Friday, May 20, 2016

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #17

Recap: The Legion has been deputized as part of the Science Police, a relationship with the very system they have been culturally attacking. Brainiac 5 has gone missing within his lab trying to resurrect the fallen Dream Girl. And the future has visited by a certain Girl of Steel ... or has it? What is reality?

The Threeboot Legion had just gone through a 15 issue mega-arc, reintroducing the readers to a new Legion, a new 31st century, and a new attitude. But it was unclear whether or not this new Legion of Super-Heroes was embraced by the fans. Needing a little injection of excitement to reinvigorate the book, creators Mark Waid and Barry Kitson brought Supergirl into the mix. Supergirl was quite popular in theory back then, selling well while being cranky and barely dressed in her own title.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #17 was the second issue with Supergirl headlining the book. It is well-known that Mark Waid loves the Supergirl character. But his love was born more from the earliest stories. I doubt he liked the sullen, isolated, hyper-sexualized Kara that was appearing in the the Supergirl. And so Waid used this issue to give the readers his version of Supergirl, a much more innocent, optimistic, and powerful hero. And so, for this time, DC Comics had two very very very different Supergirls in continuity. I like this version much more.

And while this issue does a good job showcasing this Supergirl and bringing her into the fold, Waid also sows the seeds of multiple new plot lines. While last issue was a turning point for the book, it was this issue that I really felt like we had a bold new direction. Gone was the one plot idea. Suddenly we had subplots. Now this was the Legion!

Barry Kitson and Mick Gray provide the art in this issue. This is a lush, beautiful book. When Kitson is clicking, everything looks great. I love his Supergirl and this issue is my favorite of the bunch. On to the book.

We open up with a robot cult deep under the city. These robots seem to be praying to a giant mecha. Their prayers are concerning as they discuss exterminating the carbon life forms.

The Legion and the Science Police rush in to attack. It is clear that these two units are not clicking quite yet. The SciPo jumped in earlier than the Legion wanted. The SciPo underestimated the sheer numbers of robot, even if the androids are crumbling older tech.

So we get a nice new plot, a robot rebellion, all while we enrich the current plot of the antagonistic partnership of the Legion and SciPo.

 The giant mecha suddenly turns on and it seems much more formidable than the infantry the Legion are bashing through. It has an almost quantum energy appearing body. It looks like it is going to be a hugebrawl.

But when a Kryptonian is on your side, big threats are sometimes a no threat at all. In one panel, Supergirl deactivates the robot, much to the chagrin of the other Legionnaires who feel deflated that they weren't really needed.

To make matters worse, Supergirl is claiming that none of what is happening is real. She is dreaming this whole world. So she never feels really threatened. You can't die in a dream.

 The Legion debates what to do with Supergirl.

Cos gives some exposition, what history tells if Supergirl. He discusses how she made it from Krypton to Earth to become Supergirl.

How beautiful is this page? Kitson should have done a Supergirl book.

 But Waid decides to throw a wrinkle into the current Supergirl mythos.

I won't disparage the concurrent Supergirl book too much. But that Supergirl was currently abandoning a mission to free Kandor, making out with the villain Pru-El, and being selfish in her desires. That was after the dreaded 'Dark Supergirl' opening arc where people wondered who was the real Supergirl, the evil one or the good one. If you can't tell, I loathed it.

But Waid instead tells us she becomes a Living Legend. And Kitson gives us a shot of a smiling Supergirl who seems to be part of, if not leading, a Justice League.

This picture is my Supergirl.

I mean, how beautiful is this page? Kitson should have done a Supergirl book.

Again, we learn that Supergirl thinks that she is dreaming this as part of Tarukor, a Kryptonian dream ritual.

Can she honestly be worried about her life if she thinks this is all fantasy. She wonders if this world of a suffocating older generation is the result of what she ate. Maybe a spot of undigested bit of beef? A blot of mustard?

This thought that it is all a dream is played nicely throughout the upcoming issues by Waid.

 While having this conversation, Supergirl realizes an earthquake is threatening the Legion HQ site. It turns out one of the Legion followers, Seiss, can create seismic events through his stomach rumblings and ... umm ... gas emissions.

Supergirl stops the earthquake by whistling a countervibration.

This is a pre-Crisis power level for a Kryptonian. It seems more magical, like a dream, than what we have seen.

But another subplot crops up. Seiss is approached by someone in shadows, recruited into a new team. Is it a villain again?

 While everyone seems starstruck by Supergirl, some Legionnaires are worried. Kara seems crazy. The most vocal person is Light Lass. She can't believe that Supergirl will be made a team member so quickly. I have always been a big Ayla fan and love this incarnation as well. She's sassy.

But playing on the dream idea, Supergirl says out loud she has decided to become a Legionnaire. Immediately after voicing that, she is made a member. It seems like wish fulfillment, cementing the dream idea in Kara's mind.

Meanwhile, an old threat appears for the first time in the Threeboot book.

It turns out the Dominators were behind the giant rocket which nearly destroyed Earth last issue. They say that despite Supergirl smashing the missile, it still delivered its techno-organic payload. Are they behind the robot uprising we saw before? Or is this a new plot?

It is always good to see the Dominators.

Finally, Supergirl can't become a full member until she gets a flight ring and there isn't one for her.
Supergirl wishes out loud that she had a ring. Immediately after saying it, Atom Girl arrives with a ring box. She presents the ring to Kara saying Brainy wanted her to have it. Again, Kara thinks this is because she is walking through a dream where her every wish is granted.

But the Legion knows, this is most likely the ring off Dream Girl's finger. This isn't a joyous presentation. It is a reminder of the danger they are all in.

Still, look at this team splash page. Gorgeous. I mean seriously, how beautiful is this page? Kitson should have done a Supergirl book.

This was a great issue. For me, it was a salvage mission, reimagining Supergirl in a better way than we saw in her main title. She is powerful, optimistic, heroic ... maybe even a bit naive. If only for the Supergirl part, I loved this issue.

But then you think of the other plots.
Supergirl's dream fantasy.
The Legion's strained new relationship with the UP.
The Legion internally reacting to Kara both positive and negative.
The Robot rebellion.
The Dominators.
The shadowy figure recruiting some powered Legion acolytes.

A lot happened here, setting up the next year.


This is my Legion, filled with characters and plots while built on relationships.

1 comment:

  1. Kitson drew Supergirl perfectly. He made her look sexy, without objectifying her. Innocent, without seeming dumb or childish. Loving and friendly, but tough and intimidating when Kara needed to be.

    Once Johns fixes DC with rebirth, hopefully he'll put Kitson on a Supergirl series.