The world may know the hero that Supergirl becomes under Superman's wing... but what if she was raised as Jim Gordon's daughter - and the future Batgirl's sister? We're about to find out, thanks to Gotham City Garage, an American wasteland inhabited by DC's younger generation of heroes surviving on motorcycles and rebellion, delivered in Digital First comic book form. It may have been a DC Collectible of Wonder Woman gone Full Throttle that sparked the series into existence, but it's Supergirl at the heart of the story. And in this outlaw vision of the DC Universe, it's Kara Gordon who emerges as the world's first superhero.
When the first details of Gotham City Garage's world were released, the fact that Supergirl a.k.a Kara Danvers now shared her last name with the police commissioner of Gotham City was a detail that stuck out. And when we got the chance to discuss the series with writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, they told us of the new identity for Supergi-- sorry, Kara Gordon, and how different (or not so different) a version emerging into a world without Superman might be.
It's still a coming of age story for both Kara Gordon and her sister, Barbara. A sibling duo fans could only previously have dreamed of, but one that sounds like it will do justice to the skills and agency of both. Albeit in a very, very different version of the DC Universe. Lanzing explains the new take:
We can't give too much away because that's a little bit of a secret in our first couple issues, but what we can say is the two got raised as sisters. Kara Gordon is the daughter of Jim Gordon who is himself still police commissioner of the LEXES city state. So while Barbara went and worked for The Bat, Kara was just a tech, she has a normal job working a totally normal nine to five.
She literally programs the little mind control machines that are in everybody's brains. She does tech support for everyone's mind control device. But she has always felt like an outsider; always felt like there was something different about her. She has that feling that I think any young person has growing up into a more corporate society, when they realize once I become a cog in this machine, is that all I am? And Barbara has a place that is fulfilling for her, but Kara doesn't. And when Kara realizes that there is more to life than this, that's the meat of our whole first issue. She's going to seek out something different.
The duo aren't revealing too many details about the "Dark Age" that killed all of the superheroes in the older generation, or whether GCG's take on Batman may have insight into Superman's apparent death. What DC did reveal was the first look at Kara Gordon's design for the series, showing that Kara makes her home among the outlaws of the wasteland sooner rather than later.
Lanzing and Kelly explained that since neither Superman nor the Superman symbol have any meaning in Kara's world, she adopts the image because she simply likes it. Spray painting it on her jacket (and apparently adorning her pants with some Kryptonian characters?), Kara will be as different, and yet familiar to fans as her costume. Kelly explains the distinction:
There's a certain fundamental aspect of these characters that's never going to change. Kara Gordon, whether her name is Kara Gordon or Kara Danvers, is always going to be a hero in her core. But how she gets there is going to be different depending on the circumstances in her world.
During the Dark Age, during this big event, the heroes of the world - the Justice Society, the heroes that we know - they got wiped out. So in a lot of the cases the women who were their sidekicks had to actualize without these men in their lives. So without those men to be the heroes that can be looked up to, they were forced to become their own heroes. As for the bikes of it all, well they live in the freescape - there are not a lot of ways to get around. We're trying to make each female hero have to step up and become the hero we otherwise wouldn't have known.
We know that same treatment will extend to at least one infamous femme fatale in DC's Universe, with this new take on Harley Quinn making Joker HER sidekick, but the freedom to forge her own path may be most felt in the story of Supergirl.
Finally, for fans hoping that Kara wouldn't have to be the only superhuman or superwoman walking the Earth, Lanzing revealed that the woman whose biker design started it all will appear. And when she does... Kara's world will change all over again:
Kara Gordon is the first Kryptonian hero the world has ever seen. In our book, Wonder Woman is a myth. She is a word on the wind. This symbol of hope that most people don't even think is really a thing anymore. So when she shows up, that's going to be amazing.
Fans of Supergirl can see for themselves how a childhood in Jim Gordon's home and city would shape the heroine's identity when Gotham City Garage begins in August. Oh, and don't worry: based on the black leather biker version of Barbara, it would seem Batgirl follows her sister into the lawless wasteland before too long.
Gothan City Garage #1 will arrive August 16, 2017, with a new chapter released biweekly through October 2017 and weekly thereafter, with print issues available in October.