With their rippling abdominal muscles, larger than life abilities and brightly colored spandex, superheroes represent the idealized versions of ourselves, our escapist tendencies taken to the nth degree. But, what’s the point of a superhero without a maniacal supervillain to challenge him or her? Indeed, what would Batman be without the Joker? What would Superman be without Lex Luthor? What would a burrito be without heartburn? Fortunately, DC Comics realizes this cold, hard truth and is celebrating its darker side in its new Villains Month initiative, a month-long event that sees its franchises’ iconic villains taking over their respective books.
To help kick off the eminently evil event, I caught up with Legion of Super-heroes and Worlds’ Finest writer Paul Levitz, who will be penning Earth 2: DeSaad. And because keeping it to ourselves would be, well, criminal, we also have exclusive cover art and solicit text for Earth 2: DeSaad and Matt Kindt’s Earth 2: Solomon Grundy.
Nerdist: Tell us a bit about Villains Month and what we can expect.
Paul Levitz: I only know my small piece of the puzzle–I’m looking forward to finding out the rest of it with you.
N: Will there be any crossover with the other titles in Villains Month? Is it building towards a larger event like Trinity War or are they all self-contained stories meant to highlight the book’s greatest foes?
PL: It feels like the pieces will come together in something larger, but if I’ve done my job right, this should be satisfying in and of itself.
N: You’ll be writing DeSaad, who is, by all accounts, a cruel bastard. Where does he stand now in the New 52 continuity?
PL: DeSaad’s an interesting bastard…he’s been one of Jack Kirby’s most interesting villains for DC, but hasn’t really had a chance to show his inner inhumanity. The New 52 version is even more chilling looking than the original, as we’ve seen in recent issues of Worlds’ Finest, and his #1 reveals how he came to Earth and what he’s doing here. It’s fun to write a story whose first dialogue line is, “So this is how Lucifer felt.”
N: What goes into writing a compelling villain? Do you find it’s more difficult to put them in the spotlight than a more traditional hero-type? Or are they both two sides of the same coin?
PL: Villains and heroes definitely aren’t two sides of the same coin in my book. While we may all want to be heroes in our own story, the choices we make and the things that move us define us… and DeSaad is not only a villain, but an evil god, a personification of qualities that we hate.
N: What comics are you reading and enjoying right now?
PL: Got a sneak peek at Jules Feiffer’s next graphic novel, Murder My Mother, last week, and delighted in some of the storytelling tricks he’s developed for it.
N: What would be inside your ideal burrito?
PL: I’m a tame eater — probably steak with some mild guacamole.
EARTH 2 #15.1: DESAAD
Written by PAUL LEVITZ, Art by YILDIRAY CINAR, 3-D motion cover by KEN LASHLEY
On sale SEPTEMBER 4 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
“As a member of Darkseid’s inner circle, Desaad is the Apokoliptian god of fear and pain. And since being stranded on Earth because of the events of EARTH 2 #1, Desaad has looked for a way home. He has the means, in the form of Boom Tube technology, but could not power it…until now!”
EARTH 2 #15.2: SOLOMON GRUNDY
Written by MATT KINDT, Art by AARON LOPRESTI, 3-D motion cover by KEN LASHLEY
On sale SEPTEMBER 11 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
“Grundy hates green. He hates life, and he hates Green Lantern most of all! So what made Grundy this way? Find out in the secret origin of Solomon Grundy!”
Are you looking forward to Villains Month? Who is your favorite DC villain? Let us know in the comments below!