The Earth 2 Power Girl, Karen Starr, might have gone back home to her war-ravaged alternate earth in Worlds' Finest #26, but she — and the comic's writer, Paul Levitz — left behind quite a legacy on the main DCU Earth.
There's a new Power Girl on Prime Earth — a black teenager named Tanya Spears, who's one of the "most intelligent 17-year-olds on the planet." She's the daughter of Karen's assistant, Somya, who was killed several issues ago.
And according to our interview with Levitz, she's a character that DC wanted Levitz to create — and the editors have "specific plans" for her.
In Worlds' Finest, Tanya was instrumental in figuring out how to send Karen Starr back to Earth 2 along with her hero-ing partner, Huntress/Helena Wayne.
After the two left Prime Earth, Tanya discovered that she had super-strength and impenetrable skin, leading her to think her powers might be linked to the portal. But it wasn't the first time Tanya showed abilities — for example, when she met the villain Desaad previously, she was immune to his psychic effect.
Although the source of her powers are still a mystery, it's implied in Worlds' Finest #26 that she'll be the new Power Girl on Prime Earth. Toward the end of the issue, it was revealed that Karen Starr amended her will to actually bequeath the name "Power Girl" to Tanya.
Tanya will be showing up next in September's Worlds' Finest: Futures End #1, also written by Levitz (with art by his Legion of Super-Heroes collaborator, Yildiray Cinar). The teen is shown on the 3-D cover with Huntress.
Levitz told Newsarama in June that the story would tie into the weekly Futures End, which shows a "possible" future where Earth 2 heroes are prisoners on Prime Earth after a war involving both worlds. (And notably, Karen Starr Power Girl is not on the future version of September's Worlds' Finest cover, indicating she may not be around anymore in the Futures End timeline, replaced as Huntress' partner by the new Tanya Spears Power Girl.)
But… in the present of the DCU, where does this new Power Girl show up next?
It won't be Worlds' Finest, which is switching gears in October to tell stories from the past of Earth 2, when Huntress was that earth's Robin and Power Girl was Supergirl.
For now, Levitz isn't sharing any details about her future in the DCU — but we did talk to the writer about the new Power Girl's creation and how Karen knew to bequeath the name.
Newsarama: Paul, you may have moved the girls to Earth 2, but you left behind a legacy on the main DCU Earth. How long have you known that there'd be a new Power Girl when you finally got the girls home to Earth 2?
Paul Levitz: Dan [DiDio] and [editor] Mike [Cotton] asked for one a couple of months back, with some very specific details, and Tanya was brought on stage to order. They have some very specific plans for her.
Nrama: Tanya's not only black, but she's one of the "most intelligent 17-year-olds on the planet," according to your introduction of her. Were those elements of the character your design, and why did you choose those characteristics in particular? (She's also tall!!)
Levitz: Once the request was for a teenage Power Girl who was a young woman of color, I wanted to make her as distinctive as I could within the limited amount of time and space I had. I called around to a friend or two who shared some of the background, and also thought about some of the young women who I had met who were alums of my rather unusual high school.
Nrama: Did Karen know this was going to happen to Tanya? Her leaving the legacy of the name Power Girl implies she did…
Levitz: It does indeed. We'll see what future writers read into that.?
Nrama: For people who might not be familiar with Tanya, how would you describe her, and why do you think the name Power Girl fits her?
Levitz: Well, she's already a postdoc fellow at Starr Labs, which means she's about 9 years ahead on the educational pathway of where she "ought" to be, so she's a very bright lady. We haven't learned too much about her non-academic life (if she had time for any), so that'll be up to future writers to create.
Power Girl? Well, she's pretty strong and tough...we'll see what else there is to her. ?
Nrama: You keep referring to other writers, but Tanya's on the cover of Worlds' Finest: Future End. What role will we see Tanya playing in the September issue?
Levitz: Tanya shows up in the Futures End story, but explaining her role would require explaining the complex set up of the FE event, and that's outside my ambit.?
Nrama: You mentioned that DC has "specific" plans for the character. So will Tanya show up anytime soon in other DCU books after September?
Levitz: So I'm told.?
Nrama: Interesting. Well, since it sounds like we're on a "wait and see" basis for now, is there anything else you want to tell fans about Tanya Spears, now that you've introduced her into New 52 continuity?
Levitz: I hope she lasts as long as other characters I've helped introduce to the DCU. If anyone had told me Lucien would still be around 40 years later [thanks to his role in Neil Gaiman's Sandman], I'd have had them committed! Thanks, Neil!