DC Comics’ Rogues’ Gallery
After the conclusion to DC Comics’ Trinity War by Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire leaves most of the series’ heroes defeated and their Justice Leagues disbanded, the villains in the DC Universe will take over in September for what is being deemed “Villains Month.”
This will be fertile soil for these villains to take over: Each major book in the company’s line will be usurped by multiple villains in separate issues under that title.
Ann Nocenti, writer of Catwoman and Katana, will be releasing both Batman: The Dark Knight # 23.4: Joker’s Daughter and Justice League Dark # 23.1: The Creeper.
Nocenti attributes her love of villains to how much fun they are to write, and how when they do something heroic, it is hard-won and difficult.
She says Jack Ryder, whose body hosts the spirit of the Creeper, is a “bombastic, egomaniac celebrity hound” and that he creates as much chaos in the media through his warped journalism career as the Creeper does in his way.
The Creeper-possessed Jack Ryder is following Katana as she heads to Japan to fix her sword, Soultaker.
For Nocenti, Joker’s Daughter is a completely different change of pace.
“She’s too skinny, like an anorexic teenager, and yet she is spunky and proud of her flaws,” Nocenti says. She says the story spun out of the first drawing of her.
“I took one look at how she was designed, and something kicked in for me: she is beautiful in a horrific way,” Nocenti says.
It’s left unclear if she actually is the descendant of the Clown Prince of Crime. Nocenti says that perhaps she is, but readers will eventually find out; she doesn’t want to spoil anything.
Catwoman runs into Joker’s Daughter as she explores the history of Gotham’s Underground and seeks a lost friend and treasure.
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, the co-writers, were both happy with writing a tale featuring one of the classic rogues of the Batman mythos.
“We were approached with the idea of taking on Mr. Freeze and not only helping define the character but also to give him a new outlet for his particular brand of crazy,” Gray says.
He says that is what everybody loves about Batman and his villains, there is a very real-world psychology in play at all times.
Palmiotti remembers growing up with the character from the comics and the television series.
“I have always been a fan of the character visually because of the suit,” Palmiotti says. “The character always had that wild glass dome, and I loved the idea he has to stay put inside it.”
Gray describes this Freeze as “completely narcissistic and a very sick man but also a little boy with no family.”
In the last Batman Annual, written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, Freeze’s relationship with his mother was explored, but not his father, and Palmiotti and Gray plan to explore that side of his family life.
The writers plan to keep the character in line with the annual and to not retread territory from the film Batman and Robin, in which the character was portrayed “goofy” by Arnold Schwarzenegger, according to the writers.
“After washing the goofy version out of my system with another read of the annual, Jimmy and I hashed out a plan to make Freeze ridiculously violent and inventive,” Gray says. He says he hopes most of it makes it onto the page and is not cut by editorial.
The writers initially discussed making the one-shot tie into their ongoing Batwing series but thought it more important to concentrate on Mr. Freeze himself.
“All of the books are being told to get these bad guys’ stories told, and that helps all the titles that feature them,” Palmiotti says. “Knowing their backgrounds is key to what they do, who they are and understanding the circumstances that got them to the place they are today.”
Brenton Mathena, an employee at Comics City in Canton, recent graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and a freelance artist, is looking forward to the sales of the comics at his store.
“It is an interesting thing where you normally expect superhero books to be told through the eyes of the good guy,” Athena says. “This will be different because it is a world where heroes fail and villains reign supreme.”
He looks forward to what his customers think of those aspects, and sees the store bringing in new customers.
“If we do, most of the customers will probably buy the Batman books,” Mathena says. “If you do not read comic books and go off the other aspects of the entertainment industry, a lot of people love The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises so I imagine a lot of the pull will be toward the Batman villains.”
Personally, he is looking forward to the Green Lantern books, specifically the upcoming Sinestro one-shot.
“I would not mind seeing what happens with the Sinister-Parallax thing, and see if he comes out from exile,” Mathena says.
He hopes readers check out other books beyond those they are normally accustomed to.
Shaun Walker, a customer at the store, says he is most looking to the Green Lantern and Batman villains.
“With Green Lantern, I am looking forward to Sinister and Hector Hammond,” Walker says. “For Batman, the Joker, Penguin and Two Face would be my top picks.”
He is particularly interested in seeing Nocenti’s Joker’s Daughter and finding out who she is and how she is related to the Joker himself.
He does not see himself moving beyond the books he normally reads, though, unless something happens that interests him, he says.
Doug Peltz, another customer, says he is interested in seeing what DC will do with the Green Lantern characters and his favorite villain, Death Stroke.
He thinks he might check out others books but will probably do some browsing when the books hit the shelves.
Ollie Hallal, a customer who comes in every week to the store, says he is interested in seeing what happens with Joker since he has liked everything the company has been doing with the character but feels left out on another Batman rogue.
“I wish they would do more with Bane,” Hallal says.
Hallal’s wishes could be fulfilled when James Tynion IV’s Bane one-shot is released this September.