By Nicole Drum
DC’s Lazarus Planet event is well underway and this week the tie-in issue, Lazarus Planet: Assault on Krypton, sees a new story featuring various fan-favorite characters and their roles in this event. Among them is Nia Nal/Dreamer. The character has been familiar to fans of The CW’s Supergirl since Nicole Maines brought her to screen in the Arrowverse series, but Maines has also been bringing the character to life on the pages of DC Comics as well. Not only is Maines working on an original graphic novel about the character, but Dreamer made her DC Comics debut last year on the pages of Superman: Son of Kal-El and now, she’s a major player in Lazarus Planet.
ComicBook.com recently sat down with Maines to talk about her journey with Dreamer as well as Dreamer’s role in Lazarus Planet: Assault on Krypton — as well as what’s next for the character.
Nicole Drum, ComicBook.com: The last time you and I spoke, Dreamer had just kind of showed up in Superman: Son of Kal-El. Now, this is big. This is an event. What’s it like for you to take this character on a journey from screen to page, to page?
Nicole Maines: I mean, it’s been really magical, and I pinch myself every time DC comes back and asks me to write a new thing because I’m like, oh, you haven’t found someone better to do this yet. I’m like, okay, sure, I’ll keep going. Because it was never my intention to write for her. When I first started talking to DC about bringing her into the comic book side of things, it was more a suggestion. It was like, Hey, this character does mean a lot to everybody. I think she’s really cool. I think she’s really powerful. Her power set is unlike anything anyone else is doing right now. What’s the plan? And they said, I don’t know. What’s the plan? Go on. Go. Write.
And so, it’s really been this process of, well, it started with writing a graphic novel for her. I came in, I had an idea for a solo comic, and they said, well, we’re looking for more stuff for our young adult line. And so, I started that and that was something that started over the pandemic. And that’s something I’ve been writing since 2020 and since then it keeps being like, Hey, can you pause that? We have this thing. Can you write this? And so, it’s been this very weird experience of more and more stuff keeps popping up as I’m still trying to write this origin story. So always trying to keep the work in progress, origin story in mind as we’re bringing her into these giant arenas is a challenge.
But Lazarus Planet was so awesome and getting to hear that Dreamer was going to be at a major event was so validating for her as a character to know she’s not just one off, she’s not a side character from Supergirl. We’re just kind of bringing, it’s like no Dreamer is Dreamer. She can do shit that no one else is doing. And she is vital. And as, okay, we have people going off, their going into the Tower of Fate. These guys are going to hunt Nezha. Who’s getting the Helmet of Fate? Dreamer. Go. Go get this thing. We need it. And that was really cool to see her be crucial to the heroes of DC.
I think last time we talked, we referred to her as the Paul Revere of DC, which I think is so underplaying it because she’s here with the warning, but she’s also got the plan and now she’s acting on the plan. And it’s such a cool thing. And what I really like about the story in this, of course we’re not getting dream puns, but we’re also getting semi–Grey’s Anatomy puns through this as she enters.
That was really fun. As I was trying to decide what do Khalid’s dreams look like and just reading about him and his origin story and I was like, okay pre-med. Is it Grey’s Anatomy? Why not? Let’s do it. And that’s fun about Dreamer is when she’s not giving dream puns, she’s giving puns about something else or she, it’s always done with comedy and that is something that I love about her as a character because she has these potentials to go into these dark places. And as she’s descending into darkness, she herself remains that beacon of light because she is a hopeful, fun character. And I mean, we have to see how long that’s going to last after her exposure to the Lazarus pit.
We get this idea that there’s something more to Nia that even Nia doesn’t know because the voice tells her. And I quote, “Fate itself flows through you.” And first of all, whoa, I literally just got chills saying that again. Yeah, I got chills when I read it. I got chills when I said it. So excellent writing. But the voice is being literal here. Like contrast that with earlier in the story and you see her sort of wrangling with the idea that she’s again, positivity and light, but she’s also like, dude, I’ve only had these powers for a little while. Here I am tumbling through this. I got this.
Oh, well, bless her heart. I mean because that was the thing. She is the Paul Revere of DC. However, I had to make sense of why did she not warn any one of this? So, we had to start the comic going back pre-Lazarus explosion to her in her dorm room. As the visions hit her, she falls unconscious. By the time she wakes up, everything’s already started and everything’s underway. So, for her, she’s like, I don’t know what any of this is and I think that’s exciting for her and the reader because as the reader is learning all of this, so is she. She does not know, and that’s what’s exciting about a new character is we get to all find this and explore this together and getting to sort of feel around in the dark of her powers. They’re so ethereal in nature and they’re so expansive, but they’re unlike anything we’ve seen other Naltorians do.
And so, what Nabu says to her is sort of starting to leave the breadcrumbs of starting to explain what is it about Nia Nal that is different from other Naltorians. It’s something that I’m exploring in the graphic novel as well. And it’s something that I’m excited to build up to in the comic books in the future. Because in the show it was a big thing. She has all these powers that Naltorians could never do. No one was making lassos and shields, and no one was astral projecting. And all this stuff is so wild. What is it about Nia? What is it about? What do you mean fate flows through her?
It’s the ultimate question. It’s the ultimate question. And then of course we get to that very end where it appears that things may have gone a little sideways. Is there anything you can tease?
I mean less, would it be Nia if something didn’t go horribly wrong? And so, she completes her mission. She does find the Helmet of Fate. It’s so cool. She goes into the consciousness of the Helmet of Fate, which is so wild, exiting through the helmet, not realizing it was submerged in the Lazarus pits on Lazarus Island. And now the question remains, okay, we’ve seen what happens to people who are exposed to the Lazarus pits, what’s going to happen to her, exposed to the Lazarus pits while they’ve been supercharged by all the magic in the DC universe? That is the question. And we’re going to have to see because we know people who come out of that are a little. So now what’s that going to look like if Dreamer is already very powerful? Now we need to see what she looks like supercharged and with a couple of screws loose.
Lazarus Planet: Assault on Krypton is on sale now.
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