Karen Starr recently appeared in the new Mister Terrific series launched as part of DC's New 52 initiative. Michael Holt (Mr. Terrific) invited Karen to a fundraiser in Los Angeles for Senator Gonzalez's presidential campaign. Karen is the head of Starr Enterprises, concealing her identity as the superpowered Power Girl. In a reference to her superhero costume, Karen attended the fundraiser wearing a blue dress with Power Girl's trademark oval-shaped opening in the front. She stars in the New 52 series "World's Finest" alongside Huntress, where she is revealed to be formerly the Supergirl of Earth 2.
Kara Zor-L was born on the Earth-Two version of the doomed planet of Krypton just before it was destroyed, and her origin story mirrors those of her famous Kryptonian relatives, Superman and her counterpart, Supergirl.
When Kara's father, Zor-L, realized that Krypton was about to explode, he placed his infant daughter on a spaceship and shot it towards Earth. This occurred at the same time that the infant Kal-L (Kara's cousin and the Superman of Earth-Two) had also been launched on a ship towards Earth. However, Kara’s ship traveled far more slowly then Kal-L’s ship, and resulted in Kara arriving on Earth decades later than her cousin. Kara’s ship was called the Symbioship and it was designed to keep her in a stasis mode during her flight to Earth. To ensure that Kara's mental development kept pace with her physical growth, the ship provided her with a virtual reality that gave her life experiences and education as if she had grown up on Krypton rather than in stasis. During her long journey through space, she was able to interact with virtual copies of her parents and friends in her home city of Kandor.
When Kara's ship finally arrived on Earth, she was in her early twenties (though in her Modern Age retconned origin, she arrived on Earth at eighteen years of age). She then met her cousin Kal-L, who had grown up on Earth-Two as the heroic Superman. Kal-L, who in this reality had married his longtime sweetheart Lois Lane, adopted Kara so she could have a family and a period of adjustment to life on Earth. Shortly afterward, Kara set forth on Earth-Two to become the heroine known as Power Girl.
Power Girl was created in 1976 by writer Gerry Conway and artists Ric Estrada and Wally Wood, when a powerful new heroine was needed to join Earth-Two's premiere super-team, the Justice Society of America, as all the other active members were male (and had all lived through WWII, making DC fear that the readers wouldn't identify with them). The name "Power Girl" was a nod to a Lois Lane story, told in Superman #125, 18 years earlier. Fellow creator Roy Thomas later expressed disappointment about Conway's choice to have Power Girl be another cousin of the Man of Steel, as opposed to a daughter (which would have kept her separate from the already existing Supergirl). Conway never gave Power Girl a real name, either as a human or Kryptonian, since he left the book a couple of months after her introduction. During this time she was merely called "girl" or "kid" by her teammates. Writer Paul Levitz finally gave her actual names two years later (in DC Showcase #98), with "Kara Zor-L" becoming her Kryptonian title and "Karen Starr" her civilian identity. Levitz also wrote Power Girl's first origin story.
Bronze Age / Earth-Two
During the Bronze Age of the seventies through the early eighties, Power Girl played the role of the Supergirl of Earth-Two, adventuring with the Justice Society of America and adopting the secret identity of Karen Starr, computer programmer. When the aging Superman of Earth-Two retired, Power Girl took his place as an official member of the JSA. Her closest friend was the Huntress, who on Earth-Two was the daughter of Batman and Catwoman (mirroring the friendship between Supergirl and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon). Power Girl first encountered Earth-One in Justice League of America vol. 1 #147, and found that in many ways she actually preferred that reality to her own, precluding to her eventual fate.
Modern Age / New Earth
Due to the destruction of Earth-Two during 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths, Power Girl's existence on Earth-One became problematic. Therefore her character underwent major changes in the Modern Age, initially transforming her heritage from Kryptonian to Atlantean. Her retconned origin made her a direct descendant of the sorcerer Arion of Atlantis, and she had been frozen in suspended animation for a thousand years before being released in the present day. In 2005 the events of Infinite Crisis revealed this origin to be false, and Power Girl once again became one of the last Kryptonian survivors of Earth-Two. During the Modern Age she continued to operate with the retconned Justice Society of America and also joined the Justice League of America. After starring in several personal mini-series throughout her history, Power Girl finally received her own ongoing series in 2009, which was canceled in 2011 after 27 issues.
Post-Flashpoint / Earth-2
Michael Holt (Mr. Terrific) invited Karen Starr to a fundraiser in Los Angeles for Senator Gonzalez's presidential campaign. Though Karen is still the head of Starr Enterprises, it's been confirmed that Karen is Power Girl of Earth-2 in the DCnU. In a battle against Darkseid's forces in Earth 2 #1, she and Huntress were sucked into the regular DC Universe (Earth Prime? Earth 0?) and in Worlds' Finest they are trying to find a way back to Earth 2.
Major Story Arcs
Bronze Age / Earth-Two:
Justice Society of America
When Kal-L first discovered Kara on Earth-Two, she was not introduced to the public right away. Instead, Clark and his wife Lois Lane decided to adopt Kara and provided her a family to help her adjust to life on Earth. She began her superhero career soon after, but instead of becoming Supergirl, Kara sought to distance herself from her overbearing and overprotective cousin. To do this, Kara adopted the code name "Power Girl," and wore a white costume that was clearly different from Superman's iconic blue uniform. Though she was essentially the Supergirl of Earth-Two, the only thing in common between them was their blonde hair color and powerset. Other than that, Power Girl was completely her own character.
Power Girl began her very first adventure when she assisted the Justice Society members Flash and Wildcat by helping them stop a volcanic eruption in China. She later became a full time member of the Justice Society upon the retirement of Superman, and the Huntress (who on Earth-Two was the daughter of Batman and Catwoman) became her best friend.
Reclaimed by the Symbioship
Early in her JSA career, Power Girl attracted the attention of a newspaper reporter named Andrew Vinson, who wanted to know her full history. Power Girl was not receptive and told him to stay away. Later, while battling a group of criminals in Gotham City, Power Girl was attacked by Vinson, who was encased in what appeared to be bulky Kryptonian armor. The armor turned out to be Power Girl's own Symbioship, which had captured Vinson and used him to locate Power Girl. She freed the reporter from the Symbioship and apologized for its behavior. Undaunted, Vinson demanded an explanation and Power Girl finally revealed her origin story ( DC Showcase vol. 1 #98).
However, the Symbioship was not done with Power Girl. It came to life again and imprisoned her inside, putting her back into stasis. She was force-fed two more years of the Symbioship's virtual reality, during which she graduated from college on Kandor, fell in love with a Kryptonian man, and even married and had a child with him. But since Power Girl had now experienced true reality on Earth, she fought the temptation of the happy illusion, regaining consciousness and breaking out of the ship. She grabbed Vinson and fled to the Superman Museum, but the relentless Symbioship caught up with Power Girl in the museum and trapped her in stasis again. Thinking fast, Vinson asked the museum curator to project scenes of Krypton at the Symbioship. Tricked into believing that it was back on its home planet and its mission therefore accomplished, the ship shut down. Power Girl burst free from the ship and smashed it to pieces, preventing it from ever reclaiming her again (for some reason, it rebuilt itself, as evidenced in Secret Origins #11 (1987)).
Power Girl and Andrew Vinson became friends after the Symbioship incident, and Vinson helped her establish the new secret identity of Karen Starr. Power Girl then borrowed Wonder Woman's Purple Ray of the Amazons so that she could instantly assimilate the knowledge necessary to become a top computer programmer. Afterward, Vinson recommended 'Karen Starr' to Gotham's Ultimate Computer Corporation (UCC), and she was hired to be their computer specialist.
Modern Age / New Earth:
Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths
In 1985, after DC's universe-changing Crisis on Infinite Earths essentially erased Earth-Two from existence, major revisions were made to Power Girl's history. Her retconned origin supposedly made her a descendant of the Atlantean sorcerer named Arion, while she had been in frozen in suspended animation for thousands of years. When the Justice Society of America disbanded, Power Girl eventually became a member of the Justice League of America.
During her time as a member of the Justice League Europe, she suffered a serious injury in battle against a mystical being. Using his heat vision, Superman was able to perform surgery on Power Girl, cutting through her otherwise invulnerable flesh. Upon recovery, Power Girl found that she was significantly weaker, having lost her super-senses and the ability to fly. Eventually these powers would return.
During the Zero Hour event, Power Girl became impregnated by magical means. She gave birth to a son named Equinox, who aged rapidly and disappeared. He has not been mentioned since. During this time, she would briefly join the team known as Sovereign Seven, a group made up of the princes and princesses from various dimensions. Power Girl then became one of the very first members of the Birds of Prey, working as a field agent for Oracle. However, due to a failed mission that resulted in the deaths of dozens of bystanders, Power Girl refused to ever work with Oracle again. Despite this vow, the two women have since worked together when absolutely necessary, but there is significant friction between them. When the Justice Society re-formed in the late 1990's, Power Girl became a key member of the team. During one of her adventures with the JLA, Kara finally met her supposed ancestor Arion. To Kara's shock, Arion revealed to her that her Atlantean heritage was in fact a lie.
Prior to the events of Infinite Crisis, Power Girl (who was now having an identity crisis because of Arion's revelation) came under attack by various illusions created by the Psycho-Pirate, who was trying to drive her insane by showing her different origins she would have. However, he finally reveals that her original origin as a refugee from Krypton was actually her true history, and that she was not only a survivor of another planet, but of the original multiverse, making her one of the survivors of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. It still has yet to be revealed how she survived the Crisis on Infinite Earths and how she was able to retain her Pre-Crisis origin. (Every other character had their origins rewritten or adjusted after the Crisis except for Power Girl.) It has been hinted that Power Girl’s survival after Crisis on Infinite Earths is connected to Earth-Two’s Kal-L and his survival by remaining in a different dimension. It is later revealed that it had been her foster mother, Lois Lane Kent, who created the false Atlantean origin for Kara to help protect her.
During Infinite Crisis, Kal-L had broken down the walls of the paradise dimension he had been living in with Lois, Alexander Luthor Jr., and Superboy-Prime since the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths. They had become disappointed with where Earth-One had been heading and all the corruption in that Earth. They devised a plan in which they would replace Earth-One with Earth-Two. Kal-L’s first priority was to find Kara and explain her true history to her as his cousin. Later Kara accidentally touches Lois and it restores Power Girl’s entire memory of Earth-Two.
Later, Kara is assaulted by Superboy Prime and he beats her unconscious and attached her to Alex Luthor's "cosmic turning fork" in order to bring back the multiple Earths. Luthor Jr. was able to trick Black Adam into saying “SHAZAM” and as a result, his magical lightning hit the tower. This resulted in the reappearance of Earth-Two and everyone that was from that Earth, was transported there.
However Power Girl was not transported there because of her location next to the tower. Later Power Girl was freed by Wonder Girl and Kon-El and they went into battle against Superboy-Prime and Luthor Jr. Superboy’s fight was taken to Mogo where Superboy-Prime beats Kal-L to death. Later Superboy-Prime would kill Kon-El and Power Girl was brought to Mogo by the Green Lanterns just in time to see her cousin die.
One Year Later
Supergirl and Power Girl traveled to Power Girl's birthplace, the bottled city of Kandor, to rescue Kandor's citizens from Ultraman, who was posing as Superman. He made everyone believe that they were actually on Krypton, and that if they didn't have Kryptonian blood they were not one of the true Kryptonians. On Kandor, Power Girl and Supergirl wore armor that hid their identities and changed their code names to Nightwing and Flamebird, respectively. Power Girl acted as the governing figure over Supergirl, who was dealing with her own inner struggles. Ultraman appealed to Supergirl and convinced her to marry him. As a result of this, Power Girl was tossed in jail and set to be executed. When the time came for her execution, Supergirl turned on Ultraman and set Power Girl free, but when the battle was nearing its conclusion, Supergirl abruptly quit. This didn't sit well with Power Girl, and she resented Supergirl as a result.
A New Beginning
Power Girl decided to reopen Starrware labs in New York as a means of getting a fresh start. Unfortunately, the city soon came under attack by robots of the Ultra-Humanite, who aimed to place his brain in Power Girl's body, which he believed to be ideal. The Ultra-Humanite lifted all of Manhattan into the air as an ultimatum, offering its safety to Power Girl in exchange for her body. When she refused, Ultra-Humanite masked her in goggles that reflect her heat vision and bound her with gravity restraints that held her by the full force of the Earth's gravity. She managed to escape by breaking the machine with freezing breath. The ensuing fight burned Ultra-Humanite severely, but he still refused to lower Manhattan. Power Girl did not even try to play the giant organ of controls, and instead simply cut all the suspension cables to lower the island safely with the help of Atlee.
With Ultra-Humanite locked away, Power Girl went back to assimilating Atlee to human life, and trying to fit in for herself. This was interrupted by Diane Dorst, who used a magic book to attack the city with plants and sea monsters, and then again by an unknown photographer who threatened her with photos of her secret identity, and again by the children of an emperor from Vega 7 who battle with their caretaker. In exchange for her help, the space travellers gave Power Girl their technology to be analyzed and hopefully utilized by Starrware for inventions to help the world.
Satanna who had a previous relationship with Ultra-Humanite and still had some feelings for him, attacked Power Girl with a Sonic Boom Hammer and after Power Girl broke it, placed a Gravity Well device in Power Girl's chest. Atlee intervened and threatened to torture Satanna if she did not remove the device. Satanna gave her the code to deactivate the device and while Atlee was punching it in, fled the scene.
She also met Vartox who came to her in order to allow his people to be fertile again after they were hit with a contraceptive bomb. In order to accomplish this Vartox used a series of schemes to impress Power Girl that ended in disaster: first knocking out Doctor Mid-nite, then unleashing a IX Negaspike, a beast of unsatisfying hunger that ate the Blue Snowman and could eat an entire planet. Power Girl froze and killed the Negaspike with her cooling breath only to find out that the creature could multiply. While facing a horde of new IX Negaspike's she realized the creatures were a lot dumber than the original, so she and Vartox froze and shattered them all, forming a new horde that was the equivalent of a space cow. Then they send all the IX Negaspikes to space in a frozen ball. Afterward Vartox explained that he would be using a pregno-ray (Power Girl giggled every time he said this) that channeled their spiritual energies to Vartox's people and allowed them to be reborn instead of having physical contact so Power Girl finally agreed to his request and cured Vartox's people.
Ultra-Humanite would again attack her, this time using Atlee's body after Satanna swapped their brains. She proceeded to knock out Ultra-Humanite, track down Satanna and when she refused to swap their brains, Power Girl cut off Satanna's arm using her heat vision. She then took Atlee and Ultra-Humanite to Strata where Aurla swapped their brains and cloned Ultra-Humanite into his original body using the DNA contained in his brain, also curing him of his genetic disease.
After staying for a while in Strata with Atlee she returned to the surface. She would meet Vartox again, this time having a dispute with an Alien over having caused the Alien's wife to be unfaithful. Power Girl sent both the Alien and Vartox away from Earth. Later the Vega children she had befriended gave 20 million dollars to Starrware Industries as appreciation for what she had done for them.
Power Girl returned to duty with the Justice League in order to hunt down the resurrected Maxwell Lord. While in Moscow, Booster Gold ends up making a mistake that blows up the Justice League International embassy, greatly upsetting Power Girl. She flew off to investigate the next lead provided by Batman, only to encounter OMACs. She fought them, but they shut down after Maxwell Lord activated a device that erased his identity from minds of everyone on Earth, including Power Girl. When she returned home, she found out that her financial officer, Donna Anderson, whom she trusted as a friend, fled with the money leaving Starrware in bankruptcy. The bank then slowly took everything from Starrware.
She then encountered a mysterious cyborg called C.R.A.S.H that while fighting realized his mission was to destroy New York City. She managed to stop the cyborg, but before she was able to turn him in, Maxwell appeared and took C.R.A.S.H with him. It was also during this time that Nicholas Cho, an employer of Starrware, figured out Power Girl and Karren Starr were one in the same, and threaten to expose her. Power Girl manages to convince him otherwise and becomes her assistant. Power Girl then went to Batman to investigate both Maxwell Lord and where Donna could be, but due to Maxwell's powers, they soon forgot about him once again, and instead, focused on the latter. After learning about what happened to Donna Anderson, they learn that C.R.A.S.H located in Antarctica. When Power Girl arrived, she fought Divine, a clone of her created by both Maxwell Lord and Dr. Sivana. When Power Girl had the advantage, Maxwell appeared, stunning her and taking Divine with him. After the encounter, Power girl remembered who Maxwell Lord was.
Power Girl then called a meeting with the JSA and Batman to talk about Maxwell Lord. However, during the conversation, another mind wipe causes them to forget about him once again. Power Girl then goes to Professor Ivo new lab in Vietnam where he's revived the Project Cadmus. Before she could shut it down, Maxwell Lord stopped her and using his powers, told her to kill the Justice League International.
The Justice League International managed to snap her out of Maxwell's mind control and decides to join them in stopping him. She then goes to dig up the corpse of Ted Kord to prove that he was murdered. When she takes the body to Batman to examine it, he initially refused, but after some convincing with Batman (Bruce Wayne) who also remembered Maxwell Lord (due to wearing the White Lantern Ring), the two examined the body to learn that Ted Kord was indeed killed by Lord instead of committing suicide. Power Girl then joins Batman (Bruce) to join up with the JLI to stop Maxwell Lord.
Powers and Abilities
As a Kryptonian of the Earth-Two universe, Power Girl has all of the powers of the Pre-Crisis Earth-Two Superman. She possesses great superhuman strength, speed, flight and invulnerability. She also has super senses, heat vision, X-ray vision, and freezing breath. One of her most notable feats includes stopping Ultra-Humanite's massive starship from hitting Manhattan; she then hurled the ship into the Atlantic Ocean. When Supergirl of Earth-One arrived, the powers of the two women seemed to go haywire whenever they touched each other. They battled briefly and appeared to be evenly matched. She has also faced off against Wonder Woman, and though the battle was tough at some points, she prevailed after a long battle and knocked Diana clear into Canada, and against Terra while she was controlled by Ultra Humanite, managing to defeat him even with him using the full extent of Terra's powers, which are capable of shifting Tectonic plates
Power Girl has the same Kryptonite weakness as Superman, except that she is immune to certain types of Kryptonite. The reason for this is because she is from Earth-Two. It was revealed in Infinite Crisis that she and other Earth-Two Kryptonians could only be affected by Kryptonite from Earth-Two and not Earth-One. Like Superman, Power Girl is also vulnerable to magical and psionic attacks.
- Height: 5' 11"
- Weight: 180 lbs (82 kg)
- Hair: Blonde (Red wig as Karren Starr)
- Eyes: Blue
- Date Of Birth: 1918
- Race: Kryptonian
- Citizenship: American
- Place of Birth: Kandor, planet Krypton (Earth-Two)
- Marital Status: Single
- Education: Educated via Kryptonian Symbioship
- Occupations: Adventurer, Justice Society of America member, entrepreneur, CEO of Starrware Industries
- Known Relatives: Zor-L (father, deceased), Alura In-Z (mother, deceased), Jor-L (uncle, deceased), Lora (aunt, deceased), In-Z (grandfather, deceased), Kal-L (Superman, first cousin/"uncle," deceased), Lois Lane-Kent (wife of cousin/"aunt," deceased)
Physical Appearance and Costumes
Power Girl has a highly athletic and slender physique but throughout the years, she is consistently depicted as a well-endowed young woman - to the extent that various writers have acknowledged it in both serious and humorous ways. Many fans have since associated Power Girl with her big cleavage and curvy body - turning her into a sex symbol, a pinup girl and a popular choice in cosplay. Since her debut, Power Girl's costume has been consistent over the years with white bodysuit, blue gloves and boots, and a red cape, until recently she is shown wearing a different costume in the New 52 initiative. In JSA: Classified #1 (2005), Green Lantern once asked Power Girl why she never wore a mask and she replied, "...it's because most of the time, they ain't looking at my face."
Power Girl was originally never intended to be a sex symbol. It was not until the early 2000's where artists like Amanda Conner and Adam Hughes designed her to be a buxom babe with a large opening in the chest area of the costume. Power Girl explained to Superman as to why she wears a costume with a big cleavage-window:
"People always asked me why I have this hole right here. They think I'm showing off...or just being lewd. But the first time I made this costume, I wanted to have a symbol like you. I just...I couldn't think of anything. I thought, eventually I'd figure it out and close the hole. But I haven't."
In the Superman/ Batman: Public Enemies animated film, Power Girl smashed Hiro Okamura (aka Toyman)'s X-ray goggles when he used it on her. Later, when Hiro was explaining to Batman and Superman about this giant robot he built, he attempted to make a reference to Power Girl's breast size but Batman cut him off.
Justice League Unlimited (2004 - 2006)
The animated JLU version of Power Girl was a character known as Galatea, and was a fully matured clone of Supergirl. She was created by Professor Hamilton for Project Cadmus and was designed to defeat Supergirl and Superman if they were to go rogue (again, in Superman's case). Hamilton acquired Kara's DNA when she was brought to STAR Labs after she was injured when Superman was under Darkseid's control. Even though Galatea was cloned from Supergirl, her age, mental state, and appearance made them quite different. Galatea was emotionally unstable and villainous. Due to the fact that they shared identical DNA, Galatea and Supergirl were psionically linked, and the two became aware of each other's memories while they slept. Galatea's weakness was her ego, since she was constantly trying to prove she was better than the original Supergirl. Supergirl defeated Galatea by electrocuting her after she used the Ultimen to invade the watchtower. It was never shown if she survived or not.
The name Galatea comes from classical Greek myth. Aphrodite allowed a sculptor to create a statue in her perfect image while he was searching for a wife. He fell in love with the statue, which he named Galatea.
Galatea was voiced by actress Nicolle Tom, who also voiced Supergirl.
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009)
Power Girl's actual animated debut was in the DC direct-to-video film Superman/ Batman: Public Enemies. She and several other heroes became fully sanctioned heroes of President Lex Luthor's administration. Luthor sanctioned them to keep them from working against him. She was sent with Captain Atom and Major Force to try and recruit Superman, though this failed.
As a result, President Luthor placed a bounty on Superman's head, and Power Girl was asked to team with Starfire, Black Lightning, Katana, Captain Atom, and Major Force to take him into custody. Power Girl warned Superman moments before he would have been attacked by a member of her team (she did this reflexively) and then joined with Superman and Batman in opposing her teammates. She caused a breach in Major Force's containment suit during their fight. She was also instrumental in subduing Captain Marvel and Hawkman when they tried to bring in the two 'public enemies.'
Power Girl was then sent to Japan to deal with Toyman, but ended up staying far away when the 13-year-old boy tried to check her out with his X-ray goggles. She was later defeated by a Kryptonite-powered Luthor in a battlesuit, but was present after Batman stopped an asteroid threatening the world.
Power Girl was voiced by actress Allison Mack, who also plays Chloe Sullivan on Smallville.
DC Universe Online (2011)
Power Girl appears as a non-player hero character in Sony Online Entertainment's online roleplaying game, DC Universe Online. In the game, players design their own characters to operate within the DC universe. Like most existing DC heroes appearing in the game, Power Girl usually assists hero-aligned players while opposing players aligned with the game's villains. She is voiced by Adrienne Mischler.
As one of the last of Earth's heroes following the war between Earth's heroes and villains, Power Girl is forced to ally with Lex Luthor to combat Brainiac's invading forces.
While eventually discovering that Luthor had killed Superman, which had lead to Brainiac's arrival, she was still forced to work in his resistance due to Brainiac's greater threat. However, Power Girl and the rest of the resistance were eventually killed following a bungled attempt by Luthor to use the power rings of the Sinestro Corps to defeat Brainiac. As Brainiac had previously defeated the Green Lantern Corps and obtained their power rings, he easily defeated the small group despite the destruction of his Skull Ship.