So, what did you think? Spoilers after the jump, so if you haven't read the stories yet, please do and then come right back...!
Originally I was going to have the Firestorm story last all issue (25 pages). However, I really wanted to do the two or three pages showing Zatanna's first few days as a member of the Justice League, and I really wanted to do it as a "ladies' night" story. The more I thought about them, the more I realized that couldn't put both of these plots into one story. I began to think that it made more sense to separate them, and to keep them simple: short and sweet. Meanwhile, my buddy Tim Wallace asked about contributing to the series, and things quickly gelled. I had the four main characters, he provided the menace, and we suddenly had a story.
By the way, I feel like I owe an apology to my pal Shagg. I sure hope he didn't see the cover to this issue and think that Firestorm was actually going to join. Sorry, Shag, but as the story ended...."Never The End." Firestorm will probably join, eventually....!
Here are a few of my favorite bits from the issue.....
As I said, the original concept for this issue was "the next day." Zatanna has joined the JLA, but what does that specifically entail? Well, when you join a new company what is one of the first things that happen? They take you on a tour of the facility, right? So I had the first few pages plotted in my head, with the three current female members happily welcoming the fourth woman to their group. I figured it would be a good opportunity to show off the satellite as it exists in "my" universe, and then set up some drama.
Sharp-eyed readers will also notice that I switched Zatanna's uniform from last issue (and the second story in *this* issue). There are two reasons for this: 1) as a show business performer, I figured Zatanna would change her stage costumes. She isn't any Elton John or Cher, but I figured she might not have more than one version of her tuxedo and fishnets, and 2) I am still trying to find a coloring combination that I like. (Having said that, this version will probably NOT be returning, haha!)
This panel is all Tim Wallace. I guessed which Dr. Jones he was referencing, but I hadn't seen The Mummy movies enough to recognize his second name. And of course, the actual owner of the artifacts Klarion is after is Dan Garrett, aka the original Blue Beetle.
Speaking of Klarion, his inclusion was, as noted earlier, from Tim. I was toying with the idea of using another Mort such as Matter Master (a "classic" Hawkman-Hawkwoman foe) but when Tim suggested Klarion, I knew I would have to include the following scene. I never read Jack Kirby's run on The Demon, but I did enjoy reading Alan Grant & Val Semeik's run in 1990, and that is the Klarion I tried to capture....that, and the "bum bum BUM" of Peter David's version.
Lastly, Tim told me that the whole story came from him wanting Zatanna to cast *this* spell....
In the second story, I really like the discussion scenes. I can't imagine what topics the Justice League sits around and talks about during their weekly meetings (what the heck would their "old business" be?) but I do think they might talk about their individual cases. I had already established that Red Tornado and the Elongated Man were interested in interviewing Firestorm (a throw-away line from JL#35), so here I am finally getting around to following up on that.
I also like that starting this issue, with their new meeting table, the JLAers are using laptops. Anyone who has had meetings in corporate America know that there are either white-board screens or computer files to record meeting minutes. I figured that this was the time to show that the JLA was using technology.
And lastly, after the discussion ended I took the time to show the kitchette back behind the monitoring station. We tend to not get that much detail in these stories, so I liked to include the sink, refrigerator, counter space, and cabinets. Members probably get hungry during monitor duty, right?
Did anybody else pick up on my Spock-McCoy reference here? I'm going to keep trying to make Red Tornado into a pseudo-Spock, pseudo-Data, pseudo-Vision character. I think he's fun. And seriously, Ralph Dibny just writes himself. He's a fun, character, too.
"Mort of the Month" is Evil Star, an obscure Green Lantern villain. For some reason I had used him before (in JL#13), probably because he was one of the DC Cosmic Cards from the 90s. I didn't want anybody TOO serious, so I figured I would take the basic character and make him more of a pseudo-Green Lantern. I ditched the cape and made the uniform more similar to Green Lantern's. And I made him non-Caucasian. He's an alien, so, yeah, his hue might be different. From the plot point of view, with Green Lantern projecting huge "Come see me!" power-ring signs all over New York state, I figured it made sense for one of his enemies to show up.
Another instance of Ralph Dibny being easy to write. Of course Red Tornado would know everything about everybody (which is convenient to tell the readers who is who), and of course Elongated Man would make a funny comment about it.
So, tell me the truth, is it a bit fast to ask Firestorm to join the Justice League? One of the reasons I wanted to write this story is because in "real" continuity, Firestorm came from out of left field and joined the League. He had not guest-starred, he had no relationship to any of the members except Superman, and there was no "history" to him. In contrast, Hawkman's name was mentioned several times in early JLA stories before he finally joined.