The shocking Justice League covers keep on coming, this time with the Justice League #31 cover showing a brand new female Power Ring standing in the middle of the team.
That Justice League team features super villains Lex Luthor and Captain Cold, a development we still aren't sure how to explain because it comes out of the end of Forever Evil, which doesn't end until April.
What we know so far is that when Power Ring died in Forever Evil #5, his ring sought out a new host. That new host will be Jessica Cruz, a character teased just briefly in last year's Green Lantern #20. If anything, you have to hand it to writer Geoff Johns for planning for the long haul. He teased both the death of the Justice League (which we saw in Forever Evil) and this new Power Ring in one sentence published in May 2013.
We talked to Johns about the new Power Ring, what the difference is between Green Lantern and Power Ring, and how the Justice League will change due to Luthor and Cold being a part of it.
IGN Comics: Yet another shocking cover! Go ahead and talk about who and what we're seeing here.
Geoff Johns: On the cover is Batman, Lex Luthor, Shazam, Cyborg, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman -- our core Justice League team -- and then the newest character to add to the DC Universe, the all-new Power Ring. She'll be introduced post-Forever Evil as the Crime Syndicate's Power Ring's ring seeks out a new host and seeks out a very different kind of host for a very different kind of Lantern and chooses somebody, a brand new character we first hinted at her in Green Lantern #20, Jessica Cruz. She'll become a pretty big player in the post-Forever Evil Justice League world. The Justice League aren't the only super-team after her, for various reasons. I think it's going to be a lot of fun when you see the character -- and the continued interaction between Luthor and Batman -- this brand new character is another wrench, along with Luthor and Cold, another wrench thrown into the mix of the Justice League team.
Really, if the first two years are all about establishing the core, these two years are about challenging what the Justice League is and "When does it go too far where it's not the Justice League?" and "Where's the team going to be taken with these new characters on it?" I think there's a lot of really interesting things coming up, a lot of good mysteries, a lot of good firsts. We've never seen, obviously, Lex Luthor and Captain Cold working alongside the team like this. And, for me, exploring new things, where some of it is a result of Forever Evil and the fallout from that, and some are going to be coming up that are going to affect the team later on. But it's all about entering a new world and a new chapter in the League's life.
IGN: Wow, that's a lot for the Justice League to handle. I want to circle back around to the new Power Ring. Could you explain what is the difference between a Green Lantern and Power Ring?
GJ: Sure. That's a really good question. There's a big difference between them. Obviously we saw Power Ring --- can get a little over the top -- but Harold Jordan from Earth-3 is a natural born coward. He was chosen by the ring because he's easily manipulated and full of fear and the ring controls its host. It's more of like a curse. We saw the ring affect Power Ring physically. With the Earth-3 Abin Sur, you can see what it did longterm when you wear the ring. The ring itself, it's not all about willpower, it's not channeling anything good. When you charge it, bad things happen. It charges in a very horrible way. All of that is going to befall a young woman we are going to introduce in the DC Universe who is going to be "chosen as the new lucky owner" of this ring.
I can say that the big differences are, when you boil it down, being chosen to be Green Lantern is a blessing, being chosen to be Power Ring is a curse.
IGN: Thanks, that boils it down perfectly. I don't want you to spoil anything, obviously, but is the new Power Ring going to join the Justice League? Or is she a villain?
GJ: I don't want to totally spoil it, but the team has a lot of other unconventional members, so you'll have to see her story unfold and which way she's going to go.
IGN: Sure, okay. Man, that's big. That's huge. As far as Jessica Cruz goes, we've only seen her in Green Lantern #20, right? Is she a brand new character?
IGN: Okay, just making sure she wasn't somebody's secret relative or something. You spoke a lot about the new lineup of the team. What's going to be the dynamic of the team going forward? Obviously Lex Luthor joining is huge news, but Captain Cold is on the team, too.
GJ: There's a lot of questions I think that are going to be asked of the team and of the individual members and we'll see a lot of that play out in the aftermath of Forever Evil. There's a big revelation in Forever Evil #7 that's going to change the dynamic more than you even think.
The focus is going to be Batman, Lex Luthor, and Wonder Woman, with of course the other characters coming in too, but those three are going to be the focus of the book. It's not a healthy dynamic. It's a challenging dynamic. I think sometimes good ideas come out of friction and tension and they'll learn that. But there's a very strong public opinion about the Justice League after Forever Evil and a strong opinion about Lex Luthor. Batman and Luthor are going to be forced into a situation where they need to figure out how to work together, how to do this together. There are things that are on the horizon that they both are aware of that they're going to have to tackle together.
The dynamic is going to be, there's going to be tension, I think a lot of fun, there's going to be some good humor. Shazam asks right away, "What's so bad about Lex Luthor? He seems like a pretty smart guy."
GJ: I think Captain Cold, a lot of people are going to ask why he's even there, and Luthor has his reasons for bringing Cold with him. But I think just the dynamics are going to be so unknown. You can kind of predict Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are going to work together to figure things out. You can't predict how this team is going to get things done. And when they start getting things done efficiently, I think it's going to surprise everybody.
This is the Justice League, and they are going to tackle Justice League-level threats. They're going to tackle them very different than they used to. I think the dynamics are going to be full of drama, but also full of a lot of fun. We are going to explore Luthor in ways he's never been explored. We're going to explore Batman in ways he's never been explored. There's a lot of secrets that both these characters have that are going to come out throughout the series, so it should be a good time.