Kara was born into the Kryptonian House of El family on the planet Krypton. As a teenager, she frequently witnessed her father Zor-El in disagreement with his brother Jor-El while she kept watch over her infant cousin, Kal. When the renegade military leader General Zod staged a coup against the reigning Kryptonian government, Jor-El realized that their home world's existence would soon end. Having already journeyed to the planet Earth years earlier, Jor-El placed baby Kal-El inside of a rocket ship and directed him towards Earth. Jor-El's Martian liaison John Jones sent young Kara inside of a similar vessel into exile and told her to keep an eye over her cousin. Kara left Krypton, having no idea that the planet of her birth would soon be destroyed.
Kara's ship landed on Earth at approximately the same time as the first meteor shower. Her ship crashed in the lake outside of Reeve's Dam and Kara was placed into a state of suspended animation. She remained dormant for eighteen years, her body slowly absorbing Earth's yellow sunlight even from beneath the water. By this point in time, her "baby" cousin, was now fully grown and living on Earth under the human name Clark Kent. Clark had come into conflict with a “Bizarro” duplicate of himself and the two fought at Reeve's Dam. The fight dislodged Kara's ship, setting her free. Swimming to the surface, she found Lex Luthor drowning in the lake. She pulled him to shore, and though barely conscious, Lex was able to see the face of his savior.
Kara quickly discovered that she had gained startling new powers under Earth's yellow sun. The first of her gifts was the ability to fly. She flew to the top of the Smallville water tower, before streaking off into the sky. Clark witnessed this spectacle and realized that there was now another Kryptonian in his life. When he told his friend Chloe Sullivan what he had seen, Chloe dubbed the mysterious Kryptonian "Supergirl".
Not realizing that she had spent so many years in suspended animation, Kara began scouring the town looking for baby Kal-El. Unlike Clark however, Kara did not feel the need to hide her powers in any way. Clark finally caught up with her and it was then that he realized that not only was this young woman from Krypton – she was also his cousin. Clark somberly revealed to Kara the fate that ultimately befell Krypton.
Inviting her into his home, Clark provided her with an Earth name Kara Kent and attempted to pass her off as his human cousin. He began training her in the use of her powers, paying particular attention to sensory based abilities such as super-hearing and heat vision.
- Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Kara possesses the same potential powers as an average Kryptonian. These include:
- Solar Energy Absorption: Under optimal conditions, this is the main source of Kara's super powers as they are contingent upon exposure to solar radiation from a yellow sun star system. Her 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 her 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: Kara can, as a conscious act, fire beams of intense heat at a target by looking at it. She can vary the heat and area affected.
- Super-Hearing: Kara's hearing is sensitive enough to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. With skill and concentration, she can block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source or frequency.
- Enhanced Vision Kara's 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: Kara can see well into most of the electromagnetic spectrum. She can see and identify radio and television signals as well as all other broadcast or transmitted frequencies. Using this ability, she can avoid detection by radar or satellite monitoring methods. This also allows her 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. Karas can see things behind a solid, opaque object as if it were not there. She 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: Kara can see with better acuity in darkness, and to a degree in total darkness.
- Flight: Kara is able to manipulate graviton particles to defy the forces of gravity and achieve flight. This ranges from hovering to moving in any posture, in any direction.
- Invulnerability: Due to the interaction of her dense molecular structure and supercharged bio-electric aura, Kara is nigh-invulnerable to extreme energy forces. In addition, her extends this protection against toxins and diseases.
- Superhuman Stamina: Kara is able to maintain continuous strenuous physical action for an indefinite period of time. This based on her body converting yellow solar radiation directly to energy, but is limited by physiological and psychological needs to eat, drink, and sleep.
- Superhuman Strength: Kara's strength is augmented by yellow solar radiation interacting with the greater than human density, resilience and biological efficiency of her musculature. Her strength is more an act of conscious will on energy fields than actual physical strength. It is this act of conscious will that enables her 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.
- Superhuman Speed: Kara is able to move at incredible speed by sheer force of will. This extends to her perceptions and allows for feats such as catching bullets in mid flight as well as covering vast distances in little or no time.
This also confers:
- Super-Breath: Kara is able to create hurricane force winds by exhaling air from her lungs. She can chill the air as it leaves her lungs to freeze targets. She can also reverse the process to pull large volumes of air or vapor into her lungs.
- Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Kara possesses the same potential weaknesses as an average Kryptonian. These include:
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Smallville and its tie-in and comic book series, Smallville and Smallville Season 11. It is an adaptation of Kara Zor-El/Supergirl. The original character was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino and first appeared in Action Comics #252.
- Kara Zor-El was portrayed by Laura Vandervoort on the series Smallville.
- 39 Appearances of Kara Zor-El (Smallville)
- 22 Images featuring Kara Zor-El (Smallville)
- 3 Quotations by or about Kara Zor-El (Smallville)
- Character Gallery: Kara Zor-El (Smallville)
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