the #0 issues are origin stories. As we’ve seen a lot of Superboy’s origins already, how did you approach this issue?
Well, to be honest, I’ve been spending a lot of time talking with my associates Scott Lobdell and Mike Johnson, West Coast Mike. I guess it’s no secret that we’ve decided we want the Superman family books to outsell the Bat books and the Spider books and the X-books and every other bunch of books! [Laughs] So we’ve been spending months putting out a master plan to help us to the top of the list! And I’m only sharing that with you and all of your readers!
It’s a conspiracy!
Forget the DC Universe, we want to take over the entire comics universe! Forget all those other titles out there — except for “Legion Lost” and “Nightwing” — the Super-family books are going to become the number one titles! For a month you’re going to have to buy “Superman,” “Superboy,” “Supergirl” and “Action Comics.” And then whatever you have leftover you buy the other stuff! [Laughs]
We have constructed a basic scenario, which will play out over the next couple of months. In “Superboy” #0, we introduce a number of things that preceded Superboy’s origin, that are intimately connected to Superboy’s origin and there’s a “Where’s Waldo” moment in there that I think a lot of readers will miss the first time they read this book. If they look carefully they’re going to say, “What the heck is this person doing here?” That’ll play out over the next bunch of months, as will everything.
“Superboy” #0 is a complete done-in-one; if you’ve never read any other issues of “Superboy,” you can read this, it will explain to you everything you need to know and who Superboy is and what you need to follow going forward. If you’ve read all the origin stuff, you will see certain parallels that will be familiar to you, you will get new insights as to what was really going on in those things. In the early origin of Superboy, Caitlin was running one agenda. Hers wasn’t the only one being run! We’re going to realize there are or were strategies within strategies being played.
Turning to your world domination plans with the “H’ell On Earth” storyline, it looks like at least Supergirl thinks the bad guy has a point. How does Superboy react to this Kryptonian villain?
Initially he’s confused because Superboy doesn’t really have a connection to Krypton. He barely has a connection to Earth! Superman is the last son of Krypton. He’s basically an Earth guy; he was raised in Smallville and thinks like an Earth guy. Supergirl is pure Kryptonian, she’d ditch Earth in a second if he could! Superboy, he’s got Kryptonian genes, he has human genes and he doesn’t feel comfortable in either would and doesn’t feel he has any connection to Krypton or Superman or Supergirl. The only thing it has in common is that S shield, and he thinks it’s his S shield! [Laughs] He objects to the fact that they’re wearing it! So initially he’s confused, and that confusion grows and so does his character as time goes on.
I think what all of the “H’ell” covers have in common is that each one shows Superboy getting his butt kicked or the immediate aftermath of getting his butt kicked. I’m going to take it things may not go so well for Kon-El?
It doesn’t. In terms of the three Supers, when we start out, the most vulnerable of the three is Superboy. He’s the only one who isn’t from Krypton, isn’t invulnerable, can actually be hurt, can actually be injured and we see from those covers — look what they’ve done to my boy! [Laughs] But then that’s going to change. That kind of changes by “Superboy” #15! “Superboy” #14 is not so good for Superboy, by issue #15 you shouldn’t be messing with this kid!
Will “H’ell” affect the status quo of Superboy after the crossover?
Oh yeah, this stuff is redefining the status quo. It redefines his relationship with the Super family, it’s redefining his relationship with Planet Earth and redefining his relationship with not only his Kryptonian roots, but with his human roots. This isn’t going to be the ambivalent Superboy anymore!
To end on the art, you’re working with R.B. Silva who has a very clean style, similar but still pretty different from the styles of Pete and Andres. What is it like switching between very different artists for your multiple books?
I’m finding it very enjoyable. As a writer, I always feel the book dictates the way you write it. Every character is different and should sound different and be different, every book that you write should have a different voice, a different tone. I like the fact that the different artists have very distinct styles completely different from each other because that makes it easier to have everything different.
I know that some of the popular forms of writing today is every character is a smart-ass and they all talk in great copy! [Laughs] But in the real world you put five people together, one of them might talk in sarcastic language and then there’s somebody awkward, somebody who actually speaks poorly! It creates a verisimilitude and creates a realism that we need in the comics. If you interview me and Scott [Lobdell] and Howard [Mackie], Scott has one zinger after the next one but Howard is one carefully crafted joke after the next one. I just sit there like a dummy! [Laughs] But it’s important that each one of us has our individual personalities, even though I wish I was a guy who could do the zingers!
“Legion Lost” #0 and “Superboy” #0 hit shelves September 12.