Or – “This Is What Happens When You Date Timber Wolf And Not Karate Kid, Jeckie!”
Three issues into Jim Shooter and Francis Manapul’s run on Legion of Super-Heroes, there’s a strange thing happening…Â Not all that much has changed.Â Â Of course, many of the “changes” brought forth in the W/KRP Threeboot Legion have actually been returns to the Silver Age point of view on the characters, soÂ Silver Age legend Shooter may not actually be that far out of his element.Â Â Still, it’s obvious thatÂ SOMETHING wicked this way comes…Â Â I just can’t tell you for sure what, yet.Â
Previously, on Legion of Super-Heroes:Â After Cosmic Boy phased the Dominator homeworld into the Phantom Zone (taking Mon-El with it) he disappeared into the 41st century, leaving the Legion in the hands of, first, Supergirl, and then, Lightning Lad.Â Anyone who has a grasp of Legion history can tell you that Lightning Lad as leader is a concept that should strike fear in the hearts of Legion and reader alike.Â As for poor Princess Projectra, after her parents died horribly (and gave her mystic superpowers) has now lost her home and fortune, while the Legion is being stretched thinner than ever, and the fake 31st century cursewords are flying fast and furious.Â (It should be noted that the future cursewords are one of the only things that I really DISLIKE about Shooter’s work…)
As we kickoff our festivities, Princess Projectra arrives at her home in Metropolis, only to be greeted by an armed robot phalanx, and an obsequious bureaucrat.Â He warns her that her powers won’t work on him, and Projectra snarls back, “I am going to make you believe that they’re attacking YOU…Â and, even though I’ve told you what I’m about to do, it will make no difference.Â You will panic…”Â The gambit works (and is totally badass to boot) as she enters the now empty castle to find Sydne Ardeen, United Planets councilwoman and Saturn Girl’s mother.Â She warns Jeckie to watch her actions, reminding her that even a Princess has rules, and that her rash actions could have repercussions for the whole Legion.Â Jeckie leaves (and we see the panicked guard shooting his robots to pieces and totally overusing the word ‘florg,’ which seems to equate to the f-word) but at least Projectra doesÂ free the guard’s mind from her illusion.
In the Legion headquarters, someone sits in the command chair, updating theÂ duty rosters, andÂ resetting Projectra’s status to “emergency only.”Â He then updates another roster, and the sceneÂ switches to that team onÂ Triton, the moon of Neptune.Â Saturn Girl and Timber Wolf scanÂ a disasterÂ area, site of lastÂ issue’s alien attack, while a nearby broadcaster shows his anti-Legion bias.Â As Star Boy and Invisible Kid arrive, (turns out Lyle isn’t as crushed as he seemed last time)Â Timber WolfÂ seeks outÂ Giselle, the Tritonian super-powered girl from last issue.Â I can’t decide whether or not I hate this girl, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she may end up being our newest Legionnaire.Â Either way, the Tritonians hate her for being different, and the newscaster bias is also explained, as the planet hates the Legionnaires as “anomalies” as well.Â Timber Wolf very nearly rips a councilman’s throat out, but Saturn Girl stops him with her telepathy, a felony crime on Triton.
Back on Earth, a team consisting of Element Lad, Ultra Boy and Colossal Boy try to track down an infestation of rodents in New Beijing.Â When they try to catch the last muskshrew, Colossal Boy ends up crossing the path of a sterotypical gang of future toughs speaking Shooter-style meaningless dialogue.Â “You florgin’ dimbo!… This foob is Colossal Boy…Â Let’s flow!Â Rip-flay his scut!”Â Yarrgh!Â More gore for the org!Â C.B. shows some ingenuity with his powers, but gets kayoed, just in time for Jo and Jan to save the day.Â (I wonder if Jim chose the team because they’re named Gim, Jan and Jo?)Â Back at HQ, the updating of the duty roster continues, moving Phantom Girl and Light Lass to standby status, and the scene switches again.
Of course, standby in this case seems to be a codeword for “cheesecake nightie shots” (not that I’m really complaining) as the Legion ladies discuss Lightning Lad’s lack of leadership ability.Â Shooter gets in a subtle dig at a certain somebody whose office is not quite round with Phantom Girl’s dialogue.Â “You know, I’m an Earth history buff.Â There were times during the 21st century when the really needed a Churchill, a Winfrey, or a Mwamba, but their leaders just weren’t of that caliber.”Â It’s actually a little bit distracting to me to have what feels like commentary on current events.Â Luckily, Karate Kid enters, and Light Lass puts her patented moves on him, causing Phantom Girl to exit, Stage Awkward Sexual Tension.Â This, by the way, puts Ayla and Val together as a couple, while the previous writing team paired up their historical counterparts, Timber Wolf and Projectra, earlier in the series.Â Do I hear a partner swap coming?
In the command area, the editing of the roster continues, when suddenly Lighting Lad stumbles in, half asleep, thinking he heard something…Â Up until this moment, I didn’t realize it wasn’t him in the chair…Â but whomever it was, he or she is already gone.Â Lightning Lad doesn’t really notice that somebody else has been editing his roster for mistakes, which proves that he’s not much for the leader’s chair.Â Could we be seeing the return of one Rokk Krinn to the Legion lineup?Â Downtown, in a sleazy part of town she’s normally not be caught dead in, Projectra encounters a crime, and nearly leaves before renewing her commitment to the heroic life and using her powers to stop a group of looters.Â Â Princess ProjectraÂ flies away with a smile…
…and I’m not sure what to think.Â Parts of this issue were excellent (the Ultra/Element/Colossal B-plot was very well done, with all three of them returning to a much more classic state of mind, and the moment where Ayla turns her feminine wiles on Karate Kid is entertaining.)Â But there’s a lot of weirdness here as well, with the florgin’ cursing getting on my zarking nerves, leaving me spattered with gore for the org and my lust-mate.Â I liked the spotlight on Projectra, turning her ‘spoiled rich girl’ facade inside out and showing that she’s really a hero at heart, but the sum of the issues’ parts felt very mish-mash, if well-drawn mishmash at that.Â Overall, I can’t give Legion of Super-Heroes #39 more than 2.5 out of 5 stars, but they’re all well-earned…Â Nothing here was precisely bad, it just felt a bit off for me, again with the “Middle Chapter Will Read Better In Trade” syndrome.Â Still, it’s good to see Shooter back on ANY mainstream title, and I’m in for the long haul, if only to see what new futuristic f-words we come up with…Â Florch, anyone?Â Perhaps fnerkle?