Monday, June 18, 2018

Saturn Girl Watch: Doomsday Clock #4-5


There has not been a new Legion series since the New 52 volume (mercifully) ended. They’ve had guest appearances in other comics and received a small, lackluster “Convergence” miniseries, but nothing else.

Way back in 2016, DC started to sow the seeds for… something, involving the Legion, in “DC Universe Rebirth.” Among the many corners visited in the current-day DCU, we were briefly shown a blonde woman being held in police custody. The woman claimed she was looking for Superman, and she was making vague, odd comments about the future. The only thing she had with her was a Legion flight ring. Since the woman had no ID, she was classified as “Jane Doe” and sent to Arkham Asylum for psychiatric evaluation.


The woman was implied to be Saturn Girl, and while she hasn't had a very BIG role in the last couple of years, nor has she appeared very often, her rare appearances have been leading up to her role in Geoff Johns' and Gary Frank's "Doomsday Clock" twelve issue series.

So, for the good people of Super Bloggers I have taken it upon myself to bring us all up to date on what Saturn Girl's been up to and what she's been doing in the DCU.

THE LEAD UP:

Saturn Girl made two appearances in Tom King’s “Batman” series. First she had a cameo in Batman #9, where she breathes on the glass of her cell door and makes a little “Legion” symbol as Batman and Commissioner Gordon walk by.


Her next appearance was in Batman #21, the beginning of the four issue crossover story “The Button.” During the opening pages of the issue, Saturn Girl’s watching a hockey match in Arkham, but then suddenly freaks out as the footage on TV turns rather bloody. Saturn Girl begins screaming over how someone’s going to die and that there’s no hope for the future or the Legion.


Saturn Girl was later discussed in the pages of Supergirl #8 where, for some reason, the Emerald Empress was led to believe Saturn Girl had “Destroyed her life.” At some point off-panel the Empress encountered Saturn Girl, who then told her it was Supergirl responsible for wrecking the Empress’s life. It turned out this was all part of some scheme concocted by Director Bones of the D.E.O. to discredit Supergirl.

This has all led to Imra's appearance in Doomsday Clock #4, where it was clear she was going to have more of a role beyond a cameo appearance.

SERIES SYNOPSIS:

Doomsday Clock is officially the sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen maxi-series. DC has been building up to it since 2016 with the reveal it was Doctor Manhattan who altered the DC Universe and transformed it into the nightmarish “New 52.” Which kind of meant the "New 52" was more or less Manhattan's poorly thought out DC Comics fan fiction.

The story shows the Watchmen universe eight years after that story ended. This world has gone to Hell since Ozymandias’ scheme of slaughtering thousands of people as part of some convoluted effort to bring about World Peace was exposed to the public. Ozymandias is now a wanted fugitive, and he’s also dying from a brain tumor. He wants to find Doctor Manhattan, believing Manhattan is the only one with the power to save their world. To that end, Ozymandias is now working alongside a new version of Rorschach (who deeply hates Ozymandias), and two criminals, Mime and Marionette (the Watchmen universe's equivalents of Punch and Jewelee in keeping with the Charlton Comics theme). The four travel to the DC Universe and leave moments before a nuclear warhead destroys New York.

Over in the DCU, things are looking really bad as well. It’s 2019 and the world has been caught up in a superhuman arms race. Something called “The Supermen Theory” has emerged, asserting the reason America has the largest percentage of superpowered men and women in the world is because they were all created by the government. "Metahuman," which in the pre-Flashpoint DCU was the term used to describe empowered heroes and villains, is now a buzzword. There are riots going on in Gotham City because people want Batman arrested. Foreign nations are creating their own superhero teams (The People's Heroes, the Outsiders, Justice League Europe, etc.) and are closing their borders. Black Adam is opening Khandaq to all metahuman refugees. And the now elderly Johnny Thunder is still trying to find the Justice Society of America after accidentally being the one who erased them from the world (well that’s what he thinks).

So yeah it’s bad.

SATURN GIRL’S ROLE:

Imra officially appears in Doomsday Clock #4, which primarily focuses on the origin of the new Rorschach, Reggie Long. The issue cuts back and forth between Reggie’s past in the Watchmen universe, and his time stuck in Arkham Asylum thanks to Batman.

Imra is first seen watching Reggie from her cell, which still has the name “Jane Doe” on it. By the end of the issue, she’s gotten out of her cell and is helping Reggie escape. She knows his real name and tells him they have to hurry before “It’s too late” because she “Won’t be around for much longer.” So obviously whatever Imra’s here for there is a time limit.

When #4 came out I didn't even realize this was Imra since her last mention had been so long ago. For a moment I thought "Jane Doe" was referring to the C-List Batman villain of the same name.

In issue #5, Imra and Rorschach have broken inside a thrift shop to get dressed. Imra mentions she can’t wear leather because it’s outlawed “Where she comes from,” but then realizes the clothes she has got are fake leather so it’s cool. She confirms that she’s Saturn Girl when she tells Rorschach to address her as such. Imra reads some more of Reggie’s thoughts about the first and second Silk Spectres, before telling him that to find Doctor Manhattan they need “A great, big light.”

The issue ends with Imra and Rorschach finding Johnny Thunder at the derelict All-American Steel Factory, just as Thunder has found Alan Scott’s lantern and just as a group of thugs were about to kill him. While Imra tends to the old man, Rorschach slaughters the thugs. Imra isn’t fazed by Rorschach’s brutality, and tries to reassure Thunder that the thugs were destined to die from a drug overdose anyway.


FINAL OBJECTIVE THOUGHTS:

There is clearly going to be more of Imra, but nothing's clear on whether or not the rest of the Legion will have a role. She seems to be aware of the Justice Society alongside Johnny Thunder, too. But what the endgame for this involves beyond Imra having spent a year in Arkham Asylum, it's still vague.

MY SUBJECTIVE THOUGHTS WHICH AREN'T MEANT TO SHAME ANYONE ELSE FOR ENJOYING THIS STORY, AND IF THEY DO I'M SORRY:

WHAT THE HELL, JOHNS?!

It was bad enough when he yanked out her spine in his Action Comics run and had her getting screamed at all the time by Lightning Lad, but now THIS? I think I mentioned this before in the post I wrote about her appearance in "The Button," but I'm left to wonder if Johns ever actually READ any of the Silver Age comics with the original Saturn Girl.

He started off portraying Imra as this supposedly saintly woman who saw the good in everyone's minds because of her abilities, and now he's shifted to portraying her as the kooky, mentally ill comedy relief when she's not dumping vague, ominous foreshadowing about the future. Which is exactly what he did with Star Boy in the pages of Justice Society of America. The thing that really bothers me is how she doesn't care about Rorschach killing those thugs, nor does she try to fight them herself. She's all "Oh it was gonna happen anyway so don't worry about it," while clearly not registering how horrified Johnny Thunder is.

I'm not looking forward at all to what's gonna happen with her in the rest of the series, and with all the continuous delays the series has received I don't know if the wait between issues will be a good thing or a bad thing.

In any event, I got so mad about all this I decided to vent my frustration in a positive manner and commissioned this two-panel comic from Tumblr artist wouldntyoulichentoknow, a.k.a. Mouse, in response to Imra's Out-Of-Characterness.

2 comments:

  1. A bit ticked off that we've had to wait this long for a new series because of John's exclusive right to the characters, and worried that the series will be given to someone with a snazzy pitch who doesn't necessarily know how to handle the cast for a two or three-year run. Shazam/Captain Marvel, for example, is going to Johns himself.

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  2. With the adage that "something is always better than nothing" I really wish DC would get off its corporate ass and give us a Legion book. We can send texts and write DC to make it better if it sucks, but we can't do anything if we don't have a book.

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