Who Is The Guardian In DC Comics? 'Supergirl' Is Combining 2 Iconic Characters For TV
In just 20-plus episodes, Supergirl has solidly established its own mythology that is part DC Comics history, part totally reinvented characters and storylines that better fit this version of the titular hero. The latest character to be added to Supergirl is the Guardian, who will be making his debut in the Nov. 14 episode, "Changing." Any fans already familiar with the Guardian in DC Comics should know what makes The CW series' approach to him so unique. But for everyone else, in the comics, he is a well-known hero who wears a blue and yellow outfit and uses many different aliases. But on Supergirl, the Guardian will be Jimmy Olsen, as reported by Deadline, a a decidedly new take on the hero.
Though the Guardian has had many identities before — including Jim Harper, Mal Duncan, and Jake Jordan — Jimmy Olsen, Daily Planet photographer and Clark Kent's most devoted fan, was never one of them. Generally, Olsen isn't known for having any superpowers, though he has taken on other secret identities before, for less popular comic stories like "Elastic Lad" and "Turtle Boy." During the famous "Countdown" arc, Jimmy was used as a proxy for the villain Darkseid, which caused him to develop superpowers tied to Superman's foe.
This is just the latest update to Jimmy Olsen that Supergirl has taken — the series was also the first to cast a black actor in the role, and has made him an older, more mature version of the character. Remember, this is James Olsen. So it makes sense that when it came time to give James a secret identity, Supergirl chose the Guardian over one of his established comic alter egos, as another update on this already unique version of the character.
You see, not only has Jimmy never been the Guardian before, but unlike many of the reporter's other transformations, the Guardian doesn't have any supernatural powers. Instead, what he does have is a desire to help the neighborhood that the original person behind the mask, Jim Harper, grew up in, "Suicide Slum." And though James' Guardian will want to look after National City, the similarities may end there. For example, I doubt Guardian's comic book sidekicks, the Newsboy Legion — a group of orphaned boys — will be on Supergirl. And in the comics, Jim Harper was a former police officer, not a journalist, so he has a fundamentally different approach to vigilantism than the team on Supergirl . Another big difference is that the character's brightly colored suit has been replaced by a dark, metallic one.
Still, Jim Harper's legacy of wanting to help people, especially kids, even without superpowers like Kara and her fellow aliens, should be perfectly served by a character as consistently good, honest, and principled as James Olsen. His Guardian should be a triumphant moment on Supergirl .
Images: Bettina Strauss/The CW (2); DC Comics