‘Stargirl’ takes to the skies with an endearing heroine

Just in time for summer, at a moment when she’s never been needed more, Stargirl swoops in to rescue us all.

“DC’s Stargirl” (today on DC Universe, tomorrow on CW) is an utterly charming take on a beloved DC Comics teen, buoyed by a natural, breezy performance by star Brec Bassinger.

Warning: Minor spoilers follow!

“DC’s Stargirl” opens 10 years in the past, on the final moments of the greatest super-team ever known.

The Justice Society of America is massacred – by their hated foes, the Injustice Society of America.

For those who cherish these heroes, who have longed to see the Justice Society get their due on the big or small screen, the glimpses of the battle are the stuff of nightmares.

There appears to be only one survivor – Stripesy, also known as Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson, “Idiocracy”), sidekick to Starman (Joel McHale).

With his dying breath, Starman gives his cosmic staff to Stripesy for safe-keeping – but not for him to use.

As if that were possible.

The cosmic staff shuts down. It seems to have about as much power as a twig.

Cut to the present: Pat has seemingly made peace with his days of derring-do and is now the devoted husband to Barbara (Amy Smart, “Justified”) and new stepfather to 15-year-old Courtney (Bassinger).

Courtney doesn’t much care for Pat. She’s spent pretty much her entire life waiting for biological father to come back. She doesn’t understand why the family has to move to such a rinky-dink town as Blue Valley, Neb.

Courtney discovers the cosmic staff in "DC's Stargirl" (Photo: CW)
Brec Bassinger as Courtney/Stargirl — Photo: The CW — © 2020 The CW Network.

What follows is pretty standard comic book origin fare, as our young heroine tries to adjust to her new school, crosses paths with bullies, and discovers the cosmic staff.

It’s been covered in everything from “Spider-Man” to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” It’s worth watching because of Bassinger’s earnest performance and the nods to DC history. For instance, Courtney’s first friend at school is a student named Beth Chapel (Anjelika Washington), a name instantly significant to JSA fans. Most tantalizing, “DC’s Stargirl” hints that a new Justice Society will arise from the ashes to combat the greatest villains ever known.

In one departure from the comics, the cosmic staff seems to have some sort of sentience. Unfortunately for Courtney, her inexperience leads her directly to one of the JSA’s greatest villains, one determined to kill any legacy of Starman.

Series and character creator Geoff Johns based Courtney on his late sister. It’s hard to imagine a more heartfelt tribute than this series.

The most exciting summer nights are ahead, and “DC’s Stargirl” looks to light the way.

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