Supergirl: We Want You! by Jerry Whitworth
Confirmed last week, Supergirl will return for a second season but will move to the CW network. There it will join fellow DC Television Universe series The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow in the returning line-up (which also includes animated online series Vixen and canceled series Constantine into its expanding universe). The first season of Supergirl saw the title character adopt a persona similar to her cousin Superman and protect National City from emerging threats of the former alien prison Fort Rozz with the help of the D.E.O. (Department of Extranormal Operations) headed by the Martian Manhunter, J’onn J’onzz (originally in the guise of Hank Henshaw). CBS’s most expensive series at the time, Supergirl premiered strong only to hemorrhage viewers until a crossover with the TV series The Flash added a major boost to its dwindling audience. It’s likely this crossover that saw the series saved and moved to the CW. The first season finale of Supergirl saw the defeat of the plans of the prisoners from Fort Rozz to conquer the Earth and a rocket ship similar to that used by Kal-El and Kara Zor-El to escape the destruction of Krypton crashing in National City. Lets take a look at what a second season of Supergirl could offer.
The first season of Supergirl saw many of the Man of Steel’s more notably foes appear in some form or another. Such included Brainiac (in the form of Indigo), Phantom Zone Prisoners (Non adopting a General Zod role while his wife Astra inherited elements of Ursa and Kru-El), Bizarro (or, rather, Bizarro-Supergirl), and Toyman (as Maxwell Lord took on a Lex Luthor persona and Reactron was reminiscent of Metallo). Only a handful of Superman’s major enemies have yet to appear which indicates they may emerge in the second season. Someone notably absent is the Fifth-Dimensional imp Mr. Mxyzptlk. Wielding godlike power to alter reality, Mxyzptlk generally took a whimsical attitude creating trials for Superman to overcome for his personal amusement before being tricked to say his name backwards (returning him to the Fifth Dimension for at least ninety days). The character would frequently appear throughout the decades and has been adapted in most multimedia incarnations including Superman (live action or animated). However, as Supergirl has demonstrated in its first season, there’s a preference to employ female variations of Superman foes in the series (as Livewire, Silver Banshee, and Maxima would also come to challenge the Maid of Steel). With that in mind, it seems likely rather than Mxyzptlk coming to befuddle Supergirl, it may instead be Miss Gsptlsnz (or Gizpy for short). First appearing in 1964 as an imp who had fallen in love with Jimmy Olsen, Gizpy would find new life in Superman: The Animated Series as Mxyzptlk’s mate who was generally uninterested in the affairs of the Third Dimension and merely tolerated her partner’s hobbies. She would recently be re-imagined as Nyxlygsptlnz, Mxyzptlk’s wife hunted by the imp Vyndktvx.
As noted, many of Superman’s greatest enemies would already find their way to Supergirl with a few notable exceptions. One such notable omission thus far has been the Parasite. Raymond Maxwell Jensen was looking for an easy score to set him up for life. Getting a job at a research facility, he believed the payroll from the company was hidden in the hazardous storage containers the company maintained. Deciding to open such a container, he was exposed to radiation that mutated him into a purple monster that needed to absorbed the energy of living creatures to live (inheriting their memories in the process). Branded the Parasite, Jensen became a frequent foe of Superman whose life energy granted the same miraculous powers of a Kryptonian when he fed upon him (gaining his memories, Jensen was able to target the hero’s alter ego). Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Parasite’s origins were revised in that a dimwitted janitor named Rudy Jones was similarly duped, this time by the dread despot of Apokolips in Darkseid. Made into a Firestorm foe, the character would return to its roots as a Superman villain. At one point, a female Parasite would emerge in Alexandra Allston who was created by the nefarious Professor Emil Hamilton in his guise as Ruin (her brother Alex was likewise transformed but later killed). Post-Flashpoint, Joshua Michael Allen would become the Parasite.
When it was announced Hank Henshaw would play a pivotal role in the Supergirl series, it was generally assumed this meant his role as the Cyborg Superman would emerge. However, this was instead a feint for the introduction of the Martian Manhunter into the series. It was revealed in the first season of Supergirl that the true Hank Henshaw (a xenophobic sociopath) was believed dead alongside Kara’s adopted father Jeremiah Danvers when the pair hunted for the Martian in Peru. Since then, it came to light Jeremiah was alive and a prisoner for Project Cadmus. Considering that character would survive his encounter with death, it would not then be far-fetched Henshaw would likewise be collected (though, obviously as J’onn adopted his identity, he would somehow have to have become unrecognizable). In the comics, Cadmus created a clone of Superman in Superboy and it’s rumored that character may emerge in Supergirl‘s second season. Again, it’s not a leap in logic that this sets the stage for the appearance of a reborn Hank Henshaw in the body of a Cyborg Superman. This advent makes a great deal of sense considering the degree of exposure Henshaw received in Supergirl being clearly painted as an intriguing villain in the making only to seemingly then be killed off. Appearing in the chrome skeletal remains of Supergirl’s cousin would be a meaningful redemption and undoubtedly produce a foe rivaling the danger posed by Non and his acolytes.
Hinted upon with the glance of a Legion Flight Ring in the Fortress of Solitude, in the comics the Legion of Super-Heroes from the 30th century adventured with a teenage Superman only to then bring Supergirl into their ranks as their friend became busy with his own affairs as an adult. Teenage heroes inspired by Superman to form an army of youths to protect the galaxy, the Legion of Super-Heroes make up one of DC Comics’ most notable franchises that has seemingly had a hard time breaking out of the printed page into film media. However, since appearing in Superman: The Animated Series, the group has appeared in most of Superman’s television series even gaining their own animated series at one point in 2006. History seems to indicate that a similar event will occur with Supergirl as the aforementioned ring demonstrates an awareness of the series’ producers that may foreshadow their inclusion. Considering that Supergirl has already seen a crossover across parallel Earths and the DC Television Universe already has a series dealing with time travel, the Legion coming to the show seems less of an ‘if’ as more of a ‘when’.
As noted, the first season of Supergirl already featured a crossover with the series The Flash that may have in fact saved the show from cancellation. At that time, both series were on separate networks whereas now they both share space on the CW line-up which all but guarantees we’ll at least see another crossover. The only question now is how such a crossover will be structured. In the mold of how Arrow and The Flash set-up their crossovers, it’s likely we’ll see Supergirl appear either in The Flash and/or on Arrow (as an episode of Supergirl might see both the Flash and Green Arrow put in an appearance). Of course, the nature of the crossovers we’ve seen have evolved since this model. In the last seasons of The Flash and Arrow, there was a narrative involving Vandal Savage that crossed from one series to the other which largely established the spin-off Legends of Tomorrow. This then offers a significantly bolder approach that could be tackled. It’s possible then that a four night event could emerge where a challenge rises up on Supergirl that then transfers to The Flash then to Arrow and then to Legends. Of course, to say something like this would be remarkably difficult to pull off would be an understatement. Still, one could only envision such a crisis that these four separate series could explore.
One of the biggest questions to come out of the first season finale of Supergirl is what is inside the pod that crashes in National City. Popular opinion has it that it maybe Kara’s mother Alura but it could very well be something much more familiar from the comics. Following Infinite Crisis, General Zod was re-imagined closer to his film version at that point and his approach was heralded by the appearance of his son Lor-Zod in the storyline “Last Son.” Therein, the child conceived between Zod and his mate Ursa in the Phantom Zone arrived in a pod that crashed in Metropolis where he was discovered by Superman. The child was then adopted by the hero and his wife Lois Lane as their son Chris Kent. Subsequently, Zod and Ursa escaped the Phantom Zone attempting to then reclaim their child from their most hated enemy. Of course, in Supergirl, Zod did not appear however, again, Non adopted a similar role who was married to Kara’s aunt Astra. It then creates a possibility for a character like Lor-Zod that could be adapted but with Non and Astra as his (or her) parents. In addition, while Lor-Zod escaped the Phantom Zone in an attempt by his parents to escape, in Supergirl, Kara’s ship pulled Fort Rozz from the Zone. This could have then resulted in an inverse of “Last Son” where Non and Astra escaped while their child may have remained trapped. There is also the timing that the pod arrived shortly after Non and Astra’s plan to enslave humanity should have made them Earth’s rulers which could have been purposeful (the couple timing their child’s arrival after there should have been no danger left to his/her life).
Supergirl executive producer Andrew Kreisberg indicated there’s an intention to explore Project Cadmus in the second season of the series. In the comics, Cadmus was founded by brilliant scientist Dabney Donovan to explore the possibilities of DNA manipulation. However, his experiments resulted in creating monsters based on the likes of vampires and werewolves as well as superpowered humans referred as DNAliens (after their alien appearance) which lead to his being thrown out by his partners. While there, Donovan would create two beings known as Mokkari and Simyan that went on to work for Intergang, Apokolips’ Earth-based forces duping humans in Darkseid’s service, where they established the Evil Factory, a Cadmus-inspired facility dedicated to Darkseid. Donovan himself would perform work-for-hire for Intergang by creating new, young bodies of the group’s founders and transferring their minds offering a certain level of immortality (something Donovan frequently performed for himself keeping caches of his own clones to activate singularly whenever he dies). Cadmus would spend years attempting to clone Superman in the event of his demise to continue to protect Earth only for Earth’s technology to remain too lacking to the task. In time, they found a means to create a partial clone by manipulating human DNA (unbeknownst to the Project, that of Lex Luthor). Superman was seemingly killed by Doomsday leading to the production of a clone aged into a teenager within a week. The clone adopted the title Superboy (and later alternate identities in Kon-El and Connor Kent) and joined a field of other seeming contenders to be the new Superman (namely Steel, Eradicator, and Cyborg Superman). In Supergirl, Cadmus is a government facility where aliens are experimented upon and dissected in order to create weapons to combat aliens (its existence the reason why Superman refused to work with the government). The show’s characters learn of its existence and that Kara’s adopted father Jeremiah Danvers is a prisoner there. Before Non’s bid to conquer Earth, Martian Manhunter and Kara’s adopted sister Alex Danvers were searching for Cadmus to liberate Jeremiah.