Are you ready for more Flash and Supergirl?
Abrams has exclusively shared with EW the new covers and excerpts for the sequels in their The Flash and Supergirl middle-grade book series, the former based on the CW TV series.
The Flash: Johnny Quick is written by best-selling author Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers), and follows Barry Allen as he continues his mission to protect Central City from the sinister Hocus Pocus — but this time, with a new evil lurking beneath the city streets. Supergirl: Curse of the Ancients will feature more original adventures not found in the TV series or elsewhere, with Supergirl still striving to protect National City. It’s the second book in a planned trilogy.
You can read on below to see the eye-popping new art for the book, as well as exclusive new content. The new Flash book will be released April 3, and the new Supergirl book on May 1.
Excerpt from “The Flash: Johnny Quick,” by Barry Lyga
Beneath the city, two hearts beat. One throbbed along at a comfortable pace of seventy-five beats per minute, a rate that would cause neither panic nor even alarm if you were monitoring it.
The other . . . raced.
Well over 120 beats per minute. A ferocious, terrified heart rate. Unsustainable in the long term.
Herb Shawn, whose heartbeat was the accelerated one, lay terrified in the filth of the tunnels beneath Central City. His eyes had adjusted to what could most charitably be described as murky quarter-light from an old emergency lamp that winked and flickered at random. It wasn’t possible to see so much as to perceive vague, moving hazes and glimmering fogs. From the echoes of water and his own panicked breathing, the chamber he was in must have been large, but all he could reckon of it was the wall behind him.
His vision was limited and his hearing brought him only hollow echoes, but his sense of smell was working full-time. More’s the pity. The reek of the sewer assailed him; even when he held his breath, it violently insinuated itself into his nostrils like a burrowing groundhog seeking shelter.
He lay half-covered in grimy water, in which floated things he did not want to identify. The cold of the water had settled into his bones; he could barely feel his legs, though 2 he knew they itched to stand, to run.
Not that he could do either. He was shackled to the wall, connected by a hefty chain to a stout U-bolt. He’d tried a few experimental tugs when he’d woken, but the chain had not budged. He was securely held in place. Down here in the dark and the echoey quiet and the stink.
And just then . . . a sound. Something on the farthest periphery of his hearing. But it was there, no doubt. Something moved out there in the water.
A rat? Something else? He’d heard a crazy rumor about some kind of ape or gorilla living in the sewers, but that just had to be nonsense. is whole city had gone crazy ever since that explosion a few years back. People were seeing things every which way they turned. He should have moved by now. Should have moved to Coast City or Star City or even St. Roch. Anywhere was better than—
There. There it was again. Something in the water. Small. A rat. Had to be.
He was both grateful and disgusted at the same time. A rat, even a big one, could be fended off. But what if there were more, lurking just beyond? Could he fight off a swarm of them before—
His heartbeat, already rocketing, leaped even further as a figure swam out of the murk before him, leaning in. In utter terror, he shrieked, screaming loud and long. Thee sound echoed from the walls, overlapping his own scream, filling his ears to the bursting point.
The figure (the possessor of the other, calmer heartbeat beneath Central City that night) waited patiently until Herb had stopped screaming. It was tall, looming over him, seeming even taller for its thinness and the forced perspective of Herb’s position on the ground. It was human but somehow inhuman at the same time. Two arms, two legs, a head, but . . . So tall and so skinny that it seemed more a disjointed skeleton assembled out of parts than a living, breathing organism. Its skin was sallow, the color of old lemons, and its nose was the barest scrap of a bump, the nostrils wide and flaring. Ridges rose from its eyes to the apex of its bald head, furrows of flesh that gave it a demonic appearance.
It wore a shabby coat and threadbare jeans with a long, bedraggled red scarf knotted around its neck. A rat perched on its shoulder, patiently regarding Herb with glittering, hungry eyes.
“Please . . .” Herb whimpered. It was the only word he could conjure in that moment.
The figure leaned in close. Its jaundiced flesh seemed rotten somehow, as though it had died even though the person to whom it clung still lived. As Herb watched, a cluster of worms erupted from the lapel of the figure’s jacket and slithered along the fabric.
“Please,” he said again.
The man—for it was a man, Herb realized, though one more grotesque and misshapen than any he’d ever seen before—tilted his malformed head to one side. The rat chittered softly in his ear.
“You have. Something. I need.” The man’s voice sounded like a rusty, broken fan, staccato and raspy. “Once I take it from you, you’ll be set free. Set free to roam the Upworld again.”
Herb nodded fiercely. He would agree to anything, give up anything, just to get this chain o his wrist and see the sunlight again. “You can have it. Whatever it is.” Herb thought quickly of the contents of his pockets. He had little cash on him, but he would give it all up. His credit cards, too. And his cell phone, of course. It had been soaking in the water for a while now and might not even work, but he would buy a new one for this creature if that’s what it took.
“Good.” The man nodded once, with finality, and produced something from his pocket. “Let’s begin.”
He leaned in farther—and Herb saw that what he’d withdrawn from his pocket was a surgical scalpel.
Herb screamed again. For a very, very long time.
Excerpt from “Supergirl: Curse of the Ancients,” by Jo Whittemore
The rustle of paper.
A soft cough.
And then . . . a violin’s bow hummed across the A string.
booksKara Danvers smiled as the sweet note pierced the near silence. A second later, the note grew into a melody that made emotion swell in her chest. If Kara’s eyes hadn’t been closed, everyone in Noonan’s restaurant would have seen them ll with tears.
Just as swiftly as the music brought her down, it lifted Kara once more, and her smile returned, her cheeks forcing the tears to spill over.
The music stopped.
Kara opened her eyes.
“Miss Danvers, are you all right?” Hannah Nesmith, the curly-haired woman seated across from Kara, asked.
“Oh, gosh, yes!” Kara laughed and removed the headphones she was wearing. “I’m so sorry. That was just . . . amazing.” She removed her glasses, as well, and wiped her eyes with a napkin.
Hannah Nesmith was one of the few (too few, in Kara’s opinion) famous female composers in the country. And Kara, who worked as a reporter for CatCo Worldwide Media, had been lucky enough to score an interview with her and hear one of her latest compositions.
Hannah smiled. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
Kara passed the headphones and music player back to Hannah. “Seriously. I have never had a song move me like that!”
Hannah pointed at Kara. “You should hear it with a full orchestra.”
“Oh, I don’t think there’d be enough napkins,” Kara said with a chuckle. “And bravo, by the way, for your skill on the violin.” She clapped, and Hannah blushed.
“I actually play the flute; the person you just heard was Claude.” As she said the name, Hannah’s blush deepened.
Kara pursed her lips. “A good friend?” she asked with the innocence of someone pretending not to pry.
Hannah smirked at her. “You could say that. We play for the same orchestra, but we met during a triathlon.”
Kara’s jaw dropped. “Hold up! You’re a ridiculously talented composer, musician, and triathlete?” She leaned toward Hannah and whispered, “Are you Supergirl?”
Hannah shrugged and laughed. “Maybe. She and I are never in the same place at the same time.”
Kara laughed, too. If only you knew you were sitting right across the table from her, she thought.
Kara probed Hannah about her triathlon hobby, which had, in turn, led to Hannah’s inventing an app for note- taking on the go. Kara flipped through the notes she’d just taken on a steno pad, shaking her head.
“Hannah, I would seriously kill for a fraction of your talent,” she said.
“Oh, please. You and I aren’t so different,” Hannah said. “We’re both writers who speak to people through our work.”
Kara snorted. “Yeah, but my work doesn’t sell out shows at National City Music Hall.”
“But it could sell out a TED Talk,” Hannah replied. “By this time next year, you could be in Vancouver, giving a speech on women in media.”
Kara chuckled. “I don’t see myself going to Vancouver.”
Their server arrived with the bill, and Kara plucked the check holder away before Hannah could reach it.
“Dinner is on CatCo,” she said, even though she was pretty sure her boss, Snapper, would scoff at the idea. She’d once seen him drink from a coffee cup labeled “No More Never Mr. Nice Guy.”
Kara extended a hand to Hannah, who shook it. “This was such an honor, Ms. Nesmith. Thank you for meeting me so late in the day.”
“Anytime,” said Hannah. She leaned toward Kara. “And even though the performances are sold out, I’ve got VIP passes, so if you want to come with someone special . . .”
Kara smiled. Her someone special was Mon-El of 4 Daxam, but his home world had been a party planet, where people were unlikely to listen to classical music. Anything without inappropriate lyrics was probably not going to be on his radar. Still, Mon-El had been spending a lot of time at National City Museum learning about ancient civilizations. Maybe Kara could convince him to expand his interests to classical music as well.
“I’d love to go,” Kara told Hannah. “Thank you.”
“I’ll leave two tickets at Will Call,” Hannah said with a wink. She glanced at her watch and grimaced. “I hate to eat and run, but I’ve got another appointment.”
“Yes, go, go!” Kara waved her away and placed some money in the check holder.
Hannah smiled gratefully and rose from her chair, colliding with a tall, sleek-haired brunette. Kara perked up when she realized it was one of her best friends, Lena Luthor.
“Oh! I’m terribly sorry. Are you all right?” Lena reached for Hannah’s arm, and her eyes widened. “Hannah Nesmith! What are you doing here, of all places?”
“I just finished an interview with CatCo magazine,” said Hannah, gesturing to Kara. “This is—”
Lena’s face brightened. “Kara!” She opened her arms, and Kara stood and stepped into them, smiling.
“Hey, you! What are you doing here?”
They separated, and Lena nodded to a nearby table of suit-clad men and women. “I’m at a business dinner as well.” In a lower voice, she added, “I’m hoping they’ll fund a cancer cure I’m developing.”
Hannah Nesmith laughed and shook her head. “Leave it to you to find a cure for cancer, Lena.” She turned to Kara. “You want to talk talent? Back in school, Lena was a fencing master, a Chess Federation champ, and she finished two MIT Mystery Hunts in under twenty-four hours.” She elbowed Lena. “But you left the coins for other people to find. So sweet.”
Lena ducked her head. “You speak too kindly of me, Hannah.” She squeezed her hands. “Are you in town for a bit?”
Hannah nodded. “I’m at the Wayward Arms if you want to catch up.”
“I’d love that!” Lena’s eyes fitted back to her table. “And now, I really must dash.”
“Go get ’em!” Kara cheered.
Lena winked and hurried off.
“I’m afraid I have to go, too,” Hannah told Kara. “If you have any more questions, please feel free to call.” With a wave, she departed.
Kara watched both women walk away, visionaries and dynamos of the twenty-first century. Back when Kara had 6 been Cat Grant’s coffee-fetching assistant, Lena and Hannah had already been wowing the world with their talents.
The thought made Kara feel a bit . . . unimpressive.
Yes, she was Supergirl, but that was a secret she couldn’t share. As Kara Danvers, she’d finally moved on from being an office assistant, but she was a barely recognized reporter.
Meanwhile, Hannah Nesmith was running triathlons, inventing apps, and composing symphonies, while Lena Luthor was mastering anything she even glanced at.
Neither Supergirl nor Kara Danvers could compare.
Under the cover of darkness, Kara slipped into the alley behind Noonan’s and leaped into the night sky. She knew she shouldn’t be flying around in her regular clothes, but it really was the fastest way to travel. She soared over rows of buildings before touching down on the balcony of DEO headquarters.
The Department of Extra-Normal Operations was like her second home and office. Here, she worked for a Green Martian named J’onn J’onnz who posed as the human DEO director Hank Henshaw. His second-in-command was Kara’s sister, Alex. But as Kara glanced around the control room, she didn’t see either of them. She did, however, spot another one of her best friends, Winn Schott. He was sitting at his desk, a pen held between his upper lip and nose like a mustache while he tufted his dark hair and stared at a laptop screen. 7
“Hey, Winn?” Kara said as she approached him. “Have you seen J’onn or Alex?”
Winn let his pen fall into one hand and swiveled to face her. “Yeah, they’re on the roof.”
Kara balked. “The roof?” “You know.” Winn pointed up. “Big square thing above us that keeps the rain out.”
Kara pinched his arm. “I know what a roof is, smartie. Why are they there?”
Winn grinned and squirmed out of her reach. “Apparently, there’s a big comet coming. Dr. Hoshi brought her telescope, so everyone else is going to check it out.”
Kara raised an eyebrow. “But you’re not? Isn’t this what you live for?”
When he wasn’t inventing or hacking something, Winn was absorbed in science fiction and obsessed with outer space.
Winn scoffed. “Please. I’ve been to another planet and have the space rocks to prove it.” He polished his fingernails on his shirt. “Once you’ve crossed the galaxy, everything else pales in comparison.”
Kara smirked. “You’re saying this to a girl who’s crossed several galaxies.”
Winn stared at her. “Let me have my moment, Kara.”
She laughed. “Fine. But I still find it hard to believe you aren’t interested in seeing the comet.”
Winn shrugged. “It’s orbiting Earth for five days, so I’ll have plenty of chances to see it.”
Kara crossed her arms.
He smiled sheepishly and pointed to his bag. “I may have a portable telescope I plan to break out later.”
She nodded. “There we go. What are you working on now?” Kara started to turn his laptop in her direction, but Winn reached out and steadied it.
“Hey, hey, hey!” he said. “I’m doing some personal shopping.”
Winn’s cheeks turned pink, and Kara smirked.
“Are you buying more action figures, Winn?”
He shot her a look. “First of all, they’re collectibles. Second”—he turned his laptop so Kara could see the screen—“I’m buying a gift for Lyra.”
Lyra, an alien refugee from Starhaven, was Winn’s girlfriend. She was a bit of a wild child, but she had a good heart.
“Awww!” Kara squeezed Winn’s shoulder and glanced at the screen. “That’s ador . . . mat.” She frowned. “That’s a doormat, Winn.”
He grinned at her. “Yeah, but look what it says.” He enlarged the image, and Kara read.
“There’s no place like 34.1546° N, 118.3340° W.” Kara shook her head. “I don’t get it.”
“It’s the latitude and longitude for my apartment!” Winn tapped his chest. “I’m giving Lyra a doormat for my home because I want it to be her home, too.”
Kara gasped. “You’re asking her to move in with you?” She squealed and bent to hug Winn. “That’s great! And a really clever gift idea.”
Winn leaned back in his chair and smiled smugly. “Just call me Mr. Terrific.”
“Heh. Now I know a Mr. Terrific on two Earths.” Kara glanced at the screen again. “Wait a minute. Winn? That doormat’s out of stock.” She clicked on a link. “And they aren’t sure when it’ll be available.”
Winn blinked at Kara. “Well, yeah. I didn’t say I was ready for Lyra to move in now.”
Kara rolled her eyes.
“Oh, don’t judge me with your judging judgery.” Winn waved a finger at Kara. “Lyra’s out of town, and I miss her, so I’m keeping busy.” He closed his laptop and slid it into his messenger bag. “That’s why I’m about to meet James for patrol. You’re welcome to join us.”
“James” was James Olsen, one of her closest friends. 10 He’d been sent to National City by Kara’s cousin, Clark Kent, to watch over Kara before she became Supergirl. He now ran CatCo during the day and fought crime at night under the guise of Guardian, with Winn monitoring from a surveillance van.
“Thanks, but I need to talk to J’onn,” Kara said, pointing up.
“If you change your mind, we’ll be out all night.” Winn stood and slung his bag over one shoulder. “You can find us at the corner of Danger and Excitement,” he said.
Winn walked away, whistling “Space Oddity,” and Kara grinned. Then she zoomed out the balcony doors and up to the roof. Several uniformed DEO agents and one in a lab coat were gathered around a telescope; J’onn stood off to one side with Mon-El, Alex, and Alex’s girlfriend Maggie Sawyer.
At Kara’s sudden appearance, the foursome stopped talking and glanced over at her. J’onn, Mon-El, and Alex smiled, while Maggie stamped her foot and groaned.
Alex held a hand out to her girlfriend, palm up. “That’ll be five dollars.”
Kara narrowed her eyes good-naturedly as the money changed hands. “Do I want to know what you were betting on?”
Mon-El raised his hands defensively and greeted Kara with a kiss. “For the record, babe, I didn’t participate.”
“Neither did I,” said J’onn.
“We saw you flying toward the building,” Alex explained to Kara. “Which, by the way, you should not be doing in your street clothes.”
“I’d bet Alex that after you found out where we were, you wouldn’t have any interest in joining us,” said Maggie. “Because you’ve seen enough of space for a lifetime.”
Maggie was one of the few people outside the DEO who knew that Kara was also Supergirl. The fact that Maggie worked for the National City police and had never revealed the secret made her an ally in Kara’s book.
“And I’d bet that my little sister, who has the most curious mind in the universe, wouldn’t miss seeing this comet for anything.” Alex put an arm around Kara’s shoulders. “And I was right.”
Kara gave her sister an apologetic look. “Actually, I came to talk to J’onn.” Alex dropped her arm from Kara’s shoulders, and Maggie let out a “Ha!” before snatching her five dollars back.
J’onn stepped closer to Kara. “You wanted to talk to me? What about?”
With Alex, Maggie, and Mon-El all listening, Kara felt herself blush.
“I was hoping I could start doing more for the DEO,” she said quietly.
Mon-El smiled. “Doing more than protecting this city every day?”
Kara shook her head. “Not as Supergirl. As Kara Danvers.”
“What?” Alex’s forehead wrinkled in confusion, but Kara pressed on.
“I’m already familiar with a lot of alien species, but maybe I could specialize in something,” Kara told J’onn. “Like alien weaponry. It would be good to know what I might face.”
Plus, it’s definitely something Lena Luthor and Hannah Nesmith won’t be experts at, she thought.
J’onn stroked his chin. “We’ve got some artifacts in the subbasement you could look at, I suppose.” “That’s a start,” Kara said with a nod.
Alex nudged her. “Why are you going into DEOverdrive? Is everything OK at CatCo?”
“Of course.” Kara gave her a reassuring smile. “I just want to . . . expand my interests.”
And be a little more impressive without my cape, she added to herself.
“OK,” said Alex, though she still looked puzzled.
“We can head downstairs after the comet appears,” J’onn told Kara. He checked his watch. “Which should be any moment now.”
J’onn beckoned for Mon-El, Maggie and the Danvers sisters to follow him to the telescope, where the woman in the lab coat, Dr. Hoshi, was telling the other agents about the stars overhead at that moment. Normally, she acted as the DEO’s physician. But tonight, the petite Japanese woman stood on tiptoe to point out a constellation.
“Want me to lift you a little higher?” Kara asked with a wink and a smile.
“Kara! Glad you could join us,” Dr. Hoshi said in greeting. “And no, thank you. I prefer to keep my feet on the ground.” She glanced down at the rooftop. “Or the concrete, in this case.”
Kara smiled and gestured at the telescope. “I had no idea you were into astronomy.”
“It’s kind of my secret passion,” Dr. Hoshi confessed. “Tonight, we’re going to observe Caesar’s Comet. Have you heard of it?”
“It was not named after the salad,” Mon-El chimed in. “And if you suggest that, people will laugh.” He cleared his throat. “A lot.”
Kara held back a smile and rubbed his back sympathetically. “I’m not familiar with the comet, Dr. Hoshi.”
“It was last seen over two thousand years ago, shortly after the death of Julius Caesar,” the physician said. “Many Romans thought it was the dei cation of Caesar: proof that he’d become a god.”
Dr. Hoshi turned to the rest of the group before she made her next comment. “It’s also a daylight comet, which means it’s bright enough to see during the day, but since it comes into orbit tonight, I thought it would be fun to witness its arrival.”
She bent over the telescope and made a few adjustments before turning to her laptop.
“This is it!” Dr. Hoshi announced.
Everyone chattered excitedly and shuffled closer to the telescope.
“I’ll adjust the telescope as the comet moves, but please don’t linger too long, so everyone gets a chance to see it,” she said. “While you’re waiting, you should be able to see the comet with the naked eye right . . . there.”
Kara glanced to where Dr. Hoshi was pointing and saw an ice-blue dot against the star-speckled darkness.
“Too cool,” Alex whispered beside her.
Kara turned to answer but was blinded by a brilliant ash of light. All around her, people cried out in surprise.
The whole world had gone white.
Mon-El gripped one of Kara’s hands, and she felt around for her sister with the other.
“Alex!” she cried.
“Kara!” Alex called.
Just as she touched her sister’s fingers, a wave of energy slammed into Kara, knocking her hand loose from Mon- El’s.
She felt herself falling.
Then everyone and everything went silent.
Before Kara hit the concrete, the white light faded to black, and she passed out.