Strong characters and hopeful storytelling have made DC’s Stargirl a hit for the CW, with the highly anticipated second season debuting in August 2021. One of the most satisfying aspects of the show is how successfully it weaves in signature weapons as part of the development of the characters.
Geoff Johns, Stargirl’s executive producer, has long been recognized for his commitment to bringing depth and emotional authenticity to characters. One of the highlights of the show is how iconic weapons serve as a concrete bridge between the personality of the characters and their heroic superpowered identities.
1: Stargirl’s Cosmic Staff
Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) comes into her powers by discovering the cosmic staff of her Justice Society of America (JSA) forebear Starman. As Courtney reinforces in the first trailer for season 2, her sense of her identity as Stargirl is founded on her certainty that the staff chose her for a reason. One of the taglines for the new season — Embrace Your Destiny — applies to Stargirl and the cosmic staff first and foremost.
2: Hourman’s Hourglass
The defining attribute of the powers bestowed by the hourglass to Hourman, in both his current incarnation as Rick Tyler (Cameron Gellman) and as original Hourman Rex Tyler (Lou Ferrigno Jr.), is their inconstancy. The limitations of having incredible strength for only one hour each day demands that Hourman be disciplined and always plan in advance so that his abilities are channeled where they are most needed. Ironically, this kind of on and off power and the way it defines the person who wields it is also a major characteristic of Marvel’s Bruce Banner, whose alter-ego The Hulk was famously played in the 1970s TV series by Lou Ferrigno Jr.’s father.
3: Doctor Mid-Nite’s Goggles
The goggles of Beth Chapel aka Doctor Mid-Nite (Anjelika Washington) are another case of the weapon defining the hero. Beth is easily the brains of the new JSA, the classic girl-in-the-chair who the group learns to trust with their lives despite her not being the loudest or most eye-catching member of the team. Her signature goggles, destroyed late in season 1 but seemingly repaired in the trailer for season 2, not only give Doctor Mid-Nite access to knowledge and abilities. They highlight what every bookish teen hopes is their real-life superpower — the ability to see connections and realities closed to others.
Honorable Mention: Thunderbolt’s Pen
Fans are eager to see the debut in season 2 of Thunderbolt (voiced by comedian Jim Gaffigan), a wisecracking but ultimately kind-hearted imp who lives in his own version of a genie’s bottle — a pen. While it’s not clear yet who will take on the pink pen and release Thunderbolt, the pen has been lurking in the background since Courtney found it early in season 1. Now that Thunderbolt has been glimpsed in the season 2 trailer in all his pink glory, certainly madcap yet noble adventures will follow.
There is no denying that superhero shows are only improving in their portrayal of a diverse tapestry of powered beings. What helps Stargirl stand out though is how easy they make it to connect with these characters through what they literally hold in their hands.