Scott Lobdell, the ongoing writer on Superman, is also getting the chance this summer to write four issues of Action Comics, as well as Superman Annual #2 in July.The threats that Lobdell is throwing at Superman over the next few months are multiple — including new "warrior" villains in space to more familiar faces like Brainiac, Orion and Highfather.
And according to the writer, the titles are being littered with clues for his plans to write what he calls the "Most Ambitious Superman Story Ever."
As Superman #19 comes out this week, just as the character celebrates his 75th anniversary, Newsarama talked to Lobdell to find out more about his plans for Superman and Action Comics.
Newsarama: How would you describe the story that you're going to kick off in Action Comics #22?
Scott Lobdell: In Action #22, I wanted to get Superman out of the "comfort zone" he's been in lately. That is, I am a big fan of the old school Superman stories where he'd burst into the Batcave and tell Batman, "I need you to help me solve a murder... on Mars!" Batman would throw a fish bowl on his head and they'd be off!
Now, naturally I can't do anything that "silly" here in 2013...
But I've always loved the notion that Superman is a character who can melt guns out of bank robbers' hands one minute, fly into the future to hang out with the Legion of Super-Heroes the next, and find himself backing up Green Lantern in the farthest reaches of space if he had to.
Call it Gonzo Superman if you need too — the idea that Superman can lend himself to any manner of sci-fi adventure!
So in this arc [of Action Comics], I want to get him off world and have him interact with a whole new group of people with a whole new perspective on him.Nrama: This new threat you're debuting in Action Comics — can you describe them?
Lobdell: It isn't really a "them" as much as it is an "it." There is a "them," but the "them" actually find themselves to be allies of Superman against the "it."
Nrama: But the "them" are described as "warriors" in solicitations. How does Superman handle the new situation caused by these warriors?
Lobdell: This is a lighter story, than, say the Multitude or "H'el on Earth." The warriors here are hard-drinking, hard-partying, hard-loving warriors who would like drinking cosmic mead almost as much as they like to battle for the fate of the universe.
Because we know Clark is — at his heart — a relatively low-key, Kansas farm boy, he's going to find these intergalactic warriors to be a little, well, hardcore for his taste.
When they declare him their leader — essentially their version of King Arthur — it is only going to get more complicated for Superman. He's never really seen himself in a leadership role.Nrama: Does the Superman title tie into what's going on in Action Comics? Do they interact, or does one take place before the other?
Lobdell: They pretty much run concurrent to each other. In fact, in Action #22, Cat has talked a reluctant Clark into attending a red carpet event so she can cover it for ClarkCatropolis.com.
I think Action has been great about peeling back the layers and showing us heretofore untold stories in Superman's life... but I'm excited for the opportunity to bring the book into the present!
Nrama: How long is your run on Action?
Lobdell: My understanding is that I will be on the book until issue #25. The arc itself only runs from #22 to #24, but I'm working on a special #25 issue that will be — if it all comes together — unlike anything anyone has done at either company in the history of comic books. And no, that's not hyperbole!Nrama: Wow. Then with that possibility hanging on the horizon, let's talk about Superman. There have been a lot of New Gods showing up in DC comics lately. How much is your current story with Orion influenced by the overall plans DC has for the New Gods? Lobdell: I don't really know what the "Big Plans" are. I'm only writing Orion with a cameo by Highfather. But from what I've seen between Brian [Azzarello] and James [Robinson], they have a lot of exciting and groundbreaking stuff planned!
Nrama: With the next issue coming out this week, what can you tell us about what happens when Orion and Superman confront each other?
Lobdell: Crazy-ass battle. Not a lot of talking. The issue where Aaron Kuder attains superstar status!
Nrama: Your last issue took some time to develop Clark's life, with scenes featuring Lois and Cat Grant. Is that something we'll be seeing more?Lobdell: For sure!
If I could, I would probably write a "Clark Kent" monthly book! He is so fascinating to me.
It is funny, because I've read on message boards that Clark leaving the Daily Planet was my attempt at distancing him from humanity, from his friends... that I was ruining the character because he would no longer have regular people in his life any more.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. [This week's] Superman #19 is mostly Clark and/or Diana at Lois Lane's housewarming party. And after people read Superman Annual #2, they will understand that Lois Lane is going to play a huge part in Superman's life moving forward. The fact that they don't work for the same boss anymore doesn't change the fact that they are very important to each other.
Nrama: Coming up in Superman, you're featuring Hector Hammond. What themes are you exploring with that villain coming up against Superman?
Lobdell: Essentially, we're pitting the physically strongest person on Earth (Superman) against the soon to be most psionically powerful person on Earth (Hector Hammond, or "Mindstorm," as he is soon going to be known) — so if either one is going to try to get an advantage over the other, they are going to have to be much more resourceful than they have been in the past.
Nrama: Is this the same Hector that existed pre-New 52? Or are there New 52 tweaks?Lobdell: I'm pretty comfortable saying this is the Hector Hammond we all know and loathe.
Nrama: In July, you're getting to the story about the H.I.V.E. queen. How would you describe the character, and what threat does she bring to Superman?
Lobdell: She is a very sick young woman. Unlike any female supervillain we've ever seen in a comic. I get nervous just writing her. Serious.
Nrama: While you're on Action for just a story arc or so, you're on Superman for the long-term. Plus you've got a Brainiac story coming in July's Superman Annual #2. Can you describe the ongoing plans for Superman?
Lobdell: Honest to Rao, there are plans afoot to write the Most Ambitious Superman Story Ever. It is epic in scale, spanning hundreds of years and putting Superman at odds against two of the most powerful, most evil entities in the Universe (and yes, we've already met them).
Simply put, there has never been a Superman story attempted on this scale before, but with a character this powerful the stakes have to be high. And as readers start to pick up the clues scattered throughout Action, Superman and the Annual this year, as well as the issues #25 for all four Super-books, they will gasp at the sheer audacity of it all.
Nrama: Ah, interesting. Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell fans about your work on the Super-characters?
Lobdell: Just that I couldn't be any more excited to read Scott Snyder's Superman: Unchained and Greg Pak's Batman/Superman! I'm grateful for the opportunity to share in Superman's 75th Anniversary year with two such great writers, and I promise not to let anyone down!Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!