Interview: Marc Andreyko talks Supergirl #21

Supergirl #21: Killers of Krypton Part 1 is a story unlike any other Supergirl story ever told, with Kara Danvers left to seek out answers and get justice while maneuvering the complicated emotions attached to loss.

Marc Andreyko has taken over writing duties for Supergirl starting with Supergirl #21 and is taking Kara in a direction we have never seen before. After the dust has settled, Supergirl is set on finding the answers brought on by Rogol Zaar and why he apparently is to blame for destroying Krypton.

Andreyko weaves a deep-seated story that explores what it is to survive something so life changing while trying to be the hero that finds all of the missing puzzle pieces – the how, the why, and with whose help – so that those lost can be avenged.

MINOR SPOILERS FOR SUPERGIRL #21

Supergirl #21 starts off with with an angry Kara revisiting what is left of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, speaking of pain that will not heal thanks to Rogol Zaar and his actions. Krypton is gone, Kandor is gone, and Kara feels lost.

Earlier, Supergirl and Superman had a discussion that involved the boy scout being his boy scout-self and wanting a safe, more well thought out solution than her setting out to get as many answers as possible, at whatever cost. This doesn’t sit well with Supergirl because as she reminds him, Krypton wasn’t his home. All that he’s ever had stems from his time on earth, so his the emotional investment in this doesn’t run nearly as deep. She says she has to find answers for the sake of the grief she feels before she goes insane, and with that, she is off.

We had a chance to talk to Marc Andreyko at San Diego Comic Con about his work on Supergirl #21 and this is what he had to say:

Her Cape: With Supergirl #21, last we saw her, she was was understandably angry about what happened with the last Kryptonians and she is set on figuring out who did this and what to do. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Marc Andreyko: Yeah, she is still angry. She needs to know, both for her own sake- her own emotional sake, and for all of the people lost, is this Rogol Zaar character telling the truth? And if he is, who else was in on it because you don’t just destroy a planet without some help.

So, for her, one of the inroads for me about Kara was that unlike Superman, Krypton is not theoretical for her. Clark doesn’t remember Krypton, even with all of the projections and all of the stuff, he has no real, tactile experience with it, so for her- you know he was a baby- everyone she knew died. Everything she knew was destroyed, and technically she is older than Clark, she was just in stasis when she came through, so…

Part of the thing that interested me about the character of Supergirl is what is the definitive Supergirl story? There really isn’t one. There has been glimmers of it like Crisis on Infinite Earths, the great stuff Paul Levitz and Keith Geffin did in Legion of Super-Heros and Sterling Gates and all of that, but, reading all of the Supergirl material before I got the job, I realized that something about her character could explain the lack of a firm, definitive version of her. She’s never dealt with a trauma, so she went from- and now she’s on a planet where she is known as Superman’s cousin, the whole “Marcia, Marcia Marcia” of it all, and a lot of that is self inflicted on her because she has chosen to not deal with that trauma and now that she has found out that the destruction of the planet was an inside job, now, the physical detective work of trying to find out who knew and who needs to be brought to justice, mirrors her internal emotional arc of “who am I?”, and you know, the survivor guilt. The anger, the sadness, the fear of loving earth because will she be betraying Krypton? You know? It’s like do you love your stepmom and if so are you betraying your mom? It’s that metaphor. It’s something very human that we can all relate to and it’s just her trying to find herself and get out of her own way, which is something we all need help doing every day of our lives.

And that being said, it’s not going to be a dreary, dark, navel gazing series. It’s going to be a big, rollicking space adventure! Krypto is there with her, but, for all of the big adventure and all of the big supervillain battles, you need that core of emotional truth that makes you care about the characters. Otherwise, it’s just watching a video game. It’s watching things fight each other.

HC: Absolutely, and that is why this is so personal for her, because as you said, this is her first real trauma and she is trying to maneuver through the emotions that come with it.

MA: Exactly, and she needs to do this herself. She NEEDS to do it herself.

HC: This is Kara saying “I have this, because I absolutely must”

MA: Not even “I have this, but I HAVE to do this”. You know, it’s going to be really tough for her, but it is something she has to do.

HC: So moving forward, it’s safe to say we are going to see Kara in a way we haven’t before?

MA: Yeah, we are going to see a fully realized Kara. I think that all of the different iterations of her will be present in this, and it’ll be trying to make a full character out of her and make the definitive Kara, because there’s been so many different versions, so many different takes.

When I was reading all of the material, I was finding what were the commonalities of the different versions of the character and trying to make someone who will stand on her own and not be Superman’s cousin, who will be a driven character, a great hero, hopefully a selfless person and someone that will not beat herself up because survivor’s guilt is a big thing for people and “Why am I alive?”. Is it arbitrary? Is it cosmic? Is it a choice? None of these answers are satisfactory, because you’re left.

And it’s amazing that it’s never really been touched on with her, because it’s such rich material. I think at the end of it, hopefully readers feel like “OH. Okay. She is a cool character, she is an important character, she serves a purpose, and she needs to know that as well.

Supergirl #21. Photo: DC Comics

 

Supergirl #21. Photo: DC Comics Supergirl #21. Photo: DC Comics Supergirl #21. Photo: DC Comics Supergirl #21. Photo: DC Comics Supergirl #21. Photo: DC Comics Supergirl #21. Photo: DC Comics

Supergirl #21 features an all-star lineup of the Eisner Award winning team of Marc Andreyko (script) and Kevin Maguire (pencils) as well as Sean Parsons (inks), FCO Plascencia (colors), Tom Napolitano (letters), Terry and Rachel Dodson (cover) and Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts (variant cover). Though Supergirl will tie into Brian Michael Bendis’ Man of Steel they are simply complimentary and it’s not necessary to read them together.

Supergirl #21 flies into local comic shops August 8, 2018.