The last piece to my review of the Supergirl and Brainiac 5 relationship comes not from comics but the Justice League Unlimited episode 'Far From Home', officially JLU season two, episode 36. The episode is available in its entirety on YouTube and is definitely worth watching if you are either a Supergirl fan or a Legion fan. As a big fan of both, this is one of my absolute favorite episodes.
As I have said in prior reviews of the series, Supergirl was treated with a lot of respect, acting as a hero, throwing herself into battle, and making the tough decisions. This episode is no different. I can imagine that if JLU was how someone was introduced to Supergirl, that it would be easy to become a fan. Dwayne McDuffie wrote the story and Paul Dini wrote the screenplay, so my guess is these two comic professionals must be Supergirl fans themselves.
Anyways, a 30 minute episode means a long review. Here we go.
This episode starts in the future where Brainiac 5 and Bouncing Boy remain the only Legionnaires free from some unnamed threat. With the heroes so outnumbered (and let's face it outgunned ... I don't care who the villains are), Brainiac 5 decides to look to the past for allies. Unfortunately, incomplete historical records state that while 3 heroes traveled to the future, only 2 returned; the implication is one of the heroes dies.
Meanwhile, in the present, Supergirl is celebrating her 21st birthday in the Watchtower's version of the Danger Room. Jon Stewart is putting Supergirl through the paces but she remains up for any challenge. She makes short work of Dr. Cyber, Queen Bee, Atomic Skull, and the brutish Blockbuster (as seen above). She is shown to be a tenacious and relentless fighter. In fact, after mopping the floor with the villains, Green Lantern declares her training done. She has nothing left to learn.
Superman observes the training session from the control room. There is Supergirl taking on the Atomic Skull on the screens.
One thing I liked about this series was the mentor relationship Green Arrow took up with Supergirl. Supergirl is portrayed a bit as a hothead in the series, a passionate hero who makes snap decisions and wades into battle. Green Arrow, another passionate hero, would be a perfect mentor. Here he actually chastises Superman for his 'hands off' relationship with Supergirl. The two cousins aren't shown to be too close on the show, rarely interacting or working on the same mission.
Superman's response 'sounds' like a good idea ... he kept his distance because he didn't want his presence to over power hers. He wanted her to find her own way. But he hasn't even told her he is proud of her, even if she went so far as changing her costume to look more like his. Moreover, she is stuck on Earth, in a culture which is primitive compared to the one she grew up in on Argo. She must feel like an outsider and Clark's distance isn't helping things.
In the end, I think Superman is way off. He can't realize that he is her family, her only family, and should be close to her regardless of his stature?
With the training session over, the heroes are suddenly engulfed in Brainiac's time bubble and brought to the future.
When they arrive in the future, Supergirl recognizes Brainiac 5 as a Brainiac and does what any good super-hero would do. She attacks. I love that good-intentioned impulsive nature of Supergirl here. Just as she took on Galatea, just as she took on Amazo, just as she took on Deimos' men on Skataris (without powers too!), she leaps into action to take on a perceived threat.
Luckily, Brainy's force field belt holds. He is able to explain the situation. The Fatal Five have captured the rest of the Legion and have them mind-controlled. Brainiac grabbed the three random leaguers (yeah right) to help them in their battle.
Although she finds Brainy 'seriously cute', Supergirl isn't sure if they can trust him. GA and GL's instincts say otherwise.
But the plot thickens, Bouncing Boy knows that the date Supergirl was time-grabbed from is the last recorded date of her in the present. She will be the hero who 'does not return'. The Legionnaires keep the information from her so as not to derail history.
As the heroes begin to formulate a plan, they are discovered and attacked by the Emerald Empress and the Persuader from the Fatal Five. Brainy shows some nice moves but ultimately is hit by the Persuader and thrown into the air.
When Supergirl catches him, he reminds her that his force field belt will protect him from all harm. She responds that maybe she was trying to 'cop a feel'! Much like the Levitz issues of the LSH, the Supergirl here is clearly the aggressor of this courtship. Her comments here jibe with her characterization on the show.
And she holds her own in battle, duking it out with the Persuader.
Unfortunately, she does end up having a mind control disk placed on her forehead. In fact everyone ends up with a disk at one point. Brainy's intelligence helps him overcome the technology and free himself. With little time before the villains and enslaved heroes teleport out, Brainy rips the disk from Kara's forehead. She then rescues Green Arrow. But Bouncing Boy and Green Lantern are now slaves of the Fatal Five.
The next scene is absolutely priceless. Green Arrow wonders why Brainy rescued Supergirl rather than Green Lantern. After all, Green Lantern is the most powerful of the recruited heroes. Green Arrow thinks it's because Brainy loves Supergirl.
Here, Brainy rattles of the symptoms ... increased sweat, shortness of breath, inability to concentrate ... yup, it's love. Ollie then plays matchmaker, making himself scarce so Supergirl and Brainy will be 'alone for a long time'. Nice!
The Fatal Five decide that the time is now to attack the United Planets capitol. With the majority of the Legion and a GL under their control, nothing should be able to stop them.
I had to include a shot of some of the Five. Look at the old school Tharok! And Validus! Awesome.
The animated Supergirl shows that she is pretty intelligent too. She figures out that Brainy and her can track Green Lantern by his com-link using a 'quantum tunneling RF transponder'. Whoa ... heady stuff.
Again, this shows the respect the show had for Kara. She isn't just muscle, or just emotion. She is well-rounded.
And look at Brainy. He's smitten.
Brainy, Supergirl, and Green Arrow speed to the UP homeworld just as the Five arrive. The Legion slaves are sent out to destroy the planet.
Supergirl says she'll run interference against the Legion and Green Lantern so Green Arrow and Brainy can get on board the Five's ship and shut down the mind-control transmitter.
In another great moment, Brainy finally divulges that Supergirl will die in this battle. He almost blurts out he loves her. The information doesn't stop her from doing the right thing. She says she has a job to do, to protect a planet full of innocents.
As she leaves for the fight, she leans in and kisses him in case she doesn't see him again.
As a Supergirl fan, I don't think you could ask for a better scene. She knows what her duty is regardless of the risk.
Of course, seeing her kick the snot out of the Legion is great too.
I love this scene as she takes on all-comers of the Legion, punching, kicking, and tossing them aside.
Even my favorite Legionnaire Wildfire tastes Kara's fury as she delivers a devastating back round kick to his face plate.
But no matter how good she is as a fighter even she can't hold off the Legion forever. She eventually succumbs to their attacks just as Brainy and Ollie destroy the transmitter.
Freed from the Five's control, Green Lantern flies down to the fallen Supergirl, picking up her limp body.
How about this shot from the episode, clearly mirroring the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7! How many homages can that cover get? Is there anything more geek-tastic?
I have to say, the first time I saw this episode I thought they might have actually killed her off.
Turns out she was only mostly dead! Or maybe just resting.
She and the Legion flood the Fatal Five ship and defeat the villains soundly. Look at this heroic Supergirl floating in space victorious, the Legion (and I mean a lot of the Legion) there beside her.
As a Legion fan, it was great to finally see all these heroes I love on the screen.
But what about the prophecy about only 2 heroes returning from that battle.
Turns out it is true ... just not in the way everyone assumed. Supergirl never returns because she stays in the future. She and Brainiac 5 will be together.
Green Lantern adn Green Arrow return to the present. In a taped message to Superman, Supergirl tells him that she loves him but that she feels she belongs in the future ... a place where she can make a difference, be more than Superman's kid cousin. Also, she met a boy.
Superman finally melts a little, saying that Supergirl is headstrong but always made good decisions. He trusts her judgment. Would have been nice if he said those things to her while she was around!
This was the last season of JLU so who knows if there was a plan or ideas for a sequel episode had there been a third season. I would have loved to see Supergirl and the Legion turned into an ongoing series.
I really feel that the Justice League series portrayed Supergirl the way I like to envision her. She is passionate, and head strong, and finding her way. But her heart is always in the right place and she always does the right thing ... the heroic thing. It is too bad this was the last time we saw her on the show. But it certainly was a perfect way to end her story.
The Legion finally did get a series of it's own on CW Kids, a show that starred Superman (must have been while the 'Superboy' law suit was ongoing). But I preferred the version we saw here.
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