In 2002, writer Jay Faerber set off the big bang of his own superhero universe with the launch of “Noble Causes,” a pulpy soap opera that followed a super-powered family. With his Image Comics series “Dynamo 5,” the writer continues to populate his “Faerberverse” and play with the super-family concept, albeit with a different wrinkle. However, a change is coming, and Faerber is looking to delight both new and old readers by offering a zero issue to launch an important new storyline and debut a new character. Faerber spoke with CBR news about the future of “Dynamo 5”
The title follows a super team of young heroes who are all the offspring of Captain Dynamo, a deceased superhero. “He was married, but cheated on his wife with numerous women, some of whom had his children,” Faerber explained. “After his death, his widow discovered his infidelities, tracked down each of the kids, and exposed them to the same radiation that gave Cap his powers. This unlocked the superpowers that the kids inherited from their father.”
Captain Dynamo’s widow, a former spy named Maddie Warner, leads Dynamo 5 as they protect Tower City from their father’s old enemies. “She certainly isn't happy about her husband's infidelities, but she's trying to make the best of a bad situation by using his kids to protect his city,” Faerber said.
The cast includes Scrap, the oldest of the kids and a petite young woman who inherited her father's super strength. There’s also the college-age Slingshot, who inherited her father's ability to fly at great speeds. “She's kind of an overachiever and a bit of a suck-up,” Faerber said.
Addressing the boys of the group include Myriad, a high school dropout who inherited his dad's ability to alter his shape and impersonate anyone. “We've since learned that his mother was an alien, and he uses his powers to hide his alien appearance,” Farber revealed. Scatterbrain is a Texas high school football star, and inherited -- much to his chagrin -- his dad's ability to read minds. Visionary is the youngest member, and inherited his dad's vision-based powers. “He's a bit of a geek, and is shy around girls,” Farber said.
With the release of issue zero, Faerber sees the opportunity for new readers to jump on the series, and he’s made that as easy as possible. “For one thing, we've set out to tell the quintessential ‘Dynamo 5’ story, with our own mix of super-hero action, drama, humor, and character interplay,” he said. “It's a 10-page story that hits all the notes that make ‘Dynamo 5’ what it is. It also serves as a good primer on the series and main characters, and introduces one very important new character.
“In addition to the 10-page story, we'll be running a two-page text piece that serves as a comprehensive summary of the series thus far, giving readers everything they need to know to be caught up.”
Faerber is keeping things close hold, but was willing to reveal a little bit about that new character. “Issue #0 introduces Father Gideon. He's someone with an elaborate plan that involves Dynamo 5,” Faerber said. “Obviously, I can't give too much away about this new character or his plan, but it's going to be big. And if his plan reaches fruition, it's going to change Dynamo 5 in a very big, fundamental way. I suppose it wouldn't be revealing too much if I said that Father Gideon isn't exactly a good guy, and his plan doesn't really involve helping Dynamo 5.”
For longtime readers, “Dynamo 5” #0 precipitates a massive change in the status quo of the title, which resumes its regular numbering with issue #20. “There's a change coming -- a very big one, in fact — but the change doesn't actually take effect until #25,” Faerber confirmed. “So the storyline that kicks off in #0 is the ramp up to #25. We meet this new character, Father Gideon, and we follow him in the background as he enacts his plan.
“But in the meantime, what we're doing is trying to get ‘back to basics’ with the Dynamo 5 team itself. We're just coming off a story that saw the team dissolved, so issue #0 signals the return of the team dynamic that makes the book so much fun, and we'll see them acting as a team -- both in and out of costume -- right up through #25. Along the way we'll see some new villains, like the Brain Trust, and some old villains will be returning, like Whiptail, and the characters' private lives will continue to evolve.”
Faerber promises the storyline’s climax will transfigure the book and he wants readers to be aware of that. Said the writer, “The tagline we're using in ads and on issues #0 through #25 is ‘Change is Coming.’ And what's great is that because this is Image, ‘change’ can mean anything. Since [artist] Mahmud Asrar and I own these characters, we can do whatever we want with them. We can kill one of them off. We can turn one of them evil. We can redirect the entire series if we want to. And because the book is still relatively new, it's not like there's a ‘status quo’ we have to maintain. Truly anything can happen.”
While the zero issue aims for new readers, longtime fans will be rewarded as well. “As I said before, they'll see the return of some old villains, and the continuation of the ongoing subplots,” Faerber stated. “The zero issue isn't going to be one of those boring ‘clip shows’ that just refreshes everything. It's a complete story that sets up events that will continue to develop right up until things break wide open in #25.”
“I remember reading Robert Kirkman's afterword in the second ‘Invincible’ hardcover,” Faerber added, “where he talked about realizing that his series was going to be around for awhile, and that freed him up to develop more subplots which he could develop more slowly. And I feel that same way about ‘Dynamo 5.’ The comics that influenced me the most when I was a teenager had big, long sprawling subplots that sometimes developed for years, rather than getting wrapped up in six issues to fit in the trade paperback. So we're starting to throw out even more subplots and character arcs that can develop in the background, behind the A story in each issue. I think long-time D5 readers respond to that, so they won't be disappointed in where we're heading.”
Changes in the book, however, do not extend to behind-the-scenes. “The entire creative team has remained together since issue #1. That's Mahmud Asrar on art, Ron Riley on colors, and Charles Pritchett on lettering,” Ferber confirmed. “It's a great line-up, and we've really gotten into a nice flow over the past eighteen months or so. We all work really well together, and continually push each other to try new things, and make the book the best that it can be.”
The first regularly numbered issue after #0 is issue #20, with the storyline being comprised of seven issues. But that’s not quite the full scope. “Issue #25 is basically just the end of the first phase of this story,” said Faerber, “because it's the issue where everything changes, and sets the stage for the next year or so.”
Faerber and Asrar will hit the streets to promote the “Change is Coming” storyline, but plans are still forming. “Mahmud and I will be attending the New York Comic Con in February, so we'll be there to sign #0,” the writer said. “We haven't established if there are going to be any other signings yet. And we'll be running ‘Change is Coming’ ads in lots of Image books about issue #0, and doing interviews like this one, and podcasts and the like. So it'll mostly be a grassroots type of thing. But we're confident we'll be able to get the word out.”
“Dynamo 5” #0 will be hit the stands in January of 2009.