Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #28 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

Main plot first: the Legionnaires and Wanderers are scattered all over Earth, in bad shape, but are due to gather for one more big assault on the Dominators. Meanwhile, Cosmic Boy and Triplicate Girl have been captured by the disk-heads, who are trying to torture the location of the rendezvous out of them. Triplicate Girl finally caves and tells them what they want to know, and the Dominators prepare an ambush...

...but it turns out that she was just acting, and this was all part of the plan. When the Dominators' ambush troops come through a teleportation gate, they get ambushed themselves, and Supergirl, Mon-El and Ultra Boy fly through to take control of the gates. They create a new gate to rescue Rokk, Luornu and the other prisoners, and invade the Dominion's homeworld.

Dream Girl appears to Dream Boy in one of his precognitive dreams, and gives him some kind of constructive advice that we don't understand yet. It has something to do with the floating-in-outer-space setting of the dream.

The Legion and Wanderers are not holding up well after all this fighting. Mon-El needs more anti-lead serum, Ultra Boy and Timber Wolf are badly wounded, Invisible Kid has an alien arm grafted on where his old one was, and both Cosmic Boy and Triplicate Girl are the worse for wear after their stint in the Dominators' torture chamber.

Phantom Girl and her team find whatever it is they're looking for underneath Legion HQ.


Cosmic Boy's and Triplicate Girl's fakeout of the Dominion was satisfying but not exactly a surprise. These are, after all, superheroes; it's never surprising when they turn out to be brave and clever. It would have been more intriguing if Luornu had actually broken under torture, but that's not to say I would rather it had happened that way.

As for the plan... Well. I look at it this way. The Earth is too big and the opposition too widespread for a force the size of the Legion + Wanderers. It does make more sense to find the head of the snake and exert some pressure there. Maybe there's one big off-switch for the whole virus attack. Plus, trashing the Dominion! Cool!

In this issue, Shadow Lass and Polar Boy have a heated argument about whose fault this all was. Shady blames Mekt, and Polar Boy says that the Legion is too useless to have been able to prevent it. Hindsight is 20-20, of course, but I can't help agreeing with Shady: if the Legion had known everything that Mekt knew, ten or twelve issues ago, they could have come up with a way to fight if not outright prevent the Dominion invasion. And Mekt was too antisocial to see it.

Some of the art was even more awesome than Barry Kitson's usual high standards. Ultra Boy smashing through the robot, Triplicate Girl turning over her cards, Supergirl on the big monitor... not to mention the cover. Whoever ends up taking over from Kitson long-term on this series has a tough act to follow.

This story arc is an illustration of the Law of Unintended Consequences. The Dominators, after all, have a very sensible motivation. Sure, they're greedy for power and revenge, but mostly they're fearful. They fear that superpowered humans are going to get too powerful and ruin everything. So they put together what is, admittedly, a really neat plan to cripple and--what's the word?--dominate humanity, and where does it get them? With dozens of superpowered humans raising hell on the Dominion homeworld. This kind of thing always happens to the Dominators. Because while the Dominators are certainly ruthless and cruel and intelligent, they are also a bunch of screwups. Always have been. The Dominators can't do anything right; it always falls apart in the end for them.

There's a writer I like named Will Ferguson. He writes about Canadian history and related topics. One of his books, perhaps his best one, is called Bastards and Boneheads, in which Ferguson classifies Canadian leaders, throughout history, as either Bastards or Boneheads. Bastards are leaders who are always one step ahead, who are effective, who make realistic plans. Boneheads are leaders who are blindsided by unexpected developments, who release forces they can't control, who mean well but can't back up their intentions with deeds. The Dominion has no chance against the Legion because, as we've seen in this issue and previous issues, Cosmic Boy is a Bastard, Brainiac 5 is a Bastard, Triplicate Girl is a Bastard (I'm not sure about Mekt yet), and the Dominators are Boneheads.

Of course they're Boneheads! They can't let go of something that happened a millennium ago (whatever it was), they're worried about something that'll probably never happen, and they've just poked the Earth with a sharp stick, which, they ought to know, hasn't worked out well for anybody in the entire history of superhero comics. Those uncomfortable-looking egg-cities are gonna get knocked over big time over the course of the next issue, and they brought it on themselves.

Nice touches this issue:
- "You thought those pants were a good idea, too."
- "Careful. It can hear you."
- "What drives the Wanderers is fear. What drives the Legion is hope." And from Projectra, of all people!

- Sun Boy's group?
- one of the Wanderers apparently prays to Neron. That's kind of weird.
- what exactly was Phantom Girl looking for? Uninformed guess: the Phantom Zone projector (which, being technologically ancient, isn't subject to the Dominion's virus... let's say).

Membership Notes:

Well, I guess we can say for sure that Mon-El is not currently a Legionnaire; on the splash page he's shown with the Wanderers and not the Legion.

Labels: ,