In April, Tony Bedard is writing his own "fresh" take of Supergirl's origin— one he's hoping will make her even more "proactive" and "positive," while giving her a unique motivation for becoming a hero.
The new, monthly Secret Origins series launches in April with an issue that includes origin stories about Supergirl (by Tony Bedard), Dick Grayson (by Kyle Higgins) and Superman (by Greg Pak). The debut issue features art by Paulo Siqueira, Will Conrad and others.
Bedard, who's also the new ongoing writer on Supergirl, has already been shaking up Kara's story by uniting with Red Lanterns writer Charles Soule to make Supergirl a member of the Red Lanterns.
Newsarama talked to Bedard about Secret Origins — and although Bedard and Soule have explained the story reasons for Supergirl to become a Red Lanterns (and the change appears to be temporary, since she's on the cover of April's Justice League United in her normal costume), Newsarama gave Bedard one more chance to clarify what readers can expect in Supergirl during the "Red Daughter of Krypton" storyline.
Newsarama: Tony, we've seen a lot of Supergirl's origin over the first couple years of her series. From what angle is this story told?
Bedard: Secret Origins will definitely be a new-reader friendly series, covering the basics of each character featured, but I also wanted to get something fresh in the Supergirl story, particularly because her origin had been revisited a few times recently.
So we'll cover the stuff you'd expect to see — Kara on Krypton, Zor-El sending her to Earth, how she got her costume, what her powers are, etc. — but we're also going to learn more about her mother Alura and how her actions motivate Kara to embrace her role as Supergirl.
Since coming on the Supergirl series, I've been very keen to make Kara more proactive and more positive. Working on this origin story has helped me realize how we can get her there.
Nrama: Now that we know what happened to her father (with spoiler warnings to anyone who didn't know what Zor-El becomes in New 52 continuity...), will we see clues about that in this new origin story you're writing?
Bedard: While we definitely see Zor-El in this tale, I'm trying to keep the focus squarely on Kara. So while I do want to revisit the fact that her father was turned into Cyborg Superman, that's something we'll need to get to in the regular monthly book. And it will be epic when we do.
Nrama: How many pages is it? And was it a challenge to put her origin into that small a space? Are you able to include much of it?
Bedard: This is a 12-page story, and there's a lot to pack in there: who Kara was before Krypton blew up, how her father tricked her into that rocket, the nature and variety of her powers, the origin of her costume, and how she's a fish out of water on Earth.
Nevertheless, this little 12-pager is what helped me crack open my approach to Kara's motivation. It was a real Eureka moment, and I think we have something that really makes her stand on her own, not just follow in Superman's footsteps. Check it out and you'll see what I mean.
Nrama: What's it been like getting to put your stamp on Supergirl's story – not only in this Secret Origins story, but also in the series so far?
Bedard: it's kind of like being allowed to handle some priceless, delicate artifact. It's thrilling and yet you're constantly aware that you have to honor the thing in your grasp. That's what it's like having stewardship of Supergirl, even more so than writing Green Lantern characters or any other monthly book I've done. There's something that borders on sacred about the Superman characters and I just want to do justice by Kara Zor-El and make her someone readers look forward to spending time with.
Nrama: What do you think of the Secret Origins comic — the idea behind it? Why do you think something like this makes sense?
Bedard: Ever since I was an editor, the importance of giving new readers a jumping-on point has been paramount. And now that we're a couple years into the New 52 Era, it's more important than ever to give longtime readers a simple and comprehensive reference point to remind them what's currently in continuity and what isn't. So, yeah, I'm glad we're doing this. I mean, even as a regular DC writer for the last few years I find myself wondering what's the current state of play for this character or that. I'm looking forward to seeing what Greg Pak does with his Superman origin, for example.
Nrama: I know we talked recently about Supergirl's upcoming time as a Red Lantern. But now that fans are aware of Supergirl getting a Red Lantern ring, is there anything you want to clarify? Anything we should notice about what's coming for the character?
Bedard: Personally, I'm excited to be working with Charles Soule on this moment in Kara's life. He has really made Red Lanterns all his own and it's fun to cross over with that cast of characters. But I think there are some Supergirl fans out there that wonder if giving Kara a red ring is a mistake. I want to tell those fans that this is more of a turning point. This is Kara working through her anger and resentment and realizing Fate handed her an opportunity to become the greatest ever daughter of the House of El.