Morrison on Seven Soldiers and Co.

Newsarama has posted a substantial interview with comic book rock star Grant Morrison. It’s obviously an email interview since his responses are long and comprehensive. Most of it is ideas we’ve heard from him before but compared to the usual creator interviews a Morrison Q&A can’t not be a highlight, and a few things caught my eye.

Having picked up Batman #658, the conclusion of Morrison’s four-part arc introducing the son of Batman and Talia, I felt that it just kind of fizzled out in the last few pages despite its great promise. Apparently it was a last-minute change, and the whole arc should be seen as an introduction to Morrison’ run on the title rather than a self-contained story:

I’d originally planned a heartbreaking death scene for the Damian character in that book. He was to save Batman’s life then perish in what was a really nice and emotional conclusion…then I started writing the character and realized he was too good to waste. He started coming to life as I wrote and I soon realized there was too much long-term story potential in this kid, so I had to completely discard my beautifully-constructed ending and instead leave it open and inconclusive for Damian and Talia’s comeback which now forms a major strand of this 15-part Bat-novel I’m planning. If I’d stuck to my original plan, I’d have had a more affecting conclusion to a 4-part story but I’d have lost a character that will now provide me with a much bigger and more powerfully resonant finale.

It sounds like Morrison isn’t exactly overjoyed (“disappointed” might be more accurate) with how “his” Seven Soldiers characters have been subsequently used in the DCU, since he was hired in the first place to revamp these second-rate characters into viable properties. Surprising, perhaps, since Morrison is supposed to be one of the four writers of 52:

Ian Brill: I must know, what happened to The Buleteer between Seven Soldiers #1 and 52 Week 24 where she goes from being a severely reluctant hero to someone who joins a version of the Justice League (a rather makeshift version, but still)?

Grant Morrison: Beats me. She’s found her way into the regular DCU as a kind of cipher who crops up when writers need a ‘lame’ hero to stand around in crowd scenes. I have no control over how people handle the Seven Soldiers characters in my wake – Klarion already seems barely recognizable and appears to have returned to his role (a role no-one could ever sell in the first place) as a teen warlock who turns up to fight DCs younger characters – a sort of Goth Mr. Myxyzptlk. I honestly don’t expect anyone to actualize the potential of these characters, but I’d like to be proven wrong. The Guardian and Frankenstein could join the JLA.

Finally, a lot of my recent posts have been related to metafiction in the DCU, including Infinite Crisis as well as Morrison’s own Animal Man, and similar themes are woven into Seven Soldiers. Ian Brill comments: “There seems to be meta-commentary on the superhero comic book industry in Seven Soldiers. The major example I can think of is The Seven Unknown Men, who are like seven editors arranging and rearranging these characters’ lives.” After a couple long paragraphs Morrison says:

So the Time Tailors/Seven Unknown Men (whom I imagined to be all the DC writers who have appeared as themselves interacting with characters inside the DC Universe – like me, Julius Schwartz, Cary Bates, Elliot Maggin etc…) present a sci-fi take on the job of maintaining a comic book universe, repairing its plot holes, refreshing its characters and set-ups and generally patching it up, like tailors adding to an old, tattered quilt.

I haven’t yet read the final bookend issue of the series myself because I still haven’t finished Volume 3 but it shouldn’t be long till Volume 4 is out, including the final issue. I flipped through it at the shop though and JHWIII’s art is amazing.

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One thought on “Morrison on Seven Soldiers and Co.

  1. Brian Cronin says:

    It really is a shame at how he spent all this time making cool characters, and DC has basically said, “Yeah, we’re not going to use them.”

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