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Supergirl & the Legion of Super-Heroes #18

Posted: Saturday, May 27, 2006
By: Ray Tate

for Supergirl Fans

for Legion Fans

Writer: Mark Waid
Artists: Alex DeKraker(p), Mick Gray(i), Nathan Eyring(c)
Publisher: DC

Feh. Supergirl features prominently on the Legion of Super-Heroes' cover, but she doesn't really do much that's super. Her scene with the presto-chango flight-ring offers a degree of Kara cuteness, but the book relies upon too much inadequately explained continuity and plot inanities.

We start the book off with "darker strata" where "even the wealthiest societies need a place to put their trash." This seems so unnecessary and contrived. Given all the technology at society's disposal, Metropolis still doesn't recycle, and they still can't transform their trash into elementary particles--as they do on Star Trek. This "darker strata" serves merely to hide a robot uprising, which came from the former residents of Metropolis "banishing datasouls of every AI robot on the planet to an electrochemical dimension." First "AI robot" is redundant. Second, the whole "datasouls" thing sounds like warmed over Morrison, and third, why in heavens name didn't somebody just take a refrigerator magnet to the robots and erase their "datasouls?" The police and the Legion when fighting the bots have no ethical problem when destroying the bots. So a respect for AI life and "datasouls" doesn't really enter into the discussion.

The book cuts to Brainiac Five talking to Imskians and unloading a great gob of continuity. Bear with me. The Coulans--Brainiac's race--enslaved the Imskians--Shrinking Violet's race. Why not use nanites? Got me. Brainiac, I guess, has now hired the Imskians to do precision work on somebody called Lemnos. What's a Lemnos? I don't really know. Apparently Lemnos reduced "every Coulan" to a Bush-level of mathematical comprehension.

Timber Wolf shows up and hands Brainy a box. This may have something to do with Brainy keeping Dream Girl, apparently dead, "frozen" in a tube. Brainy intends to revive her. Now, this I applaud. Everybody else in the book thinks he's nuts for doing this, but this is a scientist using advanced technology to reverse the damage done. Can we get Babs Gordon a vacation to the future?

The next scene confuses with yet another Conehead, the first being the "nu" Martian Manhunter. "Beldar," a high mucky-muck of Dream Girl's planet, calls the Legion to demand the body of Dream Girl. Now, does anybody besides reviewers consider the effect a conical shaped head or headdress has? I mean how can anybody illustrate or direct illustration of such characters without thinking "We come from France. Neps! Neps!"

Speaking of design, Phantom Girl now apparently has become black or middle-eastern. All well and good, but that doesn't explain why the symbol on her chest resembles either a poorly drawn blimp or a poorly drawn sex toy. Beside her stands Soul-Patch Lad, just a bad choice really, and it's a wonder that Lightning Lad hasn't killed everybody since he's now always emitting electricity. What if he wants to become intimate with Saturn Girl? Can he turn off while being turned on?

After this curious scene, we get another that I'm guessing originates from ICk. Supergirl and a handful of other super-heroes including....Bumblebee? You're kidding me. Bumblebee? Mal Duncan's girlfriend in spaaaaaaaaaace! Any way Supergirl and a handful of super-heroes flail about in space. This scene turns out to be a memory Saturn Girl dredged up from the Girl of Steel.

The presence of Supergirl offers a reprieve. She's the only Legionnaire who has a sense of fun--the previously mentioned flight ring scene--and the only one who actually does something productive--fighting the previously mentioned robots. The others finally buy a vowel once they see Supergirl in action, but their reasoning for trailing the Maid of Might really lacks conviction. The Legion almost act like a bunch of snarky, sitcom teens who have been thrown into a Supergirl book and don't know what to do.

Barry Kitson ducks out for this issue, but he's ably replaced by Adam DeKraker. DeKraker provides maniacal moments for Brainiac Five, acrobatics for Timber Wolf and makes the previously mentioned flight ring scene exemplary in timing and cuteness. It's much in the spirit of Romana's regeneration scene from Doctor Who.



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