Before fans ever saw a published issue of Brian Michael Bendis's The Man of Steel, the writer told ComicBook.com that he had created more than a dozen new characters who would inform the story going forward.
Several of those characters made appearances in The Man of Steel -- mostly in the earlier issues, before Superman's battle with Rogol Zaar really took off -- and will be coming back into play this week, as Superman #1 (by Bendis, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair) hits the stands.
"The frustration is when you're developing new characters is that it takes time to really show their complexity," Bendis said of the decision to seed the characters into the background before going fully into their tales. "You can't just have a person show up and on panel two go, 'I'm the most complex person you've ever met.' You have to show it. That takes time and pages and panels and issues, sometimes. Your favorite characters that you can think of in any medium, you didn't find out everything about them the first time you met them, right? Sometimes, when they're introduced to a new character and it's not as engaged with you as the entire history of Jimmy Olsen is to the DC Universe you go, 'Yeah, you just met her, give her like a chance. She might say something you like.'"
Such is the case with Melody Moore, the fire chief introduced in The Man of Steel #1 and already the subject of some fan ire due to her "meet cute" with Superman at a time when many readers are worried about the status of his marriage to Lois Lane. Moore was largely absent in the middle of The Man of Steel, but the miniseries' final scene saw a child come to see her, and the message he brought made for a cliffhanger that will carry into Superman going forward.
"Here we are just a few issues later, and you can already see people are engaging with the villains and engaging with the new Daily Planet members in more interesting ways," Bendis said. "It's pushing the story along and [these are] different types of Daily Planet stories than we've had in the past, but all very truthful. All things that if you went to a newsroom right now, you would see."
One of the main players is Trish, a bubbly gossip columnist who seems hell-bent on finding out why Lois Lane is out of town (real answer: she followed her son and father-in-law on an adventure in space). If she feels a bit like Cat Grant, originally introduced shortly after John Byrne's The Man of Steel and intended as a potential third wheel in the Lois/Clark romance at the time, that is not entirely unintentional -- and will not go unexplored.
"Well, funny you should say that," Bendis told ComicBook.com, promising that she would "absolutely" meet her spiritual successor. "Cat Grant is showing up, I think, in action 1,005 -- it's either 1,003 or 1,0005 -- so we get some Cat Grant fun coming up soon."
Superman #1 goes on sale in comic shops and digitally on Wednesday.