I’ve been re-reading a lot of my old “Superman” books from the early ‘Nineties’ recently, and in addition to reading the books that I bought as a 12, 13, and 14 years old. When I was young, the “S-titles” were about all I could afford with my measly allowance and as a result the number of “Superman” books still comprises the single biggest bloc in my collection. Re-reading these stories fills me with nostalgia as the smell of the ink on the paper, the crisp feel of each page. There is something magical and comforting walking down the memory lane every now and then.
As I’ve been moving through 199’4 ‘S-titles’, I’ve read through “Bizarro’s World” when then morphed into the “Battle/Fall of Metropolis” story arc. That’s where I am now, having just finished reading the Supergirl mini-series that came out not long after Superboy and Steel were given ongoing monthly titles. Unlike her two male counterparts, Supergirl’s narrative arc had been building since her first post-Crisis debut in Superman (vol. 2) #16, April 1988), and her story arc, more then any of the other bearers of the S-shield was intimatley involved in the Man of Steel’s continuity, and specifically, the events leading to the war with Cadmus Lab’s “Underworlders” and the “Battle/Fall of Metropolis”.
I didn’t read the mini-series when it came out. In fact, I purchased the books a couple of months ago to throw in my long boxes, and didn’t read it then. So, when I started re-reading the S-titles from 1994, I realized that in one particular scene in Superman ??? a pissed off Supergirl is taking her frustrations and anger out on a dying and weak Lex Luthor. Before confronting DC’s alpha-megalomaniac, Supergirl would learn that her genetic material had been used to created untold number of clones, which were now to be pressed into service as lab rats to try and find a cure for the plague afflicting Metropolis’ clones, including one Lex Luthor II.
The Supergirl mini-series wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t bad either. For the first post-Crisis Supergirl, her mini-series propelled the character forward as she began to learn about her actual history – not that which was force fed to her by Luthor in the test tube – and deals with the heartache and emotional turmoil of being betrayed by the love of her life: Lex Luthor II. Her relationship with the Kents, Lana Lang, Lois Lane and Superman are all deepened and strengthened.
By the end of the mini-series, Supergirl finally sees the world as it is. While it was necessary to push her forward, the series also ripped away an innocence from the character that made her so endearing. I dare say, that after the “Battle/Fall of Metropolis” story-lines, the Supergirl mini-series, the character began it’s fall from grace. No longer was she being manipulated by Lex, no longer was she a naive girl trying desperately to understand the world. Although, Supergirl is still unsure of where she belongs, the events of the mini-series would usher in a new era a story-telling, and eventually her own, self-titled monthly in 1996.