Monday, January 7, 2013

Comic Vine Interview With Scott Lobdell

Scott Lobdell is certainly churning the publicity machine, sitting down for interviews on a couple of sites last week worth reviewing here. The first is on Comic Vine and here is the link:

As usual, some parts of the interview grabbed me and are worth me jotting down my thoughts. And as usual, I think that it is worth reading in its entirety. I also include some great Kenneth Rocafort art which were on the article as well. I assume the above picture is the unscarred H'El entering whatever capsule he goes gallivanting off in.

Here are the parts that interested me.

Comic Vine: Was H'el originally going to be Bizarro? Did the story change or evolve?

Scott Lobdell: When I made a proposal for Superman, part of it was to take Superman's rogues gallery and kind of bring them into the New 52.   In the proposal, I came up with a new take on Bizarro and Toyman and Parasite and Starro. They were so far afield from who these characters had been traditionally that DC said, in particularly in the case with my take on Bizarro, I had essentially just created an entirely different character. It would make more sense to let the character be his own character and leave Bizarro for another time.
When the entire story gets told, of H'el and not only just his origin he's revealed to us but also the origin he doesn't perhaps know at this time, by the time that story is told, everyone will see why DC, in their infinite wisdom were smart to separate H'el and Bizarro.
So yes, I had originally discussed a new take on Bizarro but ultimately it became such a bizarre take, if you will, that he became a different character completely.

I think we all thought that H'El was going to be the New 52 Bizarro when the images first started to come out. So anyways, I am glad that DC didn't go in that direction. To be honest, I keep wondering if this New 52 will simply go away in another handful of years. The less they sully some classic characters the better.

But 'DC' and 'infinite wisdom' are not words I have seen together in a while. 

CV: Is using a family name a common thing on Krypton? He mentioned he didn't share the "blood" of her family?
SL: I think traditionally we've only seen Jor-El and the Science Council and maybe a city or two here and there. We have barely barely ever glimpsed Krypton in all its splendor and in all its multicultural facets which I'm sure exists. I think that it is probably well within the grounds of proper Kryptonian etiquette to perhaps take the name of a family that you respect or has accepted you. We're going to see a huge huge scene between Lara, Jor-El and H'el in issue 16. That should answer a lot of questions.

So on a world where (at least historically) Houses and names are key, I am surprised that someone can simply 'take the name' of someone they admire.

What is more interesting is that we hear that there is a scene between H'El, Jor-El, and Lara next issue. That means he is from Krypton and not some Earth-born clone. Hopefully this scene will shed some more light about H'El's origins.

CV: What about his powers? Will we find out why he and Superboy have telekinesis and other Kryptonians don't?
SL: It's very fascinating to me, I used to read comics when I was younger and there was so much I didn't need to know to enjoy the story. To me, if I was a kid and reading H'el and all his powers and stuff, I would find it fascinating but wouldn't need to understand it. It's interesting to me that we live in a time where we need to know. I've had this question before and I could tell you but if I told you I'd be telling you what's happening in an issue around 24 or 25. Then you would be very angry at me.
Do you find that interesting at all?

CV: It's because of the internet. People feel like they could and should know everything right away.
SL: It's very interesting. So yes. And in issue 15, Lexsays to Superman, or he alludes to it, it's this notion that we've all been looking at H'el and wondering how is he can do so many more amazing things than Superman? What happened to H'el that allows him to do that? I think the bigger question is what is it about Superman that has not had him manifesting these powers? Is it because he doesn't possess them or is it because Superman is so physically powerful that it's enough for him to push planets into orbit and deliver beat downs to intergalactic armies? Is it that he hasn't had to explore these different elements of his powers. Whether that's true or just Lex trying to crawl under Superman's skin is a story that I think all the Super-books will be investigating over the next or at least touching on.

 So it sounds (and some of this is seen in the other interview) like there will be another crossover of the characters in about 9 months, well after H'El on Earth is over. So H'Els power 

CV: When can we expect answers about the zero issue, such as Superman being there before the destruction?
SL: Around issue 24 or 25. It might be 23 and 24. Right now it's planned in 24 and 25 of all Superman books, ACTION, SUPERGIRL, SUPERBOY and SUPERMAN. But that could change because life is about change.

Boy, a lot of interesting info in these questions.

It sounds like we won't get all the answers about H'El on Earth within that arc. We might not learn about his powers. And now another crossover will be happening in next fall. And it sounds like the time travel to Krypton (as seen in the zero issues) happens then. That might explain why Superboy was in his black suit (and not Superman's super-suit) in the Supergirl #0 flashback. I wonder if a lack of all the answers is going to irritate me as a reader. I suppose it depends on how much is explained and how much is swept under the rug.

As for the telekinesis question, it would be interesting if it is inherent in Kryptonian genes, if Superman's lack of them is explained. I mean, if Kara can solar flare and (as I surmise) has a super-intuition, maybe Kryptonian men could manifest TK.

CV: Is H'el just trying to impress Kara to try to recreate Kryptonians the 'old-fashioned way'?
SL: No, I think what's really tragic about H'el is from thirty thousand feet up he has a very noble cause that anybody could get behind. This is the saving of his planet. To him, he thinks there's nothing more important than bringing back Krypton. He'll do anything to make that happen, including manipulating Kara. Sadly as the story progresses, he is going to find that his affection for Kara may at some point trump his prime directive to bring back Krypton. As you alluded to in your question, he might actually think there might be a more hands on approach to his goal.

 Sigh ...

Well, so much for my theory that Supergirl quickly realizes that H'El is a maniac. Here she is kissing him again. But could it be that love and not fists are what ends H'El on Earth? Could he decide that the risk of changing time is too big a risk to Kara (for some reason) and that he loves her too much to do it?

I don't know.

I just want Supergirl to be treated with some respect in the end of this story. I remain a little worried.

Very pretty art by Kenneth Rocafort.

CV: With the Justice League in SUPERMAN #16, will we see more of Lois Lane’s reaction to Superman and Wonder Woman being a couple?
SL: Their relationship has not been made public just yet. Also in the New 52, Lois is so much more her own person than perhaps she's been portrayed in the past. So even when the time comes that Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship is made public, I don't necessarily think we're going to see a Lois who's particularly broken up about it. She has moved in with Jonathon Carroll.  Presumedly she's very sincere and happy in that relationship.

The implied message here is that Lois was not her own person in the pre-New 52 universe, that somehow she was defined by others. And frankly, I think that is wrong wrong wrong. Lois was strong, smart, and loving in the old universe. She wasn't defined by Superman, she wasn't defined as his spouse. She was out there, reporting the news and seeking justice ... and ... Clark's wife. You can do it all.

I hope Lois is shown in the proper light moving forward. 

I will say again, I hope that enough is explained about the background story to make the ending of H'El on Earth satisfying. When I hear that things don't need to be explained and that parts of the story are being told 3/4 of a year after the finale ... I worry.


Dave Mullen said...

"When I hear that things don't need to be explained and that parts of the story are being told 3/4 of a year after the finale ... I worry."

Reading Lobdell's interviews and the scattershot nature of Teen Titans and to an extent of this months Superman makes me more convinced you'll be proved correct.
He is well know for starting plots that he doesn't actually have an end point worked out for - as far back as his X-Men days he would throw out ideas like confetti and make it up as he went along, that's a reason we got Onslaught. And that's the reason his Superman characters don't make sense when put under scrutiny.

Martin Gray said...

Yeah, interesting comments but I don't want to still be reading about H'el in a year's time. Let's see those new takes on The Parasite and (Superman villain?) Starro.

Jay said...

Well this makes me have to amend my H'el theory, so what I now think is this. I still think he's Kon 1.0. But, according to this interview, his memories are neither false nor is he flat out lying. So what I now think happened is that Jor-El at some point revived or released an imprisoned Kon and rehabilitated him, in secret. Of course this still leaves the question in my mind of why he carved a backwards S into his chest if his love of the El family is geniuine.

As for still reading about He'l in a years time, I wouldn't mind it. I'm half expecting the character to die at the end of this arc but would be more than pleased if he didn't. It'd actually be refreshing if he wasn't treated as a one-off villain and was actually adopted into a more permanent place in the rogues gallery.

Anonymous said...

Okay so the pure love of sweet Kara Zor El makes bad old H'El doubt his mission to immolate the solar system and Saaave Krypton from "traumatic repossession"?

I mean talk about a retrograde Silver-Bronze age superheroine trope, the heroine can't just beat the bad guy he has to undergo a conversion via guilt trip since she is in love with him.
Very backwards IMHO...


Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Sounds like I'm not the only one feeling some worry pangs about this story line.

And good point about the 'damsel wins with love not fists' trope John.

It is a shame because I feel this book was on the cusp of something and then this crossover happened.

PRgirl1294 said...

@ Jay: According to a comment that Scott Lobdell made on here: (, H'el is not a clone, so there goes your "Kon 1.0" theory.

As for still reading about H'el in a year's time, I wouldn't mind that either. H'el seems like an interesting character, villain or otherwise, and it would suck if he only got to show up for one event. And according to that same comment, he's gonna be in a lot of books outside of the Superman family group.

Jay said...

Aww, nuts. Oh well, win some and lose some.

Dave Mullen said...

PRgirl1294 said...
@ Jay: According to a comment that Scott Lobdell made on here: (, H'el is not a clone, so there goes your "Kon 1.0" theory.

Not a Clone...? Hmm, well that upsets things. I'd thought he would be a clone that Jor-el took pity on but ended up having to exile for whatever reason.
So if he's someone who did spent time With Jor-el just what is he? I'd be surprised if he's true Kryptonian, and I don't think he's some random alien who ends up on Krypton... a madman who's come across knowledge of Krypton perhaps? Thinking about it he has a great deal in common with Zor-el's Worldkillers, it that coincidence I wonder or is there a link...?