Writer Jay Faerber has done something only a handful of other writers can say they've done successfully - carved out a successful little super hero universe for himself. Launching super hero universes outside of Marvel or DC is indeed a tricky business, but Faerber's succeeded where others have failed with his long running series "Noble Causes." The series is often described as a super hero soap opera, which is a large part of the reason why the book has lasted as long as it has. The intrigue and machinations of the characters have grabbed fans' attention and kept them coming back for more.
Spinning out of that same "Noble Causes" universe is "Dynamo 5," a new ongoing series from Faerber and Image Comics launching in March, 2007. While the book's characters may live in the same world as those in "Noble Causes," "Dynamo 5" will stand on its own and be decidedly much more action-driven. Faerber describes the series best, and he spoke with CBR News Tuesday afternoon.
To begin with, Dynamo 5 - the team - is made up of the illegitimate sons and daughters of Captain Dynamo, the recently deceased super-hero who saw his life come to an end in the pages of "Noble Causes." The five kids, who each inherited one of their father's powers, were brought together by Captain Dynamo's widow to defend Tower City against his enemies, who've descended upon the city en masse.
"'Dynamo 5' will basically alternate back-and-forth between the private lives of each of the five kids (who will still maintain their separate lives in various cities across North America, each complete with their own supporting cast) and their super-heroic adventures as Dynamo 5, defending Tower City from Captain Dynamo's enemies," Faerber explained.
"I'll be using all the toys in the super-hero sandbox with this book - secret identities, a hi-tech secret headquarters, the signal watch, you name it. The team will quickly attract the attention of not only Captain Dynamo's old villains, but also F.L.A.G., a department of the government charged with overseeing super-hero activity. They'll want to know just who these kids are, and what their connection to Captain Dynamo is.
"And then there's the whole matter of Captain Dynamo's killer. Fans of 'Noble Causes' know that we actually saw Captain Dynamo die in issue #18 of that series, and his killer - a professional assassin called Widowmaker - is still at large. But who hired her? At some point that question's going to be answered as we find out even more about Cap's life."
The Dynamo 5 team is made up of Scatterbrain, Scrap, Myriad, Slingshot and Visionary. "Scatterbrain - a high school football player in a small Texas town, Scatterbrain can read minds," said Faerber. "He's a popular, arrogant jock who never gave a damn about what anyone thought - until he can literally hear those thoughts. And he may not like what he hears.
"Scrap - she's a film school grad trying to make it in Hollywood, but so far she's only made it to the ticket window at a local theater. Scrap is small, but she inherited her father's super-strength.
"Myriad - he's a loner, having grown up in a series of foster homes. He inherited Cap's shape-shifting powers, and he can now become anyone he chooses. Maybe one day he'll figure out who he wants to be.
"Slingshot - she's an overachieving college student enrolled at Georgetown, and having inherited her father's powers of super-fast flight means she can cram a few more activities into her already-crowded schedule.
"Visionary - he's a nerdy high school student in Vancouver, BC and he possesses all of his father's vision-related powers. He can blast stuff with his eyes, see through anything, see great distances, etc."
Structurally, Faerber will approach this series differently that most of the previous series he's written. "'Dynamo 5' will have largely self-contained issues, with a threat being introduced and resolved in each issue," explained Faerber. "It'll have larger over-arching elements, but the 'A' story will be resolved each month. So, while I
definitely have a 'big picture' in mind, it's not a greatly complicated mythology. I'm trying to pack as much action and adventure into each issue that I can. I'm trying to create a brand new villain every month, so we can really populate this book with colorful, memorable characters. Right now, I'm still enjoying the process of fleshing out all the characters. I do know what the thrust of the first six issues is (and as of this writing, the first two issues are already drawn - so, we're ahead of schedule!)."
While the series does spin out of the same universe as Faerber's other Image book, "Noble Causes," and there are some cross-over elements, readers need not be familiar with "Noble Causes" to follow the new title. "Readers of both series will enjoy some cross-over stuff, but each is designed to be read independently," confirmed Faerber.
"Dynamo 5" has been percolating in Faerber's brain for almost five years now. "I remember telling Geoff Johns and his wife about it back when I lived in Los Angeles, and I moved out of LA back in 2003. The line-up's changed a lot, but the basic idea - the illegitimate children of a super-hero - has remained consistent. For a while I toyed with taking it to Marvel or DC, but it's really the kind of book that needs to have its own 'universe' to exist in, so that I can lay the proper foundation for Captain Dynamo and his friends and foes."
Providing the visuals for "Dynamo 5" is Austrian artist Mahmud Asrar. "I became familiar with Mahmud's work from 'Digital Webbing Presents,' a fantastic indie anthology populated by some enormously talented people," said Faerber. "He also came recommended by 'Invincible's' Ryan Ottley. From there it was just a matter of asking Mahmud if he was interested in working together and he was. The rest, as they say, is history."
Themativally, "Dynamo 5" shares one thing in common with "Noble Causes" - the trials and tribulations of family. "You know, I swear to god I didn't set out to talk about 'family' again," said Faerber. "It just sort of came together that way. I must have some unresolved issues from my parents' divorce or something, but it's nothing I'm conscious about. But here's a story - back when I was working on 'Teen Titans,' editor Andy Helfer asked me what made the Titans different from all the other super-hero teams, and I said that they were a family. He basically said 'Bullshit,' and went on to point out that every super-hero team is a 'family.' And I realized he's right. That's a note that's been played to death. So, I created "Dynamo 5" to be the reverse of that -- it's a super-team that really is a family, and doesn't act like it. Instead of all the teams that aren't technically family, but act like it anyway."