Get ready to feel some magic in the air again — Michael Turner’s “Soulfire” returns in a big way this year when Aspen Comics relaunches the fan-favorite title in it’s third volume. The story of “Soulfire” follows a boy named Malikai and his companions on their quest to bring magic back to the hardened, futuristic world of 2211 AD while the evil Rainier seeks to corrupt the magic of the world and will stop at nothing to keep Malikai from achieving his goal. At the end of “Soulfire” Volume 2, the cast managed to stop Rainier, but at the cost of Malikai letting loose a violent side previously unseen in the young magician. Now, writer J.T. Krul is set to explore what this means for Malikai, Grace and the rest of the “Soulfire” crew.
CBR News spoke with Krul about the upcoming volume, which returns the focus of the story to Malikai and Grace while reintroducing the Sethoru assassin Onyx. Krul also elaborated on his plans for the rest of the “Soulfire” cast and his collaborative process with up-and-coming artist Jason Fabok.
CBR News: J.T., tell us a bit about the work you’re doing on “Soulfire” — what’s the general story here and how does it link to the work you did in Volume 2?
J.T. Krul: It’s picks up pretty much right after the end of Volume 2, but it’s designed to be a great jumping on point for new readers. In Volume 2, Malikai and the others stopped Rainier, but Malikai unleashed a violent side of his nature that freaked everyone out, him more than anyone. As we open Volume 3, Malikai is alone — he’s scared about what happened and is taking some time to sort through things. As for Grace, she’s returned to the magical realm called the Everlands to help her people transition during this new age of magic. And just in time too, because trouble comes in the form of Onyx — the Sethoru assassin from Volume 1.
What’s new for the cast and what can longtime readers expect from the latest “Soulfire” chapter?
Like I said, we really are focusing this volume on Malikai and Grace, as they are the foundation of the Soulfiire Universe. But, we will also be seeing the return of two major figures. I already mentioned Onyx, and we will also be seeing the warrior Miya from the pages of “Soulfire: Chaos Reign.” We’re really bringing a lot of different elements together for this volume — even touching upon aspects featured in the “Shadow Magic” miniseries.
Seeing that the spotlight will be shining fully and directly on Malikai and Grace this time around, can you give us any more detail on what readers can expect from the continuation of their story?
Malikai is really struggling with the power inside of him. Since the beginning, he’s embraced the beauty of magic, but there is a darker aspect creeping through. Power has a way of changing people, and even someone as good as Malikai isn’t immune to that appeal. This story is about that burden and how Malikai will deal with it.
In returning to the Everlands, Grace is a warrior for the kingdom. It would seem that during such a positive time for her people she would not be needed much, but Grace quickly learns the opposite to be true. With Onyx back in the mix, a threat is revealed that could destroy everything.
We’ve seen some of the art for Issue #0 and it looks fantastic — what’s your collaborative process with artist Jay Fabok been like?
Working with Jason has been great so far. Aspen always manages to find the best new artists coming up in the business, and Jason is no different. His style is perfect for a world created by Michael Turner and this story is tailor-made for him, with its epic scope and summer blockbuster feel. Strong and stunning female characters, vast landscapes and creepy creatures — it’s got it all. Plenty of stuff for Jason to shine on.
Not only is Jason extremely talented, but he’s also one of the nicest guys. He just wants to draw the coolest comic book he can. In terms of collaboration, we’ve been talking “Soulfire” with Jason for quite some time, and we were fortunate enough to all hang out at a convention and dig into everything in person, which is rare in this business.
Now that you have a solid handle on the world and characters of “Soulfire,” what do you find to be the more challenging aspects of writing the book?
Just trying to keep ramping things up with every issue. You need to grab readers right away and keep them coming back for more, so each issue has to be bigger and better than the last. It’s like a roller coaster but the hills have to get taller.
You’re experienced in writing both team titles and thiose focusing on the solo exploits of characters with books like “Teen Titans” and “Green Arrow.” Into which category would you place “Soulfire” and what are the unique challenges it presents you as a writer?
Volume 2 of “Soulfire” was very much a team book — a lot like “Teen Titans.” In terms of the new volume and the narrowed focus on Malikai and Grace, it’s about perspective. For the most part, I try to keep the story filtered through our characters. “Soulfire” is a big universe and it’s important to make sure everything comes back to those we care about at the end of the day.
You’ve been with “Soulfire” for quite some time now. Moving forward, what can you tell us about the future of the book?
Volume 3 is going to be the craziest “Soulfire” story we’ve ever told. We’re taking all the things Michael created, jamming them together and turning the dial up to eleven. It’s going to be a fun ride!