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Interview: Geoff Johns Talks Aquaman, Justice League and 'Throne of Atlantis'

It's the beginning of a new arc that will change Aquaman and the Justice League.


It was unfortunate news when it was announced that Ivan Reis and Joe Prado would be leaving AQUAMAN. The good news was they weren't going far as they are headed over to JUSTICE LEAGUE beginning with issue #15, on sale December 26. To make this even more exciting, we are about to see the beginning of a major crossover between the two titles as Throne of Atlantis is set to make some changes for the characters.

We had the opportunity to talk with the man behind the upcoming events impacting both titles, Geoff Johns.

Comic Vine: Would you consider this a definitive Aquaman arc or do you have something even larger planned for him?

Geoff Johns: That's a good question. I hope this is the definitive arc that defines Aquaman's relationship with Atlantis.

CV: You've stated that Throne of Atlantis is going to answer a lot of questions like what Atlantis is capable of and why they exist and who sank Atlantis. By the end of the story, will we have all the answers to all these questions or do you plan on continuing to string the reader on?

GJ: You'll have the answer to most of the questions. Really the main question in the book is why did this war start? That's a mystery in the storyline that gets unfolded.

== TEASER ==
JUSTICE LEAGUE #15, variant cover
JUSTICE LEAGUE #15, variant cover

CV: While this story will obviously have an impact on Aquaman, how much will it affect the Justice League as a team?

GJ: There's something that happens in JUSTICE LEAGUE #16 that will change the team from here on out. With Ivan Reis and Joe Prado taking on JUSTICE LEAGUE #16, we've worked on GREEN LANTERN, Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night, AQUAMAN now and JUSTICE LEAGUE, Ivan, Joe and have worked together for so long, the tone of what we do is very epic. What I want to do with JUSTICE LEAGUE, Throne of Atlantis is the first arc, is very character driven. It's a very character centered epic story. I want to make them the biggest stories possible.

Doing a Justice League story that focuses on Aquaman, we're going to make it the biggest and best story we can possible can. We're really delving into the character and what he means for the team and what the team means for him. Also how his presence on the team affects the team. The League should be tackling the biggest and most threatening things in the universe, in the world. One of those is going to be Atlantis. A threat from our own planet, a threat from a world below the ocean waters.

The team should be completely different if Aquaman is on the team. Without him they function a completely different way. Every character is vital like that. This is just the first chapter as we go into the second year of the New 52. This is the first chapter in what will hopefully be the building blocks of a really big epic run of what Ivan, Joe and I are trying to do on the book.


CV: Aquaman's brother, Ocean Master, seems to play a key role in all of this. What was your biggest struggle with bringing him over to the New 52 and incorporating him into this world?

GJ: It wasn't so much a struggle as much as I wanted to look at Orm when he's not yet called 'Ocean Master.' He kind of does something different. Even Aquaman says, "My brother's not a supervillain." And he's not. He's a guy that's trying to do the best for his people. Orm doesn't hate Arthur. He doesn't really know why he chooses to live the life he lives. People feel sorry for him in a weird way.

Orm is not a malicious being. He's an Atlantean. And he's armed with that Atlantean pride and culture which is extremely different than ours. We'll see what that is and he has a vastly bizarre perspective on the surface world, which is shared by all the Atlanteans.

The storyline will hopefully explore the contrast between the world that Arthur lives in here and the world he was living in below the waters. We'll see why Arthur, for a time, behaved a certain way. We'll see why Atlantis would attack the surface world and have a certain hate and opinion on who we are up here. We're hoping to take the complexity of, I've said it before, what war is today. What sets war off? What motivates war?

It's not just Atlantis going, "Let's destroy them." There's got to be something specific there. The perception of us is a huge key part of that. We touched a little on that in AQUAMAN #14 but really JUSTICE LEAGUE #15 and AQUAMAN #15 kick it off in a different way. My goal is, just like I delved into Sinestro or Black Adam or the Rogues or any of these villains, I want to look at Orm and Ocean Master and crack him open in a different way. I want to make him into a character that I can really understand and get behind.

I actually know what Orm's arc is for the next year. I understand who that character is. He's very different than Sinestro. He's very different than Black Hand or any of these other villains. I think he's going to be just as compelling and complex. He's unlike any other supervillain out there.


CV: It seems from the first 6 issues of AQUAMAN that this is an event you've been planning for quite some time. When did you originally start planning this event?

GJ: I started planning this around issue #1. I wanted the first year of JUSTICE LEAGUE to be world building and setting the stage for the team. In the second year I wanted to do a wave of stories that would be big epic building blocks for what the whole arc will be. Big epic building blocks that will focus on the characters and get the Justice League tangled in each other's lives. We'll explore the characters in these big world threatening events and the first was always going to be Aquaman.

CV: In issue five, when Aquaman is lost in the desert, it seems the Atlanteans may have also had dealings with the Trench. Will we see a return of those creatures or were they all killed off?

GJ: You'll see a return of them...


CV: What obstacles do the Justice League have to overcome in order to work together as a team during this arc?

GJ: Aquaman.

There's a lot of complexity here. The League is going to have to do two things. One of them is going to have to do with Aquaman and understanding him a little bit better. The other is going to have to be reconsidering what their team is, what the Justice League could mean.

CV: How will Superman and Wonder Woman's new blossoming relationship play a role into 'Throne of Atlantis'?

GJ: It's front and center in the first issue. Ivan Reis and Joe Prado draw the most beautiful characters together. They have probably my favorite scenes in JUSTICE LEAGUE #15. It's going slow because that's what a relationship is. This isn't just a relationship that's being explored and a story that's being told. You'll see a pretty significant movement in JUSTICE LEAGUE #15.

CV: How plausible would it be if The Others got their own on-going or mini-series?

GJ: Extremely plausible…


CV: Do you think it's possible for Aquaman to be the king of Atlantis and a member of the Justice League at the same time?

GJ: I think that's debatable. The story will explore that.

CV: What about Aqualad?

GJ: …There's plans for a lot of Atlanteans but I can't get into any specifics right now. I don't want to spoil anything.

Part 1 of Throne of Atlantis begins in JUSTICE LEAGUE #15, on sale December 26. Part 2 continues in AQUAMAN #15, also on sale December 26.