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Fanfic / Adventures of a Super Family

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Adventures of a Super Family is a Superman Alternate Universe Fic by Philip S (known in Archive of Our Own as Philister).

When the planet Krypton died, Kara Zor-El was supposed to arrive on Earth together with her cousin Kal-El. She was supposed to keep him safe, take care of him, and be his protector and family. And in this world, this is exactly what happens. Meet the world's greatest superhero, Superwoman, her cousin turned adopted son Superboy, and their ever-increasing circle of friends, allies, and family.

It can be found in and Archive of Our Own.


  • Adaptation Name Change: Instead of using any of her canon "Earth" names like "Linda Danvers", "Linda Lang" or "Kara Danvers", Kara goes by "Karen Kent".
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • Kara is adopted by the Kents, and Kal grows up thinking she is his mother.
    • Superman and Supergirl are always close, but they have never got a mother/son relationship in mainstream canon.
    • Likewise, Batman has sometimes been a mentor for her in canon instead of a colleague. In this story they are close enough to actually be romantically attracted to each other (although it doesn't work out and they ultimately decide to just be close Friends with Benefits).
    • During a time-travel adventure, Supergirl had a fling with Philippus, who she hardly knows in canon comics.
    • Unlike canon, Superboy and Batgirl have a relationship.
    • Diana and Kara are usually depicted as mentor and student as well. Here they are contemporaries who in this universe are considered "The worlds finest," and are best friends.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Kara is bisexual here where as (in spite of decades of Ho Yay) all official versions are straight.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Dick Malverne does not appear in the story even though he is one of Supergirl's main love interests.
    • Batman has not adopted any Robin.
    • Hal Jordan and Barry Allen do not become JL's founding members.
  • Adoptive Name Change: After being adopted by the Kents, Kara changed her name to Karen Kent.
  • Age Lift: Lex Luthor is at least twenty years older than Clark Kent, whereas Batman is over ten years his senior.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Justified. Kara can speak English because Zor-El logged several Earth languages into the rocket's computer, and the learning program fed them into her and her cousin's brains during the long journey.
    One of the humans, a female, came closer and said something to her. She recognized it as one of the Earth languages her father had logged into the craft's computer. During her long sleep the learning program had fed them into her brain.
  • Alliterative Name: Kara's civilian name is Karen Kent, an alias which she has never used in any continuity.
  • Appropriated Appellation: After seeing Karen in action, Perry White writes a piece on "Superwoman", and the name sticks.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Superwoman notes since she went public, people have been trying to defeat her with "big high-tech guns or atomic-powered exo-suits, mutant abilities and sheer misogyny."
    So they tried to defeat her using big high-tech guns or atomic-powered exo-suits, mutant abilities and sheer misogyny.
  • But Not Too Bi: Largely Averted: Kara is shown having far more than just token relationships with both men and women.
  • Brick Joke: In the third chapter, Clark Kent thinks: "[His mom] could hear fleas sneeze. Did fleas sneeze? He would have to ask Lana about that." At the end of the chapter, Lana Lang thinks: "Right, his mom was Superwoman! Which meant she could probably hear a flea sneeze on the other side of the town. Did fleas sneeze?"
  • Broken Bird: Kara's way to cope with the loss of her family, her entire civilization and her whole planet was to focus on surviving and moving forward.
    Sweet little Karen. So strong, yet so deeply wounded. Martha could not even imagine how much strength it took to even get up in the morning after having seen one's entire world die. Clark did not remember, but she did. She remembered losing everyone and everything she had ever known and held dear and she had to deal with the inevitable guilt of surviving while everyone else died.
    Most people would have been broken by this, but not her. Martha knew that Karen had fixated on Clark and her mission to keep him safe, it had been her lifeline to keep going.
  • Broken Tears: Kara tries to keep it together after landing, but when she starts telling the Kents that her planet exploded and she and her cousin are the only survivors, Kara finally bursts into tears.
    She couldn't stop crying. All the grief she had suppressed just came pouring out and the kindness shown by the alien couple into whose lap she had fallen broke down whatever barriers remained. Kara cried for her lost world, her lost family and for Kal and herself, who were all alone in the universe now.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The first super-villains fought by Superwoman are only idiots who think their expensive toys can beat someone who can lift mountains.
  • Came from the Sky: In the first chapter, Jonathan and Martha Kent are minding their business when a rocketship crashes in their fields. When they go to investigate, they find a young girl and a baby stumbling out of the ship.
  • Chest Insignia: Discussed. When Superwoman flaunts her suit for the first time, Perry White argues she does not need to wear a "S" emblazoned on her chest. Superwoman explains that it is her family's crest.
  • Composite Character: Word of God affirms that Brainiac should be seen as an amalgamation of his DC Animated Universe self and the Eradicator from the comics, as he 'allowed' Krypton to be destroyed so that he could escape with its accumulated cultural knowledge and rebuild it in his perceived image later.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Taking clues from his Post-Crisis self, Lex Luthor is a ruthless businessman who believes he is above the law because he is rich. As an example, he attempts to sabotage K-Solutions' new navigation engine so Karen's enterprise cannot establish itself.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When Kara receives news that someone is coming up to talk to her in a manner that makes it clear she knows Kara’s secret identity, she calls Bruce to warn him that he might need to initiate Plan: Zeta, which is a plan they’ve set up to escape if anyone discovers their secret identities while protecting their companies. Fortunately, in this case, the person who knows is Lois Lane, who promises not to tell anyone else.
  • Cry into Chest: When Kara breaks down halfway through her story, Martha embraces her and pulls her against her chest. Kara leans against her and starts weeping profusely.
    Suddenly there were arms around her and she felt herself pulled against Martha's chest. The human woman was careful not to crush Kal between herself and Kara and the three of them ended huddled together, Kara's cheek resting against the soft fabric of Martha's shirt. She couldn't stop crying.
  • Doorstopper: 476,675 words spread over 114 chapters.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: In Kara's rematch with Steppenwolf, he uses a range of technology to limit Kara's full powers, such as a Darkfield that drains off light energy and deprives Kara of her strength and a force field powered by any energy directed against it to keep them both contained.
  • Eating Optional: Upon finding Kara, Martha Kent asks if she wants to eat something. To her surprise, Kara does not feel hungry, but even so, she finds the idea of eating appealing.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Invoked when Lex Luthor muses that he will try and claim the Green Lantern ring for himself if he has another chance to attack Superwoman, incapable of acknowledging that the ring chooses a bearer for qualities that Luthor could never possess.
  • Exact Words: When Superwoman reveals the existence of Superboy to Perry White, he asks if she lied to him when said she was the last of her kind. Superwoman points out she said she was the last DAUGHTER of Krypton.
    "I'm sorry for asking this," Perry said, "but I distinctly remember you telling me that you were the last of your kind when you gave me that interview way back then. So either that boy there is a whole lot younger than he looks, or you lied to me."
    "Oh, I never lied to you, Perry," she assured him, smiling now. "If I may refresh your memory, my exact words were 'I am the last daughter of Krypton'. I never said anything about sons."
    He stopped, thinking back to that day, then groaned. He really should have noticed that very specific wording.
  • First Contact Farmer: Jonathan and Martha Kent were getting through with their daily routine when a rocket flew over their farm and crashed in their fields. When they make it to the place, they find a teen girl stumbling out of the rocket, carrying a baby in her arms. When the girl is able to speak to them, she confesses she and her baby cousin are the last survivors from a destroyed world.
  • For Want of a Nail: Jor-El is unable to build his own rocket in time, which is because Kal-El is placed in Kara's larger ship, and both cousins make it to Earth together.
  • Friends with Benefits: What Kara and Bruce ultimately end up as. They like each other and tried a relationship before deciding Better as Friends but still occasionally hook up for sex.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: After revealing his mother's secret to Lana, Clark hears an angry voice shouting his full name behind him.
    When the boy turned around to head back to the farm, he almost ran into the unyielding body of his mother, who was hovering half a foot off the ground just behind him and looked very angry.
    "Clark Joseph Kent!"
    Clark swallowed hard, apparently quite aware that he had done something rather stupid.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The story starts with Kara and Kal waking up in her rocket after crash-landing on Earth.
  • Hero's First Rescue: The second chapter has Supergirl revealing herself by catching a falling plane.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Clark Kent likes Lana Lang and later gets in a relationship with Barbara Gordon.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Karen does her best to be a good businesswoman who treats her employees fairly and makes a profit legally.
  • Human Aliens: Terrans looking right like Kryptonians is one of the reasons because Jor-El sent his son and niece to Earth.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: As handing a business card to Superwoman and reiterating that his job offer remains open, Lex Luthor kisses her gloved hand. Superwoman manages to stop herself from wiping her hand on her cape, but she resolves to burn her glove along with his card when she is out of sight.
  • Ignored Expert: In a flashback, Zor-El explains why the meeting between his brother and the Science Council went wrong: they had become accustomed to get always their way, to the point that they couldn't accept their inability to stop their world from ending. So, they refused to believe Jor-El, causing him to lose his temper, which inevitably meant they would be even less inclined to listen.
  • Just Friends: After hearing some rumors spread by tabloids about their relationship's nature, Bruce and Karen wonder if they should try dating. One hour later, they conclude it will never work and they should stay just friends, or friends with benefits at best.
  • Mistaken for Romance: After seeing Bruce Wayne, Karen Kent and Diana Prince attending the same party and talking each other, some tabloids "deducted" Bruce is having a threesome with both women.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Subverted when Diana finds out that Superwoman and Philippus had a fling when the former went back to the past. Since both women are technically her surrogate sisters, she does not know whom she should chastise.
  • Mysterious Protector: Karen managed to spend one year saving people and averting disasters anonymously before her existence was revealed to the public.
    For the last year or so there had been a veritable deluge of stories about averted disasters, mysterious last-minute saves, and people miraculously surviving accidents that should have killed them. There had always been stories like that, true, but not in those numbers. It was almost like there was some kind of guardian angel out there, doing its best to keep people safe. A guardian angel that preferred to remain invisible.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Jonathan Kent jokingly calls Kara "strange visitor" when he meets her.
    • As passing as a civilian, Kara goes by "Karen Kent", a portmanteau of the names "Karen Starr" and "Kara Kent" used by her Golden Age and DC Animated Universe incarnations, respectively.
    • Kara spends one whole year operating saving people in secret as mysterious guardian angel, just like her Silver Age counterpart.
    • A super-hero revealing themselves by saving an aircraft sabotaged by Lex Luthor happened in Superman: Birthright.
    • Superwoman's suit is based on the costume worn by Kara in Supergirl (2015) fifth season.
    • Lex Luthor is based on his Post-Crisis incarnation. Thus, he is way older than Supergirl and Superboy, and he has never heard of Smallville.
    • The same as in the Pre-Crisis comics, the Kent Farm has a secret exit for super-heroes.
    • The Fortress of Solitude is an icy mountain made of Kryptonian crystals, uniting Pre-Crisis and Donnerverse styles.
    • The "War World" arc is loosely based on the eponymous story War World, although this version of Martian Manhunter is mainly based on his DC Animated Universe incarnation.
    • Barbara "Batgirl" Gordon is at least partially based in her Pre-Crisis self: she is an adult woman who donned the costume of her own free choosing way before meeting Batman.
    • The Legion of Super-Heroes time-travel storyline combines Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes with Supergirl 2010 Annual.
    • Likewise, Superwoman fills Valor's role in 90's Legion continuity (ironically, since Mon-El was given that role to replace Superboy and Supergirl in the Post-Crisis continuity).
    • Nonetheless, the Legion wears their 70's costumes.
    • Role-flipping The Supergirl From Krypton (1959) and The Unknown Supergirl, Kara insists that Kal operates as Superboy in secret until he has been properly trained. When she cannot put it off anymore, she goes to the media to reveal his existence.
    • "Out of Time" is a call back to Pre-Crisis storylines like Superman's Return to Krypton, in which Kryptonians go back in time but are unable to save Krypton.
    • Another arc is a homage to Kryptonite Nevermore.
  • Not Good with Rejection: As soon as she meets Lex Luthor, Kara realizes he is the kind of person who is used to always get his way and will devote his extensive sources to destroy whoever refuses to bow to him.
  • Oh, Crap!: After landing back on the Farm, Superwoman overhears Clark has just revealed her secret identity to Lana Lang. Her reaction?
  • Parental Substitute: Jonathan and Martha become Kara and Kal's adoptive parents when she arrives in Earth.
    Karen, her sweet little Karen. To the world at large she was her niece, but to Martha she was her daughter in all but blood. No matter that the girl had already been a teenager when she had arrived here, Martha had taken her as her own from the get-go.
  • Primary-Color Champion: When Kara decides she needs a costume, she picks her blue space suit and adds red boots, gloves and a cape.
    It was her, there was no doubt. The same face, the same blonde hair, the same statuesque physique. Instead of wearing casual street clothes, though, said physique was now covered by a nearly skin-tight blue suit that looked like spandex but shimmered like chain mail. Red boots and gloves added color to the assembly, as well as a red cape that hung around her shoulders. And right there on her (quite ample, he couldn't help but notice) chest was a diamond-shaped symbol with a big S inside it.
  • Promotion to Parent: Kara becomes her cousin's mother figure after their parents' demise. It helps that Clark did not knew she was his biological cousin until he was in his teens.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted. Karen built a company "K-Solutions" to gradually and carefully introduce reverse-engineered Kryptonian technology to Earth people.
  • Reset Button: One chapter features a ‘Crisis’-level event as the Anti-Matter Man nearly destroys Earth, but it ends when Superwoman sacrifices herself to kill him, the death of the Anti-Matter Man basically resetting reality back to a point before he attacked in the first place.
  • Sensory Overload: As soon as she arrives in Earth and gets out of her ship, Kara feels overwhelmed by the sudden influx of sensations. Everything is too bright, too loud and too malodorous, to the point it makes her head hurt and she blacks out.
    Slowly Kara got back to her feet, disoriented. The tingling on her skin was getting worse, now feeling more like an itch. The light seemed brighter than just a moment ago and as she moved, the rustling of her bodysuit seemed unnaturally loud.
    "What's going on here?" she whispered, and even those words sounded extremely loud.
    Suddenly there was a new sound, hitting her ears like a battering ram. She flinched, her free hand clasping her aching head and looked around. There! Something was approaching. A vehicle of some sort. It was loud, so very loud, And… Rao, the stink! Some kind of exhaust cloud was trailing behind the vehicle and the odor was threatening to suffocate her.
    She tried to get up, but didn't make it any farther than her knees. It was just too much. The light too bright, the sounds too loud, and her skin felt like it was on fire.
    […]Then everything went black as her overtaxed mind finally gave up and sent her into blissful unconsciousness.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Averted. Superwoman gets sent back in time to Krypton and starts making plans to save her people, but then she gets dragged to the far future, and discovers the galaxy becomes an utopia because she and her cousin travelled to Earth, which only happened because Krypton blew up.
  • Spanner in the Works: Lex Luthor's plan to destroy an upcoming company rival by sabotaging its experimental plane engine during an exhibit gets foiled when an unknown super-hero suddenly shows up and saves the plane.
    The plan had been so straightforward as to almost be laughable. Sabotage the plane's engine, making it crash, then blaming it on the new navigation system. Sure, any engineer worth his salt would say that a faulty navigation system would not make an engine explode, but with the plane splattered across half of Metropolis and a few hundred people dead in the crash, no one would have listened. The company would have never recovered from this public relations disaster.
    But the plan had not worked. All because some comic book superheroine had chosen that exact moment to step into the limelight. Was this a joke? Was some cosmic deity playing a prank? The world gains a superhero just in time to sabotage his plans?
  • Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Karen owns her own technology firm, "K-Solutions".
  • Stunned Silence: Perry White becomes speechless when the mysterious woman who had saved his life one day before shows up in his office out of the blue and asks if he is willing to do an interview.
  • Super Empowering: In the final confrontation with Darkseid, Sun Boy is kept back from the front lines so that he can be connected to a machine created by Brainiac 5 that allows him to generate solar bursts that "recharge" the empowered Kryptonians fighting Darkseid's forces.
  • Super Senses: Upon arriving in Earth, Kara right away notices her senses have become suddenly enhanced, to the point they are overwhelming her brain.
    They probably thought that he couldn't hear them, but his hearing was a lot better than that of anyone else. Except his mom's, of course. She could hear fleas sneeze. Did fleas sneeze? He would have to ask Lana about that.
  • Superhero Paradox: As soon as Superwoman makes her public debut, super-villains begin popping up everywhere. Kara wonders if she is not somehow drawing them out, but she is not going back into hiding on the slim chance that they also go away.
    Some people were blaming her for the emergence of super villains and sometimes she wondered if they were right about that. How many giant mutant apes had there been before she came? How many madmen turning toys into murder weapons? How many killer robots and people turned into monsters by failed science experiments? Was her presence somehow provoking these things? There was no way to tell and she would not just stop helping people just to see if it might make the villains go away again, but sometimes she wondered.
  • Superhero Prevalence Stages: The setting goes quickly through the three stages: Shortly after Superwoman goes public, villains begin popping up. At the beginning, they are mostly harmless idiots with expensive toys, but quite soon Superwoman runs into real dangers. At the same time, more super-heroes and villains start showing up across the country. By the fifteenth chapter, the Justice League has been formed and has fought their first cosmic threat.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: An unfortunate consequence of passing herself as Clark's mother is everyone in Smallville think she is a twenty-year old woman with a nine-year-old son.
  • Take a Third Option: When Lex Luthor makes his job offer, Superwoman knows she could never work for him. But she quickly guesses that he will devote his extensive resources to destroy her if she turns him down, with no concern for the innocents caught in the crossfire. So, she resorts to string him along.
  • Teen Pregnancy: As cooking up a credible cover story, the Kents come up with the idea that Kara is some orphaned niece of theirs. Nonetheless, they do not believe Kal can believably pass off as their son, which is a problem since they do not want Kal and Kara to be legally unrelated. At the end, they decide on Kara getting pregnant and giving birth Kal when she was thirteen.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Clark often made questions about his father when he was a kid, but Kara put off telling him the truth until he was in his early teens.
    And Clark loved his mom, he really did, but that she never ever spoke a word about his actual dad hurt. It wasn't like he could actually miss someone he had never met in the first place, but it was the principle of the thing. Shouldn't he know about his dad? And he had asked. He had asked quite often. But he always got the same answer.
    "Your dad was a good man, Clark", she would say. "And I promise I'll tell you about him one day, when you're a little older."
    All well and good, but when would he finally be "a little older"?
  • This Is Reality: When Perry White witnesses Supergirl's first public deed, he says himself he cannot be seeing a woman flying and catching a plane because that's "stuff of children's comic books and bad pulp stories."
  • Time Skip: After the first few scenes, the action jumps ahead six years in the future.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: Perry White is a cynical journalist, but after meeting Superwoman he decides that maybe sometimes things can seem and be good.
    So Perry White, cynical investigative journalist, who had long ago resolved that things were NEVER as good as they seemed, sat down with the flying woman who had saved his life and wrote down her story. All the while thinking that maybe, just maybe, this one time things might actually BE as good as they seemed.
  • Trash Talk: Superwoman and Metallo do not spare insults during their first confrontation:
    Metallo: "What's the matter, broad? Too much man for you?"
    Superwoman: "From what I can see, buddy, there is not much about you that's still man!"
  • Triple Shifter: Martha sometimes wonders how Karen can find time enough to raise her child, manage a company and save people.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Kal and Kara's rocket was equipped with a learning program which fed several Earth's languages into their minds during the space trip.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Kara and her cousin are put in stasis after their rocket takes off. Kara has still time to see her homeworld exploding before the artificial sleep kicks off. When she wakes up, she barely recognizes her surroundings, let alone the world where they have been stranded.
  • You Are Not Alone: When Kara starts crying after explaining her cousin is everything she has left; Martha Kent embraces the young girl and reassures that she is not alone.
    Kara cried for her lost world, her lost family, and for Kal and herself, who were all alone in the universe now.
    "You're not alone," Martha said, holding her. "It's terrible what happened to you, but you're not alone. We will help you, I promise!"
    Somehow, without any logical reason, hearing these words helped. It didn't lessen the sorrow, it did not dampen the pain, but maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't all be up to her. Maybe she did not have to do all this all alone. Maybe she indeed have help.