by Josh Krubner
Yes, I realize this is something that had leaked months ago and most of the universe saw it. I waited, just like I did with The Flash.
I guess this is the part where I should mention that I’m a huge Supergirl comics fan, and as always the number one complaint by those pursists among us is always “it wasn’t true to the book”- I’ll stop you right there. This was SO true to the “book,” it was bordering on scene for scene, panel for panel… and as much as a part of me wanted to jump for joy that this was finally getting represented… it was the WRONG book.
The Supergirl we saw depicted on the small screen was the spitting image and representation of the 1950s Supergirl. As a HUGE fan of the Silver Age and Silver Age comics, I loved those comics, but understand they’re from a different time and a different place.
The ironic thing about all the heavy-handed “girl power” messages and motifs that hit you over the head SO much- that if one were to make a drinking game out of them, they’d die of alcohol poisoning before the second break- is that they’re being used on the WRONG supergirl.
Yea, it’s a comic book review… you knew we were kinda sorta going into continuity.
The Silver Age
In the 1950s test markets – test markets then being “kids”- were eating up issues of Batman and Robin. The idea of teenage sidekicks on their own saving a town from a vagrant blasting rock n roll music was “neato!” Superman had gone from punching out nazi jaws to “running out of ideas”. This was the era where Lois was fat… then she was black… then Superman was fat. The bottom of the barrel had been scraped, and the men were so far beyond (excuse the pun) “comically sexist,” they made Mad Men look like it was written by that ugly chick who does the show Girls I don’t like.
Batwoman and the original Batgirl were nothing more than classy ladies who were told to smile and look pretty, while women should be seen and not heard. After testing the waters with the original “Superwoman," Krypton’s “Last Son” was gifted with a fellow survivor- his 15 yr old cousin Kara Zor-El.
And that’s exactly what he did… I’m not even kidding. Aside from a few dumb blonde moments where Supergirl doubts herself and spills invisible potions on herself while bored at the fortress, she wasn’t even allowed to be in Superman comics.
By the 60s and 70s, she was given her own book and it was… pretty fucking awful. Despite some god awful 70s stories about voodoo vampires and more rock and roll – comics were weird at this time, remember when they made Speedy a junkie?- but the character herself was great. She was smart, sharp-witted, had a strange mean streak, starting wearing a headband, didn’t want to be in Superman’s shadow and had a mirror relationship with Batgirl like their male counterparts (this time around she was the dark Batman one, and Babs was the light-hearted voice of reason Superman).
She skyrocketed to popularity and even got her own movie…that we don’t speak of…ever.
Part 2: Crisis
They killed off the old timey shit and popular characters in the best event comic ever. One of these casualties was Supergirl. She died. It was sad. It’s also the most famous comic book cover of all time, right behind Action #1. Then they erased her from existence, and restarted Superman in 1986 where he had no cousin.
Ironically, this is the Superman on the show and it makes direct mention of his saving a plane as his first act, which he did in the original Man of Steel – the one where he actually saved people.
Wanting a blonde superman, the 90s came up with a ridiculous story about T1000 meets Ditto turning into “Supergirl” to have sex with the clone of Lex Luthor. If you need a reason why I don’t like the 90s, this is it.
In an arc that’s thankfully/finally being reprinted (I guess thanks to the show), Peter David took the ridiculous T-1000 supergirl thing and merged her with a pure evil Satanist named Linda Danvers. The two turned out to be the earth-born guardian angel of Fire and set out on a quest for discovery/redemption that got way beyond biblical.
Supergirl who has somehow wound up in circa 2002-ish.
The episode built up all these people to act as her “team-kara,” but unlike Cisco, Caitlin, and the show-stealing Harrison Wells, there is NO “FLY KARA, FLY!” moment.
You have Calista Flockhart playing Cat Grant by way of Streep in the Devil Wears Prada meets J. Jonah Jameson and James “the wise sage” Olsen endlessly talking about the superdeeds that have gone down in Metropolis. There’s also the menacing jealous step-sister turned Shield knockoff, and you have a bevy of characters telling Kara that she's just not good enough.
I don’t see this one sticking around, but on the off-chance it does, get ready for the most unintentionally HILARIOUS season finale of all time.
If it was the 1950s, I’d give this episode a higher score, but it’s not. We live in a Snyder and Nolan fueled world where MOS (the dark bleak film, not the lighter 80s comic previously mentioned) is a reality. Most fans reacted negatively to this show based on that movie/the upcoming DC movies.
The Flash has a Pilot that while light in tone, it fits into the darker world established by Arrow. Like Batman and Superman before them, Barry is the day-time hope that tries to bring Oliver’s Arrow-Bat into the light. Barry’s own world is filled with despair and darkness. He’s being mentored by the man who destroyed his entire life and it’s a season long grapple with his relationships, his decisions, and the man he will become as a result. Kara Zor-el Danvers is just a “girl” in the big city, being told she’s not good enough and not “woman” enough. When the Big Bang Theory goes back to Thursday night domination in two weeks, I expect Supergirl to fall many stories in the ratings in a single bound. I’m guessing it’s hate-watch/excitement to see Gotham slowly become Wacky Races but something is keeping people watching that ridiculous trainwreck.
Forgettable and confusing, like many of her stories in the funny pages over the years.
Supergirl gets a C for “CANCELLED.”