Four years ago in DC Comics’ Blackest Night, Geoff Johns brought Aquaman and Mera to the forefront of the DC Universe, subsequently reinvigorating the King of Atlantis’ mojo in the DCU let alone in general pop culture.
Though Aquaman’s title has been going strong in the New 52, today we got word from DC that Johns will be stepping away from the book after November's issue #25, which features the conclusion of the current “Death of a King” arc.
I had a quick chat with Johns about his decision to leave the title and his plans for the character in his ongoing run on Justice League.
IGN Comics: I’m bummed, man!
Geoff Johns: Yeah, I am too! I absolutely love Aquaman and the character has been a passion since Blackest Night. That was 2009, so I’ve been rebuilding the character and reintroducing him through Blackest Night, Brightest Day, and Aquaman for a little over four years now. What I wanted to do was build that character and his world, first with Ivan [Reis] and then with Paul [Pelletier], and it’s been great.
IGN: Obviously it’s a character that’s pretty close to you, so what ultimately led to the decision to leave?
Johns: Aquaman is one of the greatest characters at DC Comics and one of my favorites. Ultimately, there are some reveals coming up in the “Death of a King” arc through issue #25 that sets the stage for his world and some of those threats are going to carry over to Justice League in a pretty big story next year. But between making Forever Evil and Justice League the best they can be and Gary [Frank] and I doing Batman: Earth One, issue #25 felt like the right time to bid farewell to him for now.
IGN: Do you feel like you’ve accomplished what you set out to do with the character?
Johns: I think we put him back on the map. The thing I’m really proud of is the fact that Ivan and Joe [Prado] were there for most of it with Blackest Night, Brightest Day, and the Aquaman launch. I feel like not only did we put Aquaman back on the map, but we put Mera on the map, period. I don’t think she’s ever been a character people had really considered before, and I think having those two characters out there as strong as they are together with the mythology that’s there, I think Aquaman feels – and deservedly so – like an A-list, premier DC hero. I hope that carries on; it certainly will carry over to Justice League.
IGN: You left Green Lantern this year too; when you’re writing a team book like Justice League, do you get the urge to focus more on these characters whose solo books you’ve spent so much time with?
Johns: Oh, sure. Both of these characters I’ve spent a lot of time with. Nine years with Green Lantern and four years with Aquaman and Mera. There are a lot of elements and characters that will be introduced or revealed in Aquaman #25 that will play directly into Justice League, and Aquaman will take center stage in a big story there. With Justice League, it’s a great opportunity to have the characters bounce off one another and explore their relationships. And also to let each one of them take center stage for a particular story and the stuff that happens in the conclusion of “Death of a King” will bleed over into Justice League leading into a big story that’s kind of a follow-up to the “Throne of Atlantis” storyline.
IGN: So what are your hopes for Aquaman as a character, both in comics and in other mediums?
Johns: I think Aquaman’s one of the most well-known heroes in the world. Aquaman #5 and #6 outsold every Marvel comic those respective months. Aquaman has the ability to be a huge character and I think we really brought him to a new level in comic books, and I’m hoping that new level continues to everything that is DC Entertainment. Certainly that’s the goal. He’s one of our most recognizable and most important characters, and it’s going to continue to stay that way.
With the success we’ve had in the New 52 relaunch and the number of people that are now Aquaman fans, it’s much different than it was four years ago. Let alone a book in the overall top ten, an Aquaman book in DC’s top ten was never thought of. Now, it’s just been consistently up there. I don’t know that Aquaman will ever outsell every Marvel comic book again, but I certainly think he’s here to stay.
IGN: Well, I admit I am one of the converted. I never had an affinity for him until your work on the character, so I’m bummed to see you go, but I’m also happy with where you’re leaving him and I hope big things are in store for the future.
Johns: Thanks, man. I’m hoping to return to the character solo at some point in the future. I think we’ve unlocked something special in him and his world that will just continue to grow throughout not just comics, but everywhere.
IGN: So what’s next for you then? Just focusing on Forever Evil and Justice League, or is there something new coming?
Johns: Yeah, there’s some other stuff brewing but the only thing I’m focused on right now is Justice League and Forever Evil. Right now, it’s 100% villains, 100% of the time. People who love Black Manta, he’s a main character in Forever Evil and there are a lot of plans for him in that. There are plans for Ocean Master. There are plans for lots of characters in Justice League as well, and I’ll still be working with Aquaman and Mera in the months ahead.
As for who’s taking over Aquaman on issue #26, stay tuned to IGN.
Source : ign[dot]com