Putting together a dream superhero lineup is a common pastime for fans, and in the pages of Justice League: No Justice, the supervillain Brainiac is getting in on the fun, showing Earth’s heroes that they could be working in more imaginative, efficient configurations. Written by Scot Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson with art by Francis Manapul, Marcus To, and colorist Hi-Fi, No Justice is a weekly miniseries building on the events of the exceptional Dark Nights: Metal to set up a new era of Justice League titles. And the writers are channeling Metal’s no-holds-barred for a thrilling superhero spectacular.
“There’s an aggressively fun spirit to Metal, and No Justice was born from that spirit,” says James Tynion IV. “The sense that we’re going to take all the toys out of the toy box and have as much fun as possible along the way. No Justice came to life when we realized that DC needed a mechanism to close down the current iteration of DC’s Team Books, and set up the books we needed to set up—Justice League Dark and Justice League Odyssey in particular. There’s the standard way we’ve seen a hundred times before, to do a more grounded and political team shake-up, but we knew we needed to go bigger. We needed to do the Metal version. The whole idea really came together when Josh came up with the idea of money-balling the teams. We spent a whole evening together coming up with the craziest Justice Leagues, and the rest followed from there.”
Wiliamson came up with the idea of mixing up the teams, and it’s his favorite thing about writing this series. “Martian Manhunter and Lex. Beast Boy and Lobo. Starfire and Sinestro. Superman and Starro. Waller and Green Arrow. The interactions between characters we don’t normally see. How they bounce off each other in unexpected ways. Finding those moments were a lot of fun,” says Joshua Williamson. “And then I love that we get to add and build on the DCU. I’ve been a big DC Comics fan my entire life, and knowing that the stuff we’ve been doing with Metal and No Justice, the new Justice Leagues (and beyond), are building on the great DCU mythology is awesome. We’re playing with all the best toys, but creating new ones as well. And Francis! That guy is a beast. Knowing we were working with him was just icing on the cake.”
“Ultimately, The Justice League is the biggest banner in the DC Universe,” says Tynion IV. “It’s a platform where you can tell any story, and we wanted to reassert that the League stands front and center in the line. As we get ready to expand what the Justice League means this summer across our titles, and others, we wanted to show the craziest version of what we meant. Part of it was just the fun of team-ups like Lobo and Beast Boy, and Starro and Martian Manhunter, which was definitely the reason we put them together. We wanted to show pairings of characters we’ve never seen in a DC book. But it’s also to show that in a basic way that when any combination of heroes (and even villains) gathers in the DC Universe to save the world, it’s a Justice League story.”
The collaboration is a major part of the excitement for this creative team, and DC has given them the freedom to follow their wildest impulses. “I worked at a comic book store for all of high school and college and I loved talking about comics and ideas with my co-workers, friends and customers,” says Williamson. “Talking out crazy ideas we had if we were got to work with our favorite characters. With Scott and James, I get that same energy. But now, we actually get to do something with those ideas. We share our ideas and scripts. We talk out and field test concepts with each other. Those guys push me to be a better writer. I would often find myself talking about Metal with Scott and discovers things that I wanted to do in The Flash. It’s fun to bounce ideas off each other as friends and build story that we’d want to see. We share the DC Comics love with each other and find the things that we’d get excited about together. And when we take all that energy it helps build excitement in the rest of the team, with the artists, letterers and editors.”
Artist Francis Manapul is a superhero comics superstar, and No Justice is his most ambitious work to date, featuring huge cast of character in an adventure that takes them across the DC Universe. This exclusive preview of this week’s Justice League: No Justice #2 highlights his lively linework and dramatic composition, and he makes the most out of widescreen panel layouts to give this book a blockbuster appearance. “Working with Joshua, James and Scott has been a real treat, it’s an absolute blast to be part of a larger team,” says Francis Manapul. “In a job that can feel isolating at times, it’s a real luxury to be able to work with such talented writers who each bring in different perspectives. One of the things I enjoyed most is getting to know them better as people. It helps us understand each other deeper than the surface layer, and you start understanding how they arrived at the ideas and stories they’re telling. I believe it helps our disparate voices sound as one.”
“At first glance, it’s a dream come true tackling all of these iconic characters,” says Manapul. “Once I got into the nitty gritty of executing, my instincts are always to figure out how to tell the best story I can. Quite often the best way requires a monumental amount of time due to the sheer volume of characters you have to portray. I’m used to working on a solo or a small ensemble cast, but there’s no other words I can use than epic to properly describe the scope of work involved. When you spend enough time with a large cast it’s natural to gravitate towards certain characters and it’s never the one you expected. In this case, Martian Manhunter and Beast Boy were an absolute blast to work with. And of course Batman. Always Batman.”
“On a surface level, each team is color coded and their palette lands on the opposite end of the color wheel as their respective villains,” says Manapul. “On a deeper level Scott, James, and Joshua also wrote each team in a very different environments, which helped me create an atmosphere that matched the tone of each team.” Manapul is joined by Marcus To for the rest of No Justice, and the stylistic overlap plus Hi-Fi’s coloring makes for a smooth transition between artists. The visuals on No Justice match the grandeur of the script, and DC is putting a lot of muscle behind this summer’s Justice League revival.