Alternative versions of Supergirl

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Alternate versions of Supergirl
"The Supergirls", from Superman/Batman #24.
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Action Comics #252 (May 1959)
Created by Otto Binder and Curt Swan.
Characters Supergirl (Kara Zor-El)
Power Girl (Kara Zor-L)
Supergirl (Matrix)
Andromeda (Laurel Gand)
Supergirl (Linda Danvers)
Supergirl (Cir-El)
Supergirl (Ariella Kent)
See also Supergirl in other media

Alternative versions of Supergirl focuses on stories published by DC Comics in which various incarnations of the character has been placed in storylines taking place both in and outside of mainstream continuity.

Within mainstream continuity, several characters have claimed the mantle of "Supergirl" and due to DC Comics' "Multiverse" system of alternative realities, continuity "reboots" as well as stories involving time travel, a number of variant iterations of the character exist in alternative universes. Alternative versions of Supergirl have been featured in various DC comic publications including the "Elseworlds" imprint.

Supergirl was originally introduced in Action Comics #252 as the cousin of the publisher's flagship superhero, Superman in the story The Supergirl from Krypton. In most depictions, she is an alien from the planet Krypton, possessing a multitude of superhuman abilities derived from the rays of a yellow sun. Other mainstream characters have taken the name Supergirl over the years, with decidedly non-extraterrestrial origins, such as a that of a superhuman artificial life-form and later a troubled young woman reborn as an "Earth-born Angel."

In mainstream comic continuity[edit]

Mainstream and continually published depictions[edit]

Several different versions of Supergirl have appeared in continuity.

  • Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) — The modern depiction of Supergirl, this character is a slight reimagining of the traditional Supergirl character who is Superman's cousin from Krypton. Reintroduced into continuity in 2004's Superman/Batman series, this character represents both the original Silver Age and most recent Modern Age interpretations of Supergirl, although the pre- and post-Crisis Kara are regarded as separate characters within the fictional DC Universe.
  • Power Girl (Kara Zor-L) — An alternative version of Kara Zor-El from the parallel world of Earth-Two, she is introduced by Gerry Conway in All Star Comics #58 (1976) as the cousin of Earth-Two's Superman (Kal-L), a character introduced in Justice League of America #73 (1969), intended to resemble the "Golden Age" Superman published in Action Comics #1 in 1938. Power Girl is a survivor of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths in which all other versions of Supergirl, including Earth-One's Kara Zor-El, were wiped from history. Following the Crisis, Power Girl was believed to be an Atlantean, she made her home on the unified Earth and joined the Justice Society of America. Years later, in 2005-2006's Infinite Crisis she discovered her Earth-Two Kryptonian heritage after years of growing doubt about her alleged Atlantean origins. She is depicted as an older, more mature, muscular and buxom version of the Supergirl character with shorter hair and a more assertive personality.
  • Supergirl (Matrix) — An artificial protoplasmic life-form based on the DNA of Lana Lang, "Mae" was created by a "pocket universe" Lex Luthor to be his world's hero, basing her physiology on Superman's. This Supergirl eventually migrated to the larger universe where she operated as a regularly published superhero between 1988 and 1996. Aside from great strength, durability and flight, Matrix also possessed the powers of invisibility, shapeshifting and telekinesis. Created by John Byrne in his post-Crisis The Man of Steel reboot of Superman.
  • Andromeda (Laurel Gand)— Laurel Gand was the post-Crisis/Glorithverse replacement for the pre-Crisis Supergirl in the Legion of Super-Heroes, after the latter was removed from continuity following The Man of Steel reboot of Superman. Originally, Laurel was simply known by her given name. A younger version of Laurel took the code name "Andromeda" shortly before the Zero Hour reboot of the Legion; after the reboot, Laurel remained Andromeda.
  • Supergirl (Linda Danvers) — When Matrix sacrificed herself to save the life of a dying Linda Danvers - a young woman trapped in an illicit life of crime - the two were reborn as one, an "Earth-born angel" with near-Kryptonian powers and the ability to change between the appearances of plain brunette Linda Danvers and the tall, blonde and strong Supergirl. Created by Peter David.
  • Supergirl (Cir-El) — This Supergirl was at first alleged to be the daughter of Superman from the future, although it was later revealed that while she had Kryptonian powers and attributes, she was primarily human. It came to pass she was a creation of Superman's villain Brainiac, who had biologically altered a human victim as part of a complex scheme. To prevent herself from becoming Brainiac's Trojan Horse, Cir-El sacrificed her own life. Following Mark Waid's 2003 Superman: Birthright reboot, the character is no longer in continuity. Introduced in 2003 by Steven Seagle and Scott McDaniel.
  • Supergirl (Ariella Kent) — Supergirl of the 853rd century featured in the DC One Million event, later revealed to be the daughter of Linda Danvers and a Silver Age-style Superman from the Many Happy Returns story arc. Created by Peter David. This particular Supergirl is vastly powerful.

Alternative universe depictions[edit]

In the final issue of DC Comics' 2006-07 year-long weekly series, 52 #52, it was revealed that a Multiverse system of 52 parallel universes, with each Earth being a different take on established DC Comics characters as featured in the mainstream continuity (designated as "New Earth") had come into existence. The Multiverse acts as a storytelling device that allows writers to introduce alternative versions of fictional characters, hypothesize "what if?" scenarios, revisit popular Elseworlds stories and allow these characters to interact with the mainstream continuity.

  • In 52 Week 52 (2007), the new Earth-2 is revealed, and a newspaper headline declares that the Power Girl (and Superman) of this Earth are officially missing. On this world, Power Girl fights alongside Huntress (Helena Wayne), Obsidian, Robin and others in the Justice Society Infinity. In Justice Society of America Annual #1, this world's native Power Girl re-emerges.
  • On the evil parallel universe of Earth-3, a mirror of the Earth-2 Kara Zor-L exists in the form of Ultragirl, first introduced in Countdown to Final Crisis #16 (2007). Unlike Ultraman, the Superman counterpart of Earth-3, this version of Supergirl is in fact vulnerable to kryptonite and not powered by it, implying she has a variation of her standard Kryptonian origin.
  • On Earth-10, Nazi Germany won World War II and that world's Superman, named Overman, is a part of the JL-Axis. That world's Supergirl was called Overgirl. She is first seen as a sketch made by exiled Monitor Nix Uotan in Final Crisis #2. She makes a full appearance in #3, where she crash lands in a burning heap on New Earth. There, she tells Renee Montoya, in German, that the sky is bleeding. She is not Overman's actual cousin, rather she is the only child who survived the horrible experiments the Nazis conducted when they tried to seed a human child with Overman's DNA. She has less than half of Overman's strength, speed, stamina, and endurance, which is still considerable. She appears to have died in Final Crisis #7 as Overman is shown holding her dead body and yelling in despair.
  • Earth-11 is first featured in The Search for Ray Palmer - Superwoman/Batwoman (2007), and is a gender-reversed mirror of New Earth. While not featured in the pages of the comic itself, male Supergirl and/or Power Girl counterparts may inhabit this Earth. The previous gender-reversed world featured in Superman/Batman #24 (2006) featured a male Kara Zor-El counterpart referred to as Superlad.
  • In Mark Waid and Alex Ross' Kingdom Come miniseries, Power Woman is Superman's cousin and a member of Superman's Justice League. This world is assigned the designation of Earth-22. However, a Supergirl appears with the Legion of Super-Heroes alongside Superboy in one panel.
  • In the Tangent Comics imprint (established as Earth-97 prior to Infinite Crisis, paralleled as Earth-9 post-52), Powergirl is a genetically-engineered superheroine created by the Chinese government. Supergirl was an unsuccessful prototype.

Alternative storylines[edit]

  • "The Supergirls" is a three-part storyline in Action Comics #806-808 in which female Superman-related characters Cir-El, Girl 13, and Natasha Irons protect Superman from a woman who blames Superman for the death of her husband.
  • In Superman/Batman #24, Darkseid traps Superman in the Source Wall, and Bizarro assembles the pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El, post-Crisis Kara Zor-El, Linda Danvers, Cir-El, and Power Girl to rescue Superman. After his escape, Superman thanks the Supergirls, but he only recognizes Kara (post-Crisis), Power Girl, and Linda. He doesn't recognize the other two because their timelines had been erased.
  • In Supergirl vol. 5, #32, Supergirl is shown 50 years in the future. She has a modified costume that is similar to her pre-Crisis, original uniform. Here, she is seen fighting Dorlok, a man with a device that allows him to jump through time. In the end, Supergirl after contemplating using the device, destroys it and moves on.[1]
  • In the Trinity series, reality is rewritten, and Superman is removed from existence. In this alternative timeline, Kara Zor-El is known as "Interceptor", and has no knowledge of her Kryptonian heritage. Her ship was found by the navy, but apparently no investigation took place.[2]
  • In Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths, an alternative reality is featured called Earth D. In this reality, the heroes of the DC Universe are more ethnically diverse and the Supergirl of Earth D resembles an African-American and is married to that reality's version of Superman instead of being his cousin, though her name is still Kara. Along with all of the other heroes of Earth D, she was killed in the Crisis.
  • In the Ame-Comi imprint, both a Supergirl and a Power Girl exist together. In this universe, Supergirl is still Kara Zor-El, while Power Girl is actually the equivalent of Superman — her name is Kara Jor-El, and she is the daughter of Jor-El and cousin of Kara Zor-El. According to Supergirl, Jor-El and Zor-El destroyed Krypton intentionally as part of a failed attempt to destroy Brainiac, after sending both their Karas to Earth. Brainiac later reaches Earth and uses black kryptonite to turn Supergirl evil. Unusually for most depictions of Kryptonians, this Power Girl claims her powers don't come from the sun.[3]

Elseworlds[edit]

Main article: Elseworlds
Supergirl and Batgirl

Between 1989 and 2004, DC's Elseworlds imprint was used to showcase unofficial alternative universe stories; before 1989, "imaginary stories" served the same purpose. Since 2004, stories outside of the main DC continuity have carried no particular name or imprint. The examples listed below are just a few of the many alternative versions of Supergirl depicted in these stories. A number of the most popular Elseworlds were later integrated into the DC Comics Multiverse in 2007.

  • In Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Superman and Wonder Woman hide their daughter Lara from the world her entire life, but she later becomes important to the defeat of Lex Luthor and Brainiac, the story's antagonists. Lara possesses some of Wonder Woman's powers, benefiting from both Kryptonian and Amazonian heritage.
  • In Kurt Busiek's Superman: Secret Identity miniseries, which depicts a Clark Kent who lives in the real world, Lois gives birth to two girls who grow up to manifest their father's powers and adopt variations on his costume.
  • Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl depicts a Barbara Gordon/Kara Zor-El team in a world without their male counterparts. In another story that took place in this reality as seen in Superboy (vol. 3) #61, there is a female equivalent to the Conner Kent Superboy named Supergrrl. This Supergrrl is a clone of Supergirl, only aged at sixteen or so, who was created by that world's Lex Luthor.
  • Supergirl: Wings reworks the Earth-born angel storyline; in it, Linda's guardian angel is Matrix, whose cynical view of her charge may lead to her fall.
  • In the Superman/Aliens crossover limited series, published in 1995 by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics, Superman discovers a domed city on an asteroid, not unlike the Argo City of pre-Crisis Supergirl's origins, that is infested with the xenomorphs. Superman befriends the sole survivor, a plucky 16-year-old girl named Kara. The story reveals that Kara is not Superman's cousin, and that the colony is not Kryptonian, but is instead part of a world whose culture and religion were strongly influenced by Krypton.
  • In Superman & Batman: Generations, Superman's young daughter, Kara Kent, takes up the identity of Supergirl and forms a new Justice League with Bruce Wayne Jr., Wally West, and Stephanie Prince. As they grow up, Kara and Bruce Jr. fall in love, becoming a couple in "civilian" life and a crime-fighting duo as Superwoman and Batman. The two eventually marry, but their happiness barely lasts beyond the ceremony when Kara's elder brother Joel attacks the wedding reception. The jealous Joel, who grew up without superpowers due to exposure to gold kryptonite as a fetus, was manipulated by Lex Luthor into striking against his family with artificial superpowers bestowed by a formula Luthor created; he leads Kara away from the reception and kills her in a rage, but dies himself from the deliberately imperfect serum Luthor gave him.
In Superman & Batman: Generations 3, Knightwing (Joel's son Clark, whose Kryptonian genes were activated by a perfected version of Luthor's serum) and his wife have twin daughters, Lois and Lara, who take the heroic identities of Supergirl Red and Supergirl Blue. Supergirl Blue gives up her powers in the 25th century so she can age normally, but uses Luthor's serum in the 26th century to restore them. Supergirl Red is killed the same century, leaving her sister as the last Supergirl. Supergirl Blue dies in the 30th century. When Darkseid is destroyed, she is erased from the timeline.
  • In JLA: Created Equal, Linda Danvers, fifteen years after the Fall, changes her name to Superwoman.
  • In JLA: Act of God, Linda Danvers is one of many metahumans who loses her powers due to the Black Light event that strips the entire metahuman community powerless. However, she, along with Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, the Flash, train with Batman and his associates so they may still be heroes. Changing her name to Justice, Linda and the others form the Phoenix Group.
  • In Superman/Gen¹³, Caitlin Fairchild of the Gen¹³ had received a bump on the head and suffered amnesia. When she awoke, she found Superman's cape draped over her and assumed that, with her super powers, she was Supergirl. She believed that she couldn't fly due to exposure to red kryptonite which, at the time, was only considered an urban legend. After going through multiple Supergirl outfits and generally causing more havoc than good, she was found by the other Gen¹³s and Superman, when the real Supergirl knocked her out. When Caitlin awoke, she regained her memory.
  • Supergirl is shown in Justice with other heroes helping the Justice League in their confrontation against the Legion of Doom. Since the continuity resembles the Silver Age and she is wearing a variation of her 70s era costume, this Supergirl is most likely Kara Zor-El.
  • Supergirl made a brief appearance in JLA: Another Nail when all time periods meld together. She is presumably Kara Zor-El, since she is wearing a costume identical to her first appearance in Action Comics #252.

Johnny DC depictions[edit]

These versions are out of continuity but the series Superman/Batman displays Tiny Titans as a cartoon in the DCU. It's possible all Johnny DC titles appears this way in mainstream continuity.

  • Kara Zor-El appears in the six-issue mini series Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade. The series features elements from all aspects of Supergirl continuity, but is written with a more tongue-in-cheek tone for young readers. In this series, Kara is designed as a typical teenager from Krypton's moon, Argo, who (unintentionally) ends up on Earth and meets up with her cousin, Superman. With his help, Kara is given a cover identity as Linda Lee and is enrolled in school. Over the course of the series, Kara befriends a local student named Lena Thorul (who, ironically, is actually Lex Luthor's sister), deals with her own "Bizarro" self, Belinda Zee, and ultimately gets drawn into the reality-conquering schemes of Mr. Mxyzptlk.
    • An alternative version of Kara is accidentally created when she gains time travel powers in order to prevent a meteor from hitting the school. This version of Kara is called Supragirl (after wanting to be called "Andromeda").
  • Supergirl appears in the Tiny Titans comic book. Due to her pets Streaky, Comet, Krypto, and Beppo appearing, this Supergirl is probably Kara Zor-El. She is portrayed as giggly and kind. She is shown to fly everywhere giving her character a sense of innocence. She is very smart, gaining A's and 'super' comments from her supervillain teachers. Batgirl and Robin are shown as two of her closest friends in the book, they all attend pet club together. Batgirl and Supergirl spend time together without the other Titans by having picnics.

Homages and pastiches[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Supergirl vol. 5, #32 (October 2008)
  2. ^ Trinity #25 (November 19, 2008)
  3. ^ Ame-Comi IV: Power Girl #1-3, Ame-Comi V: Supergirl #1-3

External links[edit]