Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sterling Gates on Newsarama

As a Supergirl fan, one thing that I have loved about the last year is that she seems to be on the 'comics map', a visible and viable character getting noticed by the comics media.

This trend continued this week with Newsarama having a great in-depth article with Sterling Gates going over all things Supergirl. The entire article
( ) is a great read for Kara fans and should be read in its entirety. But here are some pieces that grabbed me.

"Superwoman’s story isn't over, though" Gates told Newsarama. "The mystery was her identity, which is why the story was called ‘Who is Superwoman?’ But there are a lot of things about Superwoman that haven't been revealed or fully explained, and you'll be seeing those elements play into upcoming events in Supergirl, both in the Annual and the ongoing title."I always set out to build Supergirl’s rogues gallery and really build up some cool villains for her. First on the list was Superwoman, and given her relationship to the El family, she had a very important role,” Gates said. "And it sure looks a lot like she’s dead right now, but there’s more fallout coming from that story. More than people realize.”

I felt the one hiccup in the Gates run on the title was the sudden ending of 'Superwoman' where not much was explained about the how's or the why's of Lucy becoming Superwoman. So I was glad to see that addressed up front in this interview. I still think that a little more exposition at the end of the arc would have been helpful. But we have already seen the investigation continue in the main title with the inverstigation of the apartment in Kandor. And we know an 'origin' story for Lucy is around the corner in the annual. So I just need to realize that the Superwoman story is a marathon and not a sprint.

I have always apprectiated that Gates has said he wanted Supergirl to have her own rogue's gallery. We have Superwoman and Reactron. I think Silver Banshee will also be there.

Part of that fallout is related to General Lane, since Superwoman was revealed to be his daughter. "At the end of the day, she's Lois Lane's sister, and she's General Lane's daughter. If she's killed doing her duty to her father, and if Supergirl is – indirectly, I might add – responsible for that death, it puts a giant target on Supergirl’s head. And behind that scope is General Lane. He's gone from seeing Supergirl as a Kryptonian nuisance to gunning for her big time, and you'll see that throughout the fall and into the winter," Gates said.

Any time a story makes Supergirl be elevated from 'nuisance' to a respected character and major threat is a good story in my mind. I do think that the Lucy revelation is going to have ripples in lots of directions for a long time. Even if it was accidental, Kara killed her cousin's sister-in-law. That should remain a bit of the elephant in the room.

Another mystery in the title is the illness of Lana Lang, who has been functioning as Supergirl's friend and confidant. Gates said Lana's "harboring a pretty terrible secret that's going to be playing out soon within Supergirl, right around Issue #50, which isn't that far from now. And you might ask, ‘What could possibly be so terrible that she’d hide it from Supergirl?’ People should be pretty surprised when they find out.”

Hmmm ... I thought this would simply be a battle with cancer but this implies that clearly more is going on here. A terrible secret? Any guesses out there? Maybe cancer from Kryptonite exposure?

Gates then talked about the upcoming stories.

Superman Secret Files 2009
Then Greg and I wrote a story called ‘Blood Sisters’ that explores Supergirl's relationship with Thara Ak-Var, who is Flamebird over in Action Comics. We’ve referenced the fact that they were childhood friends several times, and now we’re going to see what their friendship was like as the pair of them explore a very dangerous part of Old Krypton together,” Gates continued.

Looks like I'll get my Fire Falls story next week. A story exploring the Kara/Thara relationship and seeing them interact in the DCU together should be great. One thing we have not necessarily seen is Thara's reaction to her surrogate father Zor-El's death. We have seen Alura be cold with Thara like she has with Kara. But the Nightwing/FLamebird mission has put that response to Zor-El's death in the background.

"Greg also wrote an excellent story from Ursa’s point of view that has one of the most – no, two of the most shocking panels I’ve seen in a Superman book in a long time. Ursa fans will be very happy, I think.”

As a big Ursa fan, I can't wait!

Codename: Patriot
The story Codename: Patriot represents the start of the next phase of General Lane's plan," Gates explained. "Mon-El has a huge role. You'll see Reactron and Metallo. And you’ll see a little more about Mirabai, the magical character that's been running around in Action Comics the last few months. It's really just a big, crazy Superman story."The writer explained that much of the intrigue involves the attack made on General Zod at the end of World of New Krypton #5. "General Zod was shot, and the ramifications of that event will start to really play out across Codename: Patriot, but they’ll also continue to echo through the books for a long time afterwards," he said.

While the super-titles have been cruising along in my mind, I do think it makes sense for there to be some cohesive story that overlaps everyone. It should just clean up the storylines a bit to make sure that all the teams are in 'the same place' in terms of continuity.

But if Zod is dead I'll eat my hat. It is only a matter of time before it will come out that Zod faked his own assassination attempt to rationalize his eventual attack on Earth.

Gates said one of the central action scenes in Supergirl #44 will feature a huge battle within the halls of General Lane's Project 7734. "I got pages back from Jamal for my part of Codename Patriot, which is Part #3, and I freaked. Just freaked. Jamal drew one of the coolest fights I’ve ever seen him draw. That guy’s just a genius, I think. A fine artist through and through," he said. "It's essentially a very big brawl in a very tiny hallway. Think of the hallway sequence from Oldboy, only this time, it stars Atlas.” There will be some blows exchanged between Mon-El, Supergirl, Nightwing and Flamebird in this story. And then Greg and I will extend that confrontation even further during our crossover, which runs through the September and October issues of Action Comics and Supergirl," Gates said.

A direct assault on Project 7734 should be a wild ride. I can't wait to see the Igle pages. His stuff has been so solid on the title!

All the characters mentioned above have slightly different motivations to invade 7734. Supergirl is still looking for Superwoman answers and wants to bring Reactron to justice. Flamebird and Nightwing are also on the hunt for Reactron but also might want to get to Az-Rel and Nadira. And Mon-El is probably on a police mission. While they each have their own reasons to be there, I hope that doesn't interfere with their working together as a team. I have become a little tired of good guys exchanging blows with each other as a plot twist.

The Hunt for Reactron
After the finale of "Codename: Patriot," Supergirl and Action Comics will cross over for "The Hunt for Reactron," a four-part story that sees Flamebird and Supergirl going after the man who killed Kara's father."'Hunt for Reactron' is all about Thara and Kara's relationship, and there's going to be a lot of fighting between the two of them. Look, sometimes friends have huge arguments and fallouts, and their relationships will change. Kara and Thara’s relationship is drastically different now. There's more heat vision and punching," Gates said with a laugh.

As I said above, I do think that this is a good story to tell. A lot has passed since Kara and Thara lived on Krypton and were pals. So I would not expect them to slip back into friendship easily. Now I don't know what exactly could lead them to try to pummel each other but I do think that their is some good stories to be mined in that relationship.

Gates said Reactron is not only one of Kara's rogues within the pages of Supergirl, particularly since he murdered her father, but Thara also has a vendetta against the villain. "While Thara lived in the Bottle City of Kandor, Zor-El acted as Thara's father as well. So in some way, Reactron is the murderer of her father, too. Albeit, her surrogate father," Gates said. "And if Supergirl can't defeat Reactron alone, then it's going to take both “daughters of Zor-El” to do it, to bring him to Kryptonian justice. And that's really what this story is about at its core -- the “daughters of Zor-El” searching for a killer.”

So that drive for justice alone should make them work together. That said, maybe there is some sibling rivalry between them. A lot of time passed while Kandor was bottled. Zor-El acted as Thara's father longer than he acted in that role for Kara. We assume that Kandor was bottled for around 30 years. Maybe Thara feels she is more of a daughter, understands Zor-El better, than Supergirl.

“And really, if you look at it on a bigger scale, that one act of killing Zor-El has led to all the trouble that Supergirl -- and Superman, on some levels -- has been going through since his death,” Gates continued. “If he had lived, Alura wouldn't have been put in charge and the New Krypton planet probably never would have been created. Zod might not have been let out, and Superwoman wouldn’t have attacked Supergirl. The death of Zor-El was a huge event not only in the life of Kara and Thara, but also in the scope of the New Krypton story. Reactron’s been the lynchpin for all of it."

Funny how the dominos have fallen like that. It just shows how vital a role Supergirl's title has been to the whole super-universe.

Supergirl Annual #1
You'll see how she's been trying to handle that secret identity in a story we were initially calling ‘Linda Lang: Day One,’ but we’ve since changed the title. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what we changed it to. It would ruin the surprise.”

First off, I think I could stare at that cover all day.

Finally some Linda Lang in the Supergirl book! It is funny that the title of the story has needed to be changed. We have seen a few Linda Lang days in Superman/Batman. I have been excited about this aspect of the title since it was announced so I can't wait to see how Gates/Igle handle this new angle in the book.

Gates said there will also be a story about Lucy Lane's origin that will round out the background of Superwoman, telling the story of how she transformed from Lois Lane's little sister into a costumed weapon for Project 7734."You'll see a lot of Lucy Lane's back-story in Supergirl Annual #1, and some -- and I said ‘some’ -- of the questions about Superwoman's origin will be answered there," Gates said.

Hmmm .... 'some' answers.

I suppose that is better than no answers. I don't think I need to hear every little detail about Superwoman. But I do hope the broad strokes - where did the suit technology come from, why did it explode, and most importantly what were (some of) her reasons to put the suit on in the first place - will be explained here.

I can't imagine that Superwoman is gone for good. She is too interesting a character to have starred in only six issues. So I wonder how she will eventually be brought back.

Overall it looks like it is going to be a great end of the year for Supergirl and Superman fans. Kudos (again) to Gates and Igle for having dragged Supergirl up to relevancy in the DCU and comics in general!


Saranga said...

That annual cover is lovley! I especially like the part of Kara/Linda in glasses openign her shirt. Veyr heoris, very serious and seems to very much be how Clark would be positioend. For Kara to be appreciated as a proper hero I think we need to see that side of her - not angry, not flirty, but determined, serious and heroic ready to fly into action.
The shot of General Lane also looks great, very mysterious.
Would the flying horses signify an Amazon related theme do we think? Or is that a silver age reference?

Jamal Igle said...

No it's a more direct reference to Amazon's Attack.

Saranga said...

Oh yeah :o I'd forgotten about the existence of Amazons Attack. Ooops. Thanks for the info :)

Gene said...

In the DC Universe no one stays completely dead, so I have a feeling we might see Superwoman again. Perhaps Supergirl will go in search of her (in the Phantom Zone perhaps?) as part of a bargain she makes with General Lane.

TalOs said...

Personally I'd rather the Superwoman mantle be given to PAD's Linda Danvers rather then just bringing back Lucy and allowing her to take it up again.

Superman, Power Girl, Eradicator, Superboy, Steel, Superwoman (Linda Danvers), Supergirl, Nightwing, Flamebird and Krypto as the all new Superman family for the 21st Century.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Lucy come back as SW simply because it absolves Kara of any taint of manslaughter...and Superwoman makes a good villain down the line, a envious Terran with issues and all like that.

John Feer

Nikki said...

I still think the Superfamily should take the supernova identity away from the Booster Gold books. That way you don't have the problem of a 'Superwoman' seeming to outrank a Supergirl. Which was one of the reasons a lot of people didn't like Batwoman, it insinuated Batgirl was her sidekick

Anj said...

That annual cover is lovley! I especially like the part of Kara/Linda in glasses openign her shirt.

I say this about a lot of Supergirl things, but they should make that into a poster.

Anj said...

No it's a more direct reference to Amazon's Attack.

Thanks for the post!

I think a previewed page shows Lucy fighting Amazons during Amazons Attack. That might be where her hatred of super-beings began.

Anj said...

I'd like to see Lucy come back as SW simply because it absolves Kara of any taint of manslaughter...and Superwoman makes a good villain down the line, a envious Terran with issues and all like that.

I think she is too good a character to stay dead. But I hope she isn't brought back too quickly. We have Reactron and Superwoman. I would love to see some newer rogues.