Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - Supergirl Comics

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #17

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #17

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 26, 2006

Cover date: June 2006

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

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge

We begin in a room full of robots and machines who are eagerly awaiting the return of their leader/lord, who is going through some sort of rebirth process. The Science Police and the Legion break into the room and start frying the machines, verbally insulting each other as they go. The Science Police are still uneasy about the Legion being on the government payroll, and the Legion members still aren't entirely comfortable with it either. The robotic machine lord is suddenly revived and just then Supergirl shows up to save the day.

With no small amount of humor she dispatches the machine lord in a matter of seconds, much to the chagrin of the other Legion members. One of the Science Police asks for her "monograph" and she uses her heat vision to burn an "S" into a hunk of metal for him. Some of the Legion members talk about how not fun that battle was, and Supergirl apologizes saying that "it must be something she ate", as she's still convinced she's dreaming the entire thing.

Supergirl has been scanned to verify her identity, and we then get a small recap of Supergirl's origin. Of particular note is the complete absence of anything having to do with her being sent to kill Kal. My guess is that this is confirmation that that entire story was merely a fabrication of the Evil Supergirl who was in fact created by the black kryptonite. Also of note is that it mentions that she was trained by Superman and Batman, but there's no mention of Wonder Woman or Supergirl staying and training on Themyscira. Her own book is not yet on Issue 6 and it seems as if Kara's origin already has one retcon, or Waid just forgot about Wonder Woman and she was accidentally left out.

In the narration of her origin, it's stated that "she very quickly earned the status of 'living legend'" and that what became of her was lost to history. Some think she simply vanished one day, and if that's the case, they now know where (when) she ended up. Of interest is that on the page where they speak of her becoming a "living legend", she is shown with a team of heroes that consists of: Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Starfire, Hawkman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Mr. Miracle and the Star Spangled Kid. Whether these characters were chosen at random or if this is a sneak peak at a new team lineup remains unclear.

It's then mentioned that Supergirl's entire history (leaving Krypton, landing on earth to find her cousin was its greatest hero, and then being flung far into the future) happened in "an unbelievably short period of time". Cosmic Boy's theory is that the stress and shock of all of this has caused her to invent the "dream explanation" as a method of coping with things her mind otherwise can't handle.

Supergirl, meanwhile, seems to be thoroughly enjoying herself and thinks it's the best dream she's ever had and wonders how she's coming up with so many cool things. She briefly mentions that she might be going through Tarukor, which is a Kryptonian dream-state that's part of their traditional rite of adulthood. Which means that she should enjoy the dream for as long as she can, she explains, as she's sure her parents will wake her up soon and she'll be on Krypton to celebrate her "birthcycle" with "baby Kal" and Krypto.

There's some brief confusion over Legion member Brainiac-5, who Supergirl confuses with the Brainiac from her past, and then she picks up something with her super-hearing and flies off. There's a collapse from an earthquake at the still-under-construction new Legion headquarters, and she arrives just in time to save a young alien fellow, Seiss, who was about to be squashed. She looks at him and tells him he's the cause of the problem, and then whistles and the earthquake stops.

Turns out Seiss has a special power that he didn't know about, which Supergirl could spot with her x-ray vision. Apparently when Seiss has indigestion, he sends out subsonic waves. This causes the people around him to get sick and was what caused the earthquake. She was able to dampen the effect of the waves with the supersonic frequency from her whistle.

A crowd gathers around Supergirl, asking if she's going to become an official Legionnaire. She says she'd like to, but Cosmic Boy says that the official flight rings given to ranking members are otherworldly in cost and that the Legion doesn't have enough money or resources to give her one at the moment. Seiss, meanwhile, walks off stunned that he has a superpower when he's approached by a mysterious figure in a robe who claims that the Legion is too busy for a guy like him but knows a group who might be interested...

Some of the Legion members debate making Supergirl an official member when she zips in and surprises Invisible Kid, who drops his drink and in a very cool three-panel sequence, she catches the drink and all the liquid and returns it back to his hand as he keeps talking. Light Lass tells Supergirl that she can't be dreaming everything because she doesn't get everything she wants, specifically full Legion membership.

Seconds later Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl appear on a monitor and, much to Supergirl's delight, offer her full membership in the Legion.

We jump to a particularly gruesome pair of aliens who call themselves the Dominators, talking about turning their attention back toward earth. Apparently the large missile Supergirl was chasing last issue was sent by them, and by destroying it she unleashed a so-far undetected "technorganic payload".

Back on Earth, Atom Girl arrives with Supergirl's official Legion flight ring. Some of the Legion members discuss what this means, which is that Brainiac-5 had one under construction before their funds ran out, which doesn't seem likely, or that he took the ring from Dream Girl's dead body.*

* - Dream Girl was a Legion member who died prior to Supergirl joining the book in issue 16.

5Story - 5: There is so much packed into this issue I don't even know where to begin. It has now become, quite easily, the best DC title that I'm currently reading. This book has not failed to impress me yet, and although I've only read about half of its total run so far, I can find little to complain about. No other book puts a bigger smile on my face.

Mark Waid?

Thank you.

That being said, this issue had a big payload, dropping bomb after bomb after bomb about Supergirl. Are they all 100% true? There's still no way to know, but we do learn many interesting things. Let's look at them in turn.

First, Supergirl is so powerful that even several of the Legionnaire's together feel somewhat insignificant in her presence. I personally take this to mean that her power levels are at or at least near that of Superman himself.

Second, the origin change/clarification. No mention of being sent to kill baby Kal, which means that since Legion is canon, in-continuity 1000 years into the future, history certainly did not remember her as being sent to be Kal's killer. As far as I'm concerned that puts a bow on that story by Loeb and we can consider it written off as a lie by the Evil Supergirl, who was, in fact, created by the black kryptonite. And so now we know exactly what black kryptonite does.

Third, she becomes a "living legend" and, "in an unbelievably short period of time" (emphasis from the book) she arrived on earth, became that legend, and then vanished. This would seem to hold true because Supergirl is still Supergirl, same costume and same apparent age. She's not aged and is not Superwoman by any means. Am I reading too much into the scene with her and the other heroes behind her? Possibly, although I find it hard to believe those heroes would have been chosen at random, much less on the very page that says she became a "living legend". Personally, I think there might be something there. A clue about something to come in Kara's future in her own book, perhaps.

Fourth, we learn about Tarukor, and frankly any insight we get into Kryptonian life and culture is good by me.

Are these things really, truly official? Hard to say, which is part of the charm, I suppose. Perhaps "history remembered things wrong". Perhaps the Legion's history records her as "suddenly vanishing" because something happened that flung her that far into the future, but then perhaps later she'll be sent back to the very point she left from, thus changing history. History would never record that she had vanished as no one in the present time would have known she was ever gone.

I hate temporal mechanics.

But that's part and parcel when dealing with time travel, so we have to make of it what we can. Has Supergirl already been to the future and back at the start of One Year Later? Has she already become the Living Legend, or is that yet to happen as far as the "present" DCU is concerned? Time will tell.

But I'll be watching for that specific gathering of heroes to pop up somewhere, though, because I just don't buy that it was a completely random selection of characters. And if they do show up together someplace in the future, I'd expect big things to follow. Maybe it's our first look at the new Justice League.

I'm focusing a lot on Supergirl here, but there was still time devoted to other Legion members and good story advancement and characterization all around. But so many Supergirl bombs were dropped that I felt the bulk of the time needed to be spent dealing with them.

5Art - 5: The art is really growing on me. There were a few panels where I thought one of the characters looked a little off, but on the whole it was truly wonderful. Every character is distinct, and the art is... clean. Light. And fun. There are several pages that I want to scan and make into wallpapers.

When that happens you know that you've got some good stuff.

3Cover Art - 3: Not a bad cover, although Supergirl kind of looks like she's making bedroom eyes at someone off-panel. It's not particularly exciting, though, and it does feature some characters who don't even appear in this issue.


Do yourself a favor. Do me a favor. Do DC a favor.

Just do someone a favor and pick up this book.

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

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

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