Justin Jordan has a take on Superboy that he describes as a "bit different from what's been done before," as he takes over writing the series in May.
"He’s trying a new approach to this whole superhero thing," the writer said. "Being a teenager is about carving out your own identity, your own place in the world, and that's what's happening with Superboy. So the book should reflect that – he’ll have his own supporting cast, his own villains, his own role."
And, he revealed, a romantic interest "very, very soon."Superboy isn't the only comic getting a "freshening up" from Jordan, as he's also taking over Green Lantern: New Guardians in June. This comes as he's leaving Team 7, which is being canceled after its short run, having just launched in September.
With Superboy, the writer takes over after several event-focused months for the comic and character. The Superman universe has been involved in a crossover for the last few months, as they've fought against H'el and a new villain called Oracle.
Superman and his family are being promoted in a big way this year, particularly with the release of the Warner Bros. film Man of Steel. And Jordan admits there are big things coming for Superboy as he gets involved with those plans. But at first, Jordan said he's hoping to build the Superboy character and cast separate from the other Super-characters.[Click here for the incoming writer of Supergirl's plans for that title!] In the first part of our discussion with the writer about his new DC work, Newsarama talked to Jordan about what he's hoping to bring to Superboy when he takes over in May.
Newsarama: Justin, you've had a lot of good news in the comics press lately, as you take over Superboy and Green Lantern: New Guardians. But let's get the "bad news" out of the way up front. What do you want to tell fans of Team 7 about the way you're hoping to wrap up that group's story?
Justin Jordan: I am fairly bummed we didn’t get to tell the big — and I do mean big — story we meant to tell over 25 issues or so. Fans will get to the see the ultimate end of that, and we do go out with quite a bang and some revelations about some characters that I think will surprise people.
Nrama: I know when we talked about your writing on Team 7, you indicated that it was a bit of a new challenge for you after writing solo characters in Shadowman and Luther Strode. Does it feel good to get back to a solo character in Superboy?
Jordan: It does! I felt like I was getting a handle on the team thing when Team 7 came to an end, but it’s nice to be focusing on one dude and his supporting cast instead of nine main characters. Much less stressful on the writer.
Nrama: Team 7 felt like an adventure/thriller-type book. How would you describe what you're hoping to bring to the tone of Superboy?Team 7 #8 Jordan: It’s an action-adventure book. I have some goals about looking at the nature of superheroics and the use of power, but it’s still a book about doing cool stuff with awesome powers. Superboy should be having fun, at least some of the time, and so should the reader.
Nrama: What's your history with Superboy as a character? Were you a Conner fan who campaigned to write him, or are you coming at this from a fresh perspective?
Jordan: I liked the character in the old DCU, and I dug Lobdell’s take on him. I think, actually, it was a pretty underrated book. But I didn’t campaign to get him – I was enthusiastic about getting the gig when it was offered to me, but DC approached me about it.
Nrama: As you take over Superboy's book, how would you describe the character's mindset and circumstances?
Jordan: Changing. Superboy has been entangled with NOWHERE and then H’el for a bit now, and he's moving away from that chunk of his life. More than that, he’s thought of himself as this "created" thing, as nothing more than a living weapon. And in the wake of H’el and what’s happened to him, he's trying to do better and be better. To be a person and not just a gun with lungs.
Nrama: To that end, we've seen him grow quite a bit from the person we saw in Superboy #1. He's been discovering the world around him and the other superheroes of the DCU. Are you going to have him interacting with those other superheroes? Or are we going to see him kind of set up shop in his own separate setting?
Jordan: He’ll interact with some other superheroes eventually, but initially, I want to have him doing his own thing. Now, that thing will eventually bring him to the attention of other superheroes.
But initially, he’s trying a new approach to this whole superhero thing, and it takes him away from the superheroes he’s known so far, at least for a bit.
Nrama: OK, then how would you describe what you're hoping to bring to Superboy's supporting cast and rogues gallery? Do you think he needs a separate set of them from Superman, or are you integrating him more with the Super-family?
Jordan: Both? I mean, on one hand, he IS a part of the Superman family. And I’d be a damn fool to not mine that for drama and meaning.
But at the same time, being a teenager is about carving out your own identity, your own place in the world, and that's what's happening with Superboy. So the book should reflect that – he’ll have his own supporting cast, his own villains, his own role.
Nrama: Does that mean we can hope for some romance for poor, lonely Conner?
Jordan: Yes! In fact, very, very soon.
Nrama: DC has announced that 2013 is a big year for Superman, and we've seen a lot of coordination of plans in the Superman universe with Supergirl and Superboy. Will you be working with those other creators on upcoming stories in the DCU?
Jordan: I am. I can’t say a lot about it, other than what we’ve done is a lot of fun.
Nrama: It seems like your coordination and research of Team 7 probably helped you for your work in the shared universe of both the Super-family and the greater DCU. Do you think it gave you a greater perspective and a sold starting point for taking over Superboy?
Jordan: Probably. I mean, at the bare minimum, I am at least aware of the pitfalls of working on a book where you have to do a lot of cross-title coordination. That doesn’t mean I won’t still fall head-long into them, but at least I know they’re there.
But it’s also helpful for planning out the long-range arcs of everything. I know that stuff will spill over into Superboy, and have at least some idea of how to accommodate them. Which is good, because that’s part of what being in a shared universe is about.
Nrama: Is there any chance we'll see some of the characters from Team 7 in Superboy?
Jordan: Maybe! There’s at least one I’d like to have Superboy interact with, and there are others that would certainly make sense.
I mean, Amanda Waller, for instance, would certainly be interested in Superboy, if for no other reason than to know how to take him down if it comes to that.
Nrama: Anything else you can tell fans about your upcoming work on Superboy?
Jordan: I think we’ve got a fun take on the character that’s a bit different than what’s been done before, so I hope people dig it. I am certainly enjoying working on it, so if the readers have as much fun as I do, we’ll be golden.