Friday, June 24, 2016

Threeboot: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #22

Recap: The Legion is adapting to life as an adjunct of the United Planets and having Supergirl on the team. The Girl of Steel is certainly popular as many of the Legionnaires seem smitten or obsessed with her. But bubbling underneath this internal strife are external forces: the Dominators, a robot rebellion, and another super-powered teen team which seems to be evil. Hopefully the Legion will be ready to face these threats when they finally arrive!

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #22 was an interesting issue for this time of the book. One of the things that most Legion fans love about the team are the fully realized personalities for such a large cast. We love to see the interactions of the teammates as much as we like to see interstellar brawls. We like to see the inter-team romances, those that persist and those that fail.

Despite a number of lingering and frankly mysterious subplots bubbling through the book, storytellers Mark Waid, Tony Bedard, and Barry Kitson decided that this issue would be something of a rest issue. Instead of looking outward at all the external threats, they would look inward at one particular issue. Supergirl. The Maid of Might has been here for several issues now. She has rocked the boat of the team a bit. And the team still isn't 100% certain that Kara is who she says she is. So the time was right to take a look around at how the team was reacting to Supergirl's presence.

The art is once again done by Adam DeKraker who does his best to make the style of the book consistent. What I like about this issue is how DeKraker is able to use visual cues to convey emotions in this character driven issue. Solid stuff.

The book starts with a flashback. A year ago, Shadow Lass and Karate Kid were an item. We see them out on a 'date', brawling with some sort of gang. While Shadow Lass loves the adrenaline kick that this action gives her, Karate Kid laments the fact that there is never quiet time for them. He wants romance and discourse. She wants fighting and passion.

When she aggressively kisses her after this fight, he realizes this relationship can't last. He breaks up with her.

Now in the older Legion incarnation, these two were in very well established relationships. So I like that Waid shakes things up here.

And by having this couple not work (clearly they are incompatible), we get a little realism injected into the book. Not all romances last.
Val and Tasmia have remained friends. We have seen her lean on him to help with her current boyfriend Ultra Boy. Here she calls on Karate Kid again. Ultra Boy is obsessed with Supergirl these days, mostly because he can't deal with not being the most powerful member of the team. Shadow Lass wants Karate Kid's help to work with Jo and have Ultra Boy move beyond this.

But Val offers a different idea. Maybe Jo has a crush on Supergirl. We already have seen that Cosmic Boy thinks he does.

That is not the answer Shadow Lass wants.

Supergirl has been a valuable team member. But she has been a chaotic figure in team dynamics.

Outside the Legion headquarters, it has been announced that the Legion will be running an election for leader and their followers will be allowed to vote.

This has never been a cohesive group and one of them named Roy begins lashing out with his energy beam powers saying maybe he should run. My guess is that he is a proto-Radiation Roy.

He is quickly detained by Supergirl and Cosmic Boy. Surprisingly, Cos offers Roy a tryout.

I do love the classic 'it tickles' pose by Supergirl. That's old school cool.

Back in HQ, Invisible Kid talks to Cos. The feelings that Cos has had aren't from attraction to Supergirl but because her electromagnetic aura is somehow interfering with Rokk's. Cos seems happy with that explanation, almost as if he prefers it over having feelings.

Then we get the real reason ... Invisible Kid has a shrine for Supergirl. He is smitten.

This is a touch creepy.

But it also shows just what an upheaval she is causing. Is Invisible Kid lying to Cos? Or is that science sound?
The Karate Kid lesson again tries to convey to Ultra Boy that he needs to be in control of his powers and surroundings at all cost. While Jo is meditating, Val bashes him in the nose. Val points out that Supergirl would not be caught by surprise.

If this is some sort of internal contest between Jo and Kara, Jo needs to be always thinking.

But this seems a little too easy.

Back in Metropolis, Shadow Lass decides to confront Supergirl about Ultra Boy.

This seems a little controlling, especially when it is pretty clear that Supergirl has no interest. But we saw at the beginning of the book that Shadow Lass is controlled by her emotions. So this makes sense.

I like that Light Lass has the good sense to get out of the way. It would be awkward enough to listen to. But who wants to be around a potential super-powered fight?

Before the conversation can begin, Karate Kid shows up to tell Supergirl she is needed on a far off planet to bash some asteroids before they raze a planet. Ultra Boy is already there.

When Supergirl arrives, she finds it is an orange sun system. Her powers won't work. She needs to retreat. Ultra Boy is suddenly flushed with confidence. He still is at full power. That means he is indeed the strongest. Without pause, he saves the day.

Meanwhile Shadow Lass watches on as her alpha boyfriend does his thing. That look on her face is pure ardor. She looks like she is ready to devour him.

Cleverly though, it looks like this scenario was set up on purpose to squelch the jealousy of both Shady and Ultra Boy. Karate Kid purposefully sent Kara there. And Kara knew she was supposed to fail.

Again, Supergirl is inserting herself into the personal lives of her teammates and people are lying about her. This is combustible.

But just in case you think this was all reactions about Supergirl, there was progress on one front. Sun Boy and his Terra Firma team went to investigate a rim world only to find the cities abandoned. No bodies. No life forms. Except one, a massive muscle-bound Dominator who easily defeated the team. And this isn't a low-powered group.

Captured, the team is on the Dominator ship when they see there is a countdown happening. Something massive is going one when that red dot disappears. How do the Dominators fit into all this?

Overall, as a Supergirl fan, I liked this issue which seemed to revolve around her presence on the team. It makes sense that there would be a flood of weird feelings if a legend joined your crew.

But now I am ready to jump in with both feet. All these subplots need to start tightening up. Where is this all going?

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