The World’s Finest are coming back, and no, not Power Girl and Huntress, I mean the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel teaming up in their own book once again. Greg Pak, the writer for Batman/Superman, has many ideas and goals for this new take on the first Batman and Superman crossover that isn’t explored in other comics like the cameos in Batman’s books, in Superman’s books, and their shared Justice League book. Speaking of Power Girl and Huntress, Pak intends to throw Batman and Superman into Earth-2 for an adventure, a world where they were a little older, and a little more seasoned, much like the old Earth-2. While we’ve seen Batman and Superman interact, Pak intends to show their first meetings, and how their relationship works, not just professionally, but as friends. We’ve already seen a hint of that in the recent Batman backup comic, and Justice League, but this whole book will be built around that. Dynamic characters, two of the biggest titans of the DC Universe, and their partnership as well as their personal connection to one another. Newsarama sat down Greg Pak for an interview and he was asked if he felt it was daunting that his first work in the New 52 would be this kind of large book with two of the biggest names in DC Comics.
Yeah, I mean, it’s a ridiculously huge and exciting opportunity. I’m just really grateful. And it’s a funny thing, because like everybody, I’ve thought about Batman and Superman for years. You know? Just in my head, as a comics reader. I’ve loved the characters forever, so when I started writing comics professionally, of course, I would think about, “What would I do if I had a chance to write a Superman story or a Batman story?” And I’ll be honest: For a long time, I was kind of intimidated by just the notion of it. These characters are the most iconic superheroes on the planet. And that’s a huge thing to think about tackling.
But when it came down to it, when I actually had a shot at doing it, I put on my writers’ hat and started thinking about it seriously — and also looked at the lay of the land at DC and realized how much of an incredible opportunity the editors and writers had created by taking the huge plunge and launching the New 52, and starting these characters from scratch, and giving all kinds of new entry points and creating interesting, new angles on some of these characters. It all just started to fall into place in a really nice way.
Since this is book will start around the beginning of the New 52, we still have a very raw and new Superman, and a Batman that’s just starting out. What happens when you put them together? Pak admits he’s grateful that he has this period of time in particular to write these characters to see exactly what would happen.
Yeah, I think I’m really lucky to be coming on board at a time, and being able to build the story around Morrison’s Action Comics #1, because that’s a point where you’ve got a very young and raw Superman. He’s kind of a cocky crusader. He takes risks. He’s young enough that he might make some mistakes. His heart is always in the right place, but he’s much more raw and rash than the Superman we knew before — the older Superman. So you take that Superman, and you put him in a story with Batman, who is similarly a younger guy, newer to the whole thing. And similarly younger and cockier. And you put them together at a time when neither of them has even heard of each other. So the first time they meet, each of these guys are going to think the other guy is the most dangerous guy on the planet. And sparks fly. And it’s just a really fun and exciting place to start a story with these two iconic characters.
Greg Pak also took a little time to talk about the first arc, which throws our heroes into Earth-2.
All that we’ve revealed is what’s in that solicit, but yes, indeed, they’re going to Earth 2. I’m really excited about this story because, like I said, we’ve got the young, raw Superman and Batman from our world, and now they’re going to meet an older, more experienced and, frankly, stronger and better Superman and Batman. And also, the Earth 2 Superman and Batman have a very different relationship from the Superman and Batman in our world at this point in time. So they’re going to be challenged on all sorts of levels. And of course, there’s going to be be another threat — a sort of a big, worlds-threatening threat that all four of these characters are going to have to figure out what their response is going to be. There are going to be some great opportunities for all these characters to be challenged on multiple levels. And it’s just really rich, meaty stuff. I’m having a blast with it.
Pak also mentioned that this book will take place before the Apokolips War, in which Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman died protecting their world, so it gives our heroes a chance to see how they are on this different, parallel Earth. Greg Pak keeps using the phrase that this story arc and the book in general are ‘epic’. Pak’s no stranger to making dynamic stories, like his celebrated run on Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk. The relationship between the Man of Tomorrow and the Caped Crusader are going to define the book’s tone well after the first arc, much like the old Superman/Batman book prior to the New 52.
I think there are two things going on there. One is, yeah, this is a world-spanning story. I think when you go to Earth-2, just that in itself deserves the “epic” tag. But I also think we’re having a chance to explore this relationship between these characters at different times — both in the past and present, at different times in their life — and we can really see that grow and develop, see how these two guys become heroes. If there is a friendship that’s going to develop, how will that happen? Are they going to kill each other? Are they going to be friends? Anything is possible. That feels like an epic relationship story that’s going to play out over the course of this book. For any story to work, you’ve got to have great characters in the center, and the emotional story has to be something we can all care about. And in this story, there’s so much to play with in this relationship. I’m loving it.
As you can already see, the preview for the first issue has been released by DC and I must agree with Pak’s assessment of Lee. This might have some of the best art in a book from the New 52. Moving back onto the plot, Newsarama asked about other characters that might show up in the book. When asked who they’ll meet first in the book and the first arc, Pak was really excited to mention that one of the first characters the two would meet is Catwoman. But which Catwoman is it? The regular one we all know and love, or the Catwoman of Earth-2, Helena Wayne’s mother? If Earth-2 characters are showing up as early as issue 1, then how do Batman and Superman end up on the other Earth? All of these questions and more will be answered when book is released during the summer. But for now, Pak has some things to say about the first major character appearing in the pages of Batman/Superman.
And I’ll just tell you right now, it’s Catwoman. You’ll see a Catwoman on Page 8 or Page 9 of issue #1. And when you get to that page, you’re going to know exactly what I’m talking about. Your head’s going to pop off, and you’re going to do everything you can to figure out who’s selling the original art from that page and you’re going to mortgage your house, because it’s incredible.
In the last part of the interview, Pak talks about his artist for the book, Jae Lee, and how excited he is with his work and how it’s turning out, giving us some hints at what will show up in the book.
Oh my gosh, I love every single thing he’s doing, and June, his wife, who is just doing insanely great colors on this stuff too. When I first heart Jae was on tap to do the book, I was thrilled, because of course, when you think Jae Lee, you think Batman, and that just makes perfect sense. Jae is known for his amazing design sense, and his incredible atmosphere. And a real ability to bring out this kind of depth. And that’s just a perfect match for Gotham City and Batman, right? But what’s brilliant about Jae is he’s got an amazing range, and he’s got a real light touch as well that he can pull out, and he knows how to work with small, subtle humor, and also gentle moments with brightness and sunshine. And his Superman is just amazing!! When we see the Kent farmhouse, it’s just gorgeous stuff. He does a great Clark Kent too. I think in one of the preview pages, you see Clark Kent walking through the streets of Gotham. And it’s just perfect! He’s that big farm boy, and he’s walking through the gritty streets of Gotham, and it’s that great combination of light and dark. And Jae’s totally bringing out those moments. I’m just thrilled with everything he’s doing. He really gets both of these characters and understands how to play those contrasts in really beautiful ways. There are definitely other characters like that who are going to play a role. Catwoman’s definitely one of them, and I’m having a blast with that too.
Newsarama asked if Pak would do any more books for DC, and Pak replied with a cryptic “We’ll see.” DC hiring Pak was already a great move, but it’d be nice to see him on more books than just Batman/Superman. I know I’m excited for it. Batman/Superman hits shelves this summer, as the rookie World’s Finest are together again in an adventure that will take them to Earth-2.