As DC Comics brings in several new series this October, the publisher is proving there's still plenty of fodder for expanding the DCU in the era of the New 52. "Team 7," helmed by writer and "The Strange Talent of Luther Strode" creator Justin Jordan and artist Jesus Merino, is a New 52 history enthusiast's dream, detailing how the government prepared for potential superhuman threats during the emergence of Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the superpowered beings who populate the DCU. "Team 7" #0 assembled a strike force consisting of Dinah Drake, Kurt Lance, Slade Wilson, Alex Fairchild, James Bronson, Summer Ramos, Cole Cash and Amanda Waller, and now they're off to meet metahuman threats head-on as the government's response team.
Jordan spoke with CBR News about the direction of the book following the zero month origin story, explained the challenges of writing for multiple protagonists instead of one and teased the significance of The Majestic Project and the superhuman cold war coming up in the series. Plus, an exclusive look at the variant cover artwork by DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee!
CBR News: Justin, "Team 7" #0 hit stores with favorable reviews. When you spoke with us previously about the book, you said the zero issue would lead directly into the opening arc -- what's in store for the team?
Justin Jordan: In the first two issues we see some of what the government has been doing to prepare for potential superhuman threats. It'd be pretty dull if it all went according to plan, so everything goes to hell. Almost literally.
This spins out into the next two issues, where they learn what they're dealing with is nothing compared to what's going to be loosed on the world if they don't stop it. So Team 7 gets a very quick introduction into what the stakes are.
Insinuated from the zero issue, it seems like "Team 7" is the normal-person alternative to a squad like the Justice League -- the most elite humans banding together to combat threats. As the team starts to acclimate to one another, how will the superhuman forces of the DCU affect them?
Team 7 does deal with superhuman threats, but they are at least in part intended to be a first contact team. They don't necessarily have to fight whatever it is they find; sometimes the answer to a problem is to do nothing, or to help it or to recognize it's not a problem at all.
Still, they are dealing with some seriously powerful people and weird situations which will affect them as the series goes on. It's like being on a bomb disposal unit in the army -- you're constantly dealing with things that could destroy you in a heartbeat and there really isn't a rulebook for how to do this sort of thing. So the situation is slightly stressful and that does things to people.
You did a great job with "The Strange Tale of Luther Strode" and you have Valiant's "Shadowman" coming this fall. These two books are very much oriented around a single protagonist -- what are your challenges in writing a continuity-heavy team book?
Hey, thanks! The continuity part actually isn't that bad. We had to do some juggling to make the logistics work, but just reading the books and talking to the editors does most of that work. I'm lucky this series takes place in the New 52 continuity, which makes it a lot easier to work with.
The team thing, on the other hand, has been tougher. I find writing a book where there's just one main character comes naturally to me; writing "Luther Strode," "Shadowman" and even "Deathstroke" are all a lot easier than "Team 7."
I'm lucky to be working with editors who can guide me through that. It's challenging, which is part of the fun, really.
One of the high points of "Team 7" #0 was the issue's ability to focus on each member of the team, giving everyone a chance to shine. Structurally, how do you plan to juggle each of these characters as the first arc gets into full swing?
Basically, I've taken the approach where one of the characters is the focus for each issue, our point of view character. If you read, say, "Game of Thrones," the series has a huge cast of characters, but Martin has a chapter follow a certain character to ground you. So a bit like that. Now, if I'm doing my job right, this shouldn't be too ridiculously obvious, but it allows me to manage the characters.
I also consulted television shows with a large cast and some team books to get a feel for how it's done. Lots of re-reading my old [Chris] Claremont "X-Men" and [Geoff] Johns' New 52 "Justice League" run as reference.
Tell us more about The Majestic Project. This type of concept seems like it will have a pretty large impact on the DCU as a whole.
That, unfortunately, is not something I can talk too much about, but it is very, very important to the book and you'll be hearing more about it in the series sooner rather than later. As Lynch said, all roads lead to Majestic."Team 7" #1 cover art by Doug Mahnke