Today’s installment of Elseworlds we’ll be discussing 1998’s Elseworlds Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl. If you would like to read along at home you might be able to find a copy at your local comic book shop but the easiest option would just be to get it from Comixology here for 1.99.
While this is definitely an Elseworlds story the main two characters, Supergirl and Batgirl, have their normal identities of Kara Zor-El and Barbara Gordon. In this world there is no Superman and Kara Zor-El is the true last daughter of Krypton. Bruce Wayne exists in this world but rather than his parents getting killed, Barbara’s parents were killed and she was raised by the Waynes.
This is an interesting twist. Barbara and Bruce are roughly the same age in this universe and have a Brother/Sister relationship. Bruce acts in a support role similar to Alfred, while Barbara is Batgirl. Barbara is still a computer genius and uses her “Oracle” computer program to protect and isolate the entire city of Gotham. No one is above Batgirl’s reach and neither the Justice League or anyone with powers is allowed to enter Gotham. Barbara keeps Gotham in a police state and while it may be safer it is clear there is mixed feelings from the citizens.
In this world Lex Luthor is not a villain but instead a benefactor of the Justice League. The story kicks off with Luthor receiving an award from Barbara Gordon (and the city of Gotham) for his work in renewable energy. A super buff Joker who has been taking Bane’s venom uses the opportunity to kidnap Luthor. This super buff Joker of this world is obsessed with Batgirl and uses the kidnapping as an excuse to gain her attention.
Lex Luthor was the one who found Supergirl when she landed on Earth and represents a father figure to her. She becomes distressed learning he has been kidnapped and, despite knowing Gotham is off limits, enters the city anyway to rescue him. Batgirl is immediately alerted and confronts Supergirl. Once seeing how distressed Supergirl is, and possibly realizing that she is overpowered, Batgirl invites Supergirl to assist her in finding Luthor.
Meanwhile Luthor cuts a deal with Joker and gets Joker to work with him in exchange for an unlimited supply of venom.
Batgirl takes Supergirl to a secret underground lab of Lexcorp where we learn the true nature of Lex Luthor. Superman had in fact come to Earth but Lex got to him first and used the Kryptonite from the crash to kill Kal-El while he was still a baby. Lex has since been using Kryptonian technology and Kal-El’s own corpse to further Lexcorp.
Supergirl naturally goes into a blind rage and is set on killing Luthor for the horrible acts he has committed. Batgirl manages to stop Supergirl from killing Luthor and we then learn Batgirls backstory. An aging Joe Chill winded up getting a commuted sentence for killing her father in exchange for naming names. One of the people he named was Luthor as the man responsible for contracting the murder that killed her father. Jim Gordon was never the target that night, Joe was suppose to kill the Waynes but when Jim Gordon intervened he was killed instead.
The award was a set up from the start. Batgirl planned it to get Luthor out of Metropolis long enough for her to gather evidence against Luthor. Luthor plays it off that it doesn’t matter anyway because he is beloved and no one will believe their story against him. However Batgirl had been live streaming the entire encounter which Luthor had confessed all.
The comic ends with Supergirl burying Kal-El’s body and that start of a friendship between Supergirl and Batgirl. Barbara however hides away a kryptonite ring stolen from Luthor “just in case”.
Overall I really enjoyed the comic. I think it was a fresh take on both of the characters. Rather than just being side characters or part of a bigger bat or super family this had Batgirl and Supergirl front and center as the leaders of their world. I did think it was odd that they didn’t go by Superwoman and Batwoman seeing as they were the main forces in this world. This isn’t a huge deal but would have helped to separate this world from the typical DC Universe.
I liked the different take on Batman’s origin in which it is the Gordon’s that died instead of the Waynes. I liked that Bruce Wayne takes on the role of Alfred and helps assist Batgirl while she’s out in the field. They appear to have a romantic relationship in the public eye but seem to be truly platonic while in private.
My only real complaint is that I would have liked to see more of the rest of the world this comic takes place in. We got to see some bits and pieces on how things are different such as Abin Sur as this worlds Green Lantern but it never really goes into any depth. This is just a one shot comic so they are limited on what they can tell in this story but it would have been nice to see more. Part of what I really love about these elseworlds comics is the details and smaller changes.
Anyway if you like Elseworlds and are a fan of Supergirl and Batgirl this is definitely a book you should check out.