By Matt D. Wilson
Here’s what we know so far about DC Comics’ new “Justice League 3000” series, which launches in September. It takes place in the year 3000. It has characters who look a whole lot like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Lantern in it. And…not much else.
To gain a little more clarity, we chatted with series writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, the duo responsible for the “bwa-ha-ha” era of the Justice League in the ’80s, along with artist Kevin Maguire, who is handling art duties on “Justice League 3000.” A few questions were answered and a lot more got raised in the process.
MTV Geek: When you guys get together, readers familiar with your work have an expectation of a certain raucous tone. Is that what we can expect here?
J.M. DeMatteis: Well, it’s Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire doing what we do: high adventure through a lens of what I like to call neo-vaudeville. Lee and Kirby by way of Woody Allen and Monty Python, all of it rooted, first and foremost, in the characters. That said, this is a very different group—there’s no Beetle or Booster in sight—so they’ll dictate the tone as much as we do. And one of the things we’ve always liked to do is give you lots of laughs and then, when you least expect it, kick you in the gut. So maybe it’s more like “M*A*S*H” than Monty Python…?
Keith Giffen: Absolutely. Why mess with what works? Now I know there are certain, quite vocal, folks out there who want their comics grim and gritty and heart attack serious and bleak and wretched but those aren’t the readers we’re shooting for.
Geek: How do these versions of the Justice League characters differ from their current-day counterparts, other than their futuristic costumes?
DeMatteis: If I told you that, you’d have no reason to read the book. Well, maybe you would, but I still won’t tell you. All I’ll say is that they’re exactly the same and yet totally different. How’s that for confusing?
Giffen: That’d be telling. I mean, just the fact that it’s us and not Geoff writing the characters means there’ll be significant differences.
Geek: Will we get to see a lot about what inspired these characters to carry on the legacy of the 21st-Century League?
DeMatteis: You’re assuming that this isn’t the 21st Century League. Which may or may not be true!
Geek: Are all the characters here versions of existing DC heroes, or will we see some all-new heroes hanging out in the next millennium?
DeMatteis: Well, the Leaguers are versions of icons we all know, but our goal is to introduce lots of new characters and concepts as well.
Geek: With this series being set in the 31st Century, people are almost certain to make Legion of Super Heroes connections. Does this tie in to the Legion at all?
DeMatteis: Legion? What Legion?
Giffen: No. Not at all. There are no Legionnaires in this book. No supporting cast, no Arms-Fall-Off Boy… no one. The most we’ve done is rethink the Fatal Five and Takron Galtos. That’s it. Superman is not Mon-el. Green Lantern is not Rond Vidar. This is NOT the Legion.
Geek: I also can’t help but think just a little bit about “DC 1 Million,” one of my favorite events, when I look at the costume designs, particularly Superman’s. Any influence there?
DeMatteis: I’m embarrassed to say that I have no familiarity whatsoever with DC 1 Million. So—for me, at least—there’s no influence.
Giffen: Howard Porter did the designs (and nailed them first try, right out of the box) so you’d have to ask him. I can tell you, however, that “DC One Million” was invoked.
Geek: Real talk: Is this Flash Wally West? Are we going to finally see him in a New 52 context?
DeMatteis: One thing I can say unequivocally: this is absolutely not Wally West.
Giffen: No! Too harsh? Sorry again, but I’ve got to kill this whole Wally thing before it gets out of hand. Wally never even crossed our minds. Nor Donna. Nor Stephanie. Nor Snapper, nor Binky, nor Casey the Cop, etc., etc.