Needless Character Analysis: Pre-Crisis Supergirl
I don’t know if it’s the upcoming Supergirl TV series or not, but I got to thinking about Supergirl, and not the current one, or any of the variety of ways DC writers have tried to resurrect her over the decades, but the original, Pre-Crisis Supergirl. Since it’s also been a while since we’ve done a Needless Character Analysis, it seems like a good time to do another one.
Kara came to Earth not from Krypton, but from Argo City, which was a domed city on Krypton that survived the explosion of Krypton, drifting throughout space. When the ground beneath them turned into Kryptonite, like all rock from krypton did, they put a lead shield under the city. Unfortunately, meteorites punctured the shielding, dooming Argo City to a slow death from radiation poisoning. Kara’s parents, Zor-El and Allura sent her to Earth to be raised by her cousin, Superman. They gave her a costume similar to his so he would instantly recognize her as his cousin.
To keep her existence secret while he trained her in the use of her powers, he created the identity of Linda Lee, an orphan at Midvale Orphanage. She hid in this identity for over two years, but after a series of tests, Superman finally revealed her existence to the world. While suffering a loss of her powers she allowed herself to be adopted by the Danvers. Her adventures in High School brought her a super-powered pet cat, Streaky, and Comet the Superhorse, whom was an ancient Greek Centaur transformed and empowered by Circe. Once, while he was fully human, he had a romance with Supergirl, which ended when he once again reverted to a horse.
Supergirl also served as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, mostly in a part-time capacity, but in her time with the Legion, she fell in love with Brainiac 5, but never settled down, putting her duties as Supergirl first. In her time with the Legion her presence was sometimes treated as a purely a romantic interest for Brainiac 5, but many times she was the center of adventures for the Legion, most notably in Adventure Comics #313 when she was split by Red Kryptonite into a separate being known as Satan Girl and took out all of the female Legionnaires with a virus that turned their skin red and made them incredibly ill. It’s one of the best wacky stories from this period of the Legion. Later, she had a recurring role as one of Brainiac 5’s greatest distractions, once, even driving him to create an android duplicate of her in his sleep.
When she left for college, she set out to create her own identity, and experimented with many costumes, eventually settling on one with a v-necked blouse with full sleeves and the Superman insignia over her heart and red “hot-pant” shorts. However, she doffed it shortly before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, for an outfit that resembled more of a cheerleader’s outfit, including a headband, a nod to her Kryptonian heritage. The outfit was skin tight, except for a full, pleated skirt with a more striking Superman insignia squarely on her chest.
It was in Crisis On Infinite Earths that her story came to an end. As a force of some of the Multiverse’s most powerful heroes went into the Anti-Matter Universe to stop the Anti-Monitor from destroying five different universes, Supergirl came to her cousin’s aid when he was about to be slain by their foe. She mercilessly pounded the Anti-Monitor, gravely injuring him and sustaining fatal injuries herself when she turned for one moment and was nearly instantly killed by one of his blasts. She died in Superman’s arms and he later flew her body into the sun.
Supergirl’s death signified the ending of an era, yet her popularity meant that writers were constantly trying to find ways to bring her back into the DC Universe, but never quite capturing that same charm, optimism and innocence that her stories held.
- Supergirl – The Archives, Volume 1 (DC Archive Editions)
- Supergirl – The Archives, Volume 2 (DC Archive Editions)
- Showcase Presents: Supergirl, Vol. 1
- Showcase Presents: Supergirl, Vol. 2
- Crisis On Infinite Earths
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