Comicbook / Supergirl

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Baffled, Superman? Let me tell you my story, as my parents told it to me! When Krypton blew up, you were not the only one to escape alive...

Oh, dear God. Did my death mean anything? Did I help them save the world?
[beat]
No. I can't think that way. Even if all my death means is I've delayed theirs, I still have to save them.
Kara Zor-El, Convergence: Adventures of Superman

The Maid of Might. The Girl of Steel. The Last Daughter of Krypton. THE Distaff Counterpart. THE female Flying Brick (together with Wonder Woman).

Supergirl is a comicbook superheroine, originally created as a Distaff Counterpart of Superman, drawing inspiration from Mary Marvel (in fact one of Supergirl's co-creators, legendary comic artist Otto Binder also created Mary Marvel.) A short summary of her history both in and out of comics can be found here: Who is the Girl of Steel?. An in-depth, light-hearted exploration of the character can be found here: Supergirl: the Life and Times of Kara Zor-El

Though there have been other variations (see below) Supergirl is best known as Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin from the planet Krypton. A fellow survivor of that planetary catastrophe, she arrived on Earth later than Kal-El. Far younger than her now-adult cousin, she oftentimes struggles with Earth's strange mores and being in the shadow of the world's greatest hero while growing into a compassionate and heroic young woman. Her role, especially in earlier comics, fluctuated between being a supporting character in Superman stories, occupying in the Superman mythos a similar niche to Robin in the Batman mythos and having her own largely unrelated stories.

In 1985 the original Supergirl was killed off in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover when DC Comics decided to return Superman to the status of Last of His Kind. For the next two decades various characters occupied the mantle before Kara Zor-El was restored to continuity. Over the years the various versions of Supergirl have held their own solo titles at several points.

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     #0) Super-Girl 

#0) "Super-Girl"

As a test, they released Superman #123 (August, 1958), a Jimmy Olsen story where he got three wishes. One wish was for a woman to keep Superman company, but though meaning well, this magical Super-Girl kept messing up her super-feats. Jimmy sadly wished her away when she sacrificed herself to save Superman from kryptonite, and was about to die anyway. (Note that in most later reprintings of this story, Super-Girl was intentionally miscolored to look different from Supergirl; originally, and as seen in DC Archives, she looks identical to Supergirl except that the skirt of her Mini Dress Of Power is rednote .)

     #1) Kara Zor-El 

#1) Kara Zor-El (Linda Lee Danvers)

The issue sold well and the DC powers that be decided that Supergirl's time had come. Thus was born Supergirl - a.k.a. Kara Zor-El, Kal-El's cousin. She first appeared in Action Comics #252 (May, 1959). At first, she was "Superman's secret weapon". As Linda Lee, an orphan at the Midvale Orphanage, she hid the existence of Supergirl from the world, secretly doing good and helping those in trouble.

Eventually, as the audience for good female characters increased, Superman judged her ready, and Supergirl was unleashed on the world. She was adopted and became Linda Lee Danvers; she gained her own Smallville-esque supporting cast, becoming an occasional member of the Legion of Super Heroes and love interest to popular LSH member Brainiac 5.

Very unsually for DC Comics (at the time) Kara's adventures in Action Comics were serialised from the early 1960s onwards rather than stand alone as was the general practice (including for Superman himself who she shared the comics with.) Supergirl's status quo gradually changed over the course of the decade and she aged at a slightly slower than real time rate, going from a cute 15 year old to a high school graduate and then on into a college student.

    #1.5) Power Girl 

#1.5) Power Girl

In the 1970s, a fateful decision was made: If Superman had a cousin on Earth-1, where Supergirl had long been established to live, why not one for the original Superman, Kal-L of Earth-2? Thus was Power Girl, aka Kara Zor-L of Earth-2, introduced (in All-Star Comics #58, Feb. 1976), with an origin much like Supergirl's, except for a Hand Wave to the effect that her capsule had taken much longer to reach Earth. Power Girl used a very different costume, an all-white one which highlighted her breasts, large even by comicbook standards. note  She was instantly inducted into the Justice Society of America and soon became a fan favorite. See more on her own page.

    The Crisis 

The Crisis

But as the 1970s and early 1980s came along, Supergirl fell out of fashion with comic fans. Several attempts to launch her into her own series failed spectacularly, and more alarming was the failure of her big budget live action film.

Then came the Crisis on Infinite Earths. The powers that be decided that Supergirl was a symptom of the longstanding decline in the Superman franchise, which had made the books a poor seller for DC Comics. In order to try bringing back Superman's uniqueness, it was decided that Superman should be the only surviving Kryptonian. So in issue #7 of the Crisis (October, 1985), Supergirl made a Heroic Sacrifice to help stop the villain's plan. But then DC decided to do a full-on reboot of the Superman franchise, resulting in the now dead Supergirl being declared to have never existed. In a bit of major irony though, the copycat Power Girl survived and was given a new origin story, as the granddaughter of an Atlantean sorcerer sent through time to the present day.

    #2) Matrix 

#2) Matrix

Eventually, John Byrne decided to "cheat" his way around the "Superman: Last Son of Krypton For Real" edict to bring Supergirl back, in the form of "Matrix", a shape-shifting purple creature who just so happens to take Supergirl's form. The new version first appeared in Superman vol. 2 #16 (April, 1988). Hailing from a pocket universe where Superboy existed (in order to keep the Legion of Super-Heroes universe from collapsing from the removal of Superboy from canon) and all life was destroyed by escaped Phantom Zone villains, Supergirl followed Superman into the mainstream DC Universe and for a time, things were good even as Supergirl began dating the Post-Crisis Lex Luthor (who, granted, was pretending to be his own son).

    #3) Linda Danvers 

#3) Linda Danvers (Post-Crisis)

However, this Supergirl grew stale as well, and in a few years Peter David was called in to retool her. In Supergirl vol. 4 #1 (September, 1996), Matrix traveled to the town of Leesburg, and melded with a troubled girl named Linda Danvers, in a nice Call Back Mythology Gag to her pre-Crisis situation. The fusion of the two resulted in an "Earth-Born Angel", a holy being with powers of fire that would serve as the Myth Arc for her new series.

Eventually, the "angel" aspect and the "Linda" aspect separated, with Linda keeping some powers of her own. This came at the same time that Supergirl was introduced in Superman: The Animated Series, so in a bit of media property alignment, Linda was given the cartoon Supergirl's costume. In "Many Happy Returns", the final story arc of the series, Linda met the original Pre-Crisis Supergirl whose rocket somehow detoured to the Post-Crisis universe. David hoped to use the arc to kickstart a new series entitled Blond Justice, and while the story sold very well, the new series was not to be. Ultimately, Kara returned to her universe, and Linda retired from superheroing. Supergirl vol. 4 lasted 80 issues, ending in November, 2002. However, the success of "Many Happy Returns", suggested that there was interest in the original Supergirl...

    #4) Cir-El 

#4) Cir-El

But first, a new character showed up; the Darker and Edgier Cir-El, who claimed to be Clark and Lois Lane's daughter from the future. She first appeared in Superman the 10 Cent Adventure #1 (March, 2003). However, she was a very unpopular character, and in short order her claims were debunked and she vanished into the timestream.

     #5) Kara Zor-El (Post-Crisis) 

#5) Kara Zor-El (Post-Crisis)

At this point, Dan DiDio rose to power at DC Comics. As urban legends goes, DiDio freaked out when he accidentally discovered the current Supergirl's convoluted origin of pocket universes and "earth angels" and made one of his first edicts upon taking over DC Comics to be DC bringing back the real Supergirl. (The success of the aforementioned "Many Happy Returns" arc probably didn't hurt either). A new Kara Zor-El was introduced, having crash-landed onto Earth just in time to be (re)introduced into DC Universe canon in Superman/Batman #8 (May, 2004). In a twist, it was revealed that Kara was older than Kal-El when they lived together on Krypton, and had been sent into space in order to care for her baby cousin on Earth; her rocket, however, going off-course (in a re-appropriation of Power Girl's origin) had meant she arrived as a teenager when he was an adult.

Since then Supergirl's basic identity in The DCU has held steady as Kara Zor-El. Confusion didn't end there though as her own named title was prone to retconning Kara's personal backstory on Krypton every three issues or so under a string of writers before finally settling down some 30 issues in. This roughly coincided with being brought into the extended New Krypton storyline, dealing with several hundred Kryptonians appearing on planet Earth led by Supergirl's parents. The book finally managed to become well regarded and is now a stable part of the Superman Family of comics. Supergirl also appeared in Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes, in which she was stuck a thousand years in the future with the Legion (having made the Time Travel trip during a Time Skip in her own book, and then getting Laser-Guided Amnesia before she returned). To top it off, 2009 saw a toony-style miniseries aimed at kids, called Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures In the 8th Grade, which was Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The original writer says he had plans to write sequels retelling her pre-Crisis story (her time in the Legion ''et al''), taking her up to the 12th Grade.

    #2.5) Power Girl (Post-Crisis) 

#2.5) Power Girl (Post-Crisis)

Meanwhile, Power Girl had gone through some changes as they tried to figure out what to do with her. Recruited for the Justice League Europe branch, Kara had her powers decreased (due to a deus ex machina lifesaving operation). She developed a new edgy, ultra-feminist attitude to let her serve as the resident shit-disturber on the JLE team (which was briefly retconned as being the result of allergies caused by diet sodas). She was made a businesswoman with her own computer company, mystically pregnant caused by her Atlantean grandpa, and most humiliatingly, was given a short-lived vulnerability to "natural, unprocessed materials" by Chris Claremont that was so silly and stupid that it was quickly dropped as soon as it was established.

Eventually, she found a home in the ongoing JSA series, and now that she was being focused on by a single writer, she started to gain some consistency. In the series, it was revealed that she wasn't Atlantean after all — but that left the question of what she was.

In the run-up to Infinite Crisis, the surprisingly simple answer was revealed: she was... Kara Zor-L, the cousin of the Superman of Earth-2. As the Earths were being merged, she had somehow fallen through a crack in time, emerging in the Post-Crisis universe unchanged, and the inconsistencies in her powers and origins since then had been side effects of the universe trying to fit her in. (Note: She is specifically from the Earth-2 that existed prior to Crisis of the Infinite Earths. A new Earth-2 that’s like the old one appeared after Infinite Crisis but it has its own Power Girl. Much to the original's dismay.)

Thus, both Supergirls have ended up right back where they started. See? It wasn't so complicated after all!

     #6) Kara Zor-El (New 52) and #3.5) Power Girl (New 52) 

#6 Kara Zor-El (New 52) and #3.5 Power Girl (New 52)

...Oh, what's that? DC rebooted their entire universe again in 2011, you say? Well, since Superman was rebooted this means Supergirl had to start from square one too. It's being kept simple this time: Supergirl is still Superman's cousin from Krypton who crashed to Earth much later and only remembers her cousin as a baby. Under the reboot Supergirl has experienced some personality shifts emphasizing she's an alien in contrast to her cousin.

Meanwhile, on Earth 2, Power Girl is also Superman's cousin from Krypton. Only she started her career there as Supergirl, her Superman is dead, and she's wound up stranded on the main Earth for several years. She's currently co-starring in Worlds' Finest with her best friend, Huntress (who, much like PG, started out as a sidekick in E2, having been Robin to her dad Batman). And in an interesting twist, both Karas do eventually meet and discover they have a strange bond due to their status as Alternate Universe counterparts of each other.

     Other Media Depictions of Supergirl 

Other media

A Supergirl film was released in 1984, starring Helen Slater as Supergirl. It flopped commercially as well as critically, but Slater's performance was well-received by Supergirl fans.

Superman: The Animated Series introduced its own version of Supergirl in 1998. This version was named Kara In-Ze and was rescued from the Kryptonian colony world of Argo. She wasn't actually a relative of Superman, beyond their being the same species, but she was adopted as his cousin and given a false civilian identity as Kara Kent. She was voiced by Nicholle Tom and would later appear in Justice League Unlimited. An evil clone of Supergirl named Galatea also appeared, whose costume, hairstyle and larger breasts were an obvious Shout-Out to Power Girl.

In 2007 Supergirl became a regular character on Smallville as Clark's cousin Kara from Krypton (played by Laura Vandervoort), using a variation of the origin where she is older than him and, as is typical in that series, Not Wearing Tights or using a code name. (There had earlier been a fake "Kara from Krypton" who turned out to be neither. It was a plan by an AI made in Jor-El's image, and from the way she was hitting on him, she wasn't supposed to be Clark's cousin unless Kryptonian social mores are very different from pretty much the same as modern human ones.)

The 2010 direct-to-video animated movie Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is an Animated Adaptation of the 2004 story that introduces the post-Crisis Kara Zor-El. She was voiced by Summer Glau. Kara also appeared in 2013's Superman Unbound, another direct-to-video cartoon adapting the 2008 Brainiac arc in the Superman titles. She was voiced by Molly Quinn.

Supergirl starred alongside Wonder Girl (Donna Troy) and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) in the DC Nation shorts Super Best Friends Forever by Lauren Faust.

Most recently, a Supergirl TV series starring Melissa Benoist as Kara premiered on CBS in the fall of 2015.

Supergirl is one of the main characters in the DC Superhero Girls line of superheroine dolls and in the DC Superhero Girls web-cartoon.

Supergirl has been an on-again-off-again member of the Legion of Super Heroes, different incarnations of the Justice League of America and the Red Lanterns Corps.

Notable Comic Book Stories:

Other Comic Book Stories:

  • Kara Zor-El appears in Man Of Steel Prequel, which is a tie-in to Man of Steel and is part of the DC Extended Universe. There, she is Kal-El's and Jor-El's distant ancestor instead of Kal-El's cousin. She is sent colonize a planet by the Council of Krypton. That mission will go awry.

This character provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Being a member of the Super-family, she can mix it up just as well as Kal-El, sometimes even better.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Kara's pony Comet could fly! He was secretly a cursed centaur.
  • And Here He Comes Now: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #20 features a conversation about how uneasy Supergirl makes everyone. Unfortunately, Supergirl has superhearing. Dream Boy attempts to warn everyone else but is ignored for long enough that this overlaps with Right Behind Me.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • In the post-Crisis universe, Kara spent thirty years in suspended animation, curled-up in a tiny pod and trapped in Kryptonite which hurt her and poisoned her mind.
    • In the New 52, after capturing Kara, Tycho held her in a stasis beam near from a chunk of kryptonite. She was in incredible pain but she couldn't scream or even move.
      Kara: Kryptonyte. a radioactive element lethal to the touch. Just being close to it — like I'm being held now — can be fatal. I'm screaming, but no sound comes out. I'm crying, but there are no tears. My skin is burning off, but there are no flames. All there is... All I am now... is the pain.
  • Arch-Enemy: In the Silver Age Kara's Arch-Enemy was evil Kandorian scientist Lesla-Lar who specialised in stealing powers and/or bodies and tried to replace Kara with herself more than once (she was also Genre Savvy enough to decide she should kill Lex Luthor after milking their villainous partnership for as much as possible). Post-Crisis it was Reactron and Superwoman (Lucy Lane). In the New 52 it is evil billionaire Simon Tycho.
  • Badass Adorable: While she may be one of the strongest beings in the galaxy, she is very much a teenager with her own hangups.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Supergirl does this every so often. In the Red Daughter Of Krypton arc, in which she was a Kryptonian Red Lantern (one of the most obscenely overpowered possible combinations in The DCU), she folded their arms several times. One of those times happened during a battle: she flew in the battlefield, punched an enemy across the city, folded her arms and glared.
  • Badass Cape: All Supergirls have always worn a flowing cape.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Comet, Supergirl's sapient horse with magical powers. As he described to her telepathically, he was originally a centaur in ancient Greece named Biron. The witch Circe gave him a potion to turn him fully human after he prevented an evil sorcerer poisoning her water, but by mistake made him fully horse instead due to the Sorcerer. Later, after meeting Supergirl, he went on a mission with her to the planet Zerox, where a magic spell was cast that turned him into a human, but only while a comet passes through the solar system he is in. As a human, he adopted the identity of "Bronco" Bill Starr, a rodeo trick-rider.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The Justice League, Peter David (which are basically the same outfit) and modern (pre-New 52) versions.
  • Bash Brothers: Or Bash Cousins or whatever. With Superman.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Kara can do this due to her Kryptonian physiology. Reasons vary according to the writer: Silver Age Kryptonians can do anything, she can hold her breath for absurd lengths of time... as of the New 52, Kryptonians do not have to breathe, as long as their bodies have enough stored sunlight. Kara discovers this when she gets surprised and gasps while swimming.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • A double subversion occurs in a Supergirl story from the Silver Age. Supergirl encounters Black Flame, a woman who seems to be a super-powered Kryptonian, in the process of some rather destructive vandalism. The villainess claims she's from the distant future of the year 4000, and "invites" Supergirl to view her time using a computerized exhibition device. It shows the heroine a terrible future where Black Flame extorts wealth from thousands of worlds (as in, she can blow them to little pieces if they don't comply). Worst part: she's Supergirl’s direct descendent, "Supergirl XXV", and the citizens of this distant future despise the first one just as much for starting this hated family line. Supergirl is naturally very upset, and after pursuing numerous leads (she senses something fishy here) including visiting the bottled city of Kandor, and eventually decides to unearth a chuck of gold kryptonite, and use it to erase her own powers, eliminating the possibility she could pass them down to a descendant, in effect, making Black Flame Ret Gone. Then Black Flame appears with a cruel laugh, revealing her true identity, that of an assistant of a criminal from the Kandor who was interred in the Phantom Zone. Black Flame had set up the plan out of revenge, leaving Kandor and using something called Red-K to increase her size, then pulled the ruse hoping Supergirl would depower herself. After listening to the powerless heroine her beg a little, she shoves Supergirl into a pit of quicksand and watches her drown. Or so it seems. Black Flame gets a big surprise as the Red-K wears off, shrinking herself to normal size, because Supergirl actually figured the plan out, and was outgambitting her with her own Batman Gambit; now that she's shrunk, Supergirl grabs her, showing her the - fake - chuck of gold kryptonite and shoving her inside a make-up compact that holds a few minute grains of real gold kryptonite. As she ships the criminal back to Kandor, the last panel of the story shows the one flaw in Black Flame's plan - a cavity in her teeth with a dental filling that Supergirl noticed while investigating records in a Kandor dental clinic, something a superpowered descendant would not have.
    • In the Red Daughter Of Krypton storyline, two villains tried to pull off separate Batman Gambits to defeat Supergirl:
      • Lobo tries to use Supergirl's rage against her by taunting her into not holding back. As such, Dr. Veritas teleports them out of the Block to prevent their fight from damaging it. Once outside, Lobo calls his ship and flies to Supergirl's old apartment in New York, hoping to calm her down. He then tries to be friendly to her offering to mentor her so she can learn to control her rage. Big mistake. Supergirl has had it with people trying to manipulate her and gives him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
      • Worldkiller-1 had taken over the body of an alien warlord and wanted to steal Supergirl's body. However he couldn't destroy his host body. So he goaded Supergirl to use her Eye Beams on him until she reduced his body to ashes involuntarily.
  • The Berserker: During her Red Lantern phase, she genuinely enjoyed finding evil jerkasses and pummelling them.
    Kara: The Red Ring on my fist chose me. It made me part of a team. We seek out injustice and we punch it in the teeth. And it feels good.
  • Between My Legs: The first post-Crisis Super Girl, aka Matrix, was introduced with this, which also served to hide her face.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Much like her cousin, she's usually a nice, compassionate, friendly person. Unlike her cousin, she's headstrong and a little short-tempered and Hot-Blooded. When she gets real angry, it isn't pretty.
    • During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Anti-Monitor -a being who eats whole universes- almost kills Superman. Enraged, Supergirl attacked him, broke his supposedly indestructible armor and nearly killed him.
    • In a post-Crisis story, Kara flew Clayface up to the edge of the atmosphere and dropped him after he got her pissed off.
    • In Red Daughter Of Krypton, Lobo pressed Supergirl's berserk buttons over and over again until she exploded and pummelled him.
  • Big Brother Mentor:
    • Superman was this to his cousin in the Silver Age. He took care of her and trained her until she was ready to go solo.
    • Subverted post-Crisis. Kara was actually older than Superman, and she expected to take care of her baby cousin, but after her ship launched it was stuck in a Kryptonite debris field for 30 years, during which she was in a coma. Although she eventually reached Earth, her cousin was now older, and wanting to be her mentor and caretaker.
    • Subverted in the New 52. Superman thinks he must help and guide his teen cousin. Everyone thinks she would be better off with him... but Supergirl, who protests that she doesn't need or want any help.
    • In Red Daughter Of Krypton Superman has to tell Guy Gardner he can't keep his cousin with him if she doesn't want to stay. So Guy became one to Kara, helping her find herself and manage her anger.
  • Big Dumb Body: Wordkiller-1 -an alien, body-surfing symbiote- subverted this when he transferred his soul into the body of Supergirl because he thought she was a crazy powerful, inmensely strong, stupid girl. By the time he realized she wasn't dumb at all and she had outsmarted him to force him out of her body and kill him, it was too late.
  • Blackmail: In the New 52 issues, Tycho tried to blackmail Kara: he'd give her pod's crystal back in exchange for a drop of her blood. It was a bad, bad idea...
  • Blackmail Backfire: In the New 52, Tycho tried to blackmail Kara. She blew his space station up and retrieved her pod's crystal.
  • Blessed with Suck: Supergirl often sees her powers as a burden. Pre-Crisis Kara came to a point where she was tired of being Supergirl constantly instead of being her own person and she actually felt guilty for wanting to lead a normal life. Post-Crisis, a lot of people tried to manipulate her or take advantage of her because she was so powerful, to the point she calls her formidable powers a curse in the Red Daughter Of Krypton arc:
    Supergirl: This strength, this power — It's been like a curse. But I refuse to be a victim anymore!
  • Blue Is Heroic: Most of the time she wears a blue super-hero costume.
  • Body Surf: Alien invader Worldkiller-1 transferred his soul from a body to other the whole time, looking for a perfect host. In the Red Daughter Of Krypton arc, as Supergirl was fighting the leader of an alien race, Worldkiller-1 emerged through the Diasporan's damaged body and tried to snatch Kara's body. She forced him out, though, so he transferred his spirit into the bodies of random bystanders -who were burn out nearly instantly- until Kara agreed to let him surf into her body.
  • Bound and Gagged: In the Red Daughter Of Krypton storyline, in order to transport a mad Supergirl safely, a group of Green Lanterns gagged and chained Kara with solid light constructs and placed her inside a containment cell.
  • Breath Weapon: Kara has freezing breath, hurricane breath, heat vision, and during her Red Lantern phase, she could spew corrosive plasma.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": All of her costumes -but her Red Lantern uniform- have the S-shield symbol.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Since her creation, Supergirl has run into many idiots who thought it was a good idea annoying Superman's cousin:
    • In a post-Crisis comics, Batman's villain Clayface challenged and taunted Supergirl. Someone who is essentially a shape-shifting mud-man taunted a girl who can punch moons. Great idea.
    • In the New 52, Tycho has seen what Supergirl is capable of... and he tries to capture her, blackmail her, hit her... and it never ends up well for him.
    • Later on, Lobo picks a fight with Supergirl. Knowing he can't go toe-to-toe with her, he mocks her, taunts her, presses her Berserk Buttons... so she gets angry and fights more sloppily. She certainly got angry. And then she proceeded to pummel him savagely.
    • In the Supergirl movie, Supergirl runs into two truck drivers shortly after reaching Earth. She quickly identifies herself as Superman's cousin... and the pair of hicks decides to harass her. Then she proves she has Kryptonian powers... and the idiot duo attacks her.
  • Cape Wings: Linda/Matrix as the Earth Angel of Fire.
  • Character Development: Kara often undergoes some kind of character development:
    • Pre-Crisis Kara goes from being a naive teenager who idolized her cousin to a young woman who was determined to be her own person and figure out what kind of life she wanted to lead.
    • Post-Crisis Kara was characterized as a whiny, fickle, immature brat who didn't deserve to wear the S-shield for a while until she decided that she needed to stop being a jerk and truly change. From that point on, she started to mature. Later on, it was explained that her weird behavior, her mood swings, her contradictory memories, her inability to focus on what she was doing... was due to kryptonite poisoning.
    • New 52 Kara was a teen ball of anger and abandonment issues who felt trapped in a strange land where she didn't fit in and longed for returning to Krypton. After the "Red Daughter of Krypton" and "Crucible Academy" arcs she's accepted that Earth is her new home and she's calmer and more controlled.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: At the beginning of Supergirl's sixth volume, some aliens were seen floating in several pods in the background. Later on, Supergirl met and fought four of those aliens -who were called Worldkillers-, and her leader revealed that there was a fifth worldkiller. Guess who fights Supergirl almost thirty issues later?
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Red Lantern Supergirl had a huge and disturbingly wicked grin when she met Superman in space during the events of Superman: Doomed.
  • Chest Insignia: Kara shares her cousin's "S" shield -later versions of the Superman mythos have established that it's the emblem of the House of El-. During her Red Lantern tenure, she wore the symbol of the Red Lantern Corps: a circle and two crooked lines on its right and left sides.
  • City of Adventure / Aliens in Cardiff: Linda Danvers' hometown of Leesburg, VA.
  • Clark Kenting: In order from bad to better.
    • New 52's Kara doesn't use any extras.
    • The Linda/Matrix gestalt didn't use any extras
    • Pre-Flashpoint Kara and Cosmic Adventure Kara version follow her cousin sample by using glasses.
    • For most of her Pre-Crisis life, Kara used a brown wig to hide her blonde hair.
    • The animated Supergirl of the DCAU uses both wig and glasses.
  • Cloning Blues: A notable Bronze Age story involved Kara getting an Evil Clone who was then depowered and just wanted to live a normal life. Kara promised to help her establish a new identity for herself.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: In issue 23 of the New 52, Cyborg Superman creates robot replicas of people from Supergirl's memories to fight her. This includes everyone she's met in her series; friend and foe, hero and villain.
  • Costume Evolution: Her outfit started as a blue mini dress with a red cape and boots. Changes over the years include making the skirt red, making the suit a two-piece, changing the skirt with shorts, and adding gold edging.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Peter David gave this quality to the Linda Danvers Supergirl and it has since passed over to future incarnations of the character.
  • Depending on the Artist: Much more than her Spear Counterpart cousin, the size of her skirt can vary frequently, how big her breasts can be, to how old she actually looks.
  • Despair Event Horizon: It happened to Kara in the vol. 6. She starts out a nice, happy-go-lucky girl. Then her father placed her in suspended animation inside a rocket and launched her out of Krypton. When she wakes up, she finds herself stranded on an alien, primitive world. Her family, her friends, her old life... are gone forever because her home world exploded nearly thirty years ago. Then she goes through several months of endless battles. Meanwhile, she appears to be unable to connect with her only living relative, she doesn't manage to fit in with Earth's people or keep any friends, and everyone she meets wants to decide what is better for her or tries to use her. She falls in love with someone, and then she finds out that her crush was a murderous bastard who was manipulating her. She has a chance to save her planet, and she fails... Then she runs into and fights Lobo, who intentionally presses her Berserk Buttons until she flips out. After pummelling him, Kara is mad like hell and feeling hurt, betrayed, confused and utterly hopeless, thinking she belongs anywhere and can trust no one.
  • Determinator: Kara never quits. Never. Not even when she's poisoned with Kryptonite, her body is getting stolen by an alien abomination, and her heart has stopped. Even so, she'll keep fighting. She explains that her mother taught her to never give up.
    Supergirl: But then I thought of mother. I remembered all I had to live up to. A daughter of the House of El never quits. I wasn't about to be the first.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Superman, obviously. She even provides the page's trope image.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Supergirl does this in on occasion, for example in one of Redan's Batman and Superman comic strips. Then again, she was still learning to control her powers. One of the explicit differences between Superman and Supergirl is that Superman has mental blocks he imposed on himself so there's an upper limit to how much power he'll use, while Supergirl has no such blocks, allowing her to at times be stronger than her cousin. Stronger, but not better. When they fought, Superman easily defeated and immobilized her (and actually threatened he could do it any time he wanted to if need be). Supergirl has been using her power for one year or two. Superman has been fighting people more powerful than he allowed himself to be since he was twenty.
    • In the 1970 story "Supergirl's Lost Uniform", Supergirl while in her Linda Danvers identity lifted what she thought was a fake 500-lb weight and twirled it like a baton. The fake was the one next to it. Oops.
    • In Supergirl #27 Supergirl kicks Lobo so hard that she -apparently- kills him. Kara is so upset that she swears she didn't want to kill him and she cries she doesn't know her own strength.
      Supergirl: I don't even know my own strength!
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • She has lost her home planet Krypton several times and her hometown Argo City.
    • New Krypton was this in the Post-Crisis universe.
  • Dye or Die: Pre-Crisis Kara used a device to dye her hair brown instantly.
  • Dynamic Character: As noted above Supergirl was one of the first DC characters to avert the Static Character format going from a naive teenager to a smart young woman looking to make her mark on the world, gaining a family and friends of her own. Notably Superman (who was a constant presence in her earlier stories) slowly faded away from her narrative as Supergirl grew into her own character.
  • Dynamic Entry: During the Superman: Super League storyline, this is how Kara barges in on the battle between her cousin and the Energy Superman: she dove from the sky and double-kicked the false Superman while she yelled: "Leave my cousin alone!"
  • Enemy Without: Lex Luthor once exposed Supergirl to black kryptonite. It's not clear whether he knew what exactly it would do to her, but he hoped it would be bad. Well, turns out the stuff does this, and Kara had an evil doppelganger for a while. She managed to pull herself back together, but "Dark Supergirl" later resurfaced as an Enemy Within.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Supergirl is good at using spinning moves or generating whirlwinds to solve problems:
    • In New 52 Supergirl #30 she performed a spin attack to repel a squad of alien enemies: she grabbed an alien and used his body as a blunt weapon, spinning around to hit all enemies surrounding her with her "weapon".
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: When Tycho tries to blackmail Kara in New 52 Supergirl issue 4, she shoots her heat vision at the floor. He mocks her aim... until he's warned that her eye beams blasted the space station's central core.
    Tycho: Ha! Nice shot! Might want to work on your aim, though.
    Assistant: Mr. Tycho! She wasn't firing at you! She was aiming for the central core!
    Tycho: But that's impossible! How could she possibly—?
    Kara: (thinking) I don't need to speak their language to know that I guessed right.
  • Eye Beams: Part of the standard Kryptonian pack, Kara's heat vision is her best weapon. In the New 52 she uses it constantly, and she has blown spaceships up and boiled tsunamis off with it.
  • Famous Last Words:
    Supergirl: Thank heaven... the worlds have a chance to live. Y-you're crying... please don't. You taught me to be brave... and I was... I... I love you so much for what you are. For how... good you are...
  • Fanservice Pack: She started out in a modest Mini Dress Of Power. She eventually had costume changes with varying levels of fanservice, with the one from Adventure Comics #409 being particularly stripperiffic. Here's a look at the different costumes she had over the years.
    • Scaled back in the New 52. Her outfit is a Leotard of Power and while she shows quite a bit of leg right up to the pelvic bones, her overall appearance has been downplayed for a more teenage girl look.
  • Fight Off the Kryptonite: Supergirl has to do this constantly:
    • Red Daughter Of Krypton: Earth's atmosphere was poisoned with Kryptonite When Supergirl fought Worldkiller-1. Supergirl had to rely on her power ring to keep fighting while she tried to overcome the K-radiation killing her cells and making her natural powers fade.
  • Flying Brick: Supergirl has all the same powers as Superman.
  • Flying Firepower: She's a flying brick with heat vision.
  • Forceful Kiss: At the last panel of Supergirl's second book, her old crush Dick Malverne appeared, grasped her chin and kissed her all of sudden.
  • Gendered Outfit: Trope image, and quite possibly the Trope Codifier. Every outfit Supergirl has worn has, in some way, been tailored to her femininity. While the Minidress of Power is the most frequent (and obvious) change, she's also had a low neckline, short shorts, an exposed midriff, a leotard, high heels and various combinations thereof. Her costume can basically always be summed up as "what if Superman was a teenage girl".note 
  • Genius Bruiser: Her official power list includes "Genius-Level Intellect". And in fact she's considered a genius by Kryptonian standards. Obviously most writers forgot about this.
  • Girl Next Door: Kara/Linda's personality in the Silver Age.
  • Girly Bruiser: She's got Super Strength and boobs to match.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: When Kara's eyes glow or -God forbids- flare it's a very scary sign that she's getting really pissed off, and someone is about to be pummelled and/or blasted.
  • God Test: During Peter David's run, with the "angel" version of the character, she meets a little boy who claims to be a god, come to speak to her. She asks for proof, and he asks what sort of miracle would prove anything in an age of superheroes who can fly, transmute elements, etc.; so she's just going to have to take it on faith.
  • Grand Theft Me: Insect Queen did this to Lana Lang in the fifth volume of Supergirl.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Exemplifies this often (personality-wise) although as Linda, she wore a brunette wig.
  • Happily Adopted: Pre-Crisis, by Fred and Edna Danvers.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Linda Lee eventually gets adopted, becoming Linda Danvers.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.:
    • Post-Crisis Kara Zor-El had one of these after the destruction of New Krypton. Superman hugged her while she cried in space, and she considered quitting the hero gig for a while.
    • In the Red Daughter Of Krypton arc she went through one after meeting and beating Lobo, believing everyone wanted to manipulate her and she belonged nowhere. She was so upset and furious that she became a Red Lantern. A while later she was told that she would be a Red Lantern forever because she would die if she took her Power Ring off. She fell to her knees in despair and fury, threw her head back and screamed while incandescent light poured from her eyes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Her death in Crisis on Infinite Earths saved Superman and the whole Multiverse and it was one of the big comic book deaths at that time. Remarkably, in Convergence she found out that she'd die if she left her universe to fight the Anti-Monitor, and she still chose to fight.
      Oh, dear God. Did my death mean anything? Did I help them save the world?
      [beat]
      No. I can't think that way. Even if all my death means is I've delayed theirs, I still have to save them.
    • Post-Crisis Kara tried to kill herself to destroy the Kryptonian Worldkiller and save Earth in the Red Daughter Of Krypton arc.
  • He's Back:
    • Kara wanted to give up being Supergirl after the destruction of New Krypton in the fifth volume, but she donned her Supergirl costume again to save Metropolis from Bizarrogirl.
    • At the end of the New 52 "Red Daughter of Krypton" arc, Kara becomes again Supergirl, and decides to return to Earth and protect the planet.
  • Hoist Hero Over Head: In the New 52, Kara does this to a living Kryptonian suit before hurling it into the Sun.
  • Hot-Blooded: All incarnations of Kara Zor-El are emotional, passionate and headstrong women, and some of them are quite hot-tempered (her New 52 self) or tend to charge into situations without thinking (her post-Crisis counterpart). Her anger is an actual plot point in the Red Daughter Of Krypton arc, in which she attracts a Red Ring of Rage and can hardly control her emotions.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: In the New 52, Kara once essentially did this to herself to try to get rid of a Red Lantern ring without it killing her. It worked.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: In Supergirl vol. 5 issue 50, Insect Queen took over Lana Lang's body. While Kara beat her up, she tried to reach out to Lana.
    Kara: Lana, if you can hear me— SAY something! Lana! I KNOW you're IN there! Let her body Go, you insect FREAK! Get OUT!
  • Incurable Cough of Death: In the "New Krypton" arc, Lana Lang often coughed or vomited blood. Later on, Kara found out that Lana had been keeping her illness from her.
  • Intimate Marks: As per her Gendered Outfit, her "S" symbol is typically placed right over her breasts. Unlike most examples of the trope, though, she's fully covered. But Most Common Superpower doesn't make that count for much. Her Seventies costume, however, exploited the trope outright with a low neckline.
  • Incest Is Relative: The infamous ACTION COMICS #289 where Superman reveals that he's saddened that Kryptonian law forbids first cousins from marrying because he wishes he could find a girl like Kara. Rather than an idle, albeit creepy, thought about his sixteen-year-old cousin, this turns out to be a plot point. Supergirl proceeds to use a computer to find a girl who looks and acts like her as an adult named Luma Lynai in another galaxy. Superman and Luma hit it off but sadly, she couldn't exist under a yellow sun. Luma would get referenced several times thereafter as the one who got away. Discussed here. Any implications of romance between the Superman and Kara Zor-El version of Supergirl, however, was completely averted after the Silver Age.
    • Peter David would make fun of this issue in Many Happy Returns where the Pre-Crisis Superman does marry Linda Danvers a.k.a the second Post-Crisis Supergirl. Superman, of course, knew she wasn't his cousin the entire time due to his super senses.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Among the first Supergirl's boyfriends were a human, a green-skinned Coluan, an Atlantean merboy, and, er, her horse Comet. Well, he wasn't really a horse and he was in human form at the time, admittedly, but there was still a kind-of relationship between them after he was turned back; it probably helped that he retained most of his intelligence.
    • In addition to Brainiac 5 (mentioned above), she had a quasi-romantic friendship with Captain Boomerang (human) and an actual romance with Apokolips native Power Boy. And had a crush on Dick Grayson, but that hardly counts.
    • In the Red Daughter Of Krypton story arc, Red Lanterns Rankorr -an human- and Bleez -a winged, blue-skinned alien-.
  • It's Personal:
    • In the New Krypton storyline, post-Crisis Supergirl has a feud with Reactron after he kills her father. It doesn't end well, and he eventually blows up her mother and almost every surviving member of her race. She also takes her enmity with Doomsday this way, knowing that he once killed her cousin.
    • In the Red Daughter Of Krypton arc, Supergirl explains that she hates the Worldkillers (sentient, genetically-engineered biological weapons) and the Diasporan alien race because they kill planets, and she's an orphan of a dead world. She's very committed to stop them all.
      Supergirl: How could anyone make it their mission in life to murder whole worlds? Can you imagine what an abomination that is to an orphan from a dead planet? [...] This world-killing stuff... it hits a nerve. It makes me furious, and the ring just fans the flame!
  • Jailbait: Depending on the Artist. This was used as a criticism of her post-2003 character's treatment as many artists emphasized her sexiness despite the fact she was only sixteen.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Supergirl's modern versions tend to put an emphasis on her being a teenager who has seen her family dying and her home exploding before being trapped in a strange, -comparatively speaking- primitive world and gifted with powers beyond understanding. So, she's moody, snappy, inmature, rude and short-tempered for a while until she outgrows her loneliness and anger management issues. However, even at her worst she's a good girl deep-down who tries to help people and doesn't want anybody to get hurt.
  • Just Trying to Help: During the events of the "Amazons Attack" storyline, in where the Amazons went to war against the US, Supergirl and Wonder Girl try to end the war by kidnapping the President and bringing him to Queen Hyppolita to engage in peace talks with her. Predictably, their plan went awry, and Supergirl apologized to many people, saying that she had screwed everything up even though she just wanted to help.
  • Kangaroo Court:
    • Zigzagged in the post-Crisis New Krypton arc. When Kara brings Reactron to Kryptonian justice, Alura coldly informs him that he'll be judged, found guilty and executed. However she intends to put him on trial rather than lynching him, unlike a lot of Kryptonians. However during a preliminary hearing a judge questions the trial's legality since Reactron hasn't been extradited lawfully, and Alura dismisses his concerns. However, when a lynch mob breaks into the building, she protects Reactron.
    • In Red Daughter Of Krypton, secondary character Sheko became a Red Lantern because she was a judge in a planet where kangaroo courts were the rule, the concept of justice had been turned into a joke, rich and powerful people got away with anything, and when she tried to make her job fairly, she got shot.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Streaky the Super-Cat, in fact. He got powers in a lab accident. Yes, he was a cat who could shove the planet out of orbit if he liked; just repeat the MST3K Mantra and enjoy it for the Silver Age fun it was.
  • Kirby Dots: This visual effect was often used in Red Daughter Of Krypton when Supergirl's eyes poured sheer red energy or her Battle Aura flared up.
  • Kissing Cousins: See Incest Is Relative above.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Supergirl has the same weaknesses that her cousin. Namely: kryptonite and magic.
    • In the New Krypton storyline, Supergirl faced off against Reactron, an enemy powered by golden kryptonite which nullified her powers.
    • In the Red Daughter Of Krypton arc, Silver Banshee managed to contain Supergirl for a short while when they fought because her sonic attacks are magic, and Kryptonians are vulnerable to magic. Later on, Kara was weakened when she fought Worldkiller-1 because Earth's atmosphere was poisoned with kryptonite.
  • Last of His Kind: She and her cousin are the last Kryptonians. It was discussed in the New 52 story arc Red Daughter Of Krypton. Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner -who had never met Supergirl previously in this universe- are shocked to learn that there's another living Kryptonian besides Superman, who was supposedly the last one.
  • Leave Me Alone!:
    • Post-Crisis Supergirl asked her cousin, Batman and Wonder Woman leave her alone for a while as she figured her new life out. Unfortunately she spent one whole year completely aimless and screwing around due to Kryptonite poisoning altering her personality until she understood she needed help.
    • Kara kept this attitude for a long while in the New 52 universe. When Superman and Supergirl argue in Red Lanterns #30, he reminds his cousin that she wanted him to leave her alone to live her own life since she showed up on Earth.
  • Leotard of Power: Post the Flashpoint reboot for the DC Universe. Although other versions of Supergirl had used it before.
  • Magic Skirt: Some artists draw it so short, but so short that you will need a massive Willing Suspension of Disbelief to accept something so short not allowing Panty Shots free of charge. Gary Frank, one of these artists, may be the only one to regularly show the leotard underneath.
  • Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: Kara has this trouble whenever she hooks up with someone since even her weakest versions can crush steel.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": When Kara gets a Red Lantern Ring in "Red Daughter Of Krypton, everyone'' stare at her with "Oh, GOD, She's going to kill us all NOW!" horrified expressions.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Her Iconic Outfit.
  • Missing Mom: She always losts her parents. In some universes, twice.
  • Modesty Shorts: Used more recently as an alternative to her Skirt.
  • Most Common Superpower: She's considerably smaller than most heroines, but is still a bit above average than a lot of real life women. Power Girl, on the other hand...
  • Muggle Foster Parents:
    • Fred and Edna Danvers were the adoptive parents of Pre-Crisis Linda Lee Danvers/Kara Zor-El and Secret Keepers for her role as Supergirl.
    • Post Crisis Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers -two agents of the D. E. O. (Department of Extra-normal Operations), a Government agency created to deal with and neutralize alien threats- became Supergirl's foster parents in Supergirl Rebirth. They helped Kara understand Earthlings and adapt her new home-world.
      Eliza: (smiling) Damn — Look at her go. And here's us, the adorable, slow-moving human parents.
  • Mundane Utility: Kara has used sometimes her heat vision to roast marshmallows and her Super Speed to tidy an apartment (as seen in a flashback in New 52 Supergirl #29).
  • My Greatest Failure: New 52 Supergirl feels guilty for Krypton's destruction, even though she intellectually knows there was nothing she could do to save it.
    Supergirl: And now Krypton's lost forever. There was nothing I could do to save it, but it feels like I'll be trying to make up for that the rest of my life.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Supergirl has invulnerability, which is part and parcel of the Kryptonian pack. She's survived nukes, planets exploding, getting dumped in a star...
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Being a temperamental Kryptonian teenager, sometimes she's flipped out and trampled villains which tried her patience until she ran out of it:
    • Most famously, she trashed the Anti-Monitor even though he was killing her.
    • In New 52 Supergirl issue 28 she pummelled Lobo until he stopped moving and talking. Not an easy feat.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Supergirl goes forth and back with this, only Kara has been given a few continuities where she actually grew up to be a young womannote , other Supergirls never went past their late teens. This is more prevalent when Power Girl exists in the given continuity, having Supergirl as an adult woman would basically negate Karen's character, as she serves as the adult life for a Distaff Counterpart of Superman.
    • The Pre-Crisis Kara is interesting in that she actually aged only a little slower than real time early on; she was 15 when she first appeared in 1959 and graduated high school in 1964, presumably making her about 18 and went on to graduate college in turn in 1971. She spent the 1970s as a young woman in her early 20's before being retconned back to a 19 year old college student towards the end of the Bronze Age.
  • Oh My Gods!: Kara invokes Rao's name frequently: "Praise Rao", "Sweet Rao"...
  • Older Than They Look: Kara, at least in Post Crisis and modern adaptations; she also made the journey from Krypton to Earth, but took longer to reach Earth and be released from suspended animation. As such, she looks about 16-18, and is mentally that as well, but is actually a good few years older than Superman himself. In Red Daughter Of Krypton, Kara insists that she's mentally and emotionally older than she looks.
    Supergirl: My entire planet was destroyed. My civilization is gone. That makes you grow up fast.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: In a Pre-Crisis story she was cloned. And her clone was a boy called himself Superlad.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Supergirl is massively strong and powerful due to their vast and numerous powers. In addition to them, she got a Red Lantern Ring during the Red Daughter Of Krypton story arc, becoming one of the most dangerous things in the universe.
    Shay Veritas: How'd she get a Red Lantern Ring? [...] A Kryptonian wearing one of those is an extinction level threat—!
  • Pietà Plagiarism:
    • The famous cover image of Crisis on Infinite Earths when she dies.
    • In the Post-Crisis "New Krypton" arc Kara holds her dying father's body while he dies.
    • In Red Daughter Of Krypton, Worldkiller-1 holds a dying Supergirl in his arms before dumping her in the Sun (a move which was fortunate for her and incredibly dumb of him).
  • Pink Product Ploy: A clothing line.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Judge Sheko gains fire powers when she becomes a Red Lantern.
    • Chris Kent's girlfriend and Kara's childhood friend, Thara Ak-Var, has pyrokinesis in addition to standard Kryptonian powers. She can harness fire even if being stunned by kryptonite, red sunlight, or some other Kryptonian weakness.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Along with Dick Grayson, the original Kara was allowed to grow up, even if it took thirty years. She started out as a cute little teenybopper, and became a beautiful young woman. There's a huge Tear Jerker in "Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow?,'' when time-travelling young Kara asks Superman if she grows up to be pretty. This is after Kara's own death, and Supes can't tell her that; but he does tell her, as they pass a statue of her adult self in the Fortress, "You grew up beautiful, Kara."
  • Positive Discrimination: With her reintroduction in the Superman/Batman series, many efforts were made suggest that Kara was possibly a greater Flying Brick than her cousin. Many stories written soon after her introduction as Supergirl had other heroes saying that she might be faster than Superman, might be stronger than Superman, etc. Overall, characters seemed to believe Kara would eventually surpass Clark in all parameters. Later these cheap compliments and expectations simply vanished, and the more traditional "as strong as Superman, but maybe slightly less so because she's smaller" interpretation again prevailed.
    • In the lengthy 1959 story arc about Supergirl's secret apprenticeship and training, Kara had a power outage. Then she briefly got everything back — along with invulnerability to Green Kryptonite. (Mr. Mxyzptlk was responsible.) Superman seriously regarded her as superior to him, and wondered if he should become her assistant.
    • In her Post-Crisis reintroduction, she seemed stronger than Clark for a while, but it proves to be because Clark's long since gotten used to holding himself back in a world of cardboard, while Kara hadn't yet.
  • Possession Burnout: Kara's villain Worldkiller-1 burns out any body he possess if his host isn't strong enough to contain his spirit. In a instance he possessed a baseline human, and his victim's body melted in a matter of seconds.
  • Power Glows: Modern Supergirl's body often glows when she is super-charged with solar energy or is using her solar flare attack. In Supergirl #33, her body gave off a golden glow after she took a literal sunbath.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: In New 52 Supergirl issue 28, after Kara shots Lobo's ship down:
    Lobo: Bloody Nass! That ship was custom built! The things I did just to pay for it...!
    Kara: Don't worry... You'll pay for them ALL.
  • Primary-Color Champion: Most of her costumes are blue, red and yellow.
  • Promoted To Parent: Superman always wants to take care of his cousin when he meets her. Silver Age Kara was grateful for his caring, but post-Crisis Supergirl resents that he acts like if he was her father.
  • Punished for Sympathy: When Kara was being held in stasis near from a kryptonite rock, one of the employees of Tycho released her. His boss got him killed.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After spending several arcs feeling angry, confused, lonely and betrayed by everyone, New 52 Kara fights Lobo in Supergirl #28, and the Czarnian taunts her and mocks her to the point that she explodes and beats him up brutally. She becomes so furious that she turns into a Red Lantern.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: If her eyes begin glowing red... don't bother with running because she will catch you. Fall to your knees and beg.
  • Red Is Heroic: She wears red most of the time. Her Red Lantern uniform was red and black.
  • Ret Canon:
    • Supergirl's 80's costume (the one with the headband) was originally designed for the live-action movie. It was dropped from the movie at the last minute, but by then, it was too late for the comics to ditch it.
    • Also, the white T-shirt costume from Superman: The Animated Series. It's explained in-story that Linda fashioned it from things she found in a costume shop, after Matrix (who wore a classic version of the costume) was forced to leave her.
  • Retcon: Her backstory has been re-written more often the Blue Boy Scout himself. It can look like a tangled mess.
  • Ret Gone: For a long while, Kara Zor-El was retconned out of existence by the Crisis on Infinite Earths - until a storyline with the Linda Danvers Supergirl had pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Kara entering the Post-Crisis timestream by accident. Later, a Post-Crisis Kara was reintroduced, replacing Linda. Finally, the events of Convergence undid the death of the original Supergirl.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In Kingdom Come, Supergirl decided to leave the present and join the Legion of Super Heroes in the 30th Century when Superman retired.
  • Shooting Superman: Of course, this is done to Supergirl the whole time. Of course, it never works. Kara lampshades it in The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl issue 12.
    Supergirl: I hate thinking of the fortune in ammunition thugs like you have wasted on me over the years!
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Kara's different incarnations usually go after nice, reliable guys. In the New 52, after meeting Red Hood, Kara states that she doesn't want bad boys like him, but someone normal and dependable.
  • Spin Attack: In New 52 Supergirl #30, Kara performs a spin attack: she grabs an alien's tail and spins around, using her enemy's body as a blunt weapon to hit all enemies surrounding her. Justified trope, since no one was quick enough to hit her back or strong enough to hurt her.
  • Story Arc: Unusually for DC characters in the early Silver Age (especially Superman himself) Supergirl stories were regularly two or three (or rarely longer) story arcs rather than just stand alone stories.
  • Superheroes Stay Single: Supergirl has never had a stable, long-lasting relationship. Her love interests usually are: cheaters; assholes; creeps; stalkers; manipulative bastards who are using her; or actual nice guys who break up with her and are put on a bus shortly after meeting her.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: She usually wears a cape just like Superman.
  • Superhero Sobriquets: The Girl of Steel, the Maid of Might, the Maid of Steel, the Last Daughter of Krypton, the Red Daughter of Krypton, the Girl of Tomorrow.
  • Superpower Lottery: She's Kryptonian's Superman cousin, so... she hit the jackpot. She's one of the most powerful heroines of The DCU, and her powers include super-strength, super-speed, invulnerability, super-senses, eye beams, several breath weapons...
  • Super Strength: Part of the Kryptonian pack. Depending on the version, she's nearly so strong or slightly stronger than her cousin.
    • In Red Lanterns #29, Supergirl and Superman have a short fight. When she picks an ocean liner easily, swats her cousin with it and Superman tanks it, it becomes apparent how massively strong Kryptonians are.
  • Teach Me How To Fight: Pre-Crisis Kara was trained by Superman. Post-Crisis/Pre-New 52 Kara was trained chiefly by Wonder Woman.
  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • Kara did quit several times in the fifth volume when her super-hero life got too hard or she deemed herself to be a failure after the destruction of New Krypton.
    • In the sixth volume Kara gave up being Supergirl when she became a Red Lantern.
  • Thigh-High Boots: Some of her costumes such like her New 52 incarnation's outfit, her Red Lantern uniform or her Rebirth suit include knee-length red boots.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Supergirl is very reluctant to kill:
    • In the New Krypton arc, Supergirl was horrified when she accidentally killed Superwoman, even though Superwoman had tried to kill her several times.
    • In the New 52 Supergirl does not know her own strength. She gets upset when her actions endanger people and is relieved once that she sees that nobody has been harmed.
    • Subverted in Red Daughter Of Krypton. Supergirl is horrified when she apparently kills mass murderer and hitman Lobo after kicking him. Then he takes advantage of her distress to catch her off guard, and almost fries her brains with an ultrasonic device. Right there and then she decides he has "got it coming".
    • Subverted again at the end of that arc. She executed an artificial, genocidal body-snatching alien abomination reasoning that "This is not murder. It is the end of a terrible mistake."
  • Time Travel Tense Trouble: In Supergirl vol. #5 issue #22, Supergirl runs into this trouble when she remembers that she travelled to the far future and fought/will fight alongside the Legion of Super Heroes.
    Supergirl: Well, um, thank you for unblocking my memory. You were... will be... very good friends to me.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • In several storylines -set before and after the Crisis-, Supergirl was trained by Superman or Wonder Woman and learnt some style of martial arts.
    • She increased her badassery in the Red Daughter Of Krypton story arc when she got a Red Lantern Ring. Lantern Rings are the most powerful weapons in the universe, and Red Rings are fueled by their bearer's fury. And Supergirl is a headstrong, Hot-Blooded Kryptonian.
  • Translator Microbes:
    • When Supergirl first arrives on Earth in the New 52, she can only understand Kryptonian, so only Superman and a girl named Siobhan Smythe can communicate with her. Siobhan can, through magic, become fluent in any language after hearing a few words. She demonstrates with both Kryptonian and birdsong. Later, Supergirl, Black Banshee, and Siobhan's brother are able to understand each other in Black Banshee's mindscape, but not in the real world.
    • In Red Daughter Of Krypton Supergirl gets a Red Lantern Ring which is -literally- an universal translator... although Kara wondered if her ring's translator was broken when the Diasporan leader called her "their newest Champion".
  • Trash of the Titans: As seen in New 52 Supergirl #29, Siobhan Smythe's apartment is a dumpster, and she actually likes that way.
  • Trauma Congaline:
    • Not only is Krypton destroyed but Supergirl survives on Argo City but then it's destroyed. So she's orphaned twice in most continuities.
    • In the Post-Crisis continuity her parents survived Krypton and Argo City's destruction only to die on New Krypton. Which was subsequently destroyed. In other words, she has lost her home planet three times.
    • Kara becoming a Red Lantern is the result of one: After spending one decade sleeping she woke up only for finding out that her world, her family, her old life... were dead and gone. In a lapse of few months she was used and betrayed by most of people she met, including her first crush. She couldn't keep any friend and she couldn't make a connection with her only living relative. And then Lobo taunted her...
  • Two Girls to a Team: Supergirl and Bleez were the only female members of Guy Gardner's Red Lantern Corps. Bleez was actually glad that Supergirl joined because she wasn't the only girl anymore.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Kara gets this a lot. Because she's a temperamental teenager, their enemies assume she is an easily manipulable, naive little girl. Because she's a super-strong Kryptonian, her enemies assume she's dumb muscle. She always shows she isn't a pushover.
    • In New Krypton, Reactron brought golden kryptonite (which nullifies the powers of a Kryptonian) to the fight, thinking he'd kill Supergirl easily. It turns out that Supergirl has been trained by both Batman and Wonder Woman and knows Klurkor (a Kryptonian martial art).
    • In Red Daughter Of Krypton Lobo thought that Supergirl would fight worse if he pressed her buttons. It turned out that Kara doesn't get careless when she gets angry: she gets more dangerous.
    • Later on, Guy Gardner ordered Supergirl not to let Bleez -who was wounded- leave med bay. Bleez stated that she had no time to socialize with children and tried to shove Kara away of the door she was blocking. Yup. Good luck with that.
    • Worldkiller-1 thought that Supergirl couldn't do anything to stop him. But it appears that fighting a Kryptonian after she's just taken a bath in the Sun isn't a good idea.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Kara is -usually- a very nice, kind person, but she's also a Hot-Blooded, short-tempered teenager who protects her loved ones fiercely, and she has occasionally gone on a rampage:
    • In the Crisis on Infinite Earths, when the Anti-Monitor threatened with killing her cousin Superman, she went berserker and almost killed him. Yes, she nearly killed a being that devours universes.
    • Post-Crisis Supergirl was once so angry she overloaded Sakki, The Hate Furnace and Gakidou.
    • In the beginning of Red Daughter Of Krypton, ''Lobo taunted her until she flew off the handle and pummelled him.
    • Also, Matrix during her mini-series back in The '90s discovered that her lover Lex Luthor had made thousands of clones of her from the residue he collected after her fight with Doomsday. She was very close to killing him too.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • In the post-Crisis storyline "New Krypton" she broke up with her childhood friend Thara Ak-Var when she believed she aided and abetted her murderer's father. Later on, they reconciled after a fashion, but their friendship was still strained.
    • In the New 52 series, Kara befriended Siobhan Smythe "Silver Banshee" shortly after arriving in Earth. However she broke it off when she thought Siobhan was using her.
  • Wham Line: "We've... we've had a casualty."
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: Although she's intelligent, and is capable of coming up with plans and tactics, her default method of attack is just to fly up to a problem and punch it. Given that she's Kryptonian, this does solve a number of problems.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: The '70s' Supergirl costume included red hot pants. It is one of her most well-remembered costumes.
  • Willfully Weak: Supergirl holds back the whole time because she's too powerful and she'll kill someone if her control slips.
    • When post-Crisis Kara arrived on Earth, she caused a lot of property damage in the early issues until she learned how to control her enormous strength.
    • Even when she briefly went out of her mind due to the influence of the Red Ring, Supergirl instinctively held back because she didn't want to hurt anybody.
  • World of Muscle Men: In older issues of Super Girl and similar "girlie" comics, the men in the super heroine's lives will often be so built, their muscles appear under sweaters. The reasons for this can vary.
  • World's Strongest Man: Kara is a contender for strongest woman in the DCU, being, powerwise, a female Superman.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Kara has sometimes got the speech from her cousin:
    • During "The Search For Brainiac" arc:
      Superman: Listen, Kara. Braniac just fired a missle that will detonate in the sun and cause it to supernova. I can't intercept it while rescuing Metropolis and Kandor. You have to stop it.
      Supergirl: I can't do it.
      Superman: You can.
      Supergirl: I'm not fast enough.
      Superman: You are.
      Supergirl: I'm scared.
      Superman: It's okay to be scared.
    • At the beginning of the Superman: Super League storyline, Superman asks her to take over when he's gone.
      Superman: You can do this. You're so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Sure, our family shield can be a target. But it's also a badge of honor that I know you wear proudly each and every day.
    • When Guy is trying to get Kara to leave in Red Lanterns #32, she argues that she can't stop being a Red, and she doesn't belong anywhere else. Guy replies she can find her way because she's stronger than them and stronger than she thinks.
      Supergirl: But even if I do go... the Ring... I can't take it off. I'm a Red forever. Without you and the others, how will I — What am I supposed to do?
      Guy: You'll find your way. You're strong, Kara. You didn't choose this life, but I've seen enough in our time together to know that you can make something of it. You're better than all of us.
  • You're Not My Father:
    • In Supergirl vol. #5 issue #22, Kara thinks her cousin is about to lecture her after her latest mess-up, and she interrupts him to remind him he isn't her father or her brother, she's trying to learn to be better, and she doesn't need his validation (Superman answers that he actually agrees with her).
      Supergirl: No, listen to me. I have to say: I know you love me, and that's why you feel a need to act like my big brother or my dad — But you're neither one! Maybe I need to learn things the hard way. But I am learning! I want to be a family with you and Uncle Jon and Aunt Martha, but I don't need your... validation!
    • In Red Daughter Of Krypton Kara says this line after her team's leader tells she shouldn't drink booze because she's just a kid.
      Supergirl: You're not my parent, Guy Gardner, and from what I understand, you don't even lead this team.
  • Your Cheating Heart: In a pre-Crisis issue, she found out that her then-boyfriend Dale was cheating on her. When she chewed him out, he was completely unapologetic about his actions.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Most of Supergirl's costumes include a mini-skirt or hot pants and boots. Her New 52 outfit and her Red Lantern uniform include a leotard-like armour and knee-length red boots.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Comicbook/SuperGirl