Supergirl Mondays is a weekly celebration of the Girl of Steel, who has graced the pages of DC Comics in a variety of forms for more than five decades.
This feature’s primary focus is to take an issue-by-issue look back at Supergirl’s adventures in the post-Crisis universe. From an artificial being on a mission to save her home world, to an Earth-born angel on a mission to save her soul, each Monday, before the airing of “Supergirl” on CBS, reflect on the earliest days of the incredible and winding journey of a frequently divisive, sometimes confusing, but always entertaining era for the Maid of Might.
Issue: ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #444
Cover date: September 1988
Cover price: 75 cents ($1 Can./40p U.K.)
Cover by Jerry Ordway
Story: “Parallel Lives Meet at Infinity …”
John Byrne, scripter/co-plotter
Jerry Ordway, penciller/co-plotter
Dennis Janke, inker
Albert DeGuzman, letterer
Petra Scotese, colorist
Renée Witterstaetter, assistant editor
Mike Carlin, editor
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
While Superman mourns the deaths of the Pocket Universe’s Jonathan and Martha Kent, that universe’s Lex Luthor and Pete Ross fill in the Man of Steel on what happened to their now war-ravaged world. In the aftermath of Superboy’s disappearance (during the Pocket Universe saga), Lex set out to find out what happened to him. Upon discovering Superboy’s secret lab, Lex was tricked into releasing from the Phantom Zone a trio of Kryptonian criminals (General Zod, Faora and Quex-Ul), who proceeded to destroy the lab and the Phantom Zone projector before going on a global rampage destroying anything and anyone in their way.
As part of his newly formed resistance, Lex devised a way to give the Pocket Universe’s Lana Lang super-powers. She adopted a costume like that of Superboy, as well as the name “Supergirl,” and became a rallying symbol for the people of Earth in the fight against the rogue Kryptonians. But, the resistance served only to infuriate the Kryptonians, who responded by burning away the planet’s atmosphere, killing everyone except a small band of fighters inside Lex’s citadel.
Discovering the existence of Superman, Lex devised a way to send Supergirl to his universe in an attempt to recruit him to help.
Caught up to speed, Superman vows to join the Supergirl, Lex and the rest of the resistance in order to end the Phantom Zone criminals’ reign of terror.
Honestly, there’s very little specific Supergirl content here. However, we must remember that despite being referred to as “The Supergirl Saga,” this is, first and foremost, a Superman story. And while perhaps not specifically Supergirl, this issue does detail much of the Pocket Universe’s story which, as detailed, led to the creation of Supergirl and thus — like the entire storyline — remains key in the foundation of this new Supergirl’s backstory, addressing and answering many of the mysteries presented in the preceding six months.
Not much is added to Supergirl’s character or personality here, though I did appreciate her adopting the costume as a way of becoming a rallying point for the resistance, which is something that pays as much tribute to Superman’s (or, in this case, Superboy’s) legacy as Supergirl herself.
With the letters column addressing ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #440 (see Supergirl Monday #2), the second interlude featuring the new Supergirl, more writers addressed the character’s return, including this impassioned letter from writer Thomas Romano of Houston, Texas.
And end-of-issue blurb and the letters page chatter both plug the conclusion of the story in SUPERMAN #22, though neither give much indication of Supergirl’s role.
Next time on Supergirl Monday: Unhappy endings!