There has been any number of publicity spots about H'El on Earth and how it is going to help define the stability of the Super-family members moving into the future. I take the pubilicity about the Super-titles with a grain of salt. But more and more it sounds like DC wants to continue to fracture the super-family, make them be at odds with each other, and not even be friendly or courteous with each other. It is shocking. I have said it before, there is something inherently wrong with a DC universe where Batman is a more nurturing mentor than Superman.
Anyways, the latest H'El publicity was posted on CBR last week, a brief interview with Superman writer Scott Lobdell and Supergirl writer Mike Johnson. Here is the link: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=42190 As always, it is worth reading in its entirety. It is a brief interview and a bit sparse on new information. But some of it stood out dramatically. Here are my thoughts.
CBR News: How did this crossover collaboration start? Did the three of you flesh out the "H'el" idea and character together?
Scott Lobdell: Originally, we had planned to just use each other's characters and supporting players a little more freely, but as H'el started to become more and more developed, and the threat he posed became more horrific ,it became pretty clear that his origins, motivation and actions were things that could play out in all three books over the course of one massive story.
Mike Johnson: We've been charting the evolution of [Kara's] relationship with Superman since the last page of our first issue, and the time was right to really bring things to a head. We didn't want to keep re-treading the same territory of Kara doubting whether Kal was really her baby cousin all grown up. In the crossover, we see that Kara has come to accept the truth, but that doesn't mean she agrees with everything Kal has to say, especially when it comes to H'el. We haven't seen as much of Kara's relationship with Superboy, but that changes starting with "Supergirl" #14 and onwards. As different as they are, they have a lot in common given that they are both young people struggling with questions about their place in the world and how best to use their incredible powers.
I suppose that it is good to know that this wasn't a DC mandate to have the titles crossover and a story was cobbled together. I am glad that the writers were together, came up with the idea of a crossover and pitched it to DC.
As for Supergirl, I still don't understand why ... if she misses her world so much ... she would run away from family. It also is depressing that Supergirl will immediately side with the villain of the piece. It seems to me that DC continues to want to isolate Supergirl, make her a bitter loner. It just doesn't fit the character. I have said if before and I will say it again ... I don't mean I want to return to the saccharin days of the Silver Age. I crave a complex Supergirl. We read one with Peter David. We read one with Sterling Gates. I have seen glimpses of one under Mike Johnson. I just hope DC doesn't force the character to be something she isn't.
After reading Supergirl #14, I think she will be safe in her own title.
CBR: This crossover villain seem to be hitting the Super-family in a more personal way than we normally see, pitting Kryptonian against displaced/cloned Kryptonians. What does facing this foe mean for your heroes on an emotional and personal level?
Johnson: What I loved about Scott's concept for H'el, and the fact that H'el would be the centerpiece of this crossover, is that he is so intrinsically tied to Krypton and the story of the House of El itself. It not only makes for a more interesting adversary, it raises the emotional stakes for everybody involved. Especially for Kara, who has yet to embrace Earth completely. Her heart is still on Krypton, so to speak, and H'el can relate to that in a way that no one else can.
I suspected that H'El would have a tie to the House of El given the 'El piece of his name. So that adds another wrinkle to this story, it makes it more personal. And I can understand that Supergirl might want to hear what H'El has to say. But ... don't you think if she is willing to listen to this stranger she would have the same interest in listening to her cousin?
As I have contemplated H'El, I have hoped that Supergirl will sort of realize that Krypton is dead after this arc. That the climax has here embracing Earth as her new home. So there is room for hope here. And if she does that, the logical fallout will be to seek out Kal as a friend. Will it happen?
Mike, as you said, it seems Kara is not as hostile to H'el and his ideas as Superman and Superboy are. Why would Kara be on his side?
Johnson: Because H'el speaks her language, both literally and figuratively. Kal is the "Last Son of Krypton," but he never really knew it like Kara and H'el did. The things H'el does that bother Kal don't bother Kara in the same way, because she can understand and sympathize with H'el motivations. One of the many cool things about the crossover is that each title has its own unique role to play. In "Supergirl," you will get to see a side of H'el you don't see as much of in the other titles, because in "Supergirl" you're seeing him through Kara's eyes.
Earlier in the interview, Lobdell calls H'El a tragic figure. So I suppose giving that character a forum to be viewed differently, to flesh him out away from a megalomaniac twirling his mustache, is a good idea. But I worry that Kara will agree with H'El's ideas. We have already seen Kara protect the innocent, stop fighting if she thought others will be hurt. If H'El's hopes are to re-write Earth as a new Krypton won't she be against it if it means destroying or killing?
I know, we need to see how it is played out. By why make Supergirl a quasi-villain?
CBR: This is the first time the three Super titles have crossed over in the New 52, and while fans refer to them as the Super-family, Superboy, Superman and Supergirl are just getting started. Was one of the goals of the crossover to start to unite the characters as an actual family, at least in the face of this new villain? Will they be more involved in each other's lives after this?
There is a middle ground between playing cards with Streaky and fighting each other and remaining distant. So this family wouldn't be together for the holidays, is described as the Superman writer as unhappy.
I keep going back to the Sterling Gates (and even the James Peaty and Kelly Sue DeConnick) Supergirl book. That Supergirl was an independent young woman, finding her way, struggling sometimes. She had a good relationship with Superman but she was never defined by him. But they loved each other and hung out with each other when they could. Why is that frowned upon these days?
Why does this character family need to be splintered and angry? Doesn't DC see that the Bat-Family, as complex and unique as it is, works because they act like a family? Maybe a little disgruntled ... but together?
Where will the Supers be when this is over? I was lising hope until this week's comics. My review on Supergirl #14 should be up soon.