The superhero champions of Tower City are returning to a comic book store near you in this month's "Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father," a new five-issue miniseries from writer Jay Faerber and artist Julio Brilha. But longtime "Dynamo 5" readers will notice some changes: Brilha replaces outgoing artist and Faerber's co-creator Mahmud Asrar, who remains an active presence on the book's behind-the-scenes efforts. Additionally, the superhero team itself has undergone some radical alterations including code name changes and power exchanges as a result of the events of the most recent "Dynamo 5" story arc.
Despite this, Faerber told CBR News that this miniseries provides fans with all the ingredients that "Dynamo 5" fans know and love, and then some. Aside from the core quintet of "Dynamo 5," several other iconic Image Comics heroes are getting in on the action, like Invincible, Savage Dragon and Supreme. Additionally, Faerber described "Sins of the Father" as "a five-issue fight scene" that takes place over the course of a single day. On top of the main "Dynamo 5" adventure, Faerber is also teaming up with "Morning Glories" artist Joe Eisma for "Notorious," a five-page back-up feature running throughout the "Sins of the Father" miniseries.
For more information, CBR spoke with Faerber about the return of "Dynamo 5," what fans can expect from this latest adventure, how it appeals to readers both new and old, the advantages of the miniseries' finite storytelling format and much more.
CBR News: Jay, it's been a little while since the last "Dynamo 5" adventure. How does it feel bringing them back out for a new miniseries?
Jay Faerber: It feels great! I know we've been out of the public eye for a while, but work on the book has progressed behind the scenes almost without interruption. As I write this, the first issue is being sent to the printer, the second issue is being lettered, the third issue is being colored, the fourth issue is being drawn, and the covers to the fifth issue are being laid out. So we've got a nice assembly line going on here. I feel pretty confident in saying that all five issues of this miniseries will ship on time.
As much as you're willing to reveal, what can we expect to see in this latest series?
We're going to see a lot of action. This miniseries is unlike anything I've written before, in that it's essentially a five-issue fight scene. Aliens attack Tower City in the first issue, and issues two through five chronicle Dynamo 5's efforts to repel the attack. There are lots of twists and turns, and lots of guest stars and some flashbacks, but it's still five issues of almost non-stop fighting. That's challenging not just because it's a lot to choreograph, but also because not much time passes in these five issues. I think the entire five issues cover maybe 24 hours, if that. So it's paced much differently than I'm used to.
The miniseries is called "Sins of the Father." Clearly, Captain Dynamo isn't exactly the greatest father figure for a number of reasons, infidelity being a big one. How much does this mini deal with the Dynamo team's relationship to Captain Dynamo? Are we going to learn new information about Dynamo himself and his relationship with the main cast?
That's tough to answer without spoiling too much, but basically we're going to see some flashbacks to an adventure that Captain Dynamo had alongside some other Image heroes where they repelled a similar attack to the one currently happening. And we'll see how the previous generation of Image heroes dealt with it, compared to the current generation.
One thing I hope to accomplish is to show that Captain Dynamo was a true hero. He had his flaws, sure, but some of his decisions will probably surprise you. And when you see how Dynamo 5 - one of them in particular - act when faced with those same decisions, the choices made should be pretty interesting.
You mentioned a "previous generation of Image heroes," with some of those characters including Omni-Man, Supreme and Savage Dragon. What prompted you to include these characters in this story?
The idea for this story was originally just going to be a standalone issue that featured a flashback adventure of Captain Dynamo, Omni-Man, Supreme and Mighty Man. I thought it would be cool to have a big adventure with all the Superman-inspired characters - I know, Mighty Man is more of a Captain Marvel analog, but still - then that idea grew into something that could serve as the prelude for a story that could have ramifications in the present day. And then as I wrote the story, I decided to sprinkle the flashbacks throughout, instead of front-loading them. As the story developed, I decided to open it up to include Savage Dragon and some other older Image heroes, particularly my own Doc Noble and Firebird, and then there wasn't really room for Mighty Man, so he got dropped. But it was definitely fun to include these older heroes and to help ground the Dynamo 5 kids in the bigger Image universe.
We'll also see some of the younger Image heroes connected to these older characters, like Malcolm and Angel from "Savage Dragon" and Invincible. How can we expect to see them factor into "Sins of the Father?"
When the alien invasion happens in the present day, we establish that most of the adult, big league Image heroes are off-planet at a gathering that the Noble family is putting together. So Savage Dragon isn't around, the Nobles aren't around, the elder Firebird isn't there. We can assume Youngblood and everyone else is [at the gathering], too. So that leaves Dynamo 5 and the younger Firebird, initially. Then Invincible is able to join the fight, and finally Malcolm and Angel. I really just threw all of those characters in there to have all the second-generation Image heroes team up together. It's fun to have them interact. I even worked in a flashback panel to Dynamo 5 fighting one of the evil Invincibles from "The Invincible War." We address the fact that Hector Chang is now calling himself Smasher, which was the code name of Angel's mother, Jennifer. So it's that fun character stuff that we're able to work in alongside all the punching.
Going back to the title, Captain Dynamo's "sins" aren't important just to his children, of course - there's also his widow, Madeline Warner, to consider. How does Maddie factor into this miniseres? What sort of role is she going to play here, particularly in relation to her late husband?
Maddie's present in the miniseries, and we also see her in the flashbacks. She's in a tough situation because she saw how powerful the alien invasion was last time around, so she knows she's sending the Dynamo 5 kids into a fight they may not survive. So that's something she struggles with. Dynamo 5 are heroes, but they're also just kids - does she really have the right to send them to their deaths?
Something that shouldn't be forgotten is that Dynamo 5 has undergone some radical changes recently. Powers have been swapped and code names have been changed. How have these changes affected each of the main characters since the last we saw of them? How are they coping with these alterations?
We kind of hit the ground running in this mini, so there wasn't a whole lot of time to address how the characters are reacting to the changes. We see a little bit of that in the very beginning of issue #1 as they're having to re-learn teamwork a bit, in terms of how it relates to their new powers. But once the invasion happens, they've really got to step up to the plate. Some characters are handling their new powers better than others, that's for sure. By the end of the mini, we'll see that one character is handling these powers very well - possibly too well!
How about for you, Jay? Are there challenges for you as a creator in giving these characters such overhauls in terms of their power sets and code names? Are you enjoying the change? What's your take on it?
I'm definitely enjoying the change. The structure of this miniseries makes it a little difficult to get into the ramifications of the changes as much as I may have liked, but that part of the challenge just makes it more fun. I don't find the new powers themselves challenging, since they're essentially the same powers, with a few exceptions, just in different characters. But it's fun to focus these powers through their different personalities. I love Wraith [formerly Myriad] in particular, and his whole hooded/cloaked avenger routine.
"Sins of the Father" is the first new story since Mahmud Asrar announced his departure from the book's interiors. How does "Dynamo 5" feel without Mahmud involved in that capacity? What's his current level of involvement now?
It feels different without Mahmud doing the interiors, only because he knows these characters just as well as I do, but he's still very involved. He sees all the art and colors as they come in and he proofs a lettered copy before it goes out the door. He designs any new characters or costumes, and he's still drawing the covers. Plus, he has input on story and creative decisions, too. For instance, we've brainstormed a few times about who to line up to draw variant covers. Sometimes we'll approach someone I know, other times we'll approach someone Mahmud knows. So he's still very much involved.
Julio Brilha is taking on art chores for this miniseries. What does Julio bring to the table? What did you see in him that made him a natural fit for "Dynamo 5?"
Julio is an amazing storyteller. He's just got great instincts and is able to juggle lots of characters on the page doing all sorts of things, which is especially good considering how big the cast is for this miniseries. It's that storytelling ability that really caught my eye. He's also very consistent. Julio turns in pages like clockwork, so we've got a nice rhythm going.
You and Joe Eisma are teaming up for "Notorious," a new bonus feature running in the back of "Dynamo 5." What can you tell us about the story for this one?
Notorious is something Joe and I created just as a way to add some value to "Dynamo 5." Plus, it was a chance to get to work with Joe again, who's one of my favorite new artists. He's really going to make a name for himself when "Morning Glories," his new ongoing Image series with writer Nick Spencer, debuts in August.
But anyway, Notorious appears, at first glance, as a simple costumed crusader waging a war against organized crime. He's a more street level hero. He doesn't appear to have any powers and instead relies on his athletic abilities. Each installment is five pages, and by the end of the first installment, you'll see a pretty big twist in the Notorious premise. I don't want to get into details because it'll spoil that first installment.
As a miniseries, "Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father" represents a shift from the previous ongoing title. What makes a miniseries more advantageous to you as a creator than an ongoing? Do you think you'll stick with this format for the duration of "Dynamo 5," or at least the next little while?
We plan to stick with finite projects for the foreseeable future. It may not always be a miniseries. For instance, "Sins of the Father" ends in October, and now we're talking about doing a one-shot to be released near Christmas. Then we'll probably start another miniseries around March or so. Then maybe another one-shot after that.
But I think the ongoing, monthly grind has proven too difficult for us. I've heard from far too many people that they stopped reading the book because of its poor shipping schedule. This way, we can stockpile issues until we have enough work done to release each issue on time, which is what's happening with "Sins of the Father."
Final sales pitch, Jay: why should readers hop aboard "Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father," even if they're not already on the "Dynamo 5" train?
"Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father" is a big, action-packed adventure that features tons of popular Image characters as guest stars. It's got humor, action, drama, and some kick-ass cliffhangers. And it's totally accessible. We've designed the story to be appreciated even if you've never read "Dynamo 5" before. But if you're looking to catch up just in case, the entire 25-issue first series is currently available in four trade paperbacks!
"Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father" #1, written by Jay Faerber and illustrated by Julio Brilha, hits stores on June 23, 2010.