WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Superman #43 by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, on sale now.
Just as Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason are about to end their run on Superman and Super Sons, a character who has been a big part of their run is getting a new beginning. In Superman #43, it is revealed that Kathy Branden, friend and former neighbor of Superboy, has not only acquired her own superhero costume, she has a codename to go along with it.
This is not just a huge step in the character's evolution; it may be a major sign of things to come in the wake of Super Sons' cancellation and the impending relaunch of DC's younger superhero teams in the wake of Justice League: No Justice.
From Alien Outsider to Science Hero
Back at the beginning of Rebirth, the Kents were hiding out in Hamilton County, living under an assumed name and pretending they were a family of average nobodies. During their time in ambiguity, the three lived on a farm, and Kathy was established to be something like Jonathan Kent's own Lana Lang. They were fast friends, and a hint of young romance even hung in the air.
Kathy, however, had a big secret.
Much like the Kents, Kathy and her grandfather lived in Hamilton County as aliens pretending to be average, everyday citizens. After issues spent playing the simple girl next door, it was revealed during the "Black Dawn" storyline who she really was. She has telekinetic powers, is super smart, and doesn't really look like an ordinary human girl. Following Manchester Black's attack on Hamilton County, Kathy's grandfather died, and soon after, the Kents moved back to Metropolis. It seemed Jon's first real friend was doomed to fall into obscurity.
However, no matter how busy Superboy seems to get, Tomasi and Gleason always find a way to keep Kathy in his life, whether it's in Superman or Super Sons. After all, it's no big thing for Superboy to fly a few thousand miles to see how his friend is holding up every few issues.
In Superman's current storyline, Kathy displays her technological genius by developing a machine that allows them to travel through the Multiverse. They end up on Bizarro World and accidentally bring Boyzarro back with them.
Kathy wears something of a superhero costume during their trip, but nothing is made of it until issue #43, when she tells Nobody that she wants to go by the codename Beacon. Now the costume makes sense, and she's no longer just a supporting character. Whatever Tomasi and Gleason are working on next, they've assured that Kathy's story will continue to unfold in the DC Universe; after all, they've officially turned her into a bonafide superhero in the making.