DC Comics has tapped Peter J. Tomasi to help shepherd the transition of current DC Universe through its impending Rebirth, unleashing the veteran writer and editor for an epic, eight-part story that will run through the pages of all four Superman titles — “Superman,” “Action Comics,” “Batman/Superman” and “Superman/Wonder Woman” — in April and May.
According to Tomasi, the “Super League” arc, which kicks off April 6 in “Superman” #51, is not a closing chapter for The New 52. Rather, it should be read as a new beginning for the DC Universe, ahead of the publisher’s entire line Rebirth event.
Tomasi also tells CBR News that elements and plot points featured in “Super League” will absolutely be further explored when Rebirth begins in June and that pre-New 52 Superman meeting New 52 Superman is just one of many ‘crazy moments’ that readers can expect for the two-month Super-series, drawn by Mikel Janin (“Superman”), Fernando Pasarin (“Action Comics”), Doug Mahnke (“Batman/Superman”) and Ed Benes (“Superman/Wonder Woman”) and featuring variant covers by John Romita, Jr. and Klaus Janson.
Supergirl and the Great Ten, a Chinese superhero team created by Grant Morrison J. G. Jones and Joe Bennett for DC Comics’ “52” weekly series, play major roles in the arc, Tomasi revealed. Plus, the writer shared his thoughts on Superman’s relationships with Wonder Woman and Batman, specifically in relation to the seismic shifts in status quo that occurred in The New 52.
CBR News: “Super League” must be massive if DC Comics is giving you all four Superman books — for two months — to tell your story.
Peter Tomasi: It’s an amazing opportunity to have — for two months — every Super-book in the palm of your hand. As much fun as I had with Greg [Pak] and Gene [Yang] and Aaron [Kuder], to suddenly be thrown into your own sandbox by yourself is just as much fun. It’s really interesting to have each title in your hand and being able to just really swing for the fences with each issue. There are a lot of great artists on each issue. It’s a real nice eight issues of just one big ass story that will lead into Rebirth.
The books themselves are really just focusing on Superman, who is front and center. He’s got a mission. We learn that he’s dealing with all of the stuff that’s just happened in the “Truth” and “Savage Dawn” arcs. We look at how that’s all changed his body physically, and his perspective on things, and he’s now going to move forward. But first, he needs to recruit some other superheroes.
Supergirl’s story, in particular, is one of the good issues. We’ll also see Batman. We’ll see Wonder Woman. We’ll see a lot of the DCU as we move along through the course of the story.
Why does he need to recruit superheroes? Are the regular, run-of-the-mill Justice League members not available?
There are so many spoilers, let’s put it this way: It’s such a big story, from beginning, middle to end, for those eight issues. To really go into anything about the formation of [the Super League] and why would give away too much. That’s how crazy it’s going to be.
His first call goes to Batman. If Batman was making a Bat League, would Superman be his first call?
Yes. In my writing head, it would. I think Batman/Bruce knows what Superman/Clark brings to the table. I think Superman would definitely be his first call. Some other writers and fans might disagree, but in my head, I’ve always loved the pairing of those two guys. Obviously, their own disparate elements that they bring and their different perspectives on the world, I think that’s what makes them as interesting as hell. They balance each other nicely.
The new “Supergirl” TV series has been a surprise hit, and Kara, perhaps, has never been more popular. Why do you think TV viewers have responded so well to “Supergirl” and have you taken anything from Melissa Benoist’s portrayal to influence your take on the character?
The funny thing is that Supergirl’s popularity right now and the fact that she is on her own TV show had no bearing on how I was thinking about the story when I was constructing it. It actually played out organically based on who and what she is as to why she is included in the story. It’s a cherry on the top that Supergirl, at the moment, is in a real popular TV show . She is getting a lot of press right now, which suddenly shines more light on her as a character. But the way that I built out the story for these eight issues, the role Supergirl plays is just something that occurs organically because of where she comes from.
You’ve also been writing “Superman/Wonder Woman” leading up to this arc. Looking back, do you think New 52’s biggest leap — a romance between Superman and Wonder Woman — worked?
I think it did. When you have this amount of history between characters, I don’t think there is anything wrong with throwing them in a box and shaking them up sometimes and see what happens. Putting them together has obviously always been one of those “what if?” scenarios that has been thought about throughout history, and it seemed like the right time to do it and explore it. Geoff [Johns] and Jim [Lee] initiated it [the romance] in “Justice League,” and then Charles [Soule] did it when he launched the “Superman/Wonder Woman” book. It’s one of those situations where these characters are out there, and there is no reason not to sometimes take them and put them in different, unfamiliar, even uncomfortable positions to see how they play off each other. Otherwise, it can get pretty dry.
I know some people think they shouldn’t be fighting or be at odds with each other while this relationship is going on. To me, that’s not realistic. We can have this beautiful Superman and Wonder Woman story for four years, of them running through fields and having picnics and being in loving and fighting aliens together, but there is no drama in that. In any real relationship, you have your fights. It’s a roller coaster ride, and the relationships get stronger due to conflict as long as you don’t get divorced. [Laughs] You learn to give and take. That’s what a relationship is about. I thought it was a great idea putting them together, and I had a lot of fun taking over the book from Charles and running with it as long as have. Of course, having Doug Mahnke on art definitely helps as writer, when you have somebody as talented as that on a book. He can really get across the emotional elements of the story. Not to mention the big action stuff that he always draws the hell out of.
I love the Great Ten, and I think they have been widely underutilized, but maybe that’s a good thing for you as it might be something new for some of your readers.
Absolutely. It’s funny, because we always agree to do these interviews but we can’t talk about anything. [Laughs] I can say that they play an integral part to something that we are building out in that story, and that something has ramifications into Rebirth.
I think when fans see the Great Ten, they are going to really love them. Doug Mahnke is drawing that issue, so it’s going to look freaking awesome. There is some really great stuff in that story, and the Great Ten are there because they fit into the story in a really specific way. What comes out of that whole angle of the story will be playing into Rebirth and what comes after.
The other big tease that we have gleaned from the solicitations is that in this arc, we are finally going to see the meeting of pre-New 52 Superman and the current Clark. I realize that again you can’t give too much away, but from what you have already said, this meeting doesn’t sound like the end of the New 52 but rather a continuation into Rebirth and beyond.
I’m glad you said that, because this really is key. This is not a closed end story. “Super League” goes into Rebirth and continues in the Superman books and beyond. The pre-New 52 Superman and the New 52 Superman meeting in this eight-issue arc provides some pretty cool, crazy moments. I think fans are really going to be floored as to how it all goes down. This story has an ending, but the ramifications of it moving forward are big. They’re huge.
Finally, Superman’s new power, his first new superpower introduced in a long time, the solar super flare plays an important role in this arc too, right?
Geoff used it, and then we played with it a lot in the “Truth”/”Savage Dawn” storyline. Sometimes powers can be overused, so I wanted to make sure when and if I do use it, it has a real purpose. It has a real impact. It’s a cool power, and I think it’s going to be interesting to see how it is utilized moving forward.
“Super League,” written by Peter Tomasi and featuring art by an all-star roster of talent, launches April 6 in “Superman” #51.