Ray Fawkes has his hand in all manner of dark matter these days for DC Comics, co-writing both Constantine and Justice League Dark with Jeff Lemire. Next month, the scribe will be in the thick of it solo as he launches the new ongoing series Trinity of Sin: Pandora, starring the mysterious force we first caught a glimpse of in the conclusion of Flashpoint nearly two years ago. Ray was kind enough to share his perspective on writing Pandora, and how she is a new and different force for the DCU!
Matt Santori: Thanks for taking time out to chat, Ray! Pandora is easily one of the highest profile characters in the DC Universe we know almost nothing about! What made her a compelling figure to you in approaching the series?
Ray Fawkes: Two things, really. The first is exactly what you say here — for someone so visible in the last couple of years, she’s maintained this air of complete mystery and secrecy that I found really piqued my interest, and led me to thinking: who IS this person? Why would she keep her cards so close to her chest? What is it she’s after?
The second is the incredible tragedy of her story — she’s suffered immeasurably over the centuries, and we’re going to get into how, exactly, that’s shaped her as a character.
MSG: Pandora clearly isn’t a hero, but I certainly wouldn’t classify her as a villain. How do you ride the line as a writer between the two, and does that complicate the process of developing a protagonist readers can relate to?
RF: I say this a lot when people ask questions like this: are you sure? Are you sure she’s not a hero? Are you sure she’s not a villain? What we’ve seen so far only demonstrates that she is this incredibly driven, long-suffering presence in the DC Universe, and she won’t let anything stand in her way. But whether those qualities make her a hero or a villain all has to do with what exactly she’s trying to achieve, and why she’s trying to do it, don’t they? That’s what this book is about, and, I would hope, the unfolding story will provoke discussion.
MSG: The legend of Pandora is one of many stories told of the original woman and isn’t entirely dissimilar in part to the creation of Wonder Woman herself. How do you feel she fits in against the pantheon of female legends in the DC Universe — namely Diana, but also Batgirl, Catwoman, Supergirl, etc.?
RF: Pandora is a scapegoat. She’s the Girl Who Takes the Blame… and she feels as if she’s been judged unfairly. While many of the characters you name are iconic heroes, Pandora is more like an iconic monster, shouldering a burden that isn’t really hers to bear. There are lots of different stories about women who come in and (innocently or otherwise) ruin the “world of men”, and the Greek myth you’re referring to here is just one of the faces of that tale. I would like to think that she’s going to claim a unique place in the pantheon you mention — not as another crusader or warrior, but as a sort of elemental force of anger and hope.
MSG: Almost immediately in her ongoing series, Pandora comes up against the Justice Leagues in Trinity War. What can you tell us about her role in that story within her own title?
RF: I’ll be careful not to give too much away here — I don’t want to spoil anything in the Trinity War by demonstrating the contrast between Pandora’s quest and the events there.
I’ll say this: Pandora believes that she has a unique ability to solve the world’s problems, and while that may initially involve the Justice League, it will ultimately spin off in a direction that is entirely her own. Her approach will no doubt seem strange to the rest of the world, and will mark her as a target for heroes and villains to oppose.
MSG: Pandora clearly has a long history, post-punishment by the Council of Wizards, of residing on the earth. Will we be able to see ripples from centuries of her interaction with humanity? Or do you have any plans to visit previous eras and adventures prior to modern times with the character?
RF: Yes, absolutely. You’ll see a bit of her passage through the ages in issue #1, and we’ll be revisiting her past many times throughout the series. Her history so profoundly affects her present that we can’t help but call out to it.
MSG: Daniel Sampere moves over to join you (again) after a significant stint on another high profile DC lady, Batgirl. How has working with Daniel been and what do you think he brings to Pandora that is different from his run on Barbara Gordon?
RF: It’s been great! The subject matter is very different, of course, and Daniel’s really been stepping up to some very demanding scripts. I’ve got him drawing panels that span the entire recorded history of humanity, and then jumping straight into insanely choreographed modern gunplay, and then back again!
MSG: Any last words or special teases about Pandora you’d like to share with the Comicosity audience?
RF: Only that I hope they pick the book up, and that I’m eager to hear what they think! There’s really nothing else like Trinity of Sin: Pandora in the DC Universe!
Ray Fawkes launches Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1 into DC Comics’ New 52 on July 3, 2013 with a prelude story to the Justice League crossover event, Trinity War.