Friday, April 19, 2024

Characters I Want to See on Supergirl

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I have a…complicated relationship with the show Supergirl. I would consider myself a fan, heck I’ve written fanfiction for the series. But I’ve also never managed to finish a season. Now, in my defense, I didn’t finish season three because my life went to hell in a handbasket, and I do plan on watching it on Netflix to give it a proper chance. But yeah, I stopped watching both season one and season two out of frustration, exasperation, and mild disgust. I didn’t even plan on watching season two until I started seeing stuff about Lena on Tumblr.

I won’t go into my issues with Supergirl in any detail here, since this is meant to be a happy and light-hearted piece. Suffice it to say that I do have a certain fondness for the show. I like that it has a generally positive tone. I like most of the characters. And I like…some of the plots.

But let’s focus on characters, because that’s something that Supergirl generally does well. Not always *cough*Siobhan*cough*Mon-El, but generally. Being a big DC Comics fangirl, all the shows that exist or are planned excite me. Even Gotham has some redeeming qualities. And there are certain characters that really just make sense to put into Supergirl, at least to me. We’re going to talk about three of them today, in no particular order, starting with…

Power Girl

The fact that Power Girl hasn’t already appeared in Supergirl is kind of astounding to me. Admittedly, she’s had a lot of changes to her origin, but generally she’s an alternate universe version of Kara. And alternate universes have been a part of Supergirl since the first season, so introducing her wouldn’t be that big of a leap.

Is it the costume? I admit, using the current iteration of the costume in live action would be a tricky proposition, very easy to do wrong. But, comic adaptations change costumes all the time. The X-Men films flat out ignored just about every aspect of Wolverine’s super famous costume, and yet we still love Hugh Jackman as the character.

Heck, Supergirl has already changed costumes. Neither Livewire nor Silver Banshee look anything like their comic counterparts, and Kara’s show costume is pretty different from what she was wearing in the comics when the series premiered. So go ahead, put a patch over the boob window. So long as she’s got the cape over one shoulder, the blue gloves, and the big blue boots, we will forgive you.

But frankly, there’s a good reason why Supergirl should have Power Girl, aka Kara Zor-L, aka Karen Starr. And it’s not just a continuity nod. Nor is it an opportunity to have a Parent Trap gag since Kara and Karen don’t really look like each other.

Kara needs female role models, okay? Let’s just be clear on that. Cat Grant is gone, Alex…bless her, but she’s a mess. Lena is her ‘friend’ (I use scare quotes because I ship Supercorp, not because I think Lena is evil) and riddled with insecurities besides. So yeah, Kara is kind of lacking in good women to emulate. And yes, she has Clark and J’onn but dang it, female role models are important too!

Which is where Karen comes in. I admit, my knowledge of some characters is a little spotty. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on Power Girl. I didn’t read much of her stuff pre New 52, and due to my previously mentioned experience of life going to hell in a handbasket, I haven’t been able to afford Rebirth stuff. So I admit, most of my knowledge of Power Girl does come from the New 52, both in her Earth 2 line, and in crossovers with both Supergirl and Harley Quinn. But in these stories, she does seem to largely have her life in order. Admittedly, that could just be because anyone looks like they’re keeping it together when compared to Harley or the New 52 version of Kara, but still.

Karen offers many things to help Kara. She’s an experienced hero and Kryptonian survivor for one thing, and unlike with Clark there’s not the lingering issue of Kara trying to get out of her shadow. Plus, she’s an older woman, which, yeah, that gives her some insight to help Kara. In the New 52, I remember that she was even a fairly successful CEO for a bit.

So all in all, I feel confident in saying that Power Girl brings a good bit to the table here. She’s from an alternate universe, which is always fun and means that you don’t have to have her be a regular. She’s a good role model for Kara, something she desperately needs. And she’s actually a fairly popular character, so bringing her in would get you some fan attention. Just…don’t use the Justice League Unlimited version, okay guys? We want Power Girl, not Galatea.

Amethyst Princess of Gemworld

So, believe it or not, Amethyst is not the most obscure character on this list. Still, a little backstory might be in order. Amy Winston is a seventeen year old girl from an alternate dimension. A magical one mind you, dominated by multiple houses that represent various gemstones. Amy, aka Amaya, was taken from Gemworld by her mother, fleeing her evil Aunt Mordiel because apparently the various houses operate on Highlander rules and every time Mordiel kills someone with House Amethyst blood she gets a little more powerful. Amy was trained in self-defense, including swordplay, and must fight to stop her evil aunt and save Gemworld. So basically She-Ra by way of Steven Universe, with a little A Song of Ice and Fire tossed in for good measure.

Right off the bat Amy brings two obvious benefits to Supergirl. First of all, magic! For the most part Supergirl has avoided magic, aside from Silver Banshee in season one. And that’s a shame, because magic offers an interesting angle for anything involving Kryptonians since magic affects them the same as it does humans. This offers up a potential weakness to explore in a narrative, one less famous and almost clichéd the way kryptonite is. Plus, magic just gives you all sorts of options with regards to settings and effects that you would have a hard time justifying otherwise.

Secondly though, unlike with Power Girl, for Amethyst to work you need to have Kara go to the other world. Amethyst in the city doesn’t work so well. This moves the show to a new set, with new imagery and aesthetics, but without involving characters from other shows like the traditional mass Arrowverse crossovers. (Which, just to be clear, I am a huge fan of. I very much love the idea of taking advantage of your multiple properties instead of having them exist in a vacuum, even if I’m not a big fan of Arrow and kind of iffy on Legends of Tomorrow.)

Still, using Amethyst and Gemworld lets you get into a completely new setting without requiring knowledge of the other setting from the audience. It allows imagination and ingenuity, while shaking things up in a way that sending Kara to another planet wouldn’t.

And you know what? Watching Kara and Amy interact would be fun. You don’t even have to keep Amy’s current age, age her up a little to match Kara’s. Give Kara another female friend, someone to talk to besides Lena and her sister. Amy would be going through what Kara went through in the first season, so let Kara mentor her a bit. Kara’s not a perfect role model, but she is an established and accomplished hero at this point, and a good person, so lean into that! Open up your mind a little and let’s get some magic in Supergirl!

Duela Dent

Okay, so yes, Duela is the most obscure character on this list. If Power Girl is a near certainty to appear at some point, the odds of Duela actually showing up are slim to none. But dammit, I want her in here so much! So much you guys!

Let me explain. Duela Dent is not my favorite DC Comics character. She’s not my favorite DC female character. She’s not even my favorite Batman adjacent character. Duela Dent is, without a doubt, my favorite comic book character period. Across the board, regardless of publisher. DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, anyone. Duela sits on a throne of my love above them all. Eventually I will write a full article on who she is, her various iterations, and why I love her so much in great detail. For now though, we’ll try to keep this short, and stick to why I think she’d be perfect for Supergirl.

There have been four main iterations of Duela Dent over the years. The ones I think fit the best for Supergirl are her Bronze Age and Ame Comi versions. Take the appearance of Bronze Age, and the attitude of Ame Comi, and I think we’ve got something here. So, for those who don’t know, the Ame Comi line of comics was a thing DC did a while back, an alternate world where there were only female heroes and villains, inspired by a popular line of figurines. So essentially Bombshells, but with an anime inspired look rather than a pinup model one (Duela was in Bombshells too actually but…I’d rather not talk about that).

So, in the Ame Comi universe, Duela was the stand in for the Joker. On his deathbed, her father, a career criminal himself, told her to always keep the world guessing. She took this message to heart, and while she does attack the police and rob banks, she’s just as likely to kill fellow criminals and generally make things easier for the police. As she herself says at one point “I’m Duela Dent, I’ll be your ravishing agent of chaos for the evening”.

So, why do I think that Duela Dent, a crazy teenage girl with no powers, makes sense as a villain in Supergirl? Especially in the wake of Reign? Well, because of how drastically she contrasts the other main Supergirl villains. Let me be very clear here, I am advocating for Duela to be a full season villain, not a recurring like Livewire or a one off. I admit, I have not finished any season, but I have read the official summaries, so I at least know more or less what the villains were like. And I have seen pieces of all of them, just not every single episode.

The typical Supergirl big bad is Lawful Evil, older than Kara, and alien in one form or another. They have carefully laid plans with a definite end goal in mind. In contrast, Duela Dent is Chaotic Neutral, younger than Kara, and entirely human. Her plans are quickly thrown together without any thought to the outcomes.

The central problem of any series like this, ones with definitive villains and progressing storylines, is that each villain has to be more threatening than the last. Take, for example, the Kung Fu Panda movies. The villain of the first is more skilled, the villain of the second is smarter, and the villain of the third is more powerful. Each represents not just an escalating threat, but a different form of threat as well. Kara has fought someone of equal strength more than once. She has fought villains that have more resources, or are smarter, or more experienced. Escalating purely on basis of strength becomes silly after a certain point. Duela offers a different challenge. In a straight fight, Kara could beat her without difficulty. But highlight her insanity and resourcefulness, and you get someone unlike anyone Kara’s ever faced.

So, those are the three characters I really want to see in Supergirl. Power Girl to help give Kara someone to help her, Amethyst, to give Kara someone to help, and Duela to give Kara someone to challenge her. What do y’all think? Who do you want to see show up that hasn’t yet? Let me know in the comments!

Images Courtesy of DC Comics

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