Supergirl’s Forgotten Alter Ego Was a Batman Ripoff

As one of the most powerful characters in DC Comics’ lore, and as one of Superman’s most trusted allies, Supergirl is an unparalleled force for good in the DC Universe. The Woman of Tomorrow has saved countless lives both on her own and with a wide variety of allies like Batgirl or her slightly less powerful cousin. But one hero Kara has worked with more than fans may have expected is the Dark Knight – and Kara learned her fair share from Batman himself.


In the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity, Batman was surprisingly instrumental in Supergirl’s journey to becoming one of the world’s greatest heroes. And in the wake of DC Comics’ Infinite Crisis by Geoff Johns, Phil Jimenez, and more, Kara borrows more than a few pages from Batman’s playbook in the bottle city of Kandor. And with the aid of the one and only Power Girl, the Maid of Might transformed herself into a mythic hero of ancient Kryptonian legend.

During the events of the “Candor” arc by Greg Rucka, Joe Kelly, Ian Churchill, and more in the pages of Supergirl, readers find both Kara Zor-El and her Earth-2 counterpart, Power Girl using their natural Kryptonian abilities to act as vigilantes in a miniaturized Kandor. With Superman’s Earth-3 counterpart Ultraman impersonating the Man of Steel and using his image to enslave the non-Kryptonian populations of the city, Power Girl and Supergirl operate as Nightwing and Flamebird – legendary Kryptonian heroes – to stand against their cousin’s dark doppelganger. Their plans don’t go too smoothly, but ultimately, the Kryptonian powerhouses manage to triumph over the unscrupulous Ultraman. Unlike Power Girl, this storyline sees a traumatized Kara essentially using the Flamebird identity as a way to escape from the struggles she faces, not unlike the man from whom she stole her specific brand of vigilantism.

In the Post-Crisis continuity, this version of Supergirl was first found by Batman after she initially descended to Earth. While the pair at first had a somewhat tense relationship, they eventually grew to trust and even respect each other, with Supergirl essentially becoming an honorary joint apprentice between both Batman, her cousin Superman, and even Wonder Woman. Keeping her close relationship with Bruce in mind – as well as her close friendships with Nightwing, Stephanie Brown, and even Barbara Gordon depending on the continuity – Supergirl actually has more in common with the Dark Knight than fans may initially suspect.

As one of the Earth’s most powerful heroes, Kara’s history and potential as a force for good within the DC Universe is practically limitless. While she’s already made a name for herself outside of her cousin’s shadow by adopting similar methods to the Man of Steel, there’s a lot of potential to be explored with a Superman-powered hero adopting some of Batman’s more ground-level methods. While the mythic and fear-based methods Batman employs may typically be more effective on superstitious and cowardly mortals, a being like Supergirl could potentially employ such tactics to enact change on a more universal scale. After all, Nightwing and Flamebird already proved such methods effective in Kandor.

Kara Zor-El is an inspiring hero whose physical strength is matched only by her strength of character. But while she has chosen to follow her cousin’s lead as a source of light and inspiration in the DC Universe, her time as Flamebird shows that she’s definitely got potential should she choose to follow in the Dark Knight’s footsteps. Either way, DC ComicsSupergirl will never stop fighting the good fight, whether she’s acting like Superman or Batman.

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