Interview: Steve Orlando Assembles the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA [Part One]

In the wake of this month’s Justice League vs. Suicide Squad event comes a brand new Justice League of America — and to get us there, DC Comics is spending the month reintroducing us to their newest members: The Atom, Vixen, The Ray, and Killer Frost. And at the center of the ongoing series and all four Rebirth specials is writer Steve Orlando, who kindly sat down for an extended two-part interview on building the new roster, how each character comes into their own, and more.

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Matt Santori: Before we get into the four Rebirth specials, I want to start off with the big picture: what considerations go into building the perfect Justice League roster in your mind?

Steve Orlando: It’s a combination of things. When I came to reading JLA, it was just after the launch of Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s classic Big 7 League — but it also right in the middle of “Rock of Ages,” after which the roster jumped up to 14 members. The team for me has always been about the icons, but at the same time, the people who deserve to be icons, who should have had a bigger platform. Characters like Steel, Aztec, and Zauriel can grow and learn from other members of the team.

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Even though it’s one team, I always think of it in terms of a generational aspect. And for Justice League of America, it’s about finding the right balance of those characters. You have someone in the DC Universe that’s known by everyone in Batman. And then you have characters who I think are every bit as strong as Batman in Vixen and Black Canary, who have a lot of history and continuity.

And then you have people who can learn from those relationships like the Ray, who are new to the scene. You have people who have been around for awhile like Ryan Choi, who’s been in the room being part of the Atom, but who is now just stepping into that role.

Ultimately, putting a JLA together is about finding people who can make each other better. Better than they can be on their own. And that goes for everyone. No character in the JLA is perfect and that’s a big part of it coming out of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, with even Batman understanding that there are things he can’t do on his own. His way is a great way, but it’s not the only way. If they’re going to move forward as a community — which I’ve been saying from the beginning is what the JLA is about — other people need to come in and it needs mean more than what Batman can do alone. That’s why the JLA is there. click to continue

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