Time for the last character appearing in Supergirl trailer and first episode (there are a couple of unconfirmed cameos, for those we’ll wait some official confirmation). The first villain Supergirl has to face in her newly started career as a heroine is Vartox, portrayed by Owain Yeoman. In the show, he’s an intergalactic criminal escaped from Fort Ros who went on hiding on Earth for twelve years, only to appear again and challenge Supergirl when she makes her public debut. He’s a violent axe-wielding brute and a chauvinist (“Where I come from, females bow before males!”), and he proves to be far stronger than Supergirl…even if not as smart. In the comics, he’s pretty much different: he has no axe, he’s not even a villain…even if he’s a chauvinist, and when he clashed with Superman it was over a woman. The character was originally modelled on Sean Connery in his Zardoz appearance (even the costume is practically the same), and he was much funnier than his live action version. Let’s see together.
Not much is known about Vartox’s past: he was born on Valeron, a remote planet in the Sombrero Galaxy, and he somehow acquired incredible powers that made him a Hyper-Man, able to access a variety of psychic abilities. With a nearly unlimited power, Vartox chose to become a force for good, and he became the champion and protector of Valeron. He also had a family on his homeplanet, as he married his beloved Elyra; tragedy struck when Elyra’s psychic twin (some sort of doppelganger, linked on a biological level) died on a remote planet, Earth, causing Elyra to die as well. Using his Hyper Vision, Vartox explored history, and learnt that Elyra’s twin had been killed by a criminal, Frank Sykes: wanting to bring the culprit to justice, Vartox examined the future, only to learn that, if he was to break Sykes out of jail to bring him to Valeron, he would have clashed with Earth’s protector, Superman, a powerful yet unexperienced champion like he was, in a titanic battle that would have led to the death of Lois Lane, Superman’s love interest. Wanting to avoid this, Vartox traveled to Earth with his face-shaped ship and explained the situation to Superman: then, he tricked Sykes into willingly follow him to Valeron, where he was trialed and found guilty. He was sentenced to sixty years…and that on Valeron meant he would have been artificially aged the number of years he was sentenced to: following the agreement, Vartox returned Sykes as an old man to Earth. From that moment, he and Supes became good friends, even if they sometimes ended up being rivals, mostly because, not knowing Earth’s uses and costumes, usually Vartox caused some unwanted trouble anytime he came visiting his alien friend (for example, when he unwillingly unleashed the alien Karb-Brak against Superman, only to be infected in turn by a virus that put him against Superman as well). The two heroes obviously liked each other the best when they stayed each one on their planet…but that became impossible the moment Valeron was destroyed, and Vartox found himself without a planet and a people to protect. Superman offered Vartox a place to stay until he found another planet that needed him, and provided him with a secret identity: Vernon O’Valeron, security guard at Galaxy Communications, a media company in Metropolis.
During his stay on Earth, however, Vartox met and fell in love with Lana Lang, who at the time had given up her ambition to be Superman’s girlfriend, since she couldn’t be with a man who had the responsibility of an entire world on his shoulders. Lana proved to be pretty unlucky, as she not only got a crush on another man who was the same as Superman, but who had just found a world to protect, Tynola, in another galaxy, and a planet with an atmosphere that was lethal to earthlings. Vartox had to leave Lana and move to the new planet, which was crowded with threats and menaces…but just because some of the inhabitants themselves provided them: in fact, they wanted to charge Vartox with a special kind of energy, which would have made him the perfect sacrifice for the space god they worshipped. With the help of Superman, Vartox defeated the cosmic god and exiled him for good, but chose to stay on Tynola to help the ones who really needed it. There was yet another survivor from Valeron, however: Vartox’s first lover, Syreena, whom the hero had arrested when she broke bad and became a criminal. To exact her revenge, Syreen involved Lana, and she turned her into a stone statue after making her able to breathe on Tynola, so that Vartox would have suffered the most for her demise. At first, Vartox believed to be the one responsible for Lana’s fate, but eventually he found out Syreena was alive and wielding a fraction of his power she had stolen from him. After confronting his psycho girlfriend, Vartox managed to convince her to restore Lana…but the petrification process couldn’t be undone, only transferred, so Syreena became a stone statue in Lana’s place. Being human again, Lana was also unable to breathe Tynola’s atmosphere, so Vartox had to part from her once again. Of course, this wasn’t the last time Earth saw Vartox: nothing could keep Valeron’s champion far from the woman he wanted for long…
Vartox is a larger-than-life hero, an experienced yet brash man with an explosive personality and an overflowing manliness. Deeply devoted to his planet and people, Vartox lives to serve others…especially if they are pretty women (as even earthlings such as Lana Lang and Powergirl have learnt). As the champion of Valeron, he’s extremely powerful: he possesses strength, speed, stamina and durability equal to Superman’s, he can fly, his senses are extremely precise and heightened, he can manipulate matter at will (including shape and density), he possesses some degrees of telepathy and telekinesis, he can manipulate energy and emit freezing or burning rays, he can see through time and change history before events happen, all thanks to his Hyper-Energy, a power he can even transmit to others; where the Hyper-Energy doesn’t arrive, his remarkable intellect does, as Vartox is also a skilled inventor armed with an arsenal of futuristic gadgets. Charming, heroic and nearly unstoppable both in war and in love, Vartox is a relentless force for good…and quite an annoyance as a rival.