Supergirl #53 reveals that the hero’s Kryptonian birth name has a tragic meaning that her cousin Superman was able to completely avoid. Though they both share the El surname, Supergirl’s birth name has a much darker meaning than Superman’s. Supergirl #53 reveals the tragic difference between Kara Zor-El and her cousin’s Kryptonian names.
Both Supergirl and Superman hail from the dead planet Krypton, a once prosperous civilization that was destroyed in a tragic explosion. While the heroes originate from the same world, they both had quite different experiences with it. Kal-El was just a baby when he was rocketed to the safety of Earth, but Kara was a teenager who was severely traumatized seeing her world literally fall to pieces. Unlike Superman, who doesn’t remember Krypton at all, Supergirl’s experience with the planet’s destruction left her with PTSD and anger at the loss of her home and family. It’s also made it harder for her to accept Earth as a home in the same way that Superman has.
The Difference Between Superman and Supergirl’s Names
And to make matters worse, even Kara’s birth name took on a new meaning after the second destruction of Krypton. In Supergirl #53 by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle, the titular hero is still grappling with the recent destruction of New Krypton. While the world celebrates its defeat over the invading forces of Superman’s nemesis, General Zod, Supergirl mourns in private for losing her culture yet again. She moves back in with her close confidante, Lana Lang, and resumes her former secret identity as Lana’s niece, Linda. But Kara isn’t just adopting Linda’s name for the public, she wants to ditch both her Kara and Supergirl identities and live as Linda full time. When asked why, Kara tells Lana that the name ‘Kara Zor-El’ is too painful to hear now, and only serves to remind her of everything she’s lost.
Though Clark is a Kryptonian, with a Kryptonian name, he never experienced his home planet of Krypton in the same way that Kara did. For Superman, Earth is all he’s ever truly known, and he sees himself as a human, even with the amazing powers he has. But Kara was an active member of Krypton’s society, and she still remembers everything about it fondly. One of the few things the cousins have of their original society is their birth names, but the meaning of Kara’s name is almost the complete opposite of Clark’s.
Supergirl’s True Name Is A Tragic Reminder
Superman recognizes that at one point in his life, he was Kal-El. But since he was raised in Kansas by humans, the name Clark Kent is all he’s ever needed. For Superman,‘Kal-El’ is a name that represents what could have been, the possibility of another life. Supergirl, on the other hand, has nothing of her old world left except her name. Her Kryptonian name is the last vestige of a world that contained her family, friends, and culture. It’s an eternal reminder of a life that’s no longer possible. While they both have one small connection to their old world, the meaning of Supergirl’s true name is darker than Superman’s could ever be.