Crisis on Infinite Earths really put a retcon-whammy on Legion continuity. We lost Supergirl and Superboy, which also removed the inspiration for the Legion. Our favorite 30th century heroes spent the next 20 years trying to make sense of their history. To be fair, the Legion weren't the only ones hit hard by the Crisis. Wonder Woman, Hawkman, the JSA, anyone connected to the Superman family, and many more. Most characters found their Post-Crisis footing fairly quickly. For whatever reason, the Legion continued to struggle. There was another character that never quite made the adjustment to the Post-Crisis universe -- Power Girl. Now, let's connect some dots...
What I'm proposing today is we travel back in time to 1986 just before Crisis began affecting DC continuity. Upon arrival our task is to convince the DC creative staff to retcon Power Girl into Legion continuity. This simple change would fix decades of headaches for numerous characters (and fans).
The Problems with Superboy:
- In the Pre-Crisis universe, Superboy's exploits in the 20th century inspired Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad to found the Legion of Super-Heroes. In the Post-Crisis universe, writers were left with the task of "patching the holes" in continuity created by Superboy's absence. To retcon the inspiration of the Legion, first we were treated to a story about a "Pocket Universe" Superboy. Later it was decided to completely remove Superboy from the Legion's history. In this era, the inspiration for the Legion came from Mon-el's exploits in the 20th century when he was called, "Valor." Finally, after Infinite Crisis Superboy was returned to Legion continuity (somewhat) and once again served as the inspiration to form the team. The inspiration behind the Legion's formation was a confusing mess for about 20 years.
- In the Pre-Crisis universe, Superboy would frequently travel to the 30th century and share adventures with the Legion of Super-Heroes. In the Post-Crisis universe, writers replaced Superboy's 30th century exploits in a variety of ways. At first the adventures of Superboy in the 30th century were replaced with the "Pocket Universe" Superboy. Then once Superboy was removed from Legion history completely, they used multiple tactics to replace Superboy. In some cases, it was just assumed that Superboy wasn't present for certain adventures. In other adventures, characters such as Mon-el or Ultra Boy fulfilled Superboy's role in the story. Even later, characters such as Kent Shakespeare were created to retroactively fill in the gaps created by Superboy's absence. Finally, after Infinite Crisis it's assumed Superboy was returned to his Pre-Crisis adventures. Again, another confusing mess for about 20 years.
The Problem with Supergirl:
- In the Pre-Crisis universe, Supergirl spent time as a member of the Legion hanging out in the 30th century. She even maintained a romantic relationship with Brainiac 5. For about five years after Crisis, the absence of Supergirl from continuity created a paradox with Legion history. In 1990, the Legion writers retroactively replaced Supergirl's 30th century activities with a new character, a Daxamite named Laurel Gand (a.k.a. Andromeda). In the Post-Crisis 20th century, there were several attempts to create a new Supergirl (Matrix, Matrix/Linda Danvers, Cir-El, and eventually an updated Kara Zor-El). The updated Kara Zor-El even spent some time with a rebooted Legion. While the Laurel Gand solution was fairly clean, the specter of the original Supergirl hung over the Legion for about 20 years.
The Problem with Power Girl:
- In the Pre-Crisis universe, Power Girl was the Earth-2 version of Supergirl. She was from Krypton and the Earth-2 Superman's cousin. In the Post-Crisis universe, DC creative staff decided Superman should be the only Kryptonian. For whatever reason, DC allowed Power Girl to survive in the Post-Crisis universe while they decided to kill Supergirl. The problem was if Power Girl was no longer Superman's cousin or Kryptonian, who was she and where was she from? The answer came as a shoe-horned origin revealing Power Girl as the time-lost granddaughter of the Atlantean sorcerer Arion. In this new timeline she grew up mistakenly thinking she was Superman's cousin, but later found out about her true Atlantean history. This origin wasn't very popular with fans and was rarely referenced by subsequent writers of Power Girl's adventures. As time went on it was suggested that Power Girl's Atlantean origin might be a lie. When Infinite Crisis rolled around in 2005, DC creative overturned the entire Crisis ramifications and revealed Power Girl was (and always had been) exactly as she was prior to Crisis -- the cousin of the Earth-2 Superman and from Krypton. What a confusing twenty years for Power Girl fans! They took a strong female character with tons of potential, and bogged her down with an overly-complex origin.
The Solution -
Power Girl and the Legion of Super-Heroes
There is a very simple solution that fixes all of the continuity headaches for the Legion and Power Girl. Here is what we should suggest to the DC staff in 1986 for the Post-Crisis continuity...
- Retcon: Power Girl is from Daxam instead of Krypton. Most of her previous adventures remain intact because she grew up thinking she was Superman's cousin and from Krypton. Just have her discover at some point that she's not actually Superman's cousin, but was rocketed from Daxam for whatever reason. Superman can still view her as an "adopted" cousin.
- Retcon: Power Girl's adventures in the 20th century inspired Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lighting Lad to form the Legion of Super-Heroes.
- Retcon: The Legion traveled back to the 20th century and invited teenaged Power Girl to join their club. She had many adventures with the Legion, including a romance with Brainiac 5. Any Pre-Crisis Legion adventure that featured Superboy or Supergirl, retcon Power Girl in their place. If a story was dependent upon a male character, retcon Mon-El or Ultra Boy to fulfill that obligation.
- Going Forward: Power Girl is available to appear in Legion comics regularly.
Done and done. Forget the Pocket Universe Superboy, Valor, Kent Shakespeare, Laurel Gand, the confusing origin of Arion's granddaughter, and twenty years of fiddling with continuity.
It's possible this suggestion has been put forth elsewhere. If so, I was unaware while writing this piece. I would like to credit the Secret Origins Podcast for sowing the seeds of this idea. When Ryan Daly and Anj (one of our own Super-Bloggers) covered the Power Girl Secret Origins issue, they suggested DC could have made Power Girl a Daxamite in the Post-Crisis continuity. Thanks for the push in the right direction guys!
Power Girl and the Legion of Super-Heroes... what could have been.
Long Live (Power Girl and) the Legion!