It's hard to believe we're already on chapter #19 of writer Tom Taylor's digital comic for Injustice: Gods Among, isn't it? It feels like only yesterday I was blown away by the tragic course of events which kicked everything off. Since then, Taylor has absolutely managed to keep the momentum moving with the series, striking us with plenty of unexpected events and gradually creating an engrossing and unique alternate universe. The latest chapter was all about Batman forming his own team and the need to see what happens next is at an all-time high for me. Luckily, I was able to chat with Taylor about what he has in store for us and somehow Boba Fett and Velociraptors get thrown into the mix.
Heads up! This interview contains full spoilers from the video game and latest chapters!
Comic Vine: Fans of the game knew Dick was destined to die, but the way it happened was a real shocker. That said, not everyone shares my enthusiasm on this one. Some think Nightwing should have blocked the escrima stick. Others think it was uncharacteristic for Damian to throw it in the first place. I'm sure they'd love to hear your response to those complaints.
Tom Taylor: I think there was a bit of confusion about the event. Nightwing is knocked out by the escrima Robin throws and falls, unconscious, onto a bit of debris. However, many people saw this as Nightwing tripping over a rock and dying. The issue was his mask lenses. We couldn't really close his eyes.
As far as blocking the blow, there was no way Nightwing could do anything about it. He was fighting with an Arkham inmate and wasn’t expecting an attack from a friend from behind. With this in mind, if you go back to the beginning of issue #10, you’ll see that this isn’t the first time Robin has done something like this out of frustration. And, rather than have him flat-out kill Dick, I wanted an act of blind anger to inadvertently lead to Dick’s death.
I wanted to remind people that these guys, though incredible athletes and fighters, are still very human, vulnerable and fallible. Of course we want Nightwing to go out in a blaze of glory, in some sort of selfless, glorious, heroic way. Instead, he went out in a senseless, stupid accident. I think readers felt cheated by this death, and that was the idea. People expected an epic death. We've tried to do the unexpected with Injustice. If you didn't like the way Nightwing went out, good. You’re absolutely right. Nightwing shouldn't have died this way. You probably feel cheated by the senselessness of a special life wasted. That’s exactly how we wanted our characters to feel too.
CV: It's clear we're going to see the immediate fallout between Batman and Damian, but are you going to chime in on Damian down the road as well? Will we see him make the decision to wear the red Nightwing attire?
TT: Damian and Bruce will most definitely have a confrontation. I won’t talk about the outcome of that yet.
CV: Will you dive into Hal switching to a Yellow Power Ring?
TT: Honestly, I don’t think we’ll get there in this series. For me, changing Superman’s viewpoint on what it means to protect the world has been a long process. It’s not something that we’ve rushed. I didn’t want Superman to have a tragic event and to then suddenly ‘turn evil’.
I think changing Hal so fundamentally that he goes from green to yellow would take just as many pages as Superman’s story. I don’t want to cheapen anything by taking only ten or twenty pages to see Hal go from the Green Lantern we all know and love to this twisted individual laughing maniacally while stroking a white cat.
CV: Your Harley Quinn and Green Arrow team-up is definitely one of the highlights of the series. We know Green Arrow's future is set in stone -- and it's safe to assume that's something you'll tackle -- so can you perhaps give us a bit of a tease about that tale? Additionally, do you have bigger plans for Harley Quinn?
TT: The Green Lantern / Harley Quinn story is still probably my favorite of the series and I’ve always liked both characters. Green Arrow will definitely appear in our series again, although I won’t say whether I will tackle *that* part of his future. However, I don’t know if Harley has a further part to play in our series at this stage.
I will say that I’ve developed quite a love for Harley Quinn through writing her. I think she’s an amazing woman who should never have to justify a fake moustache.
TT: Yes. Tuesday will see the legend himself, Kevin Maguire, on a Shazam focused tale. And, as for Luthor… well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
CV: This digital comic has become a huge success and I imagine it has solidified your relationship with the publisher. Are you perhaps in talks to write an ongoing within the New 52? A lot of fans would love to see you write N52 Harley Quinn!
TT: At the moment, I’m writing a weekly comic that I love in Injustice. Also, my creator owned series, The Deep, is being turned into a CG animated series by Technicolor, and I’m heavily involved in the writing and development of this. I’ve already given up sleep to work on these two great projects and a few other projects.
CV: How many chapters do you have already written? Also, how many more do you have concrete plans for? Last time we spoke, you said you'd like to see Injustice go on for as long as possible and, considering how much of a financial success it is, I'd like to believe you'll have plenty of time to flesh out this universe.
TT: I have just finished writing chapter 25, and it’s a really fun script. It needs to be fun after the massive, horrible events that happen in chapters 22, 23 and 24.
We definitely have a while longer to run but, that said, I do know which chapter we end with, and I know everything that happens leading up to it.
For anyone who thinks they know the story because they’ve played the game, let me assure you, you don’t. We have many shocks to come. Wait until you see what begins in France, and what happens with Hawkgirl, and the moment Superman’s parents… no, that would be telling.
CV: Has playing the game given you new ideas for chapters or inspired you to use certain characters more? And I have to ask: who's your favorite character to play as?
TT: I had a long epic night playing through all of story mode with five of my close friends. Playing the game, especially playing story mode, definitely solidified a few things for me.
Aquaman is my favorite character to play as. His trident attacks are awesome and, let’s face it, nothing beats being able to feed my friends to a shark.
CV: We know there's going to be at least four downloadable characters. Can we expect to see them in your story? Additionally, fans have been disappointing by Martian Manhunter being limited to a dude in a stage's background. Any chance he'll pop up (this is of course under the assumption he's not DLC)?
CV: The story is being released as physical copies every three chapters, but do you know if we can expect to see a trade or hardcover as well?
TT: Yep. I’m happy to say that the first collected edition will hit in October.
Every print copy has sold out fast so far, so make sure you ask your store to pre order the collected edition.
CV: You've been able to play around in the Star Wars sandbox, most recently with Boba Fett and Darth Maul. Do you think they'd side with Superman or Batman if they were stuck on this alternate Earth?
TT: That’s a great question. Darth Maul would side with neither. Darth Maul would side with himself. Boba Fett would side with whoever had the cash. Bruce Wayne could definitely put a high enough price on Superman’s head to pique Boba’s interest.
Damn. Now I want to see Boba Fett versus Deathstroke.
CV: Is there anything you'd like to share about your other work?
TT: I’d just ask all Comic Vine readers to check out The Deep: Here Be Dragons and The Deep: The Vanishing Island. These books are my babies (aside from my actual children). They follow the adventures of a multiethnic family of underwater explorers who live on a submarine. The series has recently been optioned and artist, James Brouwer, and I are currently working with the great people at Technicolor, developing the Nekton family’s adventures into a 26 episode CG animated series.
If you haven’t read The Deep, it’s a true all-ages story, like a good pixar movie.
It’s not for kids. It’s not for adults. It’s for everyone. And it’s joyous.
It’s kind of the opposite of Injustice.
Writing The Deep is like watching a baby unicorn frolic in a pond with a baby dolphin.
Writing Injustice is like throwing a Velociraptor in there with them ;)
CV: Thanks, Tom!
Tom Taylor can be followed on Twitter @TomTaylorMade
The next digital chapter of INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US will hit the web tomorrow (5/21/13).
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. This is the part where he shamelessly plugs his Twitter page in hopes of getting a new follower or two.