Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Superman's "New" Power

It was big news!

Superman was getting a new power!

Something we haven't seen before!

Incredible! Amazing! Astounding!

In Superman #38 we see Superman release all his solar energy into a 'super-flare', a solar flare which incinerates a quarter mile of land, defeating Ulysses in one blow.

But new?

Maybe for him.

Supergirl has been doing this for a while.

During the initial period of the New 52, writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson talked about Supergirl's unique power. They noted that male and female Kryptonians might process yellow sun energy differently. We were all waiting to see what they meant ...

Well in Supergirl #7, the wait was over. In her fight with the World-Killers, Kara unleashes her energy as an attack. I called it the 'corona wave'. But it was basically a flare.

Later, in Supergirl #9, while battling the Black Banshee, she unleashes her energy to try to defeat him.

It is clear that Kara seems to be able to vary her flare power. She never incinerates a quarter mile of land. But here, Silver Banshee is able to survive despite being close by. And the city block is not razed.

That said, she seems to dial it up in Supergirl #17 when battling Wonder Woman. And are those atomic rings around her? Downright Firestorm-ish.

She also seems to be in more control of this power. In Superman #38, it seems to explode from Kal. Here, Kara is standing, in a position of power, and speaking.

Nice panel here by Mahmud Asrar. Beautiful.

In my favorite use of the power, in Supergirl #20,  Supergirl unleashes her flare to destroy Sanctuary, her fortress which was self-aware and trying to kill her.

This is as close to Kal's version that we have seen. This is a huge explosion which does wipe out Supergirl, leaving her depleted and unconscious. So she can apparently dial it up. And if she expends enough energy, she can become vulnerable like Kal.

Again, beautiful page. There is something akin to the end of All-Star Superman to that top panel. Incredible.

I am fairly certain that the last time we have seen Kara use this power was in Supergirl #21 when she uses it to free herself from an I'Noxian defense system. This looks pretty dramatic too.

We have gone a year and a half since the last Supergirl flare. I wonder if Johns' was aware of it?

And will we see Supergirl use it again? Or is this power now solely Superman's?


Anonymous said...

I think that's Wonder Woman's lasso, in that panel, being pushed away from Supergirl. Also I think the first time we see her use this power was when she was fighting those little robots in Tycho's space station. She heated up with out the light show. I think that was the same power although I don't remember the issue number.

Also sad about Supergirl being canceled. I hope it's not a long wait until she's back.


Kent said...

I haven't read the issue since I get my comics monthly from DCBS, but when I read about this online I thought it would be exactly this.

Also sad that our girl's been kicked to the curb again, if that's what the cancellation is. Hopefully the speculation that she'll be back sooner rather than later, perhaps even in a Legion of Super-Heroes context, will turn out to be true.

Anonymous said...

Eki is right, the rings around Supergirl in the Wonder Woman image are of Diana's lasso, not a Firestorm esque set of rings from his nuclear powers.

Also I personally called Kara's power The Solar Burst myself. Though your name is fancy indeed Anj.

And yep this isn't a new power to Superman at all. Hell this isn't the first power he's had in decades either. Morrison gave him the ability to emit gamma waves and Snyder had Superman use Gamma Vision in Superman Unchained #1. Plus, most notably, during Up, Up and Away, Busiek AND Johns gave Superman increased super senses, the ability to process information and sensory data much faster than he could before as well as an eidetic memory. So suffice to say, this is far from Superman's first new power in decades.

Louis Seymour

Saranga said...

The editors must have known about Kara's power. if they didn't there's something wrong with internal comms at DC.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

I should have realized it was the lasso, but it is pretty symmetric like an atom ... hence my confusion!