Friday, October 14, 2016

Threeboot: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #35

Recap: Cosmic Boy has gone missing. Brainiac 5 has sent three away teams to investigate possible sites where Cos is hiding. But Brainy seems to have a hidden agenda as well. The away missions included a team on Winath where a Validus cult was thwarted resulting in Mekt Ranzz thrown in jail. Meanwhile, Atom Girl, Shadow Lass, and Timber Wolf are on Lallor. There, they have been thrown into an assassination plot against the Lallorian president. The assassin? Wildfire!

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #35 continues the Tony Bedard/Dennis Calero run on the book. Much like last issue, Bedard seems to be relishing the opportunity to inject some Bronze Age sensibilities into the book while bolstering some of the newer characterizations and fresher look at the team. Bedard is walking the fine line that Mark Waid was walking earlier in the book.

If any character has a very new persona it is Atom Girl and she is the star of this issue. Once again we see her as a vicious fighter with a sort of sensual streak. She seems ready to devour the world in many senses. As a fan of Shrinking Violet, I will admit to took a little time for me to get used to this Salu given how well developed she was at the end of the Levitz run and the 5YL run.

As a Wildfire fan, I was happy to see him again and to see his history basically intact.

Once again, I have to say that Dennis Calero's art on the book is just too rough for me. After Barry Kitson, this seems like a inky, blobby mess.

On to the book.

Like these last few issues, we concentrate on the Lallor team and  barely see any of the rest of the Legion. We see Braniac 5 looking in on the team from his monitors and commenting on the other teams missions.

Here we learn that Brainy knew that Timber Wolf could deal with the radiation he had detected on the planet. Unfortunately, Timber Wolf and Shadow Lass are vulnerable to brute force. Early on in this issue, both are taken out by Wildfire leaving Atom Girl alone in dealing with Wildfire. Hardly seems like a fair fight, right?

One of the underlying themes of this Quest for Cosmic Boy arc is that Brainiac 5 is manipulating events for his own advancement or amusement. The make-up of the teams, the locations they are sent to ... it all seems too convenient. Even Atom Girl, who worships Brainiac for saving her planet, is wondering what he is up to.

And, I have to admit, I kind of am wondering as well. Mekt's arrest seemed all too convenient. I think he was framed. Now to see Brin mutated? I don't trust this Brainy.

What is interesting is Bedard's nonlinear storytelling. The beginning of last issue we saw Wildfire head into the President's office and face off again Atom Girl. We have finally caught up to that moment.

Much like we saw Atom Girl drooling over Timber Wolf last issue, we see her aroused by Wildfire. His tearing through the Lallorian police has made her tingle all over.

I don't know how I feel about all this.

Surprisingly, the rather blunt and somewhat gruff Salu is able to talk down Wildfire. She knows he isn't a killer. She knows that he is being used by his brother Randall. She knows someone who can help him ... Brainy.

And it is true that Wildfire's heart isn't in these assassination missions. Look at how his shoulders are slumped. But he feels he has to listen to his brother. After all, his brother saved him, coalescing his energy, and storing it in a tank of some sort. He can inhabit the suit for an hour at a time.

Vi and Wildfire are historically two of my favorite Legionnaires. So I liked this scene.

Atom Girl does convince Wildfire to stand down. She'll stop Randall.

Now don't ask me how landlines still exist in the 31st century but apparently on Lallor they do. And Atom Girl rides the call from the President's office to Randall's.

It is very much a nod to the Silver Age Atom. And I like this panel of her sproinging out of the phone to confront Randall. In short order, she batters him. She makes a point to not kill him. She isn't a murderer.

But wait, didn't she have a body count she was keeping last issue??

And Randall was lying. The tank is worthless. Drake could exist as Wildfire all the time. He was being used.

I am glad that we don't have that sort of the limitation on the character. And it excuses his evil actions .. a little ... I guess.

Brainy has a a lot of quick answers for the situation. Give Randall to the Lallorian President to punish. Sweeten the deal by getting Lallor in the UP quickly. Have Wildfire join the Legion. It all seems too pat. I still don't know if I trust Brainy.

And then we hear that Supergirl is 'gone'. I guess it was time for her to leave the book.

And, in Bedard's fashion, we flash back to hours earlier.

In the Gobi jungle (hooray weather control in the future), Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Supergirl are searching for Cosmic Boy.

Once again, the thread that Brainiac 5 isn't being truthful is brought up. Garth doesn't trust him. He almost considers him a villain.

For long time readers, Brainy has certainly gone mad and quasi-evil in the past. So this is reminiscent of prior histories. And in this book, Brainy hasn't been warm and fuzzy. But I got more of a narcissistic vibe from him, not evil.

It turns out that the energy they are reading are from a large-headed being spouting a lot of malevolent dialogue. He is going to do what he needs to do and the Legion needs to leave.

Lightning Lad calls him 'Evolvo Lad', a character Legion fans know historically from the Heroes of Lallor. And in this form he is highly intelligent. But when it is clear he is going to throw down with the Legion, he devolves into a brutish cave man form and attacks. And he is strong enough to hurt Kara!

So what do I think ...

I don't know ...

I don't want to bash this book. I find the Atom Girl characterization sort of fascinating. I love that Wildfire is back in the book. I don't mind the non-linear action. And surprisingly, Calero draws a decent Supergirl. Tony Bedard is doing a good job here.

But I have this nagging feeling that the book is sort of riding on fumes right now. The vim of the Waid/Kitson run is gone. These stories are well done. But they aren't grabbing me as a Legion fan. I wonder if the lack of subplots or seeing other teammates is what is irking me. The fallout of the Dominator War should be commented on but instead we get these away missions.

Does anyone else feel this way??


  1. I will note that, by this point, the series has pretty much lost the Waid/Kitson "youth vs adults" theme that informed the whole series, and made it so unique.

  2. Between the horrid art, the bad idea of splitting the team up (which means that some characters get left out for months), and the change in tone, I dropped the book around this time. By the time Shooter was put on the series, it was too little too late.

  3. At this point it was truly " THE LEGION OF DOOM" !

    It was actually worse than some of the old Adventure Comics stories and was waiting for one of them to say " We, of the Legion, .... or something just as bad !

    This was the first LSH comic I was glad to see canceled as I knew they'd be back again !

  4. I think these stories, far away from the rest of the team, was risky. In the end, too risky. I have few recollections of the upcoming Shooter run ... which means that wasn't a real success either.

    We've come far from the optimism of the early Waid issues.

  5. I never did understand why Supergirl had to leave. She brought a certain quality (fun? awe? disbelief?) to the book that it never had again after she left.