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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.

Avatar image for cyberchop979
Posted By cyberchop979

Man, that Billy Tucci variant cover is AMAZING!

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Posted By cc1738

OMG, can't wait.

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Posted By ReadItNow

With a year into the titles, were all set and ready for some awsome arcs!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for DanialCarroll
Posted By DanialCarroll
CV: How plausible would it be if The Others got their own on-going or mini-series?
GJ: Extremely plausible…

You just made my day! :D

Aquaman is my favourite DC title at the moment and I am sooooooooooooooo excited for this arc.

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Posted By xtremekidx

i consider it a rare event to have interview of geoff johns....are there any recent podcast that feature him????

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Posted By doordoor123

I feel like the first year was just build up for the second year. The second year looks much more promising.

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Posted By Bestostero

focuses on Aquaman? hurray!

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Posted By inferiorego

@Danial79 said:

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

You just made my day! :D

Aquaman is my favourite DC title at the moment and I am sooooooooooooooo excited for this arc.

That also made my day.

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Posted By fables87

@cyberchop979 said:

Man, that Billy Tucci variant cover is AMAZING!

I agree!

Avatar image for dantetheredknight
Posted By DanteTheRedKnight

I wish they had done The Others as an ongoing series instead of Talon. To me the court of owls is like a one time thing.

Avatar image for lifeboy
Edited By lifeboy
Cool. Nice interview mat.
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Posted By Press Oblivion

That variant cover for Justice League 15 is brilliant! I love it!

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Posted By The Stegman

I will get that variant cover....I MUST get it.

Avatar image for broo1232
Posted By broo1232

I don't buy either books but since I might get some money for Christmas I may actually get it!

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Edited By fodigg


My only complaints about this cover are:

  • Wonder Woman's waist is a tad too tiny. even with "it's superhero comics" in mind.
  • That's not Wally West in the Flash suit.

If anyone is unaware of what the variant is referencing, it's the iconic painting THE GREAT WAVE OFF KANAGAWA:

Avatar image for icon
Posted By Icon

This is going to be awesome. And I love that variant.

Avatar image for miss_garrick
Posted By Miss_Garrick

YAY!! I'm so happy how Aquaman is cool again! I used to think I was the only person who liked him in the pre New 52 days.


Avatar image for jinxuandi
Posted By jinxuandi

Very excited about this arc. I would definitely pick up an "Others" spinoff book if it were well written.

Avatar image for smashbrawler
Posted By SmashBrawler

Can't wait for this. And yes, that variant is awesome.

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Posted By Spideycap

Interesting stuff, the variant kicks ass and the interiors there with Bats are greatness.

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Posted By deadpool25mm

Cant wait! im allready reading both of these series :).

Avatar image for kzr
Posted By KZR

I'm definitely liking the development of Aquaman. Awesome variant cover as well.

@Miss_Garrick: Thank god someone said it for me but I'll repeat it again anyway:


Avatar image for knightrise
Posted By KnightRise

Ocean Master looks amazing, like he's Aquaman's Zod while Manta is his Luthor. Can't wait for this arc!!

Did Batman take that child out of his utility belt?

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Posted By Raw_Material

Can;t wait to see this crossover occur. Will be catching up on readings from Green Lantern, JLA, & Aquaman this week for sure.

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Posted By JLDoom

This looks amazingly awesome!

Avatar image for garrettsgonewild
Posted By garrettsgonewild

Yay finally we get aqualad back! It's taking like two years of the new 52 but please let it be Garth!

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Posted By Miss_Garrick

@KZR: Suffering Sailfish! I'm glad someone agrees with my declaration of PLEASE BRING BACK GARTH!!

Avatar image for brit
Posted By Brit

"We'll explore the characters in these big world threatening events and the first was always going to be Aquaman." - awesome just plainly awesome...

Avatar image for redheadedatrocitus
Posted By RedheadedAtrocitus

Extremely plausible if The Others get their own ongoing or mini?! O_o Geoff Johns you have just impressed me all over again! And kinda sucks he couldn't go more into detail about Aqualad but ah well, I'll be patient...

Avatar image for davidgrantlloyd
Posted By davidgrantlloyd

Looking forward to this! Justice League rocks!

Avatar image for entropy_aegis
Posted By entropy_aegis

Night of the Owls,Death of the Family,He'l on Earth,Rise of the Third Army,Wrath of the First Lantern and Throne of Atlantis all in a span of a single year with Trinity War soon to follow,yup DC is now Marvel comics.

Just wait for Day of the Riddler,Doomsday on Krypton,Death of the Last Lantern and Final Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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Posted By Stormbox

This looks epic!!

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Posted By Jonny_Anonymous

I hope Johns stays on Aquaman