Captain Comet sat across from Lesla-Lar in the laboratory she kept at the Meta-Human Rehabilitation Agency. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” Adam Blake asked her. “I mean, I am only willing to probe your mind to clear up some of these memory lapses or false memories you have if you insist.”
The blonde Kandorian known as Valor nodded. “I’m asking you to do it. Please help me get to the truth about myself, once and for all.”
Adam nodded once, then touched her forehead and concentrated. She was wearing a helmet on her head — a mental image projector from Krypton, lent to the Rehab Squad from Superman, who kept it in his Fortress of Solitude. This projector would show outward images of the memories Adam uncovered from her troubled mind. He concentrated, and with her will added to his, he broke through barriers that had hidden away traumatic experiences from the young woman’s memory.
“I-I see myself as an orphan in Kandor,” began Lesla. “My identity is unknown to all. I am raised by the family of my schoolmate, Zora Vi-Lar, and they give me their last name. She and I eventually pursue scientific education, and I prove to be her superior. I see myself when Superman reveals Supergirl to Kandor, back when the miniaturized city was in a bottle in his Fortress. We are all shocked by how much she and I look alike. Jokes are made about my father being Nim-El, the weapon scientist. His real nephew Kal-El and his niece Kara Zor-El are Superman and Supergirl.”
“Wait one minute,” said Adam. “Could you be Nim-El’s daughter, and thus another cousin of Superman?”
“I don’t know,” said Lesla. “Since no one knows my parentage, this memory scanner won’t reveal that secret. But it would explain why I am Kara’s virtual twin. Even she admitted that I was identical to her.
“I see myself maddened to the point of believing that I am the real Supergirl,” she continued. “I truly believe it! I try to discredit her. (*) I try to — to kill her. I finally lead the Phantom Zone villains against her, but they turn on me and… my body is disintegrated. (*) But, somehow, I live on.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Supergirl’s Secret Enemy,” Action Comics #279 (August, 1961) and “The Forbidden Weapons of Krypton,” Action Comics #297 (February, 1963).]
“As a ghost?” asked Adam.
“No, as an evolved form of life, like an energy being, not a ghost,” said an excited Lesla. “I follow and watch Supergirl for a long time and learn all her secrets. Then I try to take over her body, and I do! I drive her spirit out temporarily.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Strangers at the Heart’s Core,” Superman Family #206 (March-April, 1981).]
“Then what?” prompted Adam.
“I see myself dispersed for a time, then when I regroup myself — still as an energy being with no body — I am drawn to Chicago. There I find — no! This is what I blacked out!” she gasped.
“Tell me!” said Adam.
“I-I see an exact clone of Supergirl made from her body and identical to her in every way!” she exclaimed. “She was made by the criminal group called the Council. And originally she was one of six mini-Supergirls that drew together to form one adult-sized Supergirl clone. (*) But she was powerless, since the real Supergirl exposed her to gold kryptonite. (*) Kara then let this clone live a normal life on her own. (*) She ended up taking the name Leslie Larson under the influence of my energy form, not realizing how similar it was to Lesla-Lar.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Radiation-Fever,” Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #10 (August, 1983), “Guess Who’s About to Die,” Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #12 (October, 1983), and “Who Stole Supergirl’s Life?” Supergirl v2 #19 (May, 1984).]
“Then, with the Crisis, the real Supergirl died, as you know. (*) But the clone lived on, and during that same Crisis, an old Supergirl foe named Psi tracked down the clone, since her mental patterns were identical to those of the original Supergirl. Psi attacked her, believing she was the true Kara Zor-El before news reports of Supergirl’s death appeared. She left her wounded and dying — nearly mindless. She cried out for help as she died, which I heard because I’d followed her in my energy form for some time. Then I entered her body, just as I had once entered Kara’s.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Beyond the Silent Night,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October, 1985).]
“You did it to save her,” suggested Adam.
“No! I did it to gain a body with which I could kill Supergirl and get my revenge,” said Lesla-Lar tearfully. “That’s all I wanted — revenge on Kara! But the Supergirl clone died. I took her body and lived anew, albeit in a state of confusion for several months, with a physical body that was, again, exactly like mine and Supergirl’s in appearance, if not in power… at least at first.”
“Thanks to the gold K,” prompted Adam.
“Right. I did not reform on my own or of my own desire,” she said tearfully. “I wanted to kill Supergirl like before, but I had underestimated the will and morals of the real Supergirl. Remember, her clone was actually another copy of her, down to her moral values and love of doing good. Her mental patterns overcame me. When I merged with that dying Kara’s spirit, it reformed me. I can take no credit for my good deeds, since they aren’t mine! They are due to Kara Zor-El’s will supplanting that of the evil Lesla-Lar.
“I know the clone was powerless due to the gold K, but my energy form still retained all the power any Kandorian would have. I just lacked a body. The merge slowly restored my old Kryptonian powers to the cloned body over the next few months, but as I said, I now see she dominated and continues to dominate me. My confused mind tried to make sense of things, knowing I was Supergirl yet also being aware that Supergirl had died in the Crisis. Learning about the Superboy of Earth-Prime that Superman met, I seized upon the idea of being the Supergirl of Earth-Prime, impossible as that should have seemed, by the time I came here for help. (*) Perhaps I was drawn by that Supergirl imposter, or perhaps I somehow sensed that I would find the help I needed here — I’m not exactly sure — but I’m glad I found you when I did. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Year of the Comet,” DC Comics Presents #87 (November, 1985) and Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: The Return of Supergirl, Chapter 3: Girls of Steel.]
“All I know is that I have truly reformed, but it is not because I chose to, but because she — the clone — wanted it so. She is more me than Lesla is now. I am a hybrid of the dying Kara clone and the bodiless Lesla. So my reformation is not so miraculous when you know that I am Supergirl’s clone or genetic copy. I guess that even explains my desire to be her, and why I remember things from before, since I was actually an energy being watching the true Kara’s life.” Lesla shrugged and said, “I suppose that, since the clone provided the rest of her memories from childhood on, I am more Supergirl than anyone else.”
“But even if that explains how you got a physical body and how you empowered it,” said Adam Blake, “and even why you reformed so quickly, it does not lessen your heroic deeds. Lesla, you are Valor now. You did good deeds, and you’ll keep doing them.” He gave her a hug.
“Valor was the name the press gave me during the recent alien invasion,” she said. (*) “It’s funny, though — that name actually comes from Kryptonian history. Centuries ago, a man named Val-Lor died driving off, or inspiring others to drive off, an alien invasion of Krypton!” (*) She smiled at the happy coincidence.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Strange Visitors and “Superman’s Day of Truth,” Superman #176 (April, 1965).]
Captain Comet nodded. “You earned that name. You are not crazy anymore. Since your body really is the exact match of Supergirl’s, you have every right to feel like her or look like her. But remember, you can’t use that name. That girl from the far future, who could be your descendant, since the real Supergirl is dead, has the name now.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Superman Family: Recovery.]
“Just think, if Nim-El truly was my father, then I am Superman’s cousin, too!” she said as they walked off. “I guess we’ll never know for sure.”