Jenn from Dangerous Ladies @ DA
I had been thinking about doing something like this for a while. Outlining why I enjoy certain characters and who better to start out with than my favorite superheroine, Supergirl.
I feel slightly bad that I can't recall when I first learned of Supergirl's existence. After much thinking (and head pounding) my best guess is it was with the Superman: The Animated Series episode Little Girl Lost
. Now before I was a Supergirl fan I was (still am but as I say, Kara is easier on the eyes lol) a Superman fan. I know people call him boring, a boy scout, but Superman is the archetype superhero. Personally, I like the idea of an absolute good guy hero so Supes always will be one of my favorite heroes. So as a much younger Mad Man (minus my pen though) I watched STAS and fed my growing love of the DCAU. Then we get to Little Girl Lost
and I meet Supergirl. Kansas, producing excellent superheros since.....
Now while I'm not the biggest fan of the costume they used for the majority of her DCAU run, the more important part was the character. She was clearly in love with her powers and eager to go out and kick some butt. Probably that's what grabbed me, how much Supergirl loved being Supergirl. Even when Superman tried to hold her back, Kara went out and wanted to help. She was brash at times and made mistakes. However deep down Kara was determined to do the right thing which is what I want to see from my heroines. Didn't take long for the Girl of Steel to become my favorite. From Fearful Symmetry. One of my favorite Justice League episodes. We have Supergirl as the focal point, introduce Cadmus, Galetea cause I love heroines being copied or cloned, and....the Question who rocks anytime he's on the show lol.
Plus I think Bruce Timm is a Supergirl fan. They not only brought her in but gave tons of important points in the DCAU to Supergirl. She is the one who brings Superman back home in Legacy. In Justice League its Kara's clone who kicks off the excellent and probably my favorite storyline from JL the Cadmus arc. She stands ALONE against the entirety of the mind controlled Legion of Superheroes, taking them all on and surviving (barley). It kills me to find out they planned a DCAU Legion series where Supergirl would have gotten to play a staring role but it didn't get off the ground. Now that's a Supergirl uniform!
Supergirl to most people just seems like a female version of Superman. However saying that is only skin deep. The most classic origin for Kara is the same as Superman with a few different details. Cousin of Kal-El, Kara Zor-El is the daughter of Zor-El and Allura. Believing his brother Zor-El prepared for the destruction of Krypton not by trying to escape but actually creating technology that allowed Argo City to survive the explosion of the planet. Argo City drifted through space for years with the Kryptonians learning about the adventures of Superman through comic book tech. However Argo City was threatened and then destroyed by a shower of Kryptonite meteors. To save their daughter's life, Kara's parents crafted both her a rocket and costume to take to Earth. That way when Kara found her cousin, he would now she's family.Okay Supes, you live in a world where costumed people, superpowers, alien races, and since its the Silver Age ALL SORTS of crazy crap happens. What about a flying girl would be so damn shocking?
This story has been changed up and modified with the different version of Supergirl. What I've loved about the origin of Supergirl though is the fact, she grew up on Krypton
. Superman is the Last Son of Krypton but its more a title than anything else. He grew up on Earth raised by the loving Kents who really helped make Clark into the hero he would become. Kara is completely different. She grew up in an alien (to us) society. Superman is a human in an alien body, Supergirl is an alien. This aspect of her character has been more played up in more modern versions of the character. In fact this is a very classic science fiction area where Kara can grow. She gets to be a reflection of humanity, learning what it means to be human.Kara at her lowest. It's one reason It think she'd get along with with The Doctor. Lonely souls.
Kara eventually comes to accept Earth as her home in most versions. It's not an easy journey (made less easy by DC but more on that later). In fact one thing I think they should do is use Superman in this role. The Superman-Supergirl relationship has been pretty wild up and down the years. For reasons being well it was the Silver Age, Clark couldn't really take Supergirl in. So she had live in an orphanage for a while. Later she got adopted by the Danvers who helped form her secret identity. Post Crisis and the allowing of letting the Kents live (till Nu52) allowed Supergirl somewhere she could live an connect with her family on Earth. It's one of the strong points of the DCAU too, Kara cares deeply about Ma and Pa Kent, and cares about Earth. Holy Hell, Supergirl and Superman having a moment! No fighting, no lecturing, and no being annoyed by his family. DC why they hell can't you do this ALL the time?
Superman could play a big part in this. Supergirl is a connection to his past, letting him know about his homeworld and more importantly about his family. Superman is Supergirl's connection to the future. In turn he can show her was wonderful about Earth, and why humanity is worth protecting. One of the best Superman-Supergirl relationships I saw was in Superman Unbound
based on the Brainac series from DC. These two cared about one another and Kal helped out a scared and troubled Supergirl who grew stronger from it. Kara has some memorable relationships in the DC lore. While her love life is fairly crazy for the majority of her early days (Supergirl's horse once fell in love with her....yeah I know but it was the Silver Age, just ignore it) Kara does have some strong friendships. Much like Batman and Superman form the World's Finest, so do Batgirl and Supergirl. Also doesn't matter which Batgirl you have. Stephanie Brown and Kara have a great issue together where they take on hologram created Draculas...god I sometime love comics
Batgirl and Supergirl have quite a bit in common. They are different from their mentor counterparts, both eager to do good, and also get along a lot more smoothly right off the bat than Batman and Superman. Both them too can also connect with the fact they are overshadowed by their more famous male mentors. It shows nicely in Girls Night Out
where DCAU Batgirl and Supergirl initially don't get respect from Detective Harvey Bullock. However together the two not only capture Poison Ivy, Harley, and Livewire, they gain an admission of respect from the detective (of course as only Bullock can give it). Throughout comics too the two have been great friends. One of the most famous exchanges between the two occurs during Crisis on Infinite Earths where a worried Batgirl wonders what she can do against forces that destroy universes. Supergirl though tells her she's a hero no matter what, powers or no, and that is all that matters. It's a real touching moment for the two. Throughout her various forms it seems like Supergirl gains peoples' friendship and respect. Stargirl, Power Girl, Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl, Kara just has this ability to make allies and friends that I just enjoy. I could easily see Kara standing in front of the Citadel races in Mass Effect, uniting them against the Reapers. The Super BFF shorts were hilarious and good. I especially love the one where Kara is grounded but goes to sneak out with BG and WG. Superman shows up and LMAO moments ensue till Ma Kent puts a stop to it. Who needs Kryptonite when you've got the stare and pointed finger of Ma Kent.
Supergirl also never thinks twice to put herself at risk to save people, planets, and in one case the universe. Little Girl Lost
had Kara stopping a comet fragment from smashing Metropolis. When Jimmy Olsen dreamed up the first 'Super-Girl' to help Superman, she took away a chunk of Kryptonite that would have weakened Superman sacrificing herself in the process. If there's one thing that always seems to center Supergirl its how damn heroic she actually is. Even at her lowest points Kara does what she can to try and do the right thing. Plus Supergirl is in one of the most iconic events of the whole of comics, her death in Crisis. Supergirl saved the universe! In fact I've always thought about doing a one shot story where The Doctor, after the events of 'The Big Bang' ends up in the same non-existant limbo as Pre-Crisis Kara. They talk and then Amy wills the Doctor back to life....only for him to make one side trip in the TARDIS, seems he wanted a date for Amy's wedding.
Pre-Crisis Supergirl had a long history from 1959 when she arrived to 1985 when she died. If anything sums up who Supergirl is I think its her final actions. She sacrifices herself to save her cousin, to save her family. It's because of this event I HATE, and I mean HATE IT when DC can't seem to treat with the respect she deserves! You know what Supergirl's reward was for her heroic sacrifice? To be written out of existence! DC fiat declared no SUPERMAN is the only survivor begone all references to Supergirl! Except for the odd slip past DC, including a comic where a character laments no one knowing who he is only to be talked to by Kara (not named). Even then after being screwed over, Kara was Kara, she tells him about being a hero, 'even when no one remembers you'. I'm sorry I didn't catch that as I caved in your robot face. BTW did I tell you how much I love smashing robots?
This is as good of point as any to talk about what I don't like when it comes to Supergirl. I don't like it when DC tells me, she's a loner, or she's an angry angst ridden teen. That she'd want to drink or smoke when people need saving. While I was happy Supergirl was brought back (Kara Zor-El, Linda Danvers/Matrix Supergirl had been around. A very good run I've heard, just haven't checked it out) in 2005 I hated the direction they went with her. In fact it seemed like nobody at DC comics got her till thankfully the combo Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle managed to right Kara's character back to who she should be. So, Kara upon waking up immediatly engages in her mission to find baby Kal. Later she's more than willing to put herself at risk to help people. Agrees with Jor-El that is was time for somebody to stand up and start acting like the hero they were supposed to be.....and Kara is the one without a show?
Kara though didn't fare as well in other media. Now I know a lot of people love Helen Slater's portrayal of Supergirl. I like elements of her playing Kara as well and she looked the part....BUT GOD IS THAT MOVIE AWFUL. It's just a massive Picard Face Palm. It was probably just the inevitable fallout from the downward trend of the Superman productions since Superman II. But it pains me to see that Kara got the shaft as a result of it. It wasn't till the newer DC animated films that we got a better introduction for Supergirl (though no Supergirl animated featuring where she's the title character. I had really hoped they would do the Who is Superwoman? run following Unbound). Helen my dear you look fablous. Now fight the crazy trailer park woman who has magic powers.
Things weren't much better in Smallville
where I was thrilled to hear they had finally decided to bring Kara in. I didn't watch the show regularly but was more than willing too if they were going to bring in Kara. Laura Vandervoot did a great job in my opinion of playing a modern Supergirl....and then the writers treated her like dirt. Does our lonely Clark who seems to always be desperate for family embrace Kara? No she's an annoyance and upsets his life. No wonder Kara doesn't want to listen to him when her only family is a douche. She is stripped of her memory and powers at one point too, only thanks to Chloe gets them back (not Clark cause of course he wouldn't care about that. And yes I know he was captured at that point but he could of done this earlier!) Then to top it all off Kara gets sent into the Phantom Zone (it's like the 84 movie reaching out from beyond the grave!) and goes missing. Of course Clark drops everything at to rescue his kin to find his family....oh wait I forgot Smallville Superman is a douche. Hell I think he's surprised to find Kara in the Zone in the episode where they finally meet again. Then after being freed the writers shew Kara away cause god forbid we have someone acting like their character should. I guess its a small saving grace Kara when into the future ala Justice League rather than being killed off. At least there in the Legion she might get some respect. Screw the costume rule which you all broke anyway (looking at you Green Arrow, JSA episode, and so forth), let Kara wear the red and blues! (And no her last 'costume' doesn't count!)
While the Nu52 Supergirl started off fairly well, she quickly got ruined by once again...wait for it....DC Comics. The first seven issues where Kara deals with the lost of Krypton, being captured, finding Argo, and defeating the World Killers was pretty good. Wasn't a huge fan of the fist fight with Superman but I can forgive it since Kara had just woken up on Earth. However they then go and screw it up by sucking her into the H'El on Earth crossover. Where they make Supergirl fall for essentially a Twilight character, have her be the dupe in his plan to destroy the Earth, and once again battle with her family rather than getting closer with it. I guess there's some good from it as its Kara defeating H'El but still the damage was done. Nu52 Supergirl was being made to be unlikable, to be angry so much so she got a Red Lantern ring. I was down and out asking where my favorite heroine had gone.......
Then I read Supergirl 33.
It seems finally that somebody might be listening to us Supergirl fans. In this issue Kara grows so much. She abandons her Red Lantern ring and the rage that blinded her. She risks her own life to save people she doesn't even know. Kara shows off how smart she is defeating the rouge Kryptonian Armor with her brains not her fist. Finally we get my now favorite image of the Nu52 version of Kara,Play the Superman theme in your head right now...makes this image even more awesome!
Kara rises from the sun, like a reborn Phoenix. She promptly finishes off the armor and after that goes to help out some aliens she ran into in an earlier issue. However at the end she decides the most important thing, and what we needed to right her character again.
She is going to try an accept Earth as her new home. Hell yes that's Supergirl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe I'm letting my optimism get the better of me. However I just felt so good after reading this issue I have to hope the new team on Supergirl will get her settled. Kara has overcome a lot in her history. Orphan who finds the person she cared about is now older than her. Seemingly alone on an alien world which at times, didn't accept her. Forced to grow up quickly and learn how to use abilities Kara never even dreamed of having. She's died, been reborn, been hated and loved. But despite all the adversity thrown her way, at her core she lives up to that S on her chest. She's a heroine no she's a hero no matter what.
She is Supergirl