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Mild Mannered Reviews - Supergirl Comics

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #16

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #16

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 22, 2006

Cover date: April 2006

Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Barry Kitson
Inker: Mick Gray

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge

The book opens with a grumpy-lookin' fella griping about the noisy kids downstairs. Turns out those kids are members of the Legion of Superheroes and they're tossing around a criminal dressed up like a member of the police force for fun. One of them reveals that they now work for the United Planets and, as such, are enforcers of the law which means they are fully within their rights to... throw bad guys around like a beach ball.

Grumpy man storms back into the building and rallies his fellow tenants, who confront the Legion members back outside. After a bit of good-natured taunting the Legion kids leave, noting that the irony of the "good, normal adults" forming an angry mob is lost on them.

We cut to outer space where some Unidentified Celestial Object is burning through space at .998 light speed, destroying everything in its path. An ambassador from the United Planets is letting the Legion know of the U.C.O. in the hopes that they can stop it. Earlier that day the U.C.O. cruised past Neptune, and even though there was no direct contact it left a 30-mile wide scar on the face of the planet. Very little is known about the U.C.O., except that the object has a humanoid mass and shape, and some advanced imaging has shown them that it's wearing the familiar S-symbol. Maestro, cue the chills please, thank you very much.

Back on Earth the Legion members drop the criminal off with the police, but not before tossing him around a bit more for fun. Some of the other Legion members are reconstructing their headquarters. There are thousands of teens from across the galaxy camped outside the headquarters in a show of support for the Legion, which has had a rough history of distrust with the adults of the galaxy and the police.

The call about the U.C.O. comes in to Cosmic Boy, their leader, just as he's pondering holding elections to determine if the Legion would rather someone else lead the team. He takes a group of Legion members out into space, where they wait to intercept the U.C.O. It arrives on schedule, but it's far from humanoid. It's more a giant, metallic tower/missile/thing and it's headed straight towards Metropolis.

Various members of the Legion use their sundry and varied and sometimes bizarre powers to dismantle it as much as possible, leaving the rest to be caught by Colossal Boy. Alas it proves too much for him and the U.C.O. continues straight on to Metropolis.

We cut to the city where it comes bearing down on the citizens, although there now appears to be a smaller U.C.O. right behind it moving even faster than the large missile-thing is. In a streak of red and blue Colossal Boy is suddenly safe on the ground, and the streak turns and heads back toward the larger missile-thing. And with one punch the rest of the partially-dismantled U.C.O. is destroyed by Supergirl, complete in her normal costume.

She lands to shouts of "Great Krypton!" from the crowd as the Legion members arrive, sort of in shock at Supergirl's appearance. She tells them she'd been flying after the U.C.O. at top speed for days, and their partial dismantling was the only thing that slowed it down long enough for her to catch up to it. For some reason she doesn't seem to know where she is, so Cosmic Boy tells her that she's in Metropolis in the 31st century. As she's about to introduce herself, the gathered crowd chants her name, although a few people wonder how she could be ten centuries old or think she's a fake because the superheroes as we know them were merely fictional characters and not real.

Supergirl flies off with Cosmic Boy to have a talk in private, and she promises him that she is exactly who he thinks she is. Kara Zor-El/Supergirl, and she's from a thousand years in the past. She assures him that she is real... and then tells him that *he* is not real, and that she is merely dreaming his existence.

5Story - 5: Well, now I have another book to buy every month. If this wasn't one of the most fun comics I've read in years, I don't know what is.

I must admit I was highly skeptical of the entire concept of Legion from what little I knew about them beforehand. Cosmic Boy. Lightning Lad. Light Lass. Karate Kid. What kind of names are those? And not only that, but it's a team book. With a team that has over *twenty members*! How can that work? How can there be time for that many characters? Surely there's no character development!

Boy, was I wrong, wrong, wrong.

A whole lot happens in this issue, the first "1001 Years Later" story after Infinite Crisis. And yet amidst all of that there's time for development of one of the characters. Not only that, but the entire world Legion interacts in is incredibly fresh, imaginative, interesting and compelling.

If you'll allow me to wander a bit here... I read this issue several times. The first time, I just picked it up and read it to see if the casual Superman/Supergirl fan could follow it. Well rest assured that you most certainly can, and I absolutely think it's a ride worth taking.

I then bought the first Legion trade paperback, which collects issues 1-6 in order to better familiarize myself with the characters and the universe, and so that I can better tell you folks here, in the first review of a Legion book on the Homepage, if it's worth your time.

Friends, do yourself a favor and pick up this book.

On a team with a roster that's two-dozen strong and counting, I found more character development in those first six issues for a vast range of characters than I've found in books with story arcs that long featuring only one main character. Every page I read made me want to read more.

The world is a stunning allegory for so many very topical issues that we face in the world today, I'm rather shocked that it can cover so many of them, much less do it so effortlessly. And that's before you even get to all the superhero goodness and the powers and the fights, which there are plenty of.

And yes, even their semi-lame names are discussed, as an actual story point.

If you want to read it solely for the Supergirl factor, the jury's still out on exactly how big of a role she'll be playing in this book. Only Mark Waid and DC know that for sure.

But I have absolutely NO trouble giving this book a high recommendation and telling you that you'd do well to add it to your pull list. If future issues are as good as this one (and the first six in the TPB I read), this is an absolute can't-miss book. I've got something new and exciting to look forward to each month and it's even got Supergirl in it, to boot.

I have to tell you though, at this stage, she's just icing on the cake. I'd buy this book with her involvement or no.

But as was probably DC's plan, it was adding Supergirl that got me to give it a try. Curse you, DC, and your successful marketing strategies! There's another $3 I don't have every month!

But it's okay, because this book? It's worth it.

Along with Superman #650, this was the most fun I've had reading a comic book in quite a long time.

4Art - 4: The art is very interesting. It's very detailed, except for the faces of the characters which look nice but are just... less detailed than everything else is. Strangely this works. I think it gives it a vaguely cartoonish feel, but don't mistake that for juvenile or meant-for-little-kids. I enjoyed it very much and it was *really* nice to see Supergirl not looking like a twig that you could snap in half between your fingers. I enjoyed it very much, especially the one-page splash of her destroying the U.C.O. and the last profile shot of her on the bottom of the last page.

And for anyone who's been reading "Supergirl" and is wondering... you'd better sit down. Especially if you have heart trouble. 'Cause, y'see... the women all have different faces. The guys too, for that matter.

Well ain't that a novel concept!

4Cover Art - 4: At first I thought this cover was pretty good. I didn't like all the white space, but then I realized that it's better than the alternative (more fists with the Legion ring), which would make the cover too crowded. After reading the trade paperback, however, believe it or not I actually liked this cover *better* because you understand the meaning of Legion and the rings and the fist in the air (and it's FAR more than just being superheroes).

Kara's got one of the rings on, which doesn't actually happen in the book as she's not officially joined the team yet. But since they added her name to the title I think it's safe to say that she will, even if she's... er... dreaming it all?!

Anyway, it was a nice touch even if it didn't officially happen yet. Good stuff.


Go out and buy a copy of this book. No, really. Go. I'll wait.

{twiddles thumbs}


{hums theme from "Superman: The Movie"}

The Homepage will still be here when you get back!

{reads the Legion TPB again}

GO GET IT. NOW! You can thank me later.*

{goes off to get some popcorn}

* - monetary benedictions gladly accepted in place of actual thanks.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2006

February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006

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Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2006.