JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA

Brad Meltzer's Justice League Reader Q&A Answers

Part One

22 August 2006 • from Newsarama

In order to help mark the launch of one of the most anticipated new ongoing series in the last few years, and certainly the most anticipated run of DC's Justice League of America since Grant Morrison reinvigorated the franchise with JLA, we asked for your questions for series writer Brad Meltzer. And you all sent them… a lot of them…

So over the weekend Meltzer, the bestselling author and writer of Identity Crisis got up from his keyword, and well… sat right back down and answered them … EVERYONE.ONE.WE.SENT.HIM. Nineteen pages worth, in fact - enough to warrant today's planned Brad Meltzer's Justice League Reader Q&A Answers to become Brad Meltzer's Justice League Reader Q&A Answers - PART ONE. Look for Part 2 tomorrow morning EST (right before Justice League of America #0 goes on sale). But until then, enjoy Part 1. Format is simple: your questions marked with a “Q:”, followed by Brad Meltzer's answers in bold.

Q: What kind of threats are we gonna see this new team have to join forces to deal with? Classic League villains or brand-new earth-shattering menaces? And if it's the classics, any hints as to how many and which ones?

Many old. And a few new, including the relative of a former Leaguer...

Q: If you added up the numbers of ALL the previous Justice League series, the next issue would have been #500. Why did you choose not to take this route? Was it ever a consideration?

I so wanted to do this. I loved it. Just like I loved it when Marvel did it. But if we just copied it, we might as well've called it JLA: Disassembled. That was their great idea. We have to find our own.

Q: Are you going to use the series to raise the status of any new or dusty characters? Especially Legacy characters, since that's one of the strongest and most interesting aspects of the DCU.

I'll certainly try my best. There're 5 characters that I've really fallen in love with.

Q: Will the location of the JLA's new HQ be on Earth, on the moon or floating in space?

Issue 7.

Q: Is this team based on the TV show, Justice League Unlimited, or any other previous line-up?

All of them -- that's the best way the team works -- to build on what's come before.

Q: Also, is any of the members characters who never been in the JLA before?

Yes.

Q: And lastly, is Ambush Bug a part of the team?

Nope. Love the bug. And Polar Boy.

Q: When's your new novel coming out? And are you touring?

September 5th. The Book of Fate. Check out www.bradmeltzer.com or http://myspace.com/bradmeltzer for tour details, which'll come soon. And yes, I'll sign comics on the tour for all those who have been emailing me.

Q: You plant that question?

Like a farmer plants rutabagas.

Q: Would you mind explaining what it is about these characters that appeals to you so much that you want to write about them in particular? With the success you had with Identity Crisis, I'd imagine you'd be able to write almost any characters you had an inclination to.... so why the JLA? Is it the particular characters involved, or the context, or the interactions, or your familiarity with them... or is it something else entirely?

I sat here for a bit thinking about this. The decision to write the book was a primal one – one I leapt to without even thinking because I wanted it that bad. So, to truly pull it apart and see where the gears and levers are: I think it's the interactions between the characters…which are so familiar…which in turn bring me so instantly back to my fondest moments of childhood. That's the mix in the pot. When I was little, the JLA was the greatest ideal out there (even better than the ideals of Superman). The JLA ideal was simple: that if everything went wrong, if it all fell apart, there'd be friends who would help me, be there for me, hold me up – no matter what – when I needed them. I wish for that ideal today as much as I did when I was eight. It's what every single one of my novels is about: the trust of your friends and loved ones. And the JLA was where it started.

Q: The real question is Donna or Diana, who will it be?

Allan will kill me. You'll see.

Q: And can you clear up fan's confusion on that matter?

Read Wonder Woman. Allan Heinberg's incredible.

Q: Are there any other Bat-family members (besides Batman) on the new team?

You mean, is Nightwing on it? Nice try.

Q: With DC's recent push to include more diverse characters in its universe, is it safe to say that the new JLA will share this more culturally representative vision of America and the world? And if so, how do you balance that against accusations of tokenism?

Ah, the first of many questions I can't win. So…when it comes to so-called “token” characters…well, lemme say it like this: All any writer wants is to pick characters they can write the crap outta. In a world of green, yellow, red, black, white, etc people, you really have to pick the characters you like best. If you don't, that's when it'll stand out.

Q: Why the hate'n on Guy Gardner in Wizard? Some still think of Guy as the idiot from the JLI, but read Crisis, Green Lantern, and GL Corps. Guy is a true leader and is one of the best Green Lanterns around. I understand wanting Hal or another, but why bust chops?

I thought my comment in Wizard was a compliment to Guy. Love him. That's why he's in zero.

Q: How much love do you have for the Zatanna character?

Tons.

Q: Will we be seeing her do something other than a cameo in your JLA story (I'm not asking if she's a member)?

You'll see.

Q: I liked the locker room scene between him and Ollie in Identity Crisis since it's always good to see this underused character. How do you feel about the character of Connor Hawke as a character?

Love him. See The Archer's Quest for proof.

Q: How many Leaguers will there be in total? I liked the Bronze Age League where there were about 15 members with a different mix for each story.

10, then 11. Then the crossover, when we get real big

Q: Do you enjoy writing Kyle Rayner or do you not like him?

Love him -- really love him. Felt like his POV was vital to calling the old League out in Identity Crisis.

Q: Will the book have a Satellite era feel?

And a Morrison feel and a Silver Age feel and ever other great era I can squeeze in there.

Q: Once you've established the new League and a new Society gets going, will you bring back an annual crossover event between the two teams?

Been working that one out in my head since before Identity Crisis. Done deal. Geoff and I are on it.

Q: And the $900,000 follow-up: Why or why not?

Because the annual meetings were the best.

Q: What is the Justice League's function in the DC Universe? Is there a need for both a Justice League and a Justice Society, what do you see as the fundamental difference between the two? Will this be a continuity influenced or more iconically influenced book

Continuity is iconic--they're so the same, especially today. If it's not iconic, it doesn't survive that long. Sad but true. As for function, I think the JSA teaches. And the JLA fights. Hard.

Q: Since the Shadowpact is around, will the JLA need a magician or deal with supernatural threats?

Everyone needs a magician.

Q: And what do you think of Zauriel? Can he guest star soon?

Like him, but it's hard to find threats to take on God.

Q: As a writer, what do you prefer to see - the entire League taking on a cosmic menace, or small groups of Leaguers taking on smaller, more localized issues?

I like smaller groups realizing they need to be larger groups.

Q: On the cover to Issue 1:

Q: 1. Who is the Green Lantern in the back row to the right of Captain Marvel? Not Guy Gardner, the other one?

Nice try.

Q: 2. Whose hand is holding the membership cards?

Mine.

Q: 3. How long until we see an Injustice League?

Longer than I'd like.

Q: At one point during the Morrison run, it looked like the JLA (and the DCU in general) was really promoting the young guns; namely, Kyle, Wally, and Connor. Not only did it create an interesting sub-group within the team that gelled together really well, but it allowed some younger voices on the team that younger readers could perhaps relate to a bit more. With what seems to be the return to the silver-age (i.e. older) team, will there be any thought given to once again having some 20-something-yr-old heroes on the team? Maybe even some completely new faces?

Oh yes.

Q: Do you see the JLA as a set number and not the way the TV show went which was to take the old Avengers idea that every one is in the League, they just call up those they need for specific missions?

I always liked the idea that there's a set group, but if you need a specialty -- say animals -- you could call Animal Man and he's in for that adventure. Like Metamorpho in the Silver Age stories. Like the Metal Men in Identity Crisis.

Q: Have to ask, is the fact that Diana doesn't like Nightwing her feelings or Dan DiDios?

She's making a joke. Really. Read it again.

Q: Will you be featuring any post Crisis era DC characters (Kyle Rayner, Conner Hawke, John Henry Irons, Linda Danvers, etc) in your roster?

You'll see.

Q: With all of the past incarnations of the League and many of the stars being featured in present books, will there be a chance of seeing some fan favorites as reservists (along the lines of the JSA or Teen Titans books)?

I like to think there's some favorites on the actual team.

Q: So is Kate (Manhunter) Spencer More likely to show up in Justice League or Justice Society?

I can only speak for one of them. (see how I did that?)

Q: Also, since Batman is all about second chances now (himself, Dent, and Bullock) think he might be willing to give Huntress a second crack at the League, I think she has more than proven herself.

I agree.

Q: There are a lot of new versions of old Leaguers in the DCU right now (Atom, Firestorm, Flash, Blue Beetle, etc.). Will this League have the opportunity to work with any of the new faces anytime soon, and if so, how would they react to those "rookies"?

The League is about chances, but it's also about stepping up and proving yourself.

Q: Do you like the Question?

Love him with all my man love.

Q: What are the odds we'll see Connor Hawke or Roy Harper?

Pretty good -- especially if Ollie's on the team.

Q: From what I read in that 3-page preview, it could be inferred that there are going to be three Justice League teams, each one run by a different general from the DC Trinity. Is this possible?

Possible. In fact, my first pitch for the book was to have two teams—one of them a Legion Espionage Squad.

Q: We're seeing a lot of new heroes that are a bit too old to be in the Teen Titans but too green to be in the JLA. Will there be a training league like the Teen Titans but more akin to the Justice League Task Force?

Training in issue 8.

Q: How does one distinguish between a JLA member and a JSA member? Is it based solely on legacy and origins?

It's like defining pornography. You know it when you see it.

Q: Why the emphasis on America? Will we see countries besides China develop their own leagues?

That's a nice idea.

Q: I really enjoyed your run on Green Arrow and, of course, Identity Crisis. Will your approach to JLA be more similar in tone to G.A. (which was more light-hearted and fun) or I.C. (which was, definitely, the most 'hard-core' I've ever seen the core DCU characters)?

I see no difference in tone between the two. Both put the characters through their worst and best moments. The biggest battles in life aren't always fistfights.

Q: Initial reports seem to show no Flash in this incarnation of the team. How long before we get a speedster joining?

Not too long.

Q: If you had to pick, which prior era of the Justice League would your run most feel like in tone?

Satellite for character arcs...Silver Age and Morrison in adventure...plus something new.

Q: How many issues are you committed for on this title?

13.

Q: Will the cosmic egg left over from the JLA/Avengers cross over show up any time soon?

I wish. I pitched that already too.

Q: Will there be "Reserve" members, or are you concentrating on a set team?

Set team.

Q: Will you reveal how many members yet?

10, then 11.

Q: With the formation of an all-new League; will there be a "core" table of members, or will everyone be considered equals-including opinions?

That's what the first arc is about.

Q: Will you be including any reactions from heroes that are not asked to join the new League? Especially those heroes who may have been a member of previous rosters?

Yes.

Q: Why do you hate J'onn?

I never said I hated him. I said I love him – but I think he's a hard character for me to step into.

Q: Will membership simply be a "key" to league headquarters, or will members actually work and train together for more efficient teamwork?

Train, live, work. It's an army. It's a family.

Q: Any chance the mutual attraction between Diana and Bruce will be addressed in JLA since Bruce's personality is a little "softer" OYL?

Love can bloom.

Q: "My father tried to save the world by himself. He failed." Q: Is Superman referring to Jor-El, or Kal-L?

'twould explain how he's been around since 1938...

Jor-El.

Q: Do you see the Justice League more as an elite group of superheroes (meaning, membership should be limited), or more like a club that many may join?

An elite club that can be joined by many. (see how lawyers work?)

Q: Will there be only one artist on your entire JLA run, Ed Benes, or will we see a few different artists during your run???

Depends how fast Ed is. Go, Ed, go! :)

Q: Will you re-design, re-imagine, bring back any old Justice League villains that just seem outdated or just have not been seen in a long, long time???

Yes-- but they don't need reimagining. Just some respecting.

Q: How long will the initial lineup established in the first arc stay in place? (or phrased another way - will the initial lineup change in the short term?

I hope not.

Q: What are you favorite issues of the original Justice League of America run and how will those play into your issues?

7 Soldiers. Perez's SSSV story. The brain switch SSSV story. Rock of Ages. Starbreaker. Paragon. One of them is coming back in a new way.

Q: I remember you mentioning on NPR how difficult it was to write Batman during Identity Crisis. Did you find it easier to write Batman this time around?

I did. Before Identity Crisis, I said I was determined to bring him back to Earth -- to make him less superhuman and more human again. He'd gotten too...dicky. Now he's a bit more accessible as we refind the man inside.

Q: Some characters are extremely powerful and some are street level. Batman obviously makes up for it by taking the tactician role. How do you handle having more than one street level fighter on a team that also has characters capable of fighting entire armies?

Very carefully. (learned that on LA Law)

Q: Will we be seeing Zauriel at all?

See above.

Q: The last JLA series was very event-driven for the most part, starting with Grant Morrison's long run on the series. How will your run on the series differ? How will it be similar?

I think event driven is great -- but event driven can also be about someone's life.

Q: Almost every incarnation of the JLA has been different than the previous version in one way or another, will your JLA be different because of the new/old members interactions with one another or because of the foes and challenges the new JLA will encounter?

As with any story, it's all in the execution. It all has to work together.

Q: Can you speak to the JLA history retcon, where Diana is now a founder of the Justice League again now? Was this your request? Or DC's?

Mine. And it worked with DC's plan.

Q: I can understand real world reasons for a writer not to include characters they may not like, like Plastic Man or Martian Manhunter (or put Hal in as the Lantern instead of John Stewart), but will the title address story reasons for some of these absences? Like, will it be explained why J'onn's sitting this one out, or what Plas has going on that's so important he can't stay on the League any more?

Yes.

Q: Will you be inventing new threats? I'm kind of sick of the Key, Starro, Despero, and Kanjar Ro and the like recurring over and over.

I agree. But I also love half of those.

Q: Is the League going to have a rotating cast a la the cartoon series, Justice League Unlimited? Or will it have - at least for a while - a pretty steady and stagnant cast of heroes?

Steady.

Q: What are you trying to accomplish on your run of Justice League aside from trying to tell great stories?

To show you these heroes in a way that's totally true to each of their characters.

Q: Do you see space/cosmic adventures of the team in the near future, or do you prefer more earthbound stories?

Earth. Always prefer Earth. Though we hit space in JLA/JSA.

Q: Will we see Snapper Carr?

Yes.

Q: Much like Diana's comment about fixing what they broke, do you feel responsible for bringing back the team after it was your story that was the catalyst for breaking it up?

I feel tremendous guilt in my life over a huge variety of things. But even I don't feel ALL the guilt for that. (Just some of it.)

Q: One problem that often hits "big" team books like this one, is stuff happening within your book that blatantly contradicts stuff going on in the characters regular books. I know DC explains it by saying not everything is happening at the same time but that explanation can only go so far sometimes... are you taking any measures (e.g. conferencing with the writers of the big three titles at least) to try and keep things consistent.

Geoff, that you?

Q: Why "...Of America"? Isn't the Justice League supposed to be about protecting the entire planet? Wonder Woman isn't even American. Doesn't the name 'Justice League of America' sound like they put the interests of one country over the others... and doesn't that idea go against what they are supposed to be about? As an example, Green Lanterns by their very job description are supposed to take the larger view.

But that's still what they called the team when they got turned into trees. History must matter for something. I can't -- nor would I want -- to just throw that away.

Q: Will there be a nuclear man on the team (this doesn't necessarily have to mean the nuclear man who has the phrase "nuclear man" in the title of his series).

Would Captain Atom count for that? Then no.

Q: How do you see the JLA philosophically? Morrison saw the league as "gods who catch humanity when they fall." Giffen saw the League as an "international peacekeeping force that holds allegiance to the world, and not just America." Kelly saw the League as a group that holds together based on their friendship and their "responsibility to work the job of saving the world on a constant basis."

All three are right -- not a single contradicts another. Plus, I see them as a group and a force bound together by their human and superhuman needs.

Q: What is your JLA philosophy? Who are these people as a group and how do they deal with the world's problems?

They struggle -- with the problems and with themselves. Just like the rest of us.

Q: How do you define the world's greatest superheroes?

See above. I love that they're flawed. I love that they're us. And better than us. And worse than us.

Q: And how is it different from previous definitions of the Justice League of America?

See above.

Q: Your previous outing with JLA characters, Identity Crisis, was a comic book that many would argue is not all-ages friendly. Is your JLA series going to be aimed at all ages or at adults?

All ages.

Q: 1. Subplots across arcs, or an ongoing "direction" for the book? (as opposed to disaster-of-the-month stories, like in the JLA's early days)

Both.

Q: 2. Longer story arcs or shorter arcs? A mix?

Total mix. 7 issue arc, then 5, then 1 and 1 -- but all linked.

Q: 3. Any stand-alone stories?

Yes. Love stand-alone stories.

Q: 4. Smaller-scaled team-ups (half the team, sometimes 3-4 Leaguers)? Even stories without one or all of the big 3 (Supes, Bats and Wondy)?

Yes and yes.

Q: Which character did you most want to include on the team, but could not?

Got who I wanted.

Q: Is there a big story that you have been brought on board to set up or tell rather than just doing a general run of stories? Should we be looking for clues from the very outset?

Slightly and yes.

Q: Who is your favorite Justice League member and why?

The new one. And Batman. I just love how they both bounce off of every other character they encounter.

Q: Taking into account the recent changes resulting in a "nicer", more trusting Batman. Will we see him struggle sometimes to keep from reverting to his old self? Or can we expect him to be fully comfortable in his new mindset?

I'm watching him closely.

Q: Will this team be built editorially with a nod to a mythical pantheon of gods, and if so, which one?

You'll see on this one.

Q: You've got 30 words, one lede graf, to convince me this new, team-based series is special enough to buy over anything else the market has been exposed to. And don't try to slip in any clichés or hyperbole -- your editor will chew it up and spit it out. What do you say?

The characters truly live. Wait for issue 6. I put you in the book. There, I did with half the words you asked me to use. There. 30. Smart ass.

Q: Since the Infinite Crisis has restored Wonder Woman to League founder, how does that affect the status of other retconned members particularly Katar and Shayera Hol?

Call Geoff. He makes me call him Carter.

Q: Since you are a fan of the Satellite era, do you see these two Hawks being integral to the JLA, the way Wonder Woman was restored to status?

Yes.

Q: Will there be a roll call at the beginning of each issue?

Love the roll call. One of the first things I did.

For more JLA action, keep an eye on the boards and blogs of bradmeltzer.com and myspace.com/bradmeltzer. Most important, thanks to Ed Benes, Dick Giordano, Gene Ha, Tony Harris, Michael Turner, Phil Jimenez, Dan Jurgens, Adam Kubert, Andy Kubert, Jim Lee, Kevin Maguire, Luke McDonnell, Rags Morales, George Perez, Howard Porter, Ethan Van Sciver, Eric Wight, and J.H. Williams – the true stars of issue zero. To DiDio and Eddie for the chance. And thanks to all who believe in the League.

End of Part 1. Read Part 2 …

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