Tony Bedard and artist Kai somethingorother have dropped off of the as of yet unreleased title.
Chuck Dixon and Julian Lopez will be taking over, changing the series' roster, storyline, but not general direction.
Newsarama: Well, first of all Chuck, sudden creative changes are nothing new in this biz, but itâ€™s somewhat unusual to see a full creative team change before the first issue even ships. So as much as you can divulge, can you tell us about the circumstances of you taking over this title?
Chuck Dixon: Well, anyone in any kind of creative endeavor can tell you that, no matter how hard you work at something, it all somehow gets away from you. Itâ€™s happened to me enough times.
That seems to be the case here.
No one in this business has greater respect for Tony [Bedard] than I do. The guy is dedicated, conscientious and has never written anything less than world-class comics entertainment. But whatever it was that the folks at DC wanted from this book, it just wasnâ€™t coming together. I take this on faith as I wasnâ€™t shown any of their material.
That said, Iâ€™ll be running with what they set up in the one-shots in a whole different direction simply because I have no idea what their direction was to be. The character line-up and the dynamic of the book will be what Tony set up in Outsiders #50. By editorial fiat and the demands of continuity the line-up will change with issue #3 and #4. Some jaw-dropping additions to the team will occur then. Iâ€™m also playing with one of the team members Iâ€™ve inherited in a way that has never been done in an ensemble book like this.
NRAMA: Not meant in a greater or lesser than way, but clearly a change of writers will have to have some affect. How would you say your take on this title will be different than what Bedardâ€™s take was shaping up to be?
CD: Just from the inferences at the initial meetings it seems like my take will be more direct action as opposed to Tonyâ€™s more intrigue-laden plotlines. Tony does that whole intrigue thing so much better than I do. Of course, Iâ€™m only going off of the very vaguest notions of what the book was to be like with Tony on board.
Itâ€™s very weird because this was a book I was looking forward to reading.
NRAMA: Conversely, what do you think will remain mostly the same.
CD: Nothing, really. Itâ€™s a whole different gameplan.
NRAMA: Given that there have been changes, can you briefly give us Batman and the Outsiders 101? What do readers need to get going into next monthâ€™s issue #1?
CD: Well, Batman is forever frustrated by the way the JLA and its subsidiaries operate. He originally formed the Outsiders to be a more pro-active, preventative force for battling global baddies. He returns to the group for the same reason. He finds mostly flawed or secondary or unwanted heroes (and anti-heroes and outright villains) and casts them into a kind of Impossible Mission force to bring down evildoers while their plans are still in the making. The original seriesâ€™ premise is even more relevant today with real-life supervillains threatening civilization every day.
NRAMA: What do you want readers to know as they weigh whether or not to give this title a try?
CD: Itâ€™s action. Itâ€™s team dynamics. We have a twist on an established villain that takes up much of the first few issues. We have some amazing guest stars and new team members coming up very quickly. You get to see a writer who majored in agriculture in high school struggle to learn the periodic table so he can write Metamorpho convincingly. The artwork is stunning. Batmanâ€™s in it. And we have a few DCU continuity shake-ups coming that should have the fanboys buzzing around the cash register on Wednesday.
NRAMA: Assuming the team on the cover to #1 will remain the team, can you maybe walk us through the team members and give us some brief thoughts on each?
CD: And how â€˜bout that cover?
Martian Manhunter. Whoâ€™s cooler? Maybe Batman. I have a lot of fun with Jâ€™onn in the opening issue.
Metamorpho. Hotshot test pilot turned elemental freak. And heâ€™s funny.
Catwoman. Sheâ€™s sexy, smart and untrustworthy.
Grace. A powerful Amazonian whoâ€™s not so sure abut this whole Batman-as-leader thing but is willing to give it a try.
Thunder. Inexperienced superheroine and daughter of Black Lightning. Sheâ€™ll provide some real sparks (no pun intended) in the opening arc.
Katana. Super-cool samurai. I have always adored this character and work to up her coolness factor to 11.
For comparison here's the original roster and the original artist's work: