A look at Power Girl's origins
Who is Power Girl?
Well....that's complicated. Yes, she's Kara Zor-L, who's kind of another Supergirl from an alternate universe, but an early adult version of her. Her origin story has been retconned so many times in major events in DC such as the famous Crisis of Infinite Earths and Zero Hour, it makes her origin so inconsistent, and almost makes her a practical joke. Fortunately, all Power Girl's her origin stories are featured in this tradeback, and gives new readers a way to understand all of her origins, both the old and the new.
Showcase #97-99 (1976) written by Paul Levitz, is a classic tale of Power Girl which, both explain her original origins of being a Kryptonian and give a sense of what she was like on Earth 2. The story setup is a classic scenario that features other classic characters like Alan Scott and Brainwave.
The second story is regarded to be the more far-fetched. In Secret Origins #11 (1987) her story so that her origins are retconned, so that she's actually from the ancient city of Atlantis who was in stasis until awakened in the present. This story was done in order to fix her origin after the aftermath of Crisis of Infinite Earths. While Paul Kupperberg meant well, her Atlantian origin was just a bit too silly and to be honest, unnecessary. Her abilities are magic based? Really? If Crisis of Infinite Earths merged the two Earths together, there was no point to alternating her origin story.
The story a lot of people will turn towards to right away would be at the end. In JSA Classified #1-4 (2005) Geoff Johns restores
Power Girl's original story of being a Kryptonian from an alternative universe--this time from Earth 2 (with a few modifications, such as her age), with a twist. Thanks to the upcoming events of Infinite Crisis, Johns is able to combine both origin stories together, including some new origins that adds the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Multiverse. At first it doesn't seem to fix the initial problem, but as I said before, this is done with a twist thanks to the Psycho Pirate.
What I also liked about this story is that it gives readers a modern day incarnation of Power Girl, where she's trying to find her place on New Earth. Her personality is a bit different from previous versions, and it make it easier for readers, both new and old to relate to her. It's a classic case of homesickness where while she know these superheroes, she doesn't exactly know how to fit in. It's this journey that helps her accept who she is and continue to do what she does best. Of course, this wouldn't be Power Girl without poking fun of Power Girl herself There is a large cast of characters besides the JSA that appear in this story that help move the story along.
I was a bit put off by the artwork with the first two stories: Showcase and Secret Origins, but I appreciate the classic look for its time. Mind, this was during the 70s and 80s, so her look is a bit old fashioned. I do also like that both versions doesn't have her bodybuilder physique. Out of the artists, Amanda Conner stands out the most in the JSA Classified storyline. Conner gives her a more modern look. Her version of Power Girl is wonderful to look at. It brings out Johns' story. My favorite part has to be when she explains why she has an opening towards the cleavage area of her costume. The jokes also work in ties of the artwork as well. Also, fantastic cover artworks by both Conner and Adam Hughes.
Overall: This is a perfect book to understand the origins of Power Girl, both the previous versions and her current incarnation. If you are a fan of Geoff Johns, Amanda Conner, or even a fan of Power Girl, this is a great tradeback to add to collections.