The second Supergirl’s powers evolved over the 1996-2003 series, some disappearing when Matrix merged with Linda (invisibility and morphing), and new ones developing when she became the Earth-born Angel of Fire (see Angelic Powers below). Her defeat of the Carnivore in issue 50 could not prevent her Earth-born Angel aspect from “falling” and the Earth-born Angel was separated from Linda and imprisoned. This left her human half, Linda Danvers, without her angelic powers and reduced powers similar to Golden Age Superman. Proving that she was still a superhero even with less grand superpowers, she kicked formidible butt while searching for the Earth Angel half of Supergirl in issues #51-74. At the end of this story arc (see The Quest For Supergirl) Linda sacrificed her life to defeat Lilith, mother of all demons, but her Earth Angel aspect merged with Twilight, who had the power to bring the dead back to life. The new Earth-born Angel Twilight was able to restore Linda’s natural Supergirl powers when she revived Linda. Therefore Supergirl is once again restored to all the powers she had at the beginning of the series: flight, psi-blasts, invulnerability, superstrength and superspeed.
Superstrength and Superspeed are among Supergirl’s most well known superpowers.
Flight – self-levitation and flight accomplished through telekinesis. Supergirl’s telekinetic powers also extend to psionic blasts.
Psi-blasts – she is able to project brief telekinetic bursts of energy to impact her chosen target. Not used very often, usually just when she’s in a tight bind and needs to blast away her opponent. Also known as TK (telekinetic) blasts.
Shapeshifting – as Matrix she had been able to shift into almost any form, but she lost most of her shapeshifting ability when she merged with Linda Danvers in SUPERGIRL #1 (1996). From issues #1-50 she was able to morph between her physically distinct Linda Danvers and Supergirl (Matrix) forms. This solved the problem of preventing people from recognizing her – she literally did not look like Supergirl in her human identity, although this power did not extend to clothing so she still had to hide her costume under her street clothes. Now that Linda is Supergirl alone and no longer joined with Matrix (SUPERGIRL #51), she has no shapeshifting ability.
Invulnerability – Supergirl’s invulnerability is due to her telekinetic shielding, but under certain circumstances, if she is distracted, she can be hurt. However, she does not have a Kryptonian’s vulnerability to kryptonite, as she is not from Superman’s homeworld.
Invisibility – Matrix lost this ability when she merged with Linda Danvers.
These powers lasted only as long as Supergirl was an “Earth Born Angel”. It took some time for the powers to develop and for her to master them.
Flame Vision – similar to Superman’s heat vision but much more powerful (and cooler!). As Matrix, Supergirl did not have any vision powers. The introduction of flame vision came in SUPERGIRL #15 as the first manifestation of her mysterious new powers as an “earth-born angel”, but was foreshadowed as early as issue #9.
Wings of Fire – these first appeared in SUPERGIRL #17 as one of her special powers as an earth-born angel of fire. Capable of inflicting great damage upon the most stubborn of opponents, they also enable her to “shunt” or teleport to distant locations instantly. Conveniently, she loses the cape when these appear. Very cool looking.
Shunt Power – the ability to “shunt” or teleport to locations she had already seen or visited.
These powers were very similiar to those of the Golden Age Superman. Most notably, she could no longer fly, which made getting around much more interesting (and frequently amusing).
- Flying is out – she was able to “leap over tall buildings in a single bound”. To be precise, she discovered she could “leap an eighth of a mile” – and also fall an eighth of a mile.
- Superspeed – “faster than a speeding train”
- Superstrength – able to “bend steel in her bare hands”. She could feel that her punches packed less wallop, but they were still able to send villains flying.
- Her invulnerability had to be maintained by concentration. She could bounce bullets off her body, take direct missile hits, and so on, but she could be injured like a human if she let her guard down (due to the fact that her invulnerability is generated by telekinesis).