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April 17, 2016

Character Spotlight: Stargirl

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She wears inherited gear from not one but two golden-age heroes. She sometimes has a mech suit backing her up. She harnesses the power of the stars to give her superhuman ability. All this and still in high school. Who is Stargirl? Let’s find out!

Courtney Whitmore was just a teenager who was experiencing some miserable changes in her life. Forced to move to Nebraska after having lived in California her whole life because of her new step-dad. Pat Dugan had no fan in his step-daughter. That is, until Courtney learned that Pat used to be Stripesy, the tech saavy sidekick to the Star-Spangled Kid. Finding the Kid’s old Cosmic Converter Belt and costume, Courtney would wear it to a party to spite Pat. While at the party a supervillain attack would cause Courtney to step up into the hero role. It suited her well.

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Terrified that his past was now dragging his step-daughter into his old and dangerous lifestyle, Pat built a mech suit, codename S.T.R.I.P.E.S. to try and keep her safe from threats he knew were too much for the belt. Now spending her time as a student and a superhero, Courtney took to the lifestyle like a duck to water. Being able to frustrate Pat was icing on the cake.

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Teaming up with heroes like Young Justice, where she’d be aged to adulthood while Pat was de-aged to that of a child along with other heroes. When all was said and done, she’d have the blessing of the original Star-Spangled Kid’s sister, Gimmick Girl, and be given the Star Rod from the retiring Starman. Deciding that now wielding the rod and belt, she would go from being the second Star-Spangled Kid and take on a name suggested by Gimmick Girl, Stargirl.

Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E.

Pat had realized that he Courtney was more than capable as a hero in her own right, retired S.T.R.I.P.E.S. for emergency use only. Now on her own, the Justice Society of America would come calling to recruit Courtney. She’d happily join and become friends with the new generation of heroes and find family in the elder members who remembered her namesakes fondly.

Stargirl Courtney_Whitmore_DCAU_001

Able to wield both the Star Rod and the Cosmic Converter Belt made Courtney able to handle some large scale threats on her own. Often times working with other heavy hitters as Jakeem Thunder and Captain Marvel. She would even date Billy Batson, the secret identity of Captain Marvel, for a time before the rest of the team saw this and not knowing young Billy Batson turns into Marvel, felt this was wildly inappropriate. Instead of revealing his identity, the Wisdom of Solomon suggested against it for some reason, the two broke up. You’re not supposed to actually split the baby, Solomon.

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Courtney’s biological father would show up as one of the Royal Flush Gang and after the ordeal would realize that Pat was more of a father to her than he ever was. When new teammate Cyclone joins the JSA, Courtney would take on an older sister role with her and the two would be good friends and Courtney also saw Cyclone’s grandmother, Ma Hunkel (the original Red Tornado) as family too.

Stargirl Cassaday_stargirl

When reality begins to rip apart during the Infinite Crisis, several of the elder heroes of the JSA like Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, and Ted Grant would be ripped to another Earth. Courtney would be one of the few to realize that whatever was happening, she was on the Earth she was meant for but her friends were not. That’s a jarring realization and when things settled down the team would split into two to handle all the new members they were getting. Staying with the older members of the team, Courtney would feel like a baby on the team. She would become close friends with Power Girl and the two would often patrol together.

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In the New 52, Courtney is one of the faces for Amanda Waller’s government sanctioned Justice League of America team. When things fall apart for that team, she would go on to join the Justice League United, a team with no government affiliations. There she and the rest of the team would deal with alien threats from outer space.

There you have it! Courtney Whitmore comes from a tragic event (Geoff Johns created her after his sister died) to become a character who works alongside some of the biggest names in DC comics. She’s even made an appearance on Smallville in one of the most comic faithful costume adaptations ever. Courtney seems to work best with her JSA teammates and I hope she gets to work with them again some day soon. See you next time!

Suggested Reading
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.S.
JSA
Justice Society of America
J.S.A. All-Stars
Justice League of America
Justice League United

Dr. Bustos
drbustos@comicattack.net

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