A new DC era begins March 2 with the over-sized Infinite Frontier #0 - turning the page from the 'Rebirth' era and the current 'Future State' event and into a bold new future that tears down the walls between continuities and canon as teased in Dark Nights: Death Metal #7.
The defacto showrunner of DC's Infinite Frontier #0 is writer Joshua Williamson, who picks this up after a five-year run on The Flash title and is prepping five new projects at DC in the coming months - including the already-announced new Robin series with Damien Wayne.
Infinite Frontier #0 picks up right where Death Metal #7 left off, with Wonder Woman about to begin her journey towards god-like ascension. But before she embarks, she wants to learn more about the consequences of changing the multiverse. This is the narrative framing device for the special, that previews upcoming DC Universe stories coming in March, April, and even years beyond.
Williamson is joined on Infinite Frontier #0 with a superstar line-up of creators that include James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Geoff Johns, David Marquez, Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, and Jorge Jimenez.
Newsarama spoke with Williamson about his Infinite Frontier #0 role, bridging Death Metal, Future State, and Infinite Frontier together, and what it all means for the characters, teams, and titles going forward into 2021 and into the future.
Newsarama: Joshua, let's jump right into it, tell us a bit about your part in DC's Infinite Frontier #0?
Joshua Williamson: Infinite Frontier was something we had started talking about in September, we started discussing what we wanted to do after Death Metal. I had some different ideas and because I'd been working on Death Metal, I knew how Death Metal was ending. I knew some of the plans we had at DC moving forward.
So, I pitched this project. Like basically, I pitched 'What is Infinite Frontier to them?' I had some different ideas and started talking more with Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, the other writers, and editorial. All in mind that there was a specific story I wanted to tell with the DCU, and some of the stuff I wanted to do moving the DCU forward - taking some of the pieces that are going out on the table post Death Metal, and take a lot of those pieces and just move them forward. That is what ended up becoming Infinite Frontier #0 and some of the stuff we have planned.
With the spine story - I'm actually writing four chapters of the Infinite Frontier special. The main story, the spine story, is Wonder Woman and Spectre. It takes place immediately after Dark Nights: Death Metal #7. So, it's what happens to Wonder Woman after that scene. She's on her way to ascend as she gets stopped by the Quintessence and they offer her a position to be with them. But if you remember at the end of issue seven, she was warned by the presence of the hand and the other side of the Source Wall. She was warned that because of all the things they were going to do at the end of Death Metal to restart the multiverse and make it infinite, there was going to be some kind of cost.
Before she agrees to keep ascending, she's like 'I have to know what that cost is. I have to know what is out there that was the cost.' So, the Spectre offers to take her on a journey to try and find what that cost is, and that's what takes us across the DCU and all these different chapters that were done by different creators, we go through the other chapters that I wrote.
So, I wrote another chapter that is really spoiler-y if I want to get into it, but it picks up some pieces from Death Metal that's being drawn by Alex Maleev.
One in the Flash chapter, that's being drawn by Howard Porter that takes some of the stuff. The end of my Flash run, through some of Death Metal kind of launches the Flash Family to a new direction.
Then we go back to the spine story with Wonder Woman and the Spectre and what she was able to find, and I wrote an epilogue story that is being drawn by John Romita Jr.
Nrama: With so many creators on the title, what was the collaborative process like?
Williamson: With James and Scott, obviously I just talked to them. We have such a close working relationship and I talk to James all day, every day, most of the time. So, with James, he and I would just pass back and forth with scripts. James actually wrote the Batman chapter and he wrote the Alan Scott chapter.
There are many chapters in his book. There are 12 chapters in this book when you include the spine. So, with James, we would just talk this stuff out. We would discuss the things we were doing with my chapters, his chapters. I would send him scripts. He was sending me scripts.
With a lot of the other ones, it just depended. Some of the scripts were given to me by the editors, and I would read through the scripts and say, 'Yes', 'No.' Honestly, it was really, really easy because we kind of set out what we wanted in the beginning, and we said this is what it was going to be. I wrote the spine so early that we were able to, in some cases, give that spine over to the writers and they could read it and go, 'Okay, I know where this is going.' And the ideas of how Wonder Woman is going across this journey.
That was most of my extent. In some cases, I would talk to them, but some of them were really simple. It was like, the editors would send me the script, I'd read through it and it'd be like, 'That's dope.' I think on a couple, I made like maybe one or two notes of like, 'This one thing has to change because of something Wonder Woman says earlier.' But mostly it was just working through editorial.
Nrama: Is there a particular reason this is an #0 instead of an #1?
Williamson: Yes, but I'm not at liberty to say just yet.
Nrama: How will the events of 'Future State' connect to Infinite Frontier? Why do you think it was important to have 'Future State' before Infinite Frontier?
Williamson: Well, I think that 'Future State' was sort of in the works for a while. 'Future State' existed before we started really discussing what Infinite Frontier was. Logistically, 'Future State' was always going to come out after Death Metal. It was always going to be those two months.
We hadn't really started talking about what Infinite Frontier was and what we want to do with it until this last fall. So, 'Future State' was already in the works and we'd already been looking at a lot of stuff and talking about a lot of things that were going to be 'Future State,' but we always knew how Death Metal was going to end. So, knowing how Death Metal was going to end and then knowing what 'Future State' was - all of those things helped inform what Infinite Frontier was going to be after that.
Nrama: There are a ton of characters that appear on the main cover. Some characters that stand out, in particular, are President Superman, Alan Scott, Jade, Obsidian, and Blue Beetle.
You mentioned James is writing an Alan Scott-centered chapter of Infinite Frontier #0. Do the others I mentioned have a role in Infinite Frontier, and/or the DCU going forward?
Williamson: Well, President Superman is in the issue. He has an important role in the issue and that'll kind of set up some of the stuff that comes out afterward. There are some major ramifications to the DCU in this zero issue. It's not just a preview of what's to come. There are major moments that impact all the books.
I mean, the stuff that happens in the Bat story alone that impacts all the Bat-books immediately. There's a couple of other pieces that you'll see down the line. Like some of the stuff with Alan Scott, Jane, Obsidian - the moments in there will then pick up a little bit later. The stuff with President Superman, the scene that he's in with the Flash Family, and the scene where he's talking with Barry will impact things down the line.
You'll start to see that in the Flash book later, and then you'll see some stuff later on in the summer that really start to tie some of these things together.
Blue Beetle only has a very small scene in this, but that's partially because of him having a role in something else later on in the year. Like we wanted the cover to represent not just this one issue, but also some of the stuff that's coming in DC for 2021 and because of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold and some of their roles later is why we put them on the cover.
Nrama: Did Death Metal take place on an 'Elseworld' that is mentioned as the center of the universe? Is that something you'll be exploring?
Williamson: If you go and look at that scene at the coda in Death Metal, they talk about there being two. It's not just the Elseworld, there's another world as well. There's an opposite.
There are two poles. Elseworld represents one thing, they say the 'Alpha World,' and there's another world. We start to talk more about what that other world is in the zero. They start figuring out what it is.
Discussing the idea of these two new places the Elseworld and this other one. Then what they're going to do about it and what they need to do with the DCU next with those two places. And we kind of get to go on the journey with them, but I don't want to give away all the answers just right out the gate. Just like here's what's coming. Here's what's going on. I want the reader to go on the journey with those characters as they start to explore this infinite frontier, this infinite multi-verse and explore what the Elseworld is and what this other world is.
Nrama: Death Metal #7 also introduces a new Authority-esque team called Totality. Do they have a role in Infinite Frontier? Will they have a role in your upcoming Damian book with the inclusion of Talia?
Williamson: Yes, so in the zero issue, we do go to the Totality base, but we don't see that team in that issue, but there'll be other stuff with that team down the line.
Talia appears in Robin, as she appears in the backups; she does talk about her new role. Then Talia will start playing a bigger role.
It's interesting with a lot of stuff we're talking about, this zero issue is really about setting up all this stuff. It will play up even more later. So, Talia, she's in the Robin stuff and she talks a bit about the Totality and her role in the Robin backups in Batman and Detective Comics. She's in that. Then she will also be in another book later on. She'll be in two different books later on in the year, summer and the fall.
Then we'll start to explore some of this stuff and her role because you have to imagine that all of these characters are now aware, the Totality in particular, are aware of a lot of secrets. They're aware of a lot of things that are going on in the multiverse. Not everybody knows what happened. I think everybody knows what happened in Death Metal, but the idea that the multiverse is growing and it's changing, not everybody knows that. That room of people, their job is to make sure that if anything crazy is going to come with the multiverse, they're the frontline defense. They're the ones that are supposed to analyze what's happening and research it.
How will the characters respond to that? Some of them are going to respond to it in different ways. Talia, in particular, she's going to respond to it in a different way than some other characters. She's going to start building something else - that gets really into spoiler stuff for Robin and other books, but that's what's happening with her. I think she's a great character and I really want to do more with her and give her a bigger role in the DCU. And that's part of what's coming.
Nrama: You did several of with the Death Metal one-shots; were there any particular threads from those books that you feel like was a must to include in Infinite Frontier?
Williamson: Yeah, for sure. I definitely think there are elements of each - some of the stuff from Dark Nights: Death Metal - Speed Metal, some of the stuff from Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last Stories of the DC Universe that will continue. Then I look a lot at the stuff James did with Multiverse's End, and then he did Rise of the New Gods. The pieces that were in those will definitely play a part in some of the Infinite Frontier stuff going on next year in the zero and beyond.
Working on Death Metal was a lot of fun and had my hands in all of it. I was working as a consultant on that book. I was reading all those scripts as they were coming in, talking to editorial about it, and really trying to manage with James and Scott a story that big. If you look at Death Metal, you can actually read it in the order it came out. We really made sure that the pieces fit together. That was a lot of work for us all to do that. So, there's a lot of pieces that were spread out, not just the things that I wrote, but some of the things other people wrote that I definitely want to play with next year.
Nrama: You also wrote Future State: Justice League, a team that had some great chemistry from the get-go. Will we see any story threads or characters from that series continue in Infinite Frontier or your future projects?
Williamson: They take place so far in the future that it's going to be a while, but I definitely hinted and see the things in there. I think if somebody were to read into it, you would definitely see some stuff that we're building for sure.
I love planting little seeds of things. Even in my Flash run, there was stuff as far back as #1, as far back as #9 that I knew I wasn't going to pick up until like closer to #100. Really early on, I like putting things in a line of dialogue, a panel, or it's a weird like one-page scene that I'm not going to pick up for a long time.
With those two issues of Future State: Justice League, I wanted to do a lot of that here. I really wanted to make those issues more about character. Obviously, I'm a big fan of Scott's Justice League and his stuff was always so big all the time that I wanted to do issues that were definitely smaller and much more about this smaller.
Really because they were going to have their own books. A lot of them were going to have their own books, books they were going to be in that I wanted to bring it down to just about their interactions and then just have some fun with it.
But at the same time, I knew what we were building. So, there are small little seeds of things that are planted throughout those two issues that will play a part in some of the Infinite Frontier stuff moving forward.
Nrama: One of the big characters from Future State: Justice League is Jess Chambers (the non-binary Flash), in particular do you see more story being explored with them?
Williamson: We'll definitely see them again, for sure. I always worry about getting into too many spoilers. Their story isn't over. And if you look in the issue, especially once you get to Future State: Justice League #2, you can see I'm a big fan of them as a character. I've written a lot of Flash. So, it was important to me to do something different and to write a Flash that I hadn't written before.
So, when I was offered to work with Jess, I totally went for it and really fell in love with writing all of the characters or writing their relationship with Andy in particular. It was one of the things that unlocked the stuff in my head for writing the whole cast. It was writing that scene with them in issue 1 - it's funny that script went through a lot of changes, but that scene never changed. That scene always stayed. Partially because I think a lot of stuff came around that interaction between the two of them. They really helped me build out a lot of the interactions with the rest of the cast. That being said, I have a plan for the DCU and a plan for all this stuff in Infinite Frontier and Jess is definitely part of that plan.
That's going to take some time though, just warning you. We plan so far in advance now. I was talking to the editors and James last week about stuff - it's wild to have a conversation with somebody and talking to these editors. I mean, James and I have been doing this for a long time. When you look at Death Metal, there's that secret origin issue that was the Batman Who Laughs versus Superboy-Prime. That came from a conversation that Scott, James and I had in May 2018.
It was a long time ago we started talking about those things. They were still in that zone where like James and I particularly now are talking about things - he was asking me a question about something that's happening in the last week of March 2022. Like that's kind of where our heads are in some places. So, some of these things are going to take time to get there, but I think people will be happy with some of it.
Then again Infinite Frontier #0 already has a bunch of cool surprises and really big moments in it. So, I think when people see that they're going to see the direction we're heading and you're going to start seeing some of these cool things come together. I think it'll take some time for some stuff, but there's a lot of things that are really fun that are coming immediately that we definitely want to focus on. Try to make people happy with some cool stuff in the DCU.
Nrama: What's the biggest moment that Infinite Frontier teases about the future of the DC Universe?
Williamson: That's so tough. I feel as though people are going to react to things differently. I think the scene with the Flash family is an important scene that will make people happy.
The Alex Maleev pages have a really big moment in it that will make people happy.
So, those are moments that I think are going to be big moments that are getting people excited. I think the stuff James has - the Scott chapter will make people happy.
One of the things that comes up in it is this theme of anything is possible now. And it actually means something to us too; about this idea that the DCU feels unpredictable at this point, right? And I think we're trying new things and trying different stuff. And if you look at 'Future State,' you can see all this exciting new talent coming in and how important this stuff is for Infinite Frontier is to keep that ball going and to bring in all of this really cool stuff going forward.
Now, narratively, the idea of anything is possible. There's a scene where Wonder Woman and Spectre talk about it. Spectre says it: 'There could be infinite wonder, but....' she says, '...but there can also be infinite terror.' And that cost of what the hand was talking to with Wonder Woman, I think that will be such a big deal throughout the story. I think that will be one of the bigger moments - when we get to the ending that John Romita did.
I think that's the stuff that'll be probably the bigger, like the ending the epilogue scene, I think will be a big deal because it ties into that idea that they're having some kind of cost for bringing all this stuff back for untying the knot, for resetting the timeline, for resetting the multiverse there has to be some kind of cost. Once you see what that cost is, I think that'll be a big moment.
Nrama: This book is all about looking towards the future, what are some future plans you have at DC that you can tease?
Williamson: I'm currently working on five projects for DC right now. They're going to be gradually getting announced. I think another one will be announced in like a month or two. Some stuff that ties into Infinite Frontier, some stuff that will tie into some of the plans we have for Damian and the Bat-books.
But I'm doing a lot and I'm really happy. One of the books I'm actually finishing writing right now. It's kind of a weird feeling to be working on something and I'll be done writing it before it gets announced because I'm that far ahead on it. That's something I'm working on that I'm really excited about. Everything I'm doing right now, I feel like I'm having a lot of fun with, but obviously I think once Infinite Frontier #0 comes out, it'll be really clear what I'm working on next.
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