Power Girl and the alien Fabio

(Author note: Due to recent time constraints, I have to lower the amount of posts per week in order to maintain both the quality of the comic selections and quality of my commentary.  I hope you understand and remember, I’ll always love you.)

You know about Power Girl?  I mean, I don’t want to be rude, but she and her Justice Society comrades are certainly less popular than their Justice League buddies.  Basically, she’s an alternative world Supergirl that became stuck on Earth after her dimension disappeared.

Here’s her first appearance back in 1976’s All-Star Comics #58, written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Ric Estrada and Wally Wood.

Her most popular feature are her, well, bustier assets.  Seriously, her costume actually contains a hole just for her cleavage.  But outfit aside, in 2009, she received her own solo series and it was delightful.  I loved every issue of it.  The series maintained exciting action, interesting characters, and most importantly, a wonderful sense of humor.

Now, it’s not rude to ask if you’ve heard of Vartox, because he’s quite a minor character.  He had his first appearance in 1974’s Superman #281, written by Cary Bates and drawn by Curt Swan & Bob Oksner.  His costume alone tells more about this character than words ever could:

Amazing, right?  The horrible upward angle that emphasizes his package.  The underwear and vest combo added with his hairy chest.  That 1970s porn ‘stache.  This character must have required an amazing amount of “help” to come up with.

Well, he returns in Power Girl #7-8, written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti and drawn by Amanda Conner, remaking his character exactly how he should have been in the first place.  First, a little alien back story.

No way this can’t go badly.  Look, if you’re seducing a Superman relative, gotta go big or go home.

Seduction not going as planned.  But when a foreign man wearing nothing but a space vest and a speedo, the ritual will certainly move to Plan B.  Not a pun.

You know what always brings superhero couples together?  Fight banter, of course.

So you know how in comics the initial disdain of a team-up eventually turns to understanding and blossoming love?  Not really having that effect here.  Though we all know any man with a Hulk Hogan mustache has a Plan C ready to go.

Okay, let him explain.

You see what a dash of sensitivity and charm can do?  Now he can drop the stud charade and get to know Power Girl as a caring, loving individual.

Or not.  Despite never really being anything but disgusted by the man, Power Girl does warm up to him.  Slightly.  After they get pizza for dinner, the true reason for the quick mating process reveals itself.  And c’mon, Vartox really just seeks the continued prosperity of his own sexy planet.  That’s what being a sexy ruler is all about.

Luckily for both of them, Vartox’s alien species doesn’t require that normal physical intimacy. Mainly because Power Girl can’t bring herself to desire either of those.

How sweet!  Because she never has to actually touch the dude, saving an entire planet with her uterus energy has some legitimate appeal.  Suckered into good deeds is part of the superhero code.

Do you see the beauty of this arc?  Vartox, the misogynist, reckless alien king, becomes humanized and almost sympathetic by the end.  I adore it.

Thankfully, not the last time we see the promiscuous alien either.  About four issues later, Vartox appears briefly once more in Power Girl #12, written and drawn by the same creative team.

The good will gained between Vartox and our protagonist?  When you bring a giant monster to Power Girl’s city a second time, any niceties tend to fade away.

Though if Vartox could gain her trust the first time, surely he could turn on that charm again?

Oh well.  Probably for the best.

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One Comment on “Power Girl and the alien Fabio”

  1. I don’t know for certain if Vartox was intended to be a parody of Sean Connery from Zardoz when he first appeared in Superman #281, but Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner quite obviously noticed the similarities and ran with it, complete with the requisite giant flying head.


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