Or – “Everything That You Once Knew Was Wrong Is Wronger Still…”

slsh2.jpgreviewbubble.jpgIf you’ve been reading, (and I thank you if ya have), you may have noticed that I have an affinity for team books. In most cases, the bigger the cast, the happier I am. This is a common malady among comic fans my age, and most of us blame it on The Legion. I was introduced to the 30th century through the digest-sized reprints that DC put out in the early 80’s, reprinting the seminal run from Adventure Comics lo those million years ago. At the time, the Legion did something that other comics didn’t: it had consequences. Oh, sure, they were limited and pure schmaltz, but they happened. When Star Boy broke the Legion constitution, they drummed him out of the ranks. Lightning Lad actually died, villains from EVEN FURTHER in the future manipulated the timeline, and bits and pieces of comic lore from years before became integral parts of the story. Now, nigh on fifty years later, how fares the ever-lovin Legion?

slsh1.jpgWell, it’s no surprise to most comic fans that the same things that make the LSH attractive to me make it difficult for others: years of continuity, tons of members, literally thousand of issues of story out there. Moreover, every few years since the original Crisis, DC has been rebooting the title from day one in an attempt to make it less daunting. What this actually accomplishes is another layer of confusion… Is Sun Boy dead, alive, a girl, a renegade? Is Superboy part of the story or not? And if so, which Superboy? So, it was with trepidation that I started picking up the new series a couple years ago, based entirely on the strength of Mark Waid’s writing and Barry Kitson’s gorgeous artwork.

This issue, we’re picking up the pieces of the One Year later mystery, answering the question of why and how Kara Zor-El exists in two timelines. Since issue 16, Supergirl has been in the 31st century, believing it all to be just a dream. In this issue, her theory is borne out, as she wakes up in her own bed…


Kitson’s art is characteristically gorgeous there. Each member has a distinct and singular face, not just a series of costume colors to make identical faces look different. Kara has awoken in a place that looks just like her homeworld, Krypton. She runs back into the house looking for her missing father, babbling about a dream she had. “There was this orange guy and this giant guy and a green guy who was a TOTAL pain in the–”


Well, the book ain’t called Supergirl and her delusions of grandeur, so that’s hardly a real surprise. Entertainingly, back in the day, Brainiac 5 (the green guy) and Supergirl had an on-again off-again romance, which puts their antagonism here in a different light. Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, members Triplicate Girl and Element Lad are on a sweep and search mission, looking for the remains of a robot terrorist cell. What they discover is a young boy with super-powers, living in the wreckage of the city. Two of Triplicate Girl agree to take the boy (who bears a resemblance to pre-Crisis Legion of Substitute Heroes member Chlorophyll Kid) under their wing. Unfortunately, nothing is as it seems…


Oooh, a forbidden romance and a possible traitor? Welcome to the Legion! Wheee… I also feel bad for poor Triplicate Girl, who has gone from steadfast member to split personality to the team trollop through her various iterations. But she doesn’t have it as bad as poor Supergirl, back on Rokyn. “But I thought she was on Krypton,” you say? What’s this ‘Rokyn,’ you ask? Rokyn is the planet where survivors of the bottle city of Kandor have settled and terraformed to remind them of home. See, the thought of a crazy girl with full Kryptonian powers has forced Legion leaders Cosmic Boy and Brainiac 5 to take her where she can get some mental help, and, not coincidentally, where she will lack the ability to crush their skulls at the speed of light. As the team leaves the doctors to find out whether Kara’s speed-dialling the bozophone, telepath Saturn Girl thinks she senses a presence, watching it all. Foreshadowing is your clue to quality literature, folks…

Meanwhile, on far-flung planet Talok VIII, Shadow Lass is forced, once again, to fight her own brother to prove she’s worthy to be planetary champion and ambassador to the Legion. Typing sentences like that are the best part of this gig… And one of the best parts of the LSH has always been that the members are truly alien, each from a different planet with different customs. Shadow Lass’ home is a desert planet, and her people worship her, showering her with food, gifts, and personal tribute. Teammate Shrinking Violet/Atom Girl jokingly suggests that she run for Legion leader as “the hedoism candidate,” but Shadow Lass doesn’t see the joke, planting a seed in her mind and making for an interesting election story. You thought Tracy Flick played dirty?

As those wheels are set in motion, the Legionnaires on Rokyn are suddenly attacked by more familiar looking foes. Someone who may be Fire Lad and Polar Boy, along with a telepathic assassin whom I don’t recognize, and a couple of other guys in tights hand them their collective butts. When their backs are to the wall, Saturn Girl reveals that she is distracted not by the telepath, but the return of the mysterious mental presence…


The old-school Legion fans have goosebumps right now. Is that.. Could it be? That IS a Phantom Zone projector, after all, and he did spend 1000 years in the Zone. This kind of thing is the best part of the Waid/Kitson Reboot Period (known on the DC message boards as the W/KRP), the return of things we know from previous incarnations of the Legion. What makes it different from previous reboots/retcons is that Waid seems to be intent on restoring the Legion’s original timeline, with all it’s strengths and weaknesses, including the hundreds of thousands of bits of minutia that comes with it. While I applaud this move, I’m not sure it’ll sell better than the attempts to simplify it all.

In total, issue was a mostly-positive mixed bag. The interludes in Metropolis and Talok VIII set up new subplots, and any non-Supergirl related subplots are welcome at this point. The main plotline is odd, and showcases a very adult, almost Machiavellian side to old school mainstay Cosmic Boy. Sadly, aside from a very poignant moment with a tearful, betrayed Kara, it’s mostly notable for the HUGE cliffhanger appearance of Mon-El. All in all, it’s a solid issue, a careful build-up to the bombshell last page, and is as beautiful to look at as any book on the stands right now. The only downsides are the cover image (presumably meant to be a cautionary image) and the shortness of the book. As such, it earns an impressive 3 1/2 stars.


Discuss this review in the Major Spoilers Forum.

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. November 15, 2006 at 7:37 pm — Reply

    “Each member has a distinct and singular face, not just a series of costume colors to make identical faces look different.”

    See, this is why I don’t like big team books as a rule. Colorblindness is a real handicap in this respect, not to mention having very weak prior knowledge. I’m glad to see there are some artists out there who are ready to help me out.

  2. Matthew
    November 16, 2006 at 4:57 am — Reply

    Barry Kitson does really good faces and expressions, and has some of the prettiest girls and women around. Check out his work on “Empire,” for more examples of this…

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