Supergirl in the 31st Century

Due to the fact that DC currently puts crucial story elements in its “event” books rather in the characters’ own series, I missed out on Supergirl’s reappearance after the “missing year” in World War III (May 2007) until recently. I recently got a copy of WW III #2 to read for myself and hopefully get some answers (SG only appears in #2 AFAIK). Scans of the pages featuring Supergirl follow.

[I’ll assume everyone’s familiar with Infinite Crisis, One Year Later, 52 and the Lost Year.]

Martian Manhunter is narrating: “At the time of the Infinite Crisis, a zeta beam was activated to return the heroes to Earth. But something was wrong….Supergirl was sent…somewhere. My suspicion was that she was lost in time…and now she has returned…Changed. Supergirl approaches. A darkness choking her heart. Shadowing her soul.”

Way to be cryptic there, green guy! It isn’t entirely clear what’s happening in these pages, but the recap on the first page of WW III #3 helps. I’ll just quote the bit about Supergirl because the rest is very spoilery.

“Supergirl, flung into the future and back, has been mysteriously divided, and one of her selves has fallen to Earth while the other remains lost in space.”

Supergirl is one of many heroes whose time during the missing year we know little about. She disappeared in Infinite Crisis #6 and was not seen again until Supergirl #6. Which in our time was only a few weeks apart, but in DC time, a whole year had passed and suddenly Supergirl was with Power Girl in Kandor City acting like she’d been thru a rough time. This storyline was aborted after three issues due to a change in writers so we never learned how they got there. We do know that Supergirl had been “hiding in [Kandor] for a month” according to Power Girl (Supergirl #6). [This issue was supposed to come out the same month as Legion of Super-Heroes #16, March/06 but was delayed to May. I believe the two should be read together.]

The Legion of Super-Heroes book also experienced a OYL change with issue #16, which sported a modified “One Year Later” logo on the cover (1001 Years Later) and a new title: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes. To make things more interesting (and confusing) Supergirl joined the cast on a permanent basis. We have yet to be given an explanation for Supergirl’s appearance in the 31st century within the Legion book, and she’s never once alluded to this formative period in the Supergirl book. For over a year I’ve been waiting to see when Supergirl would leave the Legion and return to her own time, but this has yet to take place and she’s still in the title at least thru Supergirl & LoSH #35 which ships in October ’07. I’m delighted, but confused. How does this fit into Supergirl’s timeline?

As the two series featuring Supergirl continued to be published and it became less plausible that the Supergirl in Legion could ever become the Supergirl seen in her own series, reader speculation grew that the Supergirl in Legion and the 21st century Supergirl were two entirely different people. And WW III #2 seems to support this…sorta.

What Martian Manhunter doesn’t see, but we do, is two Supergirls shooting away from the event horizon: the Supergirl who crashes back to Earth and is picked up by Power Girl on the bottom of pages 21 and 22, next seen with PG in Kandor. And the other Supergirl who keeps travelling thru space. Aha! I thought. This explains everything: this second Supergirl rips thru space and time to emerge in the 31st century; this is the girl we’ve been following in Supergirl & LoSH. Manhunter’s line about the present-day Supergirl coming back with “a darkness choking her heart…shadowing her soul” is a retroactive bit of foreshading for the dark and brooding Supergirl we’ve seen evolving over in Supergirl since One Year Later. She has yet to discover that a chipper, go-get’em Supergirl is experiencing a very different life over in Supergirl & LoSH.

There’s one big problem with my theory: we see the two Supergirls emerging from a part of space that looks suspiciously like the Legion’s 31st century Earth. That would mean that…what? Supergirl went to the 31st century in one piece, had her adventures, then was yanked back and split in two? That could explain why she’s so disgruntled in the Supergirl series, but we’re still stuck with the mystery of why she clearly doesn’t remember the Legion. And that would also mean that there’s been a spare Supergirl floating around space for the past year for no good reason. I like my theory a lot better. But it doesn’t jive with what’s on the page.

Michelle Bacon

Michelle loves comics and code. A lifelong Superfamily fan, she's been collecting comics for 20 years, and running Supergirl: Maid of Might since 2000.

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