Batgirl writer Hope Larson is uniting with artist Inaki Mirada to establish the first meeting between Barbara Gordon and Supergirl in the "Rebirth" universe in this week's Batgirl Annual #1.
Although the one-shot sets up a storyline for the Supergirl series, for readers of Batgirl, it represents a bit of a break from the ongoing story of Barbara Gordon's adventures in Burnside — and her formerly budding romance (and more recently brewing conflict) with Ethan Cobblepot.
Newsarama talked to Larson about this week's Annual, why Barbara was taken in by Ethan, and what readers can expect next from Batgirl.
Newsarama: Hope, annuals are used for a lot of different reasons, to flesh out characters, to further the story, and/or to just have fun. How would you describe the intent for this annual?
Hope Larson: This annual splits the difference between having fun with the dynamic between Batgirl and Supergirl, and establishing their first meeting in "Rebirth," and also setting up a Supergirl story Steve Orlando has in the works. I absolutely love the character of Supergirl, so I’m happy I got the opportunity to write her.
Nrama: At what point in Batgirl continuity does this take place?
Larson: This story falls somewhere in the current arc, after Batgirl’s return to Burnside from Asia. She’s a busy lady.
Nrama: What's it like to write Supergirl and Batgirl together? How do these two characters compare/contrast?
Larson: It was fun! They have almost a big sister/little sister vibe: a little bit nurturing and a little bit competitive. The biggest challenge was pairing up a character with such impressive super powers (Supergirl) with one who’s smart and athletic but otherwise human (Batgirl), and making sure they both felt equally important during this mission.
Nrama: So how did you solve that challenge? What's the set-up for the story we'll see in the annual?
Larson: A gang of baddies has been sabotaging environmental monitoring equipment, and Batgirl’s tracked one of them to National City. While dealing with him, she runs into Supergirl — and Supergirl just happens to need her help.
Nrama: What was it like working with Inaki Miranda on the annual?
Larson: We didn’t get a chance to interact closely on this book but his work is really fantastic and I love how it turned out.
Nrama: In the current Batgirl storyline, you're exploring a relationship between Barbara and Ethan Cobblepot, but it's looking like he's up to no good (and his father has Barbara in a precarious position in the story right now). Can you tease anything about what we'll see from this story as it concludes over the next couple months?
Larson: I enjoy writing Ethan because he’s the kind of character who would have been a good guy if he’d been nudged slightly more in one direction than the other. He’s also the deluded kind of bad guy who sees himself as a good guy. Babs is susceptible to that type because she tends to see the good in people.
Nrama: You mentioned that this is the first meeting between Supergirl and Batgirl in the "Rebirth" universe. How much has the "Rebirth" continuity shift affected Batgirl? Will it affect her more?
Larson: It hasn’t affected Batgirl much. But on the other hand, it has affected other characters in her orbit, so… It will probably change more as the story builds, and she interacts with more established characters in the DCU.
Nrama: The solicitation for June's issue had a different artist listed. Is Eleanor Carlini the new artist, or is Christian just taking a break?
Larson: Christian’s taking a break. He’ll particularly need one after the final issue in "Son of Penguin," which is mostly crowd scenes. (Sorry, Chris!) I absolutely love working with him, and everything he brings to Burnside, so my hope is we’ll continue as a team for a while.
Nrama: Let's talk about what's coming beyond "Son of Penguin." Can you describe what types of things Batgirl will encounter both physically and mentally over the next year?
Larson: We’re hoping to dig back into her past a bit. It’s still in the planning stages, but fingers crossed for that one.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about Batgirl?
Larson: I have a couple one-shots coming up after this arc that I’m excited for. Those always end up being my favorite books, because you’re in and out in one issue and don’t need to do the complicated engineering required for a multi-issue story. They also give me a chance to switch up the tone a little bit, and go lighter or darker.