Wednesday, December 29, 2010

James Robinson Interview On Newsarama

It is a Justice League heavy week here at Comic Box Commentary. Last week on Newsarama, James Robinson was interviewed about his work on Justice League of America. As always, the interview is worth reading in its entirety. Here is the link to part one:

There were a few parts of the interview worth reviewing here. In particular, Robinson comments on Dark Supergirl and how long she'll be around. Here are those blurbs.

Nrama: Let's talk about the other surprise in the cover to Issue #55. You'll also have Cyborg-Superman showing up? Is this all part of the "Reign of Doomsday" crossover?
 Robinson: Right. The Eclipso arc is beginning [with February's Issue #54], but even as it does, in Issue #55, Cyborg-Superman, Doomsday, and Supergirl will all be involved in their own struggle. And that will lead into next year’s Superman/Batman Annual.

I recently talked about how much I enjoyed the Reign of the Supermen storyline so I can't wait to see this sort of skewed version of that arc. I think there is some serendipitous timing here given the recent recap of Reign in DCU Legacies.

The question is how is Doomsday back (I think his last appearance was his bludgeoning to death at the hands of Kryptonians in WONK) and exactly who is he after.

One thing I worry about is how this story is sort of weaving its way through several titles as opposed to standing alone. I already have read how the Doomsday aspect was sort of forced into the Steel one-shot (which initially had Metallo as its villain). Now we see how he is appearing in JLA despite the Eclipso storyline ongoing there. I hope that the Doomsday piece isn't a distraction from the planned stories that were supposed to be happening.

But in many ways I am glad to see Doomsday happening here. Remember, Doomsday has a special significance in Kryptonian history as an agent of genocide. How exactly will an unbridled Dark Supergirl respond to him? It should be fun to watch.

Nrama: The Justice League issue is part of a crossover with a Steel one-shot, The Outsiders and Superboy. With Hank Henshaw showing up, after the involvement of Superboy, Steel, and the Eradicator in the "Reign of Doomsday" storyline, it's pretty obvious this ties into Reign of the Superman, doesn’t it?
Robinson: Yes. Absolutely.
The Supermen in Reign included Steel, Superboy, the Eradicator, and the Cyborg Superman. We know that the Doomsday storyline runs its way through Steel, Superboy, and The Outsiders. So that takes care of the three more noble Supermen. So this visit to Justice League of America must be to include Supergirl in the story. I am glad that DC recognizes that Supergirl is a member of the Superman family and deserves to be part of this story.
Nrama: And Supergirl is still functioning as this "Dark" Supergirl in Issue #55?
Robinson: Yes. That issue will begin to explain what's going on with Dark Supergirl, and why she changed. We'll deal with that partly during Issue #55, then moreso in the Annual.

She actually isn't going to be an "evil" Dark Supergirl. It's just exploring the darker sides of her personalities, based upon the tragedy that's been around her, with the destruction of Krypton and everything else. She's lost her parents. She's seen them die. She's seen her entire planet die. So all of that is partly what's brought about Dark Supergirl.

But the initial reasons why you think she might have changed aren't really the reasons, obviously. There are surprises along the way.

What you'll see in Issue #55 is that, just as she's dealing with the things that may have caused the transformation, and while she's coming to terms with the horror of Krypton's destruction, she has to confront another horror from out of the collective past of Krypton, which is Doomsday. And then at the same time, on top of that, she has to deal with Cyborg-Superman.

You'll also see Starman shine – no pun intended – in the issue in terms of his ability at space combat, and we'll get to introduce Saint Walker. But you'll also see a lot of exploration of Supergirl and find out why she became Dark Supergirl.

Should I complain about the fact that James Robinson is planning this exploration of Supergirl? Should I be unhappy that she is going to be a focal point in one of DC's best selling titles? I don't think so.

In fact, I am interested in reading Robinson's take on the character. I am glad he isn't simply going to have her be 2-dimensional in the book and instead is invested enough to write about her.

But this idea of her dealing with her grief was so wonderfully explored in Supergirl by Gates and Igle. I hope that this story doesn't contradict or attempt to replace those stories.

And I don't necessarily want to read Dark Supergirl stories. I want to read Supergirl stories. So I hope this manifestation and psychological exploration doesn't go on too much longer. Still, I guess that Supergirl being a big part of this title can only help elevate her status in the DCU.

Nrama: Let's talk about what's happening in Justice League of America right now, because Dark Supergirl just emerged. During this storyline, you've got the members of the Justice League stuck under a dome with the Crime Syndicate of America, dealing with the Omega Man in a real battle for their lives. What were your thoughts behind this arc?
Robinson: One of the things I wanted to show here is that these characters are a real Justice League. It's the idea that these guys, in theory, may be in a situation that's too big for them, but there's always a way that the good guys can win if they have the moral and the valor to do it. I want to show that Dick Grayson is always thinking like Batman, Jessie Quick can be as fast as she needs to be, Donna Troy can be as fierce and as awe-inspiring a fighter as she needs to be. And I’m also continuing to play up Jade's power, which will be a constant theme that will carry through other arcs. Especially for next arc, which is the Eclipso arc.

I know that, for a lot of people, it might seem this isn't the Justice League. For them it's the Big 7 or nobody. And I appreciate that. I’m very loyal to favorite lineups of certain teams myself, so I completely appreciate how some fans may feel. But at the same time, I wanted to show that whoever is in the Justice League of America, by virtue of being in that team, steps up and faces the world, and does what only the Justice League of America can do.

Now I am the first to admit that I am sort of a 'big 7' reader. Or at least some variation of it, with a majority of the big 7 being there with some adjunct members like Green Arrow or Red Tornado. In fact, I had no interest in this title when Robinson came on; the only reason I came here was Supergirl.

I am glad I did as the Starheart story was very good and the Omega Man story is off to a good start.

Despite being a 'big 7' guy, I also like stories like this, where an unlikely team rallies and becomes bigger than expected. It reminds me a little of the beginning of New Avengers. Maybe it isn't as stark as this JLA as there were a lot of major characters in New Avengers like Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, and Spiderman. But it also included Spiderwoman, Power Man, etc. So I like how this team of semi-sidekicks are trying to live up to the name of the JLA. I like how Superman continues to talk them up, saying they *are* the Justice League.

I think that the Robinson is doing a very good job in showing this team battle and win against some threats of serious magnitude. In some ways, you could look at Cry For Justice as their first mission. So this team has stopped Prometheus and the Starheart. Now they are fighting the CSA, Omega Man and Eclipso is up next. So that sort of competition should bolster their confidence.

The bottom line is I love that Supergirl is in the Justice League. I hope she stays on the team for a long time.


Martin Gray said...

My qualm is the same of yours, that James is dealing with stuff already dealt with - but I expect we can read his Dark Supergirl storyline as a waystation on the road to the already seen resolution of the New Krypton angst (well, so far as is possible) in the Supergirl book.

And I am enjoying his JLA, it's so much at the centre of the superhero universe. I'd like him to clear up the magical moon business from JSA, as I can't see that book's new creative team focusing on that.

And hurrah, Donna wasn't potty-gobbed in the latest issue!

Has the new JLA artist been announced? A Tom Derenick would be good. Or Jamal, post-Zee.

TalOs said...

Huh, so in accordance to Robinson "Dark Supergirl" is still the DCU main E-0 continuities Kara Zor-El/Linda Lang Supergirl proper (well there goes my theory of her actualy being from one of the 52 Earths where the 'kill Kal-El' continuity is still in play and is where our main E-0 Supergirl proper has unwillingly found herself having traded places with) only transformed into a "darker" Supergirl due to her supposed still unresolved grief issues over having lost her parents, friends and entire people of "New Krypton" one after another in such a short span of time while she's confined along with her fellow JLA team mates, CSA as well as the Omegaman in Jade's impenetrable Stearheart made dome. Not Kara being exposed to actual black Kryptonite itself but mainly because she still has 'unresolved issues' over the loss of New Krypton and it's residents instead. Seriously please tell me he didn't just state that in the interview as to main reason for Dark Supergirl's return? o_O

Anonymous said...

What I'm getting from this is "Light Supergirl" can't handle Doomsday...Only Dark Supergirl can stand up to the genocidal Kryptonian beastie.

What am I missing here?

John Feer

TalOs said...

It's suggesting to me that Dark Supergirl is willing to go all out toe-toe with Doomsday (i bet you the individual is Supergirl who Doomsday is seeking out in particular) regardless of what innocent bystander crosses their path and that without even giving it a 2nd thought Dark Supergirl would kill Doomsday (unlike "Light Supergirl" who'd be looking for another alternative then killing) which is why i feel DC has transformed Supergirl into her darker counterpart so as to leave a loop hole for the "real" Supergirl (ie "Light Supergirl") upon her return to still be found innocent of murder and that it was her "darker" self at the time who actualy took Doomsday's life instead. Why would Cyborg-Superman even want to seek out Dark Supergirl in the first place when his beef has always been with her cousin is what i just cant figure out though.

Kandou Erik said...

I wish he had clarified, in the interview, wether Supergirl is going to be like this in her own book as well as in JLA. It's just annoying for even hardcore fans not to know wether Dark Supergirl is staying or going.

I am happy that Robinson's JLA run is getting a bit more attention. I think people where ignoring it because it doesn't have the real Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Not that I don't not want them back on the JLA - but this team is also the JLA. People should accept this team for what it is - another incarnation of the JLA.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't have Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman OR EVEN THE REAL SUPERGIRL!

Honestly no one gets the JLA and announces "I'm gonna bring back the evil Superman from Superman Three for an extended run because he will be willing to snuff Doomsday".

Ye Ghods the logic here escapes me.

John Feer

Anonymous said...

Thanks ANJ, you don't get enough credit for your patience.

I can see some ways where the growth Supergirl has shown in her own comic could align with what we're seeing here in JLA, but it's going to take a lot of creativity to make it work. I agree to some extent with Robinson, the amount of stuff that Kara has gone through in the last couple of years is a lot to ask of a 17 year old. Having some long-term issues to be worked out isn't a bad idea, and it would be good for her to work them out with people she can trust. It's just that the "Dark Whomever" concept has been so overused in comics that it might as well be Red Kryptonite causing the changes. At least that's over in 48 hours, we don't have to put up with it for multiple interminable issues of grinning eeevvvilll!!!!

On the other hand, if I get the impression that they're testing the market for a bad-girl I'll probably provide a market-based response. There are already plenty of comics I can get that from without the need of more ret-cons to one of the few characters in comics who is a hero because it's the right thing to do rather than because she's trying to "work out issues", or take revenge for the death of (fill-in-the-blank), or some other psychotic comic book pseudo-hero rationale. Seriously, can't we have one hero that is a hero because they're just... well, a good person that thinks it's the right thing to do? Just one? Please? Do they *all* have to be psycho and vengeance driven?

I like Supergirl, but I can get angry angsty resentful "heroes" done better in Teen Titans, X-Men, Batman, and so many other places that I would run out of text space long before I finished typing. I really don't need another one, and frankly find the concept rather boring.

Anonymous said...

Robinson said - One of the things I wanted to show here is that these characters are a real Justice League. It's the idea that these guys, in theory, may be in a situation that's too big for them, but there's always a way that the good guys can win if they have the moral and the valor to do it. I want to show that Dick Grayson is always thinking like Batman, Jessie Quick can be as fast as she needs to be, Donna Troy can be as fierce and as awe-inspiring a fighter as she needs to be.

But Supergirl? She needs to be fixed apparently, she's not good enough for the task at hand. Or Dark enough I guess.

The bottom line is I love that Supergirl is in the Justice League. I hope she stays on the team for a long time.

ANJ, I was feeling that way too. Less so now, I'm starting to wish she wasn't on the team. In fact it feels like she isn't.

Still, I guess that Supergirl being a big part of this title can only help elevate her status in the DCU.

There used to be a poster of a frog on a lilly-pad that had the words under it "Kiss me and you'll live forever! You'll be a frog, but you'll live forever." I think I'm less than sanguine about eternal life right now.

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments!

I have to say I am still willing to give this time, assuming the end result is the return of the Supergirl we saw before.

Robinson has some leeway with this band of characters. So I wonder how the Donna Troy fans feel about her being so bloodthirsty here. Or how Jade fans feel about her being portrayed as tainted by evil. He has shown some of these folks in an unusual light.

Maybe I am trying to hold on to some optimism. I would hate to see the Kara from the end of Supergirl #59 be wiped away by people looking for another bad girl character.