When Supergirl premiered as part of "The New 52" reboot at DC Comics the character was among the most dramatically overhauled to fit in with the new, more contemporary wave that the imprint was riding. In an effort to bring in more savvy audiences, Superman's famous cousin was given a much edgier persona and a more fleshed out background. Kara Zor-El had a life on Krypton before it was environmentally destroyed, and was actually resistant about being part of her father's plan to be rocketed away from her family in her planet's final days, with a mission to keep her infant cousin Kal safe on their voyage to a new alien world.
Kara arrives on Earth much later than anyone anticipated and crash lands in Russia. Her cousin Kal El has grown up and become Superman emerging in an era where people are sceptical about these so-called "super-heroes", gods on earth, that walk among them. With no understanding of Earth's customs or language, Kara's arrival is met with a flurry of firepower from a military organization that is investigating her arrival. Fortunately Superman arrives just in time to intervene before Kara, who is just learning to control her new found powers, unleashes her own attack on her assailants. That was just the beginning of Supergirl's introduction to the modern DC Comics multiverse.
For the rest of the Maid of Steel's run she often found herself at odds with her cousin, and battling as furiously as any angry, average and rebellious teenage girl would. It made for a dramatically different take on a beloved character that in a much simplier time sacrificed herself in the midst of a major crisis to save Superman and the entirety of the multiverse. This new modern-era Supergirl certainly had her shining moments, joining forces with other disenfranchised heroes to help form the Justice League United and take the battle to the stars. She even joined the Red Lanterns Corp for a short time to work out those anger issues.
Now most recently, Supergirl is enjoying an entirely new popularity having joined the primetime universe as one of the successful series of DC Comics based action series on The CW. Returning to the optimism and hopefulness that made the heroine's journey so attractive, the television series takes a classic approach to evolving Kara's personality although making her a completely contemporary young millennial charmingly played by Melissa Benoist in the hour-long series Supergirl. The series has proven so popular that when obviously when the publishing imprint at DC Comics decided to return to a more character driven base with "Rebirth" the decision was made to pattern the relaunch after the show.
Overseeing the effort is veteran Comics writer Steve Orlando most notable known for his notorious turn on the recent Midnighter book that put the vigilante front and center. Now Orlando has a turn on working the same magic with Supergirl: Rebirth #1 which puts Kara Zoe-El/Danvers (her new Earth-born surname and cover) and to work for the DOE - the Department of Extra-Normal Operations. Sound familiar? It should. Although the DOE was introduced toward the final issues of "The New 52" Supergirl book's run, the agency was enlisted to help Kara with her recent power loss. When Kara's cousin Superman faced his "final days" it became imperative that Kara return to full strength.
The Rebirth issue addresses that immediately as the DEO Director Cameron Chase assigned to be assist Supergirl with her case sends the Maid of Might rocketing straight ahead into the heart of our yellow sun! At the same time, a breach at the launch site releases a prisoner from the Krytonian Phantom Zone, a scientist and enemy of Zor-El, Kara's father, who is sick with red krptonite poisoning. Rather than help him find a cure the man is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone until a remedy for his condition could be found.
What gets unleashed on Earth is a Kryptonian werewolf!
Another item co-opted from the television series are Kara's Earth-bound foster parents. Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers are both very much an active part of their alien ward's life, as well as active scientific agents under the employ of the DOE and under Chase's direction. Whether her foster sister, Alex -- who is her closest relative on the primetime series -- appears on the page still remains to be seen, but whether this direct adaptation will refine Supergirl's legacy going forward readers will have to stay tuned.
Supergirl is a title that has changed often over the years; the decision to have killed her off during the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot of the DC Universe rocked Superman's world and it wasn't until recently that the "real" Supergirl was reintergrated into the DC Universe -- and boy was she missed! Whether "Rebirth" does the Girl of Steel justice in the long wrong, we'll hold out and hope. Orlando has proven a gifted auteur with great skill at telling unique stories and nuturing character personalities.