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Vandalism: Moore talks “JSA Classified”

by  in Comic News Comment
Vandalism: Moore talks “JSA Classified”
Cover To “JSA: Classified #10”

Vandal Savage has been menacing humanity since before it recorded history. The immortal super villain has come to believe that time holds no meaning for him but beginning March. in the pages of DC Comics’“JSA Classified # 10,” Savage is going to learn a harsh lesson about the ravages of time. CBR News spoke with Stuart Moore the writer of this four part arc that puts the spotlight on one of the JSA’s oldest foes in this “One Year Later” storyline.

Moore’s story was born out of a discussion with DC editor Mike Carlin, where the two talked about telling a tale of one of the fiends from the DC Universe’s Golden Age. “We knew the ‘One Year Later’ sequence was about to come up in all the DC Universe books, and we ran through several possibilities,” Moore told CBR News. “When Vandal Savage came up, Mike said something like ‘He’s 37,000 years old. One year doesn’t mean much to him.'”

“I started thinking about that, and I thought it’d be interesting — and funny, in a dark sort of way — if we turned that on its head,” Moore continued. “What if, after 37,000 years, THIS was the year it all went to hell for Vandal Savage? The worst year of his life? Mike and Dan Didio liked that idea, and this story grew from there.”

Teaching the immortal a lesson about time, wasn’t the only reason Moore wanted to tell a story featuring Vandal Savage. “Savage is a fascinating character,” Moore said. “A lot of talented people have written him, but they’ve never had the room to explore him in the depth he deserves. I’d just been reading the original Conan stories
by Robert E. Howard, and I kind of took that character and tried to figure out what he’d be like if he lived for 370 centuries.”

“JSA Classified #10” opens with Savage crash landing on Earth after a 12 month absence in which he’s apparently under went a hellish ordeal. “It’s driven him mad. He’s still got his instincts and his intellect, though — which makes him very dangerous,” Moore explained. “We kind of hint at where Savage was during the missing year. When he arrives back on Earth, he discovers what’s happened to his criminal empire while he’s been gone — and what’s happened to his life. He’s dying, and he’s determined not to go out alone.”

The dying Savage has his eye on Alan Scott, the JSA’s Green Lantern as a traveling companion for his journey to the great beyond. “I don’t want to give too much away, but Vandal Savage first appeared in an Alan Scott/Green Lantern story back in the ’40s, and this story brings their relationship full circle, drawing on their history in a (hopefully) fresh way,” Moore stated. “Alan’s been through a lot of changes during the missing year, too. Possibly more than Savage!”

Savage’s plot against the JSA’s Emerald Knight involves their shared history. “The story ranges all over Earth and through time,” Moore said. “The flashbacks aren’t just there for color, either — events from Savage’s past, and Green Lantern’s too, come back to play a part in his revenge. It’s all a part of Savage’s plan.”

These flashbacks will offer critical insights into the characters, but the information will be colored by the perspective that the story is told from. “The first issue is all Savage, and most of the rest is told from his perspective too,” Moore said. “We get a lot of flashbacks to his past, which hopefully illuminate both who he is and what he’s up to now. But Savage’s perspective isn’t always reliable, especially as the story progresses.”

Moore kept mum on whether any other heroes or villains would be roped into Savage’s vendetta against Alan Scott. “There’s a major surprise halfway through the storyline — at the end of issue #11,” he explained. “Aside from that, I’d rather not say. I’m trying to keep people guessing.”

Readers of this arc of “JSA Classified” should expect a brutal tale where Vandal Savage lives up to his name. Moore described the tone of his story as cannibalistic. “I keep trying to up the ante with Savage as we go along,” he explained. “There’s a scene at the beginning of issue #12, with Savage and one of his many daughters that I hope will make people cringe. He’s not a nice man, Mummy!”

Moore’s tale of Savage’s campaign against Green Lantern in JSA “Classified” will cause ripples across the DCU. “There’ll be some threads spinning out of it, and maybe a slight link to ongoing plot threads in ‘Firestorm’, my regular title,” Moore stated. “We’re still working things out with ’52’…nothing’s definite, but it’s possible Savage will show up there. But the ‘JSA Classified’ story arc will stand on its own.”

Paul Gulacy is penciling Moore’s “JSA Classified” arc and Moore couldn’t be happier with his collaborator’s work. “It’s perfect,” Moore said. “I’ve always loved his work, and he caught exactly what I wanted with Savage: that coiled, primal strength. Savage always wins because he’s the meanest guy around, and he’ll do anything. The way Paul’s drawn him, you really believe that.”

Moore’s “JSA Classified” tale draws upon the long history of two of DC’s oldest characters but readers don’t need to be experts in the chronology of the DCU to appreciate the story. “I work very hard to make everything I write accessible,” he said. “So if you don’t know anything at all about Vandal Savage or even Green Lantern, you should still be able to pick up and enjoy this book…it tells a self-contained story. If you DO know the history of these characters, you’ll get it on an additional level.”

And now you can discuss this story on CBR’s DC Universe Forum.

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