First Published: November 2008
Contents: Supergirl stories from Action Comics #283 (December 1961) to #321 (February 1965)
Key Creator Credits: Jim Mooney, Jerry Siegel, Leo Dorfman, and others
Key First Appearances: Jax-Ur, Comet the Super-Horse
Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1
Overview: Forget her status as a secret weapon, Supergirl is introduced to Earth as it’s newest protector from Krypton. Working with Superman, she helps patrol the planet during all of the numerous times that Superman is called off into space; called into the future to assist the Legion of Super-Heroes; or called back into the past for whatever reason. 1960s Superman comics – nothing else like it!
The books in this collection fall into some story groups. First up is the introduction of Comet the Super-Horse. Unlike everyone else with the “Super” in their name, Comet does not hail from Krypton. Instead, he was a centaur from ancient Greece. He petitioned the witch Circe to make him into a man, but another sorcerer interferes and tricks the witch into making him into a full blown horse. Unable to change him back, Circe grants Comet superpowers, including immortality. (Because when you are forced to be a horse, everyone wants to live forever.) Arriving on Earth, he meets Supergirl and finds that he can communicate with her telepathically. (Seriously, don’t think too hard about this one….)
The next set of stories deals with Lena Thorul, a resident of Midvale and the younger sister of super-criminal Lex Luthor. Lena has developed ESP, so it’s a challenge for Supergirl to keep her identity a secret from her friend. Lena wants to become an FBI agent but is afraid that her brother’s history will keep her out. When her family connection is revealed, she buys a one-way ticket to Africa and becomes a Tarzan-like jungle girl. (I cannot make this stuff up, people!)
Another set of stories deals with Supergirl’s parents, Zor-El and Alura. We all thought they had perished in Argo when the kryptonite radiation killed off the residents of the floating city in space. Turns out, they managed to exile themselves into the Survival Zone, which is very similar to the Phantom Zone, just without the criminals. Supergirl finds a way to rescue her parents, but now faces a dilemma of having two sets of parents. What is a girl to do? The first thought is to have her birth parents move to the bottled city of Kandor, and live with their fellow Kryptonians. However, Alura’s health starts to fail, as she is suffering from heartbreak over her missing daughter. So, to heal her birth mom, Supergirl convinces her step-parents, Fred and Edna Danvers, to trade places with her real parents, and the three Kryptonians become a super-team family. But then Edna is exposed to an evil spore and attacks Supergirl. Realizing that Kandor is not the best home for them, once again the Danvers exchange places with Supergirl’s parents.
The volume concludes with Supergirl graduating high school and enrolling in Stanhope College. Unfortunately, some of Supergirl’s sorority sisters are a little catty, and Linda must find ways to outwit them to protect her identity.
Why should these stories be Showcased?: Oh boy, where to start…. I gave Volume 1 a lot of praise for telling positive female stories, especially with it being a DC Silver Age collection. This volume falls short on all marks. The various story arcs might have worked better in a romance comic, but these stories are all from Action Comics, the home of Superman and his family. We finally see Supergirl revealed to the world, and then her storylines dive down into mediocrity. Ugh! I know this book is a product of its time, but it has a hard time holding up 50 years later.
Footnotes: Action Comics #285 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 3.
The “Superman’s Super-Courtship!” story from Action Comics #289 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1.
The “Monster From Krypton!” story from Action Comics #303 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 4.
If you like this volume, try: the 2009 Power Girl series, initially done by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Amanda Conner. 2009. Power Girl was introduced in All-Star Comics #58 as the Earth-2 version of Supergirl – see Showcase Presents All-Star Comics Vol. 1 for Power Girl’s debut. Over the years, she served as a member of the Justice Society, Infinity, Inc, and even Justice League Europe. It was probably easier to use her in a story rather than Supergirl, as the big red S shield on Supergirl’s costume carries a lot of baggage with it. The one downside to Power Girl is her longevity; her origin has been changed multiple times due to one crisis or another. She became a hard character to work with, given all of the changes to her back story. Flash forward to 2009, and Power Girl earned her own monthly comic. This is one of the best runs using the Power Girl character, focusing more on the present rather than reliving the past. Most of this series has been collected in trade paperbacks, so give this a look.