Saturday, January 4, 2014

More Soule And Venditti

We are about a month and a half away from the Red Lantern Supergirl story to begin but the publicity keeps coming. This time Charles Soule and Robert Venditti get interviewed over on Comicosity by Matt Santori Grifftith. Here is the link:

My New Year's resolution was to be more optimistic so I have been trying to wrap my head around this change in Kara's story. And I have bought Red Lanterns #22 - #26 and have to say I have enjoyed the series. The Reds have, for the most part, tried to do good in Sector 2814. They aren't rabid or insane. And while they are filled with rage there is an odd nobility to most of them. This isn't a blood soaked title even if the action is at times brutal.

Okay, the interview is mostly about Green Lantern but here are the Supergirl questions.

MSG: And of course, the big news is Supergirl’s arrival to the Red Lanterns team in issue #28. What was the impetus for Kara’s inclusion in the rage-filled Corps and how are you working out her ongoing story with [Supergirl writer] Tony Bedard?

CS: This one was my idea. There are things going on in the Red storyline that allow for the team’s membership to get expanded a bit, and I also knew that DC is always open to hearing interesting new ideas about the characters, particularly ones that help to emphasize the cohesiveness of the universe.  It’s been pretty clear that Kara’s been dealing with a lot of anger – so it makes sense that a red ring might find her. But that’s not where it ends. The ring is just the beginning of Kara’s story with the Reds. We’re treating it almost as therapy, and we’ll get some cool beats out of it, both in Red Lanterns as well as the main Supergirl title Tony’s writing.

Okay ... optimism. 

I am glad to hear that this Red Lantern idea is clearly a temporary one. Both Bedard and Soule have said that eventually Supergirl will shed the Red ring and become her self again. I guess the question I have is how long this will be. I know the answer will be vague ... as long as it takes to bring the story to that point. But I don't think I will be happy if we are over a year like this. At least no one is saying this is 'permanent'. This is a 'beginning' of her story.

MSG: Fans have reacted strongly to Supergirl’s arrival as somewhat of a drastic change, something that many don’t feel is natural for her character. What do you see in Kara that makes her candidacy in the Red Lanterns a fitting story arc?

CS: I think that people who are against the idea are viewing Kara’s character as they wish her to be, not as she actually is, or has been portrayed in the New 52 to date. That Kara would absolutely be able to get a red ring to find her.  Stories (in general), should be vehicles for characters to grow and change, and that is what we’re doing with this one.

Okay ... no some pessimism. Or confusion. Or being irked.

If you read the first 16 issues of the Supergirl series, as written by Mike Johnson, it really was a book about grief. Sure, she was angry at times, lashing out at things. But it was out of the sheer sadness weighing on her. Her life is suddenly a tragedy and she wants to retreat. I don't think the predominant emotion by Johnson (and Green) was rage ... regardless of what the editors and other publicity blurbs said.

I am clearly one of the strongly reacting fans Soule is talking about in this question. And he is right ... I know what I wish Supergirl to be, the character she has been for the better part of 50 years. And yes. I know that This Kara has been written in a way that a red ring might find her. It doesn't make it right. I wish she was the Supergirl I have been a fan of.

Lastly, wanting a different take on Supergirl doesn't mean I want her set in amber, stuck in one form,. All I want from her is to grow as a character, but on the hero's journey, struggling to find herself but definitely doing what is right, definitely trying to help as many people as possible. I like that she isn't a hero yet ... but she is becoming a her.

There are plenty of stories of a heroic Supergirl growing and changing.

Read Peter David.
Read Sterling Gates.
Read James Peaty.
Read Landry Walker.

Read any of them.

She is growing there but with a core of hope and justice ... not rage. You can write an interesting story of a growing Supergirl that is consistent with her prior incarnations.

As I said, Red Lanterns is a fun book. And maybe this Red Lantern turn is going to end with Supergirl shaking off the anger and becoming (as Bedard promised) more likable and more heroic. But Supergirl is only That Supergirl because people continue to write her that way.

Optimism. And bring on the issues ... please.

1 comment:

Gear said...

I'm looking forward cautiously to what Bedard and Soule do here because it sounds like they have a plan, something it hasn't felt like we've had since the beginning of the first H'El arc. Optimism, but measured.

Soule has shown a propensity for deeper characterizations, and we've seen the same from Bedard in the past. If we can get away from the Lobdell/Nelson Flanderization of Supergirl this might work.

But Misters Soule and Bedard, if you're reading this you need to understand why this book is closing on 20,000 in sales when it went 60+ issues in the last run before the slow erosion that happens to all books got it to that point. Fans of dark angsty angry characters won't buy Supergirl books, or books with female leads in general for that matter. And Supergirl readers want real character arcs, with development and growth, and a protagonist that makes sense instead of being a dark reflection of a deep seated bitterness about women that radiates from a certain writer's stories and public appearances.

We'd prefer a hero, but if you can show us even a little progress some of us will stick it out. And give us a good in-story reason for this to happen because that much rage doesn't make sense after "Krypton Returns", the finale of the Nelson run, or what we saw in Supergirl #26. "Just So Stories" are very unsatisfying.