It's Valentine's Day.
Today fills most people with one of the following emotions: joy, bitterness, sadness, happiness, smug superiority, sneering disdain, or drunk. Drunk is totally an emotion, and I've experienced it on a number of Valentine's Days, regretting my life choices and swilling wine or something that has vodka in it while eating fancy cheese and watching Bette Davis shoot some man on the television. For the past few years, though, I've opted not to get drunk, and instead soak my bitterness in a good, hilarious reading (sometimes out loud) of Merrill Markoe's "Deranged Love Mutants" from How To Be Hap-Hap-Happy Like Me.
While eating fancy cheese.
And watching Bette Davis shoot some man on the television.
This year, though, rather than read Markoe's scathingly sarcastic critique of "Romeo and Juliet", I decided to focus on a real love story, a love story for the ages, a story of a boy and a girl and insanity and amnesia and secret marriages and creepy cousins and tragic death and the young descendants of warring houses that isn't "Romeo and Juliet".
It's the story of Supergirl and Brainiac 5.
Our story opens when Supergirl flies to the far flung future of a thousand years from now, to try out for membership in the Legion of Superheroes. No sooner does she show up at her tryout, though, than she meets an attractive green-skinned blonde:
Unfortunately, he's the descendant of one of her cousin Superman's greatest foes, and Supergirl's relationship with her cousin, Superman, was weird enough already:
Yeah. In case that whole "We couldn't possibly marry each other back home on Krypton, but here on Earth it's totally ok" speech didn't quite creep you out enough, just keep in mind that in that panel Superman is in his mid-to-late twenties and Supergirl is sixteen.
Krypton must have been the Kentucky of space.
Anyway, back to our story, Supergirl initially distrusts Brainiac 5, but that quickly changes:
and he's immediately smitten:
Supergirl would return to the future many times, and she and Brainiac 5 would continue their long distance romance, but the stress of a thousand year divide gradually took its toll. She was always running back to the 20th century, and he had a couple bouts of insanity, and she was dating a mer-boy, and he accidentally built a killer robot that murdered one of Triplicate Girl's bodies (oddly un-traumatized, she immediately became Duo Damsel), and eventually they just grew apart. Supergirl stopped coming to adventure with the Legion, but Brainiac 5 kept a torch burning:
And suddenly, while he was on (hetero) space-vacation with Star Boy:
the Maid of Might walked back into his life, with a hand on her hip:
and love in her heart:
The kind of love that makes you want to bite someone's face off:
As a mature, responsible superhero, Brainiac 5 makes a rational, not at all impulsive choice:
He quits his job, ditches his friend, and flies off into space with the love of his life. They've barely gotten away from the vacation asteroid, though, when they fly straight into trouble:
Deadly zotron radiation. The cruelly savage response of a heartless, uncaring universe to true love.
Supergirl springs into action, wrapping Brianiac 5 in her indestructible cape to protect him, but when they cruise through the zotron radiation and she unwraps him, Brainiac 5 makes a shocking discovery:
He didn't run away with Supergirl at all! He ran away with a face-mauling Supergirl robot, but where could she possibly have come from? Who would do such a thing?
Brainiac 5 did it himself, in his sleep.
He built a Supergirl love robot, in the pages of a comic intended for children, and programmed her circuits to love him:
Between him and her cousin, Supergirl's love life is a damn mess, people.
Rather than being creeped out by the love robot, Supergirl lets Brainiac 5 down easy:
but they never did get to pick up where they left off.
Because Supergirl died in battle:
leaving Brainiac 5 devasted.
(And me, too. As a ten year old, I cried for HOURS after I read that comic. Like, full out, laying on my bed, weeping and sobbing crying. My mom probably remembers it. It was that bad.)
Brainiac 5 might not have been so sad, though, if he had known that he and Supergirl could never have been together, anyway. Because if they had fallen back in love and gotten married, Supergirl would have been...
Not only was Supergirl dead and (barely) buried, but now we suddenly found out that somewhere, in some unseen tale, she'd gotten married, possibly by a friar while hiding from an arranged marriage in a tomb and pretending to be dead.
Now, it's possible that I might have played a little too much "World of Warcraft" for a few months there, but Supergirl's husband doesn't look too bad. He has sort of a sexy elf type thing going on, I guess? A little? Maybe?
Oddly, the way he looks on the cover isn't quite the way he looks in the book:
He's greener, for one thing, and he's wearing garters. Garters. Over tights.
Supergirl married one of the Pussycat Dolls.
Anyway, Superman finds him breaking into the Fortress of Solitude and trying to steal a strange object out of Supergirl's memorial. They fight over it for a minute, but then Superman knocks the poor guy down and takes the object away:
Defeated, the alien tells his story, which opens when he finds an unconscious female drifting in space:
Like anyone would, he immediately scoops her up in his spaceship's robot claws:
and revives her:
Oh no! Memory trouble?
Yes. Supergirl had amnesia, just like Reva Shane when she drove her car off that bridge on "Guilding Light", Rachel McAdams in that movie where Channing Tatum keeps taking off his shirt to prove his love to her, or my mom's Avon lady when we lived in Alaska after she hit a moose with her car.
It turns out that Supergirl, while flying through space, got clocked right in the head by a kryptonite meteor, which gave her amnesia. It didn't make her forget that she was attracted to green men, though, and after a couple days of light flirting, romance ensues:
followed by an immediate quickie-marriage at space-Vegas:
Supergirl just loves those green guys with no impulse control, I guess.
Their marital bliss is interrupted, though, by a rampaging alien:
and the battle leaves Supergirl a little shaken:
In the morning, Salkor wakes up and she's gone.
Well, the keepsake they were fighting over explains:
She got amnesia again.
And then she died.
So, there we are this Valentine's Day. Rather than celebrating the love of two horny Italian teenagers with a death wish, we can instead celebrate the love that exists between a boy genius and a Supergirl.
And her cousin.
And a love robot.
And her secret amnesia husband.
And her superhorse, which sometimes transformed into a centaur who wanted to date her.
But that's a story for another day. For today, happy Valentine's Day.