For readers that are confused by Darkseid's age, maybe we should discuss quickly why the ruler of Apokolips revealed in Wonder Woman #31 as an empowered tween.
When we last saw Darkseid in "Darkseid War," he was killed and then reborn as a baby to [Crime Syndicate member] Superwoman. [Grail then took the baby.] I have to say, I just couldn't stop laughing, because Ema Lupacchino is drawing the "Times Past" stories, and she just drew the grumpiest, meanest little baby that I have ever seen. [Laughs] It just warms how mean and grump this little Darkseid looks. We'll see how he goes from being a baby to a teenager -- not even a teenager, but 10 or 12 years old. We will see that progression, how he is aging incrementally, and the cost that takes on various characters that we will encounter throughout the story.
You mentioned Ema and her fine work, but what can you share about the art of Carlo Pagulayan? He seems to have really captured the strength, power and grace of Wonder Woman.
He's a Filipino artist and obviously lives in the Philippines, but not Manila or one of the other major city centers, so it's really hard to communicate with him. I don't think he has email half the time, so it's like Christmas every month where I won't hear from him, I won't see anything, and then this beautiful artwork just appears. Normally when you work with artists, you see a page and then you see another page. That's what it's like working with Ema on the "Times Past" issues. She lives in Italy, which is much more urban-politan, so every week or so I got some finished pages and layouts for pages that she hasn't finished yet. There are constant updates, and you get a sense of how the issue is progressing. Whereas with Carlo, there is a bounty of lovely artwork that appears every three weeks, so it's more of a surprise versus working very closely with an artist. But I think that we are working pretty well together. I'm sure it drives some artists nuts -- I write pretty detailed scripts -- but I think in this instance, with the lack of communication, that's probably a good thing. It's a pleasure to work with him, and Ema, too. I feel very lucky to be working with both of them.
I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you about Steve Trevor, as he has always played such a major role in Wonder Woman's life since she ventured off Themiscyra to the world of man. Will he feature prominently in this storyline?
I realized partly from Greg Rucka's run, and partly from the movie, how great Steve Trevor can be. In the past, he's been a weak male foil -- not like Lois Lane, who is such a strong female character. He's never really come across as a strong male character and it's only really of late that I feel that he's started to shine. I'm having a lot of fun with the character, making him strong, and not just a male version of the female supporting characters that we normally get with superheroes. I have had a lot of fun making him into a hero in his own right, and a strong partner for the strongest, most powerful woman in comics.
You mentioned earlier that this is a story that this is a very specific story that DC Comics wanted you tell. Will it be tying into the Doomsday Clock storyline that Geoff Johns is writing?
I don't want to muddy other people's plans and storylines, but I will say that Darkseid is one of the big heavyweights of the DC Universe. Funny enough, I had a conversation with Dan [DiDio] earlier today about the future of the DC Universe, and there will be things that come out of this arc involving Darkseid that I think readers will be delighted with.
Wonder Woman #31 by James Robinson and Carlo Pagulayan is available now.