Sunday, 19 June 2016

POP! Heroes: Supergirl

Series: POP! Heroes
Year: 2016
Company: Funko

Poor Supergirl. Her backstory isn’t as convoluted as Hawkman’s, but she comes with far more baggage than the casual reader might ever imagine. Debuting all the way back in 1959 as Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, from Krypton (who had apparently been sent on a different rocket from the doomed planet), she quickly established herself as a popular character in her own right, if never quite escaping her more famous cousin’s shadow.

All was well for a few decades, but then came Crisis On Infinite Earths in 1985. The DC Universe had grown massively convoluted in the decades since it had begun, and by extension off-putting for prospective new readers. The editorial team wanted to streamline the DCU, and so a 12-issue series was commissioned to wrap things up and press a reset button. This isn’t really novel to modern comic readers, now that characters die and resurrect all the time and soft resets happen every few years, but it was revolutionary (and from a logistics standpoint, a pretty smart idea) back when it debuted.
Supergirl wouldn’t be the only casualty in the story, by any means, but she’s the one who’s stuck in public consciousness. Marv Wolfman, who wrote the series, said this:

“Before Crisis it seemed that half of Krypton had survived the explosion. We had Superman, Supergirl, Krypto, the Phantom Zone criminals, the bottle city of Kandor, and many others. Our goal was to make Superman unique. We went back to his origin and made Kal-El the only survivor of Krypton. That, sadly, was why Supergirl had to die. However, we were thrilled by all the letters we received saying Supergirl’s death in Crisis was the best Supergirl story they ever read. Thank you. By the way, I miss Kara, too.”

Within a couple of years of the new DCU though, Supergirl had an ersatz version in the form of Matrix, a shape-shifting alien who took up the mantle. Then there was Linda Danvers, who as far as I can tell was Matrix merged with a human, and later with some kind of angel? Yeah, things got pretty weird there for a while, and I’m pretty sure none of it was obvious to the casual observer that it was a distinct character from the same Supergirl who’d been killed off years before.
Eventually the Real McCoy would return in 2004 in a Superman/Batman arc drawn by the sadly now-deceased Michael Turner. And she was back to being plain old Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin from Krypton. Sometimes the simple origins really are the best.  

So why mention all of this? Well, mostly because the moniker "Supergirl" being attached to the box doesn't actually clear up who this POP is meant to be. It's definitely not Linda Danvers, but it could be Matrix, though it's definitely not the New 52 version. And not really the 2004 Kara Zor-El one, either. While the original Kara Zor-El has worn a costume like this, it's probably not her most famous one. Basically, my review boils down to this -- it's a good, iconic image of Supergirl in Funko POP form, but who is it actually meant to be? Please spare us all some confusion next time. 

Till next time, Lupine Book Club out.  

"Even the Lasoo Of Truth can't sort this one out."

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