Interview: Grant Morrison on ‘Final Crisis’ and ‘Doctor Who’
As I wandered around the press gathering at the New York Legend Award ceremony for Stan Lee, I saw a familiar face — a face I first saw in an issue of Animal Man many years ago.
I spoke with Morrison about the influences and potential ramifications of Final Crisis, as well as his future as one of the primary architects in the DC Universe. We also chatted a bit about another series that has us excited: the reinvigorated hit BBC science-fiction classic, Doctor Who.
COMICMIX: First of all, you have to settle a bet for me, Grant. In the weekly series 52, the villain called "The Ten-Eyed Man" was re-introduced for the first time since Crisis on Infinite Earths, except now it was a whole cult of ten-eyed warriors who were very creepy and seemed to be mystical and demonic. That revamp had to be your idea, right?
GRANT MORRISON: Yes, yes it was.
CMix: I knew it! I said, "That is pure Morrison!"
GM: Wait ’til you meet "The Nine-Eyed Man" in Batman. He’s a renegade who cut off one of his fingers and is crazy now.
CMix: That’s just so weird, I love it.
CMix: So, Final Crisis is coming up — "The day that evil won." We know that one-time Justice League villain Libra is back with god-like powers. We know Darkseid’s involved. Any other secrets you can toss us? Things to look out for?
GM: Nah! I mean, what kinds of secrets do you want me to reveal? I think you can find it out for yourself. [You should] really enjoy the moments and the reveals. With the Internet and everything these days, I think it’s good to still have a few secrets here and there.
CMix: Not even one teaser for our readers?
GM: Okay, okay… George W. Bush is a Skrull.
CMix: I KNEW IT! Okay, but seriously, if you had to wrap up all of your work over this past year on Batman, All-Star Superman and Final Crisis into one theme, what would it be? One phrase…
GM: The death of Western civilization.
CMix: Western civilization specifically? Not the end of the world in general?
GM: Well, it’s geared towards these feelings a lot of people had in the Western world after September 11. Danger all around, the world’s not feeling stable, faith is lost. That happens in the DC Universe now on a bigger level. And then Darkseid comes in.
CMix: So this is like "The End Days."
GM: Yeah. Superman’s facing death [in All Star Superman], Batman’s soon facing the end [in Batman R.I.P.], and Darkseid is coming to mess everything up. It’s just that feeling of chaos and death, but operating in the DC Universe instead of the real world. It’s light vs. the darkness.
CMix: Sounds heavy…
GM: Yeah. Sounds better than another alien invasion story again, doesn’t it?
CMix: Ha! … In your run on JLA years ago, at the end of the "Rock of Ages" storyline, you had Metron of the New Gods tell the Leaguers that they were forerunners — and that what New Genesis was to the Fourth World, Earth would be for the Fifth. Are you going back to that remark?
GM: Absolutely. Honestly, if you look at all my work at DC, I consider it to be one long saga, one big story. And Final Crisis is the end of that story, really. I’ll stick around to finish my stuff with Batman, but otherwise Final Crisis will pretty much be it for me in the DC Universe. At least for a while.
CMix: And how does Batman R.I.P. fit into the timeline of Final Crisis?
GM: It takes place before [Final Crisis]. R.I.P. will lead into Final Crisis. Whether the Batman in Final Crisis is actually Bruce Wayne, you’ve got to see for yourself. It could be Nightwing, it could be Tim. Tim deserves it, you know, he chose the life and he’s worked hard. Nightwing would be fun, but a very different Batman, more smart-ass.
CMix: "Crisis" tends to mean death for DC characters. Are we going to get big deaths this time around, too?
GM: I’d rather not kill characters. I like to give fates worse than death.
CMix: Worse than death?
GM: Yeah. You’ll just have to see. Sorry I can’t give away more. I just don’t like letting people know, "Oh, watch out for issue #5, these three get killed and this one gets new powers." Let people see it.
CMix: No, I respect that. I hate getting spoiled for some stuff. It kills me that I already know one of the plot elements of the season finale for Doctor Who this year.
GM: Oh, I’m a Doctor Who fan, too. What did you think about this past season of Doctor Who?
CMix: I thought it was pretty solid. The first season was mainly an introduction to the show, the second season was all about the magical possibilities of traveling in the TARDIS and how many lives it affects, seeing old companions and new companions. The third season seemed very much about the Doctor and the forces that drive him. Especially the "Human Nature" two-parter.
GM: I thought "Human Nature" was great. Some people said they loved "Blink" most this past season, but not me. "Human Nature" was just great. The tragedy and the feel of it… the angry god.
CMix: Absolutely. Plus, while "Blink" was very fun, it wasn’t really a Doctor story. You could’ve replaced the Doctor with several other characters and it still would’ve worked. Are you enjoying the new season so far?
GM: You know, I’m not the biggest fan of Catherine Tate, but I’m starting to like her as Donna. So I’m enjoying it.
CMix: What do you think of David Tennant’s Doctor?
GM: He’s good, but you know, I once heard that Jason Statham was being looked at as The Doctor… and since then, I’ve just thought, "Man, that would be excellent. A kung-fu Doctor!"
CMix: Wow, that would be like The Third Doctor on overdrive.
CMix: Well, thanks very much for your time, Grant. I’m looking forward to Final Crisis.
Final Crisis #1 hits shelves at the end of May. Season Four of Doctor Who is currently airing on both the BBC and Sci-Fi Channel. Alan Kistler believes that Grant Morrison goes Dalek-hunting in his spare time.