Comic Book Review: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #20

By now, everyone knows that the Legion of Super Heroes was the title I loved more than any other comic while I was growing up. I have been rather blunt and clear in my strong dislike for this current version of the Legion of Super Heroes and the fact that Supergirl has hi-jacked their title. I’m going to move on. I expect that Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #20 will be a rather pedestrian read. Tony Bedard joins Waid in handling the writing duties. My only exposure to Tony Bedard was his short run on Uncanny X-Men right before Ed Brubaker salvaged that title. I thought those issues of Uncanny X-Men were practically unreadable. Hopefully, Bedard turns in a better job on Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes than he did on Uncanny X-Men. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Waid & Tony Bedard
Layouts: Barry Kitson
Penciler: Adam DeKraker
Inker: Mick Gray

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

Synopsis: The issue starts with the unveiling of the new Legion of Super Heroes headquarters funded by the United Planets. The masses of Legion followers are disgusted by the UP sponsorship and thing the Legionnaires are nothing more than sell outs. The UP then shows a video of the Legion members “growing up,” are putting the “status in status quo” and that they are a reminder that real rebels embrace authority.

We then cut to the Legionnaires breaking into the UP headquarters and demanding to know why they weren’t asked for approval over that video. The UP leaders point to the contract that Lightning Lad signed that allows the UP to engage in public relations campaigns for the Legion. Suddenly, the UP gets an alert of giants attacking at various locations around the globe.

We then shift to Brainiac 5 on an old L.E.G.I.O.N. ship with Light Lass and Element Lad. Brainiac 5 gets mad at Element Lad for suggesting that Dream Girl is gone and has transcended her mortal shell.

We then cut to Legion HQ where Cosmic Boy is holding a meeting with the other members about their various missions to stop the rampaging giants. Triplicate Girl said that she and Lightning Lad were engaged with a giant when Super Barbie swooped in and took out the giant. Timber Wolf and Princess Projectra said that when they were engaged with the giant they were assigned to stop that Super Britney butted in and took out the giant. (Hmmm, is there a theme here?)

Cosmic Boy states that there were eight differences involving giant teens trying to steal an array of items around the globe. And that one Legionnaire swooped in each time to haul in the trouble making giants. Even though Cosmic Boy purposely excluded her from these missions. Cosmic Boy says that Supergirl makes him nervous. That there is something not right about her. Dream Boy then tells Cosmic Boy that Supergirl has entered the room and heard everything that he just said. Super Barbie says that she put all the giants in jail and that Colossal Boy is there talking with them. The Legionnaires then explain to Supergirl that Big City was created when Bizarro Brainiac decided to do the opposite of what the original Brainiac did when he shrank the City of Kandor. The people who live in Big City voluntarily stay in the city rather than risk going abroad and accidentally squishing someone.

We then cut to a jail in Big City. One of the jailed teens tells Colossal Boy that the torch is being passed from the Legion to …and then he is suddenly interrupted by another one of the jailed teens and told to shut up.

We then shift to Brainiac 5 explaining to Light Lass and Element Lad about his process to bring Dream Girl back to life.

We then cut back to Legion HQ where Super Barbie and Cosmic Boy are talking. Cosmic Boy tells Supergirl that he does want to be friends with her. Super Barbie then flirts with Cosmic Boy and tells him to loosen up some. Star Boy then enters as Super Paris leaves. Star Boy asks Cosmic Boy if he had figured out what was wrong with Supergirl. Cosmic Boy says that he doesn’t think it is Supergirl. That maybe there is something wrong with him. Cosmic Boy then says “I don’t know, Thom. I’ve never felt this way around anyone. The closer she gets, the more my stomach sort of …flip-flops. Is this what it feels like to fall in love?” (I had to do a direct quote just so you would know what truly hackneyed dialogue that was.) End of issue. (Excuse me, I need to go to the Bunker’s bathroom and throw up my breakfast.)

The Good: Well, we actually got to see Cosmic Boy use a little of his magnetic powers in the beginning of this issue. That is a rare sight. Cosmic Boy has the same powers as Magneto who is an insanely powered characters, yet Cos basically can’t do more than move some paperclips. Talk about a waste.

The new storyline with the teens from Big City is interesting. It appears that they are part of some new group or movement of rebel teens who is looking to take over the Legion’s place as the latest fad. Could it be the Legion of Substitute Heroes or Legion of Super Villains that we have seen hinted to over the past couple of issues? I’m actually interested to see where Waid and Bedard take this storyline.

I also thought the origin of Big City was pretty funny. Bizarro Brainiac creating his version of the City of Kandor. Classic.

I liked seeing the old L.E.G.I.O.N. space ship. That put a smile on my face.

The Bad: The teen versus adult plotline rears its tired and boring head again in the beginning of this issue. At no point during this re-booted Legion have I even remotely found this unoriginal plotline to be anything even closely resembling an entertaining or interesting plotline. I guess I’d have to be 13 years old to really be able to relate to this plotline.

The Dream Girl resurrection storyline is starting to wear out its welcome. We have drug out this plotline for so long that I pretty much don’t care if Dream Girl comes back or not. I don’t really see what the need is in making this plotline take so long to reach its climax. It hasn’t been a mystery at all. We knew from the start what Brainy was planning to do. So now we simply have just been waiting and waiting and waiting and listening to the same conversation over and over. Just bring her back or not and move on.

Waid continues to write stories that further bolster my position that Supergirl makes the rest of the Legion totally superfluous. Single-handedly, she defeats and captures all eight giant teens without any effort at all. This type of character just doesn’t work on a title that relies on a large cast of members who compliment each other. It creates zero interest in any of the other characters. It ruins the team dynamic that the Legion is famous for and it makes all the stories highly uninteresting since you know the little blonde Deus ex machina will always appear to save the day no matter the threat.

The final scene in this issue was laughable. Seriously, I busted out laughing so hard that I sprayed Café Bustelo all over my computer. The fact that my name sake would fall in love with the one character that I find to be the least interesting character in all of comics is hilarious! That is too funny. I can only hope that Night Girl shows up soon and smacks the spit out of Supergirl and claims her man. Cosmic Boy and Night Girl are like peanut butter and jelly.

Seriously, regardless of my like or dislike for Cosmic Boy and Supergirl, that scene sports some of the must horrendous dialogue. Cheesy. Hackneyed. Clichéd. Take your pick. That was such poorly written dialogue that it had me laughing out loud.

And that leads me to my next point. The dialogue over all was weak. It reads a bit cheesy and doesn’t have any natural flow. The dialogue gives this title a rather goofy read and feel to it. The pace is still moving along very slowly. It failed to advance the Dream Girl plotline. It failed to advance the Legion of Super Villains or Substitute Heroes storyline. They have totally dropped the Dominator’s plotline and the 52 plotline. Plus, it failed to advance the mystery behind Supergirl. Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes is one of the slowest moving titles that I have read in a long time.

Barry Kitson needs to return as the full time artist immediately. Kitson is about the only thing that makes this title worth reading. Adam DeKraker isn’t terrible. His anatomy is nice. He draws some dynamic scenes. But, his faces are just horrendous. There is no consistency in a character’s face from panel to panel. And sometimes, the faces are just grotesquely deformed looking.

Overall: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #20 is a terribly average issue. Average art and a slow story with some cheesy dialogue at times makes for a read that is rather ordinary. I don’ think that there is much hope of this title turning the corner until Waid assumes full control of this title and is able to focus more of his attention on this storyline. It is obvious that 52 has dominated his time and attention. And it clearly shows in the quality of writing that we have gotten on this title since the One Year Later storyline began.

I can’t recommend this title to anyone outside of a die-hard Legion fan or a die-hard Supergirl fan. There are so many other comics on the market that are far more deserving of your hard earned money than Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes.