As the crossover event Titans: Beast World sweeps across the DC Universe, transforming people infected by an out-of-control Beast Boy’s spores into animalistic versions of themselves, the precognitive superhero Dreamer finds herself in the middle of all the chaos. Nicole Maines, who also played the Arrowverse Dreamer in Supergirl, teams up with co-writer Steve Orlando and artist Fico Ossio for a story in Titans: Beast World Tour – Metropolis #1 that sends Dreamer to Superman’s stomping grounds when Beast World overtakes the city. As Metropolis descends into a super-powered spectacle, Dreamer leaps into action to save the day, but her audacious moves draw the attention of one of the most shadowy figures in the DCU.
In an exclusive interview with CBR, Titans: Beast World Tour – Metropolis #1 writer Nicole Maines talked about bringing Dreamer into the epic crossover event, praised her creative collaborators, and teased next spring’s young adult original graphic novel Bad Dream: A Dreamer Story, with artist Rye Hickman. DC also shared an unlettered preview from the Dreamer story in Titans: Beast World Tour – Metropolis. Stay tuned for more from Maines at CBR about the comic book future of Dreamer in Action Comics #1060 and beyond.
Titans: Beast World Tour Metropolis “Don’t Stop” Shows Superman and Lois Lane Fight Beast Boy’s Spores
As the infectious Beast Boy spores threaten the DC Universe, Superman and Lois Lane join the fray in Titans: Beast World Tour Metropolis.
CBR: Nicole, you’re taking Dreamer into Titans: Beast World with Titans: Beast World Tour – Metropolis and onto Action Comics #1060. How is it continuing to find new directions for this character who is so burned into your soul?
Nicole Maines: I think the most shocking thing for me… I was talking to [editor] Paul Kaminski about this the other day. I told him I was so surprised how often they say yes to us. I keep pitching something outlandish and wild, and they keep liking it and letting me do it. I feel very fortunate that they have given me permission to sit behind the wheel of this character and get to be a driving force behind her, and it’s been fun. Getting to remain with this character past the ending of the show, I feel very fortunate to be able to do that. I think it’s exactly like you said. She feels very burned into my soul! [laughs]
In Titans: Beast World Tour – Metropolis, Dreamer is caught in the middle of people turning into animals all over the DCU. Amidst all that chaos, how did you want to take her forward?
This was something that was pitched to me. I think it was shortly after Lazarus Planet. They wanted to know if I wanted to continue this and write this next story. They told me what they were planning with Beast World and all this stuff moving forward, and I started to do my little crack addict brain workout and think that this was a cool direction we could bring Dreamer. One of the things that interested us the most about the character is that she’s coming into these very big events as a brand-new superhero and brand-new adult.
She’s 18, and she doesn’t know what anything is, who anybody is, or who she isn’t supposed to be talking to or working with. She’s just trying to do the best she can with the powers she has, that she doesn’t fully understand at this point in her continuity. She’s had the ability to see the future for three years. Naltorians are supposed to train their whole lives to interpret their dreams and understand the meanings and symbolism behind them.
Dreamer is flying blind most of the time, yet she has the quintessential hero need to save the day, help people, and do the right thing, and she doesn’t really know what that is.
DC Comics’ The Titans: Beast World Tour hits Metropolis as Jimmy Olsen wreaks havoc on the city.
How was it working with Steve Orlando on this?
Steve is, first of all, a genius, and I love him. All of our conversations went over the allotted time we gave ourselves because he’s like me, and we start to digress and talk about something entirely different or go off into some tangent about the DC Universe. 20 minutes will pass, and we’ll be like, “Okay, now back to your original point,” having completely forgotten what we were talking about.
He’s just brilliant, and it always blows my mind how fast the turnaround is for some of these writers, like Tom Taylor and Steve, and Fico Ossio, too, as an artist. Cut to me, and I’m sitting here, and maybe in a day, I can bang out two pages if I’m productive and lucky, and they’ll hand in an entire script, like they did it in 12 minutes. It’s a little intimidating!
You’ve worked on Superman: Son of Kal-El, Titans: Beast World Tour – Metropolis, and Action Comics. You’ve also been working on a Dreamer graphic novel, Bad Dream, out in April 2024.
The graphic novel has been going on since 2020. I started writing that before I started writing DC Pride 2021, which was Dreamer’s first comic appearance. That’s been weird, periodically putting it on the back burner and working on this. It’s strange that when I started writing the graphic novel, it was just that. Now, when it comes out on April 2, there’s going to be all this other comic book stuff that’s happened in the meantime, which is very bizarre.
I think it was very hard. As I was going into the final act of the comic and finishing up, I think I learned so much about writing, and I’ve grown so much and gotten so much practice. I think this is for the best, that the end of the graphic novel has more of a comic book feel than the first part, which is more of a traditional YA graphic novel. By the end, it moves more into traditional comic book territory, which I think is because, over the course of writing it, I’ve become increasingly immersed in comic books, but also for Dreamer and her story.
She starts as a regular girl (that’s half-alien), and by the end of it, within two days, she’s neck-deep in superheroes and comic books. I think it ended up working out for the best!
Titans: Beast World – Tom Taylor Teases Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad’s Role in the DC Crossover
Tom Taylor teases how Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad will fit into the upcoming Titans: Beast World crossover.
You’re telling Dreamer stories where she’s 18 and just finding her way in the DCU, and you’re going even younger in Bad Dream. What is the appeal, as a storyteller, to tell coming-of-age stories with protagonists at this formative time of their lives?
Yeah, she’s 15 in Bad Dream. Adolescence is a breeding ground for drama and high stakes that I think, even looking back as adults, there’s still such visceral memory and childhood trauma that we all carry around with us. We still connect with those stories. We still gravitate to these coming-of-age stories because we’ve all been there. I think we’ve all been a scared kid, and reading about that is a witness to our own experience in some way, shape, or form. Getting to tell stories speaks to things we go through as young people, which is a very necessary healing.
I’ll get even more specific. Especially for Dreamer, having this story being told as a young trans girl in this very queer story, for me, writing it, I wanted it to heal a lot of my own past wounds and go back and say, “I wish this is how it had been for me,” or, “I wish someone had this conversation with me.” I think that makes sense, and people are drawn to it because it’s an experience that we all had in one way or another.
If the Dreamer stuff in DC Pride and Bad Dream is her coming-of-age, Titans: Beast World is Dreamer’s own personal heart of darkness.
Beast World is fun because I really wanted to stress that she’s brand-new for the DC Universe. If she has a vision and is trying to get people out of the city, why would anyone listen to her? They don’t know who she is! She’s just some other new cape running around. She’s a nobody. She’s navigating that and remembering that she doesn’t have to be somebody. She’s friends with Superman. [laughs]
Written by Nicole Maines and Steve Orlando, illustrated by Fico Ossio, colored by Luis Guerrero and lettered by Rob Leigh, Titans: Beast World Tour – Metropolis #1 is on sale now. Bad Dream: A Dreamer Story is written by Maines and illustrated by Rye Hickman, on sale April 2, 2024.
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