Comic Book Review: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #18: One Year Later

As most followers of the Revolution know, both Tenzil and I are monstrous fans of the Legion of Super Heroes. The first comic book I ever read was the Legion of Super Heroes. And I grew up on a steady diet of Legion comics by the legend himself, Paul Levitz. Stud. Any rate, I have not been shy at all about how much I absolutely loathe and abhor Supergirl and her hi-jacking my beloved Legion’s title. But, I am honestly trying to keep an open mind about this One Year Later Storyline. I know it may not seem like it, but I really am trying. Honest. On to the review.

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

Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts with Supergirl’s death. No wait, that is what I was wishing for before I opened up this comic book. Sorry. The issue starts with two SP officers patrolling the lower strata of Metropolis. It is a dark and dirty place. We learn that centuries ago a technocracy of artificial intelligence threatened all human life. Mankind was force to enter a technological dark age by banishing the data souls of every A.I. robot to an electrochemical dimension. Since then all robots have been closely scrutinized for fear that the forbidden data might somehow be retrieved. The current generation of humans barely remembers the Dark Age, but the machines have never forgotten. We then see a bunch of robots attack the two SP officers.

We cut to SP headquarters where the SP officers are scrambling to respond to the cops who were attacked by the robots. One SP officer thinks they should call for some serious fire power to back them up. The commanding officer barks at them to not even mention the Legion of Super Heroes and that they don’t need them. (Hmm, yeah, its official. This storyline is stale as a month old cracker found under your sofa cushion.)

We shift to Brainiac 5 at his secret lab working on Lemnos. Timber Wolf appears and gives Brainiac 5 a mysterious package housing a scarce item that Brainiac 5 had asked Timber Wolf to get for him. Brainiac 5 tells Timber Wolf that he is using Imskians as microscopic tools to “mine” Lemnos’ ability to negate memory into a power for Brainiac 5. Once the Imskians have finished re-coding Lemnos then Brainiac 5 will be able to bring Dream Girl back to life. Brainiac 5 then shows Timber Wolf the tube where Dream Girl’s body is being kept in some type of liquid.

We then cut to Legion Headquarters where the High Seer of Naltor is furious that Dream Girl’s body has not been returned. The Legionnaires are stunned that Brainiac has kept Dream Girl’s body.

We then shift to Supergirl having a flashback of her last thoughts from Infinite Crisis. We then see Supergirl with Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy. Supergirl exclaims “Wow. That seemed so real.” (Genius. Pure genius.) Cosmic Boy explains to Superbimbo that it was real. Those were her memories that Saturn Girl was linking into Cosmic Boy’s mind. Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl then had a telepathic conversation that Saturn Girl says there is nothing more she can do. She dug as deeply as she could. Cosmic Boy agrees. He says that even though Supergirl is not malevolent, there is something about here that makes him tense. (Because she is the Dominator’s weapon!) Anyway, while the adults are talking in this scene, Britney Zor-El is playing with her Legion ring putting on and off causing it to morph a different secret identity for her each time. Cosmic Boy has to remind Superbimbo that the Legion ring is not a toy and to behave herself. At that point, the Legionnaires bust into the room to tell Cosmic Boy about Brainiac 5 and Dream Girl’s body. Supergirl suddenly blasts off at super speed.

We cut to Princess Projectra having dinner with illusions of her dead parents. Star Boy enters and tells her that he is here if she needs anything. Princess Projectra exclaims that no one has ever said that to her. (Somebody better tell Val that Star Boy is hitting on his woman. He will so kick Star Boy’s ass. Oh wait. That was a different continuity. Sorry, they jumble together after 20 reboots.)

We shift back over to the Legionnaires chasing after Supergirl. (Wow, reoccurring theme.) Sun Boy does ask the important question “Why are we following Supergirl, again?” (Good question, my man. Good question.)

During the flight, Lightning Lad finally tells Cosmic Boy that Brainiac 5 has Dream Girl’s body. Supergirl then stops in mid flight and tells the Legionnaires that the sounds are coming from down there and takes off for the ground. When Cosmic Boy asks what noises, Britney Zor-El says “The cries for help, you dork!” (That scintillating bit of dialogue was brought to you by Supergirl.) They charge into where the SP officers from earlier in this issue are battling the robots. The Legionnaires attack and it’s a braaaaaaawwwl! During the fight, Ultra Boy gets clocked by a robot since he can only use one super power at a time. Supergirl then charges over and tells Ultra Boy not to move and that she’ll protect her and since Ultra Boy can only use one power at a time that he should stay invulnerable. (And in one panel we emasculate one of the toughest Legionnaires and also take one of the most powerful Legionnaires before Supergirl and remind the readers that he is nothing compared to Superbimbo. Cool. Does she cook and do windows, too?) Phantom Girl then phases through the head robot and pulls out his main parts and neutralizes him. (Wow! Was that someone other than Supergirl actually being useful?? Must have been because Supergirl was too distracted emasculating Ultra Boy at the time.) Supergirl then uses her microscopic vision on a pile of powder that was powering the head robot. Supergirl says that she sees Atom Girl in the dust. Atom Girl flies off and Supergirl chases her and what does the rest of the Legion do? Follow Supergirl. (Hey, they are getting pretty good at that.)

We then zip over to Brainiac 5’ lab where Atom Girl suddenly appears and gives Brainiac 5 a sample of the robot rebellion’s xenodust and tells him that she was spotted. Supergirl and the other people….what are there names? Oh yeah, the Legion, break into Brainiac 5’s lab. Cosmic Boy confronts Brainiac 5 over keeping Dream Girl’s body. The rest of the Legionnaires are disgusted by Brainiac 5’s actions. Brainiac 5 tells them that he is planning on brining Dream Girl back to life. That he sealed her within a force field the second she died in order to prevent the cessation of her corporeal functions from leaving her body. In essence, he did it to keep her soul from escaping. The Legionnaires are stunned. Suddenly, Rol Purtha, Dream Girl’s replacement shows up at Brainiac 5’s lab. (I guess he would be Dream Boy, huh?) Lightning Lad is confused how the U.P. would suddenly think that they could appoint new Legionnaires. Cosmic Boy comments that it is probably some fine print that Lightning Lad didn’t read when he struck the alliance between the two groups. End of issue.

Comments:
The Good: Oh my god, I have to find something good to say about this issue? Man, I hate my rule that I always have to say something positive about a comic book no matter what. Ok, here goes. Mark Waid is a talented writer. There is no doubt about that. And Waid does write some entertaining dialogue. The dialogue is well done and flows nicely. As always, Waid is good at mixing in plenty of humor to keep the read entertaining. Ok, that’s it. I’m out.

The Bad: Ok, this issue sucked. I usually try to be nice, but this issue was a lousy read. First, the pacing to the Legion of Super Heroes has come to a screeching halt since the One Year Later storyline began. This issue was just brutal as far as pacing is concerned. Absolutely nothing happened in this issue. We battled some more robots. It was obvious from last issue that they are planning a revolution. We spent a page addressing Supergirl’s memory problems. And then we focused on the Legionnaires finding out what Brainiac 5 did with Dream Girl’s body and his plans to bring her back to life. Here is the problem. We knew that Brainy kept Dreamy’s body and we knew he was working on a plan to bring her back to life. This issue had no surprises and really didn’t advance any storylines. Not much at all happened in this issue. Nothing more on the Dominators or anything else that might be interesting.

The entire Legion versus the Science Police is getting old and boring. But, on the plus side, at least we didn’t have to deal with the amazingly tired storyline of teenagers v. the adults.

Again, Supergirl adds absolutely nothing to the Legion of Super Heroes other than a healthy dose of moronic dialogue. It is like having a super powered chimpanzee on the team. Her character is as plastic as a Barbie doll. Supergirl’s personality is as interesting as a blank wall. Reader any scene with her in it is as compelling as watching paint dry. Not only does she have nothing as far as a personality, but her presence only manages to, once again, make the other Legionnaires looks inferior and useless. Yah. What riveting reading I’m getting with this new direction.

This One Year Later storyline is boring and is moving at a snail’s pace. The introduction of Supergirl has done nothing for this title at all. Her character in and of itself is boring and uninteresting. And her presence does nothing at all to increase or bolster the characters of the Legionnaires around her. She neither adds anything interesting to the team nor does she compliment the other members. Like the cover of Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #18 asks you “Who’s the Boss?” with Supergirl hogging the middle of the cover. We know the answer. It is all about the bimbo. The rest of the characters are irrelevant.

Waid’s run on the Legion of Super Heroes was awesome for the first 10 issues. Since then it has slowly gone downhill and has definitely plummeted with this One Year Later storyline. I just don’t see any promise in this title at this point. I have no idea where it is going and it isn’t an interesting read at this point. The Legion of Super Heroes has been my favorite title since I was 6. It is painful to see it once again slump into mediocrity.

Now, let’s talk about the artwork. Talk about a train wreck. This hodgepodge of artist produced some absolute crap artwork. Not only is the art just extremely average, it is also wildly inconsistent. Some panels look average and others just incredibly bad. A good example of this would be on 15 where Supergirl’s face is drawn hideously. Then in the next panel her face is drawn much better and it doesn’t even remotely look like the same character! What the hell? Now, I guess we can chalk this lousy and inconsistent artwork up to having too many cooks in the kitchen. Kitson is doing the layouts. DeKraker is doing the pencils. Gray and Geraci are both inking. That is four artists on one comic book. That is simply too many and it lead to one lousy looking comic book.

What really gets me is that the only saving grace on this One Year Later storyline has been Barry Kitson’s absolutely brilliant artwork. I love Kitson’s art. Kitson draws the best looking Legion I have even seen. Kitson’s incredible art has been what has gotten me through a really lousy One Year Later storyline. Without Kitson’s art, this issue was just a total chore to read. No fun at all.

What gets me is that Waid has tons of talent. And Kitson is a great artist. How is it that this comic book isn’t a great read? First, DC needs to get Kitson back on as the artist to the Legion of Super Heroes. Second, DC needs to get Supergirl out of the Legion’s title. Third, Waid needs to kick the pace of his story up a notch and show us the talented writer that we all know he is.

With all the great comics on the market right now I simply cannot recommend the Legion of Super Heroes to anyone. There are lots of other comics that are really well done that are worth your hard earned money. Save that money for those titles. If this was any other comic book then I would have dropped the Legion of Super Heroes already. But, I love the Legion and I have a complete run going all the way back to the late 1960’s. It is not that easy to just walk away. It is like dating a girl for a long time and how she used to be the best girl in the world and you really love her and then she turns into an anorexic bulimic who gets drunk all the time and is addicted to heroin. But, you have a history with her and you really loved her at one point so it is hard to walk away. That is pretty much where I am right now.

1 Comments

  1. Just to address the last three points:

    1. Kitson is a great artists, but can be a wee bit slow (and that is no complaint, btw, just saying that he has problems meeting a monthly commitment sometimes. I’ll take his work at whatever speed it is produced!), so consider this a fill-in issue. Kitson isn’t going anywhere.

    2 & 3. Supergirl=temporary plot thingee. Wanna bet she isn’t around much longer than 52? Can’t argue that the plotting is a bit slow, but that is the decompressed, write for trades world we are living in.. In fairness though, i do beleive we’re seeing a LOT of setup right now. Some we don’t even recognize yet.

    I liked the first arc alot because each issue really did stand alone, yet build to a greater storyline that eventually ended up in a multi-parter near the end, not unlike the writing back in Paul “Stud” Levitz’s day. These last few issues have been more of the standard every issue is part of an arc storytelling.

    IT reminds me of Season One of Babylon 5. Very interesting to spot all of the backstgory the second time around, but watching it the first time was a challenge. Although, like I suspect this storylyine will, it does pick up substantially near the end 🙂

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