Or – “Despite The Peek-a-boo Costume, Dawnstar Is Not A Stripper!”

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I’m always appalled at the apparent adoration for the artwork of Aicahael Aurner… Uh, I mean, Michael Turner. The cover of this issue has a very-malnourished looking Hawkman holding his mace in an incredibly phallic manner, while Red Arrow (Ugh.) positions one of his, you should pardon the expression, shafts to try and compete, but looks disappointed not to measure up, while Dawnstar hovers overhead, leaning forward to apparently make it easier for them tuck her tips into her cleavage. Luckily, she found some of Jimmy Olsen’s Elastic Lad serum, allowing her to thrust her gazongas forward and to the right, while her torso makes a 3/4 turn backward, leaving her hips cocked strongly to the left, with her wings somehow at full extension. The positives? Well, it’s not as horrible as the Pencil-Necked Karate Kid last issue, and it frankly makes the interiors by Ed Benes look like Norman freaking Rockwell… but does the story hold up its end of the bargain?

Feel free to click on the image at the right (which, by the way, you can do in EVERY Major Spoilers review, in case you weren’t aware) to see for yourself, if you’re JLA1.jpginterested. Dawnstar hails from the naked age of The Legion, a time when even Cosmic Boy wore a corset, but also a time when the team enjoyed their greatest success. Somehow, seven members of that team (Star Boy, Dream Girl, Karate Kid, Wildfire, Dawnstar and two others) have come back in time on some sort of dire mission, but even THEY don’t know what their ultimate goal is, having been somehow brainwashed before being sent back. The Justice Society of America has inducted Star Boy as Starman, one of the new members they’re shepherding, and Karate Kid was hidden as a minor villain named Trident. Wildfire is found frozen among the statues in Superman’s Fortress while Dream Girl is found in the clutches of Doctor Destiny, trapped within Arkham Asylum, and the rest of both teams have split up to find the missing Legionnaires, tracking them by the flight ring signals. This issue opens with JLA chairperson Black Canary and Mr. Terrific examining the belt that Wildfire had been hiding. (There’s also an odd side conversation that seems to imply that Wildfire is inhabiting Red Tornado’s body, which ISN’T how Drake’s powers worked pre-crisis.) Mr. T says it’s not a force-shield belt, as Wildfire thought, nor is it one of Batman’s utility belts.

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“Then why are you watching through a two-way mirror?” He’s got a good point, there. This sequence is puzzling, in that several interesting points are somewhat lost in dialogue, notably the idea of Wildfire in Red Tornado’s body. I’m not sure what’s going on, actually, as Dr. Mid-Nite examines Dream Girl, and Wildfire tries to make Tornado feel better. “It gets better, John. It will.” Doesn’t that sound like they KNOW each other in Wildfire’s timeline? Tornado bitterly responds, “But it doesn’t get any DIFFERENT, does it?” Drake doesn’t understand, but John mentions the whole body thing. “[It’s] temporary. Just like your current one is for you.” While they bond over their Frank Sinatra/Diamond Dave duet (“I… ain’t… got… noooo… body!”), Karate Kid and Batman try to out stoic one another.

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“…it’s usually coming from someone right behind you.” So, does that mean that Thom’s greatest fear is losing his mind? Or is there even more to it than that? Something else of note, Karate Kid refers to certain historical events of a contemporary nature as happening around the time of “The Middle Crisis.” Quoth the Meatwad, “Do WHUT now?” We’ve only seen TWO Crises, haven’t we? The original one On Infinite Earths, and the Infinite one are all we know, which may give hints as to the nature of what the heck Countdown is count-downing to, hmm? Meanwhile, there are other JLA/JSA teams out in the world, including one with the intriguing grouping of Vixen, Son of Wildcat, The Flash, and Green Lantern Hal Jordan. They’ve tracked the signal to a place in Africa that Hal and Jay (Flash) know quite well: Gorilla City. They’re greeted by King Solovar himself, to which Wildcat marvels, “He’s a talking gorilla!” Vixen rightfully points out, “You’re a talking cat. Show respect!” Suddenly, a young ape comes and tells the king that a child has been born and that it is “nzame.” Solovar excuses himself quickly, and Jay offers to help them fight, but the young ape tells him that it’s a cause for celebration… the child is a pure silver gorilla. Uh oh. Why does THAT give me the willies in relation to the JSA?

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Can I just point out here that that Cheetahs don’t actually have super-speed? I think Jay is humoring Vixen by loaning her some of his super-speed (Can he still do that? Could he EVER?), but in any case the result is the same. They’ve found the next Legionnaire, the one the apes call “The Lone Wolf.” Could they make this any easier on us? When you say “Lone Wolf” to a Legionnaire, we’re reminded of the lad who thought he was an android after being tricked by the REAL android. His love-affair with Ayla Ranzz was long and ended badly, he was the first graduate from the Legion Academy, and has occasionally had his face change for no reason other than Dave Cockrum liked to draw pointy hair… he is Timber Wolf!

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He’s also a good candidate for a Hero History. Show of hands, folks… Who wants to see Timber Wolf next? Okay, now who wants to see Matter-Eater Lad? It’s like American Idol with spandex jumpsuits! Vixen, amusingly, makes the observation that Timber Wolf has her old hairstyle, and Hal’s ring repeats the Interlac code-phrase ‘Lightning Lad.’ The smile quickly disappears from T-Wolf’s face, and he looks suddenly very angry. Wildcat asks him if he remembers anything, or if he’s supposed to give some sort of clue. Timber Wolf is silent for a long moment, and then says “I’d like to go now. Where’s the rest of my team?” This mission seems to be over, but one of the other teams has a much longer trip to go on. What could be longer than the other side of the frickin’ planet? How about another planet entirely? The team of Hawkman, Power Girl, Hawkgirl, and Red Arrow (ugh) are headed to planet Thanagar, where Hawkman has spent his missing year rebuilding the Hawk-Police. As they land, Hawkgirl and Arrow continue their third-grade-pigtails-in-the-inkwell flirting…

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Hawkman is not amused. I’m really sure that pursuing this is a bad idea. What’s more, even Kendra (Hawkgirl) and Roy (Red Arrow… Ugh.) know that this is a very bad idea. Hawkgirl even admits to Roy that she may be trying to get his attention while he tries to get hers, but then Power Girl steps in to give a little advice. “Be careful with them.” Arrow tries to play it off, but Power Girl points out that they’ve been reincarnated for the last 4000 years, and every lifetime they’ve been ordained to be in love. This incarnation may not be quite normal, but there’s still a bond there that neither Hawk can deny, or even understand. “And this grand knowledge comes from being JSA Chairperson?” snarks Red Arrow (ugh.) No, says Power Girl, it comes from spending six months on Thanagar helping to rebuild during HER missing year, and most shocking of all…

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Oh, my… Okay, STOP THE BOAT! I have a question. We saw Power Girl many times during 52, didn’t we? Was she not part of the climactic battle of WWIII? And when the One Year Later gap started, she was in Kandor with Kara Zor-El, yes? When the hell did she have six months to spend on Thanagar macking with the Hawk? In either case, this information also shocks Red Arrow (Ugh… I’ll get over it eventually, I promise.) Power Girl tells him that when Hawkgirl inevitably breaks it off with him, it will “shatter you more than any supervillains punch.” Wow. That’s a pretty cool line. Meanwhile, somewhere else identified as “Metropolis: The Future,” three shadowy figures stand over the body of a woman whose brain is missing. They talk cryptically of having to come here because the Legion was in the past. One of them speaks of how awkward something is for him, and another assures him that he will adjust. They’ve travelled through time to get here, because, as they say…

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Oh, $#!+. Any one of these schmucks is trouble, but all three indicate something really awful. Per Degaton, The Ultra-Humanite, and Despero are all dangerous in their own right, but in maddeningly different ways. I’ve seen questions about why Despero is back in his lateral fin form, rather than the hulking dorsal fin variety, and I point out to you this: Degaton talked about having to come from both the future AND the past. I think this is Despero BEFORE his transformation. Worse than that, the last time we saw Degaton, he spoke in riddles about how he was going to enjoy killing the JSA, and that wheels were in motion to destroy them all. This, by the way, is also why I was leery of a white gorilla… Foreshadowing! Your clue to quality literature! The four Justice-types follow the flight ring signal to a dark-haired woman with wings, and say the code-phrase. It has no effect, and Red Arrow (ugh) repeats it, in case he mispronounced. The woman suddenly takes off her wing harness, and it dawns on Roy… they’ve been played.

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Yes, they ARE indicating a romance between this woman and Dawnstar. This is a new development in her character, though she’s been essentially out of play since 1986, and the acceptability factor as regards lesbian superheroes was markedly different then. And she always did have trouble dealing with Wildfire’s affections for her… Either way, Dawny’s gone… and *I* know something they don’t: Dawnstar can fly at near-light speeds, folks. She’s already followed her tracking powers to find her friends. When the African squad arrives, and Timber Wolf joins his team, the five Legionnaires look around, realizing that it’s time. T-Wolf ask the League and Society to give them a moment, and as soon as they’re alone, he speaks. “Feel that? Brainy’s backup. There are five of us now. Enough for the mission.” The Legionnaires touch hands, and the screens that allow the JSA to watch them go dark. Dream Girl mentions her visions of a death, but Timber Wolf has apparently got all the information. “You were close, Dreamy. But one of us dying? That’s not just a vision… that’s the MISSION!” He pops one of the canister-like things off the belt that Wildfire carried, and snaps it suddenly up into a familiar-looking lightning rod. As the JLA and JSA desperate try to bust in and find out what’s going on, Dawnstar makes her presence known…

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The title of this issue, for the Interlac impaired? “Suicide.” And now, the code-phrase makes sense… If you read Wikipedia, you may have read some idiot opining that the Legionnaires are going to try and resurrect Lightning Lad. That idiot is wrong. Yes, the lightning rods look familiar because of the original story with the resurrection of L.L. but think about it. Lightning Lad hasn’t even been BORN yet, and if he DIED in their future, why the heck would they come back in time to save him? No, my friends, if you read the clues, there’s only one man they could be here for, and that man is…

Kal-L, the Superman of Earth-2. Not only that, faithful Spoilermaniacs, but I hypothesize that this Legion, *MY* Legion is going to be revealed as existing in the future of Earth-2, per the new and improved multiverse theory. I don’t have any insider information, nor have I read any spoilers that you haven’t, but my gut tells me I’m on the right track.

This crossover has been tense and exciting (as well as mystifying) since Day 1, and Meltzer is one of those writers who tends to set up a lot of dominoes, only to drop a bowling ball on them before they fall, but I’m enjoying this book so far. Seeing the Legionnaires out-thinking the original super-team and the greatest heroes of them all (plus Red Arrow! Ugh…) was nice, and Benes seems to have a real love of drawing hundreds of heroes in the same room. There’s continuity aplenty (I especially loved the moment where the young ape spoke fondly to Jay and Hal, and remembered how when they last visited, he “barely came up to Sir Barry’s waist.”) but you don’t have to understand it to follow the book. The dialogue is a bit off in places, though, and the shocking Hawkman/Power Girl panel is still a bone in my craw, but overall it’s an above-average issue, scoring an above-average 3.5… Heck, why not? 3.5 flight-rings out of 5! The only question left now, Spoilerheads, is “Timber Wolf or Matter-Eater Lad?” Cast your votes now! Sunday’s not that far away!

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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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34 Comments

  1. Josh
    May 18, 2007 at 2:14 pm — Reply

    Re: Red Arrow – Ugh. Horrible name, not that great a costume.

  2. Brent F.
    May 18, 2007 at 2:39 pm — Reply

    So if they were each in their own personal nightmares does that mean Dawnstar’s was being open and honest about her sexuality?

    BTW, I totally called Timber Wolf.

  3. Josh
    May 18, 2007 at 3:07 pm — Reply

    That would mean Timber Wolf’s worst nightmare is a sense of belonging?

  4. May 18, 2007 at 3:09 pm — Reply

    So if they were each in their own personal nightmares does that mean Dawnstar’s was being open and honest about her sexuality?

    Y’know, it just might have been. Dawnstar IS from a colony of traditionalists who live on the frontiers of space in the old Native American ways. She could have been afraid to come out…

    Y’know, with the exception of Star Boy, it seems like they’ve really tried to give us the Legionnaires who got shafted the worst in the various reboots. Wildfire has been revived poorly once, Timber Wolf always seems to get shafted as “The Wolverine,” Dream Girl gets hosed as an airhead, Karate Kid never gets the dues that his original “beat up Superboy” introduction should engender, and Dawnstar has yet to be rebooted (unless you count Shikari, another winged tracker-type. BUG-winged, but winged…)

    This is why I’m holding out hope that the seventh soldier will be BLOK! WHOOO!

  5. Brent F.
    May 18, 2007 at 3:24 pm — Reply

    Blok would make sense, so far the lost Legionaires all seem to be some of the Legion’s more unique members.

    I’m very curious about Starman. If losing his mind was his nightmare then wouldn’t the codeword snap him out of it? It almost seems as though his failing mental health is a ploy or perhaps an unfortunate side effect of their journey. Also, if he’s not currently in a nightmare state like the other were, then who brought him out of his, or was he ever in one to begin with?

    Anyway, I’m really happy to see Dawnstar in a comic book again. She was always my favorite. As for the history coverage, my vote goes to Timber Wolf.

  6. May 18, 2007 at 3:28 pm — Reply

    That would mean Timber Wolf’s worst nightmare is a sense of belonging?

    Well, he didn’t used to be called The Lone Wolf for nothing. They make the point in the issue that finding a group where he fit right into the pack was part of his pathos, but it was a little unclear. After all, he had a great time racing whatever the hell those dinosaurs were.

  7. Brent F.
    May 18, 2007 at 3:32 pm — Reply

    I think they were implying that Timber Wolf’s nightmare was being able to let go of his inhibitions.

  8. May 18, 2007 at 3:52 pm — Reply

    Just a thought: because this crossover is called the Lightning Saga, a couple of characters who’ve been absent from the JSA lineup is Jakeem and Thunderbolt.

  9. Brent F.
    May 18, 2007 at 4:05 pm — Reply

    That’s an interesting thought. Black Lightning is put back in the spotlight, Jakeem Thunder is absent, and Lightning Lad is discovered to be a codeword for recovering the memories of time lost Legionaires who shouldn’t exist.

  10. May 18, 2007 at 4:06 pm — Reply

    Just a thought: because this crossover is called the Lightning Saga, a couple of characters who’ve been absent from the JSA lineup is Jakeem and Thunderbolt.

    Good point, Gerb… I wonder if this might be their return?

    Also: I’m leaning strongly towards Matter-Eater Lad…

  11. Brent F.
    May 18, 2007 at 4:08 pm — Reply

    Pfftt… Matter-Eater Lad. He eats things, what’s so cool about him?

  12. May 18, 2007 at 4:10 pm — Reply

    He’s single-handedly saved the universe no less than THREE times. Tenzil Kem is a man among men…

    I’m counting your question as a vote for him…

    “What’s so cool about ME? I’m the goddamn Matter-Eater Lad!”

  13. Brent F.
    May 18, 2007 at 4:12 pm — Reply

    Yeah, well… I blame Matter-Eater Lad for childhood obesity! Where’s my secretary?! Tell her to get me the Republicans on the phone post-haste!

  14. Stephen
    May 18, 2007 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    Damn my lack of Legion history! Who was the legionaire that traveled from the future only to wind up in the middle of Final Night? Wasn’t that Lightning Lad? Or was it his sister? In either case one of them died.

    BTW: I vote Matter Eater Lad

  15. May 18, 2007 at 4:18 pm — Reply

    Damn my lack of Legion history! Who was the legionaire that traveled from the future only to wind up in the middle of Final Night? Wasn’t that Lightning Lad? Or was it his sister? In either case one of them died.

    Well, there were roughly ten Legionnaires trapped in the past during that era, including Brainiac 5, Spark (the terrible reboot name for Lightning Lass), Phantom Girl, Ultra Boy, and some others. Also worth noting: Ferro, the rebooted Ferro Lad, was FROM the then-present, and WENT to the future when the team went home.

    Lightning Lad, going by the equally excrable name of Livewire, died later…

  16. May 18, 2007 at 4:19 pm — Reply

    Yeah, well… I blame Matter-Eater Lad for childhood obesity! Where’s my secretary?! Tell her to get me the Republicans on the phone post-haste!

    Well, Matter-Eater Lad says the JERK STORE called, and they’re runnin’ outta YOU! HA! :)

    Besides, you’re thinking of his Legion of Super Villains counterpart “Taco Bell and Krispy Kreme Eater Lad.” It’s a common mistake…

  17. Brent F.
    May 18, 2007 at 4:37 pm — Reply

    BTW, your Wiki link for Per Degaton leads to the Ultra-Humanite wiki page.

  18. May 18, 2007 at 4:42 pm — Reply

    JERK STORE!!!!! :)

    Fixed…

  19. Brent F.
    May 18, 2007 at 4:53 pm — Reply

    Is it possible that the 7th Legionaire could be Kal-L?

  20. Stephen
    May 18, 2007 at 7:57 pm — Reply

    Livewire, that is who I was thinking of. But I agree with your assessment that Kal-L is soon to return from the grave, after all, they previewed it in the JSA a couple of months ago.

  21. May 18, 2007 at 8:40 pm — Reply

    The 7th lightning rod bearer? My guess it will be Superman himself.
    The clues are all there: his lengthy discussion of them in JSA, his questioning Wildfire at the end of that issue, his absence in this issue of JLA.

    And I doubt they are an Earth-2 Legion if the “Earth-1” Superman knows them.

  22. Stephen
    May 18, 2007 at 9:54 pm — Reply

    Actually, now that I think about it, I want to change my vote to Bouncing Boy – Chuck Taine.

  23. May 19, 2007 at 12:50 am — Reply

    Is it possible that the 7th Legionaire could be Kal-L?
    Possible… but it seems like a cheat on the whole “seven soldiers sent back in time” conceit.

    The 7th lightning rod bearer? My guess it will be Superman himself.

    See above.

    Actually, now that I think about it, I want to change my vote to Bouncing Boy – Chuck Taine.

    Okay, we’re at one vote Timber Wolf, one vote Bouncing Boy, and three votes Matter-Eater Lad.

  24. Mark I.
    May 19, 2007 at 1:37 am — Reply

    The funny thing to me about Dawnstar and her “lover” is that they look EXACTLY ALIKE, except one has classic Silver-Age “black” hair (meaning BLUE,) and the other has Current Age “black” hair (more colors available.)

  25. baal
    May 19, 2007 at 2:30 am — Reply

    Matter Eater Lad! Matter Eater Lad! Matter Eater Lad! Matter Eater Lad! Matter Eater Lad! Matter Eater Lad!

    Guess my vote yet?

  26. May 19, 2007 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    The funny thing to me about Dawnstar and her “lover” is that they look EXACTLY ALIKE, except one has classic Silver-Age “black” hair (meaning BLUE,) and the other has Current Age “black” hair (more colors available.)

    Maybe Dawny is a bit of a narcissist? After all, she loves a woman just like her, and used to date a man whose “face” is, essentially, a mirror…

  27. Young
    May 19, 2007 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    Interesting theory about Kal-L, but isn’t it established (pre-Superboy punch) that Kal-L never was Superboy? He only donned the costume after his parents died. His powers came a lot later than Kal-El – he leaping as an adult before he could fly. Therefore, this is not his Legion.

  28. Brent F.
    May 19, 2007 at 6:01 pm — Reply

    Perhaps Lightning Lad is the seventh member and need to the rods to revive him.

  29. Maximus Rift
    May 19, 2007 at 9:47 pm — Reply

    Put me up for Matter-Eater Lad. Once got transformed into a girl, I believe.

    Dawnstar could be bi or her concept of love not be restricted to gender.

    And my vote for #7 is Ferro Lad who is my favorite Legionnare. “Long live the LEGION”

  30. fred m
    May 21, 2007 at 9:24 am — Reply

    I think they are here for superboy

  31. May 21, 2007 at 10:38 am — Reply

    Indeed, nearly any Legionnaire will be welcome, but I’m still stumping for the mighty BLOK!

    What clumps down stairs, and breaks all the chairs, and makes a rockslidey sound?
    What crushes on Mysa, and punches out gods, and is generally fun to be ’round?
    He’s Bloook! He’s Bloook, he’s big, he’s heavy, he’s stone!
    He’s Bloook! He’s Bloook, if you’re not evil, he’ll leave you alone!
    Everyone wants a Blok! You’re gonna love a Blok!

  32. kettch
    May 26, 2007 at 3:19 pm — Reply

    I wonder if word has spread in the superhero community about the Legion being in the 21st century. I know of two young heroes who’d be really interested in that… even if they’d eventually be disappointed as they each encountered different versions of the LSH– Bart Allen and Kara Zor-El.

  33. Kim
    June 15, 2007 at 5:17 pm — Reply

    Great reveiws, I enjoyed them for the most part. But I have to admit he ‘Red Arrow (Ugh)’ was driving me nuts in the end. I don’t love the name either, but it’s here for now….or is it that you don’t like the character? I dunno..anyway a minor gripe in what was a very good reveiw.

  34. June 23, 2007 at 6:29 am — Reply

    Hate to say it, but that wasn’t Solovar. He’s still dead. What the king says is “The house of Solovar welcomes you to Gorilla City,” so that’s presumably his son, Nnamdi.

    – Z

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