On Krypton, Thara Ak-Var was the best friend of one Kara Zor-El. Unfortunately, these two friends would come to be separated when Brainiac invaded the planet. His androids attacked the city of Kandor, Thara's home. Her parents, Ak-Var and Tes Ak-Var, were members of the elite military unit Black Zero. Black Zero responded to the Brainiac attack, and young Thara could only watch as both her parents were slaughtered. She was then made one of the 100,000 Kryptonians kept alive in the shrunken city of Kandor.
Now one of Kandor's many orphans, Thara joined the Kryptonian Military Guild as her parents and grandparents had. Kandor was in the process of trying to reestablish some semblance of order and normalcy, and part of that was a military that may someday fight for Kandor's freedom from Brainiac. Years into the lonely captivity, Thara received some bittersweet news. New captives incorporated from Argo City informed them all of Krypton's destruction, but two of those new captures were the parents of her best friend, Alura and Zor-El. In a way, she became a replacement for their lost daughter as they became replacements for her lost parents. When Alura and Zor were elected to head the Kandor government, Thara was selected to be their head of security despite her lack of experience.
Since her parents death, Thara had been plagued by fiery nightmares. The dreams took on some religious significance for her, and she was always a devout person despite her lapse of faith since Brainiac's attack. Eventually, she took Zor's advice to seek answers or solace at the church. She found members of the mysterious Religious Guild waiting for her there, and she experienced a vision of the mythic Flamebird coming to her. After this, the Religious Guild claimed her as one of their own, and she went without resistance. She was anointed into the guild, feeling lost in the belief that she and the Flamebird were connected or perhaps one. As the Religious Guild believed, she would become the living avatar of the Flamebird.
Thara Ak-Var was created by Geoff Johns and James Robinson as part of the New Krypton event, which saw the return of the Kryptonian city of Kandor to full size along with its 100,000 Kryptonian inhabitants.
During this event, the character was set up as one half of the new Nightwing and Flamebird pair.
The character was then handed off to writer Greg Rucka to star in Action Comics, where most of Thara's development occurred.
He fleshed out her military background and ingrained her deeply into Kryptonian religion and mythology.
While with the Religious Guild, Thara was struck by a connection to the mind of Christopher Kent in the Phantom Zone. The boy was accessing some hazardous Brainiac technology, which had the effect of allowing his mind to reach out and touch Thara's. For a brief moment, they were connected. Then the connection was lost, and all Thara could believe was that there was a boy trapped in the Phantom Zone who needed her. Knowing she had to do something, she left the Religious Guild and returned to Zor and Alura. No one believed her story. The idea that she heard it in her mind that some boy was trapped in the Phantom Zone was too fanciful for anyone who would listen to her. Though Zor didn't believe that was possible, he did think it would be possible to save someone in the Phantom Zone using a projector and protective suit of armor he developed. She agreed to return to her former job as Chief of Security.
Secretly, Thara took the armor and sent herself into the Phantom Zone. She found Fort Roz floating in the void and entered, finding Chris. He was being held and beaten by General Zod and Ursa. Thara fought her way to Chris and freed him of his bonds. However, Non struck her and took her projector. When it seemed that she and Chris were at the Phantom Zone criminals' mercy, Non helped them. He used the projector to send them out of the Phantom Zone.
For further details: New Krypton
Back in Kandor, Thara kept Chris' presence secret, though this was easy enough since at the same time Superman had succeeded in freeing the Bottled City from Brainiac. Thara did her best overseeing Kandor's security, but life on Earth was complicated for Kandor. Covert forces were plotting against the population. First, it wad Doomsday being sent to disrupt a meeting with the United States' president. Then, an attack on the city was orchestrated by General Sam Lane, using Metallo and Reactron as his weapons. Zor-El was killed in this attack by Reactron.
Alura did not deal with her husband's death well, and Thara found herself being partially blamed for what happened. Being mistreated by Alura as well, Supergirl snapped at Thara that if she wasn't comfortable working for her mother any longer then maybe Thara shouldn't. Thara did exactly that and soon disappeared from New Krypton.
Chris shared with Thara what he learned in his time in Fort Roz about General Zod's plans. The man had sent Kryptonian criminals to Earth as sleepers, orchestrating some kind of conspiracy. Not feeling she could act on this information in her role as Kandor's security chief because of the high opinion of General Zod among the people, she took a different route. It was one she felt had more meaning for the two of them.
Thara and Chris took on the secret identities of Flamebird and Nightwing. Together, they fought to keep Zod loyalists from freeing him from the Phantom Zone while also trying to track down these sleepers on Earth. After Kandor was relocated from Earth to New Krypton, she could no longer keep General Zod from being freed so she left to focus entirely on his sleepers on Earth.
After capturing one of the sleepers named Tor-An, Thara's activities and absence from Kandor became noticeable to General Zod. He dispatched Ursa to deal with Thara and Chris. Thara had no idea about this until Ursa appeared in the Fortress of Solitude. Ursa attacked her with a knife laced with Kryptonite and taunted her about her parents' tragic deaths. Angered and lashing out, Thara was defeated and suffered several stab and slash wounds. Chris saved her from Ursa and brought her to Lois Lane for help.
Lois Lane brought in Dr. Light from the Justice League to help Thara, and Dr. Light was able to urge her powers to purge the Kryptonite poisoning that was preventing Thara from healing her stab wounds. Now on the road to recovery, Thara remained unconscious and hidden in Lois Lane's apartment for a short time. She awoke confused and in the presence of Lois, who explained how she was sort of Chris' mother. In return, Thara explained what she and Chris were up to now and how she saved him from the Phantom Zone.
Flamebird and Nightwing's public battle against the renegade Kryptonian sleepers Az-Rel and Nadira Va-Dim turned them into celebrity heroes to an adoring public. Thara was uncomfortable with the attention and more uncomfortable with the female variety of attention Chris was getting. He responded to her apparent jealousy by kissing her, which was the first the two shared. Rather than talk about what had just happened, they decided to continue to search for Az-Rel and Nadira. However, it seemed the two sleepers found them first and attacked. Things turned out to be not what they seemed, and Thara found herself with Chris in an ambush by Metallo and Reactron, who had been magically disguised. The trap was sprung, and the two Kryptonian heroes were brought down by Project 7734.
Hunt for Reactron
While Thara and Chris were unconscious, Mirabai used her magic once again. This time Reactron and Metallo were made to appear as Flamebird and Nightwing, and the two criminals went on a rampage. Thara and Chris were exposed as Kryptonians, made to look like terrorists and framed for the alleged murder of Mon-El. When Thara and Chris regained consciousness, Thara was attacked by Supergirl before she could figure out what had gone on. Then, the public began reacting in fear of her and news reports on surrounding televisions filled her in on what had happened. Guardian appeared with the Science Police, looking for justice for Mon-El, and she was rendered unconscious only to be spirited away by Supergirl and Chris. They sought refuse in a safehouse of Supergirl's in Paris, only for the two girls to come to blows once again. This time their fighting brought on the attention of Squad K.
The trio of Kryptonians fought their way through Squad K and away from Paris, taking refuge in Metropolis in the home of Lana Lang. The tension between Thara and Kara continued to spark fights between the two. Kara was still grieving over her father and lashing out. Thara's strong religious beliefs and the idea that she was the avatar of the mythical Flamebird did not help Kara take Thara seriously either. However, Kara did reveal she still had the blood bloom petal they kept as children.
Squad K lured the three fugitives out of hiding, and on Chris' suggestion, they surrendered rather than get into another huge fight with the authorities. They explained to Colonel Perseus Hazard that they were framed by General Lane, and that the reason Reactron was now working with Squad K was to kill them to keep them quiet. Reactron made their point for them by lashing out and killing Squad K. The Kryptonians tried to fight, but Reactron's gold kryptonite made that extremely difficult. Thara was injured by diving into a blast meant for Kara. But upon seeing Chris being savagely beaten by Reactron in an attempt to defend her, she transformed once again into the fiery avatar of the Flamebird. She utterly defeated Reactron and tore out his kryptonite heart. Kara convinced her not to kill him, so she left him to Kara to take back to New Krypton.
Not only was Zor-El's murderer finally captured, but the whole ordeal healed the rift between Thara and Kara. The two girls were best friends once more. Thara had even managed to spark some religious faith within Kara, and now both girls could hope that Zor-El, their father, was in a better place now. Before leaving, Thara informed Kara of the dark condition she noticed within Lana Lang.
Up for Auction
Flamebird and Nightwing were victims up an ambush in Gotham CIty orchestrated by the Penguin. They believed they were on the verge of finding another of General Zod's sleepers, but instead, they were assaulted by the Kryptonite Man. Thara was captured and kept in a weakened state while Penguin arranged to have her auctioned off. Luckily, Chris remained free and was able to enlist the help of Tim Drake, currently Red Robin, to help free her.
Despite their efforts, Flamebird and Nightwing were still believed to be Kryptonian terrorists. Thara and Chris redesigned their costumes, leaving behind the pretense that their powers came from armored suits, and tried to prove to the world that they were superheroes. They established a safehouse for themselves in Hong Kong and reassesses their mission on Earth regarding General Zod's sleeper agents. Three still remained at large, but Thara had no idea how to track them down.
She and Chris then began discussing their relationship and her connection to the legendary Flamebird. Chris told her he did not honestly believe he was really the Nightwing, but before they could talk any further, he experienced another of his aging bursts. This time, he accelerated to the point of an elderly man, and Thara rushed him to S.T.A.R. Labs for help.
Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi of S.T.A.R. Labs brought Thara and Chris to Dr. Pillings, one of her best xenogeneticists. Thara had to watch as Dr. Pillings forced Chris to endure excruciating tests and DNA scrapings until the stress became too much for her and the Flamebird took over her body. She attacked Dr. Pillings to no effect, revealing that he was one of the Kryptonian sleepers, Jax-Ur. Jax-Ur knew how to save Chris, though.
So, unknown to Thara, the Flamebird made a deal to allow Jax-Ur a sample of her DNA if he would save Chris. Thara returned to herself afterward with no knowledge of what had transpired and watched as Dr. Pillings returned Chris to the age of a 23 year old.
Truth to Power
Jax-Ur's reasons quickly became apparent in the Middle East. He was secretly the vessel for another being from Kryptonian mythology, Vohc the Builder. This god was the spurned lover of the Flamebird and former best friend to the Nightwing. Now, the three Kryptonians were pawns in the drama of three gods threatening the lives of many innocent humans.
Somehow, Jax-Ur used the DNA he acquired as a component in a giant replication of the great Kryptonian god Rao, and this creation went on a rampage upon its awakening. The devastation was so terrible that soon the Justice Society of America and Wonder Woman joined Thara and Chris in trying to bring the artificial god down. It was the final arrival of the Nightwing entity that allowed Chris to help Thara and defeat Vohc along with the false Rao.
War of the Supermen
When the forces of New Krypton and Earth went to war, General Sam Lane used Lex Luthor's aid to turn the sun red in a sneak attack that left thousands of Kryptonians floating in exposed space with their powers rapidly dwindling. To save her people, Thara sacrificed herself using the power of the Flamebird to return the sun to its yellow state.
Powers and Abilities
Thara Ak-Var is a Kryptonian, possessing the standard abilities of a Kryptonian under the light of a yellow son. These abilities include flight, superspeed, superstrength, a high resistance to injury, heat vision, freeze breath, accelerated healing, and highly acute senses. However, she remains relatively new to these abilities.
Having been a member of the Kryptonian Military Guild, she is also a trained soldier, being presumably proficient in hand-to-hand combat, weapons use and military tactics.
Thara believes herself to be the living avatar of the mythological Flamebird and has exhibited unique abilities that would seem to corroborate this belief. In a moment of great stress, she showed the ability to envelope herself in and control flame.