Q&A with Dan Abnett on Infinite Crisis
Award-winning comic book writer Dan Abnett (The New Deadwardians, Guardians of the Galaxy) talks about his new digital first comic book series Infinite Crisis: Fight for the Multiverse that ties into the popular new MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) PC game by Turbine and WB Games.
Can you tell us a bit about the new series Infinite Crisis, and where it fits within the game’s timeline?
Dan: Strictly speaking we begin before the game, and then run into the game timeline. In some respects, the series could be seen as ‘one version’ of playing the game. I get to deliver more backstory, more ‘big picture’, and then build up a major storyline that’s actually composed of several side-by-side arcs. Weekly episodes allow me to do that - to start one story rolling (with Batman) then start another (with Flash) and then move them up side by side, add in others, and eventually overlap and connect them. I guess if you’re a player, you could easily imagine that these stories are happening somewhere in the game multiverse around you while you’re playing.
Getting your hands on all the different characters across the Multiverse worlds really seems like a nerd dream! What’s it like to write all the different character versions?
Dan: Fantastic. I get to play with classic DC heroes, some of whom I have not written before, I get to play with the wild new ‘Elseworld’ variants, and I also (with the assist and permission of the game developers) get to invent new ones!
So where do we find Batman at the beginning of this story? Who can readers look forward to him facing off against?
Dan: We meet him in Gotham, on Prime Earth, investigating what seems to be a typical Gotham crime... except it isn’t. It leads him into the Crisis, and off to other Earths, and through his eyes (to begin with) the truth of the Multiverse and the Infinite Crisis unfolds. And it’s not so much who he faces off against (hint, for a start, ‘two’ faces to face off against), it’s also who he mixes with: Gaslight Catwoman, Atomic Wonder Woman, Arcane Green Lantern and Nightmare Robin. And that’s just the beginning.
What is the writing process like for Infinite Crisis? How does the game influence your process?
Dan: I devoured all the game ref on characters, locations and storylines they could give me, then started to build a layered story that connected and explored them. I wanted to create a comic story that made perfect sense if you knew the game (and perhaps told you things about the game you didn’t already know), but also to create a great DCV Multiverse story that worked in its own right, even if you didn’t know the game. It’s an epic story. I get to do some pretty big things along the way.
What locations across the Multiverse can readers look forward to seeing Batman and his allies in?
Dan: Gaslight to begin with, and Prime, of course, then Atomic... I aim to get to each of the major game worlds in time, but also to add in worlds (or hints of worlds) that aren’t yet ‘playable’.
What kind of unique situations do you encounter when writing a tie-in comic?
Dan: I suppose the main difference is that when writing, say, a DC book, you have to respect the great characters and mythology of DC, and work under DC’s editorial guidance. With this, there is also the game company Turbine, to consider... this is their version of the DC Multiverse. So two masters instead of one, and its a balance to make sure you respect both. However, the best bit is that some of what I create in terms of characters or ideas, feeds back INTO the game. There’s a proper sense of it being canon, and Turbine are very keen to pick up on the ideas I produce that they find most compelling or exciting.
Were there any books you read to prepare for this series, or any you had fun revisiting after writing for that Multiverse world?
Dan: All the Crisis sagas, for a start, and many of the Elseworld books. Taking Batman to Gaslight Earth first is a deliberate tip of the hat to the very first Elseworlds story, Gotham by Gaslight.
Will this series mostly focus on Batman and his team or will the focus shift from character to character?
Dan: Batman and his ‘team” will be a mainstay, but there are other teams and character strands, and they will take focus sometimes... and everything will, however surprisingly, join up in places.
What are some things you have to avoid, so as to not spoil the game?
Dan: Two things. And I can’t tell you either of them :)
What are the difficulties of writing for all the different Multiverse worlds and characters? What was the most fun?
Dan: I guess it’s keeping track of all the variations, and not getting ‘voices’ confused, especially when there’s more than one version of a character in a scene. Green Lantern and Arcane Green Lantern, for example, do NOT talk the same way at all! The most fun, I think, is putting characters together, either because it makes perfect sense or because it’s so unlikely, and then seeing what happens. Prime Batman and Nightmare Robin, for example, makes a lot of sense... but only when I started writing them did I find out how much fun their relationship was going to be.
Is there one particular universe or character incarnation you’d love to be able to write at some point?
Dan: I’m looking forward to Nightmare, and also a decent stay on Arcane. As for the characters, I haven’t seen (or thought up) a variant that I DON’T want to write!
This blog post was provided courtesy of DC Comics. Interested in comics and graphic novels? Sign up for Comics Delivers, a weekly email featuring the best in comics each week - from weekly booklists to deals and exclusive content from creators.