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In his inception, Superman was the only super-hero in existence. Although eventually more heroes showed up, some members of his supporting cast -usually Lois Lane- gained temporary powers and he first teamed up with the Batman Family in 1941, he wa
The Superman Family is an unofficial informal name given to Superman and his various allies. Team Superman is another unofficial name for the group.
In his inception, Superman was the only super-hero in existence. Although eventually more heroes showed up, some members of his supporting cast -usually Lois Lane- gained temporary powers and he first teamed up with the Batman Family in 1941, he was a loner hero for many years.
The Silver Age saw the birth and growing of the Super Family. It was revealed that Krypto, Kal-El's pet dog survived the demise of Krypton. Shortly after Kal-El found out his cousin Kara Zor-El also survived. Kara took up the Supergirl title and became Superman's apprentice and later partner.
Eventually, Superman and Supergirl found more super-powerful sentient animals -Streaky, Comet, Beppo- which made up the Legion of Super-Pets alongside Krypto. The Legion of Super-Pets was an infrequent ally to the Super-cousins and the Legion of Super-Heroes, but eventually they faded out.
When Kandorian scientist Than-Ol convinces the people of the bottle city of Kandor to declare Superman an enemy of Kandor, Superman and Jimmy Olsen shrink themselves, enter Kandor, and first assume the secret identities of Nightwing and Flamebird to help them in their quest to prove Superman's innocence. From that time on, the identities of Nightwing and Flamebird would be adopted by different members of the Superman and Batman families.
In 1971 DC published Superman: Sandman Saga, getting Superman's Bronze Age underway. At the beginning of the era, the Legion of Super-Pets disappeared and only Krypto remained.
In 1985, DC published Crisis on Infinite Earths. The death of Supergirl during that conflict and the editorial mandate which established Superman's status as sole survivor of Krypton meant the end of the Super-Family for many years.
In 1986, DC rebooted Superman. In the new reality, Superman was never Superboy or joined the Legion of Super-Heroes, neither Kara Zor-El nor Krypto existed, Power Girl was retconned to be an Atlantean and there were no Kryptonian survivors other than Kal-El. Superman was alone again.
In 1988, John Byrne introduced Matrix to replace Supergirl. The new Supergirl was a protoplasmic, shape-shifting artificial lifeform that hailed from a destroyed pocket dimension and took shape of a female Superman. Although she was taken in by Jonathan and Martha Kent, she had few ties to Superman.
Ironically, it was after the Death of Superman in 1992 when the Super-Family started rebuilding itself during the following storylines: Funeral for a Friend and Reign of the Supermen. After spending years as Brainiac's pawn and later Lex Luthor's dope, Matrix stepped up to the plate to become the protector of Metropolis. A new Superboy and a new hero named Steel plus his niece Natasha Irons rose to fill the vacuum left for Superman's death. Several Superman imposters also showed up, including Eradicator, an alien lifeform designed to preserve Kryptonian culture.
In 1995, Alpha Centurion returned to Earth after 2000 years and took up residence in Metropolis. He regularly assisted Superman in combating threats to the city and recruited the Superman family into the "Superman Rescue Squad" Superman when he was put on trial by The Tribunal. The Centurion continued assisting Superman after returning with him to Earth, but decided to leave Metropolis after rogue Team Luthor armors, operated by men under his command as the "Centurions", fired on civilians while their operators were also killed. He would continue assisting the Superman Family however.
In 1996, Matrix merged with a human girl called Linda Danvers to save her life. The resulting individual became an Earth Angel with fire powers. Linda took up the Supergirl moniker and had a number of adventures protecting her hometown until she came upon Earth-One Kara Zor-El in Supergirl: Many Happy Returns. Linda looked after and mentored the reality-displaced original Supergirl, and she attempted to prevent her death at the hands of Anti-Monitor. She failed, which led to her retirement. Before that, though, both Linda and Kara joined Superman and the rest of the Family to fight Darkseid for Steel's life.
After Linda's retirement, a new Supergirl named Cir-El, who believed herself to be Superman and Lois Lane's daughter from a possible future, turned up. Shortly after she forfeited her life and erased herself from existence to prevent an awful future from passing.
During that time, a new Krypto was reintroduced.
After Cir-El's removal, Kara Zor-El returned in Superman/Batman: The Supergirl from Krypton. After meeting her cousin, Kara took up the Supergirl mantle and eventually proved to be worthy of her place in the ranks of the Super-Family, joining the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Justice League. Subsequently, Kara filled in for her temporarily depowered or absent cousin as guardian of Metropolis on Superman: Up, Up and Away! and Superman: Grounded, during which she saved Bizarro World in Supergirl: Bizarrogirl and stopped a ploy to destroy the newest generations of heroes in Supergirl: Good-Looking Corpse.
Several 2008 Superman storylines changed Superman-Family's status quo altogether: In Superman: Last Son, Clark Kent and Lois Lane adopted a Kryptonian boy, naming him Chris Kent. Chris turned out to be son of Kryptonian criminals Dru-Zod and Ursa, but he disowned his birth parents. In Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes, Superman reestablished his bonds with the Legion of Super-Heroes. In Superman: Brainiac, Superman and Supergirl fought Brainiac and rescued Kandor, the Bottle City.
Kandor being enlarged on Earth led to the story arc New Krypton, which dealed with the ramifications caused by the presence of several thousands of Kryptonians on Earth. During that time, Chris Kent and his girlfriend and Kara's friend Thara Ak-Var became the new Nightwing and Flamebird. Unfortunately Nightwing got stuck into the Phantom Zone and Flamebird died during the final battle to save both Earth and New Krypton.
Although Superman and Supergirl failed to save New Krypton, they and the remaining members of the Super-Family faced their next challenge straight after when Lex Luthor used Doomsday as a pawn to keep them busy in Reign of Doomsday.
Due to the reality-changing events of Flashpoint, the members of the Super-Family had their memories altered and their history re-written so that they forgot about their bonds. Although Superman, Supergirl, Superboy and other team members have worked together since, their relationship became more strained and distant for a while until it was restored: Superman and Supergirl patched things up after her Red Lantern stint, and Supergirl defended Superboy from her own teammates, apologising for mistreating him in the past.
In Superman: The Final Days of Superman, Prime-Earth Superman faced his own mortality and saw that Supergirl was ready to replace him.
After the events of "Superman: Reborn", Superman was made aware that reality had been tampered with by someone massively powerful and he needed the whole Super-Family to fight him, so he visited each member - Supergirl, Steel, Super-Man, and Superwoman and asked them to fight at his side when the time comes.
- A comic book series entitled "Superman Family" ran from 1974 to 1982. The series included the adventures of Kara Zor-El; Kal-L with his wife, Lois Lane; Jimmy Olsen; the first Krypto's adventures and Clark Kent's life without being Superman.
Links and References
- World's Best Comics #1
- More Fun Comics #101
- Adventure Comics #210
- Action Comics #252
- Action Comics #242
- Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #15
- Superman #158
- Superman Family #183
- All-Star Comics #58
- Superman (Volume 2) #16
- Superman Versus Darkseid: Apokolips Now #1
- Superman: The 10¢ Adventure #1
- Superman (Volume 2) #200