Monday, January 11, 2016

Supergirl Saves A Secret Identity, Sort Of Like The Show

On last week's episode 'Blood Bonds', J'onn J'onzz shape shifted into Supergirl so Kara and the Maid of Might could be seen together, thus squelching Cat Grant's suspicions that the two were the same.

The stand-in is a tried and true comic cliche. Whether it's Superman subbing for Batman, a Superman robot subbing for the real thing, or Dick Grayson dressing like Batgirl while Commissioner and Barbara Gordon look on, secret identities have been protected like this for decades.

But had Supergirl ever done a favor for someone like this?

Would I ask the question if the answer wasn't 'yes'?

Action Comics #692 came out in September 1993 and was a sort of epilogue the the Reign of the Superman mega-arc in which Superman returned from the dead to defeat the Cyborg Superman.

There were a lot of loose ends to wrap up after such a huge story which impacted both the Superman universe and the DCU as a whole.

One of the biggest threads was how to explain where Clark Kent was during this whole story. How could the secret identity of Superman be saved? And how could there be any sort of rational explanation of where Clark had been during all this time?

"And who, disguised as Clark Kent' was written by Roger Stern with art by Butch Guice, Denis Rodier, and Glenn Whitmore. And, as I have said elsewhere, I love Butch Guice's version of Supergirl. She is willowy, lovely, strong.

The issue starts with Superman scouring Metropolis for any survivors still caught in the wreckage and debris of the Doomsday brawl. Amazingly, he is able to uncover Clark Kent, apparently alive and well after being caught alone in civil bunker during the fight. Thus, Clark was buried alive but with supplies to live relatively normally.

Lois leaps into her husband's arms, thrilled to see him again. And then Jimmy decides to capture the moment by taking a picture of Superman, Lois, and Clark all together.

How is that possible?

Well remember this is the time period where Supergirl was Matrix. This is the pre-Linda Danvers merge Matrix so she had all of her powers, including shape-changing.

When Clark, Superman, and Lois all in the Kent's apartment, we see that Clark isn't really Clark. Clark is Matrix. She subbed in for her friend to keep this secret identity protected.

Nice middle panel set there with the eye changing to let us, as readers, know that the whole body is morphing. A lot is happening to get from Clark to Mae but much is unseen. Nicely done.

We again learn that shape-changing into something larger or more massive is a strain. But she was glad to do it for her friends. She can only hope that Clark and Lois will be as happy as she and Lex are.

Despite that smiling second panel, you can sense that thing aren't perfect between Matrix and Lex. There are things she'll need to work out. The Supergirl mini-series is only 2 months away which will end that dysfunctional romance.

Lois thanks Supergirl as she flies off. And Supergirl wishes that the all live happily ever after. Which, of course, doesn't happen.

Anyways, the idea of someone standing in for a super-hero to keep a secret identity safe is a tried and true trope. I thought I would share this particular story where Supergirl helped out Superman. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw J'onn helping Kara out in the show.


Anonymous said...

Hey Anj, thanks for sharing that story. Definately got vibes of this mentioned story, but also Superman's run-in with J'onn J'onzz
during the Silver Banshee story as well.

Either case, LOVE the pic of Melissa B / Kara Danvers standing beside Melissa B / Supergirl... the hair, the glasses, the subtle height
difference. And how Melissa B played saying hi to herself in that scene. Tickled this fan pink! Would love it if there were more
opportinities in the future for Melissa to act against herself -- Bizzaro (Super)Girl and Dark Supergirl definately tops my list!


Diabolu Frank said...

Thought about this story while watching the episode.

Anonymous said...

Back in the first year or so after SG's debut in 1959 there was a story were the still secret Supergirl actually elaborately disguised herself as Superman in order to save someone (she wore a padded suit and looked ridiculous)....just be glad no one decided to riff on that scenario....:)


Skags the Clown said...

Back in the day, Superman received some help preserving his secret identity from none other than President Kennedy in Action Comics #309.