Friday, January 27, 2017

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #46

Recap: After squabbling with the UP for some time, the Legion has been given diplomatic immunity and the members who have issues with the law have been pardoned. After struggling with finances for some time, the team is now flush with cash since merchandising their symbol. But the team is still fighting a many front war. The threat of beamed in techno-constructs is in the background. A planet has been working its way through the solar system. And there has been plenty of internal squabbles. Projectra is leaning towards totalitarianism. And Saturn Girl succumbed to Ultra Boy's closet and had sex in the pantry. Hooray bright future!

Legion of Super-Heroes #46 is another one of those issues where I think Jim Shooter thought he had much more time to craft his tale. As stated above we are dealing with any number of plot lines that have been slowly creeping through the book. Some have seemingly been forgotten or put away. Luckily the bureaucratic subplots seem to have been wrapped up last issue. But I know historically that there are only 4 issues left with this run after this book. How can things be wrapped up by then?

Even with a planet traveling to Earth and an ongoing guerilla war with dinosaur constructs, Shooter only nudges these major plotlines forward. Instead, he concentrates on a new and seemingly meaningless plot with Ultra Boy. He also adds a personal subplot of the fallout between Garth and Imra because of her infidelity. I suppose I should be happy that the other plots were progressed.

And, as always, there is plenty of sort of backwards feeling cheesecake throughout the book. I just get the sense that Shooter has a grudge against women given that female characters are oversexed, oversexualized beings who seem to exist to fall into the virile arms of the men around them.

Still, the Francis Manapul art continues to shine. You can start to see some of Manapul's more current sensibilities in the art.

Four more issues.

This issue picks up right where last issue ended. Invisible Kid has walked in on Ultra Boy and Saturn Girl having sex in the cafeteria supply closet. Ultra Boy was able to pull up his pants but Imra is merely covering herself with her costume.

Both Jo and Imra fear that Lyle will tell Garth what he has seen. They decide that they need to tell Lightning Lad the truth. Jo says he will.

And yes, we get a panel of Imra sliding her panties back on.

Fan service with Saturn Girl?

 Meanwhile, despite Brainy declaring last issue that he failed in stopping the oncoming planet, in this issue he is praised for stabilizing everything. Maybe Shooter was told that he only had a couple more issues and truncated that plot.

Of course, throughout these scenes Lightning Lad called the President of the United Planets by her first name Kin'thea. She even, literally, fell into his arm last issue. And here she seems to be ogling him a bit calling him ... pause ... an interesting young man. Her coy smile in the second panel says a lot. (Or am I reading to much into this?)

Meanwhile, the UP Young Heroes tryouts were canceled because of the incoming catastrophe and now these petulant super-powered teens are causing chaos around the town.

 Freed from prison, Princess Projectra returns to the headquarters and gets a new costume from 'Carmine's Actionwear'. It has a distinctively Dave Cockrum/Mike Grell feel with the cutouts and skin showing. I guess Grellwear would be too on the nose. Was Carmine Infantino still editor in chief when the Cockrum/Grell stuff was coming out? Is this an homage to him?

Projectra is definitely still reeling from the destruction of her family. She continues to be haughty about peasants. Luckily Tinya reaches out to here. In a nod to Waid's run, Phantom Girl tells Jeckie a story from an old comic book (one of the inspirations for the team back in the early issues). But Projectra definitely is treating Phantom Girl more like a servant than a friend.

 It is clear that Ultra Boy is definitely one of Shooter's favorites. He has been in the spotlight since the beginning of this run.

Here we get pages of him singlehandedly stopping the rampaging Young Heroes applicants. I do like how we see Jo alternating his powers in battle, switching things around.

And he certainly is an equal opportunity brawler, smashing a woman in the face. She is a fighting him so I get it. But is weird is her saying 'you wouldn't hit a woman' line.

That small exchange again makes me question Shooter's thoughts about women.

One of the lingering plots has been who is behind the techno-construct beasts who are attacking the UP. These soldiers have some way to evolve and Brainy has deduced it is secondary to their weapon.

When Brainy hears that Chameleon Boy scanned one of these things, Querl knows that he finally has an in. Remember, Shooter went out of his way to say that Cham can become whatever he scans in its entirety. So when he scanned the creature, he scanned its weapon as well. Cham becomes a perfect copy of this thing.

And, without warning, Brainy uses a knife to cut off Cham's hand so he can dissect the weapon.

There is so much I can't grasp here. Cham can scan inorganic objects and replicate them? Seems wrong. He could become a Phantom Zone projector? A Mother Box? The Miracle Machine? I don't get it.

Second, couldn't Brainy tell Cham he was going to cut off his hand? Anesthetize him? I know Cham can regenerate. But seems cruel.

Meanwhile, M'rissey has done some legal legwork. We had heard that Ultra Boy was charged with vehicular homicide on Rimbor. With a line, M'rissey says he has cleared Jo of the crime. I forget if we hear more. Maybe this was Shooter dropping another plotline.

Then we learn that Projectra, while pardoned, is still considered dangerous and will need to undergo a psyche scan.

I really don't like what happens to Projectra in this volume.

 Have I mentioned the fan service in this book?

For no apparent reason, we get this two panel scene which seems to exist only so we can see Ayla disrobe. And the way she is leaning in that second panel? That is for the reader not because Ayla would naturally bend that way.

Thankfully, Shooter does answer a question I have been asking all along. There had to be some other Orando citizens off world when their planet was destroyed. And some of their assets must have been elsewhere and not being able to be seized.

Projectra is greeted by some survivors. They cryptically tell her that her powers have been tremendously increased. There is a terrible strength in her. They call her Imperiatrix, a rather fascist-sounding title. And they give her a magical item to let her get through the psych-scan without her hidden feelings discovered.

I can understand how Projectra's life has been ripped from her, destroyed. But it is sad that she decided to descend into evil.

Finally, Saturn Girl spills the beans to Lightning Lad who is understandably upset.

Garth says they are finished. And later he tells Ultra Boy that the perils to the system have to come first. He won't deal with this infidelity before all is safe.

I don't know if this plotline with Imra moves the book forward in any way. While I know that Levitz had Saturn Girl be tempted by Timber Wolf in his run, there was a different feel to that book and those characters. Levitz made those characters three dimensional. And made it more personal and less tawdry.

And Brainy's mutilation of a friend and the Ayla strip tease all felt more grotesque to me than I would like.

This whole Shooter run has felt a bit like a mess.

We are one issue closer to the end.

1 comment:

  1. "I just get the sense that Shooter has a grudge against women given that female characters are oversexed, oversexualized beings who seem to exist to fall into the virile arms of the men around them."

    I cannot tell you how happy I am to hear someone else put this into words; between his Marvel stuff (especially Avengers #200 & some of the stuff in Secret Wars II where the Beyonder mind-controls hookers & such) and this, I don't get why so many people are oblivious to this. Maybe they just like the fanservice, but there are so many other, more appropriate & less gross places to get T&A out there.