(CBR) Summer 2013 gave DC Comics readers the beginning of “Trinity War,” the New 52’s first large-scale event pitting the Justice League, Justice League Dark and the Justice League of America against each other. Orchestrated by writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes (“Trinity Of Sin: Pandora”) and J.M. DeMatteis (“Trinity Of Sin: The Phantom Stranger”), Johns told CBR News during Comic-Con International 2013 that the end of “Trinity War” is no secret: the bad guys will win.
“The whole idea was to put the villains in the spotlight, unite the villains before we unite the heroes, and kind of contrast our villains, like Lex Luthor, Captain Cold, Catwoman, Black Adam and the Joker and see the differences between them,” Johns explained, speaking from the red carpet of DC’s Superman 75 Anniversary party in San Diego.
To this end, the “Trinity War” event keeps going in September, rolling into Johns and artist David Finch’s “Forever Evil” miniseries, along with several other “Forever Evil” branded books looking at different groups of villains and written by Brian Buccellato (“Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion”), Matt Kindt (“Forever Evil: ARGUS”) and Peter Tomasi (“Forever Evil: Arkham War”).
Stating that this plan had been in the works for “quite a while,” Johns continued, “We’ve never really seen the villains unmasked before, so to us it felt like something new and exciting.
“I love super villains so it was just a chance to explore the DC Universe in a different way, a way people don’t usually see. This story kind of dictated that; the heroes have never come together and this is going to force them to,” Johns added.
After the successful ousting of the Justice League heroes by the DC villains and the mysterious Crime Syndicate, Lex Luthor takes the initiative, along with a group of his fellow super villains, to impose some sort of order on the DC Universe. While Johns may have made a name for himself among fans writing morally ambiguous and sympathetic villains — most notably Sinestro in his recently concluded “Green Lantern” run — his reasons for choosing Lex as the de-facto leader had more to do with the way the story will shape up over the coming months.
“The story will kind of show you why Lex is the leader — and the story is not what I think anyone believes or thinks yet. No one’s guessed what the story really is yet,” Johns said. “Lex plays a very different role than what everyone thinks he’ll play. He kind of sees himself as the hero, so he’s the hero of the story in a weird way.”
Luthor is not the only villain getting the Johns treatment in his miniseries, the cast also includes Bizzaro and the pair-up of Black Adam and Sinestro, two characters Johns discovered were “a lot of fun” to write together.