Telling Supergirl's New Tales - Sterling Gates & Jamal Igle

Supergirl #34

This week starts a new creative team and direction for Superman's teenage cousin Kara Zor-El with Supergirl #34, the new issue by writer Sterling Gates and artist Jamal Igle.

Among the changes to the comic will be a closer connection to Action Comics and Superman by Geoff Johns and James Robinson, particularly during next month's New Krypton event that crosses into all three of the books. While this week's issue serves as a prelude to that event, the creative team says Supergirl #34 will set up a new status for Kara Zor-El before she faces the challenges of New Krytpon.

As the release of their first issue approaches, Newsarama talked to Gates and Igle at Baltimore Comic Con about what readers can expect from the beginning of their run and the events of New Krypton.

Gates said people who might not be familiar with Supergirl can pick up this issue without having read anything else about her. "All you need to know is she's Superman's cousin," he said.

"This issue is kind of like our #1 issue, and it not only works as a stand-alone issue, but you'll get familiar with Supergirl's new status quo," Igle said.

The story in issue #34 begins with the publication of an article by Cat Grant, the Daily Planet reporter, as she takes the first step in her mission to destroy Supergirl.

"Cat Grant unleashes her article, 'Why the World Doesn't Need Supergirl.' And we're going to see Supergirl deal with the emotions that spill out of reading this horrible article about her," Gates explained.

"Kara's having a really hard time with Cat's article, because despite being the most powerful girl in the DC Universe, she's still a teenage girl. She's still very emotional. And she finds herself in a place where she doesn't know how to deal with people hating her," Igle said.

"And we're going to see some Silver Banshee fighting, some special guest stars, Superman, Lana Lang, and a lot of other cool stuff," Gates added. "Lana's role, eventually, will be more of a mentor, like a sister figure for Kara to kind of bounce stuff off of."

She'll need to rely on her friends from her adopted planet because in issue #35, with the beginning of the New Krypton storyline, Kara will start to question her place on Earth as she encounters the parents from Krypton she thought had died.

"It's going to be a huge thing for her," Gates said. "All she's wanted to do since she got to Earth is go back to Krypton and go back to how things were. And now that her parents are alive, and after Kandor is enlarged in New Krypton Special, she'll have what she always wanted: a Kryptonian life.

"But when you get what you want, it doesn't always necessarily turn out how you think it's going to turn out. And her relationship with her parents is very odd. They sent her off in a rocket to save her life. Is she thankful for that? Is she angry? Would she have rather stayed with them? We'll be exploring a lot of those questions during the New Krypton storyline," Gates explained.

"With her parents alive, it creates a real conflict for her, because for the last year-plus, she's been trying to adapt to life on Earth," Igle added. "She's been trying to adapt to the responsibility that was almost thrust upon her. And for a long time, she fought against it. But now she's finally accepting it and even getting into the idea of being a superhero. So just at this point, she's suddenly confronted by her family and her people returning. Everything she thought she lost is suddenly back. So does she stay in Kandor with them? Does she stay with humans? Does she try to live the life we're setting up for her in issue #34, or does she go back with her family? So that's the central part of New Krypton."

Issue #35 also serves as a "Secret Origin" for Kara as readers find out about her journey to Earth.

"You'll see a lot of what happened between Krypton's destruction and her getting to Earth. We're filling in some gaps in her life that we've never seen before," Gates said, adding that there have been a lot of explanations of her history, some of which seem to conflict. "All of that will make sense and should be crystal clear by the time you finish that issue."

"You'll find out how she got into the rocket ship and why she was sent to Earth," Igle said. "We're doing it in such a way that it doesn't negate anything that Jeph Loeb or Joe Kelly or Kelley Puckett did on the book. We're just kind of explaining it all and putting it all in context. So you're going to get the definitive origin of Supergirl, finally."

Gates said the first story arc after New Krypton is "Who is Superwoman?" "We're going to explore this mysterious figure that shows up during New Krypton," he said. "She wears the Superman 'S,' and she's on the cover to Supergirl #35. But what gives her the right to wear the seal of the House of El?"

And fans of Gates' work can also check out his next project, a Faces of Evil: Prometheus special that ships in January. "It's a big, violent, fun story starring everyone's favorite JLA villain," he said of the special issue.

Both Gates and Igle said they're excited about the prospect of working on Supergirl, but they also realize the responsibility they have to live up to the Superman name with this comic as they work alongside the creative teams on Action Comics and Superman.

"This is something I've been waiting to do since I started drawing comics," Igle said. "This is something I've been wanting to do my entire career. I've always wanted to work on the Superman books. And now, to work with someone as talented as Sterling, who cares about this character so much, and work in conjunction with James Robinson and Geoff Johns -- it's been awesome, overwhelming, daunting at points, and creatively energizing and exciting. I can't wait for people to read it."

Check back this afternoon for an exclusive preview of Supergirl #34 right here on Newsarama.

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