Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Who Is Sensor Girl?

Who Is Sensor Girl?
by Bilingual Boy

Real Name: Unknown
Super-Power(s): Unknown
Planet of Origin: Unknown
Legion Seniority: Sensor Girl joined at the same time as Polar Boy, Magnetic Kid, Quislet, and Tellus. Tradition had her listed before her male team-mates, making her Legionnaire #34.

After the three founding members announced their resignations, the Legion held the biggest Open Try-outs they ever had. Sensor Girl showed up on their doorstep, ushered in by Saturn Girl. She did not give her real name or even her abilities. However, due to the Legion's trust in Saturn Girl, who vouched for her, they voted Sensor Girl in regardless. She joined in LSH (v3) #14

Over the next few months Sensor Girl exhibited heightened abilities akin to super-vision and super-hearing. She was also able to "sense" things that were beyond normal human perception. She was also able to alter the way people saw things, such as the ability to envelop crowds in darkness.  
And as Sensor Girl's story enfolded in the pages of Legion of Super-Heroes, we Legion fans were eagerly reading each story to try to figure out the solution: Who IS Sensor Girl? 

I was determined to play along and see if I could crack this mystery.

Almost immediately, there were too many clues suggesting that Sensor Girl was really Supergirl. The Girl of Steel had recently been killed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-series, and I know many fans were hopeful that Kara somehow had escaped her fate by moving to the 30th Century. However, as a fan of Ellery Queen and Agatha Christie, I knew this was only a "red herring." Besides, I had also read that DC had absolutely forbid Supergirl to "come back." So I figured she was out. 
I learned later that Supergirl was, in fact, the first choice for Paul Levitz, but that she was, in fact, vetoed. Artist Steve Lightle also designed the character with Supergirl in mind. I found this out later, though. 

I kept going back to the initial introduction of the character. Saturn Girl says, "(Sensor Girl) has the best of reasons to deserve Legion membership." What could that be? Who would *deserve* Legion membership? That was an odd phrase to use, I thought. 

Then four months into the storyline, writer Paul Levitz wrote a Guest "MEANWHILE...." column about the mystery. It appeared in all Baxter Series titles, including Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #18. Here it is in its entirety: 

I must have read and re-read this essay a dozen times. Finally, I focused in on two important comments, both in that third column: 

1. At least one Legionnaire shares each of the above well as a couple that haven't been mentioned yet by our readers. One Legionnaire, and only one Legionnaire, will be right. 

And the summary at the bottom: 

2. Sensor Girl is indeed female, human, has powers that affect the human senses, and has appeared many times before in LEGION stories. 

Now I am not embarrassed to admit that my initial guess at this point was Saturn Queen, the villainess who first appeared in Superman #147. However, when I read her name called out as an option here, I (correctly) guessed that that meant she wasn't the answer.   
However, long-time Legion fans knew that Paul Levitz was a fan of Timber Wolf. So when, in LSH (v3) #21 Timber Wolf says, "Nobody could really do all those weird stunts," then Chameleon Boy answers, "Are you suggesting she does it all with mirrors?" my ears *really* pricked up. Didn't we have a character who could, in fact, "do it all with mirrors?"

Then looking at the second comment, doesn't that previous Legionnaire fit all of those conditions? It was after I read LSH (v3) #21 that it all suddenly clicked and I KNEW: Sensor Girl was really Princess Projectra!! 

This didn't stop me from enjoying the last few issues in the story-arc, though. Especially since Projectra had always been one of my favorites. I really liked the idea that her powers had been beefed up so tremendously. 

Sensor Girl's identity was revealed on the last page of LSH (v3) #25Her back-story was given in #26. In the letter column to that issue, Paul listed the following stories as what he considered his "clues" to the mystery. 

The "Who Is Sensor Girl?" Stories: 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #14
Saturn Girl says Sensor Girl has
"the best of reasons to deserve Legion membership."
That is, she already is a Legionnaire.

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #15
Sensor Girl is relatively human and definitely not invulnerable,
as she is affected by what keeps the organic heroes unconscious.
She also shows a unique power by sensing the change in
the temperature on the asteroid. This is the first clue that her power
is literally a function of the senses.

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #16
 Sensor Girl senses events at a distance without use of super-vision.

She is able to alter how other people's senses perceive a scene.

She is shown to have substantial combat prowess....
taught by a master of hand-to-hand combat, maybe?

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #17
Sensor Girl senses elemental content in Invisible Kid's
 blood... a heightened perception.

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #19
Sensor Girl has "super-vision" without traditional vision powers

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #20
Brainiac 5 thinks he knows Sensor Girl already.
Sensor Girl senses things through walls without x-ray vision.

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #21
Sensor Girl has a holo-globe in her room and an extra Legion Flight Ring.

The Emerald Empress sees through her illusion, calling her a "peer."

She shows substantial combat prowess again.

Timber Wolf thinks Sensor Girl is a fake.

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #22
Sensor Girl is out of touch with current events.

She thinks that if the convicts on Takron-Galtos could
see her, they would know her and hate her.

Sensor Girl "senses" Micro-Lad rather than sees him.

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #23
Sensor Girl is lounging in front of statues in The Hall of Heroes.

Mon-El looks at Sensor Girl but doubts his own eyes

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #24
Sensor Girl has "a new respect" for Element Lad,
so she has known him before.

Ultra Boy looks under her mask and looks right through her.

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #25
Sensor Girl visits Shanghalla to visit the cenotaph of her husband. 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #26
Sensor Girl explains why she became Sensor Girl

and as an epilogue....

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #27
Projectra abandons the throne of Orando
to return to Earth as Sensor Girl

When I had the opportunity to meet Paul Levitz at the Baltimore Comic-Con a few years ago, I chatted with him about this story. I told him how great I thought it was, and I got him to sign my copies of LSH (v3) #24-25. 

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