On the Virtue of Being Petty

Power_Girl_Issue_2_Cover_by_AdamHughesMy favorite superheroine is Powergirl, and not just for the obvious reason(s.)  Sadly, my second favorite is She-Hulk, which I could also be accused of liking for the obvious reason(s.)  But hey, their designs help.

As characters with some pretty screwed up continuities, they’re both written as fairly meta in their respective universes (She-Hulk much more so, which leads to some really fun stories.)  Powergirl, with an origin that mirrors that of Supergirl, often needs to be written specifically to avoid nothing other than “Supergirl, but older.”  This results in the character usually being portrayed as more aggressive than the typical superhero.  One that’s a little more willing to bend the rules in order to achieve her ends, such as using heat vision to cut off a villain’s arm in order to make a point.

1782749-power_girl_armBut that’s not why I’m a fan of this character, although it is refreshing to see one willing to go to extremes to get shit done rather than faff about the morality of their actions.  No, my favorite thing about her is that they’re also willing to write her as something of a bitch.  Not in the “empowered woman showing the world what’s what” way or in the “I’m normally good so the only reason I might be unpleasant is if an extra dimensional being is secretly controlling me” way (an oddly frequent occurrence in comic books) but in the straight up “god dammit, sometimes people just annoy me” way.


Like the above display from Wonder Woman (volume 3) #41 where, unfortunately, Power Girl is being controlled by a group of psychic children.  However, while they’re controlling her actions they don’t have power over her mind.  The inner dialogue of Power Girl’s is genuinely the character’s, and they reveal a wonderfully relatable character at that!  Power Girl is shown to be capable of straight up pettiness.  An inner desire to tear down the facade of the ostensibly perfect Wonder Woman for no real reason other than she’s there and just so damn annoyingly perfect all the time.

It’s always been the dichotomy of DC’s stable of character versus Marvel’s that the DC characters are always so perfect.  The “Trinity” of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are such flawless heroes that there’s no room for anyone to be a fan because they identify with the character, but because they’re in awe of the character.  Stan Lee’s whole point of the X-Men or Spiderman was that before they were superheroes, they were people, just like the readers.  Power Girl is the rare opportunity for what is ostensibly a Marvel character (because she has personality) to be in the DC Universe.


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