Thara Ak-Var was a native of the planet Krypton and lived in the city of Kandor. She was the best friend of Kara Zor-El. A short time before the destruction of the planet, the renegade Coluan scientist Brainiac sent his deadly probes to Kandor to wreak destruction. A Kryptonian Black Zero unit led by Lt. Ursa was dispatched to respond to the crisis. As the Brainiac Probes began slaughtering soldiers, Ursa lost her nerve and was crippled with fear as two of her aspirants Ak-Var and his wife Tes Ak-Var were murdered before her eyes. Ak-Var's young daughter Thara witnessed the carnage, but was trapped behind the force field surrounding the city. Brainiac uprooted Kandor from the planet, miniaturized it, and placed it within his ship's laboratory for future observation.
In the years following Krypton's destruction, Braniac came upon the surviving floating community of Argo City. He assimilated Argo City with Kandor and Thara Ak-Var met Alura and Zor-El. The Els took Thara into their home and treated her as one of their family. Thara grew very close with their daughter Kara.
As she grew older, Thara began having prophetic dreams of a legendary Kryptonian creature known as the Flamebird. These dreams drove her to join the Kryptonian Religious Guild and she became a devout worshiper of Rao. While living with the other guild members, Thara continued to have dreams. She dreamed of a boy conceived and born in the Phantom Zone and knew that it was her destiny to meet with him. She quit the Religious Guild and returned to Zor-El and Alura. When Kandor was reconstructed on Earth, Thara was reunited with Kara Zor-El. Thara Ak-Var was placed in charge of the Kryptonian Defense Council.
Although the resurrection of Kandor as "New Krypton" showed great promise at first, relationships between the Kryptonians and the people of Earth quickly destabilized, owing largely to the murders of several Science Police officers at the hands of militant Kryptonians such as Commander Gor. Things came to a head when Sam Lane of Project 7734 assigned the super-villains known as Reactron and Metallo the task of going to New Krypton and assassinating Kandorian leader, Zor-El. With the death of Zor-El, his widow, Alura (Superman's aunt), developed an extremely xenophobic attitude towards Earthlings and relocated all of the expatriated Kryptonians to a planetoid in direct opposition to Earth's orbit.
Nightwing and Flamebird
Thara continued to have dreams of the boy trapped in the Phantom Zone. With access to nearly any military equipment she could find, Thara donned a suit of armor and a miniature Phantom Zone Projector and journeyed into the Phantom Zone. She soon united with the boy from her dreams -- Lor-Zod. Lor-Zod was the son of General Zod and her parents' former commander, Lt. Ursa. Held prisoner inside of a material anomaly called Fort Rozz, Thara freed Lor-Zod and escaped from the Phantom Zone. Together, they assumed the costumed identities of Flamebird and Nightwing.
Thara Ak-Var remained on the New Krypton planetoid as Alura's chief of security, but she quickly grew disenfranchised with Alura's leadership capabilities; particularly her decision to exonerate and pardon convicted Kryptonian criminals, General Zod, Ursa and Non. Thara learned that Ursa was responsible for seeding the Earth with Kryptonian sleeper agents, and she knew that these agents posed a tremendous threat to the people of Earth. As Flamebird and Nightwing, the two began patrolling major American cities, routing out Ursa's sleeper agents. This brought them into conflict with the criminal Tor-An as well as the psychotic Kryptonian lovers, Az-Rel and Nadira.