SUPERGIRL Team on Heroic Choices, Superman Reunion

Supergirl #10, pg. 5

Supergirl may have gotten a fresh start with last year's launch of the New 52, but the character herself hasn't been enjoying the ride. She's been attacked from all sides since the teenaged Kryptonian landed on earth, even battling her cousin, Kal.

But in upcoming issues of Supergirl, Kara will start to learn more about Earth as she gets a supporting cast -- and even goes on a date.

Plus, she'll interact with Superman again in August, this time with less punching.

Drawn by acclaimed artist Mahmoud Asrar, Supergirl is co-written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson. Over the first nine issues, the comic has explored the mystery of why Kryptonians ended up on Earth and how Supergirl got there.

In last month's Supergirl #9, readers met the New 52 version of Silver Banshee, the long-time Supergirl villain. Only this time, Banshee is also a teen girl, and she is a friend of Kara's.

Newsarama talked to Green and Johnson to find out more about the comic and what's coming up.

Newsarama: In Supergirl #9, you introduced Silver Banshee as a friend. Did you guys make that choice because this issue was the start of Supergirl having a somewhat normal life on Earth?

Michael Green: I don't know if she's ever going to get a normal life, but we want to give her a taste of one so she can see a little bit of what's good about this world. But of course, nothing is ever wholly good or bad in this world.

Nrama: But she is discovering some of the "normal" things within the daily life of Earthlings, although it makes for some funny encounters, like how she picked up and talked to the TV.

Mike Johnson: Yeah, we'll have more of that. The Banshee story ends with #10, but it goes right into #11, which is Kara getting the chance to catch her breath and experience life on Earth. So there are more of those TV-type moments coming up in #11.

But it's not going to be just that she gets a normal life with an apartment. There's more to the story, obviously.

Nrama: This storyline with Silver Banshee finishes up in issue #10. What will we see?

Johnson: We're really happy with issue #10. You're going to see more of her life on Krypton, even though it's still a Banshee story.

Nrama: Ah, nice tease.

Johnson: Thank you. But I think it's a really interesting issues that fans should like.

Green: And also dragons.

Nrama: There are dragons in issue #10?

Johnson: Yes.

Green: This is a new lesson I learned. More dragons.

Nrama: I'm looking forward to seeing Mahmoud draw dragons.

Green: It's a very pretty issue.

Nrama: Let's step back a moment, though, and talk about Supergirl's evolution so far. With issue #7, Supergirl had clearly played the role of hero and had chosen a "side" by trying to protect Earth. Was that what that fight represented when you threw the Worldkillers at her?

Green: Yeah, definitely. We started this by saying, OK, if she was just a regular girl in her world, that means she doesn't get here and make an assumption of being a hero. You don't just get here and go, OK, I guess that's my new role. You have to discover your new role.

And we think that's a process. We think that issue was one of many steps in becoming a full-time superhero. But that was instinctual. She saw a situation and she couldn't leave it alone. She's developing her own sense of right and wrong.

That's part of growing up. She's Supergirl, not Super-"woman." She's formative, she's becoming herself, and we keep trying to give her situations to find out more about who she really is, especially in this new life on Earth.

Johnson: What we saw in issue #7 was that she's an inherently good person. And we saw that she also has an inherent inclination to protect people.

Supergirl #10, pg. 8

But what we're going to see is her realizing that that's not so easily reciprocated by human beings. She's not going to acclimate to Earth really easily.

We set up this juxtaposition between her relationships with humans, like the ones she's rescuing on the bus in issue #7, just everyday people, and then the humans who are all pointing their tank barrels at her at the end of #7.

So we're playing with that idea that, while she can instantly relate to people on an basic level because she looks like them, she's still alien in terms of the ethics and morality on Krypton being different, and in a lot of ways more advanced. And she sees this planet that is not unified in the way that Krypton was and is still backward in a lot of ways, not the least of which is TV's.

Green: We have to give props to our editors at DC, from our day-to-day guys to the very top, because they've really encouraged us to lean into our favorite part of this, which a lot of people might have been afraid of, which is keeping Kara an alien on Earth. She's learning, but never comfortable. She might get a friend here or there, but it's never easy. And she's never going to just be OK and get an apartment and get a job and put on glasses and say, "I guess I live in L.A. as a human now." It's always going to be a struggle, and her development is going to be a life-long process.

And we really appreciate being able to explore that idea. It's the most interesting and difficult part of her character. A lot of other groups might have said, let's just get past that character stuff already and get to the smashing and banging and punching.

Mike, did I say that well enough?

Johnson: Yeah, although we do like smashing and banging and punching.

Nrama: Well there has been plenty of that for Kara, but I find it interesting that she doesn't know how to control her own power. Not only is she an alien in this world, but she's an alien to her own body, isn't she?

Green: With great power comes much destruction.

Johnson: Yeah, exactly. But part of it is also that we're writing about being a teenager, and that's the kind of thing a teenager goes through, adjusting to those kind of changes.

And from the point of view of her power set, there are all kinds of opportunities for character exploration as she finds out more about her power set. It's through this discovery that we'll see Kara experience fun moments and scary moments, where she's still learning how powerful she really is. So we'll have fun with that going forward.

One of the great things about Supergirl is she's not Superman. And you we don't have to make her like Superman. We've been given the freedom with the New 52 to play with her powers a little bit and not feel like we're locked into, you know, "this is exactly how fast she is; this is how strong she is." It's fluctuating. It's changing. Not only is she adapting to the shock of being on Earth, but as she's growing older, her body is adjusting. I think if you visited her again in 15 years, she might be even stronger, she might be more in control, but she might have other abilities that manifest themselves.

Green: For her, it's going to be the process of discovery that way.

I think it's important to remember what Mike said about this not being Superman. Keep in mind that Clark had the advantage of a near-pubertal process, with his powers gradually unfolding as they developed slowly, much like your height develops over time.

Supergirl is the equivalent to someone who went to sleep a normal person and woke up a giant. You have to get used to your new proportions and your new capacity.

Supergirl #10

It's much more sudden and more revolutionary as opposed to a personal evolutionary process. And that's what makes the character to unique to us.

Nrama: But will you explain more about why she was suddenly so powerful?

Johnson: Yes, definitely. There's a specific reason she came out of that pod as powerful as she did. And we'll reveal that in the next few issues. But there is a reason she came out so strong that she could go toe-to-toe with her cousin.

Green: It was no accident. That was part of the story fabric of who she is and her predicament. There's something very unique about her past that's going to explain all that.

Nrama: Let's talk about something Supergirl said in this current storyline with Siobhán — and by the way, congratulations on writing an Irish accent. And how is her name pronounced?

Johnson: It's pronounced "Shivawn." And you know, when I first read Silver Banshee, I thought it was pronounced "See-oh-bon" or something like that, because I was literal that way. But it's "Shivawn."

Nrama: I noticed that when Siobhán told Supergirl to look for hot guys, Kara didn't know what she would do with them. And in the solicitation for July, Supergirl has her first date. Will you be exploring that part of her being a teenager?

Johnson: Yes, definitely. We're going to meet a guy in issue #10, and we're going to see them together in issue #11, which is where we see her really interacting with our world.

Green: But dates for Kara are not going to be quite the "malted at Pop Tate's" variety. They're always unique to her situation, with interruptions by things that are as bizarre as her powers.

Nrama: You've certainly revealed a lot about Krypton's past through the Worldkillers story. They're gone but not forgotten, and I know she's going to see Superman again in August. Will we see more about Krypton and the mysteries you presented?

Johnson: Yes.

Green: More to come.

Johnson: We've got some loose ends that we've deliberately placed out there that we're going to tie together as neatly as we can.

Green: We started this book with a lot of worms on the table, and we know they're still wriggling. But we know exactly how many there are and when to fork them.

Johnson: The end of the first year would be a nice place to do that, wouldn't it?

Green: It does seem like it would be.

Johnson: The first nine issues have covered the events of just a few days for her. And we get our first time jump in issue #11, or at least our first big time jump. And then by issue #12 and #13, that's when we really start wrapping up the first year with some of these questions.

We're going to show who shot her father, as she saw in issue #5. And we're going to get more of an explanation as to how exactly her pod ended up here.

Nrama: I think that's the big question: What's the story behind those events she saw surrounding the launch of her pod?

Johnson and Green: Yeah.

Nrama: Will that story about how she got to Earth, and how her father was shot, be something she is going to learn? Or is that something you're just going to reveal to readers?

Green: We cannot answer that question.

Johnson: But that's a really good question. That's why we like your interviews. You ask questions we can't answer.

Green: But in the not-answering, we answer them?

Johnson: Yes.

Nrama: During the first year, Supergirl met both Superboy and Superman. Will they continue to appear in the book every once in awhile, or are you going to avoid that going forward?

Green: You know, it's a delicate balance when you're writing a character like Kara, because too much contact with Superman can become overwhelming, and you want her to be reflective of it, but not be overwhelmed by it, which is why we made it part of her character. He's not someone she initially wants to know. The relationship isn't easy-breezy from moment one, and they don't just hang out and go to each other for advice.

Supergirl #11

We didn't want that. We wanted it to be a much more loaded thing so that his existence peppers hers, but doesn't become the meal itself.

Johnson: In his next appearance in the book, coming up, we're going to set up the status quo for them post-their punch-out in issue #2. They're not going to be hanging out anytime soon.

Green: Yeah, they're not sharing any malteds at Pop Tate's either.

Johnson: No, the biggest reasons being that their lives are so different. I mean, he's Clark Kent, and she is Kara Zor-El.

Green: Yep. He had a human upbringing and has been steeped in human values, and again, had that pubertal upbringing of his powers. And she is a Kryptonian teenager. And that is a significant difference.

Johnson: But in the larger DCU, we have had discussions about her meeting some other heroes to see more of what it means to have these amazing powers and what you do with them. So we're hoping to have some interesting meetings coming up in the future of the comic.

Green: We have a lot of plans for the comic, but there are a lot of them that we just can't talk about... yet.

Nrama: Is the issue you're writing for September one of the things you can't talk about?

Johnson: What? We didn't hear that.

Nrama: But with all of these plans you've got coming up, it sounds like you guys are slated to be on Supergirl long-term?

Green: Yeah, we like to think in long arcs, and our editors have been awesome about encouraging that and giving us the time to play it out. So it's been great. And obviously, the secret spice of it all is we come up with ideas and Mr. Asrar takes the to crazy cool heights and just constantly surprises and shocks us with how vivid it all becomes with his pens.

Nrama: I've read a lot of reviews, and there's a real appreciation for the fast pace you guys have maintained, as well as the way you've captured Supergirl's voice so well. But I have to be honest: Most of the raves are for Mahmoud.

Green: As well they should be.

Johnson: We know who the star of the book is. We're like the decent supporting actors that a movie star needs in his movie. And Mahmoud's the movie star.

It's nice to be able to be write and be confidently knowing he can handle anything we through at him. Like some of the Banshee stuff, the action is someone screaming, and he was able to convey that really well, which is not the easiest thing. And his design sense is really good too. He designed the Black Banshee and Silver Banshee characters.

We have really good communication back and forth too, which has been a godsend.

You know, we just got a bunch of art from Mahmoud, and he's just amazing.

Green: He is, and it gets better! You know, in addition to being constantly delighted with how robust his art is, he is unafraid to let his style evolve, and especially in this new stuff we've been seeing.

Supergirl #12

Just literally in the last two weeks, in our in-box is stuff where Mahmoud is like, "Hey, I hope you don't mind that I'm sort of exploring some new things." And it's just maturing and getting more amazing. He's not a guy ever to get too comfortable as an artist. He's pretty unafraid and really feels like he's just at the beginning of developing his powers.

Johnson: Some of the design work we ask him to do, especially when it comes to Krypton, is really amazing. There are some artists who are really good with figure drawing and composition. Then there are other artists whose strength is their imaginative design. But he's really got both.

Green: We're going to be really sad when we lose him to doing concept art for feature films.

Johnson: Yeah, when he does concept art for Avengers 2.

Nrama: Wait, are you saying he's got a job in Hollywood?

Green: No, no. I'm just assuming that level of talent doesn't stay quiet for too long.

Johnson: Hey! He's drawing Supergirl! That's a very prestigious job!!

Nrama: I know you had a guest artist with George Pérez. Are there any other plans to have guest artists come on board?

Johnson: That was a special case because it was when Mahmoud's wife had a baby, and he just needed a break. So we got really lucky with George.

There are five locks on the door to the dungeon where we keep Mahmoud. Those big cycle ones that are hard to break through. So we don't want him going anywhere.

But if the time comes when we need a fill-in, which I don't think is happening soon because Mahmoud works his tail off, we would want to have someone special like George.

Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to add?

Johnson: Just that the book's holding its own among the New 52, and we're doing well, and it's thanks to the very vocal fan support online. We love people saying, "you've got to check out this book." It's amazing.

Green: Yeah, that really matters.

Johnson: It matters huge. It matters an enormous amount, especially when you're doing a book in the "Super" family. When you're dealing with a book that isn't the main book, it's so important to have people saying, "hey, look over here! You've got to check this out too!"

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