Tuesday, September 12, 2006

SuperRamble: Supergirl, Powergirl - A Story Redux.

Now that I've gotten the 'OMG the bare ass' out of the way, I want to see what I can write up about Superman/Batman:Supergirl and Supergirl Vol 1. But I highly doubt it'll make much sense. There's too much stewing.

I like outsider stories. I like stories where people try to figure out how to fit in, why to fit in and what makes them who they are. I like the base thread of Supergirl (the new Kara from Krypton)'s story so far. But I only like the base thread. It took me a while to figure this out, since I was beginning to wonder what exactly I was feeling. I had a lot of excitement and enjoyment and odd offkey disappointment and agitation. I had to sleep on it for a while. And I realized I like outsider stories, so Supergirl's current story appeals to me right off the bat.

However, Supergirl's story, excluding the bit about her being evil and sent to kill Kal-el as a baby, reads a lot like the troubles and turmoils of Powergirl. And I fell in love with Powergirl way back when, because she was an ultimate outsider. She was the Kryptonian with knowledge of Krypton, the one with answers to questions about the culture and society. She was the one who could look at humanity and just plain not understand them. Which is why I've been so disappointed at realizing the story arc where she was seeing things and losing her powers and having conflict went right back to the status quo.

Yes, I wanted some interesting history for her. But moreso I wanted an explanation. I wanted someone to skillfully weave everything that had happened in her life and give it purpose. Was Powergirl out of time? Out of phase? Why had she been so badly used and abused throughout the years?

I didn't get an answer to that. And then on top of it, I get Supergirl playing out Karen's story. Supergirl's the confused one, the alone one, the one seeking out Kon to talk to him, and dealing with all these new feelings and sensations and curiosities and powers and enemies and hormones and boys and...

Powergirl is Supergirl too. And maybe it's my fantasy alone that Powergirl is Supergirl all grown up, come back to where she was originally meant to be in the timeline from the far future, with unstable whatevers that mess with her memory. Maybe it's wrong of me to think of Powergirl and Supergirl as being the same person, from different spots in the time stream and/or one shade over in realities.

But it's a lot harder not to think that, when Kara is walking in PG's footsteps. It's a lot harder not to do it when I end up thinking they're doing PG's story, only updated for the times.

"Am I Superman's Cousin? What does that mean? What does it mean to be a Kryptonian on Earth? Why did I have to live? Do I want to die? Will I ever fit in? Will I ever be what they expect me to be? Do they have the right to expect anything at all? Will I ever measure up to Kal's legacy? Should I? Could anyone? Who am I? What am I? Should I try to have a normal life? Can I? Is it possible without all the years put in to having a normal, human, childhood? What am I missing out on in the human world? Is it anything like what I'm missing out in from Krypton? What do I want? Can I want something for myself? What does being a hero mean? Should I be a hero? Why do I have to handle this all in public? What's my purpose? Why can't I live a normal life if I can manage to blend in and lie and be a human? Why does Kal live a human life? Does he feel anything? Does it feel weird to him? Does anyone understand how weird it feels to me? Should I remember being Kryptonian and of the House of El or should I try to forget? Am I following Kal's footsteps because he's currently the head of the House of El? Does that even matter anymore?.....'

So many questions. So many interesting questions and conflicts and desires and emotions. But I associate them all with Powergirl. And I keep wanting to see them interacting, so I can maybe observe the differences. Except that there's this stupid premise that they can't be too close together physically because they cause each other's powers to act up.

So Kara's alone when she doesn't have to be. She's alone when it makes her story mimic Karen's that much more. She's alone and a teenager and angsty and trying to figure it all out. But the writers so far don't seem to be looking at it from a teenager's pov.

Kara isn't watching teens on the street, or looking at MTV, or flipping through the channels or reading books about teenagers. But she is spending time with the Outsiders and crushing on Nightwing, and wondering why everything gets tongue tied around him. But it doesn't move from there, because there's a crisis and off she runs.

Kara isn't exploring what having powers and doing heroic things means to her. She's aping Kal-El and wearing his symbol and his costume. And in that she seems somewhat less that PowerGirl. Though understandably she's much younger and as a teenager she's going to be easily swayed.

And yet...

It's like they're missing all the edges of the outsider story. They have the frame up, a rough sketch. But the things that give it dimension are missing.

There's more to trying to figure out who you are, in a world where people die, and relatives lose their powers and enemies haunt you just because you're part of the House of El; than exploring smoking, costume changes and man on the street interaction.

There was this beautiful hint at all the anger she feels in her interaction with Cassie. Kara has grief and rage. She's lost the world she knows, moreso than Kal-El can ever imagine. In fact, she has more in common with Batman, in having had her world shatter and break.

As much as I love Batman, he's not the best person to help her deal with that. But I know he'd take her to the person who is, Jonn Jonzz.

I've heard much of Kyle of Green Lantern Fame, and the trip he took where he met up with lots of Superheroes and slowly realized that what he had inside him was a hero's heart. Why can't Supergirl have something similar? Why can't Jonn teach her about celebrating old rituals and customs in private and dealing with the huge weight of loss that will never really go away? Why can't WonderWoman teach her about female empowerment and humanity's history and self-respect? What would be wrong with a series where a strong telepath like Jonn realized the pain she was in and sent her down the right path?

I found something very wrong with Superman calling an assembly of heroes to welcome Kara when she hadn't proven herself yet. I know she didn't join a particular group. But she hasn't had any training. Is it my Batman love showing that I think like this? That I want to point out that when WonderWoman lost her sight, Batman went for her tooth and nail to ensure she could still take care of herself. But he and Superman leave an untrained girl to discover for herself how to do things? Since when do they do that?

The book kept mentioning Clark wanting Lois to meet Kara. Has that happened yet and I missed it? Cause if not, why can't it happen? What's wrong with Lois and or Martha helping Kara see the point of view of human females? Why isn't there a chance for her to see there are things she might want to experience as just a girl without costumes and responsibilities being right there front and center.

I guess I want to see something more. So far I haven't even figured out why Kara wears the S, other than mimicking Kal-El and so once again I find myself thinking of Powergirl's independence in not wearing a symbol. Though I personally wouldn't fret if I saw her belt-buckle had the S. Or that she suddenly sported a ring that held the emblem. Because it means 'House of El' to me as much as it means 'SUPERsomeone' and Karen's worthy of her house.

Is it possible the writers of Supergirl don't understand the 'Outsider' story? That they don't remember being awkward teenagers and don't have the imaginations to pretend to be an alien girl who doesn't even understand why what she wears and how she looks should be more important than what she does? Or perhaps hasn't even had that thought or philosophy enter her head yet?

They've showed that she wants someone her own age to talk to but they haven't given her that someone. Why?

Why does the whole run that I've managed to read, leave me with more questions than satisfaction?

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