Superman Homepage reviewer Marc Lax continues reviewing episodes from “Superman: The Animated Series” for those nostalgic for the 1990s.
Check out his review of the Season 2 episode titled “Little Girl Lost – Part 1” in which we are introduced to Kara… aka Supergirl.
Superman using the trajectory from the ship which brought him to Earth follows the path back to where Krypton exploded hoping to find some sign of life. He finds nothing but floating pieces of kryptonite. Suddenly he gets a signal which takes him to a desolate ice planet. Once there he finds a lone building jutting from the ice. Entering he descends a spiral staircase taking him to a room which, upon entering, activates a hologram of a woman who tells the story of the fate of her planet. Argo was once a beautiful thriving place until its sister planet Krypton exploded sending Argo out of its orbit and away from its sun, virtually destroying the planet leaving only a world of ice for its few lone survivors. With just her family left, the woman places them in pods to freeze cryogenically in hopes that one day someone will discover them. Superman finds the pods but to his horror three have shattered leaving nothing but mummified corpses. Before turning away a light appears above a fourth pod. Superman confronting the pod finds a young girl. Alive!
Rating – 4 (out of 5): Supergirl! Yes, it was time for the animated series to tackle this character. I say tackle because in the post-Crisis DC Comics Superman’s cousin Kara had not yet been introduced into that current continuity. When John Byrne rebooted Superman, Supergirl was one of the old guard that was left behind. Though she may have been gone (dying heroically in “Crisis on Infinite Earths”) she had first been teased with the introduction of Powergirl who was thought to be Superman’s cousin only later to be discovered that she was… not. Powergirl’s origin was complicated to say the least but that’s another long story. Next we got a character who would have much more durability, Lana Lang, Supergirl from a pocket universe. This is the infamous story where Superman executed the Phantom Zone prisoners for destroying the Earth in the pocket universe. The only survivor of that universe Supergirl (Lana Lang) turned out to be a proto life form (Matrix) who barely survived and was rescued by Superman. Matrix or May was placed with the Kents so she/it could recover. After causing mayhem and shape shifting into a Superman lookalike Matrix left Earth only to return during the “Panic in the Sky” storyline, once again taking on the form of Supergirl. Supergirl/Matrix stuck around for quite awhile becoming a close ally of Superman until merging with troubled Linda Danvers in Peter David’s “Supergirl”! The character truly came alive during this run and was quite popular until DC pulled the plug in the early 2000s, basically getting rid of the character for good. Which was a shame because she really was a wonderful character.
The animated series would jettison all of these in favor of a more streamlined origin. This character actually has its origin in Dan Jurgens’ “Superman/Alien” a crossover with Dark Horse comics’ version of the Alien myth. Similar to “Little Girl Lost” Superman finds a young girl named Kara among the pods of a lost world similar to Krypton also named Argo. This character was only involved in this story and never seen again, which is too bad. But from the ashes came the animated series origin of Supergirl. She would call herself Clark’s cousin and at the time was the closest character to the original Supergirl we had in over 12 years. She became a fairly prominent character on this show and “Justice League Unlimited”. As for the comics, not long after Supergirl/Linda Danvers exit, Superman’s real cousin Kara would return, albeit slightly rebooted by Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner in the pages of “Superman/Batman”. This one would stick. Though her publishing history would be erratic to this day.
For Supergirl’s first appearance in the animated series the producers brought in the denizens of Apokolips as the villains, continuing their story from the previous episodes. After Kara is warned by Clark to stop flying (vrooming?) in the skies above Smallville conversation at the dinner table turns to the discussion of Intergang causing trouble once again in Metropolis. Kara takes an interest and it’s not long before she’s running to Metropolis to snoop around. Meanwhile at a tech fair Lois and Jimmy are covering for the Daily Planet, two young members of Intergang crash the party to steal some of the technology at the fair. After Superman tries to stop them they end up getting away but not before an arcade token falls from one of their suits and lands in front of Jimmy. After a stern talk with Kara about how she shouldn’t have come to Metropolis and go back to his apartment and not cause trouble, Kara overhears Jimmy telling Lois that the token may be a lead and if Lois won’t help him he’ll go by himself. Kara under the guise of an intern decides to tag along.
After finding the arcade the token came from and finding our two young Intergang thieves, Jimmy and Kara follow them to a warehouse were they find none other than Granny Goodness running a group of wayward kids who are in training to become a new Intergang. After being threatened by Granny Kara decides to take matters into her own hands revealing a makeshift yet clever version of the Super costume. When Granny’s young group fails to take down Supergirl, Granny calls in reinforcements opening up a Boom Tube. Lashina, Mad Harriet, and Stompa come ready for a fight!
To be continued…
Fantastic episode! The animation throughout was excellent but the first half was beautiful. Superman discovering the remnants of Krypton glowing green with kryptonite, the ice world of Argo (named after the surviving Krypton city Kara came from in the comics) and Kara’s flight over Smallville was drawn beautifully. Nicholle Thom does a great job as Kara bringing her curiosity and enthusiasm to life. And who better to voice Granny then Ed Asner! He has the perfect pitch giving Granny a very seductive yet smarmy lilt to her voice making this Granny the creepiest. Of course the show comes with its requisite scene of Superman struggling in a fight when he should probably have an easy time of it. But that’s par for the course. Still makes for a great episode and the perfect introduction to this version of Supergirl!