DC's Joshua Williamson Talks Death of the Justice League, Dark Army, Dark Crisis, and More

DC is ready to shake up the Universe once again with Dark Crisis, but they aren't waiting until Dark Crisis #1 to get things started. The kick-off to Dark Crisis really begins in Justice League #75, which will bring about the much-discussed death of the Justice League. The world will be quite different and more challenging without some of DC's biggest heroes to rely on and had a chance to talk to writer Joshua Williamson all about the Death of the Justice League, how it sets up and shapes Dark Crisis and a few hints about the major battle to come.

The seeds for Dark Crisis and Death of the Justice League have been planted for some time now in books like Infinite Frontier and Justice League Incarnate, but if you haven't been keeping up with those other titles don't fret, because Justice League #75 will have no issue getting you up to speed.

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(Photo: DC Comics)

"Yeah. I think with this in particular, I try to go in and you can see because you've read it. I try to make it so if you haven't read that stuff, you pretty much get the Cliff Notes version of it," Williamson said. "You get the essentials of what you need, and that was something I was actually talking to the editors about this morning, about what is the information that is needed here? What is the stuff that we need to make sure they know? I try to write it, this and Dark Crisis, I try to make sure that if you haven't read anything before, you can still read this by itself. And it's funny you mentioned Brian (Michael Bendis). To me, you needed to also make sure that if all that stuff that came before, if someone did invest and they didn't read all that stuff, that they are getting something more from that experience."

While there are plenty of mysteries regarding Dark Crisis, everyone knows what is happening when a book is tagged as the Death of the Justice League. While that is definitely something the book fulfills in some shocking ways, Williamson didn't want to turn the event itself into something grotesque.

"I didn't, I'm just going to be really honest with you. I didn't want it to be like a snuff film. I didn't want it to be something brutal and gross. I didn't want it to be mean, necessarily, right. I know that killing those characters off and having them die this way is a big deal, but I didn't want it to feel gross," Williamson said. "I think that was a thing that I was trying to avoid. I didn't want to be this thing that was like super bloody and over the top. And that's why I leaned into some tropes. There's the trope of the homage to how Barry died in Crisis. We do that in this issue with some of the characters. And so I just didn't it want be something that felt gross. That was the thing I wanted to avoid."

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(Photo: DC Comics)

The death of the League will be a huge shock to the rest of DC's heroes, and that will play a big part in Dark Crisis, which explores not only how the other heroes and villains in the world are affected by their absence but also how characters react to death these days, especially since many DC characters have come back from it at one time or another.

"So again, I wrote Dark Crisis first, and a big piece of Dark Crisis is showing how characters in the DC U react to the idea of death now, considering that they've all come back from the dead at some point, right? I was when doing research for this and some other stuff we've been talking about for the last two years, I saw that there was a block of time in DC's history where almost every character had died twice. Aquaman had died twice in a very short amount of time, and I found that fascinating, and so I wanted to explore all those ideas about what death means," Williamson said. "On a weird meta-level, because I wrote Dark Crisis first, and we started exploring that, announcing death of the Justice League, the way we did and seeing the reaction to it was fascinating. Because it was mirroring how the characters were reacting in the book."

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(Photo: DC)

Fans have already seen glimpses of the massive battle between the League and the Great Darkness' Dark Army, and to make sure the book had time to get to the fight itself, there are some pairings and elements he couldn't feature as much as he would have perhaps liked to.

"I mean, with any book you always wish you had more pages. Every comic I've ever worked on, I'm always like, 'Oh, I wish I had more pages.' Just so I could have extended out some of the fight scene stuff. I wish I had been able to have a couple characters get a couple more major moments and show a bit... It sounds silly to say I wish I could have shown a few more powers and a few more of the team-ups, because the two teams are there. I wish I could have maybe seen a little bit more of Zatanna and Captain Carrot, a little bit more of Aquaman and Aquawoman. I wish I could have showed some of that. But at the end of the day, like I was saying earlier, I had to get the fight going," Williamson said.

Speaking of that super team of villains, it's a pretty lethal crew of some of the biggest villains ever created in the DC Universe, and its origins started back during Metal.

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(Photo: DC)

"When it came to that group, that group is actually something that Scott and James and I had talked about for years. When we were developing Metal, we started talking about if you were going to build a team of the worst characters, all these like powerful villains, who would you put on it? And we start building this idea out. And I love DC events. I have my own personal favorites, and I was always trying to sneak some of those personal favorites into stories, and it doesn't always work out. (Neron). So I was trying to figure what this group would be. In this case, I had the opportunity to build it. I just went for the characters I thought would be interesting that all also had connections to the Dark in some way or another," Williamson said.

"And then I would go and talk to those people. I talked to Mark Waid about Neron, James, who created Upside Down Man. I went and talked to them and then just tried to set it up. It's interesting. Some of those characters have appeared in other books and you'll see that was actually kind of helping us set up a few things that we needed, that you'll see once we get deeper into Dark Crisis. But it was really fun putting that team together because they're just characters I also like, and I think look cool, and I think were cool, interesting villans."

You can read the full issue when Justice League #75 hits comic stores and digital platforms on April 19th.

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