As many of us already know, starting next month DC will begin publishing a series called Infinite Crisis, in which the DC Universe will be shaken up once again. We've had two shakeups already. Back in 1985, DC published Crisis on Infinite Earths, which destroyed the multiverse and left behind one supposedly consistent universe. Then, in 1994, Zero Hour recreated the universe again, supposedly resolving all the inconsistencies left by the Crisis.
(For more information, feel free to check out the references listed at the end of this article.)
There are four miniseries currently being published now that lead into the Infinite Crisis, and in each one major events are happening that presumably will have great import. But there have also been hints of the Infinite Crisis planted in many other books. In particular, the new book JSA Classified was rumored to have a story that was vitally important to the new Crisis. What is that story?
The revelation of Power Girl's secret origin.
To understand what's so important about Power Girl's secret origin, one needs to know the history of the character in the context of the DC multiverse and afterwards. Basically, Power Girl was originally the Earth-2 equivalent of Supergirl. She was the cousin of Kal-L, the Earth-2 Superman from the Golden Age. But when the Crisis on Infinite Earths happened, although many other Golden Age heroes either disappeared from continuity entirely or were shown to have been active during the 1940s but now retired, Power Girl fell into an entirely different category.
Essentially, DC Comics kept her around, but didn't really establish where she had come from at first. Eventually, they explained that she was the descendent of a sorcerer from ancient Atlantis named Arion, and that she had been kept in suspended animation by him to save her from Arion's evil brother, Garth Dannuth. This meant that Power Girl's superpowers were now more magical in origin than before, because it was established that she was a unique blend of Atlantean science and sorcery.
However, there was still that nagging business about being Superman's cousin...and then of course, Zero Hour happened. After that, she learned that she was not Arion's descendent after all. In fact, the current storyline in JSA Classified claims that she came out of a rocket which Superman discovered, and at first they both thought she might be his cousin. But then she learned that she wasn't, because she was Arion's granddaughter. But then she learned that that wasn't true either. So who is she, where does she come from, and what's the connection to Infinite Crisis?
Well, JSA Classified and the new Supergirl series are offering some interesting clues. In Supergirl #1, Supergirl goes looking for Power Girl to see if they can talk, and when the two of them get too near each other, Power Girl snaps. Her powers become wonky, and she ends up attacking Supergirl. The other heroes have to keep them separated in order for things to stay normal. It's almost as if the two of them shouldn't both exist in the same universe...
As for JSA Classified...
In issue #1, a villain from Atlantis appears out of nowhere to challenge Power Girl. She fights him, causing damage to the city streets, and then he mysteriously disappears. It turns out that no one else saw him but Power Girl.
At the end of issue #1, the three core members of the 31st century Legion of Super-Heroes are sent by some mysterious figure to find Power Girl. When they find her in #2, they tell her that she is actually Andromeda, one of their members, meaning that she is actually from the future. They claim that they sent her back in time to defeat one of their major villains, a wizard named Mordru, and that it's now time for her to return.
As I was reading this story, the revelation made a lot of sense. Andromeda is from the planet Daxam, meaning that she has powers similar to those of Superman. In the Legion books, she was always portrayed as a busty blonde, very similar to Power Girl in appearance. While Andromeda has not yet been introduced in the current reboot of the Legion, with time travel you can always claim that she will be introduced later.
But the story didn't end there. After a series of events, in which the Legion attempts to prevent Power Girl from rescuing a plane, they disappear, and we discover that no one else around her even saw them. It's as if they existed only in her head, just like the villain she fought in issue #1.
And at the end of the book, the Legionnaires are summoned back by that mysterious figure, who makes them disappear, and claims that his plan to drive Power Girl insane is going all according to plan. That mysterious figure?
Roger Hayden, the Psycho-Pirate. The only person in the DC Universe who remembers the existence of the Multiverse. A villain for whom it was established in the Animal Man series of the 1990s that he had the power to bring back characters who died or were eliminated during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. A villain who thrives on other people's emotions. Even if the caption box hadn't told us that this revelation might tie into Crisis, the resonance would be undeniable for anyone who was reading comic books twenty years ago.
So, after I read those two issues of JSA Classified, I started thinking. And I came up with this possible explanation for both Power Girl's origin and the source of the upcoming Infinite Crisis. I may be totally off-base, but I still like what I've come up with:
Where did Power Girl come from? Perhaps the Psycho-Pirate rescued her years ago from the events of the Crisis, and kept her in existence, even though she shouldn't have been.
It fits the facts we've just seen. Power Girl's origin would still be that she was the cousin of the original Golden Age Superman of Earth-2. The Psycho-Pirate might have used the residual chronal energy to keep her around, the same chronal energy that led to Zero Hour ten years ago. The same instability that kept multiple versions of Hawkman around for a few years; why couldn't it have done the same for Power Girl? And that would explain why it was dangerous for her to get too close to the current, true version of Supergirl -- two versions of the same person should not exist at the same time. (It would also explain the time bump in 1985 which the JSA experienced in issue #72, when they returned via time travel from the 1940s to today. Maybe the universe is being rewound to 1985...)
So what's the Psycho-Pirate's motivation? Well, in both Crisis and Animal Man it was made clear that he misses the existence of the Multiverse. What if Hayden is trying to bring it back, to recreate the Multiverse? What if he deliberately kept Power Girl in existence to maintain an instability in the one DC universe, and is now exploiting that instability to crack the universe apart? Just like the heroes of twenty years ago desperately tried to save their many universes, wouldn't the heroes of today try to save their one and only universe, since they would be unsure of what might happen if it split apart?
Such an event would be something that Mr. Mxyzptlk might warn Superman about. Such an event might be something to cause even the wizard Shazam to fear for the future.
Such an event would be worthy of the name Infinite Crisis.
For more information, here are links to the Wikipedia entries on:
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Legion of Super-Heroes