Saturday, June 10, 2006

Power Girl - another take

Okay, so recently in the days leading up to Infinite Crisis, it has been revealed that Power Girl is actually Kal-L, the Superman of Earth-2’s cousin. This was her original origin, but after Earth-2 was folded into the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, this origin became impossible – there had never been a Kal-L.

Power Girl’s origin then went through a few possibilities – was she related to this Earth’s Superman? Was she the granddaughter of ancient Atlantis’ sorcerer supreme Arion? Was it something else entirely? As her power levels fluctuated, and her origin did, writers stopped using her. Her continuity was so messed up that despite the puerile attractions of the character (rumor has it that when she was originally created, her breasts were drawn larger with each issue, until an editor stopped the creative team. She has remained one of the bustiest characters in comics, and in the world of comics, that is not a trivial statement to make) she started to be seen less and less.

She recently returned (appropriately, since she was a member during the crossovers with the JLA) in the pages of JSA, and it was then made clear that her current origin would one day be cleared up. At that time, I stopped working on a story I had in mind for her.

You see, one day I would like to be writing for comics, and Power Girl caught my interest, largely due to my fascination with the JSA and characters that carry on part of their legacy. I had some ideas for a re-writing of her origin which might tie up some threads, and move her solidly into the Post-Crisis world, keep her position as one of the most butt-kicking characters in DC, but differentiate her from the Superman family.

It was inspired by the addition of magic to her origin. I saw a possibility for helping this character take the next step. I would’ve have toned down her confrontational nature. It had evolved from forceful woman to stereotypical “ball breaker” and while I think she should be strongly involved in women’s issues, I also think she should be basically likeable.

Power Girl would be partly Kryptonian in origin and partly magical. Centuries ago, when Atlantis was under attack, several of the wizards of Atlantis got together to create a defense system. They mystically searched the annals of time for the greatest heroes of the Universe. They find Superman among them. Mystically, they draw out some of the essence of what makes Superman a hero – both physically and mentally. They store the essence, and are set about making the perfect body to hold it. Unfortunately, during that process, Atlantis comes under attack, and they channel the energies into the body of a fallen captain of the Atlantean guard. As they do so, they also make some changes. Certainly, a guardian of Atlantis cannot be vulnerable to magic. That has to be changed. As they channel the energies into the body, the sorcerers themselves come under attack. They are unable to fully animate the body, but do put the rudiments of what is needed to do so into it.

Over the following millennia, the energies in the guardswoman’s body gradually change themselves to evolve a personality, taken partly from Superman and partly from the guardswoman. A desire to do what is right. A strong belief that women are the equal of men, and a need to demonstrate that belief. She gains memories, albeit vague ones of both Krypton and Atlantis. One day, the vessel in which the enemies of Atlantis stored her body opens, and Power Girl emerges.

That was the origin, and would be told over the course of the first issue of a mini-series I had in mind for PG. It would open with Dr. Mid-Nite doing tests on her to determine if she was Kryptonian, or what. The tests would be inconclusive. A further consultation with Dr. Fate would have shown the magical energies, and eventually, Dr. Fate’s probes would have shown the truth: Power Girl was a mystically altered Kryptonian/Atlantean hybrid. It turns out her power fluctuations are because of this origin. When they altered the essence of the hero, the sorcerers unwittingly cause Power Girl to be powered by magic. When she believed herself to be Kryptonian, Power Girl went out of her way to avoid magic, thereby unknowingly weakening herself. Now, on a team with Doctor Fate and Alan Scott, she had magic around her all the time and it was allowing her to reach her true powers. It was to be the end of the evolution of the magic energies inside of her.

Her powers would change. She would still be super strong, among the strongest on the planet, able to fly and nearly invulnerable. But her secondary powers would change. No longer would she have heat vision, and telescopic vision, or super breath. She would be able to emit blasts of raw concussive force from her hands or eyes. She would have a special kind of vision that would tell her if someone was knowingly lying.

She would continue to fight crime, and not even use these new powers so often. Power Girl has always been a very straight-forward character. She would, in the first issue, face the threat of Major Force. Major Force is an established character who can hang with the big guns, and a good place for Karen (Power Girl’s adopted name) to take out some of her frustrations. He would get her by surprise, and of course make a few comments about PG’s physical characteristics, and call her “babe,” etc. After freeing herself from the enormous glob of matter that he has summoned, she beats him down, quickly and efficiently, while making sure he knows that as stupid as he is, she might have gone easy on him out of pity, but after hearing what he did to Green Lantern’s girlfriend, this guy deserves no pity. The beating would be conclusive – when it comes to raw power, Power Girl lives up to her name.

In the second issue of the series, Power Girl travels to Metropolis to tell Superman what she has learned of her origin. Once there, she manages to track down the Metropolis Marvel, who is facing down a new villain called Double Agent. He can split himself into two identical duplicates of himself, and also has the power to make those around him look and sound exactly like him. He doesn’t have the power to hang with Superman, but his crimes are difficult to stop due to the fact that he is hard to track down as he uses his power to mix in with a crowd. He can also teleport one of his “selves” to the other. Here, Power Girl would have the chance to demonstrate her new “truth sight.” Once she does so, she and Superman quickly put a stop to Double Agent’s crime spree. Superman and Power Girl talk about her origin, and part with a friendly hug, Superman explaining that he hopes she still feels like family, and for the first time, Power Girl admits, she might actually do so now.

Issue 3 and 4 were dedicated to the rise (and first defeat) of a character who I had hoped would go on to become a villain of some significance in the DC Universe, but I do not want to give too much more away on that score, just in case I ever do get the chance to write comics, and use that character.

I hope you enjoyed this little insight into a path I would’ve taken a character. I am not, by the way, trying to indicate this would have been a better path, just something a little different. As it is, I am glad that Power Girl got to keep her legacy.

By the way, check out the first ever Power Girl movie (it's a short done by a fan. And not in the same vein as most of the Power Girl pictures drawn by fans you'll find if you do a search on the web) here.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Last Minute Changes, or, Why I Think Nightwing Was Supposed To Die

I have been saying for a long time that Dick Grayson, the first Robin, and the current Nightwing was going to die in Infinite Crisis. The reasons were several:

  1. His series seemed to stall just before Infinite Crisis, as though they didn't want to introduce any sweeping new story arcs.
  2. Typically, someone of serious significance dies in these crossovers (Flash in Crisis on Infinite Earths, for instance)
  3. Preview images for his comic revealed Nightwing holding a weapon that looked a lot like the ones that Jason Todd, the second Robin, who is now the Red Hood wields.
  4. They seemed to be systematically destroying his relationships with, well, everyone.
  5. There was so much emphasis on him in the early part of the series.
For those of you who don't know, he didn't die. But I still think that was the intention. In the comments on my previous entry, one of my friends notes that Batman seemed out of character with the gun pointing at Alex's head. Well, I think so too, and I think it is because he was supposed to be thinking about avenging the death of his adopted son, Dick Grayson. In the attached picture, Nightwing is not looking well. There is a picture on the same page of Robin's reaction (also pictured above). Robin cried when Superboy died in issue number six, but isn't in the habit of crying every time someone he likes gets knocked out by a villain. Both of these characters are having an emotional over-reaction to Nightwing merely being knocked out.

Also, and this is not intended as a slight on Bruce Jones, current Nightwing writer at all, but the current Jason Todd/Dick Grayson Two Nightwings story feels a little... slapped together. The Nightwing Judd Winick is writing over in Outsiders certainly doesn't feel like Dick Grayson. I think Nightwing was supposed to be Jason todd, Post-Infinite Crisis.

Another bit of evidence: A quiz from Wizard, wherein each question was supposed to have only one correct answer. I have included a portion below:

1)Which one of these heroines will give birth in '06?
A)Wonder Woman - No.
B) Power Girl - No.
C) Catwoman - Yes.
D) Oracle - No.

2)Which one of these heroes will be stripped of their powers?
A)Superman - Yes.
B)Wonder Woman - No.
C)Supergirl - No.
D) Hal Jordan/Green Lantern - No.

3)Who wll become Mayor of a crime-riddled city??
A)Wally West/Flash - No.
B)Dick Grayson/Nightwing - No.
C)Bruce Wayne/Batman - No.
D)Oliver Queen/Green Arrow - Yes.

4)Who will have Amnesia and become unable to tell friend from for??
A)Martian Manhunter - No.
B)Aquaman - Yes.
C)The Atom - No.
D)Elongated Man - No.

5)Who will take on the mantle as the most powerful hero in the DCU??
A)Booster Gold - No.
B)Animal Man - No.
C)Kyle Rayner/Green Lantern - Yes.
D)Earth-2 Superman - No.

6)Which hero will become a criminal in the eyes of the world?? (this one I do not know yet, but I am thinking it might well end up being Shazam, as revealed in the upcoming issues of 52 and of the maxiseries starting in August, the Trials of Shazam)
A)Hal Jordan/Green Lantern -
B)Superman -
C)The Flash -
D)Shazam -

7)Which one of these heroes is the only one who'll be around after 'Infinite Crisis'?
A)Wally West/Flash - No. Disappeared into the Speed Force.
B)Conner Kent/Superboy - No. Killed by Superboy-Prime in the pages of Infinite Crisis.
C)Guy Gardner/Green Lantern - Yes, and one of the leaders of the Green Lantern Corps.
D)Dick Grayson/Nightwing - Yes, and struggling for his identity with another Nightwing.

Wait a minute... do you see what I see? All the other questions DO have only only one "Yes" answer. But that last one... there's two? Now, I suppose it could have been Guy Gardner who was supposed to fall, but given the other evidence, I think that it is much more likely that we have a case of Dick Grayson being spared at the last minute. Now, I am glad of that, albeit unsure of the reasons why. I just wanted to throw it out there. The original Robin, who went on to become Nightwing may have been on the chopping block. If so, I want to thank whoever changed their mind. Dick Grayson is integral to the DC Universe. The one person that everyone both likes and respects, even though he is assoicated with Batman. (although, I do fervently hope that stops being a negative thing, soon. )

Thanks. Thanks for holding on to one of the good ones.