Finally - Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray on 'Terra'
The name 'Terra' has a lot of history in DC Comics lore, tied in especially with the Teen Titans corner of the world. Shortly after the death of the previous Terra in 52's World War III storyline, a new woman carrying the moniker appeared in Supergirl #12. But this new raven-haired earth mover shared no connection to the previous Terra, but hints have been dropped that say that may not be true.Most recently the new Terra appeared in the "The Titans of Tomorrow, Today!" storyline in Teen Titans #52-54, and now the long-awaited solo miniseries reaches fruition this fall. This four-issue series runs bi-weekly during the months of November and December, and is headed up by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray along with long-time collaborators, artist Amanda Conner and colorist Paul Mounts. The solicits promise both an origin and a new adventure, facing up against new threats and familiar faces such as Power Girl, Doctor Mid-Nite and Geo-Force. The solicits also dropped some things that we don't know much about yet – what is 'the secret of Strata'? Who is the Astronaut God? There are a lot of questions that need answering, and although some of those must wait until the release of the book itself, we can pin down Palmiotti and Gray to get up to speed in preparation for November. Newsarama: So gents, let's get right to it… What can we look forward to with the new Terra miniseries? Justin Gray: A lot of dirt, rocks and soil. NRAMA: What? JG: Okay I’m sure smart assed answers aren’t going to rate very well with fans of the previous Terra who was so unceremoniously killed in World War Three. The same Terra who was the victim of statutory rape, well mister, I can tell you this Terra will not be skeezing on some old man super villain. What they will get is a genuine, heartfelt heroine fighting for the planet against some odd villains with special guest stars like Power Girl and Doc Mid-Nite. Jimmy Palmiotti: What you also get is a beautifully drawn mini series that totally establishes a new character and a decent amount of past history to catch anyone that doesn’t know the history of the 'Terra' name. NRAMA: Justin brought up the previous holders of the Terra name. So how does this new one tie into those? JG: That’s a secret origin kind of question that will be answered in the pages of this miniseries. I just hope people have an open mind and can recognize how difficult it is to keep what came before and yet find a way to make something new work within those confines. JP: terra ties into everything presented to date that has the name terra on it…its what we set out to do…create a back story that explains a lot of what happened behind the scenes, the what and why and especially the who of these characters. NRAMA: Ok. In the solicits there's talk of a new villian from under the Earth's surface called Pyrite, with something called Lavarians. What can you tell us about these sinister subterraneans? JG: We introduce a number of new threats related to Terra in keeping with the themes we’ve established for her. It is important for heroes to have distinct villains and we couldn’t see jumping directly into preexisting Titans villains for this. The idea is to set her up as a viable character for DC to use as they see fit. JP: Also having an established villain just come out of nowhere and consider terra a threat was not the way we wanted to go here. I agree its important when telling a new story to create not only new characters but in this case create a new world and then sprinkle the old favorites in to ground the character somewhat. These four issues are a nice balancing act. NRAMA: The new Terra debuted in Supergirl #12, and has recently shown up in Teen Titans #52-54. How do those lead into this miniseries, and do people need to read those to get the full picture? JG: Those appearances are post creation for us, we saw opportunities to slowly work Terra into the DCU, keeping her on the edges of everything before releasing this book. Sean emailed me for information about Terra so that he could use her properly in the context of what we’ve done in this book. You have to respect when another writer reaches out to you regarding a character without just doing his or her own thing regardless of the work you do on a project. What we wanted to do was present a story that you could come in cold and read. There’s no requirement to read the Supergirl or Titans issues to understand this story. NRAMA: The series hasn't even debuted yet, but people are wondering what her origin is. Will this miniseries shed any light on that? JG: Yes, but probably not in any way that fans are expecting. There needed to be a connection and yet a clear separation between this Terra and Tara Markov. Most of all we have a heroine that cares about the world around her, she cares about her role in having powers to help people. Unlike the other incarnations of Terra this one knows her secret identity. JP: the mini series is an introduction to the character and tells her complete story and the 4 issues tell a complete story as well. NRAMA: You mentioned some special appearances by Power Girl and Doctor Mid-Nite. How do they fit into the puzzle? JP: Power Girl and Terra have a lot in common both being new to their surroundings somewhat and at this point, Power Girl is the only real girlfriend Terra has. Power Girl is all over the mini series and it really works. JG: Exactly, there is a parallel between them that we wanted to explore. Plus Power Girl is awesome. JP: yeah, we love her…so much we are going to write a monthly title about her. Nice, eh? NRAMA: The Terra miniseries was originally announced about two years ago, so call me antsy or impatient but why the delay? JP: A lot of changes at DC, more changes at DC story wise, reworking of scripts to reflect some of the changes and the biggest thing, DC feeling the need to announce this too much in advance, which didn’t help us at all, but we understood why at the time. It was out of excitement and we can't get down on them for having that going on. What is exciting is that they decided to double ship the series in November and December and give the fans a break and not have them wait so long between issues. I think that a pretty cool way to launch it and hopefully the retailers and fans enjoy it as well. JG: It is all a question of timing. There were plans in place to have Terra appear earlier but as they say…shit happens. NRAMA: Before we go, let's talk about the character's creation. In an earlier interview, you mentioned that this Terra originally started out as a wholly new and original character. Can you tell us how Terra became what she is now? JG: The ideology is still the same, a selfless hero, someone that stands in opposition of the grim and gritty…God someone kill that phrase already…the point is we wanted someone that didn’t whine about being special, someone that actually embraced her role as a champion. JP: the idea was a fun upbeat superhero character that wanted to be a hero. Wanted to save the day. Her motivations are extremely clear and with the art of Amanda Conner and the color work of Paul Mounts, we knew were had the right combination of creators to pull this off. Terra #1 is slated to be in stores in early November.