Wednesday, February 25, 2009

'Who Is Superwoman?' Poll, Part 2

Okay, we have now digested several issues with Superwoman and we are two months away from a reveal. Is it time for another poll?

It is apparent that my earlier poll included some choices that just don't fit anymore. Both Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle have said that the woman under the mask is someone we have seen in the comic and not a surprising newcomer from out of left field. Here is Jamal talking about Superwoman on Newsarama (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/020918-Igle-Supergirl.html). With that caveat, guesses like Lesla Lar and Luma Lynai seem unlikely now.

Judging by recent discussions on line, Thara Ak-Var and Alura have suddenly become a vogue picks. But the 'is she Kryptonian?' question from Supergirl #38 has made Lucy Lane, Cat Grant, and Lana Lang suddenly be back in the mix. Of course, how they would know Kryptonese, be on Kandor, and have powers is beyond me. And Maxima, Power Girl, Daxamites, robots, and Amazons ... all as non-Kryptonians (or non-Earth-0 Kryptonians) ... are new dark horse candidates (although perhaps violating the creator decree above).

All along I have said that Superwoman is a Kara clone of some sort.

Now I have changed my mind. I think Superwoman is an Alura clone, probably brought on by exposure to Black K radiation when purging the poison from Kara.

If I have changed my mind then maybe it is time to review some of the key panels and clues and start up a new poll.

The guesses are Alura (in any form - real or Black K clone), Kara (in any form - clone, Black K, etc), Thara Ak-Var, android/robot, Lucy Lane, Lana Lang, or other.

As I review the issues, I will put in some of my thoughts on specific clues .... whether they be real or red herrings is up to the reader. I will put down who I think specific panels point to as well, even if I contradict myself.

No matter what you think of my ramblings, I hope you vote. And as always, I would love to hear why people think what they think, especially if you pick 'other'.

And since this is a big review of panels and clues, this is a very very long post. So bear with me.

We got our first glimpse of Superwoman at the end of Supergirl #35. It is clear that she is in Kandor.

I looks like she has long hair that is either brown or blond. I find it interesting that her transmission here includes some shorts with the 'kzzzt' noises. Why would that be? Is she a robot of some sort herself with faulty technology?

When someone speaking Kryptonese cries out for help, she is off.


Nice flying style gripping the cape like that. Reminds me of someone else.



Look ... Alura flies like Superwoman (here a panel from Supergirl #37)! Maybe that doesn't mean anything. Or maybe it is a visual clue.

Our next long look at Superwoman is in Supergirl #36 which is smack dab in the middle of the New Krypton arc and includes the crisis of Zor-El's death.

I include this panel to show that Thara was a pretty big presence in the battle even semi-saving Superman at one point. This comes into play later.

After Zor-El gets killed, Alura becomes more and more despondent and militant. Remember, she was struck by a bolt of K-poisoning in Supergirl #35 which some of us have used to rationalize her change in mentality.

Here we see her grieving.

I said I have changed my pick from 'Kara clone' to 'Alura clone'. So I wonder if she was literally beside herself with grief and anger. Maybe the Black K in the bolt split her? Maybe one Alura is depressed, one militant?

But this is a Superwoman post. So let's move on to panels involving her. In Supergirl #36 she approaches Supergirl and is almost overly friendly.


She speaks fluent Kryptonese and states she is just learning English. Kryptonian powers can be emulated with technology. But speaking an alien language fluently? Does that eliminate the humans from the top of the suspect list? Certainly it makes Thara, Alura, Lyla Kam-Par (Alura's secretary), and a Kara clone better suspects. The powers, the language, the location ... it all says Kryptonian.


And then this little piece of propaganda. Superman and Supergirl were the inspiration to put on the uniform and fight for what is right? I don't know who could state that truthfully. Thara makes some sense. Maybe seeing what the cousins have done on Earth would make her want to become a hero. Remember, Thara stated that titles should be 'earned'. Maybe she resents Kara becoming a hero more by a whim than true training.

But who else could say that and mean it? Or is that just a bunch of lies to get close to Supergirl?


As she flies off after that conversation, she says she hopes to see Kara again back home. Look at how home is highlighted. Does that mean her current Earth home - is Superwoman Lana? Her Kryptonian home with Alura? Or just home as in New Krypton?

Right now I think I means 'home with Alura'. Or at least one of the Aluras.

Our next sighting is in the last chapter of New Krypton, Action Comics #873, where she dispatches Agent Liberty with a heat vision lobotomy. This is the first time we see that Superwoman is working with General Lane.

Look at how icily she states 'intruder alert' after killing Liberty. These two words made the idea of 'robot' or 'android' plausible. The red eyes do give her an inhuman feel.

After that brief appearance, we see a lot of Superwoman in Supergirl #37, the Faces of Evil issue.

The issue opens up with Superwoman padding around a dusty room I am assuming is on New Krypton given the decor.

Why a dusty room? My guess is it means that Superwoman is in hiding even amongst 'her people'. Who would need to be in hiding? What about a copy of someone who is very visible on New Krypton like Alura? Or Kara?

She says she wants to help her people but it seems disingenuous given events that unfold. But she may be sincere and deluded.


She runs her fingers over the House of El sigil and calls it her family. If she is speaking the truth, that eliminates everyone other than some form of Kara and Alura. (You could speak wildly about it being Superman's mother or another unseen Kryptonian ... but I am playing with the rules that Superwoman is someone we have seen before.)

But maybe the Els are her symbolic family, like someone who is very close to them. It could still be Thara. Thara would have a hideout to change into her uniform so she could remain undiscovered. You probably can't be the head of security on New Krypton and be a masked vigilante.


Despite her intention of helping her people, somehow Superwoman has become a pawn of General Lane who seems to be blackmailing her with his knowledge of her identity. Who would be so worried about that reveal to basically become a traitor to her people and a killer? Well someone who would be killed or otherwise erased if she is found out (like a clone or a copy). I don't think Thara would be so concerned over this reveal to help Lane in his murderous plans.

But how does Lane know who she is? I have no idea.

Of all the clues, this seems to eliminate Lucy Lane for me. Lucy seems eager to obey General Lane's every order. Why would her father need to blackmail her?


I include this panel of Supergirl and Superwoman soaking in the sun because Kara describes this activity as 'running into an old friend' just as Superwoman arrives. Is that a sly hint that Superwoman is in fact Kara's old friend Thara? Maybe Lana? That is a nice literary device.

This panel shows that Gates has made a point of telling us that Superwoman possesses unbelievable speed.

Super-speed is the great equalizer. If I say 'Superwoman can't be Thara because Supergirl runs into Thara right after this conversation with Superwoman ends', you can counter 'Thara changed at super-speed.' If I say 'she can't be Alura because she would need to be 2 places at once' you can counter the same way. Of course, like the best mysteries, this could be a complete lie, placed there just to let people rationalize their guesses.
Of course, she can't be the Alura unless she has a true split personality. Here Superwoman states that she was against Alura's decision to move off Earth. Throughout the story, Thara has been somewhat critical of Alura's decisions. So Superwoman has similar sentiments to Thara.

After Supergirl gets sent to Earth to bring in Reactron, Superwoman tries to stop her. But it seems to be more out of concern for Kara than anything else. Thara had disagreed with this mission from the start. As a member of the military, she would have the fighting skills to square off with and defeat Supergirl.

But an Alura clone who has a different mindset compared to 'Alura-Prime' might also want to stop Kara. Reactron killed Zor-El; maybe Superwoman is trying to save Kara from a similar fate?

After reading Supergirl #37, most clues seemed to fit Thara more than anyone else.

Supergirl #38 also seemed to point to Thara.

During their fight, Superwoman speaks as though she took part in prior conversations on New Krypton with Kara. She speaks just as Thara spoke. Heck, even Supergirl thinks Superwoman is Thara.

Regardless of her motivation for stopping Kara, Superwoman remains obedient to General Lane. There are some intriguing elements to the above panels.

First off, we continue to see the 'kzzzt' shorts of Superwoman's technology. Why continue to add those unless they were somehow meaningful? There aren't any lines to suggest these bubbles are emanating from a speaker on this communicator. If this is how Superwoman hears, it suggests she is in fact a robot/android.

I also like how her face quickly changes from raw emotional concern in the first panel to flat, almost entranced, stoicism in panel two. Does that suggest a lack of humanity? Or resignation to her role as puppet for Lane?

During her battle with Reactron, there are two big reveals.

First off, Reactron tells us that it was Superwoman who evacuated Metallo and him from the New Krypton battle scene in Supergirl #36. It would be hard for Thara (as seen above) to be such an active part of that fight, side by side with Kal, and still fly the villains away. I also think it would be hard for Alura, also enmeshed in the fight and cradling Zor-El's body, to disappear with the bad guys. Nor do I think Thara or Alura would help Zor-El's murderer escape.

Of course, super-super-speed could be used to apparently be in 2 places as once. And we know Superwoman claims to be really fast. Ack ... that's why these mysteries are fun and frustrating at the same time.


And then the big statement questioning her Kryptonian heritage. I, for one, think she is Kryptonian and was somehow protected from Reactron's gold Kryptonite. But if she is telling the truth than Alura, Kara, and Thara are eliminated (unless clones and duplicates aren't really Kryptonian). Then we are back to looking at Lana, Lucy, and other long shots.

So where are we in all this? I think some form of Kara (clone, Black K, future) can explain most things but not all.

I think Thara fits many clues but seems too obvious. That is a pretty lousy reason to write her off as a prime suspect.

I think some form of Alura (for me Black K created) but not THE Alura makes sense too. I am guessing this.

But a robot/android of Kryptonian design could explain everything - language, powers, location, and immunity to Kryptonite.

And many of the other guesses - Maxima, Artemis, Lesla Lar, Matrix, Linda Danvers - all still sort of fit but seem less likely given the creative team's statement that the character has been seen before.

If you are still reading ... thanks so much for dealing with my run-on thoughts. I hope you will vote.

21 comments:

TalOs said...

My vote went towards "Android/robot" category.

I mean, what if Superwoman IS indeed from Krypton but NOT an actual Kryptonian being though! What I mean by that is what if the almost robotic like behavior displayed at times is actually due to Superwoman having formerly been an IT and that "it" in particular is none other then the Eradicator itself who upon unmasking we learn has taken on the form of a young adult Kara Zor-El!

Would make total sense of the cover to Supergirl #39 and as to why Supergirl's so surprised come the official un masking of Superwoman, no?

Apparently Superwoman is a friend of the house of El yet Supergirl will question as to what gives this certain being the right to wear her families actual house crest/"S" shield is what has been said, remember. ;)

Nikki said...

other but I don't know who yet. I don't think its kryptonian because of the gold K. I don't think its a robot...Lane says 'I know WHO you are' not I know what you are. I don't think its Lucy Lane she seems to be on her father's side where superwoman is pressured. I don't think its Lana Lang, I think her illness is what will carry over to the next arc.

Anonymous said...

Edna Danvers, she wants her baby back real real baa-ad!

John Feer

Gene said...

I voted Alura last time and I voted for her again, but with your caveat Anj that Superwoman might be a Black Kryptonite version of Alura. If you read the May preview for Supergirl #41 below, it says that the fight between Kara and Superwoman will not easily be forgotten. Why? Because Superwoman represents the dark part of Alura that verbally abused Kara and embraced General Zod. Kara must feel that if she is to save and reconcile with her mother, she must defeat this dark clone of her.

The one person that complicates that theory is General Lane. Alura (real or clone) can easily dismiss this puny human by snapping his neck. But she doesn't. He must have or know something that she needs. Perhaps its the one missing piece of Brainiac's technology that will allow New Krypton to terraform? Superwoman is not worried about Lane revealing her identity, but has to stay on good behavior (including carrying out certain tasks) so he fulfills his side of the bargain. Pity Agent Liberty got fried so New Krypton can go green...

Saranga said...

I voted for Thara. I don't have any hard evidence that it is her, and as your post says, there are many reasons why it can't be her. But, I just have this feeling. When Superwoman isn't murdering people, I think from what we've seen of her she could quite easily be Thara.

Or it could be that Thara really intrigues me and I'm dying to see more of her - if she is Superwoman then she gets to stay in the series.

I think the 'Whoever said I was Kryptonian' line and the gold K incident was a red herring.

Anonymous said...

Seriously though, look at some of these panels, doesn't Superwoman have a very fleshy jaw, something we'd associate with someone in middle age?
Edna
It's EDNA
NO ONE is gonna retcon her baby this time!

John Feer

Anonymous said...

Ever since Zor-El and Alura purged Kara of her Kryptopoisining and Alura was struck w/ a bolt, I have assumed that nothing good would come of it. I think Alura has been poisoned by that beam w/ a superconcentrated properties because it was being withdrawn. She doesn't know what she is doing and thus has a type of split personality. I have seen the panels where Superwoman is in flight and holding on to her cape. Alura does the same. One big clue.

We all could be wrong. There could be another family member of the House of El. Zor-El and Alura were in the bottled city for an undisclosed amount of time. Why wouldn't they have another child after Kara was gone? We will see soon enough!

Yota said...

From the Newsarama interview with Jamal Igle:

NRAMA: Let's talk about this mystery in the books right now. I'm going to just come out and ask, since we're here among friends at the convention. Who the hell is Superwoman?

JI: [laughs] All I will say is she's somebody who's been in the books at least since the New Krypton Special.


Someone who's been in the books? In the BOOKS?!

It could be anyone!

Anonymous said...

Incredibly thorough commentary, man! Looks like my Maxima guess is indeed a longshot, especially after reading Jamal's interview comments. Oh, well. Given the dialogue hints through the last few issues, all of which you pointed out, it would seem A) the Alura clone perhaps initiated by the Kryptonite poisoning, and B) Alura forging a split personality as a result of post-traumatic stress from her husband's death (she does seem detached, yet mourns quitely in one or two scattered panels) seem the most plausible theories at this point. All I know is "It's Not Captain Atom." (an 18-year-old not-so-inside joke when you think about it)

Anj said...

what if the almost robotic like behavior displayed at times is actually due to Superwoman having formerly been an IT and that "it" in particular is none other then the Eradicator itself who upon unmasking we learn has taken on the form of a young adult Kara Zor-El!

Thanks for the post.

I do think adding the Eradicator to the 'robot' thought is pretty slick. It makes it a better ending than just a robot.

Anj said...

other but I don't know who yet. I don't think its kryptonian because of the gold K.

Thanks for the post.

I do like your thought process of weeding out people you don't think it is before deciding who you think is under the cowl.

Please post if you come to a guess.

Anj said...

I voted Alura last time and I voted for her again, but with your caveat Anj that Superwoman might be a Black Kryptonite version of Alura. If you read the May preview for Supergirl #41 below, it says that the fight between Kara and Superwoman will not easily be forgotten. Why? Because Superwoman represents the dark part of Alura that verbally abused Kara and embraced General Zod.

Thanks for the post.

A lot of the clues seem to point to Alura, be it split personality or clone.

How rough would that be for Kara. Her dad dies and her mother becomes a super-villain.

Anj said...

I voted for Thara. I don't have any hard evidence that it is her, and as your post says, there are many reasons why it can't be her. But, I just have this feeling. When Superwoman isn't murdering people, I think from what we've seen of her she could quite easily be Thara.

Thanks for the post.

They seem to be making Thara the prime suspect. Even Kara asks if she is Thara.

But it seems too convenient.

Anj said...

Edna
It's EDNA
NO ONE is gonna retcon her baby this time!


Now that's just silly.

But thanks for the post and the laugh.

Anj said...

I think Alura has been poisoned by that beam w/ a superconcentrated properties because it was being withdrawn. She doesn't know what she is doing and thus has a type of split personality. I have seen the panels where Superwoman is in flight and holding on to her cape.

Thanks for great post.

I wonder if the entire super-team would make Alura have a split personality as that would impact all the Superman books termendously.

I think split clone can be more easily dismissed without upsetting the 'World of New Krypton' book, for example.

Still, I agree with you ... Alura, in some form, is Superwoman.

John M said...

My vote for who is Superwoman is Thara Ak-Var. It seems like too much of a coincidence to me that just as Kara is about to go on her secret mission to catch Reactron that Superwoman shows up suddenly! Besides Kara and Alura, only Thara and Lyra are privy to the knowledge of Kara’s mission.

Guy said...

Late to the party, but I hope someone reads this...
What if, whoever this is, has simply been brainwashed?
You know, Sleeper Agent? Someone who doesnt even know what there doing until they get a "keyword"?
Maybe they even know what their doing, but are helpless to fight it.
Could explain a lot...

Saranga said...

@ Anj: you said: 'But it seems too convenient.'
I know, that's why I'm in such a dilemma about it!
Can I say how much I enjoy reading your blog. It has increased my enjoyment of the books so much, because now I have somewhere to go and nerd out with other fan. It's great!

@Guy: You know, you could be onto something. But does that explain how Superwoman has stated that she feels pressured to work for General lane, because of her secret?

Anj said...

My vote for who is Superwoman is Thara Ak-Var. It seems like too much of a coincidence to me that just as Kara is about to go on her secret mission to catch Reactron that Superwoman shows up suddenly! Besides Kara and Alura, only Thara and Lyra are privy to the knowledge of Kara’s mission.

Thanks for the post!

I have to concur that Thara simply makes the most sense from top to bottom.

Anj said...

Late to the party, but I hope someone reads this...
What if, whoever this is, has simply been brainwashed?
You know, Sleeper Agent? Someone who doesnt even know what there doing until they get a "keyword"?


Thanks for the post.

That is a great idea that I had not thought of! She acts robotic when in her brainwashed mode. Otherwise she is trying to do what's right.

Very cool!

Anj said...

@ Anj: you said: 'But it seems too convenient.'
I know, that's why I'm in such a dilemma about it!
Can I say how much I enjoy reading your blog. It has increased my enjoyment of the books so much, because now I have somewhere to go and nerd out with other fan. It's great!


Thanks for the post and the kind words! I read your blog all the time too!

As for Thara ... it does seem too easy.