Or – “Big Brother Is Watching (From The Phantom Zone)!”

reviewbubble.jpgslsh2.jpgLast time on Supergirl/LSH, we left our heroes on the Kryptonian colony of Rokyn (previously known as The Bottle City of Kandor), flat on their backs from a nearly disastrous battle with separatists, while simultaneously dealing with fallout from the revelation that Supergirl could, just possibly, be nothing but a giant loon with the full range of Kryptonian powers, giving her the ability to annihilate anything that annoys her, including your planet. Meanwhile, Substitute reserve member Jack Bau-Er of Daxam hides in the cargo section of the Legion Cruiser, ready to hijack it to keep it from delivering a deadly payload to downtown Argo City. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

No, not really. The Bau-Er part, anyway (though it should be noted that “24” features more comic book escapes and cliffhangers than three years of Julie Schwartz comics). Bygones… Anyway, back in the story I’m actually READING, the Legionnaires find themselves at about their lowest point. Cosmic Boy is powerless, Brainiac 5 unconscious, Light Lass frozen in a block of ice, and Saturn Girl finds herself unable to focus around the telepathic screaming. The villains blast the last standing Legionnaires, and prepare to steal the strange projector-looking device. This gains the attention of Saturn Girl’s apparition, who suddenly channels Englebert Humperdinck (or was that Winglebert Dangleback?)


“Leeeet meeee gooooooo… cause Ieeee doooon’t love yooooouuuu…” Nevermind. But isn’t it interesting how they juxtapose him with the Kryptonian symbol for the House of El? Foreshadowing, my friends, is an important literary technique. The villains have won, the heroes defeated, and the book ends 15 pages early, filling the rest with a reprint of “Ultra The Multi Alien”. Well, perhaps it would in the standard five person team, but we’re dealing, my friends, with the mighty mighty Legion. Their motto might as well be “Set Em Up And Knock Em Down,” or at least “Crush All You Want, We’ll Make More.” The villains hear a whoosh and find themselves faced with the thing every person in the DCU wants least in the world… an angry Kryptonian.


That’s an “oh, darn” moment, right there. Unfortunately, these villains are being written by Mark Waid, so they’re not all idiots. They realize quickly that she has no powers under the red sun, and is bluffing with her flight ring (and apparently hoping the short skirt will distract ’em). Cosmic Boy shouts “Don’t hurt her! She’s completely unarmed!” which, at first, seems like bad dialogue to me, until I realize what’s happening. Clever, clever Cosmic Boy. Unfortunately, once again, the villains aren’t idiots…


Another interesting cameo there… Why does the name “Zod” ring a bell, again? Faced with not only superior firepower, but the escape of the remaining Legionnaires, our non-idiot antagonists exercise the better part of valor and run like a scalded dog. Finally able to deal with the reason they came to Rokyn, the Legionnaires prepare to depart. Before leaving, Light Lass feels the need to apologize to Supergirl for the way she’s treated her. Ayla’s always been a senstive one.

When Light Lass mentions that they will visit Kara, they reveal another of the strange secrets of Rokyn. On the ENTIRE planet, there is only one settlement, still shaped like the bottle it used to live in. The former Kandorians have, after years in a very confined space, remapped their entire culture as a closed system. No power wasted, nothing left unrecycled… no outsiders allowed. Apparently, their acceptance of Kara (Supergirl) will be the only new person in years, but once she’s in, she’s in for good. Light Lass hugs Supergirl and flies away sadly, and Kara suddenly feels even more alone (difficult to imagine, being one of only a handful of her people left in the entire universe). You feel really terrible for her, and Barry Kitson’s art shows every iota pain in her face. Thankfully, Cosmic Boy has ALSO heard this revelation…


That seems like that could hurt, even without super-strength. Not that Cos (or I) would complain about being hit by a pretty girl at high speed, but still… Meanwhile, back on Earth, as with last issue, we see a bit of intrigue as Lightning Lad prepares to throw his hat into the ring for Legion leader elections. New member Dream Boy, a precognitive, makes a snotty remark to which LL replies “What would you know about how my friends are going to vo–” before awareness dawns. Lightning Lad starts to reconsider who his campaign manager should be, as the election sub-plot shapes up nicely.

The outbound Legionnaires return home, where debate rages about whether to release the prisoner from the Phantom Zone. After all, it’s full of criminals, murderers and various nasty characters who might, say, order you to kneel before them, just as a f’rinstance. Saturn Girl again scans for the mysterious phantom of the zone…


Intriguing point here, as in one of the myriad reboots, it was actually Phantom Girl there who saved Mon-El (or Valor) from a non-Kryptonian Phantom Zone thingy. Also, once again, it may be… FORESHADOWING. Phantom and Saturn are able to merge telepathy with phasing and enter the Phantom Zone as a composite Phanturnsatom Girl, and contact the being, who has stayed in the area of the zone projector. He reveals his name to be Mon-El, but explains that he hasn’t been screaming for help, he’s been screaming about the danger. “The villains you were fighting earlier, back on Rokyn…”


Annd scene! Our setup is clear, here. The return of Mon in his classic suit is a nod to old-school Legion fans, and the stage is set for a massive issue 25 beatdown, which will probably feature ALL the Legionnaires, if I know my anniversary issues of Legion. Also of note is the presence among the villains of Polar Boy, who has always been portrayed as a Legion fan bordering on fanatic. Will he stay on the wrong side, or is there a chance that there’s more going on than meets the eye?

Even in an issue where most of the drama is interpersonal (the psychic meld, Supergirl’s abandonment issues, the leader sidebar), Waid and Kitson don’t leave me with the feeling of “nothing happened here.” It may also be worth noting that if Mon is what he was, the villains are going to be facing not only 24 superhumans of notable power, they’ll have two Superman-level threats in the wings. Swarms of bad guys notwithstanding, the odds aren’t even. This is a title that gets more interesting each month, and thankfully, it seems like you don’t have to know everything about the Legion to read and enjoy the title. For instance, there’s no need to know a damn thing about Mon-El, Krypton, or Kandor to enjoy the story, but there’s added levels of complexity for those that remember old school. Hopefully, this reboot (more of an un-boot, to be honest) will allow the Legion to take on the 21st century without needing to restart reality in a year or two. For sheer entertainment value, and for returning one of my fave-rave Legionnaires, issue #24 gets 4 stars.


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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