I Am Superwoman, Hear Me Roar!

In the mid seventies women's lib was in vogue and, like all popular culture media, comics had jumped on the bandwagon. In keeping with the best comics tradition the writers immediately took the whole concept over the top. Hence the horrors inflicted on Wonder Woman in her costumeless phase in the name of promoting social equality. At any rate feminism, or at least the illusion of it, was still popular in comics in 1976 when Paul Levitz and Wally Wood restarted DC's long defunct All Star Comics with issue 58 and brought back the Justice Society of America. Since the original cast was getting a bit long in the tooth (after all they had begun their careers in the late thirties and early forties) despite their slowed aging (thanks to a bit of psuedo-science I no longer remember) an additional younger cast was introduced. The temporally displaced Star Spangled Kid, the now adult Robin and the aged Earth-2 Superman's freshly arrived cousin, Kara-L. Soon to become known to the world as Power Girl. Kara was certainly one of DC's most abrasive heroines. Aroggant, thin skinned (metaphorically, like her cousin her hide could survive tank shells) headstrong and likely to fly off the handle when compared to her cousin. A far cry from Supergirl on Earth-1 who had always been comfortable in her role as Superman's "little sister". To be fair it can't have been easy for her to suddenly step into the shadow of a man who had been famed around the world for over three and a half decades. But in trying to establish herself as a heroine in her own right she sometimes went too far. Case in point in All Star Comics 67 (July-Aug 1977) she decided that the best way to investigate the subterranean race that had carried off Wildcat was to surrender to these unknown adversaries. The Star Spangled Kid thought that was a dumb idea so she knocked him out then gave up. While awake when last seen from the dialogue below the subterraneans must have KOed Kara too once she was off panel. All things consider she was lucky they all got to wake up instead of getting dissected or otherwise inconvenienced. Art by Joe Staton and Bob Layton.
Who knew you could stun a bulletproof woman by whacking her head with the skulls of physically normal humans? Or at least do it without using enough force to crush Wildcat and the Star Spangled Kid's heads like melons. Lucky for them the Comics Code was stronger than the laws of physics and biology or it could have got messy. At any rate while the subterraneans seemed to show wisdom in prisoner restraint when the Justice Society answers Power Girl's signal (and walk into an ambush as the under dwellers are on alert after their prisoner's escape attempt) evidentally the bonds came off as soon as they stuck the trio in a cell. They already knew Power Girl could bust steel! What the heck were they thinking?
Of course she broke free and challenged Middle Earth's ruler to another showdown. Unlike Hobbits these guys weren't pushovers and could go toe to toe with Kryptonians..
The fight ended with Ayrn tossing her aside to apparently kill the Star Spangled Kid and be on the verge of killing Wildcat. Kara freaked and punched out the Underlord then finally showed she did indeed have a softer side and shed a few tears. Probably consumed with guilt over having brought the Kid into this mess against his will which had got him killed. Fortunately before she could do too much wallowing in guilt he shows up alive and only a bit bruised. Did Kara learn a valuable lesson? Maybe, but from the following issues she was clearly a slow learner. Of course she did have issues to work out which is why she wasn't available when Wildcat and the Huntress were looking for reinforcements in All Star Comics 71 (March-April '78)
You just saw Kara struggling against the Symbio Ship, the Kryptonian artifact in which she had spent most of her life. Her father wasn't quite the rocket scientist his brother was so while Kal-L's ship had landed over sixty years earlier hers didn't arrive until the mid seventies. The ship had slowed her aging so she arrived a little over twenty years old instead of the same physical age as her cousin. She hadn't emerged as an infant with an adult's body because the Symbio Ship had been feeding her a virtual reality simulation of the life she would have had on Krypton. So after she landed on Earth she woke upon to find that everything she knew was an illusion and the world she thought she belonged was reduced to radioactive debris decades ago. No wonder she was so edgy. At any rate the ship was feeling abandoned and wanted her back to resume the simulation. She fought it off and thought she had wrecked it but after the Crisis on Infinite Earths it was the only link she had to any sort of past.

On to Kara's Post Crisis Confusion

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