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Kara Zor-El (Earth-One)

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Quote1 Besides, I could do with the time to myself... to sit back and think. It's selfish, I know, but I deserve... Whoa! There you go again, Linda! There's nothing selfish about wanting to get into yourself for a while instead of thinking about the whole blasted world! I do enough of that as Supergirl — and wasn't the whole reason for this move... to give myself space to be just plain Linda Danvers? Quote2
-- Supergirl src

Kara-Zor-El, also known as Supergirl and Linda Lee Danvers, is a Kryptonian superhero based in Midvale and later San Francisco, New Athens, New York City and Chicago. She is the cousin of Superman, and for a long time served as his "secret weapon".

Early Life

Kara Zor-El was the last survivor of Argo City of the planet Krypton which had survived the explosion of the planet and had drifted through space. When the soil of the colony was turned into Kryptonite, lead sheeting was placed on the ground. Some while after the demise of Krypton, her parents Zor-El and Allura got married and conceived her. She led a relatively happy childhood[1] until she was fifteen when a meteor shower pierced the sheeting and the Kryptonians began to die of radiation poisoning.

Arrival On Earth

Kara was sent to Earth by her parents Zor-El and Allura to be raised by her cousin Kal-El, known as Superman. So Superman would know Kara was his cousin, her parents provided a costume based closely on the Man of Steel's. Upon meeting Kara (who had begun to display powers similar to those of Kal-El), Superman decided she would become his secret weapon, and explained that her presence on Earth must be kept confidential while he trained Kara in the use of her new powers.[2]

Training

Kara adopted the identity of Linda Lee, an orphan at Midvale Orphanage, hiding her blonde locks beneath a brunette wig. During this period and for two full years, Linda interacted with humans mainly on a person-to-person basis performing good super-deeds on a save-the-world one at a time ratio, using clever schemes while trying to avoid becoming adopted before her time came. A distant precursor for her worldwide -- even galaxy-wide-- fame that was to come soon. Travel to other times or worlds came easy, since it permitted her to be openly seen then. As Superman's confidence in Kara grew, he put her through a test which resulted in her temporary exile from Earth. Through a string of circumstances, she came to learn Superman's dual identity, but proved worthy of the name Supergirl by keeping Clark's private life a secret.[3] Shortly thereafter, Superman publicly unveiled his cousin to the world.[4]

While temporarily un-powered due to the scheming of Kandorian scientist Lesla-Lar who was out to supplant her on Earth, Linda allowed herself to be adopted by engineer and rocket scientist Fred Danvers and Edna Danvers his wife. [5] She revealed her secret identity to both on the same day her cousin Superman finally introduced her to an unsuspecting world.

Public Career

Supergirl Vol 2 19

Changing her name to Linda Lee Danvers (later known as just Linda Danvers), she became a student at Midvale High School, from where she graduated in time (1965).[6] During this period she befriended Lex Luthor´s telepathic sister Lena Thorul who became a helper and confident to both her secret identities apart until she married.

In 1966, Linda went on to study an unrevealed BA in Stanhope College until she graduated there in 1971.[7] She even gained Streaky, a pet cat that also possessed superpowers,[8] a horse named "Comet" that was a magical superpowered pet once described by Superman as "the mightiest Super-Creature on Earth"[9] and joined the Legion of Super-Heroes.[10] Comet the Superhorse became her inseparable companion awhile who was secretly in love with Kara and could romance her while he became human whenever a real Comet passed near Earth, in accordance with Circe's hex. His invulnerability to Kryptonite allowed Supergirl to be saved many times. But both grew distant when she went on to college.

When dreams about her Kryptonian parents Zor-El and Allura being still alive alerted her,[11] she built a machine and brought both back safely from the Survival Zone (where they had teleported during Argo's final moments) with the help of her adopted father's engineering talent. Eventually, they settled in Kandor,[12] and when the city in the bottle was enlarged they lived on Rokyn.[13]

After a stint as an anchorwoman for KSF-TV in San Francisco, and another as graduate student in drama at Vandyre College nearby, Supergirl began to try and establish her own identity and experimented with a wide variety of costume and hairstyle changes; her best-known outfit from this era was a blue v-necked sweater with a small S insignia over her heart, and red hot-pants. While remaining independent from Superman, Kara maintained close ties with her cousin, while handling a succession of short timed jobs like student adviser at New Athens Experimental School in Florida, and soap-opera star in "Secret Hearts" TV series.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

When a cosmic event threatened to destroy the universe (and all of its parallel realities), all of Earth's heroes answered the call. And when Superman was about to be destroyed, Kara sacrificed herself to save him. Superman later learned that Kara had been granted a premonition about her own passing.

Kara Zor-El (Earth-One) dies

Kara dies during the Crisis

But sadly, when the universe was rebooted, time had been altered and Kara was erased from existence. No one even knew that she had died.

Haunting New Earth

Despite nobody then remembering her life in materiality's plane of existence, the soul of Kara made later appearances.

Boston "Deadman" Brand tries to feel the warmth of Christmas by possessing revelers' bodies. Experiencing guilt upon realizing that he has been stealing others' emotions, he flies off, feeling sorry for himself for being denied any reward for a year filled with helping people. A warmly-dressed blonde woman approaches Brand, startling him. She can see the normally-invisible Brand, converses with him, and ultimately reminds him: "We don't do it for the glory. We don't do it for the recognition... We do it because it needs to be done. Because if we don't, no one else will. And we do it even if no one knows what we've done. Even if no one knows we exist. Even if no one remembers we ever existed". The woman reminds Brand that even though he is dead, he is still human, and he should rejoice because it means his spirit is still alive. As she leaves, Brand asks her who she is, to which she replies, "My name is Kara. Though I doubt that will mean anything to you".[14]

The soul of Kara appeared twice to a defeated and imprisoned Linda Danvers to comfort her. Linda acknowledged she has been helped by her phantom-friend several times, and when she asked her name, the smiling spirit answered she had many, but was most fond of "Kara".[15]

Many Happy Returns

A young Kara makes an appearance in the Post-Crisis universe when the villain known as Fatalist changes the course of her rocket and she crash-lands into New Earth. Kara is found and taken in by then-current Supergirl Linda Danvers, who upon learning about Kara's fate, tries to replace her to save her. Unfortunately Linda fails and Kara has to return to her own dimension.

Convergence

Main article: Convergence (Event)

During the events of Convergence, Kara and her cousin are trapped in one of the cities collected by Brainiac. As Superman and Supergirl try to find a way out of the dome surrounding Pre-Crisis Gotham City, Kara learns about her death during the Crisis.[16] Frightened and upset, Kara prepares herself to die nonetheless and opts to not tell her cousin anything[17]

At the end of the saga Kara volunteers herself to once again fight the Anti-Monitor but this time, with the help of Earth-One Barry Allen, the Pre-Flashpoint Superman, and Pre-Zero Hour Parallax, vows to defeat him for the sake of The Multiverse. The group is succesful, and the Multiverse is saved.[18] After the battle against the Anti-Monitor, Kara decides to find their place in the universe and leaves for parts unknown.[19]

Kara is a kind-hearted, optimistic heroine whose personality is defined by several factors: her leaving Argo after spending most of her formative years around Kryptonians, her youth and her need to establish herself as her own person rather than Superman's apprentice and sidekick.

Kara lived in Argo City during her first fifteen years of life before being launched into space. More of an immigrant than her cousin, she struggled to adapt to a very different culture. She felt alienated and very lonely during the first years,[20] but she eventually learnt to love Earth and its people thanks to her cousin and her foster parents.[21]

Due to her youth and inexperience, her teenager self was sweet and innocent to the point of naiveté, but also short-tempered and aggressive, and more proactive than Superman.[22] Being a rookie hero, she often failed[23] and made mistakes which she had to learn from.

When Kara reached adulthood she ditched her initial innocence and became a more confident, mature woman who wasn't afraid to flaunt her sexuality if necessary.[24] However, despite of her greater maturity, Kara still had a very short fuse and little patience for bullies[25] or fools,[26] and was pretty snarky.[27] Unsurprisingly, genocide was one of her hot buttons, going as far as to slap her cousin when he refused to fight an army of genocidal aliens[28]

Secret Identity: Kara Zor-El, Linda Lee Danvers or Supergirl?

Supergirl's alter ego is Linda Danvers (Linda Lee prior adoption). She doesn’t bother to construct a completely different personality like Superman does, opting for wearing loose clothes to hide her muscular body and a brown wig, which she eventually discarded in favor of a Kryptonian comb that altered her hair color.[29]

Young Kara was eager to be a hero, but her adult self grew tired of it and was torn between her desire to have a normal life and her responsibilities as Supergirl.[30] She thought of giving up her Supergirl identity several times, and during a heart-to-heart talk with Kal-El, she explained she wanted to live an ordinary life.[31] Kara left her actress career because her job prevented her from finding time to perform her hero duties or even rest.[32] While going out with her parents after moving to Chicago, Kara stated she had to accept she couldn’t answer all emergencies because she would burn out.[33]

Relationships with allies

  • Superman: Kara's relationship with Superman was complex. Kara adored Kal, although they occasionally butted heads. During her apprenticeship she tried to earn his approval at all times and fretted every time she messed. Afterwards she expected and demanded to be treated as his partner, declaring she was a grown woman, who didn't need his permission or advice and could make her own choices.[34]
  • Batgirl: Kara and Barbara first met when Mister Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite sent both into a pocket dimension as part of still another prank on Superman and Batman. Working together, both women managed to escape and save their mentors from both imps’ trap.[35] Kara and Barbara forged a strong friendship from that day on, even if they didn’t learn each other’s secret identities until several years later.[36] Barbara delivered the eulogy at Supergirl's funeral which was seen worldwide, stating that Kara “was often her confidante and always her friend”.[37] Interestingly, in the rebooted universe, young Barbara had a blonde imaginary friend and dreamed with being a super-hero named “Supergirl”.[38]
  • Wonder Woman: Kara first met Diana while vacationing together, a time during which they fought the villain Multi-Face.[39] Both women respected each other and enjoyed a good number of adventures together. On one occasion, Kara joined the Amazons temporarily, and Queen Hyppolite came to see her as a third daughter.[40]

Romances

Always popular with boys and fond of romances, Kara enjoyed many boyfriend-girlfriend relationships, but she could never keep a steady relationship despite of her desire to lead a normal life and get married,[41] her super-career always interfering with her relationships.

  • Dick Malverne: Dick Wilson –Dick Malverne after being adopted- was Kara’s first serious boyfriend. Both teens grew up in the Midvale Orphanage. Dick knew all along Linda was Supergirl, and he tried to expose her secret identity for a while before opting for keeping it secret.[42] They dated for a while but they grew apart when Linda went to Stanhope College. Several years later Linda saw him for last time when he was dying from cancer. He revealed he always knew she was Supergirl, and they kissed before he passed away.[43]
  • Jerro: Her merboy friend from Atlantis was very fond of her. Kara was in a love triangle with Jerro and Lenora, Lori Lemaris’s little sister. Jerro’s love was unrequited, though, and Kara spent two years dodging his advances or trying to turn him down as gently as possible. When her existence was revealed to the world, Jerro considered that she would have no time for romances anymore and gave up.[44]
  • Brainiac 5: Brainiac 5 joined the Legion alongside Kara.[45] He fell for her during their first meeting, although sometimes he tried to convince himself that he got over his crush.[46] Kara eventually warmed up to him and she kissed her after saving a Supergirl-alike android.[47] Unfortunately, being born and living in different centuries prevented them from pursuing a relationship. After a mission failed, Kara decided to quit the Legion and go back to the 20th century, reassuring Brainiac that maybe she will return some time.[48] Unfortunately she died during the Crisis shortly after.

Kara also had an unrequited infatuation with her boss Geoffrey Anderson when she worked for KSF-TV, and she dated several times when in college, but her relationships never lasted long. As she lived in Chicago, she dated musician Philip Decker for a while but she broke up with him.

Powers

  • Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, The average Kryptonian possesses the potential for the following power set:
    • Solar Energy Absorption: Under optimal conditions, this is the main source of their super powers as they are contingent upon exposure to solar radiation from a yellow sun star system. Their biological make up includes a number of organs which lack analogues in humans and whose functions are unknown. It is believed that between one or more of these and their bio-cellular matrix, "yellow" solar energy is stored for later use. This allows for the use of these powers to fade when yellow solar radiation is not available instead of immediate failure.
    • Heat Vision: Kryptonians can, as a conscious act, fire beams of intense heat at a target by looking at it. Typically, the power is seen as two beams of red light emanating from the eyes. These beams can be made invisible, allowing the power to be undetectable. The maximum temperature of their heat vision is said to be around that of a nuclear detonation. They can also consciously determine the area affected, down to the microscopic level.
    • Super-Hearing: Kryptonian hearing is sensitive enough to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. With skill, practice, and concentration, they can block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source or frequency. As such, they can identify a person by their heartbeat, or pick out a single voice in an entire city.
    • Enhanced Vision Kryptonian vision processes the entire electromagnetic spectrum as well as allowing vast control over selective perception and focus.
      This umbrella ability includes the following:
      • Electromagnetic Spectrum Vision: Kryptonians can see well into most of the electromagnetic spectrum. They can see and identify radio and television signals as well as all other broadcast or transmitted frequencies. Using this ability, they can avoid detection by radar or satellite monitoring methods. This also allows them to see the aura generated by living thing.
      • Telescopic Vision: This is the ability to see something at a great distance, without violating the laws of physics. Though limited, the exact extent of the ability is undetermined. In function, it is similar to the zoom lens on a camera.
      • X-Ray Vision: This is the ability to see through any volume of matter except lead. Kryptonians can see things behind a solid, opaque object as if it were not there. They can focus this ability to "peel back" layers of an object, allowing hidden image or inner workings to be observed. The exact type of energy perceived - such as x-rays, cosmic rays, or some other energy invisible to normal humans - is unclear. This ability perceives an ambient energy source though, it does not involve the eye projecting a concentrated, possibly toxic, beam to be reflected back from objects.
      • Microscopic Vision: This is the ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the atomic level.
      • Infrared Vision: Kryptonians can see with better acuity in darkness, and to a degree in total darkness.
    • Flight: Kryptonians are able to manipulate graviton particles, in an unknown and apparently unconscious manner, to defy the forces of gravity. Under one Earth gravity, they are capable of speeds of multi-Mach speeds in Earth's atmosphere. Their control of their flight is very precise and they can perform aerobatic feats such as hovering, flying backwards and even lifting great weights while flying.
    • Invulnerability: The bodies of Kryptonians are nigh-invulnerable to extreme energy forces. In addition, their immune systems protects them from toxins and diseases. The most common explanations for this rely on the presences of a super-dense molecular structure, a supercharged bio-electric aura which acts as an invisible force field, or a combination of the two. With the aura, it is presumed to extend a few millimeters from the skin as well as within the body.[citation needed] A byproduct of the aura is that items close to the skin share their invulnerability. Using clothing as an example, loose fitting fabric would tend to shred or burn in adverse conditions, but skin tight outfits would not.
    • Superhuman Stamina: Kryptonians have the ability to maintain continuous strenuous physical action for an indefinite period of time. In theory they have unlimited stamina as their enhanced nourishment is produced from the yellow solar energy their cells process, which also provides the majority of the power for their superhuman abilities. However, their base physical structures do need to process food stuffs and they have a psychological need to eat and drink just as Earth humans do. They also require sleep on occasion so that they can dream. They can also hold their breath for an indefinite period of time.
    • Superhuman Strength: A Kryptonian develops enhanced physical strength after absorbing a sufficient amount of yellow solar radiation. This radiation interacts with the greater than human density, resilience and biological efficiency of their musculature to trigger superhuman levels. While the exact magnitude of their strength is unknown, it is generally accepted that it is sufficient to lift 100,000 tons or more. The specific range is unknown as a their strength, like their other powers, may fluctuate over time. Their strength is also more an act of conscious will on energy fields than actual physical strength. It is this act of conscious will that enables them to perform physical feats that are beyond the mere application force, such as moving a mountain top without said rock crumbling under its own mass. At full power, their normal strength levels are well into the multi-megaton range.
    • Superhuman Speed: Kryptonians are able to move at incredible speeds by sheer force of will. They can match most other speedsters in super-fast movements, reactions, and processes. They can use this power to disarm opponents without heightened reflexes, catch bullets or shrapnel or cross vast distances in seconds.
      This also confers:
    • Super-Breath: Kryptonians are able to create hurricane force winds by exhaling air from their lungs. They can chill the air as it leaves their lungs to freeze targets in a variation sometimes called "freeze" or "arctic breath". They can also reverse the process and pull large volumes of air or vapor into their lungs.
    • Vulnerability to Kryptonite
    • Vulnerability to Magic


Weaknesses

Supergirl's rocket

Supergirl's rocket ship

  • This version of Supergirl, including all history and corresponding appearances, is exclusive to the continuity of Earth-One and was initially erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, although some characters such as the late Psycho-Pirate and Power Girl have memories of the Pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El. However the ending of Convergence retroactively prevented that collapse, saving all the alternate realities, though in an "evolved" form.
  • In the rebooted continuity, Kara Zor-El did not arrive on Earth until some ten/twelve years after the establishment of mainstay heroes such as Superman and Batman. However, this information does not apply to her or other versions that may have since appeared.
  • Supergirl was fifteen when she arrived on Earth.[49]
  • Supergirl once owned a male tabby house cat named Streaky. Streaky was accidentally exposed to X-Kryptonite and gained super-powers for brief periods of time. Although super-powered, Streaky was still prone to typical feline behavior, such as using steel street lamps as scratching posts. He lost his powers during Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore when all Kryptonite on Earth is turned into iron (source).
  • Supergirl is also known as the Girl of Steel, the Maid of Might, the Princess of Power, Mighty Maid, the Blonde Blockbuster and the Stanhope Sensation during her college years.
  • Supergirl has studied at Stanhope College, the New Athens Experimental School, Vandyre College and Lake Shore University.

Related


Footnotes


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Superman Family member
This character is or was an incarnation of or an ally of Superman, and a member of the Superman Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Superman Family members" category.

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Legion of Super-Heroes member
This character is or was a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes from the 30th/31st Century, in any one of their various continuities. Including but not limited to, Original Legion, the Reboot Legion, and the Prime Legion.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Legion of Super-Heroes members" category.

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