Dark Crisis on Infinite Earth is barreling toward its finish, with Pariah and his Dark Army currently pummeling heroes on Earth. The best of the best heroes aren’t back in the fight, setting up a high-stakes battle that could end up with many other heroes dead!
As the penultimate issue, Dark Crisis on Infinite Earth #6 has so much at stake. Not only is Earth and its many heroes in danger, but the entire Multiverse could be destroyed (or, at the very least, irrevocably altered). It’s such a high-stakes situation that we just had to catch up once more with writer Joshua Williamson and artist Daniel Sampere.
This time around, we dug into the headspace of the series’ villains, the Beast Boy vs. Deathstroke image making the rounds on Twitter this week, and so much more. Also, both creators share how they’d grade their performances and whether or not they’ve achieved their respective creative goals for the book.
Issue #6 hits shelves on November 6 — retailers have until this Sunday, October 21 to put in their final orders.
AIPT: Based on solicits, issue #6 is a finale of sorts. What can fans expect?
Josh Williamson: I feel like issue #6 is the big multiverse giant fight climax. Because we have Jace, Jon, and Yara sort of stepping up in this issue and they ended up saving the day on a major level. I always felt like this book had multiple villains, and a lot of the time, you see in these big events the big massive fight is always in the last issue. Everyone fighting each other, but issue seven is the more emotional beats, and there’s still big stuff, don’t get me wrong, there are still people fighting each other in seven. But we wanted six to be the end of the like nonstop fighting moments, and we wanted to wrap up a couple of plot threads there, so one of the bigger plot threads involved one of the threats, one of the dangers gets stopped in this issue.
One of the bigger pieces sort of ends here, and we get to have some cool moments, like for Jace and Jon, before we get other people returning. Seven is also pretty bonkers. The first couple of issues were paced a little slower on purpose. It was a bit more character-driven.
AIPT: Daniel, are you done with the series, or are you still working on seven?
Daniel Sampere: Working on seven already, yeah. I’m done with six finally, it’s been tough, but yeah, I’m already on seven.
AIPT: Do you have a favorite moment in issue #6?
DS: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. But I think I cannot tell with details, but the intense Jon moment and what happens afterward. It’s my favorite by far.
AIPT: It’s no secret Deathstroke seems to be the main villain in issue #7 based on solicitation, but Pariah is still the big bad in six, where’s his head at in this issue?
JW: I think Pariah is a very tortured person. I’ve always been so fascinated by his character, who’s essentially the main character of Crisis on Infinite Earths, he’s kind of your narrator. He’s the one that kickstarted everything. I just thought it was always really interesting how that was never really resolved. George [Pérez] picked that up a little bit during War of the Gods showing where this person feels incredible guilt, and in that story, he wants to die, like he wanted to end this curse in any way possible. Let’s wrap up that piece of the story thread with Pariah. That was always my space going into this.
But I think this person feels incredible guilt but also is deluded and lying to himself about something. That’s part of what that opening was like, again, reminding you of what was going on with him and why he has been doing what he’s been doing and acting the way he’s doing, and he just really wants to make amends for what he did at any costs including killing a bunch of people.
AIPT: Daniel when drawing Pariah in this issue, there are some historical, iconic moments that you call back to. What was it like putting pen to page drawing those moments?
JW: I hope everybody notices Pariah smiles on that page.
DS: It’s strange feelings, you know, because I really feel what we are doing, having the chance to draw these kind of moments, these kinds of images that mean so much for DC history. After one year, we’re doing it still feels weird sometimes. Drawing Pariah in those situations. It’s amazing for me to do this, and if you pay attention to the series, everyone can see that every time I had the chance to base images in history, I took it. When people recognize something, I think it’s cool.
AIPT: At the start of #6, there are a ton of heroes fighting, and there are a ton of iconic villains fighting, would you say at the start, one side has the advantage?
JW: Yeah, the Dark Army has the advantage by far. There’s a progression throughout the issue of there’s no way they’re going to beat the Dark Army. And then Mr. Terrific even says, at one point, after they take care of a couple of things, he says now we have a fighting chance. Well they thought they were close, but now there’s a big problem, one very big problem they just can’t seem to stop. You’ll see this at the beginning of seven, there’s a lot going on, so it’s still against them. We definitely set the table way more for the Dark Army side of things.
AIPT: The Beast Boy fighting Deathstroke page was revealed earlier this week by both of you guys. How do you think these characters have evolved up until this point via this event?
JW: I think a lot of people kind of treat Beast Boy like he’s a joke, and I think this is often like a real-world thing and also a thing in comics and storytelling, sometimes. The nice characters are always seen as the funny joke ones, just because they’re nice. If you’re a nice person, you’re not taken that seriously sometimes. That’s how I felt about Beast Boy.
I’ve always been a fan of Beast Boy. I wanted to show him being like a badass a little bit. We knew we were going to shoot him in the face in issue one. I still can’t believe people thought we were gonna kill in issue #1. But then I knew the flip side of that was him discovering his anger. Really let him embrace apart from the stuff we don’t normally see. That there’s a nice version of him, and then we get to see the angry version of him that is like, “No, I’m gonna go after you, and I’m gonna slice you up” to Deathstroke. That’s why we went there.
AIPT: There are a lot of big heroic moments in this issue of Dark Crisis, which character has your favorite heroic moment in this issue?
DS: For me it’s by far the Jon moment for me, the most heroic and most awesome part of the book by far.
JW: That’s the centerpiece, the Jon moment. Jon having his Rocky moment of like, I’m not gonna stay down. I’m gonna save the multiverse by just letting them beat the crap out of me. Basically Jon saying, like, I’m going to take the abuse so that other people can continue. That was the emotional moment for Jon of him being willing to go out there and put his life on the line and sacrifice himself. That to me was the big emotional centerpiece of it. With Green Arrow, the Green Arrow story is far from over. You’ll see as we get deeper into it that yeah, there’s stuff coming. But yeah, it’s not over yet.
AIPT: This week in Superman Son of Kal-El there’s a scene where Jon meets his dad in the sky. So Superman is back, but he isn’t back yet in Dark Crisis. What’s the order people should read these stories?
JW: The reading order would be “Returned of Kal-El” and then you have to read the Return of Kal-El Special that comes out in November. Then it’s all of Dark Crisis, and then it’s Action Comics #1050. That is the correct reading order.
AIPT: Now that we’re on the penultimate issue of Dark Crisis, what was a goal you set for yourself to set up seven before we get to the finale?
JW: Everything we did is what I needed to do. We wanted to wrap up some of the Pariah multiverse stuff and get that to a certain place. The big bad reveal at the end of issue six, like everything’s always been driving to that moment where a lot of our threats sort of combine in that moment, for lack of a better phrase. I think we were able to get there, like everything we needed.
AIPT: Daniel, I know one of your goals is just to get the pages done. But were there any goals that you’ve accomplished?
DS: My biggest goal from the beginning was super clear, obviously, doing my best job possible. But the main focus for me was not missing any page, because of deadlines or whatever I really wanted from day one to do the whole series by myself. I’ve been trying as hard as I can to accomplish that. And I can say right now I’m pretty confident that we’re going to make it.
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