The Man of Steel found himself in an unenviable position at the end of "Superman" #17, the conclusion of the "H'el On Earth" crossover, when DC Comics premier hero managed to save the Earth from the machinations of H'el, but only due to a sacrifice from Supergirl. Now, series writer Scott Lobdell is set for a new arc that catches readers back up with the life of Clark Kent as a reporter, and explores Superman's budding romantic relationship with Wonder Woman.
CBR News spoke with Lobdell about the conclusion of "H'el On Earth," and the writer reflected on the event, the potential future consequences of H'el's time-shifted disappearance, the implications of the new Oracle and the Omniverse and his return to the pages of "Superboy."
CBR News: Scott, "H'el On Earth" just wrapped up, and "Superman" #17 teased some dark days coming for Superman, with Supergirl in dire straits from Kryptonite poisoning. How will Supergirl's self-sacrifice impact Kal in upcoming issues?
Scott Lobdell: I think the whole ordeal is going to bring them closer together -- remember, up until this moment they really hadn't shared many experiences. (Even being orphans from Krypton manifested itself in two entirely different ways: Kara having lost her friends and family and the only world she ever knew, and Kal never having known friends and family or that world first hand.) So while things that happened with H'el were certainly traumatic, it may all wind up being for the better if Kara and Kal can wring a relationship out of it.
Regarding the Kryptonite poisoning and its effects on Kara, I understand that will be dealt with over in her book. The only thing I wanted to stress in the hand-off was that New 52 Kryptonite should be horrific, and its effects should be lingering for Kara who actually held it in her hand for a few moments, to her heart. Gone at the days when Lex would open a box and Superman would fall to one knee and then Lex would pop it closed and Superman would exclaim, "Phew!" Kryptonite should be scary every time it shows up!
One of the images Kenneth Rocafort drew is pretty reminiscent of the iconic cover from "Crisis on Infinite Earths" #7. Was this a direct parallel you hoped to draw with this issue?
No, I am afraid you are fishing, my friend. I suppose Kenneth could have drawn the page with Superman tossing Supergirl over his shoulder fireman carry style -- but, the howls? I could hear them already! No -- he was just cradling his wounded cousin in his arms.
The Oracle teased the existence of an Omniverse at the end of the issue. Will you be delving any more into the concept in coming story lines?
Absolutely! As you can imagine, the Omniverse is a very big place. I am sure that as Oracle makes more appearances throughout the DC Universe, the readers will start to gather the clues needed as to its sudden interest in Earth and Krypton -- specifically, how Superman having survived the death of his home world might not be the net-plus everyone has always assumed it was.
One of the biggest reveals at the end of the issue saw H'el, with a chunk of Kryptonite in his chest, transported back in time to be discovered by a young Jor-El. Do you have any plans to revisit the character in his time-displaced and wounded state?
I feel like you're trying to trick me into saying, "Nope! No plans at all! You got any?!"
But I will tell you, the page was added after the story was written. Bob Harras sent me a text saying, "No pressure, but what if we find out H'el arrived back in Krypton and was discovered by Jor El?" Fantastically enough, I was planning or revealing a variation of that in the future Krypton storyline teased in the #0's but thought [there was] no way were they going to let me get away with that. When Bob suggested it, I gleefully texted back, "Kewl."
Yes, I made up the part about "Kewl!" Calm down!
You also recently had the opportunity to write Superboy once amoregain. What was it like for you to return to the character, if only briefly?
I miss the big lug. But it hasn't been my only opportunity of late to write him.
Also, I've loved what Tom DeFalco did to him and can't wait to see Justin Jordan to sink his formidable claws into Superboy!
In the coming months, it looks like you're digging into a number of aspects of Superman, including a look at Clark Kent's life as a reporter away from The Daily Planet. After the action-packed "H'el On Earth," has it been easy to transition to the more mundane aspects of Superman's life?
Interesting you would phrase it that way -- to a Superman (and I have to guess here, as I am not one), saving the world and the entire solar system might actually be the "mundane aspect" of his life.
But, no, I love Clark and I love Cat and Lois and Perry and Jimmy and even Morgan Edge (a little) -- I think the longer a Superman story goes without dealing with Clark and his real life adventures, the less interesting the story is most likely going to be. I know what is planned for Clark in the coming months, and I'm never surprised when I get a note from editorial telling me I'm spending too much time with Clark and not enough time on Superman.
Superman's relationship with Wonder Woman has been a large topic of conversation amongst fans ever since DC first announced the two of them pairing up. You've explored it a bit already, but how will it continue to grow in coming issues?
Well, I don't think I am giving anything away to tell you that in issue #19, Lois is throwing her housewarming party having moved in with Jonathon. Clark gets held up in a battle to protect Earth from destruction by a legion of Red Sun warriors -- and so Diana Prince has to spend a few awkward moments being a source of awe for Jonathon, Jimmy and Perry White (among everyone else at the party!). So for everyone who has been dying to see Lois and Diana and Clark in the same room together, issue #19 is the place!
The Superman family of books will be growing in a few months, as "Batman/Superman" and "Superman Unchained" debut in June. With so many Superbooks in the New 52, what niche do you see "Superman" filling over the summer and beyond?
Mostly it has the pressure of remaining the most awesome of all the Super books on the stand!
I mostly jest! But I was on a phone call with Greg [Pak] and Andy [Diggle] and the Other Scott [Snyder] talking about our plans it is was very exciting, because each of us are doing such different kinds of stories -- and I think that is great. It is great for the fans to be able to pick (or have access to all of them) a Superman story that suits the kind of adventures they've like to see.
I guess if I was going to use any term to describe my run, I would have to say "Gonzo." I know what Kenneth and I (with some able bodied assistance by Aaron Kroder) have planned for the coming months, and I can scarcely believe how out there it is. I love that editorial is letting really push the limits of a Superman story! So long as they allow it -- heck, encourage it -- we're going to keep at it!
Superman's 75th Anniversary is coming up this year, which is a pretty huge time to be on the main "Superman" title. Do you have any big plans to celebrate the anniversary in an upcoming issue or arc?
For shame! Every issue of Superman should have big plans and be a reason to celebrate the World's Greatest Superhero!