While the schismatic blue and red uniform of the Golden Age superhero once called Daredevil grants the boomerang slinging crimefighter a level of recognizability with fans even 60 years after he ceased his initial publication run, the character who now goes by the name Death Defying 'Devil in Alex Ross and Jim Krueger's Dynamite Entertainment series "Project Superpowers" was never alone in his swashbuckling adventures.
Created by Jack Binder in the pages of Lev Gleason Publications' "Silver Streak Comics" and popularized by Golden Age legend Charlie Biro in his own "Daredevil Comics," the 'Devil tore an action-packed path through World War II era newsstands. Those original adventures saw the character punch Hitler in the face, match wits with his arch-nemesis The Claw, and team-up with heroes as varied as the speedy Silver Streak and the rag tag assemblage of tikes known as The Little Wise Guys. And if such stories seem a little over the top by today's standards, the Dynamite take on the 'Devil presents a bit more subdued version - for one thing, he never speaks -- while still retaining the verve of the original series.
"I'm a big fan of all those wonky Golden Age comics," incoming "'Devil" writer Joe Casey told CBR News, citing the "big time, anything goes-vibe of those stories. "That's what's great about them. Anytime I can bring some of that back in modern comics, I go for it."
Casey gets his opportunity in December with the debut of the three-issue "Death Defying 'Devil" miniseries with art by Edgar Salzar and covers by Ross, John Cassaday, and comics legend John Romita, Sr. Along with the recently debuted "Black Terror" ongoing and upcoming "Masquerade" mini, the 'Devil's series expands upon the fledgling Project Superpowers universe while connecting the dots between volumes one and two of the main "Project Superpowers" title.
"I don't want to reveal too much, because what Alex and Jim have in store for Vol. 2 is so huge," said Casey. "Needless to say, what the 'Devil series does is fill in some holes, some back story, it fleshes out some characters and deals with a few story points that allow for Vol. 2 to go big with a cleaner slate."
Casey did provide some clues as to what parts of the mythos would be brought under a new line in his three issues, and that was more characters. Even in a world already populated by dozens of forgotten heroes, "Death Defying 'Devil" could use a headcount boost, because without a large supporting cast, no one would be able to talk. "The challenge in writing it is related to what they came up with for the character in bringing him back - that he doesn't speak. But I love a challenge, so I didn't blink," Casey explained. "Alex -- and Jim and [Dynamite publisher] Nick [Barrucci] -- have done a lot of prep work on these characters and their world, so a lot of it is following their lead."
That lead kicks off in December's "Death Defying 'Devil" #1, which delves into the 'Devil's past and unveils more details about his dealings with the ubiquitous Claw. "There are a few WWII flashbacks, and during the course of the story, we actually learn a lot about the Claw and what his aims are in the 21st Century," Casey revealed. "As for exactly what we learn, you'll have to read the series to find that out. "
Accompanying the 'Devil on this journey of discovery will be the mysterious Justine, a character introduced in "Project Superpowers" who Casey explained won't be the average superhero girl Friday. "No real romance, for reasons I can't reveal here, but Justine is much more intrinsic to the story than simply the female sidekick," he said. "She plays a bigger role that anyone will be able to anticipate, and I think it's a great character twist."
The biggest twists already revealed about the series came in the form of characters revealed on Alex Ross' covers for the series' first two issues. In "Death Defying 'Devil" #1, fans will be introduced to the 'Devil's doppelganger in the form of a green-shrouded villain known as the Deadly Dreaded Dragon, issue #2 sees the return of the 'Devil's long-missing Golden Age partner, the speedster hero Silver Streak.
"It's a classic superhero trope, to have two opposites duke it out," Casey explained of the Dragon. "Beyond that, there's a real deep connection between these two characters that make their conflict that much more important to the overall story. Yet another twist in a series full of them."
As for the Streak, the square-jawed character won't be quite as twist-laden. However, his return does carry its own set of issues. "He was indeed trapped in the Urn with 'Devil, but as we'll see, no one had the same experience inside that limbo existence," Casey explained. "The Silver Streak is a great character because he's a tried and true stalwart kind of superhero. I would say he's one of the heroes that's changed the least from his WWII days. And he's not the only hero returning in this book."