Knight Terrors Has Revealed the Most Human Member of the Superman Family
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The following article contains spoilers from "She's Got No Strings: Part Two" in Knight Terrors: Action Comics #2, on sale now from DC Comics.
As the Knight Terrors event continues, fans are getting an insight into the psychology of some of the best-known characters within the DC Universe. Among them is a heroine who is getting more and more attention as she redefines herself for the latest age of DC: Power Girl. In "She's Got No Strings: Part Two" from Knight Terrors: Action Comics #2 (by Leah Williams, Vasco Georgiev, Alex Guimares, Becca Carey) Paige continues to struggle against the nightmare holding her in place, revealing that she has a fear that humanizes her in a way the fears of other Kryptonians do not.
While running from the nightmare version of Omen that Insomniac used to torment her, Paige was injured badly enough to make her bleed. This terrified her and the false Omen mocked her for secretly fearing human frailty. More than that though, this story pointed out how, while Paige didn't fear Omen herself, she feared the power that caring about someone else could have over her. For all her strength and abilities, Power Girl fears vulnerability of any kind because she has been hurt in the past and doesn't want it to happen again. As ironic as this is, it is arguably more relatable than the fears that define someone like Superman
The Essence Of Power Girl's Fear
The issue featured several instances of Power Girl being physically injured, from the blood the false Omen drew to even getting her ankle crushed beneath a metal door. These were representations of Power Girl's fear of human frailty, and as horrific as they were, it is nevertheless fascinating to see this side of her played out on the pages.
Most Kryptonians never have to fear things like an accidental cut, or broken bones. Things that would hurt or kill the average human bounce off of them. However, Power Girl is afraid of living with that possibility. Deep down, some part of herself is glad she isn't human and won't have to worry about the vulnerabilities that define people. It is perhaps the first time a heroic Kryptonian has resented and recoiled at the idea of physical injury. Where villains like Zod usually revel in their miraculous abilities, Superman and Supergirl usually minimize the abilities that separate them from humanity and even metahumanity.
Of course, this leads to the emotional aspect of her fear. The fake Omen knew right off the bat that Paige was never afraid of Omen. It was using the her friend's face, not because it believed it would strike at the heart of her fears, but because Omen was the easiest way to convey another one of Power Girl's deep-seated phobias: Fear of attachment. Specifically, the fear of what her attachments could do to her. It isn't easy to physically hurt a Kryptonian but they're still people, and they can be emotionally wounded like anyone else. For someone like Paige, who has lost so much over the course of her life, any new relationship comes with the unconscious fear of another potential loss. It's understandable, then, that Paige would be afraid of letting anyone get close to her.
The Humanity Of Power Girl
What's so interesting about this is the selfishness of Power Girl's core fears. This isn't to say that Paige is wrong for having these fears, or that she is a bad person. Rather, the fact that her fears are personal and specific, rather than focusing on someone else or multiple other people, is notable. For example, if this was Superman's nightmare, he'd be afraid of losing his wife and children or failing to save the Earth from some villain. That's noble, and very much in line with his character, but it doesn't tread any territory fans haven't seen before. Superman cares more about the lives of others than his own, it's always been part of what makes him a great hero, if not a little too casual with the value of his own life.
However, Power Girl cares for others but she also has her own doubts and insecurities that make her greatest fears about herself. It is honestly a little refreshing to see these flaws in a Kryptonian, who usually embody some sort of a moral gold standard. Paige doesn't do that, and she's all the more interesting for it.
There is also an element of tragedy to her fears. Power Girl has made great leaps and bounds to find a place within the DC Universe, opening a therapy business with Omen, reestablishing connections with the Superman Family, and choosing a new name for herself. All of it has been to build herself up so she can have the life she wants, and yet deep down she still fears letting people in because of her past traumas.
Power Girl Is the Most Relatable Kryptonian
Ironically, this makes Power Girl more relatable than the rest of her family. Everyone would love to say that they're like Superman, or can connect with him to some degree, but ultimately he represents an unattainable standard. No one can really say they have the ability to save countless lives in a single day, or that so many lives depend on them.
However, plenty of people can say they fear intimacy because they have been hurt by the loss of loved ones, or because the people they loved ended up hurting them. It is hard to accept that the people closest to someone's heart are also the ones most capable of doing them harm. Power Girl has learned this lesson time and again, so she can't be blamed for hesitating when someone wants to build any kind of relationship with her.
What fans can do though, is celebrate the complexity of Power Girl's character. Here is a Kryptonian with obvious flaws who can't always hold herself together for everyone else. This makes Power Girl unique in her family and helps her stand out. Blending in with DC's other ultra-powerful superheroes has always been Power Girl's biggest problem and this is a big step in the right direction for her.