I have had the luck of finding some gems in my comic shop's dollar box these last couple of months. The store recently bought some new collections and after scooping up the most lucrative gems, put the rest out in the bargain bins.
I was lucky enough to find a copy of Showcase #99 in the box, albeit in a 'well-loved, well-read' condition. Still, while I barely touch upon Power Girl here (she is, in my mind, a separate character), I do consider myself a fan and like reading her earliest adventures.
"The Crater that was Keystone City" was written by Paul Levitz and drawn by Joe Staton and is a fun Earth-2 story in which Power Girl fights old JSA villain The Brainwave (never seen him use 'The' before his sobriquet) and team up with Jay Garrick and Alan Scott. It also helped solidify Karen Starr who Power Girl would be moving forward in the DCU.
This Showcase three parter surely is a key part of a Power Girl comic collection.
On to a couple of moments that struck me!
This issue is the first time that we see Kara as Karen Starr. Prior to this, she simply acted as Power Girl without a secret identity. Kara's friend Andrew Vinson helped set up her new persona as well as get her a job at 'Ultimate Computer Corporation' as a programmer.
And I learned that Karen's knowledge of computers was not from her own interest and prior study but implanted by the Amazon Memory Teacher.
I had always just assumed that Karen and her love of computers were part of her backstory from the beginning. So this provided a lot of new directions for the character.
We also get a look at her more Golden Age power levels as she super-leaps from place to place as opposed to flying.
And, in I think a nod to the concurrent Supergirl stories in Superman Family, we get a little peekaboo fan service as Karen disrobes in an alley to don her costume. Remember how Win Mortimer always used to put a panel of Linda in some degree of undress there?
Lastly there is this great panel of Power Girl putting her finger to her mouth as she puzzles out some conundrum.
That has to be a reference to the same quirk Supergirl had in those early issues of Action Comics.
I mean that is classic Kara, a quirk that has been seen every now and then even in modern comics. I wonder if writer Paul Levitz was thinking of synching up the characters a bit more, making Power Girl a bit more like Supergirl. Or maybe it was all Joe Staton.
Either way, I would consider this an important issue for a Power Girl collection as it is an early Karen Starr appearance and the first time we see her as a computer whiz.