As members of the Justice League, Beatriz De Costa and Tora Olafsdotter have fought Doomsday, Despero, and Darkseid. Now the duo known as Fire and Ice are facing a challenge unlike any they’ve come up against before: life in a small town. DC’s current Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville series from writer Joanne Starer, artists Natacha BustosTamra Bonvillain, and letterer Ariana Maher has the pair relocated to Superman’s hometown, and with two issues now on stands readers have gotten a glimpse at how well – or not well – they’re acclimating to the quiet life.

Far from the center of where the action is in the DCU, Welcome to Smallville is more concerned with relationships and character conflict than multiverse-threatening mayhem. Supporting characters like Tamarind, Rocky Rhoades, and Smallville’s own Martha Kent play a key role in the series, though the main focus is naturally on Fire & Ice’s relationship, and its evolution as they both reevaluate their places as superheroes – and in each other’s lives. 

The Beat had the opportunity to interview writer Joanne Starer about the series and it’s many relationships and romances, and what they might mean for the titular duo going forward. Given the fairly sizable contingent of fans who would like to see Fire and Ice become more than just friends, a group that includes a few members of The Beat‘s writing staff, we’d hoped to get some insight from Starer on whether that’s a possibility, especially as there are definitely moments in the series’ first two issues that could be read as leading in that direction. Starer’s message on that front was both ambiguous and straight-forward: “You’re just going to have to keep reading.”

You can check out our chat with Starer about Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville, along with preview pages from this week’s second issue of the series, below.

Joe Grunenwald: Bea and Tora are adjusting to being in Smallville in very different ways. You’ve mentioned elsewhere that there’s a lot of romance in this book, but with everything on their plates how much are these two even thinking about romance at this point?

Joanne Starer: Hey, I never said the romance was only focused around Bea and Tora. Everyone in Smallville is getting busy haha. We’ve actually got a bit of a villain/villain thing happening in issue 2. And I’m sure it’s no surprise that Ambush Bug is absolutely obsessed with Bea. Tam, our local hairdresser (and everyone’s new favorite character) also has a crush. But as far as Fire and Ice, I don’t think either of them are actively LOOKING for love. For Ice, there’s very much this idea that she’s got a second chance—she died and came back. Now she’s reconsidering what she wants to do with this opportunity, and Smallville is opening up her eyes to new options. Could she settle down and have a family eventually? So that’s thoughts about something that could happen down the line, but it’s not exactly real yet. Fire, obviously, is very concerned about her career at the moment. Romance can wait. But romance and physical satisfaction are different things!

Grunenwald: Tell us a little bit about Charlie, Bea’s new romantic interest. What does Bea find appealing about him?

Starer: Charlie owns the bar in town and is 100% a himbo. He’s hot. He knows it. He’s sex on wheels. And the thing about Bea is, she’s never been great at romantic relationships. They’ve all been short-lived, right? She dates, but she’s never had a serious thing. That’s why her friendship with Tora is so important to her. Tora is her rock, her one constant. So having this guy who presents himself immediately as a flirt, as a player, that’s her speed. In a weird way, it lets her bring her guard down and get closer to him…because she’s not afraid of him trying to get close.

Grunenwald: Tora’s made a fast connection with Rocky, and it’s unclear at this point if that’s platonic or if there’s something more there. How does their relationship factor into Tora and Bea’s respective journeys?

Starer: Rocky is definitely a complication, because Bea has no idea how to relate to her—she’s only Tora’s friend. And now, rather than it being just Bea and Tora working out their problems, you have a third person in the mix. So Tora is going off and talking about her issues with Rocky instead of speaking directly to Bea, and nothing gets solved. Without a doubt, there is jealousy on Bea’s end. She came to Smallville to make Tora happy. She’s toughing this out for Tora. Bea would absolutely fight Superman himself and get the heck outta dodge if it weren’t for Tora.

Grunenwald: How will Lobo’s arrival in issue 4 further complicate Bea and Tora’s potential love lives?

Starer: I mean, if Lobo showed up in your town, it’d complicate your love life, right? It’d certainly complicate mine!

Let’s just say, Lobo is going to complicate a LOT of things, not just love. That’s what he does. He’s a wrecking ball. He creates chaos.

Grunenwald: How do all these various new relationships—romantic and otherwise—impact the relationship between Fire and Ice and the journey they’re on together?

Starer: Fire and Ice are being tested in ways they’ve never been. That’s really what this whole series is about. They’re learning about themselves and each other. It’s always been the two of them. They’ve always been working. There wasn’t really time to think about all the “what ifs.” Now we hit pause on the super heroics and the world-ending threats, and they have to look at their lives, their relationship with each other and with other people. They have to figure out what they really want. Do they want to remain a team? Do they even want to remain friends? You’re just going to have to keep reading.

Grunenwald: Won’t someone, anyone love Ambush Bug?

Starer: Cheeks will always, always love Ambush Bug. And so will I.

Published by DC Comics, Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #2 (of 6) is out in stores and digitally today.


  1. I am loving this new series and so is my 23 year old daughter !
    I am enjoying the greater depth being shown in characters I have enjoyed for a long time, while she loves the relationships being built. So this is a rare series which appeals to an old comic geek and someone for whom comics are just another medium to get into.

    Oh, and fans of this series really really REALLY should check out Starer’s Sirens in the City series. It is even better !!

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