Ever since Justice League: Cry for Justice #7 hit the shelves last month with a sickening thud – a sound not unlike that made by falling debris as it crushes a cute, helpless, 6-year-old girl to death – I’ve openly expressed my disdain and contempt for James Robinson, specifically the degree to which critical research failure has permeated his recent projects for DC Comics like some kind of cancerous growth. To be honest, I’m not sure whether this is due to carelessness, indifference due to a lack of enthusiasm about a given writing assignment, or something else entirely, but it irritates me to no end (and was, for you trivia experts out there, the inspiration for this blog’s name and creation).
But before we prod today’s target, the Blackest Night: JSA miniseries, with this eleven-foot pole I conveniently have handy, let’s begin with a history lesson on the rather convoluted backstory of Power Girl.
Power Girl was born Kara Zor-L on the planet Krypton of the Earth-Two universe to Zor-L and Allura In-Z. Both she and her cousin, Kal-L, were sent to Earth as infants in order to escape their homeworld’s inevitable destruction.
Miraculously, both ships narrowly avoided collision with the giant blue "KERBLAM!" orbiting Krypton-Two.
But while his rocket took a direct path there, her Symbioship – so named because of the symbiotic relationship that existed between pilot and vessel – travelled the scenic route, and she only arrived at her intended destination many years later, having been both kept in suspended animation and raised in virtual reality in the interim. She was subsequently taken in by her cousin – who had, by now, been active as Superman for several decades – and his wife, that reality’s version of Lois Lane.
Yes, the infamous "boob window" has been around for as long as she has.
A strong-willed, independent young woman, she adopted the name “Power Girl” when she began her superheroic career two years following her arrival as a way of distancing herself from her famous (and, in her mind, overbearing and controlling) famous relative.
She either has fingernails on her gloves or dipped her left hand in blue paint.
Following the destruction of the DC Multiverse during Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC decided to take a back-to-basics approach with Superman, which, among other things, entailed throwing some serious weight behind his nickname of “The Last Son of Krypton”. As a result, the original Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, was retconned out of existence – which seemed like adding insult to terminal injury since she was already dead – and her Earth-Two counterpart, Power Girl, was now declared to be the time-displaced granddaughter of the ancient Atlantean sorcerer Arion, another established DC character.
Mistaken identities? Baby swapping? What the hell is this, a soap opera?
This pretty lame revision stuck for almost two decades until Geoff Johns began systematically dismantling it in the pages of JSA, finally doing away with it completely in the inaugural story arc of JSA: Classified before finally restoring her Kryptonian heritage during the course of Infinite Crisis in what, one would assume, was a pretty visible way.
It took twenty years for DC to retcon themselves full circle.
The only real change made was to her physical age upon arrival on Earth: she was now 18 years old instead of 20.
While the age difference between Kara and Kal is significant, the fact that their fathers, Zor-L and Jor-L, respectively, were brothers makes them cousins, and they’re never implied to be or to consider themselves anything other than that (except in the figurative sense, as illustrated above).
So, how badly could anybody possibly screw this up? You’d be surprised…
Blackest Night: JSA #1 (February 2010) starts off promisingly enough, with Power Girl berating Wildcat for his insensitive remarks about the Earth-Two Superman’s corpse…
"I said pull my finger, goddammit!"
…which suddenly becomes much less impressive when she says the following four panels later:
Fastest. Retcon. EVER.
The downwards spiral continues in Blackest Night: JSA #2 (March 2010), where she begins spreading the confusion amongst her teammates:
You weak-minded fool! She's using an old Jedi Mind Trick!
While there’s technically nothing factually incorrect with her statement, it still sounds rather odd, even more so when you watch Mr. Terrific grab the idiot ball he’s just been beaned with and attempts to score a touchdown, only to run facefirst into the following exposition from Blackest Night: JSA #3 (April 2010):
"Dammit! How the hell can I watch WWE matches on this thing?"
So the first thing that the Black Lantern incarnation of his predecessor did was take out an obscure, retired wrestler? If I were him, I’d probably have gone after J.J. Thunder instead, who, despite being a “Jakeem” and a “Johnny” (with nary a “Jamal” in sight), would’ve posed a more significant threat.
Power Girl then manages to infect the Black Lantern version of her cousin/uncle/father/gynecologist/whatever with a terminal case of retcon disease before entering into the final stages of it herself as this miniseries mercifully comes to a close:
His brain is rotting, so at least he HAS an excuse.
Well...I'm glad we cleared THAT up...
I have no idea how two editors (Brian Cunningham and Eddie Berganza) and one co-writer for the final issue (Tony Bedard) managed to overlook all these mistakes. Maybe whatever James Robinson has really is contagious…