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Eric Wallace talks TITANS

Eric Wallace talks TITANS

With TITANS #24, writer Eric Wallace brought a hard-edged twist to the team, with Deathstroke leading a group of morally ambiguous characters. Eric took some time to answer questions concerning his run, including his take of various team members. Check it out!

TT: How did you first come up with this new concept for the Titan’s franchise?

EW: Deathstroke was already going to be the leader of the Titans when I was asked if I wanted to take over the book. As a longtime fan of the character, I jumped at the chance. At that point, DC knew they wanted Deathstroke to lead a Titans team with Arsenal and Cheshire, but the rest of the team was still up in the air. I immediately suggested Tattooed Man, who I was writing at the time in FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: INK. At that point, the team’s purpose was still a bit fuzzy.

The whole “Villains for Hire” concept was hatched during a DC writers’ summit that I attended along with over half-a-dozen top DC writers and editors. It was a really wild creative few days in which a ton of radical concepts, ones that really pushed the envelope, were hatched. This new take on the TITANS franchise was one of them.

TT: Your first writing for the Titans was in TITANS #14, focusing on Cyborg. Did you know at that point the Titans would take a new direction?

EW: I was called in to write TITANS #14 at the eleventh hour. I had to pitch, then write the story very, very quickly. At the time, I had no idea I would be offered a more significant role as writer on the series. That came many months later after INK was finishing its run. So, no. I had no idea what the series would eventually become when I wrote my first Titans story!

TT: How did you go about choosing the characters that would be led by Deathstroke?

EW: As I mentioned before, Deathstroke, Arsenal, and Cheshire were chosen before I came onto the book. DC liked my suggestion of Tattooed Man, so we signed him up. It was Geoff Johns who came up with the brilliant idea to have Osiris join the team, fresh off his appearances in BLACKEST NIGHT. That left one more spot, which I wanted to fill with an original character of my own, Cinder.

TT: Which characters (if any) were considered but ultimately not chosen?

EW: I really wanted Donna Troy, but she was earmarked for James Robinson’s run on JLA. I also wanted Zauriel, because I wanted a deeply spiritual component to the team. I always felt Raven contributed this to the Titans in their previous incarnations and wanted to continue that. But again, it wasn’t to be.

TT: You also worked on FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: INK. Tattooed Man had redeemed himself during Final Crisis, even allying himself with the JLA. Then, of course due to events that occurred in his life, Mark returned to the “dark” side, as an ally of Deathstroke. Do you think Mark will always have a dubious nature, or can he still be a hero?

EW: I think Mark will always be both a hero and a villain. That’s because he always does the wrong things for the right reasons. But he has a good heart. He wants to do good. Unfortunately, he hangs out with a bad crowd (Deathstroke) and gets sucked into bad situations. Since leaving the Titans in issue #32, Mark has been able to clear his head a bit and get a new perspective on life. But no matter how heroic he becomes, Mark will always be haunted by the murder of Slipknot. It’s something he’ll never be able to escape.

TT: Cheshire has always been linked to the Titans, essentially through her relationship with Arsenal. Was her inclusion in the book a gateway of sorts in getting Roy to the group?

EW: Yes, that’s exactly it. As we saw in TITANS #25 when she gets shot, Cheshire invited Roy into the Titans for the sole purpose of helping her get revenge on Deathstroke. Their mutual hatred of Deathstroke bonds them together. But that’s going to change starting in July’s TITANS ANNUAL.

TT: Speaking of Roy, many fans, including myself, hated what happened to the character. His daughter, Lian, has always been well liked by the community of fans. We know that certain decisions are made to give a hook for new stories. But what’s your opinion of Lian’s death?

EW: As a parent myself, I hated to see her die. But as a storyteller, I understood the function it fulfilled in sending Roy down a dark path. Since then Roy has confronted some very powerful demons. But he’s hit rock bottom now. Very soon he’ll begin to turn back towards a brighter path.

TT: Roy spent years as a recovered addict, but his suffering has led him to relapse. Now we know he was drugged with Bliss by Slade. We also saw the Atom will need Roy’s help in getting to Slade. Could Roy side with his former friends and family Titan again? You think he is still redeemable?

EW: Yes, Roy can be saved. I believe we all can, no matter how far we fall in life. Believe it or not, I’m a very optimistic person. And while TITANS has taken a very dark path, it’s all been for a specific story reason, and that’s the redemption of these characters. Well, not all them. Definitely Roy. You’ll have to wait until “The Methuselah Imperative” in order to find out which other characters finally turn towards the light.

TT: Cinder is a beautiful Italian girl and a very interesting, damaged character. What was the process in creating her? What was the inspiration? We will see more about her past and her links with Nursery Cryme? A lot of people thought she was Sun-Girl from Slade’s Titans East team when the promo first got shown.

EW: I love Cinder so much as a character. She’s so flawed and powerful, yet at the same time delicate and emotionally fragile. In creating her, I called upon my love of Italian culture and combined it with the concept of a strong female soldier. Before she became Cinder, Carla Moretti was a member of the Italian military’s bomb squad. There she learned to face down death while saving lives. I thought this kind of character—someone who literally had no fear of death—could make for an interesting kind of anti-hero.

Of course, her abusive past came before her military service. And while Nursery Cryme is not the cause, he will play a role in Cinder’s future. She can’t stand the fact that he’s out there somewhere, preying upon more innocents. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to show Cinder’s hunt to find him somewhere down the line.

TT: We realize that all the arcs in TITANS may be intertwined, as Deathstroke’s plan come to light. Bliss, Allegra Garcia, Dominators, the death of Ryan Choi, Drago … Do all these elements have a role in the climax of the saga?

EW: Not all of them. Drago’s role is complete by Titans #36. And Allegra won’t be back just yet. However, all of the other elements you mentioned play a part in “The Methuselah Imperative,” the next Titans storyline. And yes, this is the story where Deathstroke’s master plan finally reaches its climax.

TT: With Osiris, we have seen his utter desperation in his acts – the bad things he’s done in order to bring his sister back. Now, we also see that Blaze will try to seduce him. In the last issue, Isis had noticed how his soul is now corrupt. What can you tell us, if anything about the fate of Osiris? Will we see Black Adam again in the pages of TITANS?

EW: We won’t see Black Adam or Blaze anytime soon. However, the next chapter in Osiris’s saga is all about what kind of ruler he will become for Kahndaq. This is actually a major component in the “Methuselah” story arc, which begins in the TITANS ANNUAL, then runs through TITANS #37 and #38. Isis also plays a big part in this story. As a result, the relationship between the brother and sister is going to change dramatically.

TT: Jericho, one of the most beloved characters in the Titan family, will be returning to the title. Joey has always been the victim of his own mind, due his powers
corrupting him. While he was initially redeemed in TEEN TITANS, before long he was damaged and psychotic again in TITANS. What can we expect about the status of Jericho? He was always a gentle and romantic character… Can we hope to see these nuances to his personality?

EW: I love the noble, gentle, and honorable side of Jericho. That’s what I’ll be bringing back to the character in “The Methuselah Imperative” storyline. But not before a few surprises are thrown Jericho and the Titans’ way. Being corrupted has taken its toll on Joseph. And there will be a price to pay before he can fully heal himself. The question, however, is… who will pay it?

TT: Remarkable to see you using supporting characters of the main characters such as Sarah Simms, Mary Marvel, Jericho, etc.. You really seem to know and care about the past of the team – any comment?

EW: I loved reading NEW TEEN TITANS when I was a kid. “The Judas Contract” and the “Titans Hunt” issues are some of my favorite comic books ever. I’m also a huge Marvel Family fan. So when I was given a chance to combine the two worlds—Titans and Shazam—I happily jumped at it. Again, these are characters I grew up with, so I’ve cared about them for a long time. And it gives me great pleasure to continue their stories today. I’m especially happy about where Osiris and Isis get to in the TITANS ANNUAL. I’d also like to write more stories for Mary Marvel, my favorite member of the Marvel Family. Only time will tell if I get to have that opportunity.

TT: The Titans will clash with the Justice League in a few months. What can we expect in this arc? That is, Jericho and Roy will meet with Donna, Dick, Jesse and Kara again. There will be some drama? Could you share something?

EW: For Arsenal and the Titans, the demons of their pasts will finally be confronted in “The Methuselah Imperative.” It’s going to be some really big drama set against the largest canvas yet for this Titans team. And because the JLA is looking to avenge the death of Ryan Choi, they’ve also got their own demons to quell. This is especially true for Ray Palmer, who has been searching for Ryan’s killer for awhile now. Needless to say, this storyline is a turning point for the Titans.

TT: We will have new characters joining the group? We will see more former Titans popping up in these pages? Mirage, a Brazilian Titan seems to have the profile for Slade’s team. Have you thought about using her?

EW: There are no plans for new characters to join the team, although Mirage is a great suggestion!

TT: How do you deal with criticism, especially from the most devoted fans of the group who disagree with the direction that DC took the title?

EW: To be honest, while I understand where the criticism in certain circles is coming from, I just have to ignore it. Otherwise, there would be no way to write the book. On the other hand, there is a large group of fans that love the new direction of the book, fans who have been very gracious and kind. To them, I want to say thank you.

TT: There will be a meeting between Slade, Rose and Joey? Perhaps a crossover with the TEEN TITANS book?

EW: There actually were very tentative plans to have Deathstroke and his team meet up with Rose and the Teen Titans. But those have changed. So no, there won’t be a crossover anytime soon between the two books.

TT: Upon the completion (or non-completion) of Slade’s plan, will this group will come to an end?

EW: Because much of what’s in store for the DCU in September is still a secret, I can’t really comment upon that at the moment. Sorry!

TT: Fabrizio Fiorentino and Cliff Richards are exceptional! They represent the dynamics and drama of the script quite well. How do you like working with these artists, as well as Philip Tan?

EW: Working with such a talented team of artists like Fabrizio, Cliff, and Philip is a real treat. Each of them has unique style that brings something different to the TITANS world. Best of all, they’re all great people and consummate professionals. Plus, no matter what crazy thing I ask them to draw, they always come up with finished artwork that’s even better than what I imagined. I look forward to working with all of them for a long time.

TT: Anything else you’d like to share?

EW: Next up for the Titans is “The Methuselah Imperative.” This storyline is the culmination of two missions. The first is Deathstroke’s grand plan involving his son Jericho. But the other, equally important mission, is Ray Palmer’s quest to bring Ryan Choi’s killer to justice. Needless to say, these two missions are at odds with each other. Meaning that someone has to win… and someone has to lose.

TT: Any last message for all the Titans fans out there?

EW: I just want to thank all the Titans fans for their support. I’ve received some wonderful letters from some of you, and it’s greatly appreciated. So keep reading! The best is yet to come.

Check the same interview in Portuguese.


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  I live in Brazil and I am a physicaltherapist. In my free time, I try to work on Torre Titã, a Brazilian blog inspired by titanstower.com. I discovered the Titans with The New Teen Titans v2 #20. I fell in love with Donna Troy as soon as I saw her. And since I already loved Green Arrow, I instantly became a great fan of Speedy as well. Like all Titans fans, I still hope to see our Titans together again and done right. Read more from this author


2 Comments

  1. avatar

    Eric was very kind with this interview. Thanks, Eric.

  2. avatar

    I don’t see how Donna Troy could’ve worked for this team, but I would’ve loved to see Raven appearing just for helping Joey and Roy.