Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Having lost their short term domination of the comics market (due to default from Dell's devastating split with Western) to Marvel Comics, DC tried to glut the market with any concept they thought could potentially sell. Fanboys had been clamoring for the Justice Society of America at least since Earth-2 had been established, but a funny thing happened on the way to the 1970s. Not only did the JSA look almost like a dadaist JLA (Flash with a hub cap hat! Color blind Green Lantern! Bat-Robin! Mr. Gas Mask! The Sorcerous Spittoon!) but it was a total sausage factory (with distended middle aged veins.) The J.S.A. needed some P.Y.T.s, and Sylvester Pemberton just wasn't going to cut it. Earth-1 wasn't exactly flush with heroines for Earth-2 to parallel, and it would have just been sad to simply port over the pre-New Look beards Batwoman and Bat-Girl. Instead, we got The Huntress and Power Girl.
Initially, Helena Wayne wasn't all that different from Barbara Gordon, but the added responsibility of being the sole guardian of Gotham City in a world without Batman made up for that. Power Girl needed no such qualifiers, because while she may have been the Supergirl of Earth-2, her look and personality were distinctly different from any heroine who had come before her. Cocky, liberated, and extraordinarily capable, DC had really hit the jackpot with Kara Zor-L. Unlike the Huntress, Power Girl had a strong enough personal "brand" to sustain herself when her ties to Superman were severed after the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Still, the '80s and '90s were unkind, giving Kara a frigid bitchy one-note personality and bland new costume in Justice League Europe, then knocking her up with a magic baby, and let's not even get into all the Atlantean headaches. Now she's back to being Superman's other cousin, which I honestly disapprove of, but I can't complain about her fun solo series and spotlight role among the JSA All-Stars restoring Kara's former grandeur.
What I can complain about is Power Girl's wimpy pose on her character card. I guess 1989 was an uncertain time for her, and how she would relate to the DC Universe, but still. Thankfully, there was no such compromising of her stats. Kara's Dexterity was equal to the sensational Wonder Woman, and only two points below Superman. Power Girl's Strength massively eclipsed the Amazing Amazon's by 6 points, which on its own is a higher number than most DC characters got. A Body of 15 was equal to the Martian Manhunter and Lobo, not to mention a point above Captain Marvel. Intelligence of 9 was comparable with Batman, J'Onn and Diana, with Will and Mind only one point below those first two. Influence of 8 was equal to or higher than most Justice League mainstays outside the Trinity. Spirit was about the same or only slightly less than that lot. An Initiative of 42 was about twice the average, well above most DC characters, Superman and Darkseid being notable contemporaries. Her Flight speed was just below Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, and just look at all those double-digit Powers and Skills. Written correctly, Power Girl could be a premier super-hero, regardless of gender.