BYRON BREWER: Joe, with the penultimate issue in this saga, #3, on sale in September, how does it feel to be nearing the grand finale? Would you love to do more on this iconic pulp?
JOE GENTILE: The Avenger is very close to me, and I would love the chance to do more, of course!
BB: Boy, have the supporting characters ever gotten the spotlight during this series! Tell us a little about handling them, especially Nellie and her investigation in #3 of the abandoned hospital. No spoilers of course, but flesh out what you can of that, especially the writing going into it please.
JG: I have always felt that the supporting cast was chosen by The Avenger for a reason. They ALL have skills. He wouldn’t have chosen a bunch of screw-ups or goofs. My goal is to show their strengths, and further to show how they all mesh together. Nellie has always been a bit impulsive, but she is incredibly resourceful and has a will of iron. So we wanted to put her in peril, where she didn’t need to be “rescued”, but where she handled it herself.
BB: Wow! Wonderfully creative! … Who among the supporters has become your favorite(s)? Why?
JG: That’s a tough one…which one of my kids is my favorite? Ha! I honestly do like them all, and as we are writing a specific character, that is my favorite one for that moment. I love the interaction amongst them all, so I would say THAT is my favorite thing about them.
BB: As we approach the grand finale with this September issue, are there any particular plot threads left dangling you wish you could have tied up and/or something that was left out that you as a co-writer wish could’ve been included?
JG: Well, there is always page count to be had. We had additional ideas and scenes for the FBI characters, but there just wasn’t room. We had extended character moments between Nellie and Smitty, Josh and Rosabel…those are the things I usually fight to get in to a story. We got some in, but there usually is a bunch lying on the cutting room floor.
BB: This has been a very different Justice Inc. story. How has it changed the Avenger … AND his cast?
JG: Well, yes, you are right, this wasn’t the typical Avenger pulp tale. Our thought was if we could shine the light on our themes of trust and justice with character tales within a larger story framework, we could bring more readers into this pulp world. Hope springs eternal! I would like to say that the relationship between the Avenger and his aides would be a little more open after this tale. I mean The Avenger will never be the guy who wants to share his inner feelings or anything, but I can see how this tale might help him see how his closed inner workings affect those closest to him.
BB: Finally, what can you say about the art of Alexandre Shibao?
JG: Alex has a good bead on portraying emotions, which is very uncommon. And for a moody noir tale, THAT is exactly what you want from the art. I think Alex’s skill kept increasing as we went.