DC 'Flashpoint' Interview: Peter Milligan on 'Secret Seven'

Writer Peter Milligan has a past with the DC/Vertigo character Shade, the Changing Man--and in this month's Flashpoint tie-in Secret Seven, he's decided to change that past dramatically. In Flashpoint: Secret Seven, Milligan makes revelations about the character that may have ramifications about his post-Flashpoint counterpart, while assembling a team in the midst of the Atlantean/Amazonian conflict in an eclectic mix that nods to both Secret Six and Seven Soldiers of Victory.

MTV Geek: So, I’m asking this of all the creators about their particular project, but for you, why Shade The Changing Man?

Peter Milligan: One good reason is that Shade is the probably the DC character I’m most associated with. So if I were to do a story about the changes wrought by Flashpoint on anyone, it should probably be the Changing Man. But beyond that the story gave me the opportunity to explore a different kind of Shade.

Geek: How was it diving back into the character again?

PM: It’s always a pleasure. After all this time I still feel I’m finding out more about Shade.

Geek: So much of this issue is about how much of his past was real and how much of it was just a product of Rac’s psychosis. Why led you to approach the character in this way?

PM: It just struck me as a defining issue of this man, who seems to damaged and changeable.

Geek: For readers unfamiliar with the character, what are some of the main impacts that Flashpoint have had on Rac and his supporting cast?

PM: Shade has a lot of history. First off, there was the Steve Ditko creation. And then I pretty much threw a lot of that away and went on a different route. What Flashpoint does is examine the inherent inconsistencies in Shade’s past and attempt to explain it, and give it some logic. Shade hears that the incredible M-Vest that he wears has meant he has occupied more than one reality simultaneously. This is impossible and could potentially drive him insane (if he weren’t insane enough already!) The powers that be on his home planet, Meta, want to cut away some of his memories, some of his past. It’s a kind of brutal, alien form of therapy.

Geek: What function did the Secret Seven serve in this universe?

PM: Any team that has Shade as their leader is bound to have a pretty directionless quality. But when Cyborg asks Shade to gather the Secret Seven together and help him stop the war between Wonder Woman and Aquaman Shade agrees—albeit reluctantly.

Geek: So no Klarion at all? He was my favorite.

PM: Cash in a brown envelope sent to my home address might have gotten Klarion onto the team. Truth is, everyone couldn’t be in the team. There was a new character I wanted to debut here. Shade had to be there. And Enchantress too. That’s three places taken straight away. Anyway, what’s so great about Klarion?

Geek: If you can, could you tell us if Shade or any of the rest of the Seven will have a part in the new universe post-Flashpoint?

PM: I can confidently say that a number of these characters will have a part in the new universe. In fact Shade, Enchantress (and June Moone) and Mindwarp will feature in JLA Dark, the new title I am working on with the very brilliant Mikel Janin.

Geek: What else are you working on now?

PM: For DC I’m working on the new Red Lanterns and JLA Dark. Both of these are very different books which is great for me. I’ve heard JLA Dark described as a team of people with supernatural powers—but that’s only half the story. This is a story about a group of people who are damaged, who are misfits—not least because of the strange powers or differences they possess. Red Lanterns is obviously about rage, but more it’s about how rage affects people – alien and human. I’ll be getting into the characters of some of those insane Red Lanterns whom we’ve generally only seen spitting vomit in the background. Different from both of these little darlings is that incorrigible bastard John Constantine, in Hellblazer over at Vertigo.

Geek: Care to tease any of your favorite moments from upcoming issues of Secret Seven?

PM: The introduction of Mindwarp, a new character, and a new type of character. And the tragic, unexpected and truly horrible end of episode two.

Flashpoint: Secret Seven #1 is on shelves now. Red Lanterns and JLA Dark will be available this Fall.

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