Stargirl Season 3 Returns To DC’s Detective Comics Roots
For anyone who’s ever wondered, “DC” stands for Detective comics. The name is taken from the influential comic book series that preceded the company as it exists today and featured some of its most famous and important characters. Even after the creation of DC, as it is now known, the series remained influential, and other DC titles also emphasized elements of detective and mystery in their stories. The brand has since branched out and become better known for its superhero stories of various types, sure, but one of its current live-action adaptations pays homage to that part of its past. The third season of star girl features a murder mystery at the center of its plot and the strong results this has had for the show shows how the detective and superhero genres would do well to come together more often.
Detective comics created in 1937, published by what was once National Allied Publications, which was renamed Detective Comics Inc. at the same time. The series was an anthology featuring various characters, many of whom, like Slam Bradley and the Crimson Avenger, would go on to become crime-solving staples of the DC Universe. Most famously, the title introduced Batman in issue #27 in 1939, which became one of the most sought after and expensive comics in the world. Batman’s popularity led to the title featuring him as a regular lead, although stories about other characters were still featured and Batman received his first solo title a year later.
Even as the company shifted to superhero stories as its primary genre, many DC titles retained detective elements. Scenarios were often referred to as “cases” by the narration and characters themselves and many heroes were known for their detective skills just as Batman was, with examples including Martian Manhunter, Barry Allen’s Flash, Elongated Man and The Question, among others. While these characters retained their police influences as a whole, DC is no longer known for its mystery stories. That’s what makes star girlIt’s the return to the genre so exciting.
keep the peace
In the Season 3 episode of star girlsubtitled “Frenemies”, Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl (Brec Bassinger) struggles to keep the peace between his Justice Society of America teammates and the various semi-reformed supervillains and antiheroes living in Blue Valley, Nebraska. The optimist Courtney wants to believe that these old enemies are capable of changing and living normal lives, even joining the JSA as Cindy Burman/Shiv (Meg DeLacy) wants, but other heroes like Yolanda Montez/Wildcat (Yvette Montreal) and revived Starman Sylvester Pemberton (Joel McHale) refuse to trust them.
Tensions are heightened by the return of Steven Sharpe/the Gambler (Eric Goin), whom even Courtney finds hard to believe has turned over a new leaf until he tells her of his desire to reform himself and be a better father to his daughter.
The season’s murder mystery begins when the JSA finds Cindy standing over Sharpe’s corpse holding a gun and claiming her innocence in his murder.
The detective story is already bearing fruit star girl. Delving deep into the mythologies of the JSA and its villain opposite the Injustice Society, the series amassed a huge cast during its first two seasons and by the end of the second, when it became clear that the reformer villains were going to stay in Blue Valley, whether Courtney and company liked it or not, it was easy for viewers to worry that the show would become overcrowded. After all, other DC TV shows like the flash and super girl lost their way by focusing too much on secondary characters and losing sight of the stories of their main heroes.
The murder mystery angle is a good way to star girl to avoid this. The hunt for the Gambler’s true killer gives everyone an important goal, whether as an investigator like Courtney and her team, as a suspect like Sylvester, the Shadow (Jonathan Cake), and ISA characters, or both.
Scenarios related to the murder mystery
Plots that might have seemed tangential, like those of Rick Tyler/Hourman (Cameron Gelman) attempt to resurrect Solomon Grundy, become more relevant as possible links between them and the murder are revealed. And tying Courtney’s desire for justice for the player to her own dysfunctional relationship with her father ensures the show keeps her and her endearing, family-oriented brand of heroism front and center.
star girl Season 3 should serve as a lesson to other superhero properties, especially DC’s, that returning to the roots of the genre’s crime mystery can have great results. Not only does it pay homage to one of the defining periods in superhero history, it also allows for convoluted storylines that viewers find appealing (as also evidenced by the success of recent non-superhero mystery novels like Knives out and Only murders in the building) and creates storytelling opportunities for large groups of characters.