Crash-landing on Earth and getting a crash course in dealing with humanity, the super teen has been swept up in the Doomsday-virus action of “Superman: Doomed,” the alien threats in “Justice League United” and joined the antagonist Red Lantern Corps as their newest recruit.
In her solo book, under the pen and pencil of writer Tony Bedard and artist Emanuela Lupacchinoa, Kara’s adventures with her Super-kin and the Red Lanterns are coming to a close as a new trial — and her father, Cyborg Superman — awaits her in September’s “Supergirl: Futures End” one-shot.
With his “Red Daughter” arc nearing its conclusion, Bedard spoke with CBR News about Kara’s time as a Red Lantern, juggling her appearances over multiple titles and events as well as what fans should expect from “Supergirl: Futures End” in September.
CBR News: Kara is currently a Red Lantern, and over these past issues we’ve seen her fit in with the group, act compassionately and, ironically, keep her temper better as a Red than she did as a lost Kryptonian. Do you think being in the Red Lanterns is good for Kara? Would removing her from that team be a detriment to her?
Tony Bedard: The biggest surprise for me about the “Red Daughter of Krypton” storyline has been that Kara has had more fun and upbeat moments as a Red Lantern than as a misfit alien on planet Earth! A lot of the credit goes to Charles Soule’s truly entertaining run on “Red Lanterns.” He’s tapped that book’s potential in a way I never anticipated, making it a thoroughly fun read. And having Kara as part of that group gave us a chance to see her through fresh eyes. More important for her, she went from being an outcast to belonging on a tight-knit team, and I think it did her some good. But, long term? I don’t think Kara should be defined by Rage. She’s better than that.
Along with Kara you’ve gotten to write many of the other Red Lanterns — are there any Reds that stick out to you as the most fun to write or to have Kara interact with?
I think that Zilius Zox and Skallox are my favorite duo on the Red Lanterns. The way they play off each other in their own book is terrific, both for action and for laughs. Having them react to Kara was great fun, and those scenes just wrote themselves. It was also fun to write Kara with Bleez, since in a way she represents a cautionary tale for Kara. Giving herself over to Rage completely would make Kara just like Bleez in the worst way.
The scenes with Kara and Guy Gardner were another thing entirely, since Guy is the one Red Lantern who knows what Kara should be — a positive, inspiring hero like her cousin Superman. Gotta say, though, that writing Atrocitus and Dex-Starr was a unique pleasure. They are perhaps the greatest odd couple in the DCU right now. Once again, hats off to Charles Soule for leading the way on reinventing the Red Lanterns.
I recent issues Kara also came face to face with the Diasporans. What was the inspiration for this genocidal group? Are they based on older Supergirl villains?
Well, one of the defining aspects of Supergirl and Superman is that the loss of their world made them stronger. I wanted to come up with a villain that would show the flipside of that concept — the dark side — and the Diasporans are it. They are a race that became super-powerful only after losing their home world and being cast adrift in space. Now they want to spread their “good fortune” by destroying the home worlds of other races, hoping to make them evolve into super-beings. They present Supergirl with a sort of twisted reflection of who she is. And their leader, Worldkiller-1, is tied to her origin in ways she doesn’t expect.
While we’re heading to the conclusion of “Red Daughter Of Krypton,” Supergirl is also involved in the “Superman: Doomed” crossover as well as appearing in the “Red Lanterns” and “Justice League United” ongoings. As the writer of her solo title, how do you handle the various timelines and stories she’s appearing in? Is everything happening to her concurrently, and will she continue to tie into so many different books after September?
I think right now she’s having a spike in appearances across the DC Universe, which will soon settle down, but I think it’s great for Supergirl that she’ll continue having a presence in “Justice League United.” I’m looking forward to seeing how Jeff Lemire handles her. We all try to coordinate as much as possible, but we also leave a lot of latitude for everyone to tell their own story. Consequently, events in “Supergirl” may not hit the stands in perfect lockstep with those in “Red Lanterns” or “Justice League United,” but at the end of the day, I think it all adds up to one big, coherent saga.
Looking ahead to September, what can you tell us about your “Supergirl: Futures End” story? Does it have any ties to what’s happening in the comic now?
It’s a pretty major moment as we’ll be seeing a reunion for Kara and her father Zor-El, currently known as Cyborg Superman. It also ties into some Grant Morrison issues of “Action Comics,” but it’s a story that pretty much stands on its own.
Is the issue entirely set five years from the DC present, or will we see some of contemporary Kara?
It’s all five years from now, and Kara will have undergone some very dramatic changes. We’ll also learn that she had a major romantic interest who will play a big part in her Futures End issue. You can try to guess who, but you won’t get it right, I guarantee you.
Well, one of the big, non-romantic players in the issue is Cyborg Superman. What interested you in bringing in her father for the one-shot?
I’ve been wanting to have Kara cross paths with Zor-El since I started on “Supergirl.” I’ve tried to establish that her obligation to use her powers for good stems from the role the women of the House of El played on Krypton. Conversely, it’s been seen that her father was a bit of a shady character, conducting forbidden experiments and tricking her into the rocket that brought her to Earth. There’s a lot of unresolved family issues there. A father-daughter reunion is definitely called for.
At this point, every September since the New 52 began DC has done some sort of big event. To your mind, how does “Futures End” stand out from the various September one-shot’s you’ve done before? What’s different about this event than the one’s you’ve been involved with previously?
Well, the Zero issues let us revisit our heroes’ origins. This is the opposite, allowing us a sneak peek at our heroes’ possible future. And we also get to hint at all sorts of things that might have happened between now and five years from now. It’s just great opportunity to hint at upcoming storylines or establish an alternate future for characters like Kara. We can even set up long-running rivalries with enemies that will give weight to any encounters they have in the years to come.
You’re working with artist Emanuela Lupacchino on both the regular series and the “Futures End” issue. How much do you two talk about the visuals for characters like Worldkiller-1 and Cyborg Superman, or for things like Kara’s Red Lantern uniform? What does she bring to the table design-wise?
I just met Ema face to face for the first time at the Special Edition: NYC convention in June. She is every bit as delightful as her art is, and I know how lucky I am to be working with her. Her Worldkiller-1 design (and her design for the Diasporan race) is outstanding — clean and powerful, but allowing for little touches that suggest individuality and depth of character.
I also loved the aliens she designed for the world that was being attacked by the Diasporans. She’s smart, hard-working, and her art has a very attractive quality that reminds me of the first time I saw Terry Dodson or Adam Hughes’ work. And while, in a perfect world, a creator’s gender shouldn’t really matter, I confess that I love the fact that Supergirl is in the hands of a female artist. Keep an eye on Ema. She is a star in the making.
With the end of “Doomed” and “Red Daughter,” where does Kara go from here? Will events in “Supergirl: Futures End” or her involvement in “Justice League Unlimited” impact what happens in your book beyond September?
No, I think Supergirl has had more than her share of crossover action recently. It might be time to let her book settle into a new groove before we link up with another series or event again.
Instead, I think perhaps a little romance needs to come into her life, don’t you? The poor girl can’t catch a break!
“Red Daughter” concludes in “Supergirl” #33, on sale July 16.