Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #2 pays homage to one of Supergirl’s most radical looks thanks to a unique interaction from a new form of Red Kryptonite.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #2, on sale now from DC.
Given the popularity of the Last Daughter of Krypton in recent years, it would be easy to believe that the legacy of Supergirl begins and ends with Kara Zor-El. However, Kara isn’t the only being to have taken this name. Other characters without her Kryptonian heritage filled her role in the Superman family after her departure in Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the limited series Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow reminds readers of the ’90s version of the Girl of Steel in a surprising way.
The first issue of the series saw Kara’s 21st birthday celebrations go wrong when she and her faithful canine companion Krypto were attacked by a merciless murder named Krem. Ruthye, a young girl who lives on the red-sun-soaked planet Supergirl was visiting, seeks vengeance against Krem for murdering her father. Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #2 by Tom King, Bilquis Evely, Matheus Lopes and Clayton Cowles shows that to save Krypto, Supergirl must assist this young girl in her questionable quest to kill Krem.
Supergirl is still powerless after her birthday bash. This lands her and Ruthye in trouble when the cruiser they’re traveling on falls under attack from a metal-eating space dragon. Knowing she needs a way to replace her powers, Kara seeks another solution — pills of Red Kryptonite. These lead-lined capsules allow other users to experience transformative hallucinations. As Kara tells Ruthye though, for Kryptonians like her, these transformations are real. The transformation she undergoes turns her into her fiery 90s counterpart Angel Linda Danvers, allowing her to use that Supergirl’s powers.
The Linda Danvers Supergirl, created by Peter David and Gary Frank, was introduced in 1996’s Supergirl #1. Linda’s background was a religious one, with much of her origin focused on her church-going life and her fall in with a demonic cult that tried to sacrifice her. She became the Girl of Steel when the then-current Supergirl named Matrix, a shape-shifting super-being created by Lex Luthor from an alternate universe, merged with Linda to save her life.
Soon after Linda and Matrix merged, Supergirl manifested new fire-based powers. These included wings made of flame and flame vision, replacing the well-known heat-vision. She soon learned from a mysterious child named Wally that she was an Earth-born Angel. An Earth-born Angel is created when one being whose death is imminent and irreversible, like Linda, merges with another who is very much alive, like Matrix.
Though Kara isn’t an Earth-born Angel like Linda was, this Red Kryptonite pill certainly does a good job of mimicking her powers and allowing her to defeat the dragon to save the day. The fact that Red Kryptonite can have such a strange effect, unknown until it manifests, isn’t new though.
Despite Kryptonite’s red variant being most well-known for turning Kryptonians into a more violent and altogether evil version of themselves, often seen in live-action interpretations like Superman III and Smallville, exposure to this strange substance can have many different outcomes. During the Silver Age, it would often change those affected physically as well as mentally. For example, making Superman lose all his hair or causing him to age rapidly. A synthetic version of Red Kryptonite created by Batman turned Superman’s cells transparent in the JLA story Tower of Babel.
In this series, the unpredictable effects of Red Kryptonite serve as a way to pay homage to the history of Supergirl and bring back one of her forgotten powers, as well as one of her most striking looks. The transformative capsules of Red Kryptonite are an interesting concept with a lot of potential for Superman titles going forward.
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