YMMV: Supergirl

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     General 

Tropes which refer to all incarnations of the character:

  • Informed Real Life Fame: A weird example in that Supergirl has never been a terribly prominent part of the Superman mythos. However, she is instantly one of the most recognizable superheroines in the world to both children and adults. Critics have said that may simply be because common-sense says a female teenager in Superman's costume is Supergirl but it is still true. Despite this, there have been literal decades where Supergirl has had little-to-no-major role in comics. Likewise, she rarely plays a major role in Superman's stories. This is changing in recent years with the Post-Crisis New Krypton storyline and incorporating her into the New 52 Superman stories from the beginning.

     Comics 

The Comics

  • Author's Saving Throw: Writer Sterling Gates finally reconciled Post-Crisis Kara's origins.
    • Many Happy Returns almost saved the Supergirl series by Peter David. Long chided for its Writer on Board use of Christianity and religious themes, the series introduced the Pre-Crisis Supergirl to her Earth Angel Post-Crisis incarnation and did a Continuity Nod-filled hilarious romp which ended on a Tearjerker note. It also established a reason for why Linda Danvers is a member of the Superman family other than wearing the "S" crest. She's the wife of the Pre-Crisis Superman and mother of the DC One Million Supergirl.
  • Broken Base: The conflict between fans of the various incarnation of Supergirl and the changes between them.
    • Kara becoming a Red Lantern in the New 52. While being Hot-Blooded is a long established character trait, and she has plenty of reasons to be angry, many feel its just out of character to make her so Darker and Edgier by making her a member of a group known for being the most volatile of the Lantern groups. However, Charles Soule's handling of the story in his Red Lanterns book has been mostly well received, and many feel he made the story actually work.
    • The miniskirt costume. Some find it demeaning and stupid, considering the obvious implications of flying in a skirt and how regularly its used for fanservice. Others however (not including the ones who just like it for the fanservice) like the skirt because its so synonymous with her character, like Superman's trunks; its a stupid design choice, but something so iconic to her design at this point. The New 52 outfit is generally given a similar mixed reception, since it doesn't do anything to reduce the fanservice while also doesn't resemble her classic outfit at all.
  • Complete Monster: The Post-Crisis version of Benjamin Martin Krull, alias Reactron, was never a nice guy. His first clash with Supergirl saw a vast amount of property damage and significant casualties, with many survivors suffering from radiation sickness or cancer. It was in the New Krypton storyline, however, where Reactron really crossed the line. Having been rebuilt by Lex Luthor into a cyborg with a Gold Kryptonite heart, Reactron invades New Krypton alongside Metallo, depowering a killing numerous Kryptonians, threatening to rape Supergirl, and then murdering her father, Zor-El, in front of her by giving him radiation sickness. Tasked by General Lane with eliminating Supergirl, Flamebird, and Nightwing, Reactron murdered all the soldiers assigned to help him when they expressed doubts about the mission, and did his best to slowly torture Supergirl and Flamebird to death, all while gloating about how fighting two such attractive girls was a dream come true. Captured and tortured by Supergirl's mother, Alura, Reactron waited until Supergirl came to free him from the torture chamber to reveal that his capture had been a set up and that Luthor had transformed him into a living bomb. Detonating himself with a smile, Reactron gives a serene look as he incinerates Alura, the city of Kandor, and the entire planet of New Krypton, killing over ninety percent of the population in a single fell swoop. A lech, a bully, and a thug at his core, Reactron is a study in just how horrific it can be when somebody like that gets their hands on real power, and has done more to hurt Supergirl than any of her other adversaries, killing her father, her mother, and her entire race in a matter of weeks.
  • Dork Age: The 'Matrix Era' of Supergirl where Supergirl was a protoplasmic being from a pocket-universe resembling the Silver Age where Lex Luthor was a good guy. Later, she would date Lex Luthor's supposed son who was actually the original with his brain transferred into a clone body.
    • The Linda Danvers era, since it was all so contrived to avoid having a Kryptonian Supergirl. Angels?
    • Post-Crisis Kara, from her introduction to the Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes arc, where they tried to make her an overly angsty and jerkish Anti-Hero.
    • While not strictly Supergirl, Power Girl's Post-Crisis self had no origin since she was an alternate reality version of said character from a reality which never existed (nor had Supergirl). Her origin was retconned to being the daughter of Atlantean wizard Arion who used her as a baby-maker for the real Chosen One before being swiftly discarded (with good reason). Now she's back to being Supergirl's double from Earth 2.
    • The infamous ACTION COMICS 289# where Superman falls in love with a woman identical to an adult version of his cousin. The really crazy part? Supergirl set the two up. Discussed here
    • Supergirl used to date the human form of her magical super-horse. Yes, I'm serious.
  • Fair for Its Day: Much of Supergirl's early comic book appearances in the Silver Age focused more on her love life and whims versus adventures. She also would chiefly use her superpowers for things like super-cleaning in her downtime. Supergirl was, however, the most powerful female comic book character in the world and did have many fantastical adventures.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Fans of Linda Danvers will refuse to accept how the character was treated in Reign in Hell and tend to ignore it completely.
    • The aforementioned ACTION COMICS 289# and all of its creeptacular implications verges between this and Narm Charm.
  • My Real Daddy: Sterling Gates for post-Crisis Kara. He gave her a personality that was palatable to the fans. Artist Jamal Igle moved her away from Ms. Fanservice, drawing her more like human being than a stick, and lengthening her skirt and putting shorts under it. Mark Waid may also count with his work with the character.
    • Peter David's run with the Linda Danvers Supergirl may be the first time in the character's history she was treated as someone with interesting stories to tell about.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Mark Waid was the first to make Post-Crisis Kara a likable character in Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes, but it was Sterling Gates who seems to have made it permanent in her main series.
    • Arguably, Peter David made the character have her first real fans in decade with his Linda Danvers run.
  • The Scrappy: The Post-Crisis Kara Zor-El was this for some time. Traits of hers included: An inordinate amount of time spent beating up other heroes, complaining about having to do heroics (while wearing the logo of the world's most famous hero on her chest), making moves that would instantly mark anyone else as irredeemable (like selling the Bottle-City of Kandor to supervillains, then threatening to break Power Girl's arms for being understandably pissed), receiving constant praise from all those around her despite the above, being stronger than Superman (later Ret-Conned), and a solo series plagued by disgustingly bad Fanservice, Curb Stomp Battles, and a skirt that was more a belt with a ruffle on it than anything. The hatred hit its peak around #14 of said series, when she fought Cassandra Cain, a thoroughly popular character who had recently been changed into a Card-Carrying Villain. The near-unanimous reaction to Kara winning the fight (with a power that had never been seen or hinted at before) was, essentially, "Fuck you, Cass won." Since then, she's been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap by doing actual heroics and dialing down the Jerk Ass traits, but it took some time before readers ever really forgot "Super Paris Hilton".
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Those fans who hated the Earth-Angel version of the character during the Linda Danvers years came to like the character a great deal more in Many Happy Returns. So much so, Word of God says that if DC comics hadn't already planned to cancel the title and replace the character with a new one (the much derided Cir-El), they would have given him an ADDITIONAL series starring both Linda Danvers, Power Girl, AND Kara Zor-El.
  • Replacement Scrappy: The Matrix incarnation of Supergirl wasn't Superman's cousin but a protoplasmic shape-shifting blob with some of Superman's powers. She was a Na´ve Newcomer and The Ingenue who dated Lex Luthor II (not knowing he was the original in a cloned body). In short, many fans viewed her as an In Name Only incarnation of the character as well as Too Dumb to Live.
    • The Peter David version of Supergirl had detractors due to the angel angle, which was rather outside the norm for Supergirl (or even Superman). There are plenty though who greatly appreciated the series and wish the character wasn't Put on a Bus (see above in Rescued from the Scrappy Heap). Her later popularity was ironic, as Peter David noted, leading to many incarnations of Kara Zor-El getting unfavorably compared to Linda Danvers the Earth Angel.
  • Wangst: There was a brief attempt to turn the Post-Crisis version of Kara into a dark, brooding, whiny teenager. The fans didn't like it, and now she's upbeat again.
  • The Woobie: Post-Crisis Kara has now survived three holocausts, two home planets exploding from under her, and losing her parents twice.
    • To say nothing of the Pre-Crisis version who had to spend years hidden in an orphanage and sabotage well meaning attempts by would be foster parents to take her in so she could keep her role as Superman's 'secret weapon'. Not to mention the first time she did get adopted it turned out to be by crooks who only wanted to squeeze money out of having her.
    • And, as one reviewer put it, "her 'emotional vulnerability' can be overused as a plot point." Just look at the New 52.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: Her New 52 outfit gets some scorn for the odd design choices, notable the cut-out knees on the high boots, the strange red patch on the crotch that almost evokes the image of panties but just looks off, and the general armoured look that, like Superman's costume, doesn't really make much sense.

     The Film 

The film

  • Awesome Music: Jerry Goldsmith's score is one of the few redeeming qualities of this movie.
  • Idiot Plot: Ok, Kara. So you're personally responsible for losing the Omegahedron and decide to man up and go after it yourself. You heard less then 5 feet from you that without the Omegahedron Argo City has only a few days to live. So you spend the first day learning to fly, go to sleep in a park, then spend the second day making up your alter ego and going to school. Even when you get a solid lead on the Omegahedron and get up to go after it you sit down and complete the day, play soccer and shower because...the teacher and Lucy Lane said so? In addition, Selena also isn't the same one in the movie as she wastes her time using the Omegahedron to pick up guys instead of taking over the world.
    • alternatively Kara's friend/mentor is the one who took the omegahedron to use for his own amusement whilst fully aware of potential for misuse/trouble and then gave it to her to play with so it can be argued that he is far more responsible for dooming Argo city than supergirl. Also on earth Kara is basically stranded on a strange world with no money, food or shelter which is why her first night is spent sleeping rough. Infiltrating the school is quite a clever way to gain food and shelter for free. Selene is only interested in romancing Ethan because she mistook the omegahedrons reaction to karas proximity as a sign that Ethan was important somehow to her future plans of world domination and decided that a love spell was the easiest way to get him onside.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: As incoherent as the film ended up being Helen Slater really worked on her role, earning herself a Saturn Award nomination. Even the reviewers who hated the film tended not to criticise her performance.

     The TV show 
  • Broken Base: Already there is massive criticism over her costume not being the classic skirt. There is also controversy over the fact they are attempting to "sex down" the character into a more kid-sister looking role than Laura Vanderoot's sex bomb in Smallville.