Friday, May 27, 2016

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #18

My copy, signed by Waid and Kitson in Baltimore 2007
Recap: Supergirl, or someone claiming to be Supergirl, has mysteriously arrived in the 31st century and has immediately made an impact on the Legion, joining the team and taking part in missions. Many Legionnaires are thrilled to be joined by a legend and have embraced her. Others, questioning Kara and her belief that reality is all a Tarukor-induced dream have pushed her away. Meanwhile, a robot rebellion is starting to mobilize. And Brainy might be crazy ...

The 'One Year Later' DC event was meant to shake up the company's line of books, bringing bold new directions and hopefully new readers. Creative team Mark Waid and Barry Kitson certainly took that to heart on Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes. With the opening year-long arc behind them, Waid and Kitson decided to bring multiple plotlines to the book, keeping the pace moving forward and the reader engaged.

Obviously, adding a more classic Supergirl to the book is a big change. But making her think that the Legion's world is a dream is a nice wrinkle.

We also have Brainiac 5 descending into madness, trying to resurrect Dream Girl. We have a Dominator sponsored robot rebellion. We have Projectra suddenly penniless. Suddenly there is a lot to chew over here. And as a Legion fan, weaned on the subplot heavy glory days of Levitz and Giffen, I loved it.

After being blown away by Kitson's art last issue, I was a bit disappointed in the internal work of Adam DeKraker here. The work is fine. But it isn't Kitson.

On to the book.

 The book opens with a look at the Undercity, the bowels under the surface where old tech is stored or demolished. It is here that the robot rebellion is taking root. We learn that early in history, the machines tried to take over Earth but were defeated. All AI was sent into an Electrochemical Dimension (whatever that is).

There is a feeling akin to the slums of Thanagar in Hawkworld here. The robots are second class citizens, literally beneath us.

And they are busy.
They are building. And organizing. And attacking.

 A throng of mecha begin rampaging on the surface. The Science Police respond.

But there is a Legionnaire in their midst. Cham is undercover as Officer Daggle!

Shades of the Legion Espionage Squad!

I actually like this a bit. Cham would be the perfect spy to make sure the Legion is aware of what the police is doing, what they think of the team, etc.

Meanwhile, in his lab, Brainy is using Imskians to mine the power to be forgotten from the captured Praetor Lemnos. He has had Timber Wolf (now a full Legion member) hunt down an artifact to be used in his experiments. And he reveals to Brin that he has Dream Girl's body in stasis. Somehow he will use all these measures to resurrect Nura.

Now Brainy's mental instability is well documented through all incarnations. But this sounds a bit crazy, even for him. What could he be hoping to get from Lemnos?

Even Timber Wolf is shocked by this.

 But the Brainy stuff is happening behind the scenes.

The bulk of the team is still concentrating on the Supergirl mystery.

Here Saturn Girl is trying to probe Kara's mind to learn what happened. And it all leads to this vague memory of some universal catastrophe. It is a nice Crisis-y splash page by Dekraker.

But as I have said, how Supergirl ... specifically this Supergirl ... got here was never really explained. And this doesn't necessarily help.

 This Supergirl is a far cry from the brooding one from the main title. She seems optimistic, bright, almost naive. I mean look at her playing with the 'secret identity' setting of the flight ring. Kind of Clark-y in that last panel.

But even Cos has to think that despite the mind sweeps and consistently upbeat attitude, Supergirl makes him feel tense. She is incredibly powerful. Can she be unconditionally trusted?

 In a subplot that will simmer through the very end of this title, we learn that the pampered Princess Projectra is suddenly broke. With Orando overrun by the Terror Firma, Jeckie's wealth is gone. She will be homeless in a month. She has lost everything.

I like that Star Boy comes by to check on her. But how sad that no one has talked to her other than to ask for a handout.

How will Projectra respond to suddenly being completely isolated outside from her friends?

 The Legion joins the Science Police to fight the small robot uprising. Supergirl is the first to spring into action and the rest of the team follows her. She has really become a leader figure in the short time she has been there.

But the rest of the team is still pretty starstruck. Everyone wants to impress.

I thought this moment where Ultra Boy is saying he is as strong as her only to get slugged when he doesn't have his invulnerability activated.

This felt like classic Jo.

When the Naltorians complain that the Legion hasn't returned Dream Girl's body, the Legion goes to investigate. There they discover her body. And Brainy decides to unload his delusions. He thinks that his force field not only has kept her body in stasis but also has captured her soul. And now, he will be able to save her.

And he truly believes it. Is he grieving? In denial? Insane? If he believes the soul can be captured by a force field, I opt for the latter.

But the discussion is suddenly out on hold when Dream Boy, the Naltorian replacement for Nura, arrives.

Whew. With the introduction of Supergirl to the team behind him, Waid can set up the upcoming plots nicely. There is a lot to see here and it only whet my appetite.

Things are about to heat up.

1 comment:

  1. I have no idea how TAKING the ring off would give Kara a disguise. Wouldn't it make more sense for it to be on WHILE she's wearing it? Taking the ring off doesn't give her the other benefits of the ring, so this doesn't seem logical at all.