Another Crisis has come and gone, and the DCU is altered because of it. The events of Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths remade DC's infinite multiverse concept, sending out ripples across realities and causing disturbances all along the Divine Continuum. Fortunately, Crisis vet Barry Allen is here to make sure all is well, and he’s bringing two DC vets along to help.
Mark Waid, legendary Flash writer and current Batman/Superman: World's Finest scribe, joins Death of Superman architect Dan Jurgens in crafting a one-of-a-kind multiverse montage DC is calling Dark Crisis: Big Bang. The one-shot special goe son sale December 13, featuring writing by Waid, art by Jurgens, inks by Norm Rapmund, colors by Federico Blee, and letters by Troy Peteri.
Newsarama had the opportunity to speak with Waid and Jurgens about their new project, which sees Barry going toe-to-toe with classic DC baddie the Anti-Monitor across realities in a battle for the soul of the reborn Infinite Multiverse. Read on to hear what they had to say but, heads up, some SPOILERS for Dark Crisis: Big Bang await you.
Grant DeArmitt for Newsarama: Dark Crisis: Mark and Dan, Big Bang is a fight through DC multiverses, some familiar, some not. Dan, how did you know which multiverses were going to show up in this?
Dan Jurgens: I didn't, Mark did. And I totally went with what he had in the script. Some of them I had some familiarity with, others I had to look up and remind myself of, and others are here for the first time. That made it a fun blend and a very interesting one and a challenging one to draw.
Nrama: Were there any particular multiverses that stood out for either of you?
Mark Waid: Yes; Batman Gray and Batman Blue. I cannot wait someday to tell the story of Batman Gray and Batman Blue.
Nrama: Do you think we'll be able to get that story sometime soon?
Waid: Yeah, you should. I'm staying on World's Finest till I die, so there’s gonna be time.
Jurgens: Yeah. Not only that, but as Mark had written that I just thought, well, who better to throw in there than, you know, Tweedledee and Tweedledum? I thought it would fit. And the whole idea is, you know, if we can have fun doing it, people will have fun reading it.
Nrama: You can tell that this book is by people who are thoroughly enjoying making it. So stepping back a bit, Mark, how did this comic come about? Did DC approach you with the idea?
Waid: Yes. The remit from [editor] Paul Kaminski was to just do something that chronicles and sort of lays down the new rules about which Earth is which. But I didn't want it to be a travelog or an extended 'Who's Who.' So the trick to me was coming up with a story that fit around that, so it actually is a story with some heart and emotion, and that was a challenge. But, you know, I managed to find a way to thread that needle. And of course, Dan just executed amazingly.
Nrama: On that subject, Dan, the heart of this story is the relationship between Wallace West and Barry Allen. Why do you think these characters were perfect for Big Bang?
Jurgens: I would only guess at this; really it would be Mark's reasoning. But I think one of the things that made it work out well is that it gave Barry someone to explain the situation to. Had it been Wally West, for example, he already would know a lot of the Crisis stuff. Part of it was that we can't assume that everybody who's reading this has necessarily read Crisis on Infinite Earths. So we have that vehicle, that duo for dialog purposes and to bring readers up to speed.
Waid: Exactly, yeah. Wallace was the reader's substitute in the story.
Nrama: Awesome. Let’s stick with the Flashes for a second. Mark, your Flash run is legendary. Were you pulling from that at all? Also, are you keeping up with what's currently going on with the Flash?
Waid: Oh, yeah. Jeremy Adams is just hitting home runs every month. But I didn't really pull anything out of that Flash or out of my old Flash run, no.
Nrama: Gotcha. Alright, so besides Barry, you’ve also got a staple of Crisis storytelling in Big Bang; that being the Anti-Monitor. Dan, what about this character is so enduring?
Jurgens: Part of it is that he hasn't been overexposed. I think that's a problem we run into with villains quite a lot, is that they have been really, in too many cases, overexposed. So when you have someone of this caliber with this level of power and you realize he hasn't shown up that often, and the first time we saw him – Crisis on Infinite Earths – was a powerful story and a meaningful story, you know, that gives you all the cachet you need as a villain to be effective.
I don't know if Mark even knows this, but originally when they first asked me about drawing this, I said, 'I really don't have the time.' And Paul Kaminski, who was the editor, said, 'Well, this is Flash fighting the Anti-Monitor.' I said, 'Okay, I'll read it.' Even then, I thought I probably wouldn't be able to squeeze it in. But then the script really had me hooked, and part of it was all the great visuals that were in the script, some of it is just the animation.
Anti-Monitor has such a cool look; he’s so much a George Pérez-type visual; I think this is a bit of a nod to George and all he has given to us over the years. So I couldn't say no. And it was really fun to draw this massive, armored character. The choreography got a little difficult at times, but it was just great fun to draw, and as I said earlier, I think great fun to read for people.
Waid: Thank you. I mean, it looked great. And had I known at the time that I wrote the script that you would be drawing it, I would have opened it up a little bit more. I would have leaned into the fact that you're a writer and storyteller too. But as it was, because it was such a complex script, I had to sort of ‘artist-proof’ it.
Jurgens: Yeah, totally get it.
Waid: And I still felt bad when I wrote a page that says, 'here's 45 characters on one page.' But, you know, and Dan knows this, you need that page in something like this.
Jurgens: Yeah. And every writer when they write that stuff, like, 'Okay, this is the Charge of the Light Brigade,' they always feel that sense of guilt. That's where, if I'm writing it, I always say, 'Feel free to put about two-thirds of them in silhouette,' or something like that. But it's a necessary evil in comics. That's just the way it is.
Nrama: Really quickly before we move on; Dan, can you define a "George Pérez-type visual" for readers?
Jurgens: When I say style, I don't mean his style of drawing as much as style of costume designing, and George's designs tended to be more complex than others.
Waid: [laughs] That's quite the understatement, but yes.
Jurgens: Yes. They would feature a lot of odd quirks that you really had to master. So I just think of Anti-Monitor being a totally quintessential George look. And that's what's fun about it.
Nrama: Yeah, excellent. OK, I want to talk about the future post-Dark Crisis, but first I wanted to ask about the past. Dan, we're a little less than two years away from the 30th anniversary of Zero Hour. Is that on your mind at all these days?
Jurgens: I haven't even thought about it. You know, we just got done with all the 30th Anniversary of the Death of Superman; I don't know how much I want to go down the rabbit hole of doing the old 'Greatest Hits' album. So I haven't even thought about that.
In all reality, though, it is hard to believe that it has been 30 years in any of this stuff. What everyone has to know here is when Mark and I did these things, I think I was like nine years old and Mark might have been eight. So yeah, we've weathered it well.
Nrama: Understood. So Mark, at the end of this book, we get a look at a journal that Barry Allen keeps that kind of acts like a little map of the new DC multiverse. Should readers be looking for any hints of upcoming stories in that list?
Waid: Yes. There's one big hint about something that actually doesn't involve me or Dan, that came from editorial as a suggestion. I won't go into detail, but I think if you read that list carefully, you'll see a hint toward something that must be in our near future.
Nrama: That's cool. Alright, we're winding down here, so this last question is for both of you. What, in your opinions, are going to be some of the biggest changes moving forward for DC storytelling, now that the infinite multiverse has been restored?
Waid: Paradoxically enough, I think it'll be more orderly and less chaotic, which seems completely antithetical to a list of a thousand worlds. But I think that having a place for all that stuff, being able to put these things in actual file drawers rather than have them all just spread out in a mess across somebody's desk… That's a labored analogy, but yeah, I think a big part of the DC future is that there’s a more organized approach to continuity right this second.
Jurgens: Yeah, and there's the idea that if you can imagine it, you can do it. Having been around when Crisis was done and having seen all the sort of limits and edicts and rules that came out of that, I really do feel like somehow I went full circle here. One may have gone a little bit too far, in the opinions of some, or maybe even a lot too far.
Now, it's wide open again, and I think from a creative perspective, there is something about that that is just fun for people. Again, if you can imagine it, it's there somewhere.
The original Crisis on Infinite Earths is one of the best DC stories ever.