Supergirl: From Page to Screen SDCC Edition by Jerry Whitworth
Set to premiere this October on CBS, Supergirl will feature Superman’s cousin Kara (played by Melissa Benoist) following in her kin’s heroic footsteps in National City while juggling her job as the assistant to Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), the founder of media conglomerate CatCo. As with other Warner Bros. TV programming, the series would be featured at San Diego Comic-Con International 2015 where more details were revealed about the upcoming series including more characters set to appear. Lets examine some of these new names announced for live action.
Popular shock jock Leslie Willis made a career from sharing unpopular opinions on the radio in a ridiculing fashion where she was a vocal critic of Superman making the likes of Lex Luthor a big fan of her output. During a concert celebrating the anniversary of her show, Willis incited a riot drawing Superman to intervene. When a bolt of lightning from a rainstorm was about to strike Willis while she was on stage verbally attacking Superman, the hero tried to move her out of the way and take the strike only to have the electricity pass from him to Willis. Her physiology altered by the electricity that passed through Superman, Willis’ skin turned completely white, her hair blue, and transformed her into a living dynamo. Swearing revenge on Superman for this change, Willis took the name Livewire and sought his destruction. Willis was one of several original characters created for Superman: The Animated Series (Mercy Graves, Luminus, and Volcana a few notable others) who would go on to later make the transition to the comics some years afterward. Unlike the original character, the comic book version was born with electrical powers who absorbed the electricity of a lightning bolt which changed her appearance as she sought vengeance on Superman for losing her job as a shock jock (her boss being a fan of Superman after the hero saved the life of the man’s wife). No casting has yet been announced for who will portray Livewire on Supergirl.
Likely the longest ongoing enemy of Supergirl, Sgt. Ben Krullen was a soldier for the US Army experimented upon using atomic energy which mutated his cells. Following participating in the Vietnam War, Krullen would be transformed by the criminal organization the Council (largely an enemy of Supergirl) into Reactron the Living Reactor. The villain would face the Doom Patrol and Supergirl until the latter was wiped out by the Crisis on Infinite Earths but would again face Supergirl when she was brought back about twenty years later. On behalf of a clandestine organization within the US government, Reactron would kill several Kryptonians including Supergirl’s father Zor-El. Following some re-engineering on Lex Luthor’s part, Reactron would detonate himself destroying New Krypton wiping out thousands of Kryptonians including Supergirl’s mother Alura. Casting has not yet been announced for Reactron.
A shrewd businessman, Maxwell Lord was manipulated by a sentient computer created by the New God Metron to establish the Justice League in order to expand the power base necessary for its conquest of Earth. The computer helped Lord gain money and power as he played heroes and villains against each other to build the League until Metron returned to reclaim his property prompting it to send the League (via Lord) against him. Eventually, Lord saw the error of his ways and he destroyed the computer. In the aftermath, the amoral Lord continued to support the League and saw a character journey as becoming a conman with a conscience. Following the detonation of a Gene Bomb on Earth which unlocked the latent abilities of a small number of humans, Lord gained the power of limited mind control but a foe of the League would take over Lord’s body and allow him to enslave thousands in his power. Lord would again become free of outside influence only to see his control of the League usurped by Superman. Lord would subsequently die of brain cancer only to be resurrected and controlled by the alien being Kilg%re (which retroactively replaced Metron’s computer in Lord’s origin). However, Lord regained control of his body and become the cyborg Lord Havok taking over the clandestine cartel known as the Arcana. Lord would disappear following these events but his origins were yet again retroactively altered such that he was always obsessed with wiping out Earth’s metahumans and non-human elements.
Checkmate is a covert US government agency co-founded by Amanda Waller to combat national threats with international black ops missions. At some point, Maxwell Lord would align with Checkmate and acted as a double agent within the Justice League, purposely undermining the group and gaining valuable intelligence on its members. Along the way, Lord earned the rank of Black King in Checkmate (one of its highest positions) and usurped Batman’s surveillance satellite Brother MK-1 (aka “Brother Eye”). From this, Lord developed the OMAC Project which infects people around the world with a digital virus turning them into sleeper agents that provide him intelligence (filtered through Brother Eye) but can be turned into powerful cyborg drones under Lord’s thrall. As those within Checkmate began turning on Lord for his unsavory practices, he initiated a coup d’état and used a previously established link to Superman forcing the Man of Steel to kill his allies. Just as Superman was about to finish off Batman, he was stopped by Wonder Woman. Lord’s involvement was revealed leading to a confrontation where Wonder Woman was forced to kill Lord or she would be killed by Superman. Lord’s death prompted a “survival mode” protocol by Brother Eye who activated all OMAC drones to kill all metahumans/non-humans and eliminate any threats to its operation (including Checkmate and costumed heroes and villains). Post-Flashpoint, Lord is the head of Checkmate who enslaved Brother Eye until it turned on him and Lord had it destroyed. For Supergirl, Maxwell Lord will be played by Peter Facinelli (Twilight, Nurse Jackie) and is set to be a business rival of Cat Grant.
The younger sister of Lois Lane, Lucy was a longtime on-again/off-again love interest of Jimmy Olsen where she often treated him badly as he tried to woo her. Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lucy was blind in the wake of a mysterious illness who was saved from suicide by the original Bizarro. Something in Bizarro’s crystalline flesh seemed to treat Lucy’s blindness eventually leading to Bizarro sacrificing his life so that he could cure her. As before, Lucy and Jimmy dated however she eventually would end up with reporter Ron Troupe. Lucy would become pregnant which prompted the couple to get married (Lucy would give birth to a boy named Sam in honor of her father). Lucy and Lois’ father General Sam Lane would appear to die in the Imperiex invasion of Earth which lead to Lucy joining the military. Lucy would reunite with her father (who faked his death to perform covert operations) where he blackmailed his daughter into donning a Superman-inspired costume with a mystical containment field that imitated Kryptonian abilities and performed some dirty deeds for him (like murder a former government operative in cold blood that was going to uncover Sam Lane’s operations and kill Reactron’s ex-girlfriend to placate him).
Taking the name Superwoman, Lucy Lane masqueraded as someone from New Krypton who befriended Supergirl and tried to turn her against her mother Alura. Supergirl would uncover Superwoman as a villain and then as being Lucy Lane before apparently killing her accidentally. However, Lane later steals the lifeforce of a nearby person returning back to life where she apparently was transformed into a Kryptonian. Lane would emerge in the custody of S.T.A.R. Labs having completely lost her mind. Following Flashpoint, virtually all of Lucy’s backstory was wiped out as she became just Lois’ younger sister come to Metropolis to pay her a visit (Lucy also took a drug for a time that turned her into a giant flying mutant but got better). Lucy Lane is currently being cast and is set to emerge in the third episode of Supergirl.