WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Justice League #30 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, and Francis Manapul, on sale Aug. 28.
The latest issue of Justice League kicks off the epic "Justice/Doom War" storyline that has been steadily building since Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV's run on the title kicked off last year.
With a dangerously upgraded Lex Luthor giving similar power boosts to all the major villains of the DC Universe, the conflict finally comes to a head as the Justice League goes head-to-head against the Legion of Doom. Outgunned and with the chance of defeat running high, the Justice League travel to the DCU's past and future for additional help, bringing them face-to-face with both Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth and -- more shockingly -- the Justice Society of America.
CBR sat down with Snyder and Tynion to discuss how Justice League #30 builds the climax of their run on the title and DC's Year of the Villain initiative, the return of the JSA and Kamandi, and what characters have surprised them the most as they crafted their acclaimed run on DC Comics' premier superteam.
CBR: This is really the culmination of everything you guys have been building this entire run of Justice League. How did this all come about -- planning this epic showdown between all the heroes of the DCU against the Legion of Doom?
Scott Snyder: It's really been there from the start. One of the great things about working on this is, having done [Dark Nights: Metal], my thing with DC was that if Metal worked and people enjoyed it, and we weren't kicked out of comics because of it, then we would carry that with Justice League and the Justice League sort of area of books -- Justice League Dark and Justice League Odyssey -- we'd be able to build something that was equally epic and would sort of culminate at the end of 2019 with a battle that would rage across the entire DCU landscape both physically, in time, and bring in characters you wouldn't expect.
So we've been able to plan this story back in 2017 into 2018 with this final beast, with the Justice Society, Kamandi... and characters we can't reveal yet sort of coming in, all part of the gathering armies of Justice and Doom for this huge, kind of operatic, final showdown between good and evil.
So in terms of planning, it's been there from the very beginning. There's something so gratifying and exciting about just finally getting to be able to be hereafter we talked about it for so long.
To go a little more abstract, what does the Justice Society mean to both of you, both as fans and storytellers?
James Tynion IV: Honestly, the Justice Society, for me, represents the history of the DC Universe. It's where we began. Obviously, Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman were there from the beginning, but the Justice Society of America was the first team-up book in the history of comics. The first idea that all these heroes existed in the same universe and that they knew and interacted with each other. The DNA for every superhero team that came after comes from that team. There's something still so powerful about that.
They're characters that I grew up with, particularly with Geoff Johns' JSA run, but that was them as older characters that lived in the present day. Actually being able to go back to the JSA at their peak, at the dawn of World War II -- there's power there.
And there's a tremendous honor in being able to bring them into a forward-moving story that shows them at the peak of their power in the past and really reintegrate them into the long-form history of the DC Universe which is where I feel they belong.
Snyder: I would just say, equally, that I love those characters, but also that era, the date they're from forever, in terms of writing about it in American Vampire, returning to the '40s over and over in my own stuff. I always wanted to be able to tell a story that showed what it was like for them when they formed. To me, that's something that hasn't really been explored and, in this, we get to reintroduce them to the DCU, show them, like James said, at the height of their abilities.
But I want fans to know there are long-form plans for them on our part as well, and part of those plans with just that. Showing them, for me at least... what I'm really interested in is that we tend to think of them as this old age team from a time when right and wrong was really black and white and morality was easy to sort of figure out in that way and they were these perfect heroes transported to more complicated times.
But I want to be able to look back and say, history wasn't written back then. It was an incredibly frightening and difficult time and being good or being heroic or believing in people and having faith in humanity and all those things are always terrifyingly fraught and uncertain and how raw and brutal the fights they had to have back then were.
The point I'm trying to make is, we have big plans for the JSA and they play a really fun, important role in this story, as does Kamandi and other important characters that come in. But all of it was meant to also assure fans that there are bigger stories and more stories about these characters coming.
If the JSA are the alpha, what does the potential omega of the DCU entail? What does Kamandi, the Last Man on Earth, mean to you?
Tynion: I think the DNA of [Kamandi creator] Jack Kirby is everywhere in both the Marvel and DC Universes, particularly when you're operating at this kind of cosmic level. So being able to bring probably my favorite contribution of his to DC mythology into a story that is an apocalyptic story -- this is an apocalyptic DC story -- and everything could go horribly, horribly wrong. If Perpetua and Luthor win, this is the end of everything.
And Kamandi sort of represents [that]. This is a person who is one step beyond the end of everything; he is from the apocalypse and he bears the scars and trauma of a world that died but still carries a bit of justice in him.
Honestly, getting to be able to play with him is the counterpoint in the future to the Justice Society in the past. It's just a tremendous honor, and it also presents the breadth of the DC Universe that we're trying to show in this story.
You've planned this story for two years. What characters have really surprised you as you've gotten to play with the entire DCU? Are there any that have been incredibly satisfying or fun to write, or someone that surprised you as a storyteller as you crafted this all out?
Snyder: For me, I knew J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, would really capture my imagination and be sort of emotionally rigorous to write in that way. Everything that he stands for are things that I want to believe for my kids; that we're better off together, connecting with each other across differences, across distance, across conflict, that connecting is the key to everything and together we can reach higher.
All the things he stands for are the remnants of a race, as well, who are supposed to be about collectivism. I love him for that and the tragedy of him. He's been an amazing figure to get to write.
And the other two for me are [firstly, Lex] Luthor. I didn't think I'd get to sympathize with him as much as I do, but he's at the other pole sort of saying to everybody: "Listen, that longing you feel, that sense of smallness, that sense of how ineffectual you are, how small your life is, how little you're going to know by the time you're dead, the big cosmic mystery? You're not meant to feel any of that, you're meant to get out there for yourself and win and be something different.
"All this kind of ethics and morality and aspirational sort of garbage that the heroes feed you is a fallacy. And I know the truth, how we were supposed to be when we were first made. I'll bring you back to the original man, the apex predator."
Luthor is very tempting, and I think those two poles are what we're writing about, it's a world where I feel everyone is tempted towards their worst impulses constantly by those voices, whether its their leaders or people on the Internet just sort of tempting you to be worse than you are on your day-to-day life and care about things that are small and myopic rather than the greater sacrifice. So it's been fascinating to sort of sympathize with the villain and I think I feel sorry for, and sometimes angry, at the hero of our story.
And finally, Jarro, because he's awesome.
Justice League#30 is written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV and illustrated by Jorge Jimenez and Francis Manapul. It is scheduled to go on sale on August 28 from DC Comics.
KEEP READING: Who the Heck is DC Comics' Kamandi, Anyway?