In case the first chapter title didn’t give it away, one of the central themes of THE STANDARD is legacies, how the values of one generation are (or aren’t) passed down from one generation to the next, and the way decisions made in the past can ripple out to the present.  The character arc of Alex Thomas was about looking at what kind of impact it would have on someone to be the successor to the most beloved hero in the world.  With Zena Zarthos, I thought it would be interesting to look at what it would mean to be the successor to the most reviled villain in the world.

As we see her here, Zena Zarthos is basically a good person.  But she is someone forever tarred with the brush of her father.  Even Gilbert Graham has his suspicions, as can be seen here.  For us, as readers, it’s easy to look at the Zarthos lineage as being reflective of the evolution of Lex Luthor: he went from a mad scientist wielding robotic death traps to a sinister man in a suit standing behind his vast business conglomerate.  In truth, though, while Zena evolved out of Zachary in a manner not totally different from how Alex evolved out of Gilbert, it’s more complex than her just being a white-collar supervillain.  Much like how Alex spearheaded a transition from superheroes being about fighting crime and doing real good in the world to being a money-making, celebrity-driven enterprise, Zena has set aside the bank-robbing and kooky plans for world conquest of her father, and instead successfully conquered the world through commerce and investment, acting within the law.  She’s an interesting, complicated figure who I had a lot of fun writing.