Gray & Palmiotti Talk Power Girl

Not only is Power Girl one of the more increasingly popular characters currently active in the DC Universe, she also happens to be the latest chairperson of the original superhero team, the Justice Society of America.

And yet, Power Girl's never had her own ongoing series.

That all changes May 6, when DC finally launches "Power Girl," written by the team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray ("Jonah Hex") with art by Amanda Conner ("JSA Classified: Power Girl," "The Pro").

First introduced way back in 1976 in "All Star Comics" #58, Kara Zor-L, A.K.A Karen Starr, is the Earth-2 counterpart of Supergirl and the first cousin of the Earth-2 Superman. "Power Girl," announced at last year's New York Comic Con, promises to be loaded with action, but the creative team also plans for some lighter moments as Kara's personal life will also be explored.

CBR News checked in with Palmiotti and Gray and found two men pleased as punch to be bringing Power Girl to the forefront of DCU in her long-awaited solo title.

CBR: This project was announced over a year ago at New York Comic-Con. Why have fans of Power Girl had to wait a full year for this series to arrive?

Justin Gray: Sometimes in the wonderful world of fiction, the laws of the natural universe can bend and twist; time is relative and not everything follows a set course. That was helpful right?

Jimmy Palmiotti: Or to put it another way, DC announced it way too early because Amanda was still working on the "Terra" miniseries at the time. I think as certain con seasons come around, the company has to announce a few things here and there at each show, so "Power Girl" got announced way ahead of time, so much so that the original cover to #1 was shown around so much that Amanda wanted to use a new cover instead. Honestly, it's all good because we felt that DC was so excited about this project that they couldn't contain themselves. All this is old news on May 6, when the book comes out.

That said, why is it time for Power Girl to get her own solo series?

JG: I wonder why it has taken so long. It seems like a great time to draw a clear distinction between Power Girl and Supergirl, what with so many Kryptonians running wild.

JP: I like to think that they finally found the right team to do it. [laughs] Honestly, I haven't a clue since to me, she has been one of the most popular DC characters to a lot of fans for what seems like forever. All I know is that I am glad she is getting her own title and we are involved. This is all super exciting for all of us.

What do you love about Power Girl?

JP: I like the attitude and body language and the overall look of the character. I love the white suit. I like that she has a cat. And most importantly, I like the idea that she hasn't had her own title and fleshed out life before this and we get a shot at creating a wonderful cast of characters around her. There really is so much to like about the character on so many levels.

JG: The way she looks when she's sleeping. Is that creepy? She's a great character full of strength and humor and isn't afraid to kick major amounts of ass in the process.

For readers perhaps not so familiar with the character, what makes "Power Girl" any different than a comic book starring Wonder Woman or Supergirl?

JG: Personality, attitude and although she shares some similarities with Supergirl, she's her own person.

JP: Well, all three of these characters have completely different backgrounds and attitudes and anyone that knows all three will never get them confused. As far as the comic itself, the character will be handled with a bit more joy and discovery than most and with Amanda Conner on board, we are gonna look good doing it.

What can we expect from "Power Girl" in terms of storytelling? When we talked to Jimmy at NYCC 2008, you said you were going to set up Kara's world, her personal life and her secret identity is that still the case? If so, what can you share about her personal life and her secret identity heading into the first issue?

JG: We wanted to get off to a fast start and build the small moments around large-scale action and threats. I'm not a fan of superheroes sitting around in uniform talking for page after page -- there's a place for that obviously, but with Power Girl it makes more sense to keep the popcorn levels high.

JP: Yes, that still is the case because we have a responsibility to make this the best comic on the racks, and for me it's the details and daily goings on of her life that really will make an impact with the readers being able to relate to the character. As Justin said, we have some large-scale action on board, but within all of this we spend a lot of time getting to know Kara and what makes her tick. I look at it this way and say to myself, "Why would I want to read this? Why should I care?" And we have to answer that each and every issue. It's gonna be a fun ride.

And like you said, Justin, a book starring Power Girl is going to feature some big time action. Is that one of the reasons you signed on for this project too?

JG: Absolutely, the chance to work the superhero genre in fun and explosive ways is much of the motivation behind doing a book like this. It has been a while since we were able to cut loose and have fun with superpowers. The idea is that it should be fun to read "Power Girl," a break from world shattering events that deconstruct the genre, in this case we wanted to celebrate the glorious absurdity of flying and laser vision and being able to lift cars with one hand.

JP: I totally agree. This is a breakout book for us on a number of levels so we are going nuts each and every issue to try to out do everything we have done before. It's a challenge for sure, but one we are happy to be taking on.

Right out of the gates, you have Kara up against the Ultra-Humanite. What makes him a great matchup for Power Girl?

JG: In all honesty, I'm not a fan of the talking monkey as a character. Yeah, I love "Planet of the Apes" and all that, but Ultra-Humanite wasn't our first choice as villain. That's what made it all the more interesting, we asked ourselves what could make a talking monkey not suck or seem silly. How could Ultra-Humanite be cool and scary and entertaining as a villain? There's a sense of tragedy to his character that hopefully makes him more three dimensional.

JP: Right there with Justin. We took a good hard look at the character and really spent a lot of time giving him the proper motivation and at the same time, for anyone who had no clue who he is, also retold his origin so what he wants from Power Girl makes sense. He just isn't a monkey in the mix.

Looking ahead, any teases on which other villains Power Girl might face?

JG: Against conventional wisdom and with the way the DCU is constantly changing, we've chosen to go our own way with villains and create new ones. We've tried over the last few years to incorporate concepts and existing villains in the book that, for one reason or another, had to be scrapped. So you'll be seeing Jimmy and me taking Power Girl in her own direction.

JP: That said, there are a lot of characters that will be popping in and out of the series from time to time, new ones, old ones and some from the past year that had a four-issue miniseries by the same team that is now working on "Power Girl."

Will this book also tie into the happenings of "Justice Society of America?"

JG: I can't say no because things change so quickly, but aside from an appearance in the first storyline, there aren't plans in place. The important aspect of doing a "Power Girl" book is to move her away from the mentality of being a team member. Being a solo book means we should keep our focus on Power Girl.

What characters are playing supporting roles in the series?

JG: We're building a new cast around her as well as bringing in the occasional guest appearance from Terra.

JP: Busted. [laughs] Yeah, Terra and a few others are going to be showing up now and again, especially when the character makes sense and because the title is taking place in and around New York City, you will be seeing other old friends, as well. At the core though, it's too easy to get caught up with guests, so we are sticking to the core players as much as possible until events sneak their way into the book.

Amanda Conner would seem to be a perfect fit for this book when one considers her talent and her history with the character. What do you love about how she draws Kara?

JG: Everything, the expressive nature of her art is outstanding, it can be both fun and dead serious at the same time, which is no easy task for any artist. There's an energy and freshness in the way Amanda approaches each panel. There's always something more happening around the central focus and that helps broaden the reading experience. I always feel lucky to be working with Amanda because I know she'll think of things and take stories in directions that my brain doesn't think of.

JP: For me, Amanda has this thing in the faces of the character that makes the reader see the emotion and soul of the character right away. There is so much storytelling in her faces and body language, what she does seems like a shortcut to some, but she is from the school of Bruce Timm, Darwyn Cooke and others where we simply see what they are thinking and feeling before ever reading a single word balloon. When she did the last "Power Girl" book with Geoff Johns, she hit on something that the fans loved with Power Girl and having her on the book, well, we won the lottery once again.

I also have to mention that she is half of a team and the other member is Paul Mounts. Over the years these two have worked together and there is a special synchronicity to their work that is just amazing. Paul is one of the most underrated colorists out there but one look at the work he is doing here and you just get it. He is that good.

"Power Girl" #1 hits comic book stores everywhere May 6 from DC Comics.

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