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The Untold Story of Argo City is a Supergirl storyline by Leo Dorfman and Jim Mooney, published by DC Comics in 1964. It showed up in Action Comics #309-310 and 314-316.

Linda Danvers is being troubled by the same strange dream, night after night: Her deceased parents Zor-El and Allura In-Ze are floating in some blank void, saying they are alive and begging her help. Linda is feeling disturbed enough that she decides to investigate what happened to her parents and Argo City after her departure.

But even if her biological parents have somehow become stranded in some Phantom Zone-like dimension... How can she find them and rescue them? And even if she does rescue them... How will their return affect her relationship with her adoptive parents? Zor-El and Allura raised her and showered her with love until she was sixteen, but Fred and Edna Danvers adopted her when nobody else -not even her own cousin- would do.

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The Untold Story of Argo City was the storyline which defined and delved into Supergirl's origin told in Action Comics #252, setting her backstory in stone until the 1986 reboot.


Tropes:

  • And I Must Scream: Zan-Tor and Rena, Dar-Lin's parents, were trapped by a gas device while exploring a network of caverns. They remained paralyzed in suspended animation and trapped in a maze of uncharted caverns for three years.
  • Apocalypse How: In an off-panel adventure, Superman and Supergirl saved an alien world from being destroyed by its exploding sun.
  • Apocalyptic Log: A volunteer working in one of the shelters in Argo City notices the shielding has been cracked by another meteor shower. Realizing that Kryptonite radiation is leaking into the building and killing him and everybody else, he sends his final report before dying.
    "More meteors breaking through the shielding! The radiation is affecting everyone! This is my last report! Good luck!"
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  • Artistic License – History: In one scene, Supergirl and her parents are seen lifting an Egyptian temple. Said temple is drawn as a pyramid, even though Egyptian worship places do not have resemblance whatsoever to pyramids.
  • As You Know...: Zor-El's explanation of the Zygor's origins to his daughter starts with the history of Argo City, which he knows Kara obviously knows:
    Zor-El: As you know, when our native planet, Krypton, exploded, a large chunk of it, containing Argo City, was hurled away.
  • Beneath the Earth: The forbidden caves of Kandor were dug by an ancient race long before the city was built. Kandorians are forbidden from exploring the caverns because they were bobby-trapped to protect veins and caches of valuable and rare minerals.
  • Bizarre Alien Limbs: Alien Zygors have three tentacle-limbs which they use to feed themselves and propel their spherical bodies through the void of space.
  • Bizarre Alien Locomotion: Zygors travel through space void by organic jet propulsion thanks to their tentacles.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: A computer simulation shows Supergirl and her parents lifting a pyramid and transporting it across the Nile.
  • Chronoscope: Kara uses her cousin's chronoscope to see her father's past and discover what happened to her parents after she left their hometown.
    Supergirl: This chronoscope can overtake light rays which left Krypton years ago! By watching the screen, we can view the past!
  • Complexity Addiction:
    • When Fred and Edna Danvers find out Allura In-Ze has become severely ill because she is missing her daughter Kara, they have two options: explaining the situation to Kara... or becoming suddenly abusive to try to drive her away and back with her biological family. Since Kara was bound to investigate their strange behavior, and she has Super Senses, their plan fails.
    • Worried about her mother's mental health, Kara moves back with her birth parents, but they can tell she is missing her old life; so instead of talking it out and suggesting Allura is already feeling better and does not need an emotional crutch anymore, they trick their daughter into believing a space monster will kill her father or her cousin unless she moves back with the Danvers. Zor-El even admits he came up with a "weird story".
  • Computer Equals Tapedrive: Zor-El's super-advanced Kryptonian's computers use reel-like tape drives.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Kara feels divided between her birth parents who loved her and raised her until she was fifteen... and between her adoptive parents who took her in and raised her since she was sixteen.
  • Continuity Nod: When Zor-El and Allura emerge out of the Survival Zone, Kara takes them to the spot where her rocket crashed in Action Comics #252, and her parents reveal they saw her parade when she went public in The Unknown Supergirl.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: In Action Comics #314, Allura's physical and mental health are deteriorating due to her daughter never calling or visiting. The Danvers find out about it, and they decide to abuse Kara Zor-El/Linda Danvers verbally until she rejoins her biological parents (rather than explaining the situation). Their plan doesn't work very well because it's a bit hard to hide things from a concerned teenager with super-hearing.
  • Cry into Chest:
    • Supergirl cries into Allura's chest after getting her mother out of the Zone.
    • After being made to believe her future self will be forced to kill Superman or her father, Kara cries into Allura's chest.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway. Supergirl wants to use an experimental raygun to send her into a parallel dimension and, dismissing her android's warnings about the inherent dangers of using untested devices, Kara orders the robot to use the teleporting gun on her. Desperate, the android shoots the raygun at another android, who is immediately obliterated, thus proving its point to its horrified mistress.
  • Disappeared Dad: Dar-Lin's father Zan-Tor, disappeared three years ago while exploring the caves of Kandor together with his wife.
  • Disintegrator Ray: Subverted. Supergirl wants to use an experimental teleport gun, but upon testing she finds out it is a dangerous experimental prototype which has the effect of vaporizing its targets instead of sending them away.
    Supergirl: That Projector is dissolving the "Zor-El" android into a shower of molecular particles! He sacrificed his life for me!
    Allura Robot: I tried to warn you, Supergirl! That's exactly what would happened to you, if you had been struck by the vibrations of this gun!
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Subverted. Supergirl switches on a machine to release her biological parents from the Zone, but the ionic ray causes their bodies to become molecularly unstable. Suddenly, her adoptive parent bursts into the basement, and starts fiddling with the ray's controls. When she panickily shouts him to not touch the controls, Fred reminds him he is an electronics engineer: he knows what he is doing, what the trouble is and how to fix it.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: An unnamed alien world was nearly obliterated by its own exploding sun.
  • Evil Is Petty: In Action Comics issue #309, Kara is following a lead to find her missing parents. However, the criminals exiled to the Phantom Zone ruin her chance to locate her parents' whereabouts out of spite.
  • Evil Living Flames: At one point, one race of aliens whose bodies are made from liquid fire invade Earth and start forest fires.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Fred and Edna Danvers go into the basement right when Kara is discussing how to get her birth parents out of the Survival Zone.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Jer-Em, who claims Kryptonians are not meant to have powers, is treated as a fanatic fundamentalist, but many years later New Krypton would prove that relocating a whole Kryptonian city in Earth is a real bad idea.
  • Eye Beams: Zygor's single eye can shoot blasts of intense heat.
  • Eye on a Stalk: When Fred and Edna go to Kandor's Aquarium, they watch a species of cetacean-like sea monster with eyestalks.
  • Eye Scream: When the Zygor attempted to breach Argo City's dome, Zor-El used a reflector device to throw its heat blasts back at his single eye.
  • Flashback Within a Flashback: At one point, Allura recalls her daughter's childhood, including one scene where Allura remembers Krypton's destruction.
  • Genesis Effect: At some point, Kal and Kara terraformed an uninhabited planet into a real-sized Krypton's reply.
  • Harmful to Minors: Kara was barely fifteen when she left Argo City because sees everyone in her hometown were getting sick from radiation. She is only sixteen when she uses a chronoscope to investigate the fate of Argo, and she sees all Argonians suffering horrible, painful deaths.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: At the end of this 1964 story, Allura remarks her daughter Kara "misses the gay times she had as Linda Danvers."
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Rather than devoting manpower, time and resources to rescue one of their most prominent scientists and his wife from a parallel pocket dimension, the Kandorians simply wait for Supergirl solving the trouble.
  • Hologram: While they are staying in Kandor, the Danvers talk to Supergirl using a "Tri-D-communicator" which projected miniaturized three-dimensional images from Fred and Edna.
  • Home Base: Supergirl carves one new Fortress in a remote and inaccessible rock spire for her and her parents when Zor-El and Allura decide to move from the Bottle City of Kandor to Earth.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: The Zygor develops the power to project hypnotic beams from his single, enormous eye.
  • The Hypnotoad: Subverted. As watching a recording featuring a space monster named Zygor, Supergirl learns the creature seems to have developed the power to control Kryptonians with its single huge eye. However, it is later revealed that tape was a hoax, and the monster never gained such a power.
  • Identical Stranger: Dar-Lin, a Kandorian girl greatly resembles Kara, except for being a brunette.
  • Ignored Expert: When Jor-El warned his brother about Krypton's future (or lack thereof), Zor-El replied he was getting unnecessarily worried.
    Jor-El: Your work may be in vain, my brother! I believe a nuclear chain reaction in the interior of our planet will explode Krypton within months!
    Zor-El: I've heard your theory, Jor-El! You worry needlessly. Nothing can explode our mighty planet!
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Parents/daughter version. The Danvers love Linda, but they give her up, believing she will be happier with her birth parents. Zor-El and Allura love and need their daughter Kara, but they realize she misses her adoptive parents, so they come up with a story to get Kara back in Midvale.
  • Jet Pack: As posing as a Kryptonian, Edna Danvers wears a jet-belt to simulate flight.
  • Just Before the End: When Argo City's population was getting killed by Kryptonite radiation, Zor-El and Allura managed to build a single-passenger rocket and send their daughter to Earth, and then they set up a disaster headquarters. Unfortunately, there was no way to cure the Kryptonite poisoning or escape the space city, so all they could do was to monitor the plague, knowing Argo and its citizens have weeks left, at best.
  • Kill It with Ice: Supergirl stops an alien invasion by freezing their liquid bodies solid.
  • Kryptonite Factor: After being driven crazy by a Kandorian animal's venom, Edna uses a cache of Kryptonite rocks to attempt to murder Zor-El and Allura.
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere: As a gesture of gratitude towards Superman and Supergirl for saving their planet, an alien race picked up and hid a stash of Kryptonite meteors they encountered randomly as travelling through space.
  • Laser Cutter:
    • Kara uses her heat vision to slice, polish and weld together with pinpoint accuracy the required pieces to build an ionic ray which will release her parents from the Zone.
    • When Zor-El and Allura are getting killed by a stash of Kryptonite rocks, Supergirl cannot approach to them, so she uses her heat vision to cut the rock around the Kryptonite, which proceeds to plunge down into the mountainside.
  • Latex Perfection: As posing as a Kandorian named Bira, Edna wears a full-face lifelike mask which perfectly masks her identity, and even mirrors her real face's emotions.
  • Law of Alien Names: Back when he lived in Argo City, Zor-El fought a space monster called Zygor.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Allura In-Ze misses her daughter Kara terribly, to the point she gets sick because her daughter is not around. She even steals an android doll only because it looks like Kara, and briefly deludes herself into believing she is her daughter.
  • Logical Weakness: Supergirl faces alien creatures whose bodies cannot be harmed or touched because they are made from liquid fire... so she simply freezes them solid.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: When Supergirl informs the Kandorian Council that her parents might be still alive, the council of elders wish the sixteen-year-old girl good luck in her endeavor to rescue one of their top scientists and his wife from a dimensional prison instead of using their considerable resources and manpower to take care of the matter personally.
  • Meaningful Name: Kara was named after the ancient Kryptonian goddess of beauty.
  • Metal Muncher: Zygors feed on asteroid rocks.
  • Missing Mom: Dar-Lin's mother Rena disappeared three years ago while accompanying her husband on an expedition to the caves of Kandor.
  • Mundane Utility: When Edna Danvers loses her wedding ring, Linda's X-Ray vision finds it stuck into the drain of the kitchen sink. Then she uses her heat vision to cut the pipe and welding it back together after retrieving the ring.
    Linda: My X-Ray vision has located the wedding ring you lost, mother! It must have slipped from your finger into the drain of the kitchen sink!
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Supergirl gets horrified at the thought that she has killed her birth parents when she turns on the ionic ray which is supposed to pull Zor-El and Allura from the Survival Zone, and they begin shrinking instead.
  • No Antagonist: The story revolves around Supergirl's attempts to rescue her biological parents, and afterwards it focuses on Supergirl's conflicted feelings regarding her Kryptonian and Earth parents, and their struggle to do what is best for their child regardless personal feelings.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Averted by an unnamed alien race who cannot survive in the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Noodle Incident: Edna reveals Supergirl once mentioned in passing she and Superman saved an alien race's planet from their exploding sun.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In the beginning, Linda Danvers is riding Comet the Super-Horse as her boyfriend Dick Malverne is watching. Then Comet points out that seeing her riding Supergirl's horse is raising Dick's suspicions about her secret identity again. Quickly, Linda falls off Comet intentionally clumsily in order to throw Dick's suspicions off.
  • Oculothorax: The Zygor is a space-faring ball-shaped monster with a giant eye, a huge mouth, and prehensile tentacles.
  • Phantom Zone:
    • Supergirl goes into the Phantom Zone to find clues regarding her parents' fate.
    • It is revealed that Zor-El and Allura became trapped in a pocket limbo-like dimension called the Survival Zone which drifts through the galaxy.
    • After defeating the Zygor, Zor-El used a raygun to send the monster into the Phantom Zone, which he calls "the Twilight Dimension".
  • Punny Name: A Kandorian child is called Dar-Lin. She is a total sweetheart.
  • Recurring Dreams: Kara having repeated dreams where her biological parents shout that they are alive prompts her to investigate what happened to Zor-El and Allura In-Ze.
  • Replacement Goldfish:
    • Allura is taking so badly being separated from her daughter that she steals an android doll because it reminds her of Kara. Her medic and her husband convince her to give the doll back the next day, and Allura sadly admits she was delusional.
    • When Kara moves to Kandor briefly, the Kandorian Council suggests her adoptive parents to adopt an orphan kid named Dar-Lin who looks right like Kara. The Danvers are not certain that replacing their adoptive daughter with a lookalike is a good idea, but Dar insists she needs one new family badly.
  • Revenge by Proxy: The Zygor swears revenge after being driven back by Zor-El. When it detects Zor-El's presence on Earth, the Zygor mind-controls Supergirl into leading Zor-El and Superman into a death trap, and then it forces her to choose which of them to kill.
  • Right in Front of Me: In the Superman Museum, a little girl is admiring the Supergirl's exhibit. When Linda Danvers walks by, the little girl asks her if she would also love being Supergirl.
    Little girl: Gosh, isn't she wonderful? Don't you wish you were Supergirl and shared all Superman's adventures?
    Zor-El: (whispering to Allura) The child doesn't know she's talking to Supergirl herself!
  • Robotic Reveal: When Kara meets two robots resembling her parents Zor and Allura, she mistakes them for the real deal until they remind her that she built them.
  • Sadistic Choice: A recording shows a monster named Zygor mind-controlling Supergirl into leading her father and her cousin into a death trap, and then forcing her to choose which of them will be spared.
  • Sea Monster: Kandor's underwater zoo keeps all kind of strange alien sea life: giant beaked hawk-fishes, massive one-eyed worms, stalk-eyed cetaceans, weird venomous creatures resembling a seahorse/blowfish hybrid called Srangs...
  • Security Cling: When she watches a prediction showing the Zygor -a monster who nearly destroyed Argo City- nearing Earth, Allura gets frightened and hugs her husband tightly. Shortly later, Kara similarly clings to her mother after being told how much harm that monster may do.
  • Shoot the Television: As watching scenes of an alleged future where she will be forced to kill her father or her cousin, Supergirl gets so angry and distressed that she punches the monitor.
  • Silicon-Based Life: At one point, Supergirl and her biological parents stop an invasion from an alien species whose bodies are made from liquid fire.
  • Skintone Sclerae: The interior of the eyes of Supergirl sometimes has the same color as her skin tone. Most blatantly seen in the last panel featuring her.
  • Starfish Aliens: Zygors are spacefaring aliens whose bodies are a round organic ball with one huge eye and a large maw to break up the asteroids which they feed from. Three long prehensile tentacles sprout from their bodies, which are used for both feeding and movement. Zygors can also shoot heat blasts, talk telepathically, and control minds.
  • Superdickery: In the cover of the backup strip of Action Comics #315, Edna Danvers is murdering Zor-El and Allura In-Ze in revenge for taking her adoptive daughter away from her. The in-story explanation is that Edna was driven crazy by a Kryptonian creature's mind-altering venom.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Supergirl tries to test on herself an experimental, unfinished dimension-travelling prototype, dismissing her android's warnings about it being too dangerous. Desperate, her android tests the device on another android, who is killed off instead of teleported to another location, to show Supergirl you should not use dangerous, untested technology and expect it to work properly.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Zor-El and Allura repeatedly talk to their daughter in her dreams to warn her that they are alive and trapped in a pocket dimension.
  • Telepathy: Zygors can communicate -and dominate other minds- through telepathy.
  • Teleport Gun: Kara wants to use a vibro-projector raygun developed by Superman, which is supposedly able to send people into parallel dimensions, until she learns it is an unfinished model which merely obliterates its targets.
  • Tempting Fate: As watching the past via her chronoscope, Kara learns her uncle Jor-El warned her father, and Zor-El replied "Nothing could destroy our planet."
  • Terraform: Superman and Supergirl turned a random planet into a copy of Krypton as a giant memorial monument.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Before setting off on a scientific expedition, Dar-Lin's mother gave her daughter a locket, asking her to always wear it until her parents' return. Dar-Lin wore her mother's locket for three years after her parents' disappearance until she learned it was an emergency communicator device.
  • Translator Microbes: During their stay on Kandor, Fred and Edna wear special translator devices to understand Kryptonesse.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: Deconstructed. Supergirl wants to use a vibro-projector raygun to send her into the Survivor Zone, despite of its being an experimental prototype. When one of her androids warns her about the danger, Kara dismisses its warnings and orders her android to use the vibro-projector on her. The android shoots the raygun at another android, whose molecular structure falls apart immediately, to show Kara she should not use that untested device.
  • A Villain Named "Z__rg": Back when Kara was a baby, an alien monster named Zygor attacked Argo City.
  • We Will Meet Again: Subverted. Zor-El tells his daughter that, after being driven back, the Zygor swore to find him again and exact his revenge. Nonetheless, Zor-El omits he sent the Zygor into the Phantom Zone so he was unable to threaten him again.
    Zygor: I have heard your name, Zor-El! Some day I will find you again...


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