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Power Girl
Worlds' Finest Vol 5-23 Cover-1 Teaser
General Information
Real name: Kara Zor-L
First Appearance: All-Star Comics #58 (February, 1976)
Created by: Gerry Conway
Ric Estrada
Affiliations: Justice Society of America
Formerly Justice League Europe
Infinity, Inc.
Sovereign Seven
Birds of Prey
Suicide Squad
Abilities: Master Combatant
Genius-Level Intellect
Portrayed by: Nicholle Tom (Voice)
Adrianne Palicki
Allison Mack (Voice)


History

Origin

Power Girl is the Earth-Two counterpart of the Kryptonian Supergirl and cousin to Kal-L, the Superman of Earth-Two. Possessing her cousin's superhuman strength and ability to fly, she took his place in the the Justice Society of America after he entered into semi-retirement to focus on his personal life. Kara-L has since been recognized as an important member of the JSA. After the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths and the merging of Earth-Two into New Earth, Power Girl was led to believe that she was a descendant of the Atlantean sorcerer Arion. This was later revealed to be a deception, and Kara's true Earth-Two heritage was revealed to her during the "Infinite Crisis".

Journey from Krypton

After discovering Krypton was about to explode, Kara's father Zor-L launched her as an infant to Earth in a ship at the same time that Kal-L's ship was launched. However, Kara's ship took a much longer journey, resulting in her arriving on Earth decades after her cousin. Unlike Kal-L's ship, Kara's "Symbioship" was designed to hold Kara in stasis through the prolonged voyage. In addition, the ship's artificial intelligence had the life experiences and education of a Kryptonian in the form of a virtual reality program wherein she could interact with life-like copies of her parents and fellow Kryptonians. When she landed on Earth, Kara was the age of an adult woman in her early twenties.

Debut of Power Girl

Power Girl's existence was not revealed to the general public until years after her arrival on Earth-Two. Her cousin Clark and his wife Lois provided her a family environment to assist her transition towards real life relationships. In her first recorded case, Kara assisted Justice Society members Flash and Wildcat in containing an artificially induced volcano which had erupted in Peking, China. She then joined them and other young heroes Robin and Star-Spangled Kid to form a Super Squad along with active members of the Justice Society to defeat Brain Wave and Per Degaton's scheme for world domination. Later, she was granted full membership when she took over Superman's vacated spot on the teams roster. Having been raised by the Symbioship with artificial Kryptonian life experiences, Power Girl had trouble fitting into life on Earth, but with the help of reporter Andrew Vinson, she eventually adopted the secret identity of computer programmer Karen Starr. She developed her knowledge in this field from treatment under Wonder Woman's purple ray on Paradise Island. She never wore a mask or other disguise between her two identities and, and at some point, her identity would be revealed to the public. During this time, Kara developed a close friendship with Helena Wayne, the daughter of the Earth-Two Batman and Catwoman.

Modern Adventures

Following the events of the original Crisis, Kara's background was completely altered. The reality wave that eliminated the Krypton of the Earth-Two dimension changed Kara into the descendant of the Atlantean sorcerer Arion, having been frozen in suspended animation for millennia until the present day. After the Justice Society disbanded, Power Girl joined the Justice League. Later, while a member of Justice League Europe, she was badly injured by a mystical being. Superman assisted in her medical treatment, using his heat-vision to perform surgery on her otherwise-invulnerable tissues. Although she recovered, she was significantly weaker, lost all of her vision powers, and temporarily lost her ability to fly. During Zero Hour, she was mysteriously impregnated. She gave birth to a son, Equinox, who aged rapidly through artificial means. He later disappeared, never to be heard from again. Power Girl was recruited to be one of Oracle's first field agents. Their short-lived partnership ended in failure after a disastrous mission that resulted in a large loss of life. Power Girl believed that bad orders from Oracle were to blame for the tragedy and disliked Oracle intensely as a result (although she has worked with her again on a few occasions when needed).

Infinite Crisis

During the events of Infinite Crisis, Power Girl was shocked to learn from Arion that her Atlantean origin was a lie. The story was crafted for her own protection, and was created by her foster mother, Lois Lane. The Psycho-Pirate showed Kara multiple origins in an effort to drive her insane, but eventually revealed that her Kryptonian origin was her true origin: Power Girl was not only a survivor of Krypton, she was also a survivor of the entire Earth-Two universe. It is still unclear why she survived the Crisis retaining her pre-Crisis origin, when other Earth-Two figures, such as Jay Garrick and Alan Scott, did not.

The Other Survivors

Kal-L himself returned to the mainstream universe after breaking down the walls of the paradise dimension in which he, Lois Lane-Kent, Alexander Luthor, Jr., and Superboy-Prime had been living since the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Appalled by the rapidly-deteriorating state of affairs on the contemporary Earth, their goal was to replace the post-Crisis planet with a recreated Earth-Two. Kal-L's first order of business was to track down Power Girl and explain the events of the original Crisis to her. He also reiterated her pre-Crisis history as his cousin. A touch from the ailing Lois Lane-Kent inexplicably restored Power Girl's memories of Earth-Two. Soon after this revelation, she was confronted by Superboy-Prime, who rendered her unconscious. In her sleep, she was attached to a "tuning fork", a device controlled by Alex Luthor whose purpose was to bring back the multiple Earths. Alexander Luthor, Jr. and Psycho Pirate coerced Black Adam (who was also attached to the machine) into saying "SHAZAM!," and used the now-raw magical energy to power the tower. After the recreation of a duplicate Earth-Two, everyone associated with that Earth was subsequently transported to it. However, Power Girl would remain on the core Earth reality because of her proximity to the tower. After arriving on the recreated Earth-Two, Lois Kent collapsed and dies. This led to a violent confrontation between the two Supermen, at the end of which Kal-L came to the realization that the recreated Earth-Two had not been a "perfect world" since "a perfect earth doesn't need a Superman." Kara was freed by Wonder Girl and Kon-El and joined them in fighting Superboy-Prime and Alexander Luthor, Jr.. During the savage battle on Mogo between Superboy-Prime and the two Supermen, Kal-L was killed. Power Girl arrived on Mogo with the Green Lantern Corps just in time to bid a tearful farewell to her dying cousin.

One Year Later

Kara's recognized history as an Earth-Two being was re-established as her natural state, but how she continued as an Earth-Two dimensional being despite everyone else from the same original Earth-Two dimension including Alan Scott and Jay Garrick and every other dimensional surviving being such Captain Marvel (Earth-S) who were all destroyed and reformatted to be native to the current Earth and its history such as Captain Marvel (Billy Batson), has NOT been specifically clarified. Nor is the fact that she is now powered by yellow sun radiation while the only other known surviving Earth-Two dimension Kryptonian, Kal-L, is not effected by red sun radiation and possessed superhuman powers while on Krypton. As yet, these situations have not been addressed. To further complicate the matter of her basis and identity, Kara is now (as of Justice Society (Vol 3) #9) to have been raised as the cousin of the current Superman and living with the current Kents and inspired by him to join the Justice Society as done by Kal-L in the Earth-Two dimension (as shown most recently in 52 issue 36) where her cousin Kal-L was training her and announced her superhero appearance. Currently Kara remembers living through both histories.

Power Girl was shown to have been working under the guise of Nightwing in the dimensionally separated Kryptonian city of New Kandor. Kara-L was working alongside her dimensional counterpart, Supergirl, who had adopted the alias of Flamebird while on New Kandor. They left New Kandor, Kara-L and Supergirl had revealed that the supporter of the cult of the Saturn Queen was not the Primary Earth Superman but Ultraman using Superman's identity. After exposing Ultraman, Kara-L decided to leave New Kandor who was shown to accept Saturn Queen as a legitimate entity. Supergirl wanted to stay and overthrow them completely. Sensing the pointlessness in fighting those who accepted the villains as their choice, Kara-L dragged Supergirl out of New Kandor which led to a strain between the two. Power Girl went on to help re-form the current roster of the Justice Society of America, where she was elected Chairperson of the reformed team. Currently she is helping the Earth-22 Superman adjust to life on New Earth and coming to grips with the death of her cousin Kal-L. When confronting the super-being known as Gog, Power Girl was sent to the parallel Earth known as Earth-2 as part of Gog's understanding of "sending her home". Thinking she had somehow returned to her home reality of Earth-Two, she sought to adapt to life there with the counterparts to her long dead (and historically erased) friends. But she noticed several major differences to her own reality in the form of Helena Wayne, who was intentionally going to murder the Earth-2 Joker. Kara took the brunt of the Joker's electrical attack, preventing Helena from actually doing the deed and saving Helena from a terrible mistake. However, Helena immediately sided with the long missing Earth-2 Power Girl who brutalized Kara Zor-L after showing a far greater power level than Kara herself. Power Girl was trying to avoid fighting her unbalanced Earth-2 counterpart and her associates of the Justice Society Infinity as she sought to return to her adopted reality and friends. Once back in the New Earth reality, Power Girl resumed her position as leader of the JSA. She also began devoting more time to her old R&D firm, Starrware Labs.

Post FlashPoint

Power Girl's history was heavily altered after the events of Flashpoint. In the new timeline, Earth-Two Kara was erased off existence, and the Kara Zor-L of Earth-2 took her place. Kara was the Supergirl of Earth-2 and the cousin of Superman. She was also best friends with Helena Wayne, the Earth-2 Robin and Batman's daughter. Supergirl was one of the heroes who defended Earth from Darkseid's invading forces. She did not get directly involved in the fight; instead, she guarded the nuclear devices that the world's governments had decided to keep to the very last. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were killed, but they managed to destroy Darkseid's towers, disabling the Parademons and saving Earth. As Supergirl caught up with Robin, and without any time to grieve their lost mentors and family, their attention was caught by a Boom Tube portal with a lone figure appearing within it. The Earth's last two remaining heroes plunged into the portal. The portal led them to Earth-0. Karen and Helena established new identities to blend in, but they also sought a way to return home. Karen used her powers quietly, working to buy or "borrow" as much advanced technology as possible. She had since become a public figure and quite wealthy. Also, she assumed the identity of Power Girl to continue her superhero duties.

Powers and Abilities

Powers

Power Girl exhibits most of the classic Kryptonian powers of Superman on Earth: super-strength, flight, invulnerability, X-ray vision, heat vision, and super-hearing. The specific scope of these abilities have changed drastically over the years, often in time with a change in her personal history.

Kryptonian Physiology: Power Girl's cellular structure is more dense, resilient and biologically more effective than Earth human tissue. She does possess several additional organs, the function of which are not yet disclosed or understood. Power Girl has manifested a wide range of metahuman abilities and is considered to be one of the most powerful metahumans alive. Power Girl's body also actively stores energy within her bio-cellular matrix as an energy pattern that is linked to her body's electromagnetic field. This energy powers most of Power Girl's electromagnetic capabilities such as flight and heat vision.

Solar Energy Absorption: Over the years this basis has changed with Kara-L originally being a Kryptonian of the Earth-Two dimension, her powers originally were based on her own body generated energies, as Kryptonians native to the original Earth-Two dimension possessed powers on their red sun planet. Later Kara-L's powers were changed to reflect the current incarnation of Superman whereby her powers are supposedly the result of yellow sun radiation charging. This is a point of contention currently for Power Girl's powers are supposed to reflect that of her cousin Kal-L whose superpowers operate regardless of yellow sun radiation rather than that of the current primary Superman, though it seems that her powers do reflect that of the current Superman as her powers do seem to fluctuate under red sun as recently shown in her time in the New Kandor where she was operating without her superpowers.
Superhuman Strength: Her physical strength is greatly magnified by the combination of her more-efficient muscular system and the enhancement of her skeletal system's structural integrity. It is unknown what her top limit is but it is suggested to be easily well above the 100 ton level , without her power being tampered with. Continual exertion will deplete her solar energy, and greatly exceeding her normal lift will drain her more rapidly. At the level of complete solar depletion, Power Girl can lift/exert no more than a normal human female who engages in regular intense exercise.
Invulnerability: Power Girl's body is more durable and resistant to damage than a human being. The most common explanations for her invulnerability are the possession of a super-dense molecular structure powered by yellow solar radiation.
  • Healing: Kara heals faster than a human being.
  • Super Immunity: In addition, her immune system protects her from most toxins and diseases.
Superhuman Stamina: Power Girl's body stores and processes solar energy at a rapid rate and for a variety of effects. Her storage capacity is unknown, although she has been shown to need rest on a regular basis even when charged.
Flight: Kara-L has the ability to fly. It is unknown at present whether her power is a result of mental or physical ability. She can move herself and extremely large and massive objects off the surface of the Earth. Her top speed is unknown but is known to be at least supersonic. Kara's control is highly precise; she can perform aerobatic feats such as hovering, flying backwards and even lifting great weights while flying.
Superhuman Speed: Power Girl's enhanced metabolic rate, muscular speed, and nervous system grant her incredible speed. Her Kryptonian structure and the solar energy paths that course along her neurophysical structure allow her to react at many times normal human speed. She can move faster than the human eye can perceive if necessary, but this requires extra effort. Her reflexes are quick enough to allow her to dodge most projectile weapons. Power Girl is at least fast enough to run/move at supersonic speeds while on earth, and reach speeds sufficiently in excess of escape velocity under her own power while in space.
Power Girl's perceptions are similarly rapid, allowing her to see individual bullets fired from high-speed automatic weaponry in flight and outrace them easily. Moving at extreme speeds for extended periods of time rapidly drains her solar reserves.
Super Breath: Kara-L can generate a concentrated gust of wind from her mouth capable of freezing matter within a limited range.
Enhanced Senses: Kara-L possesses super enhanced senses that allow her to detect vibrational movements at least in the sub-atomic motion level. Some of her known super-senses include
Vision specific powers
  • Telescopic Vision: Kara-L can perceive objects at great distances. The range of her telescopic vision is unknown, but she can see objects from several hundred miles away. This ability operates independently of normal vision and can be activated or deactivated by an act of will.
  • X-Ray Vision: Through an act of will, Kara-L can perceive items in the electromagnetic spectrum through solid objects of varying depths and thickness. The exact range and mechanism of Kara's X-ray vision is unknown. She also can not look through massively dense objects or materials, including lead.
  • Microscopic Vision: The ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the atomic level.
  • Electro-magnetic Spectrum Vision: Kara can see well into most of the EM spectrum. She can see and identify radio/television and any and all broadcast/transmitted frequencies, allowing her to avoid detection through radar or satellite monitoring methods.
  • Heat Vision: Kara-L has the ability to generate concentrated lines of force from her body along her line of sight. This act is a conscious act of energy manipulation from all observed events and not an expulsion of energy from her retinas. She focuses light along various frequencies in a continuous release that she is able to contain mentally as she has been shown with the energy actively contained around her eyes before releasing it or allowing it to disperse. Power Girl can control her heat vision and direct it wherever she can look. She cannot use the power without opening her eyes to direct the energy, nor has she been observed to be able to project this energy from any other part of her body in this manner. The heat beams are mentally controlled and that control is apparently reflexive, so she can shut it off without accidentally damaging anything that she does not want to.
Other super-sensory powers
  • Superhuman Hearing: Kara has the ability to hear any sound at any volume or pitch from vast distances. Presently Kara-L has not been able to use this power over mediums where sound waves are unable to travel such as outer space, suggesting that her power is based on her physical ability to hear and not a form of mental telepathy that corresponds to sound.

Abilities

Master Combatant Kara has trained with several notable teachers including her teammate Wildcat, who is a world renowned boxer and hand to hand combatant. She was also trained in Karate by martial arts instructor Mongo Krebs.

Genius-Level Intellect: Power Girl has shown enhanced memorization, intelligence and computational abilities; her mind works sharply and with extreme speed.

Strength

  • Class 100+. Power girl is easily strong enough to lift 100 tons with minimal effort

Weakness

Magic: Power Girl is vulnerable to magic and magic systems. Kara's Kryptonian biology is open to certain radiations, particularly magical energies whose chaotic electromagnetic or extra-dimensional signatures disrupt her body's stability. Power Girl's vulnerability to magic varies on the special effects of the magic. She can be injured and worn down by magical entities. Magic can have powerful and unpredictable effects and her magical enemies have often proven to be the most dangerous.

Psionics Kara-L is as vulnerable to psionic attacks as a normal human being. She is subject to mental domination attacks against her. Those whose mental powers are superior to her own have been able to rendered her unconscious or disrupt her natural thought processes.

Vision Limitation: Kara's x-ray vision cannot penetrate lead or lead-lined walls or object of dense enough structure. Certain energies also can be used to block her from visually analyzing them.

Kryptonite: Since the destruction of Krypton, its remains (rendered radioactive by the explosion) have been spreading throughout the universe as Kryptonite, a crystalline substance whose specific radiation is lethal to Kryptonians. In the Earth-Two dimension, there was only one type of Kryptonite, Green, and its effect was directly poisonous to Earth-Two Kryptonians. The long term effects of other races being in close or direct contact with Earth-Two Kryptonite is unknown.

Originally Kryptonite from other realities effected Kryptonians regardless of their reality of origin, as shown when Kal-L battled the Earth-Three dimension Ultraman. After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Kryptonite effected only those who come from the same reality as the Kryptonite. Kara was shown to be effected by the same liquified Kryptonite that used on the New Earth Superman and Supergirl.

Solar Energy: Originally Power Girl as an Earth-Two Kryptonian did not function on solar power, but her own body generated energies. However, based on recent events Kara operates in a similar way to the New Earth universe Kryptonians whereby she requires solar energy to function at peak capacity, or her powers fade to greatly reduced levels, some disappearing entirely if her solar reserves are empty. Power Girl cannot absorb energy from the lower frequency orange O-class stars and cannot process the higher-frequency White K or blue F classes; blue B and yellow G type stars are ideal.

Power Girl can survive conditions in deep space, but she does need to breathe, eat, sleep, and excrete. Kara is able to hold her breath for long periods of time, the exact length of which is unknown. Kara requires sleep on a regular basis in order to function at her peak mental efficiency, as well needing to dream, or she will experience the psychological effects of sleep deprivation as would any other person.

In the plot line of New Kandor, Kara is shown not to have her powers replenished by red sunlight, and its radiation can be used to weaken her.

In Other Media

  • Coming Soon

See Also

Notes

  • Although Power Girl does not wear a mask, she does maintain a secret identity.

Power and Background Problems

Kara's current known superpowers appear to be based on yellow solar radiation rather than her own internally generated bio-energy. This is an on-going source of contention as repeated several times she is supposed to be from the destroyed Pre-Crisis now erased Earth-Two reality. As revealed by Psycho-Pirate (Roger Hayden) and repeated in 52 36, Kara is supposed to be the extra-dimensional counterpart of Supergirl native to the Earth-Two dimension, which was destroyed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths and erased from existence. Previously she was thought to be an Atlantean being.
Kara's powers are also effected by New Earth dimension Kryptonite, as most recently shown in Superman #670 where the same Kryptonite material that effected the New Earth Superman and Supergirl also effected Kara in the same way. In pre-Crisis times, Kryptonite from one dimension did work on a Kryptonian from another dimension as shown when Ultraman from Earth-Three fought Kal-L and the Earth-One Superman. However this is no longer the case as Kryptonite from different dimensions does not effect Kryptonians who are not from the same universe. Kara's fluctuating immunity may be a result of the merging of dimensions during the Crisis. As of Infinite Crisis 7, it has been positively shown that the Kryptonite available in the mainstream DCU does not affect Kryptonians from other universes, such as the now dead Kal-L or Superboy-Prime.
Thus if Kara was a true Earth-Two Kryptonian she would not need yellow solar radiation to use her superhuman power nor be effected by New Earth dimension Krptonite but she has been repeatedly shown to be.
Some further contend Power Girl's current nature controversy as an Earth-Two Kryptonian powers were specifically stated to exist while the populace lived on Krypton, which is completely different from the structure of the Pre-Crisis Earth-One Kryptonians and that of the post-Crisis DCU whose Kryptonians do not have any powers under a red sun. Thus if a native Earth-Two Kryptonian, Kara should not be effected whether she is in a red sun system or not, as is Kal-L. But this is clearly incorrect as she was powerless on New Kandor which was without yellow sun radiation. Thus it is suggested that Kara is still not a true Earth-Two Kryptonian but recreated in some undetermined way to be Kryptonian-like or a Kryptonian native to the current universe.
Currently it is not explained in any published story yet how Kara survived the universal reset of all beings in the reformatted universe at the end of the Crisis on Infinite Earths which affected all other beings in the universe and its parallel higher dimensions such as the Olympian Gods and Mister Mxyztplk who despite their truly near infinite power levels were affected by the reset.
Some suggest that while Kara may remember being from Earth-Two after the events of Infinite Crisis, her body and physical nature are still native to the current universe. As such, her powers seeming to be of the nature of Earth-Two Kryptonians are the result of Alexander Luthor, Jr. temporarily re-creating Earth-Two and reformatted Kara to match the recreated Earth-2. Thus, she would not be a true Earth-Two Kryptonian despite what Kal-L and Lois have said. This would explain why her powers reflect the current Superman rather than her cousin, Kal-L.
Also most of what Kara remembers of the Silver Age Power Girl/Huntress stories involving Power Girl were revealed to be her dreaming and not actually remembering.

Trivia

  • In an issue of Birds of Prey, Power Girl was mistakenly referred to as Karen Steele instead of her actual civilian name of Karen Starr.

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