Remember that little digital comic called INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US? You know, the one which dominated digital sales and received an overwhelming amount of critical acclaim? Well, the creative mind behind the series, Tom Taylor, took some time to chat with us about what it was like to write the weekly comic. And yes, he talks a bit about what we can expect from the book when it returns next year and which characters will receive more attention, too.
Yes, we dive into spoilers, so back out now if you haven't read all of Year One yet!
Comic Vine: First and foremost, congratulations on a very awesome run. There have been A LOT of shockers in the series, but the final two in 35 and 36 were massive. What inspired you to have Superman pull a Bane and have Alfred be the one to humiliate Superman?
Tom Taylor: I always knew I wanted Superman to pull a Bane. Both as an homage to that great series, and as a shorthand to let people know just how bad Superman has become. I knew Clark couldn’t kill Bruce--not yet. But he had to do something. He had to eliminate him as a threat.
As far as Alfred, the manner of that changed a few times in my head but I knew it was always going to be Alfred, essentially Batman’s father, who would deal that blow. I set it up very early on in a brief exchange with Alfred and Superman. And, as soon as I thought of him head-butting Superman, I couldn’t stop grinning. I figured readers would be too, once they read it. I thought Mike S Miller captured it absolutely perfectly too.
CV: It has been stated a couple of times by characters that Wonder Woman is acting out of character in this universe. Do you plan on tackling this down the road or is it just because she firmly believes in what Superman is doing and will do anything to make sure he succeeds?
TT: Honestly, when I read the Injustice game script before I began writing our story, Wonder Woman was so different that I decided to run with that. I know some people have been annoyed at her portrayal in our series and, to tell you the truth, I don’t really like her character in our script either. This was not a Greg Rucka Wonder Woman, a Gail Simone Wonder Woman, a George Perez Wonder Woman, this was something so cold and violent, an almost Lady-Macbeth character to Superman, that she was barely recognizable to me.
I decided I couldn’t bring her character to that point, so I simply accepted that this was another universe, and in this universe, she’s a very different person. It’s important to remember that things are different in the Injustice universe. This is a universe where Lex Luthor is a hero.
I’ll hopefully get to write a truer Wonder Woman one day.
CV: Now for the impossible questions: looking back, what was your favorite scene to write and who was your favorite character to write?
TT: Wow. That is hard.
I can’t name just one. Green Arrow and Harley Quinn were probably my favorite characters to write and their story together in chapter #5 was definitely one of my favorites. Having said that, there were times when most of the characters were my favourite. I try to invest myself completely in every character when I write them. I try to work out how they tick and their motivations, so that their actions make sense.
Being asked to write my own hero, Superman, for the first time, and to have to essentially tear him apart was just awful. To combat this, before the end of year one, before he slipped completely off the deep end, I wrote a single chapter called ‘The Man of Yesterday’.
This was chapter #30. It was probably the most personal story I’ve ever written in comics. It was all about my own feelings about the Supes and kind of about my own life and outlook. I have to say, Bruno Redondo absolutely nailed the art in this chapter.
I also loved the stand-alone Flash story where he visits Australia.
Having said all of that, my favorite scene was probably Alfred at the end.
CV: Were the turn of events in 35 and 36 always what you had in mind or were you perhaps weighing other directions -- and if so, can you elaborate on them?
TT: No. That was always my plan. I wasn’t sure how the thing with Green Arrow was going to play out but I knew that it would be the tipping point for Superman’s character.
CV: The upcoming annual will feature Harley Quinn -- a character many of us love to see you write -- and Lobo. What's the basic premise behind this story and what was it like introducing Lobo to the comic?
TT: Jim Chadwick asked me “Hey, you want to write an Injustice annual?”
I said “Yes.”
He asked, “What will it be about?”
I said, “Harley Quinn and Lobo.”
He said, “Yes!”
That was the original premise. I just wanted to see these two characters in a book together. I wanted to see how they’d play off of each other.
I don’t want to spoil too much but the premise is that Lobo is hired by Superman to bring in Harley. Of course, that’s not why Lobo comes to Earth in the first place…
One thing I should say, for fans of our Harley Quinn and Green Arrow story, is this takes place before the end of the year. A certain Emerald Archer and his Pretty Bird may show up too.
CV: Obviously you can't spoil anything, but could you elaborate a bit about what Injustice's future has in store for us when it returns in 2014? Will we see more characters thrown into the mix or do you plan on shining a spotlight on characters who haven't received much attention thus far?
TT: There will definitely be characters we haven’t seen before. Also, characters I deliberately underused in Year One, particularly Green Lantern, will have a big part to play in this.
Also, if you think Black Canary is just going to go quiet after what happened to the love of her life, you’re very wrong.
And a special group of allies, namely Batwoman, Catwoman and Huntress, may be right there to help Dinah hunt her prey.
CV: The Injustice universe has clearly been a hit for DC, so is there any talk about possibly expanding it down the road?
TT: No. Not yet. But it’s something I could be open to. It’s certainly an interesting time for the characters in this universe, and I think we could certainly spotlight certain characters going forward.
CV: While a sequel to the video game hasn't been announced and we have no idea if one will even happen, would you want to help write the story if the opportunity presents itself? I can't help but imagine this experience has solidified your relationship with both DC and NetherRealm Studios.
TT: I’d definitely be up for helping in any way if such a thing came up. I’ve chatted to the writers a lot over the last year via email and twitter. They like what I’ve done, and I absolutely dig the game.
CV: I HAVE to ask: Scorpion... is there a chance of him merging into the comic as well or is that off the table?
TT: Who knows?
CV: Lastly, what can you tell us about Earth 2 and your creator-owned series, The Deep?
TT: With Earth 2, I can simply say, read it. There’s going to be big talking points in every issue. Nicola Scott and I are having a great time on this series and there’s a whole lot coming that people won’t be expecting.
As far as The Deep, the response to the second book, The Vanishing Island, has been fantastic and we couldn’t be happier with how the CG animated TV series is coming together. Technicolor have just announced a development deal with ABC Australia, so we’re pretty confident it’s all going to happen now. I’ve seen the trailer and it’s so damn pretty.
If you haven’t checked out The Deep yet, please do. Here Be Dragons is now available on Comixology, and the underwater adventures of the Nekton Family is absolutely the most joyous thing I write.
INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US ANNUAL #1 is now on sale and the ongoing series will return in January, 2014. You can follow Tom Taylor on Twitter @TomTaylorMade