Power Girl

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Power Girl

Power Girl, from Justice Society of America #9 (2007),
art by Alex Ross.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance All Star Comics # 58 (January/February 1976)
Created by Gerry Conway
Ric Estrada
Wally Wood
(based upon Supergirl by Otto Binder and Al Plastino)
In-story information
Full name Kara Zor-L
Species Kryptonian
Place of origin Krypton-Two
Team affiliations Justice Society of America
Justice League
Infinity, Inc.
Birds of Prey
Suicide Squad
Sovereign Seven
Partnerships Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Notable aliases Karen Starr, Kara of Atlantis, Nightwing
Abilities Superhuman strength
Superhuman speed
Superhuman endurance
Superhuman agility
Healing factor
Superhuman hearing
Freeze breath
Telescopic vision
Microscopic vision
Heat vision
X-Ray vision
Invulnerability
Flight
Power Girl
Cover art to Power Girl vol.2, #1.
Art by Amanda Conner.
Series publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre Superhero
Publication date
(Vol. 1)
June – September 1988
(Vol. 2)
July 2009 – October 2011
Number of issues 4 (Vol. 1)
27 (Vol. 2)
Main character(s) Power Girl
Creative team
Writer(s) Vol. 1:
Paul Kupperberg
Vol. 2:
Jimmy Palmiotti (#1–12)
Justin Gray (#1–12)
Judd Winick (#13–25)
Mathew Sturges (#26–27)
Artist(s) Vol. 1:
Rick Hoberg
Arne Starr
Vol. 2:
Amanda Conner (#1–12)
Sami Basri (#13–23)
Hendry Prasetya (#24–27)
Letterer(s) Vol. 1:
Bob Pinaha
Vol. 2:
John J. Hill (#1–24)
Travis Lanham (#25–27)
Colorist(s) Vol. 1:
Julianna Ferriter
Vol. 2:
Paul Mounts (#1–13)
Sunny Gho (#14–20)
Jessica Kholinne (#16–27)
Collected editions
Power Girl: A New Beginning ISBN 978-1401226183
Power Girl: Aliens & Apes ISBN 978-1401229108
Power Girl: Bomb Squad ISBN 978-1401231620
Power Girl: Old Friends ISBN 978-1401233655

Power Girl (real name Kara Zor-L, also known as Karen Starr) is a DC Comics superheroine, making her first appearance in All Star Comics #58 (January/February 1976).[1]

Power Girl is the Earth-Two counterpart of Supergirl and the first cousin of Kal-L, Superman of the pre-Crisis Earth-Two. The infant Power Girl's parents enabled her to escape the destruction of Krypton-Two. Although she left the planet at the same time that Superman did, her ship took much longer to reach Earth-Two.

Possessing all standard Kryptonian powers, she is a member of the Justice Society of America and the team's first chairwoman. Power Girl sports a bob of blond hair; wears a distinctive white, red, and blue costume; and has an aggressive fighting style. Throughout her early appearances in All Star Comics, Power Girl was frequently at odds with Wildcat, who had a penchant for talking to her as if she were an ordinary human female rather than a superpowered Kryptonian, which she found annoying.

The 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths eliminated Earth-Two, causing her origin to change; she became the granddaughter of the Atlantean sorcerer Arion. However, story events culminating in the 2005-2006 Infinite Crisis limited series restored her status as a refugee from Krypton -Two within the merged but vanished pre-Crisis Earth-Two universe. She was ranked ninth in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[2]

Publication history[edit]

Power Girl was introduced in All Star Comics #58 in 1976,[3] and was a member of the superhero team the Justice Society of America through the remainder of the 1970s and 1980s period known as the Bronze Age of Comics. Marvel Comics' then-publisher Stan Lee said in 1978 that when DC Comics created Power Girl after Marvel had introduced Power Man, "I'm pretty annoyed about that. ...I've got to ask the Marvel lawyer — she's supposed to be starting a lawsuit about that and I haven't heard anything. I don't like the idea. ... You know, years ago we brought out Wonder Man, and [DC Comics] sued us because they had Wonder Woman, and ... I said okay, I'll discontinue Wonder Man. And all of a sudden they've got Power Girl. Oh, boy. How unfair."[4]

After All Star Comics was canceled as a part of the DC Implosion, the character would continue to appear along with the rest of the JSA in Adventure Comics for a six-issue run. She appeared in a story arc that expanded on her pre-Crisis origin in Showcase issues 97-99. During this time, she was a regularly featured character in the annual Justice Society crossovers in the original Justice League of America series. She was a founding member of Infinity Inc., appearing in each of the first 12 issues and making later guest appearances.

After DC's continuity-altering Crisis on Infinite Earths inter-company crossover, her origin was retconned in Secret Origins vol. 2, #11 and she became a magic-based character with ties to ancient Atlantis, leading to appearances in The Warlord. The character did not receive her own self-titled series until the Power Girl miniseries of 1988.[5] The character became a featured member of Justice League Europe (later renamed Justice League International) for the run of the series. After the cancellation of JLI, the character joined Chris Claremont's creator-owned series Sovereign Seven and appeared in several issues of Birds of Prey. She eventually rejoined the Justice Society in JSA #31 and became a regular part of that series and its follow-up, Justice Society of America vol. 3.

Power Girl played a significant role in the continuity-changing events of Infinite Crisis (2005), which tied into her starring role in the first JSA Classified story arc "Power Trip" in 2005 (issues #1-4 of the series).[6][7] Starting in July 2009, Power Girl received her first ongoing series, simply titled Power Girl (volume 2), with the first twelve issues written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, drawn by Amanda Conner,[8] and colored by Paul Mounts.[9][10] According to Comic Book Resources, the series has been "wildly praised for its fresh and fun approach."[11]

When Palmiotti, Grey and Conner left the series after issue #12, Palmiotti said, "Amanda always said she could just commit to the book for a year, and as we got into the series we realized that we just couldn't do the same type of book with another artist at this point and decided it was a good idea to leave with her and give another team a shot."[11] Judd Winick took over as writer with artist Sami Basri beginning with issue #13. Winick stated that the tone of the book will continue, and the premise of the character in New York.[12]

The trade paperback Power Girl (ISBN 978-1401209681) collects Showcase issues #97-99, Secret Origins volume 2 issue #11, JSA issues 32 and 39, and JSA Classified issues #1-4. Power Girl: A New Beginning (ISBN 978-1401226183) collects the first six issues of the 2009 series. Power Girl: Aliens & Apes (ISBN 978-1401229108) collects issues 7 through 12, and Power Girl: Bomb Squad (ISBN 978-1401231620) covers 13 to 18, and Power Girl: Old Friends collecting issues 19-27.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Journey from Krypton-Two[edit]

Kara's father discovers that Krypton is about to explode, and places her in a spacecraft directed towards the Earth. Although this occurs at the same time that Kal-L's ship is launched, Kara's ship travels more slowly, and she arrives on Earth decades after her cousin has landed. Kara’s Symbioship is designed to keep her in stasis during the journey and provide her with life experiences and education in the form of virtual reality. The Symbioship allows her to interact with virtual copies of her parents and fellow Kryptonians. By the time she arrives on Earth, Kara is in her early twenties. As mentioned in JSA Classified #1, her age at arrival has been retconned to about eighteen in post-Crisis continuity.

In Showcase #97, Kara is reclaimed by the sentient Symbioship and reimmersed into Kandorian society for a time. Several years of virtual time elapse, in which Kara is married and has a child. She is freed with the assistance of newspaper reporter Andrew Vinson, at which point she disables the ship.

Debut[edit]

Power Girl's first appearance in All Star Comics #58, layout by Ric Estrada, inks by Wally Wood.

Power Girl's existence is not revealed to the general public until much later; her cousin Clark and his wife Lois Lane provide her a family environment to assist her transition towards real life relationships. In her first recorded adventure, Kara assists Justice Society members Flash and Wildcat with containing an artificially induced volcanic eruption in China. She then joins Robin and Star-Spangled Kid to form a Super Squad to assist the Justice Society in defeating Brainwave and Per Degaton, who were causing disasters around the world. She pushes their base towards the Sun, the heat causing the villains to fall unconscious. Later, she becomes a full member of the Society when Superman retires from active membership.

Having been raised by the Symbioship with artificial Kryptonian life experiences, Power Girl finds it difficult to adapt to life on Earth. However, with the help of reporter Andrew Vinson, she adopts the secret identity of computer programmer Karen Starr (she obtains her knowledge in this field from exposure to Wonder Woman's Purple Ray on Paradise Island). On the pre-Crisis Earth-Two, Power Girl's closest friend is the Huntress, the daughter of the Earth-Two Batman and Catwoman.

The first contact between Power Girl and Earth-One's universe was on the crossover Justice League of America # 147, written by Paul Levitz & Martin Pasko, where the character shows her attraction to that reality saying, "It has a much nicer brand of Superman, y'know?".[13]

Atlantean[edit]

The 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series erased the existence of the Earth-Two Superman, and Power Girl's continuity was thus substantially disrupted.[14] Initially she believed herself to be Superman's cousin, as she had been before the reboot. However, her background was retconned; she was told that she was the descendant of the Atlantean sorcerer Arion, and was frozen in suspended animation for millennia until the present day.[15]

After the Justice Society disbands, Power Girl would join the Justice League. Later, while a member of Justice League Europe, she suffers a near fatal injury while battling a mystical being. Superman must assist in her medical treatment, using his heat-vision to perform surgery on her otherwise-invulnerable tissues.[16] Although she recovers, Power Girl is significantly weaker, as she lost her vision powers and could not fly for a time. However, she regained them all as time went on. Power Girl adopts a one-eyed mangy cat, an animal which would affect much of the team. One aspect of this is her beloved cat is used to spy on the group by intelligence gathering criminals.[17]

During the 1994 Zero Hour event, Power Girl experiences a mystical pregnancy[18] and gives birth to a son (supposedly named Equinox),[19] who ages rapidly.[20] Finally he disappears, and has never been mentioned again[21] in DCU.

Power Girl appeared in later issues of the Sovereign Seven series, Chris Claremont's creator-owned comic book for DC.[22] However, the final issue revealed that the entire series had been a story appearing in a comic book, and events in the book have had no bearing upon DC continuity.

Power Girl was one of Oracle’s first agents. Their short-lived partnership ended after a disastrous mission which resulted in a large loss of life.[23] Power Girl believes that Oracle's poor leadership was responsible for the tragedy. Although she has worked with her again on a few occasions when needed, the relationship between the two is tense. In Birds of Prey #35, Power Girl admitted that she is primarily to blame for the tension, but is unable to overcome the memories of the deaths.

Power Girl is a key member of the Justice Society, which she joined when it was reformed in the late 1990s. During an adventure with the JSA, she meets Arion who reveals her Atlantean heritage to be a lie he concocted at the behest of Power Girl's "mother".[24]

While attempting to save her teammate Ted Grant from the new female Crimson Avenger, Power Girl is severely wounded by supernatural bullets fired from the vigilante's cursed handguns. Despite being saved by Doctor Mid-Nite, Power Girl comments that her near-death experience has shown her that she needs to make more personal connections outside of the superhero community.

Infinite Crisis[edit]

JSA Classified: Power Trip[edit]

The Psycho-Pirate shows Kara multiple versions of her origin in an effort to drive her insane. Eventually, he reveals the truth: Power Girl is a survivor of Krypton from the dimension which contained the pre-Crisis Earth-Two.[25]

The other survivors[edit]

In the pages of the Infinite Crisis limited series, Kal-L himself returns to the post-Crisis DC Universe after breaking down the walls of the paradise dimension[26] in which he, Lois Lane Kent (of Earth-Two), Alexander Luthor, Jr. (of Earth-Three), and Superboy-Prime (of Earth-Prime) had been living since the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths.[27] Appalled by the rapidly-deteriorating state of affairs on the contemporary Earth, their goal is to replace the post-Crisis Earth with a recreated Earth-Two. Kal-L's first order of business is to track down Power Girl and explain the events of the original Crisis to her. Kal-L also reiterates her pre-Crisis history as his cousin. A touch from the ailing Lois of Earth-Two inexplicably restores Power Girl's memories of pre-Crisis Earth-Two.[28]

Soon after this revelation, Power Girl is confronted by Superboy-Prime, who renders her unconscious.[29] She is attached to a ”tuning fork,” a device controlled by Alex Luthor whose purpose is to bring back the multiple Earths. Alex Luthor and Psycho Pirate coerce Black Adam (who is also attached to the machine) into saying "SHAZAM!," and use the now-raw magical energy to power the tower.[30] After the reappearance of the created Earth-Two, everyone associated with that Earth is transported onto it (although Power Girl remains on New Earth because of her proximity to the tower).

After being brought to the barren created Earth-Two by Kal-L, Lois Lane Kent collapses and dies. A violent confrontation between the two Supermen ensues, at the end of which Kal-L comes to the realization that this created Earth-Two had not been a perfect world, since "a perfect earth doesn't need a Superman."[31]

Power Girl is freed by Wonder Girl and Kon-El, and joins them in fighting Superboy-Prime and Alex Luthor. During a savage battle on Mogo, Superboy-Prime beats Kal-L to death and is later subdued by Kal-El. Power Girl is brought to Mogo by the Green Lantern Corps just in time to bid a tearful farewell to her dying cousin.[32]

"One Year Later"[edit]

Power Girl as Nightwing, the defender of Kandor. Art by Ed Benes.

In the "One Year Later" storyline in Supergirl, Kara takes up the mantle of Nightwing in an attempt to free the natives of Kandor. Ultraman, masquerading as Kal-El and working in concert with the Saturn Queen, has taken control of the bottle city. Kara Zor-El is the city's Flamebird; she prevents Ultraman's forces from executing the captured Power Girl.[33] Power Girl is forced to leave Kandor with Kara (against her better judgment) after Saturn Queen reveals to Supergirl information about Supergirl's past and purpose. This causes another rift to grow between the two women, as Power Girl feels Supergirl left an entire city of people to suffer, all because of her own selfish desires. This animosity is still on display when she next encounters Supergirl.[34]

Power Girl remains a core member of the Justice Society.[35] Power Girl is selected as the chairwoman of the team after Mr. Terrific steps down.[36]

Power Girl is invited to rejoin Oracle's Birds of Prey, but refuses, stating that she would do so only "when Hell freezes over". Her ill will toward Oracle is the result of a single mission in which she served as one of Oracle's agents, which ended badly.[37] However, Power Girl does come to Oracle's aid against the Spy Smasher in Birds of Prey #108.

The appearance of the Earth-22 Superman (and his resemblance to Kal-L) upsets Kara greatly when he first arrives on New Earth. However, they adopt each other as family after a period of time.[38]

Following the events of Infinite Crisis, a new Multiverse is created. Among them is an Earth-2 from which its Power Girl and Superman are both missing.[39] The Power Girl of this Earth returns to Earth-2 after failing to find her cousin. The Power Girl of New Earth is accidentally sent to the pre-Crisis Earth-2 by the Third World god Gog.[40]

The Power Girl of New Earth faces off against the Power Girl and Justice Society Infinity of the new Earth-2.[41] Power Girl returns to New Earth with the help of the Earth-2 Michael Holt,[42] until the Justice Society Infinity follow her and take her back to Earth-2, where it is revealed that the recreation of the Multiverse created a new Earth-2 and duplicates of its heroes, including its own Power Girl. The Power Girl of New Earth then returns home with the JSA.[43]

Solo series and All-Stars[edit]

Power Girl briefly appears in the Final Crisis crossover event, battling the forces of Darkseid after he conquers the Earth using the Anti-Life Equation.

After deciding to once again use the Karen Starr identity, she moves to New York City and begins rebuilding Starr Enterprises while continuing solo superheroics. She eventually takes teenaged hero-in-training Terra as her sidekick following the horrific events depicted in the Terror Titans mini-series. After the duo fight off a robot invasion of the city, Power Girl is kidnapped by the new Ultra-Humanite, who plans to transplant his brain into her body. Using her ice breath to destroy her gravity enhanced shackles and gag, Power Girl easily defeats the villain and saves New York.[44] She also helps a trio of lost alien princesses and their bodyguard adjust to life on Earth, buying them a home in South America to stay until they can get back to their home planet.

Following a massive battle that ends in the destruction of the Justice Society's HQ, the team decides to split up into two separate squads. Power Girl partners with Magog to start a more youth-oriented team dubbed the JSA All-Stars. Using Stargirl as leverage,[clarification needed] the two are able to convince all of the teen JSA members except Jennifer Pierce to join the All-Stars. During the team's inaugural press conference, they are attacked by a group of mercenaries led by the villainous nephew of Sylvester Pemberton. Karen and her team emerge victorious, only to discover that Pemberton has kidnapped Stargirl during the confusion of the battle. The team eventually rescues Stargirl.

During the 2009 - 2010 "Blackest Night" storyline, both JSA teams gather in Manhattan to stave off the invading Black Lantern Corps. Several of the team members examine the corpses of Kal-L and Psycho Pirate, both of whom had been reanimated as Black Lanterns only to be killed again during a battle with Superboy and Superman. Karen breaks down in tears upon seeing the twisted corpse of Kal-L, and swears vengeance upon whoever is behind the creation of the Black Lanterns. While on her way to the streets of Manhattan to assist her teammates, Karen hears Ma Hunkel screaming. She rushes to her side, only to see Ma being attacked by the Black Lantern Lois Lane-Kent of pre-Crisis Earth-Two.[45] Black Lantern Lois sacrifices herself by removing her ring and giving it to Kal-L to reanimate him.[46] During the battle between Kal-L and Power Girl, Mr. Terrific invents a machine to destroy the Black Lanterns. He activates the machine and it wipes out the Black Lantern ring connection and Kal-L and completely dissolves Kal-L's corpse.[47]

"Brightest Day"[edit]

In the 2010 - 2011 storyline "Brightest Day", Power Girl attacks her comrades, and after being subdued, is discovered to have been possessed by the Starheart (the cosmic entity that gave Alan Scott and Jade their powers)[48] to which she was vulnerable because of her Kryptonian heritage, as Kryptonians draw their abilities from the sun. Staying out of action in order avoid another possession, she helps Mr. Terrific work on a machine that may be able to dampen the Starheart's power.[49] Nonetheless, the Starheart takes control of her body and transforms into her White Martian form, causing her to attack her comrades again. Batman ultimately tells her to stay on Earth and try to fight the other metahumans being controlled by the Starheart, explaining that bringing her along would jeopardize the mission.[50]

During the events of Justice League: Generation Lost, Power Girl assists her fellow heroes in a global manhunt to track down Maxwell Lord, the former head of Justice League International and the murderer of Ted Kord, who had been restored to life at the end of "Blackest Night".[51] Lord uses his powers to erase his existence from the minds of everyone on the planet, including Power Girl.[52] She subsequently helps Booster Gold find proof of Lord's existence.[53][54] Through the course of their search, during which Power Girl encounters Divine, a raven-haired clone of herself, she manages to regain her memory of Lord.[55] As she attempts to inform the Justice Society of this, Lord uses his powers to take control of her and attack the Justice League International, but manages to convince the others of his existence through the exhumation of Ted Kord's corpse.[56][57]

The New 52[edit]

Power Girl (left) on the cover of Worlds' Finest #1 (2012). Art by George Pérez.

During the 2011 relaunch of DC Comics' entire superhero line known as The New 52, Karen Starr appears in the Mister Terrific series as a friend of the titular hero with whom she has a casual relationship. In the series, Starr is still the head of Starr Enterprises, which was financed by her comrade in arms Helena Wayne (Huntress) after the latter hacked into Wayne Enterprises accounts. From a software design and development corporation, Starr Enterprises now purchases intellectual property and technology with possible interdimensional access capabilities so that the two women can return home.[58]

Power Girl subsequently stars in a new ongoing series, Worlds' Finest, which premiered in May 2012. In the new continuity both she and Huntress, with whom she is partnered, are from Earth 2 but were flung into the Prime Earth's universe by an interdimensional vortex of unknown origin during the closing stages of an invasion from Apokolips-2 which took the life of Earth-2's Wonder Woman and original Batman, although Earth-2's Superman is still alive but turned renegade.[59][60] It is also revealed that prior to adopting the alias of Power Girl, she functioned as Earth 2's Supergirl and in stark contrast to the Supergirl of Prime Earth, Karen loves her adopted Earth with a passion and was accepted with open arms by an adoring public.[dead link][61]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Power Girl exhibits all of the classic Kryptonian powers of Superman: super strength; flight; super speed; invulnerability; x-ray, telescopic, microscopic and heat vision; freeze breath; and super-hearing as the biological cousin of Superman.[citation needed]

Over the years various writers have given Power Girl's Kryptonian power differing levels, reflecting the lower powers of the Earth-Two Superman Kal-L. For example, Power Girl can fly through space, but has to breathe, so before she leaves a planet, she must take a deep breath and hold it for several hours until she needs a new oxygen source. Power Girl needs to sleep or she will experience disorientation due to fatigue. However, as recently shown in "Brightest Day", she now draws her superpowers from yellow sunlight, just like Superman. The reason for this change has not yet been explained.[citation needed]

Since she is from an alternate universe (pre-Crisis Earth Two), Kryptonite has no effect on her (see 'Conflicts' below), but she is still vulnerable to magic. As Karen Starr, she is an accomplished business woman and is regarded by Mr. Terrific as a first rate scientist.[citation needed]

Although Power Girl is from an alternate universe, her biology is similar to Superman's. As one of a handful of characters who survived the Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC editorial was initially uncertain how to portray the character and attempted to portray Power Girl with a non-Kryptonian origin for a number of years. Power Girl's abilities have fluctuated since 1986. For some time, Power Girl believed she was an Atlantean.[62] At one point, Power Girl possessed telekinesis;[63] at another she was vulnerable to attacks by certain natural elements (for example, wooden weapons).[64] After sustaining severe injuries from a magic attack Power Girl retained only a degree of super strength, speed and durability.[65] However, she later recovered her ability to fly, and writers have gradually restored her superpowers.[66]

Physical appearance and costumes[edit]

Power Girl's original Wally Wood artwork (1976) showed her as relatively busty but otherwise her figure and build conformed in appearance to other contemporary comic book women. However, in Wonder Woman # 34 (2009), written by Gail Simone, Dinah Lance, the Black Canary, mentions Power Girl as having the top bosom of DCU, comparing her assets with a "national treasure".[67] Her classic suit is one of a skin tight spandex white leotard with very high cut leg holes and an opening in the chest.[68]

Power Girl was at one time portrayed as having a highly athletic but slender physique.[69] Artists Bart Sears (in the Justice League Europe series), and later Alex Ross (in the limited series Kingdom Come) restored Power Girl's well-endowed shape. Ross rendered her as a heavily muscled Power Woman (as if an ardent bodybuilder).

The character is consistently depicted as a large breasted young woman, and her physique is one of her most recognizable attributes—-to the extent that various writers have acknowledged it in both serious and humorous ways.[70][71]

For example, Justice League Europe #37 (1992) attempts to explain Power Girl's revealing costume by having Crimson Fox question her about it; she receives the reply that the costume "shows what I am: female, healthy. If men want to degrade themselves by staring, that's their problem, I'm not going to apologize for it."[72]

Conversely, in JSA: Classified #2 (2005), writer Geoff Johns has Power Girl explain her cleavage-window to Superman, revealing that "the first time I made this costume, I wanted to have a symbol, like you. I just…I couldn’t think of anything. I thought eventually, I’d figure it out. And close the hole. But I haven’t."[73] A similar treatment of the character can be seen in Superman/Batman #4 (written by Jeph Loeb), in which the heroes need to distract the Toyman while Batman and Superman battle Captain Marvel and Hawkman. Batman suggests that Power Girl's endowments would be likely to distract Toyman, a thirteen-year-old boy. Toyman later attempts to make a reference to the size of her chest before being cut off by Batman.[74] A variant of this joke is included in the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies movie.[75]

Power Girl's costume design has varied greatly over the years. Her classic costume design from All-Star Comics #58 is that which is in use today: a red cape and belt, blue gloves and boots, and a white bodysuit sporting a cleavage-exposing window on her chest (its variable size and shape determined by the artist depicting her). This cleavage window was closed for the first time in All-Star Comics #64, pencilled by Wood.[76] According to Gerry Conway it was dictated by publisher Jenette Kahn, because "she felt it was sexist".[77] During her time with Justice League Europe/America, she wears a capeless yellow and white spandex unitard, and later a blue and white spandex unitard with a short mini-cape, headband, and a diamond shaped opening on her chest, once again exposing her cleavage. She has also worn a headband, as had Supergirl prior to her death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. In a guest appearance in Green Lantern, Kara is seen in her large wardrobe closet with every costume design she has ever worn in DC continuity, deciding which costume to wear for that mission.[78] Her original costume returned when Geoff Johns and David Goyer had her rejoin the JSA.[43]

In Justice League: Generation Lost #16, she sports a variation of her traditional costume, that includes pants.[79]

As part of the New 52, Power Girl was reintroduced into the DC Universe as first being the Earth-2 Supergirl, where she wears a variation of the traditional Supergirl costume designed by Kevin Maguire [80] that features a new S-shield, which is the same as the new Earth 2 Superman's, and has a cape that attaches directly to the shield. She also has red gloves and a red belt. However, some aspects of her continuity have been retained- she was still adopted by Clark Kent and Lois Lane, married on Earth 2 before their deaths and still uses "Karen Starr" as her secret identity, as well as still being a software entrepreneur [81] After some time passes, she decides to take on a new identity as she is now trapped on the mainline DC alternate Earth. Here she adopts the identity Power Girl, where she wears a white one piece body suit that covers her legs, with blue stripes along her sides. She also has a red cape that attach to a new P-shield symbol over her left breast.[82]

In Supergirl #19, she returns to her classic costume, complete with the opening on her chest, after her then current costume gets badly damaged.[83]

Other versions[edit]

Lois Lane as Power Girl in Superman #125.
  • The first use of the name Power Girl was a story in Superman #125 (1958). In this story, Lois Lane has a dream where she is a superhero named Power Girl who is constantly coming to the aid of a bumbling Clark Kent whom she dreams as a superhero named Power Man.[84] In Power Girl #23 (June 2011), Power Girl adopts this incarnation's red wig disguise for her Karen Starr identity (along with glasses), after being advised by Superman to make Karen a real person, not just a costume.
  • In the final issue of 52 (2007), a new Multiverse is formed, consisting of 52 parallel realities. As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of these realities, their histories are modified, and one takes on aspects of the pre-Crisis Earth-Two. This reality listed as "Earth-2" has its own Power Girl who has spent years in space searching for her long lost cousin Superman. As shown in several issues of Justic Society (Vol 3 Annual 1 (2008) and issues 18-25), the mainstream Power Girl was sent to Post-Crisis Earth-2 by Gog and was briefly confused to be the Post-Crisis Earth-2 Power Girl by its native heroes. Post-Crisis Earth-2 Power Girl returned to her source Earth and battled the mainstream Power Girl as she regarded the mainstream Power Girl to be an imposter who caused the disappearance of her source Earth Superman who she had been searching unsuccessfully for years off-world. Post-Crisis Earth-2 Power Girl wears the original Power Girl costume and shows herself to be arrogant to the point of being unbalanced, and is overtly aggressive as shown when she openly tortured the mainstream Power Girl almost to the point of killing her as well as directly attacking the Earth-22 Superman. The two Power Girls parted with no apologies given for the torture. Starman stated that the mainstream Power Girl will have important interactions with the Post-Crisis Earth-2 heroes including the Post-Crisis Earth-2 Power Girl at some points in the future (Justice Society Vol 3 #25), despite the obvious disregard the Post-Crisis Earth-2 Power Girl has for the mainstream Power Girl. The Post-Crisis Earth-2 Power Girl has not reappeared since this storyline concluded.
  • In the Tangent Comics imprint, Power Girl is a vastly powered genetically-engineered superhero created by the Chinese government. This Power Girl is of Chinese descent and is married to that reality's Superman who is an African American man with vast psionic powers. This powerful couple have conquered the Earth in the reality of Earth-9.
  • The JLA: Another Nail graphic novel features a Power Girl who is an ally of that reality's Black Canary and Black Orchid. Though visually identical to her Earth-2 counterpart, her relationship to Superman or if she is even a Kryptonian at all is never mentioned in the story.
  • In Kingdom Come, Power Girl is renamed Power Woman, and assists Superman in reforming the Justice League.
  • In JLA: Created Equal, Power Girl is a member of the Justice League. She has a daughter of her own, Kara Zor-L II.
  • Power Girl appeared in the first issue of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, in which she helps Batman to stop Lex Luthor. Much like her mainstream comic counterpart, she came from an alternate universe's Krypton. In her civilian identity, she goes by the name Karen Starr and is a computer programmer. Her goal is to create a device to monitor Earth's condition, so that her new home planet will not suffer the fate of Krypton.[85]
  • A version of Power Girl appeared in Justice League International Annual #5, No Rules to Follow. This version of Kara has no memory of where she came from before she arrived on Earth. As part of a team of ten revealed metahumans, she sides with the heroes who go into hiding.
  • Karen, now stripped of her powers thanks to the Great Darkness Engine, appeared as a prisoner of Kid Karnevil's Neo-Nazi regime shown in the Fatherland storyline depicted in Justice Society of America #37-40. She is portrayed as one of the world's few living surviving superheroes, with most of her comrades having been executed.
  • An elderly, grotesque & blind version of Power Girl, known as Old Karrie, appeared in an alternate timeline depicted in Justice League: Generation Lost. Set in 2351, she is stated to be the sole survivor of a violent metahuman war instigated by Maxwell Lord. According to Karrie, even the immortal metahumans were killed in the war. She also claimed to have lost her powers, as a result of Kryptonite. She is still somehow alive, after more than 300 years, without powers, food or even sleep.[86] Another future Power Girl appears later in the series, fighting alongside a future incarnation of the Justice League. When Captain Atom is once again sent into the future, he meets an older Kara Zor-L, with white hair. She has abandoned her classical white bodysuit for a black one, with bracelets (similar to Wonder Woman's) & Superman's S-shield.[87]
  • In the Ame-Comi line, Power Girl is that universe's equivalent of Superman. She is Kara Jor-El, daughter of Jor-El, cousin of Supergirl, and the primary protector of Metropolis. She makes no efforts to maintain a secret identity, and uses her corporation to utilize Kryptonian technology for the betterment of mankind. This version of Power Girl, unusually for most depictions of Kryptonians, doesn't get her powers from the sun.[88]
  • A red haired version of Power Girl is seen amongst the agents employed by Monarch in the battle on Earth-51 during Countdown to Final Crisis. This version appears to be Kryptonian as she is shown to be susceptible to kryptonite and is slain by that world's version of Batman. Nothing is known about her personality or powers as she is seen only in a few panels and appears to be fully under Monarch's control and arrogantly describes Batman as being 'just a human'. It is the only line she speaks before being slain.

Collected editions[edit]

  • Power Girl (Collects JSA Classified #1-4, Showcase #97-99 and Secret Origins #11)
  • Power Girl: A New Beginning (collects Power Girl #1-6)
  • Power Girl: Aliens and Apes (collects Power Girl #7-12)
  • Power Girl: Bomb Squad (collects Power Girl #13-18)
  • Power Girl: Old Friends (collects Power Girl #19-27)

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Although Power Girl did not directly appear in the Justice League animated series or the follow-up, Justice League Unlimited, the JLU character Galatea (voiced by Nicholle Tom) is based on her. This character is a clone of Supergirl (also voiced by Tom) created by Emil Hamilton (who sees him as a father-figure, he sees her as a daughter) from Project Cadmus as a contingency plan in case the Justice League turned against the US. Although the clone resembles Power Girl and wears a similar costume (at one point, she briefly drapes a red workout towel over her shoulder, resembling the half-cape of her comic book counterpart) and hairstyle, her personality and origin are significantly different, being a supervillain who seeks the destruction of the Justice League. She also possesses a mental link with Supergirl, allowing them to experience each other's recent memories in the form of dreams.
Galatea's first appearance is in the first season's sixth episode, "Fearful Symmetry." She subsequently appears at the end of season 2's "Flashpoint," and she is last seen in season 2's "Panic in the Sky". In "Flashpoint" she is seen throwing a red towel over her shoulder in a manner that would resemble a cape, causing Galatea to look more similar to Power Girl. In her last appearance, "Panic in the Sky," she engages in a duel with Supergirl for control of the Watchtower. She is defeated by Supergirl by trapping her in a contact, causing the total of the Watchtower's power to flow through her, causing an overload. Following the massive surge of electricity, she was left twitching and catatonic; whether or not she ultimately survived is unclear.
Furthermore, this continuity's Supergirl borrows several elements from Power Girl, like having been in suspended animation (which had not been introduced in the Kara Zor-El mythology at that point) and being a surrogate cousin of Kal-El, rather than a biological relative. Also, in her first appearance, in Superman: The Animated Series, when she first meets Jimmy Olsen, she's without a disguise and tells him that her name is "Karen".
  • In the Smallville television series, season 3 episode Extinction, there's a meteor freaks database created by Chloe Sullivan, using a program called Starr-Ware Database System 5.0. Hinting at the existence of Karen Starr's corporation, Starrware, in the Smallville universe.
  • A girl named Kara (played by Adrianne Palicki) appears in the Smallville season 3 finale "Covenant", claiming to be from Krypton, although she does not claim to be Kal-El's relative. However, when Lana Lang asked who she was, Clark pretended Kara was his visiting cousin. At the end of the episode, she is revealed to be Lindsey Harrison, a human empowered and brainwashed by Jor-El's technology. Similar to many of the future superheroes (who tend to be dressed in the same colors as the costumes of their counterparts in the comics) that have appeared on the show, Lindsey was dressed in white (matching the color of Power Girl's costume, minus the red cape & blue boots, as Lindsey never wore either a jacket or shoes).
  • Power Girl is referenced in the Smallville season 10 episode "Supergirl," in which Clark's cousin made her public debut. She's quickly dubbed the "Maiden of Might". Later, however, Lois Lane expresses that she thinks Kara needs a better name. She lists a number of possible names, one of them being "Power Girl". When the complete series DVD was released its bonus features included a commemorative issue of the Daily Planet (the issue in question was seen in the episode "Homecoming"). The commemorative issue features an article, where Alan Scott is being interviewed by a reporter and talks about Karen Starr and her company..

Film[edit]

Power Girl as depicted in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.
  • Power Girl appears in the animated Superman/Batman: Public Enemies film, voiced by Allison Mack. This marks her first true appearance in animation, as opposed to above the JLU version which is merely based on her.[89] In the film, she works under the command of Captain Atom who is under orders from President Lex Luthor. When Superman is framed for murdering Metallo she is the only one of her group to truly doubt his guilt and later switches sides and helps both him and Batman. She attacks Major Force in anger after it is revealed he killed Metallo and then almost kills Batman, unwittingly rupturing Force's containment suit and almost causing him to explode, unleashing his nuclear energies on the city. The potential disaster is averted by Captain Atom, who absorbs all of the dying Major Force's energy into his own containment suit, making himself considerably more powerful in the process but passing out from the strain. She is later stated to have been the one to have helped them escape from Hawkman and Captain Marvel. Like the graphic novel on which the film is based, she is assigned to watch over the new teenage Toyman, Hiro Okamura. Similarly, Toyman also finds her quite attractive, going to the point of "testing" his X-Ray goggles on her, which she finds offensive, so she breaks his goggles, then keeps her distance from him from then on (he later tries to make a comment on her breast size as well, before being interrupted by Batman). She is knocked unconscious by Lex Luthor in his new Kryptonite enhanced battle-suit, but she recovers and is seen at the end, along with her squad members, taking the now impeached Luthor into custody.

Video game[edit]

  • Power Girl appears in the DC Universe Online video game, voiced by Adrienne Mischler. In the villain campaign, the players help Parasite to defeat Power Girl and gain a sample of her DNA so that Lex Luthor can be one step ahead of cracking the Kryptonian genetic code. She is also a playable character in DC Universe Online through "Legends PvP".
  • Power Girl appears as a support card in the iOS version of Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • Power Girl herself does appear as a member of the Justice League in the comic book adaptation of Justice League Unlimited where she appears in issues #8 and #16.
  • Power Girl has been featured in several comedy skits aired beginning in 2010 on G4TV's Attack of the Show. The skits, which also feature parody versions of Superman and Aquaman, feature AOTS guest host Carrie Keagan as a physically accurate recreation of the character, although the skits cast Power Girl in the stereotypical "dumb blonde" role (for example, the second skit has Power Girl trying to convince her friends that actor Kevin Bacon is, in fact, made of bacon).[90]
  • The Buffy episode "Killed by Death" features a flashback scene where a young Buffy Summers is pretending to be Power Girl while playing with her cousin.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Who’s Who in the DC Universe #18 (August 1986)
  2. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 16. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0. 
  3. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Along with artist Ric Estrada, [Gerry] Conway also introduced the DC Universe to the cousin of Earth-2's Superman, Kara Zor-L a.k.a. Power Girl." 
  4. ^ "Hello, Culture Lovers: Stan the Map Raps with Marvel Maniacs at James Madison University", The Comics Journal #42, October 1978, p. 55
  5. ^ The Comic Book Database - Power Girl (1988)
  6. ^ Your Guide to Infinite Crisis: "PowerTrip"
  7. ^ The Comic Book Database - "Power Trip"
  8. ^ Cowsill, Alan "2000s" in Dolan, p. 338: "Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, together with artist Amanda Conner, emphasized the fun of Power Girl in her first ongoing series."
  9. ^ Power Girl (2009) at the Grand Comics Database
  10. ^ Power Girl (2009) at the Comic Book DB
  11. ^ a b Renaud, Jeffrey (March 12, 2010). "Palmiotti, Gray & Conner Off "Power Girl"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  12. ^ Lucas Siegel (2010-03-18). "And The New POWER GIRL Creative Team Is...". Newsarama. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  13. ^ Justice League of America #147 (October 1977): "Crisis in the 30th Century!"
  14. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #11
  15. ^ Secret Origins #11
  16. ^ Justice League Europe # 9 (December 1989)
  17. ^ "Justice League Europe Annual" #2 (1991)
  18. ^ Justice League International # 52 (July 1993)
  19. ^ Zero Hour: Crisis In Time! #0 (September 1994)
  20. ^ Justice League America #105-107 (November 1995 - January 1996)
  21. ^ Justice League America # 108 (February 1996)
  22. ^ Sovereign Seven # 25 (May 1997)
  23. ^ Birds of Prey #42 (June 2002)
  24. ^ JSA #50 (September 2003)
  25. ^ JSA: Classified #1-4
  26. ^ Infinite Crisis #1, 2006
  27. ^ Infinite Crisis Secret Files & Origins 2006
  28. ^ Infinite Crisis #2, JSA #82 (2006)
  29. ^ Infinite Crisis #3, 2006
  30. ^ Infinite Crisis #4, (2006)
  31. ^ Infinite Crisis #5, (2006)
  32. ^ Infinite Crisis #7, (2006)
  33. ^ Supergirl #8, (2006)
  34. ^ Supergirl #19, (Sept 2007)
  35. ^ JSA #85, (May 2006)
  36. ^ Justice League of America, vol. 2 #8 (June 2007)
  37. ^ Birds of Prey #100, (January 2007); and Birds of Prey #42 (June 2002)
  38. ^ Justice Society (Vol 3) #7, 2008
  39. ^ 52: Week Fifty-Two (2007)
  40. ^ Justice Society of America #17
  41. ^ Justice Society 2008 Annual, 2008
  42. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #19
  43. ^ a b Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #20
  44. ^ Power Girl (Vol. 2) #1-3 (2009)
  45. ^ Blackest Night: JSA #1 (January 2010)
  46. ^ Blackest Night: JSA #2 (January 2010)
  47. ^ Blackest Night: JSA #3 (February 2010)
  48. ^ Justice League of America (vol.2)
  49. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #46
  50. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #41
  51. ^ Justice League: Generation Lost #1
  52. ^ Power Girl #13 (June 2010)
  53. ^ Power Girl #14-15 (July–August 2010). DC Comics.
  54. ^ Justice League: Generation Lost #10 (September 2010)
  55. ^ Power Girl #17-21 (October–November 2010) DC Comics.
  56. ^ Power Girl #19-21 (December 2010-February 2011)
  57. ^ Justice League: Generation Lost #18-19 (January–February 2011)
  58. ^ Mister Terrific #1 (September 2011)
  59. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (January 13, 2012). "Paul Levitz Explains More About Worlds' Finest, Earth 2". Newsarama. Archived from the original on January 29, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  60. ^ http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2012/01/12/dc-comics-in-2012-–-introducing-the-“second-wave”-of-dc-comics-the-new-52/
  61. ^ [1] The Source.[dead link]
  62. ^ Infinite Crisis #2
  63. ^ Birds of Prey #42
  64. ^ Supergirl #16, (1997)
  65. ^ Justice League Europe #9, (1989)
  66. ^ Justice Society of America #31, (2002)
  67. ^ Wonder Woman #34 (September 2009)
  68. ^ All-Star Comics #58 (January–February 1976)
  69. ^ Who’s Who in the DC Universe, #18 (August 1986)
  70. ^ Power Girl #1, May 2009 Page 12 and 17
  71. ^ Jeph Loeb. Superman/Batman #6 (March 2004) Page 3
  72. ^ Justice League Europe #37 (April, 1992)
  73. ^ JSA: Classified #2 (October, 2005)
  74. ^ Jeph Loeb. Superman/Batman #4 (January, 2004)
  75. ^ Warner Premiere, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Warner Home Video, (2009)
  76. ^ All-Star Comics #64, Cover (February 1977)
  77. ^ "All The Stars There Are in (Super-hero) Heaven!". Twomorrows.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  78. ^ Green Lantern and Power Girl one-shot(Oct 2000), part of the Circle of Fire storyline
  79. ^ Justice League: Generation Lost #16 (Late February 2011)
  80. ^ http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/GraphicCity/news/?a=55561
  81. ^ James Robinson (w), Nicola Scott (p), Trevor Scott (i). "The Price of Victory" Earth 2 1 (July 2012), DC Comics
  82. ^ Paul Levitz (w), George Perez (p), Scott Koblish (i). "Rebirth" Worlds' Finest 1 (July 2012), DC Comics
  83. ^ Mike Johnson (w), Mahmud Asrar (p), Mahmud Asrar (i). Supergirl 19 (April 2013), DC Comics
  84. ^ "''Carol Strickland's Power Girl Index''". Carolastrickland.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  85. ^ Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 Secret Batfiles
  86. ^ Justice League: Generation Lost #6
  87. ^ Justice League: Generation Lost #14
  88. ^ Ame-Comi: Power Girl #1
  89. ^ "The World's Finest". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  90. ^ G4TV: Power Girl Shares Her Thoughts on Kevin Bacon; accessed Oct. 14, 2010

References[edit]

External links[edit]