So we’ve got one hero-in-training who spends half the season wanting to do anything else, and another who will not let inexperience, big mistakes, or severe danger hold her back even a little. Clearly they’re gonna need some friends. Let’s meet them.
The new Justice Society
I wasn’t, like, super thrilled that the JSA got killed offscreen in the opening minutes of the show, DC’s OGs are due for a comeback, not continuing to be sidelined. But “starting a new team of her peers” is a superhero show about an inspirational young woman; “tries to prove she’s worthy of joining a long-established team” is either a rom-com or an ensemble show that drifts into not really being about Courtney by mid-season two. Also, the replacement JSAers that started to show up in the 80s and 90s are far more diverse than the buncha white dudes that were the JSA, because they were created in the 40s and history is often (always?) gross. Also-also if Jay Garrick Flash appeared on this show and was played by anyone but John Wesley Shipp I would riot.
Anyhoo, when a tragedy during her first go-round with Icicle helps Pat to convince Courtney that she alone cannot possibly defeat the Injustice Society, even without a few of their lineup, Courtney does not rethink the whole Stargirl thing, no, she is all in… what she does do is raid the former JSA headquarters for their old weapons, in order to build a new JSA. Made out of people she’s met at her new high school… which consists of the other three people at the cafeteria table for kids without any friends to sit with.
This brings us to my other issue. Of all the super teams to be formed out of people you happen to know in high school, the Justice Society of America seems an odd match. The Teen Titans? Sure. X-Men? You could make it work. Defenders? That name has applied to so many rosters it currently has no real meaning, do whatever you like. But the JSA?
And then I recalled that the last team of JSA children and heirs was named “Infinity Inc,” a name so very 80s that I’m not the least surprised that the name only lasted 12 issues outside of the 80s, and then with a drastic shift in concept. So, fine, bring on the JSA of teen outcasts. Those outcasts being…
Yolanda Montez, who was on track to be class president, top of her class… until her boyfriend, Henry King Jr. (hang onto that name) shared a nude photo she sent him… and then Alpha Mean Girl Cindy Burman (also that one) sent it to everyone to tank her prospects and split her from Henry. Now all she has is boxing, which makes Courtney think she’s the perfect prospect to replace champion boxer Ted Grant as the new Wildcat (turns out the suit does a lot of the heavy lifting, but at least she has some fighting skills).
Beth Chapel, endlessly positive, but her only friends are her parents, who feel she should try to find other friends. She overhears Court and Yolanda discussing JSA stuff (not hard, they were openly discussing it in a crowded hallway, way to maintain that secret identity, Courtney), steals a pair of goggles belonging to Charles McNider (aka Dr. Mid-nite), learns that they contain an AI based on Charles that she names Chuck, and declares herself the new Dr. Mid-nite, despite the fact that the goggles seem to contain 90% of her utility.
Rick Tyler, son of Rex Tyler, aka Hourman, raised by Rex’s drunk, abusive brother-in-law. Courtney finds an hourglass that seems to respond only to Rick, and gives him Hourman’s enhanced strength, speed and endurance, which can only be used for one hour a day*. Despite Pat’s misgivings, she decides to make him the new Hourman. He’s a bit of a loose cannon, concerned more with avenging his parents’ death at the hands of undead monster Solomon Grundy than anything else.
In short… Courtney finds three new heroes with, if anything, less experience in heroing than she has, but decides they (and hopefully Pat and his robot suit) are all she needs to take on the villains who killed the last JSA.
Also remember Henry King Jr. from up above? Well, Henry King Sr. is Brainwave, and Jr. seems to be inheriting his father’s powers, making him of interest to both teams. In the comics, Brainwave Jr. has been both good and very bad, so I had no idea which side he’d end up on.
But throughout the back half of the season, Courtney proves herself worthy as their leader. Whatever misgivings her parents have, Courtney deserves to be Stargirl, and the moment when she realizes that she’s worthy of the mantle because of who she is instead of who she thinks her father was in very moving. She inspires her new friends to be what they need to be to become heroes. But the fact remains, Courtney is winging her hero career, and dragging three other unprepared teens along for the ride.
So that said, let’s look at the exact opposite scenario.
The Order of The Cruciform Sword
Stargirl becomes the leader of a group of teens slightly less experienced than she is. On the other hand, Ava, the newest Warrior Nun, finds herself thrust into a world populated exclusively by people who seem to know more about what’s happening to her than she does. The Order of the Cruciform Sword has been battling demons for centuries, with the halo-bearing Warrior Nun being their leader. So while Ava grapples with understanding what’s happened to her, there are four women (and one priest, Father Vincent) who understand perfectly and are very impatient to know if Ava is either going to get on board or sacrifice her newfound mobility to give back the halo and let them get on with things.
Sister Beatrice is perhaps the Order’s most skilled fighter, but also the most bound to rules and protocols. Sister Lillith, whose family have been heavily involved in the order for some time, was presumed to be the next Warrior Nun, and is the most willing to… speed up Ava’s relinquishment of the halo. Sister Camilla mostly just guards the armoury, but don’t count her out.
But the greatest of all of them is Shotgun Mary.
Shotgun Mary (Toya Turner) is called that because she wields two shotguns, which when necessary are loaded with Divinium shells. Mary’s main concerns are finding out who wanted her probable girlfriend and previous Warrior Nun Sister Shannon dead, but she’s also the only person capable of reaching Ava. Shotgun Mary gets shit done and she should be the main character and that’s just my opinion but it’s the truth.
So where Stargirl is about a novice hero drafting other novice heroes into her crusade, Warrior Nun throws its lead into a world where it seems everyone knows more about her current circumstances than she does.
Because there’s a catch.
*Thankfully Hourman no longer gets his hour of power from a pill, just as The Flash’s Ralph Dibney did not get his stretchiness from a potion. In the 90s and early 2000s, DC took a long hard look at how many of their characters got powers from taking drugs and thought “Maybe we shouldn’t.”