Superman on Television

Justice League: Episode Reviews

Season 5 - Episode 10: "Far From Home"

Reviewed by: Barry M. Freiman

No Crisis, No Infinite Earths, Just Supergirl "Far From Home"

"Far From Home" is close to the end - the fourth to last episode of the series. The story plays off the original 1985 death of Supergirl in the seventh issue of "Crisis on Infinite Earths". It asks the same question about Supergirl that the first Crisis did - isn't a super girl redundant? - and comes up with an entirely different conclusion. Kara's "JLU" arc ends 1,000 years in the future - not with death, but a new life - as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

In the comics, a Super Girl first appeared in an early Superboy story. Her costume looked nothing like Superman's - it had as much in common with the blue and red Superman costume as Batwoman's yellow and red costume had in common with Batman's blue and grey. Later, in Superman #123, a three-part story gave Jimmy Olsen a totem on which he made three wishes designed to help his pal, Superman. One of his wishes was for Superman to meet a Supergirl who would become his super powered girlfriend and helper. The magically-created Supergirl looked a lot like Kara in her feminine version of Superman's costume and blonde locks. But her efforts to be helpful to Superman complicated his heroic efforts until she sacrificed her existence and saved Superman's life.

Superman's cousin, Supergirl, made her debut in Action Comics #252. She was Kryptonian but not from Krypton - she was born on a chunk of Krypton that survived being blown up. As a teenager, she was sent to Earth when Argo City succumbed to a special kind of Kryptonite radiation. Superman found her rocket ship and she eventually joined him in his quest for truth and justice as Supergirl.

After DC decided that Superman would be the sole surviving Kryptonian and retroactively removed Supergirl from the memories of those left on the Post-Crisis Earth One, they introduced a new Supergirl. This Supergirl was from a parallel universe created by the Time Trapper (a cosmic bad guy who fought the Legion in the future). Eventually this Supergirl merged with Linda Danvers of Earth One where they battled chaos as the Earth Angel, Supergirl. Linda Danvers disappeared a few years ago (though she's made a recent return to comics with a gaggle of Maids of Might in Superman/Batman #24).

There was also a brief appearance by a Supergirl who claimed to be Superman's daughter from the future though Superman and Lois eventually disproved this connection.

In 2004's Superman/Batman #8, a huge Kryptonite meteor landed in Gotham Harbor. Batman arrived to retrieve the Kryptonite and found a young girl who'd been trapped in a rocket lodged in the meteor. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman studied the girl and all eventually concluded that she is Superman's Kryptonian cousin. This Kara is currently substituting for a de-powered Clark Kent one year later than the "Infinite Crisis". For reasons yet to be fully explained, she's also in the 31st Century where she's affiliated with the Legion of Super-Heroes.

While DC had an embargo during the 1990s against there being other Kryptonians other than Superman, "Superman: The Animated Series" introduced their own version of Supergirl. Kara Inze came from an inhabited moon of Krypton named Argo. Argo was devastated by the cosmic effects of Krypton's destruction. Superman returned to Krypton's orbit and found Kara in suspended animation. He brought her to Earth to live with his foster parents in Smallville.

The animated Supergirl wore a white cut-off top with an "S" logo, a small red cape, a blue skirt, and red boots. The character was featured prominently on "JLU" and eventually adopted a blue and red costume that is virtually identical to the current comic book Supergirl's union suit (and more in line with cousin Superman's fighting togs - this episode explains why). Though the animated Kara and Superman aren't blood related, they refer to each other as cousins due to their similar genetics.

This episode of "JLU" cleverly plays with long-time fans by hinting from the start that Supergirl doesn't return from her trip to the future. She's shanghaied along with Green Lantern and Green Arrow - who's been a great mentor to Kara on "JLU" - and brought face to face with Brainiac 5 and Bouncing Boy, two members of the 31st Century Legion of Super-Heroes.

The Legion made their comic book debut in 1958's Adventure Comics #247, a year before Supergirl's origin story. The three founding members of the Legion - Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, and Saturn Girl - travel to the 20th Century and meet Superboy. After putting him through an initiation test, they let him know that they are from the 30th Century and have formed a super-hero team in homage to Superboy. Superboy is invited to join the team and regularly journeys to the future to have adventures with them. The Legion's continuity has been rebooted several times since the first Crisis.

The animated Legion was introduced during the final season of "STAS" in "New Kids in Town". In the 30th Century, bad guy robot Brainiac escapes into the past to try and kill young Clark Kent before he can become Superman. Brainiac is followed by three members of the Legion - telepath Saturn Girl, morpher Chameleon Boy, and master of magnetism Cosmic Boy. The Legionnaires team up with young Clark Kent to defeat Brainiac. Before they return Brainiac to the future, Saturn Girl telepathically removes any memory of the Legion and Superman's future from the young Kent's mind. It's this same Legion who shows up "Far From Home."

In the Silver Age, Superboy and Supergirl regularly traveled to the 30th Century to battle alongside their teammates in the Legion of Super-Heroes. Legionnaire Brainiac 5, a good-guy Coluan descendant of the evil Brainiac, develops a romantic crush on Supergirl. After Kara's death in the first Crisis, it's revealed that Brainiac 5 always knew Kara was destined to die in the Crisis and that's why the crush was largely unrequited.

This story does what the animated universe always does so well - it takes the past and meshes it with the present to create a new but totally consistent future for both Supergirl and the Legion. Supergirl doesn't die but she does disappear after she decides to stay in the future with the Legion and new paramour Brainiac 5.

In a story that never has Superman and Supergirl in the same room together (and barely in the same Century), writer Paul Dini, story guru Dwayne McDuffie, and director Dan Riba craft an amazing coda to the super cousins' relationship that's even more effective than Supergirl's 1985 death scene. Any comic book writer who's ever used death as a shorthand character beat for a character and those around him or her should be required to watch this episode.

In addition to Brainiac 5 and Bouncing Boy, other Legionnaires shown during the episode are Ultra Boy, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Colossal Kid, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Wildfire, Shadow Lass, Chameleon Boy, Sun Boy, Blok, and Timber Wolf.

While Supergirl is in the League's "Danger Room", she's battling robots designed to look like and mimic the powers of super-villains Queen Bee, Dr. Cyber, the Atomic Skull, and Blockbuster.

The bad guys in the future are members of the Fatal Five. The first reader to email me and tell me the five members of the Fatal Five (code names only) will receive the accolades of millions, well at least dozens, in my next review.

Speaking of my next review, it will come out after the next episode airs. When's that you ask? Your guess is as good as mine. But the next episode is the last single-parter of the series - a Hawkman story that wraps up the Hawkgirl/Green Lantern relationship and is written by "Infinite Crisis" writer Geoff Johns! In the event Cartoon Network is waiting for peace in the Mid-East before airing the next episode, be sure to sign off your nightly prayers with a hearty...

Peace out.

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