Comic Book Review: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #22

It is time again to review my all time favorite title. Please don’t mistake that with statement to mean that Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes is one of the best titles on the market. Because it most certainly is not. The past several issues have lacked Kitson’s wonderful art. They have also delivered rather pedestrian stories. Can Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #22 actually be a solid read? Will I be surprised and find myself enjoying this issue? Let’s hit this review and find out.

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Waid & Tony Bedard
Layouts: Barry Kitson
Penciler: Adam DeKraker
Inker: Rob Stull & Rodney Ramos

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts with a flashback of Shadow Lass and Karate Kid on a “date” that consists of them beating up a bunch of thugs. Action gets Shadow Lass hot and she only likes to communicate physically. Karate Kid, on the other hand, is a thinker and prefers a quite date full of conversation.

We cut to the present. Shadow Lass is asking Karate Kid for his help. Ultra Boy won’t stop talking about Supergirl. He keeps insisting that he can outdo her. That no being the strongest is making him crazy. He thinks it makes him look impotent. Karate Kid says that Ultra Boy’s rivalry with Supergirl could be masking a crush that he has on her. Karate Kid says that he will handle it during his training session with Ultra Boy today. Karate Kid tutors Ultra Boy to help him better control his powers.

We shift to a demonstration of supporters asking people to vote for Brainiac 5 for leader of the Legion. The SP show up and say that the demonstration is unsanctioned. The crowd attacks the SP. The SP return fire. Cosmic Boy shows up to defuse the scene. Cosmic Boy then offers the teenager who started the entire brawl a spot on the Legion. The teenage is some green alien who is an energy-caster. Since Sun Boy has left the Legion they need someone to fill that role.

Invisible Kid then arrives on the scene and tells Cosmic Boy that he has figured out why Cosmic Boy feels weird around Supergirl. We shift to the Legion Headquarters. Invisible Kid explains that the odd feeling that Cosmic Boy feels in his gut is due to Supergirl’s electromagnetic field interfering with his. Therefore, Cosmic Boy doesn’t have a crush on Supergirl. (Thank God.) It is just pure physics. Cosmic Boy is relieved. Invisible Kid leaves and says to himself that he is also relieved because he doesn’t need any competition. Invisible Kid then walks into a room full of Supergirl paraphernalia.

We cut to Karate Kid training with Ultra Boy. Karate Kid then tells Ultra Boy that they need to talk about Supergirl.

We then shift to a team of heroes who are with Sun Boy. The members of this team used to be a part of Terra Firma. They quit Terra Firma in order to learn the Legion way. They are investigating the planet Narchus III for signs of a fifty thousand Dominator colony that was present in this location a week ago. Unfortunately, now it seems totally deserted. Suddenly a buff Dominator attacks the heroes.

We cut to Shadow Lass telling Supergirl that she wants to talk with her about Ultra Boy. Karate Kid interrupts and tells Supergirl that she is needed for an emergency on the desert of the moon of Tykon. Karate Kid immediately send Supergirl through a teleportation device and tells her that she will be briefed once she gets there. Supergirl flies through the teleportation device and arrives at the moon. Ultra Boy is already there. He is less than pleased about be teamed up with Supergirl. He tells her that a meteor swarm is about to his the planet and their shield isn’t working. So, they will have to stop the meteors from hitting the planet. Supergirl suddenly becomes weak and faint. Ultra Boy realizes that Supergirl gets her power from a yellow sun. They are currently in an orange sun system. Ultra Boy throws Supergirl through the transportation device and then tackles the job by himself happy that Supergirl is weak and he is not.

Shadow Lass is thrilled that Ultra Boy is confident once again. Supergirl asks Karate Kid if he thinks his plan worked. Karate Kid responds that Ultra Boy is all surface. There was no hidden depth. There was no crush. Now that he views himself as stronger than Supergirl he will probably ignore her from now on.

We shift back to Sun Boy and his team of heroes. They have been captured by the Super Dominator. End of issue.

The Good: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #22 was yet another pedestrian read. However, that isn’t to say that there weren’t a few positives in this issue. I was thrilled that we learned that Cosmic Boy’s strange feelings were not the product of him having a crush on Supergirl. Instead it is just a product of her unusual magnetic field messing with Cosmic Boy’s powers. Thank god for this. I’m still waiting for Waid to bring back Night Girl. Cos and Night Girl go together like peanut butter and jelly. Accept no substitutes.

I’m digging how Waid and Bedard are writing Cosmic Boy. He comes across as strong and heroic. He quickly defuses the brawl between the teenagers and the SP. He then invites the instigator of the brawl to take Sun Boy’s spot on the team. Cosmic Boy is a quick thinker who doesn’t get flustered easily. I also like how Cosmic Boy thanked Invisible Kid for his help and then threatened Invisible Kid if her ever scanned him again without his permission. Cosmic Boy isn’t going to tolerate any crap. I like this little bit of an edge that Waid is giving Cosmic Boy’s personality.

I liked the plotline with Shadow Lass, Karate Kid and Ultra Boy. Waid is doing a nice job fleshing out their characters. I like Waid’s version of Karate Kid. He already has more personality than any previous version of Karate Kid. I liked the back-story on Shadow Lass and Karate Kid’s relationship. I also liked how Shadow Lass is the type of woman who would rather communicate physically instead of talking. What guy doesn’t dream for that kind of girlfriend! And Shadow Lass is truly a perfect match for Ultra Boy. Ultra Boy isn’t going to want to spend time talking about feelings and emotions. I would imagine that Waid’s Ultra Boy just wants to bust heads and have sex. And that is just what Shadow Lass likes in a man.

I also enjoyed the scene where Ultra Boy got to strut his stuff while Supergirl wilted due to a lack of energy from a yellow sun. Seeing Ultra Boy unceremoniously toss Supergirl back through the transporter and then deliver the lines “All that matters is you’re weak and I’m not! Match. Set. Ultra Boy!” I loved it. It was nice to see the all powerful god-like Supergirl finally pushed out of the spotlight even if it was for a moment. Supergirl may be able to use all her powers at the same time unlike Ultra Boy. But, Ultra Boy doesn’t wilt away if there is no yellow sun around. And Ultra Boy has no Kryptonite weakness that can hurt him when he is invulnerable. Enjoy the spotlight, Ultra Boy. I’m sure that Super Barbie will be hogging it in the future.

I liked the scene with Sun Boy and the ex-members of Terra Firma. Sun Boy’s new look is waaaay better than his previous look. I’m interested to learn more about this team. Are they the new Legion of Substitute Heroes? I like the idea of Sun Boy wanting to teach the ex-members of Terra Firma the “Legion Way.” Of course, the Super Dominator was great! I love Dominators and a jacked up Dominator tearing up the place is always entertaining.

Waid delivered a nice ending that hooked the reader. I’m interested to see where the Super Dominator is taking our captive heroes. I’m relieved and happy that Waid is finally starting to address the Dominator plotline that has lain dormant for several issues.

The Bad: Let me just get this complaint out of the way at the very start. Super Britney is just as annoying as ever. Honestly, her dialogue makes me want to reach into the panel and rip her tongue out. I don’t think any character has ever come across so nauseatingly cute and sugar coated. I don’t think any character has ever talking like such a bubble headed bimbo.

The way that Waid lets her completely overshadow the other Legionnaires in the power category is irritating. A good example is how Supergirl helps Cosmic Boy stop the energy caster teenager from igniting a massive brawl with the SP. Supergirl blocks the teenager’s energy blasts and comments “It tickles.” Yeah, I get it. Nobody can compare to her in terms of power. Absolutely nothing in the universe could possibly hurt her. All other heroes are totally useless and irrelevant in her presence. And then we get the annoying bimbo comment on top of it. There is absolutely nothing interesting about Supergirl’s incredibly shallow character. Her character also adds absolutely nothing to the Legion as a team and does nothing to increase interest in the other Legionnaires.

Even though I enjoyed the Ultra Boy plotline, I still say that Waid is writing Ultra Boy too dumb. I know that Ultra Boy has always been the tough street kid who impulsive and isn’t a rocket scientist. However, before this latest reboot, Ultra Boy was never portrayed this dumb. I’m amazed that Ultra Boy can even dress himself and that he doesn’t drool on himself. It is just too over the top.

The revelation that Invisible Kid has a big crush on Supergirl does nothing for me. This is a no win situation. If Invisible Kid finally tells Supergirl about his feelings for her and she reciprocates then I won’t care since I find Supergirl annoying and Invisible Kid to be terribly under developed and uninteresting. The two of them as a couple will create no interest in me. If Invisible Kid tells Supergirl and she rebuffs him and he ends up being devastated by it then I also won’t find it interesting. I have no desire to read about a love sick Invisible Kid pining away for a Supergirl that won’t return his love. Lastly, if Invisible Kid doesn’t tell Supergirl and just becomes some bizarre and creepy guy with an unhealthy obsession then I’ll have no interest at all in this plotline. I have no desire to see Invisible Kid turned into some sick creep.

So, no matter how this plotline turns out, there is no possible result that will interest me at all. Poor Invisible Kid. His love life has really stunk ever since Chemical King died.

The writing continues to be average at best. The dialogue reads stiff and slightly generic at times. There is very little chemistry between the characters and that is a fatal flaw for a title like the Legion of Super Heroes. The magic of the Legion of Super Heroes has been all of the interesting characters and how they interact with each other. That incredible chemistry that Levitz was able to create between these characters has been totally lacking during Waid’s run on this title.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #22 read like a filler issue. The only plotline of any relevance and importance were the four pages we got about Sun Boy and his team investigating the colony of Dominators. That is it. The rest of this issue was pure filler. And that is pretty much how almost all of the issues have read since this title got hi-jacked by Supergirl. There has been almost no advancement of any plotlines. There have been no new interesting plotlines created. This title has just floundered about like a rudderless ship. This title has been stuck in neutral since Supergirl arrived. I know that Waid is spending most of his time on 52 and it really shows. This title just seems to be lacking focus and direction.

Hopefully, when Waid resumes his full time writing duties this title will get back on track. I am hoping that the Dominator plotline will start to take center stage and provide for some interesting stories with some direction.

DeKraker’s artwork is less than impressive. His inability to draw faces is startling. A character’s face will drastically change from panel to panel. There is absolutely no consistency. Some panels, the faces are grotesquely distorted. The only thing that has been consistently good on this title has been Barry Kitson’s artwork. I really hope Kitson returns soon. Kitson’s art has really been the only bright spot for this latest version of the Legion.

Overall: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #22 is another unimpressive read. This title is has really done nothing since Supergirl joined the team. It is disheartening to see the Legion floundering in mediocrity. What stuns me is that I have always loved Waid’s work. I think he is very talented. But, maybe the Legion isn’t the right title for him. Maybe he is like Bendis and can’t handle a comic with a large cast. Plus, it is really hurting this title that Waid is spending all of his time and energy on 52 and it really shows when you read the Legion.

DC really needs to place a writer on the Legion who will focus his energy on making this title the incredible read that it can be. The Legion of Super Heroes has so much potential, but for some reason DC just can’t seem to be able to get their act together on this title. I have no reason to believe that this title is going to get better anytime soon. DC’s past history has shown that they have repeatedly fumbled the ball with this title ever since Levitz left. I certainly would not recommend this title to anyone other than a long time die-hard Legion fan.

Ok Tenzil, now you can post your review where you point out all the positives and tell everyone how great a comic this is! 😉 We all know you are a Supergirl apologist! 😉