DC's Superman titles are in good hands. Not too long ago, Marc Andreyko (Love is Love, Wonder Woman '77) asked Brian Michael Bendis about Supergirl. Soon after a pitch to DC, Bendis and Andreyko are now working together again, 20 years after they created the Eisner-winning graphic novel, Torso. Andreyko is now writing Supergirl while Bendis is writing Action Comics and Superman ... and together, they are helping shape the Superman corner of the DCU for the near future.
Pivoting off the revelation that Rogol Zaar was behind the destruction of Krypton in Bendis' Man of Steel mini-series, the events sent waves throughout the Superman titles and has deeply affected Supergirl.
Now Andreyko is taking Kara Zor-El back to the scene of the crime. Starting with Supergirl #21, he is sending Supergirl into deep space with Rogol Zaar's axe and Krypto to find out what she can about Zaar and who assisted in the destruction of Krypton.
SYFY WIRE spoke with Andreyko about his exciting new journey for Kara and Krypto, working with artist Kevin Maguire, the new costumes and what it means to be working on Supergirl.
With there being many versions of Supergirl out there, what was it about Kara that spoke to you coming out of the events of the Man of Steel miniseries?
The thing that I latched onto was that Superman doesn't remember Krypton. That's all theoretical to him, but she was 16 years old, everyone she knew is dead. That's going to have a scar and I use that as an explanation as to why she's never seemed like a full character. She hasn't dealt with it and just pushed it aside. Now with the revelation that Krypton's destruction isn't an accident, she feels like she's the last Kryptonian that was there, that remembers it.
Throwing Supergirl into space provides a different and infinite realm to play with Kara's character, right?
I try to keep [my writing] grounded emotionally even if it's an alien or different species. It's trying to write to what the personality is. What is the character? Just because someone is from a different planet, there are things that are common between sentient life forms. The first real dive I've done into science fiction was The Death of Hawkman.
So writing this has been a challenge and a little scary but if you're doing art, there should be a little fear and nervousness. If you're confident and relaxed, then it's not going to be good.
So what is Kara looking to accomplish with this trek?
There are two journeys Kara is going on. The first is that she wants to find out who else was involved because you don't destroy a planet by yourself. So there's the physical journey of her traveling through space, trying to find out who else knew this was a cover-up; who else was behind this and who else was involved?
And the second?
There's the emotional journey of finding herself because she is torn. She's spent a lot of time on Earth but it doesn't feel like home. It's visiting relatives. Can she love Earth without abandoning Krypton? There's all sort of internal stuff going on with her that will ultimately show Kara to be a strong character who's defined by herself — not just by being Superman's cousin. The character stuff is what makes it interesting. Superhero battles will happen in comics, regardless, but you have to care about who's beating the crap out of each other.
I assume the new costume, which is a part of these new journeys, serves a lot of functions.
It's a versatile costume that can be adapted for different environments. She'll still have a traditional costume but there is necessary tech in that costume for traveling around the universe. That's all I can say, though, before a Warner Bros. sniper comes after me.
When you started seeing Kevin's art coming in on those early issues, how did that inform you how to write for him in later issues?
So I'm actually more of a plot-style than usual, where I'm writing what happens on a page, with little bits of dialogue, telling Kevin that as long as this information is disseminated, you could do whatever you want. There's a couple of pages where I have a specific beat structure, but I'm working with a master so [I] let him work — and then when I get the artwork back, I'll write the final dialogue.
His instincts are so great. (The art) is vibrant; it's an embarrassment of riches.
Supergirl is a fresh character for him too, right?
Yeah, and he's a dog lover, too, so Krypton has been an attraction for him, as well. It's been a dream working with him. I'm also writing for Kevin Maguire, who I've been a fan of since I was 16 years old. It's insane.
What's it like working with Bendis again and on the same family of books?
We're not co-writing these books but we talk about what we're doing and what the end game is. This is going to have ramifications.
We have known each other for 25 years but we haven't worked together since Torso because he was at Marvel. This is the first time since 1939 that two guys from Cleveland are working on Super-books, so with the 80th anniversary, there's some nice symmetry there. We're both different writers than we were 20 years ago and the collaboration and excitement let's [us] make the best stories possible.
Sometimes comics can be little fiefdoms, but he brought a new energy at DC Comics. Let's celebrate, have fun, and share each other's work.
Is Kara going to encounter established or new characters?
Yes, there are definitely new characters but you'll see some characters that I've never had the chance to write before that I'm getting to write, which is super-fun.
What's it been like in terms of building something new in the Superman lexicon?
You don't want to retcon, because Superman's origin is Superman's origin. What's genius about what Brian did was that he didn't change any of the stories, he's just finding out new information.
Krypton was attacked, it wasn't just an accident and that's the best kind of discovery.
When Scott [Snyder] wrote The Court of the Owls for Batman, he didn't take away anything, it doesn't negate anything. It makes it more interesting and it ties back Siegel and Shuster being Jews, and the Judaism, whether it's Superman as Moses, as Jesus, or Superman as the survivor of a genocide. That's all sorts of rich material now. Especially with the way the world is now with immigration, Superman's the ultimate illegal alien.
I think the whole Superman universe is feeling more vibrant than it has in a very long time.
What else can we expect from Supergirl beginning with Issue #21?
It's about her finding herself, her letting herself be open to emotion because she does come from real tragedy, more so than Superman. For a long time it feels like she was a tough nut to crack because it feels like she was Superman, but a woman. It's this teenage girl literally having the weight of her world on her shoulders. That being said, it's not going to be a dark, mopey emo-book; it's going to be a fun cosmic adventure with real emotional stakes, and her having to look inward and figure who she is and who she wants to be.
And in case you haven't picked up Supergirl #21 yet, which published on August 8, here are the first five pages along with the cover art: