Power Girl

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"Stand aside, Busty Airborne Lass!"


Quite possibly Most Common Superpower incarnate.

The 1970s version of All-Star Comics, starring the Justice Society of America, featured the original versions of many of DC Comics' superheroes and their families, living in a parallel universe known as Earth-2. In issue #58 (January-February, 1976) a new character debuted, created by Gerry Conway, Ric Estrada, and Wally Wood. Power Girl was introduced as the counterpart of Supergirl- she was the cousin of Earth-2's Superman (Kal-L). It was decided to make her as different as possible from Supergirl- including a different costume, code-name, personality and (most notably) a sexier body.

Karen Starr, the name she adopted, proved a hit with readers. She received solo stories in "Showcase" #97-99 (February-April, 1978). DC was considering launching a Power Girl series. But in 1978, the DC Implosion struck, with the cancellation of over 24 ongoing titles. There was no room for new titles. Karen did however become a founding member of Infinity, Inc.. Regularly appearing in the 12 first issues of said series, and occassionally turning up in subsequent ones.

And then Crisis on Infinite Earths hit and not only wasn't there an Earth-2 anymore, but Superman was now again the last Kryptonian. Power Girl was given a new origin as an Atlantean. After some silly retcons, including one period where she was vulnerable to "natural, unprocessed materials," Infinite Crisis and a Power Girl mini-series finally cleared up her origin by having her be... the cousin of the Earth-2 Superman (after reality got Cosmic Retconned again).

She is a member of the Justice Society of America and now has a new comic book, started in 2009 by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and beautifully drawn by Amanda Conner. In it, she has reestablished her Secret Identity of Karen Starr and established the company Starrware, all the while mentoring Atlee, the new Terra, and trying to stop the Ultra-Humanite or really hot aliens from destroying New York. The series takes a Lighter and Softer approach to the character and the DC Universe at large, and focuses on Power Girl's attempts to reintegrate into living a normal life and forming a stable relationship with Terra.

After issue #12 the original creative team left the series, replaced by Judd Winick and Sami Basri, and the series shifted both its visual and writing style. The new arc focused less on Power Girl's personal life, instead revolving around her heroic activities and how they affected her personal life, and also dealt with the reappearance of Maxwell Lord. The story is heavily tied into the Brightest Day event, though not published under the Brightest Day banner, and has interweaving plotlines with Justice League: Generation Lost. There was initial fan opposition to the change in creative control when it was announced, but reactions to the series itself can not yet be judged.

After the "New 52" DC Universe reboot, Power Girl reappeared as Karen Starr in a supporting role for Mister Terrific. Paul Levitz has confirmed that Power Girl will star a new ongoing with Huntress, a new volume of World's Finest, where she is revealed to be...the cousin of the Earth-2 Superman. This time, however, she has been explicitly described as the Supergirl of Earth-2, having started her superhero career as Supergirl when she was younger.

Tropes used in Power Girl include:

Let's get these out of the way, shall we?

A popular Urban Legend states that all of this was the result of an in-joke by her original artist, Wally Wood, who drew her breasts bigger every issue just to see how far he could get away with it. However, examination of her original issues shows a consistent portrayal, and no source has been presented to give authenticity to this legend, so it has been effectively debunked.

And now for the rest:

  • Action Girl: Considered the strongest woman on Earth by many! Including herself.
  • Aborted Arc: Whoo boy, where do we even begin? With the unceremonious cancelation of her 2009-2011 series to make way for the New 52 reboot, several aspects of Power Girl's character were rewritten, and in some cases, completely written out, including several clearly planned future storylines and arcs. Some of these include:
    • Virtually her entire supporting cast. While members of her cast would appear after the New 52, they were often characters who were not primarily Power Girl characters, and didn't really interact with her nearly as much anymore.
    • A storyline involving a character named Mazin, a kind-hearted but broody Muslim man wrongly imprisoned after being 'mistaken' for being a terrorist, joining the Justice Society. Considering we wouldn't really get a major Muslim superhero until a few years later, this one especially stings.
    • A potential storyline involving a group of Power Girl cosplayers who banded together to rescue Power Girl from a Villain of the Week. The youngest of which, a girl named Margot, was revealed to actually had gained superpowers in the final panel.
    • One of the last storylines featured a cloned version of Power Girl named Divine. Divine was pretty clearly set to become an arch-nemesis for Power Girl if the reboot were not to occur, which was something Power Girl never really had.
    • Even after the reboot, she couldn't catch a break. Although the Earth 2 saga had more-or-less a definitive ending with The Society ending up in a much more peaceful version of Earth 2, the story did set itself up to having more arcs and stories set in this seemingly idealistic world. However, like clockwork, DC decided its multiverse was too convoluted and so Infinite Frontier was written to streamline things once again. One of the results was fusing every 'mainline continuity' in DC into one mega-universe, which brought the characters from Earth 2 into Prime Earth.
  • Amazonian Beauty: She is oftentimes drawn with the physique of a bodybuilder, especially when she's featured next to Supergirl.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: After his final defeat Ultra-Humanite is going to have his memory erased and be reintroduced into society. He does not seem happy with the plan, but he is accepting of the future... until Power Girl turns her back and he swears that it will never be over between them. It is unknown how much of his original nature will remain after his mind wipe.
  • Art Shift: When the original creative team left her series in 2010 there was a change in style adapted by the new pencilers and inkers. The bright colors of Amanda Conner were dropped, replaced with the more subdued palette of Sami Basri, and the character designs became slimmer, losing the pronounced curves of the early issues.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Power Girl, Superman and Zatanna are briefly turned into rock people by Siphon, who can copy Zatanna's powers.
  • Berserk Button: Kara is very protective of Terra, her sidekick/sister-figure.
  • Big Applesauce: She has now moved to Manhattan.
  • Big Bad: When breaking into New Cadmus, which is being orchestrated by Max Lord, Kara and Nico actually comment that this is the headquarters of the bag guy that is behind everything.
  • Blue Eyes: Classic, beautiful blue.
  • Brainwashed: Max Lord hits Power Girl with a mental suggestion to go kill the Justice League International. She sees everyone on the team as another hero (Captain Atom as Superman, Fire as Starfire, Ice as Supergirl, Rocket Red as Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Booster Gold as Batman) and hears all their dialogue as plans to conquer and rule humanity.
  • Breath Weapon: Comes with the Flying Brick package.
  • Captain Ersatz: Vartox was originally based on Sean Connery, with his appearance taken from the movie Zardoz and his over-the-top machismo from Connery himself.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: "'Rue the day'? Nobody talks like that anymore. It just sounds stupid." "It's a classic villain line."
  • Character Development: From her "victim to raw materials" days in the 90s, she was brought into the Justice Society of America and eventually became its Superman equivalent (until Earth-22 Superman arrived) and, later, the team's first chairwoman.
  • Chest Insignia: A notable lack of one, she has what is termed a "boob window." Because of her long and complicated history there have been numerous explanations as to why, exactly, she has this window. The current story behind it is kind of sad - she could not think of a symbol, so she left it blank and never filled it and is actually undergoing a minor identity crisis as she tries to figure out where she fits in the world. Though not all reasons have been as poignant, they are all intentional and rational. Previously, one of her explanations was that the window gave a clear indication of who and what she was: Strong, feminine and yes, big-breasted. If people were overly preoccupied or distracted by the last part that was their problem, not hers, she would not be bound by what they thought of her.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After the author/artist switch to Judd Winick and Sami Basri, Terra, who had been Power Girl's sidekick/partner/sister throughout the early issues, is neither seen nor mentioned. Instead, a new character named Nicco, who was never mentioned before, suddenly becomes her sidekick.
  • Clark Kenting: Her disguise as Karen Starr for most of her existence has been tying her hair back. That is it. She herself explains that her large breasts actually help keep her identity secret, especially considering the Cleavage Window, since they draw attention away from her face. In issue #22, Superman himself advises her to make Karen Starr a real person, not just a costume. She gets a makeover to make Karen appear more different from Power Girl, involving a business suit, red hair, and, of course, glasses. The reveal alternates panels between her and Clark Kent to highlight their similar disguises.
  • C-List Fodder: The Blue Snowman is the initial villain of the Vartox arc, and is introduced with the caption "Blue Snowman...Life Expectancy: Panel 4, Page 14"
  • Cloning Blues: Power Girl discovers that fighting an exact duplicate of herself is not very fun. On the plus side, apparently Krypto is so damn heroic that even his evil clone comes to Kara's aide.
  • Clothing Damage: She suffers from this a suspiciously large amount. Her costume is often portrayed as being hardly more resilient than Empowered's. She never lets it slow her down though.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: "Divine," the evil clone of Power Girl, has black hair opposed to PG's blonde, but is otherwise identical in every way.
  • The Conscience: During her team-ups with Harley Quinn, Power Girl often reprimands her for her immoral actions and tries to stir her in the right direction.
  • Continuity Snarl: Power Girl's origin is unusual in that it lampshades the utter failure of past writers to come up with a legitimate way of maintaining her character's existence in the face of endless rewrites of the DC universe's history. There is no way the character can exist in the currently "valid" history- and her character development directly involves her attempts to deal with that fact. She is the cousin of Earth-2 Superman, but it is explicitly the pre-Crisis Earth 2. The new similar Earth-2 created following the 52 event has its own Power Girl cementing our Power Girl's status as an orphan of the old Multiverse.
  • Cool Big Sis: She tends to develop this kind of relationship with those younger than her:
    • Terra is probably the most notable relationship of hers like this, though it borders on being Gal Pals. The two hang out a lot, with Power Girl always dishing out advice in both superheroing and basic life.
    • Fisher was a more short-lived example. Fisher was a young kid who saw pictures of Karen Starr changing into Power Girl and saved them on his hard-drive. Despite these pretty gross circumstances, Power Girl did grow to care for the kid and helped him through his awkward teenage stuff.
    • Nicco was a young employee at her company, who after the Art Shift, served as her de-facto sidekick in the stead of Terra. Though the two had a much rockier relationship, Power Girl did care for him and did her best to treat him well.
    • Harley Quinn, kinda. Harley had the hots for Power Girl and did everything in her power to get in her pants, but Power Girl tended to treat her like how she treated all of her other younger sidekicks.
  • Crazy Prepared: Not as crazy as some, but Power Girl has repeatedly stressed that Terra needs to wear her uniform all the time, under her regular clothing if need be, so she will always be ready for danger to strike at any moment.
  • Crossover: Issue #20 is directly continued in Justice League: Generation Lost, which follows up on Power Girl's Brainwashing at the hands of Max Lord to kill the Justice League International.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Once Power Girl is pushed past her limit and stops holding back she takes Ultra-Humanite, who a few pages earlier had been bragging about destroying all of civilization, and beats him down in six panels. Four of those panels are PG slamming his head against the wall.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Deconstructed. Power Girl (In her role as Karen Starr, head of Starrware) holds the patents to several miraculous technologies and heads what seems to be a well-running corporation. However, now that they have engineered these miraculous technologies they need to develop them into some form of marketable product, deal with worried overseeing government agencies and also contend with the almost insurmountable issues of normal office paperwork. Starrware might be on the cutting edge of human technology, and its stock prices will probably go through the roof once it goes public, but right now it needs to find some way to actually gain revenue from its assets. Power Girl herself is struggling to make ends meet until the profits start to come in, and lampshades this when fighting the Blue Snowman, who had developed the technology to create weather and was using this technology to steal jewels not worth half of what her equipment was worth.
  • Day in the Life: Volume 12 of Power Girl's ongoing series is largely this. As it turns out, her daily life involves bathing in an empathic bikini, bonding with Terra and stopping a fight between an alien monster and Space Sean Connery.
  • Destination Defenestration: Satanna really should learn the art of small-talk and cuddling
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Atlee, the new Terra, and Power Girl's new best friend. They go see movies together.
  • Distaff Counterpart/Evil Counterpart: Power Boy, who wears a black version of her outfit except his costume doesn't have sleeves and covers his legs. He also was abusive to Supergirl during the brief period they dated. Whether he has an equivalent to Power Girls large breasts is yet to be seen.
  • Dressed in Layers: Though Power Girl herself is always prepared for trouble, Terra has not quite grasped the concept that she always needs to wear her costume underneath her clothing just in case. As such, she is completely unprepared when a monster rises up when she and PG are out watching a movie and she ends up going into battle dressed only in adorable lady-bug underwear.
  • Cute Kitten: Stinky [dead link].
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Not if the monkey gorilla is the Ultra-Humanite.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Satanna goes to Dr. Sivanna to get a weapon to revenge herself on Power Girl and gives him what he wanted as payment. Afterwards he attempts some minor small-talk and she, because she and he are villains, does not feel it is necessary to disguise the fact that she felt this was a heartily disgusting event which she did solely as part of a business exchange. He agrees with her, then points out that since they are bad guys he no longer cares about her desires since she gave him what he wanted, and throws her out the window.
  • Evil Laugh: Apparently, characters differentiate between your Mad Scientists and scientists who happen to be mad by the presence or absence of a good "Moo-Ha-Ha!"
  • Evil Twin: "Divine," the dark haired clone of Power Girl.
  • Expy: In the DCAU, Supergirl's evil clone, Galatea, is an expy of Power Girl.
  • Eye Beams: Power Girl has them, unfortunately for Satanna.
  • Fan Service: Lots, including the new series with a trio of gorgeous aliens.
  • Fetus Terrible: Prior to the Zero Hour Crisis Crossover, Power Girl became mysteriously pregnant, and during the crossover, she gave birth to a son named Equinox, who managed to defeat the Big Bad, Scarabus, in an issue of Justice League America and was never seen nor mentioned again. And the father is... Arion, who was her grandfather at the time this was published. Like many things from the Gerard Jones JLA run, this has been one of those things quietly allowed to fade from DCU history and fan memories. Letter column remarks back in the day seemed to unofficially indicate that such stories were definitely not going to be touched again. Indeed, modern DC has established Kryptonians are not biologically compatible with humans which would make this impossible.
  • Foot Focus: Issue #5 has Power Girl going barefoot for nearly the entire issue because she forgot her gloves and boots at the office.
  • Flying Brick: After finally being established (again) as Superman's cousin she gets most of his powers as well, including heat vision and ice breath.
  • Funny Background Event: Amanda Conner's artwork is full of these, such as PG's cat not liking who she is interviewing or stealing shrimp from their Chinese take out. When a flasher tries to expose himself to PG and Terra PG uses her freeze breath on his exposed areas; after she calls for a cop the next panel pans back to reveal that they are standing in front of a dermatology clinic whose current special "will freeze off your..."
  • Genius Bruiser
  • Gendered Outfit: Power Boy, who wears a tank top unitard rather than Power Girl's leotard.
  • Genre Savvy: Zatanna has a "magic line," a phone number for people to call when they are facing life-threatening circumstances from magical adversaries. Because any phone call to that number would logically be of the highest importance she always answers when somebody calls. As such, her voice-mail recording for that number is an explanation that she must be in terrible danger, since she would never chose to not pick up the phone, and whoever is calling should track her phone GPS and come rescue her right away.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In a flashback Satanna can be seen wearing a shirt that reads "CU Next Tues".
  • Grand Theft Me: Terra
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Well, they do not have green skin, but other than that...
  • Hair of Gold
  • Hello, Nurse!: Heck, even the superheroines probably want her.
  • Heroic Dog: Apparently, Max Lord gave Professor Ivo very strict instructions not to clone Krypto, Superman's dog.

Max Lord: "We talked about this! Don't clone the dog! Dogs are weird! The whole loyalty thing just seems to be branded right in on a genetic level, for Pete's sake!"

  • Homage Shot: At one point when Atlee and Power Girl are at the movies, the main cast of The Big Bang Theory are seen, most notably Howard, who then proceeds to hit on her. And strike out. HARD.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Power Girl actually discusses this trope when fighting her evil clone. She reasons that, even if "Divine" has all the same powers as her that does not mean she knows how to use those powers, since she has only been "alive" for ten minutes and has never worked with thse abilities before.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:

TerraUltra-Humanite: "Let's have one of those totally cliched hero-slash-friend fights. You get to say things like 'I know you're stronger than this', or 'You can fight it'...oh, and 'This isn't you!'"

    • In Power Girl's Crossover with Justice League: Generation Lost Power Girl has been Brainwashed into believing that the members of the Justice League International are other heroes planning to conquer and rule humanity. The members of JLI, dreading the destruction and loss of life that would come from fighting Power Girl in earnest (Assuming they could survive such a fight), try to get through the brainwashing and have her recognize them.
  • Insistent Terminology: They are not "monsters," they are G.E.L.F.s. It is not that hard to remember.
  • Jerk With a Heart of Gold: Downplayed, but still kinda there. Power Girl isn't really a jerk, but she is a lot rougher than other members of the Superman Family and has been shown to be ever-so-slightly more willing to kill than other heroes, but still remains as an extremely moral, kind-hearted, and caring individual at the end of the day.
    • Played straight during the New 52. Honestly you'd be hard-pressed to find many moments of her doing heroic stuff in her run of World's Finest. Although she does have a few acts of kindness, much of her adventures were self-serving, or even villainous in nature such as endangering employees of rival corporations. By the end of Worlds' Finest and the start of her adventures on Earth 2, she became a lot more like a typical superhero
  • Just for Pun: "Oh yeah, this rocks!"
  • Kick the Dog: Ultra-Humanite and Satanna are already well past the Moral Event Horizon, they were murderers and psychopaths long before this series started, but when they put Atlee's brain inside the burned gorilla body it is just wrong.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Atlee seems to derive nourishment from all the lamps she keeps pointing out:
  • Large Ham: Vartox is either the single greatest event to happen to comic-books since an artist thought "Wait a second, I can make them as big as I want," or he has come to murder all Power Girl fans with overexposure to the "sexy superstud from planet Valeron."

Vartox: "Bask in the seduction musk distilled from tears of the ghost poets of dimension seven...to prove his manly prowess, Vartox has arranged for a demonstration of masculinity."


Power Girl, Kara Zor-L...Life Expectancy: It's her series, what do you think?
Dr Mid-Nite...Life Expectancy: Shaken, not stirred
Blue Snowman...Life Expectancy: Panel 4, Page 14
Vernon O'Valeron A.K.A. Vartox...Life Expectancy: Waiting to hear back from the editors


Zatanna: (In Narration) He's good right out of the gate. I'm just better. But being better isn't really the issue, I just need to get the heck away from this idiot!
Power Girl: "We need to get Zatanna the heck away from that idiot!"

  • Straw Feminist: Has come across as one in the past, but has mellowed out since then. Her past behavior was retconned as a diet soda allergy.
  • Squick: Power Girl's in-universe reaction to learning that the Ultra-Humanite had sex with his girlfriend...in gorilla form.
  • Stripperiffic: Despite the notoriety of her costume, it is actually rather tame by modern standards (it more or less looks like a swimsuit), and the lack of protection is somewhat justified considering she is bulletproof.
  • This Is Wrong on So Many Levels:

Power Girl: "No! No, you didn't!! You cloned Krypto?!?! What kind of sick @#$#$--this is Superman's dog. For crying out loud! Is nothing sacred!?"

    • After Power Girl, Superman and Zatanna are turned in rock-people she looks down at her new rock-body and comments that "this is wrong on many, many levels."
  • Tsundere: Power Girl herself during the Justice League Europe arcs. Considering the one who got her dere side was the only one who didn't spend all his time ogling her, probably justified.
  • Underwear of Power: Her normal costume is a pretty standard superheroine outfit, but Terra has not yet grasped the importance of always having your costume handy and one time she was forced to go into battle wearing nothing but adorable lady-bug underwear when she and Power Girl were attacked while out at the movies.
  • Urban Legend: In Real Life, there is a long-lasting myth that Power Girl has such impressive powers because Wally Wood, one of her original artists, was playing a joke on/testing his editors. The story goes that he drew her steadily larger from issue to issue after her first appearance, trying to see how far he could go before he was stopped. However, examination of her first five issues shows a very consistent portrayal, and no sources have come forward to verify this rumor, so it has been effectively debunked.
  • Valeron Needs Women: Kryptonian women in particular
  • Vertical Kidnapping: Turned Up to Eleven when Ultra-Humanite does this to Manhattan.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The aforementioned "diet soda" allergy to explain her attitude in the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League Europe issues after they left the series, and her vulnerability to "raw, natural, unprocessed materials".
  • What Measure Is C-List Fodder: The Blue Snowman is killed soon after Vartox's arrival as a direct result of his attempts to "woo" Power Girl, and PG is quite perturbed at this (Even if she was a villain). However, in the next issue she has completely forgotten about the entire incident, and chats happily with Vartox without mentioning Blue Snowman at all.
  • Who Writes This Crap?: She does not say the actual line, but Power Girl simply can not believe the story of Vartox and the infertility bomb that requires him to find a mate to save his planet. Power Girl is stifling laughter by the time he gets to the part about the "pregno-ray".
  • The Worf Effect: lampshaded in her own series "why, oh why do I keep getting my ass kicked?!"