I loved your work with the Red Death, and especially his Flashmobile.
Sharp: That was funny, because if there is one thing that I get a little bit freaked out about, it's drawing cars. It was the one thing that I couldn't draw as a kid. But when I got the brief about what this car was going to look like, I got excited. I really enjoyed Mad Max: Fury Road and that kind of feel. As a kid, I was also pretty into custom cars, so it wasn't like just drawing a normal car. It was totally different. I couldn't wait to start and I had a blast and I think it shows. It was a lot of fun.
Which Dark Knight do you like drawing the best? They are all so cool and super scary.
Sharp: The two that I like the best, design-wise, are the Batman Who Laughs and the Red Death. I love that mask, and I tried to echo it in the grill of the car. I was hoping that you could see a DNA thread through the design. The Wonder Woman one, The Merciless, is fun, too, because he is literally a knight. I wanted to actually go more barbarian with him, but [DC Editorial] asked me not to mess around too much with the design. [Laughs]
Robert, Hal Jordan has faced some remarkable foes over the years, perhaps none greater than Sinestro. But when you come up against an evil version of yourself with a bit of Batman's DNA sprinkled in for good measure like he does -- the Dawnbreaker has got to be one of Hal's most challenging opponents.
Dawnbreaker has the power-set, obviously, with the ring and the ability to build constructs and ability to fly, but there is nothing that's going to negate what Hal's true power is and that's his willpower, his ability to overcome great fear. He's seen horrible, terrible things, up to and including the death of his own father, so he has the confidence to know that he has pushed through those things. For Dawnbreaker to put him in a cage and turn out the lights and try to scare him with spooky voices -- for Hal, that's almost funny. It was a great issue to write in getting to put those two up against each other. Bruce Wayne can have all of the strategy that he wants, but you can't make somebody afraid that doesn't get afraid, someone who can overcome fear. That's an interesting story to tell.
There's a great line from Hal talking about Dawnbreaker that's almost meta in the issue: "You can absorb light. I'll give you credit. That's new." It sounds like something you may have said when you heard about the character. [Laughs]
Venditti: That's right [Laughs] When they first told me about the Dawnbreaker and what his powers were and how he absorbs all light and he was all about darkness, I was thinking it would be quite a challenge. How are you going to tell a visual story in pitch black? It took me a while to come up with a storytelling device, and when I finally settled on the idea that Hal would use his ring to create a strobe effect and you would have these alternating light and dark panels of art, I was hoping that it would do two things. I thought it would show Hal being savvy with his ring by using it as a strobe because you can't really absorb the light if it is blinking on and off.
Also, when it comes to haunted houses and the houses of horror, I don't like any of that stuff. [Laughs] It's always kind of freaked me out, especially the strobe light effects because you can't really get a bead on where the guys trying to scare you are coming from. I really wanted to play with the horror element with the strobe effect. I was really happy with how it turned out.
Before I let you go – and don't worry, we will slap spoiler alerts all over this – I have to ask you about the final page of Justice League #32. Because when you talk about horror, Cyborg being basically plugged into the Matrix fueling the Dark Knights' conquest of the DC Universe is pretty haunting.
Venditti: That was the first page that Liam turned in.
Sharp: It was the only page that was approved. [Laughs]
Venditti: I was like, "Holy cow! Is this what we're in for?" I couldn't believe when I saw it. I thought there was no way that he could draw 20 pages that looked like that one, in such a short amount of time, but he sure did it. Every single page is just as great as that one. And big hat tip to the colorist Adam Brown, as well.
Sharp: He did a fantastic job.
Venditti: The way the Aquaman scene looks versus the Flash scene and the Wonder Woman scene and the Cyborg scene, the versatility on display in coloring all of that stuff is staggering.