Supergirl has been a name used by several characters over the years. The concept is just too good for creators to leave dormant for too long. When considering the idea of Supergirl, it’s not just the idea of having a female with Superman’s powers, but having a strong and assured woman in her own right.
It’s also the fact that there are a large number of stories that can only be told from the female perspective, and it is necessary to have a female protagonist to make those stories work. Supergirl is as important to the Superman mythos as the cape and the “S.”
10 Supergirl(Ariella Kent)
Ariella Kent is the daughter of the pre-Crisis Superman and Linda Danvers. Linda Danvers was forced by the Spectre to return to the Post Crisis universe but begged that her daughter be allowed to continue existing. The Spectre agreed, but with Linda Danvers erased from existence, the connection to Superman was erased as well. Ariella was alone.
Ariella or R’E’L’ in Kryptonian gained her powers at a very young age, perhaps due to her hybrid metahuman and Kryptonian nature. She also had no one to teach her self control. She traveled to the 853rd Century and saved a planet by “playing” with the invaders and destroying their ships.
9 Super-girl (Jimmy’s “Wish”)
In the Silver Age, Jimmy Olsen tended to be as much of a problem for Superman as he was a help. He would either be hit by some weird ray or find an alien rock and turn into, for example, a giant turtle man and Superman would have to save Metropolis from him.
Jimmy found a magical totem and created a “Super-Girl” to be a helper to Superman. The problem was that they were tripping over each other as much as helping each other save the day. Super-Girl saved Superman from a kryptonite meteor that was flung at him by a criminal. A heartbroken Jimmy had to use the totem again to wish Super-Girl away before she died.
When Cir-El arrived, she claimed to be the daughter of Superman and Lois Lane from the future. She displayed all of the Kryptonian powers, although at first, couldn’t fly. Cir-El also had the unique power of firing red solar energy from her hands. She teamed up with Natasha Irons and Traci 13 to battle a ninja and with several members of the Superman family to save Batman and Superman from President Luthor.
Cir-El was actually a homeless woman named Mia that Brainiac grafted DNA to give her powers. She was to be a “Trojan horse” for a nanovirus introduced into the coffee supply of Metropolis to turn the population into cyborgs. Learning this, Cir-El threw herself into a time portal to prevent her own birth.
The Matrix is a protoplasmic shape-shifting life form created by a “good” Lex Luthor in an alternate reality that was destroyed by three Kryptonian villains. She was given the memory engrams of that universes’ Lana Lang.
Superman brought her into the mainstream universe. Matrix at first went to live with the Kents on the farm, and they called her Mae. In Metropolis, she meets and falls in love with Lex Luthor Jr. She finds that Lex Jr. had cloned many times, and she nearly kills him while destroying the clones. After leaving Lex, the Matrix merged with Linda Danvers while trying to save her.
6 Supergirl/Earth Angel/Linda Danvers
Matrix encountered Linda Danvers, who had been stabbed by her boyfriend for a demonic ritual. She could change from the smaller brunette Linda Danvers and the larger blonde Supergirl. Inexplicably, saving Linda also turned Supergirl into an earthbound angel with flaming wings and flame vision.
After encountering a character that claimed to be God, the angel aspect was ripped from Linda, and she retained a diminished version of Supergirl’s power. Linda attempted to take the pre-Crisis Supergirl’s place, but she was discovered by Superman, who fell in love with her, married her, and they had a child. It also began having cosmic consequences. The Spectre returned Linda to her proper place in the time stream.
5 New 52 Supergirl
Kara Zor-El of Krypton was rocketed to Earth as a teenager, and her pod spent two decades orbiting the sun. It crash-landed in Siberia, and armed robots tried to capture her until Superman showed up. Kara did not believe that he was Kal-El as she had held as a baby only days ago by her recollection. She started a fight with Superman that stretched to the Great Wall of China before calming down. She left Earth to find her answers and discovered a destroyed Argo City.
Depression, guilt over surviving, and having to sacrifice Krypton a second time to save the Earth summoned a Red Lantern Ring to her. She left Earth and fell in with Guy Gardner’s faction. Surprisingly, under Guy’s mentorship, Kara learned to control her emotions, and he kicked her out to save her from Atrocious. Kara no sooner arrived back on Earth when she learns that her cousin is dying.
4 Rebirth Supergirl
After the “Rebirth,” teenaged Kara Zor-El landed on Earth and was adopted by D.E.O agents Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers. During her teen years, she attended high school and worked at the D.E.O under Cameron Chase. Kara also begins a job at CATCO under former Daily Planet gossip columnist turned mogul Cat Grant.
Kara found friends in both Batgirl and Power Girl but endured a number of significant hardships back to back. Cat Grant began campaigning against Kara and turns National City against her. An alien called Rogol Zaar destroyed the Fortress of Solitude and the bottled city of Kandor, killing its inhabitants. He claimed that he would rid the universe of all Kryptonians. Throwing him in the Phantom Zone, Kara left Earth with Krypto to find out who is behind Zaar’s actions.
3 Post-Crisis Supergirl
Kara Zor-El is rocketed from Argo City as a teenager and was thrown into suspended animation. Kara arrived on Earth, crashing in Gotham Harbor. Wonder Woman took Kara to Paradise Island to be trained. After she aided Donna Troy in space, a malfunctioning Zeta Beam transported her to the 30th Century’s Legion of Super-Heroes, but she thought it was all an elaborate dream.
Kara returns to Metropolis a year later to find Superboy dead and Superman de-powered. She took over as the protector of Metropolis and helped stop the Amazon attack on Washington D.C. Kara found herself conflicted when Kandor was enlarged, and New Krypton was established on a nearby planet along with her resurrected parents. New Krypton was destroyed despite her efforts to save it.
2 Power Girl
Power Girl is Kara Zor-L of Earth-Two. Her rocket was launched at the same time as Kal-L’s but was designed as a stasis rocket with a virtual reality program. When she finally arrived on Earth, Kara was in her twenties. She eventually joined the Justice Society as Superman replacement and went on to join Infinity Inc. She also adopted the civilian identity of software designer Karen Starr.
When the first Crisis reshaped reality, she briefly thought she was the descendant of the Atlantean wizard Arion. Power Girl is instrumental in rebuilding the Justice Society bust also split it in two when she and the younger members became the All-Stars for a time. Power Girl has disappeared recently.
1 Pre-Crisis Supergirl
Kara Zor-El lived in Argo City, a drifting piece of Krypton. The ground eventually became poisonous, and Kara was rocketed away with a costume similar to her cousin. Upon arriving on Earth, Superman began to train Kara as his “secret weapon.” Superman helped her create the identity of Linda Lee, a brunette orphan.
Supergirl became a close friend and partner to Batgirl, joined the Legion of Super-Heroes, and was instrumental in defeating many foes. Supergirl confronted the Anti-Monitor during the first Crisis, destroyed his reality killing machines and beat him near to death, but a moment’s distraction allowed him to deliver a killing blast. She died in Superman’s arms.