Who's Blackstarr?

Who's This? A Chicago Nazi.

The facts: You know those Chicago Nazis from The Blues Brothers? Well, Blackstarr was one of them. Introduced in Supergirl (vol.2) #4 as Rachael Berkowitz, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, the character would unlock the Unified Field Theory and become a powerful supervillainess for Supergirl to fight in #13-14 of that series (see below) and later in the Crisis, only prominently in DC Comics Presents #86 (October 1985). Post-Crisis, a very different Blackstarr (still Rachael Berkowitz) appeared in the early 2000s Suicide Squad.
How you could have heard of her: Only with difficulty as her later appearances, though quite recent - Superman: Leviathan Rising Special and Dark Nights: Death Metal The Secret Origin (that's like, last month) - are small cameos. So she's EXISTED and fought Supergirl, but that's about all we can say about her.
Example story: Supergirl #14-15 (December 1983-January 1984) by Paul Kupperberg, Carmine Infantino and Bob Oksner
Linda Danvers was just a peaceful observer at a political rally when Blackstarr shows up, so she turn into Supergirl and finds out this Nazi lady has control over the entire energetic spectrum. She can keep Kara down with increased gravity or throw all sorts of attacks at her.
I'm most intrigued by "black holes" which appear to be entangling curls of black licorice, but it's not like I expect the science to make sense. I guess the big irony/mystery is that a Jewish woman is a Holocaust-denying Nazi (who wants to finish the Holocaust, so uhm...) who calls a blond superwoman "filth". Is the sociology as wonky as the physics? After Supergirl takes everything thrown at her in her stride, Blackstarr "warps" away. When Linda's landlady Mrs. Berkowitz sees the battle on TV, she recognizes her daughter, taken from her in the concentration camps. But what have they done to her?

The Nazis may have brainwashed her long ago, but with her powers, she's the boss now, and if she wants an escalated race war, she'll get it. The Nazis content with spreading their filth "peacefully" swallow hard and get their guns and Molotov cocktails out. On her orders, they start torching synagogues.
Obviously, Supergirl is on the scene to save the rabbi and the temple's Torah. One might wonder why Blackstarr doesn't just blow up every Jewish place of worship or business with her powers, but gotta keep the rank and file busy and loyal. The Girl of Steel is kept busy by micro-black holes while Mrs. Berkowitz races to the site of the battle to confront her daughter.
They compare notes. Each thought the other had been killed at Auschwitz. Evidently not true. Supergirl jumps Blackstarr, thinking Mrs. Berkowitz is in danger, but the old woman shouts at them to stop. In vain, as it turns out. As before, they slap each other around for a bit long before Blackstarr retreats into a cosmic warp.

When Ida Berkowitz gets back home, Linda and other tenants are waiting for her, and we hear/see the story of how mother and already-brilliant daughter were separated. Evidently, the Nazis noted Rachael's great mind and listed her as dead in their records to destroy any link to her past. Linda leaves Ida to rest, but Blackstarr shows up at her mom's apartment, eyes blazing, smile sinister. She brings her to some dingy squat to tell her HER side of the story.
Classic case of brainwashing. Little girl is told her mother hated her and that's why she abandoned her. Falls under the spell of the camp commandant. Escapes when the Russians arrive and makes her way to America. Becomes great scientist while also working with the Nazi party. And from there, supervillain. She's about to disintegrate her mother when Supergirl shows up, her Kryptonian senses able to track Blackstarr's electromagnetic footprint. They disappear in a flash and the fight happens in the quantum realm.
The visuals are pretty loopy - giant subatomic particles and licorice black holes - but in the end, Supergirl keeps coming and coming, and maybe Blackstarr gets distracted, not sure... She just throws so much gravity at the Maid of Tomorrow that it draws in those black loops and collapses Blackstarr in on herself.
Wherever this is, it takes Supergirl a whole day to get back from "the center of the universe", and though it weighs heavy on her shoulders, Ida Berkowitz gives her a smile from the window so I guess it's all okay. Killed yer daughter! But she was a bad person, so it's fine! Okay then!

By the time Blackstarr returns during the Crisis, she's more or less used as a heroine, helping the Kryptonian cousins fix a black hole problem. At the time, I'm sure young readers would have learned all about antisemitism and the Holocaust thanks to this story, but it's a closed loop and they don't really return to the issues it raises in future appearances. That's too bad, because there's drama to mine from the self-hating minority, but that's not really explored.

Who's Next?
Not the video store.



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