While fans are getting excited to watch The CW's impending four-way crossover as it unfolds this week, the characters of Supergirl are more worried about the impending "Medusa" virus that's going to threaten the extraterrestrial members of the team. But is the Medusa virus from DC Comics books, which could hold clues about how to stop it? Though the name is original to Supergirl, the idea of scientists trying to kill or destroy the aliens that walk among them is not. In fact, science has frequently been used to hurt or even kill the Kryptonians and even Martians like the Manhunter in the comics. DC has always had a high presence of otherworldly beings, and so attempting to hurt or kill them has long been a big part of the comic stories.
Of course, the most famous way that Superman and Supergirl have been injured in the comics is from kryptonite, the glowing green rock made from fragments of their home planet. It zaps the Kryptonians' powers and makes them vulnerable to physical attacks from Earthly objects. On Supergirl, the villain Metallo was powered by the radioactive material, and red Kryptonite, which turns Kryptonians "evil," has also made an appearance.
When it comes to Medusa, there have been similar viruses sprinkled throughout comics, though there haven't been any with that name before. For example, Superman's arch-nemesis Lex Luthor created the Amazo Virus,and according to the DC Wikia, "When exposed to humans who have received superhuman powers, it apparently first removes their superhuman abilities and immunities, then brainwashes them after a short period of time, turning them into beings that see themselves as the dominant species." And when exposed to regular humans, it gives them powers.
Superman also once got sick from "Virus X" in the comics, which was dosed with Kryptonite by Lex Luthor and began transforming and killing the hero.
While she's never made an appearance on the DC side of things, there is a Marvel Comics character named Medusa, who has powers that include being a super thief who can use her hair as a weapon. No connection to the name of the Medusa virus, but she is just an awesome character. I mean, prehensile hair?
The aliens on Team Supergirl may mostly be on the warm and cuddly — or, at the very least, misunderstood — side of things, but soon, there will be a big group of aliens that are a lot less sympathetic. The villains of the four-way crossover, the Dominators, are aliens capable of wreaking so much havoc, every CW hero will be needed in the fight against them. Perhaps the Medusa virus will reveal its true purpose then, but either way, there's certainly a history of weird science in the DC Comics universe that laid the groundwork for this Supergirl threat.
Images: Bettina Strauss/The CW; DC Comics