Clark Kent became the temporary council leader of the Justice League after Kevin Grady was killed in an attack by the Hand of Vengeance, a metahuman gang of vigilantes lead by the notorious criminal Star Sapphire. The only other council member at the time was Bart Allen.

Their former leader Jordan Cross had left almost a year ago to join the Green Lantern Corps in a galactic battle against their enemies, the Zamarons. And Kyle Tippet remained in stasis at the Fortress of Solitude after being critically injured by one of Lex Luthor's minions.

The Justice League had taken on some new members, including former Agents of Justice members Oliver Queen (AKA Green Arrow),
Helena Bertinelli (AKA Huntress), Dinah Lance (AKA Black Canary), Victor Stone, and Arthur Curry. Yet as former members of the Agents of Justice gang they all agreed that they would never be members of the council when they joined the League.

During the attack by the Hand of Vengeance two members of the Hand, Jodi Melville and Greg Arkin, had surrendered themselves. With the League's influence Jodi Melville served only six months in prison. Greg Arkin was given a sentence of five years. They were newer members of the Hand, and did not play a large part in their terrorist operations.

Greg and Jodi originally saw the Hand as freedom-fighters but they soon learned from their mentor Byron Moore (AKA Werewolf) that the Hand had a careless disregard for human life. To protect Jodi, Greg Arkin secretly accepted tasks that were given to her by Byron, tasks that included destruction of private property and intimidation.

After Jodi had served her six months she sought membership in the Justice League. Council members Clark Kent and Bart Allen were both concerned that Jodi might be traumatized from her experience with the Hand, but Jodi persisted and told them that she was ready to serve the common good. Clark and Bart ultimately accepted her request for membership.

Years earlier, Jodi had been meteor-infected but was cured of her hyper-accelerated metabolism and fat absorption abilities by Luthorcorp scientists. This experimentation on her eventually attracted Lana Lang's (AKA Star Sapphire's) attention, who sought out meteor-infected individuals who were the "victims" of Luthorcorp and Summerholt experiments. Subsequently when Jodi was accepted into the Hand of Vengeance she was given alien artifacts procured by Lana, with help from Jeremiah Holdsclaw.

One of these items was a belt that gave her enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina and also emitted energy bursts resembling shooting-stars. She was also given a staff which enabled her to fly and manipulate energy. Combined with her gymnastics and kickboxing training Jodi was a formidable adversary, and one of the few members of the Hand of Vengeance who managed to elude the former Justice League council-leader Kevin Grady.

Jodi had been given the name Darkstar by Lana Lang, a name Lana hoped would inspire fear in her enemies. But when the public learned of her acceptance into the League and saw her flying in the sky with
Clark Kent (who they called Superman) they dubbed her 'Stargirl'.

Jodi was elated to be praised by the public, and gratefully accepted the name 'Stargirl' as her official code-name.