Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Week of 11 August 2010

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

ADVENTURE #517 (2010/10) 
"Saturn Rising" 


 Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Superboy (image), S.P. Sergeant Esquivel (died)

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Garth, Rokk (In bed. Naked. Asleep. What more can I say?)

A nice little story from the very beginning of the Legion, showing Imra's uncertainties and feelings of inferiority in comparison to the boys. In S.P. Sergeant Esquivel, Imra finds a mentor and combat instructor. When Imra distracts Esquivel during battle, Eaquivel is fatally wounded. Imra, blaming herself, swears "I am never, ever going to let anyone die in my place again."

Rokk and Imra go out to a bar, and when Imra wakes up in the morning Rokk is there in her bed. She telepathically erases his memory of the event, and starts her reputation as the Ice Maiden. At the end of the story, Brainiac 5 (not yet a Legionnaire) calls from the Time Institute to tell her that the Time Bubble is ready for a test voyage to the 20th century.


Esquivel: As far as I know, Esquivel has never appeared in Legion comics before. It's nice to see a woman of color  (a wise Latina, no less!) playing a prominent role in the early Legion.

Zaryan: The offstage villain of this story is an offworlder named Zaryan, who is raiding technology companies for parts. This will be the same Zaryan who menaces Earth in Adventure #304 (1963/01). Learning that whoever goes up against Zaryan will die, Saturn Girl steals the powers of the other Legionnaires and expels the other members, so that she is the only candidate left for the mission. However, Lightning Lad finds out about her plan and goes after Zaryan himself -- and dies. (Yes, once again someone has died in Imra's place.)

Later, when a way is found to revive Lightning Lad, Imra is prepared to sacrifice herself so that he can live. This week's story adds a bit of background to her feelings and her motivations at that time.

Zendak: While Sgt Esquivel accompanies Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl to Taiwan, Lieutenant Zendak goes to Silicon Bay with Lightning Lad. Kimball Zendak will later rise to the position of Science Police Chief.

Flight Belts: In this era before flight rings, the three Legionnaires use "overpriced fly-belts." This is consistent with early stories (although in the very, very early ones, the Legion used rocket backpacks).

Imra & Rokk: The affair (or at least one-night-stand) between Imra and Rokk recalls the Earth-247 Legion, in which Imra and Rokk were a romantic couple for a while.

In classic chronology, Rokk left Braal when he turned 14 (that being the legal age for a Braalian to begin work). Even allowing a generous amount of time for the trip to Earth, the founding of the Legion, and some training, he can't possibly be more than a very young 15 at the time of this story. Imra, you cradle-robber! (And I guess Braalians are mature at 14.) Lucky, lucky girl.

Ice Maiden: They really did used to call Imra that. Also, the phrase "Iron-Butt Imra" is floating through my head, although I don't know from where.


Flight Belts: The Legionnaires' flight belts keep appearing and disappearing in the heat of battle. On page 13 (panel 2) Rokk is clearly wearing a flight ring instead of a belt (Imra's belt is still visible). One can suppose that flight belts have a built-in invisibility circuit (like flight rings do). And that ring Rokk's wearing? Just a standard-issue Legion secret decoder ring. (When Brainiac 5 developed the flight ring, he obviously modeled it after the secret decoder ring.)

ABOVE: Rokk with flight ring (click to embiggen)

31st Century?: In Legion of Super-Heroes, it's the year 3010. From the death of Esquivel to the destruction of Titan was only ten years? Really?

Yes, I know, I am the only one in the universe who is disturbed at this. What can I say? I'm a science fiction writer -- I do this sort of thing professionally. Take a look.

And I know it won't matter in another five or ten years, when the "current" Legion year is 3015 or 3020. Interestingly, there was the same kind of confusion in the first few years of the Legion's existence -- sometimes the Legion was in the 21st century, sometimes in the 30th.

Why does the Legion's time have to be exactly 1,000 years from the present? Why can't it be anchored on an exact year (2958 or 3010 or whatever)? It's not like Superman or Batman, which always take place in "today." With an appropriate time differential, the Legion's time could pass slowly enough to allow decades of adventures to be chronicled in today's comics.

Sigh. I know, I know, I'll try to get over it.



ToyFare Magazine #158,  October 2010

Cover story on Mattel's upcoming Legion of Super-Heroes action figures 12-pack (for only about $180, so start saving now). Due date, probably April or May 2011. In addition to the 12 figures, there is also a Proty and a flight ring (which I assume has the same inhibitor circuit as the others they've sold -- but those circuits are easy enough to disable).

The 12 figures, in Cockrum-era costumes, include only one female: Saturn Girl. Come on, Mattel, get with it! From the very beginning, the Legion has been all about gender equity. In fact, right after Tinya and Luornu joined, girls outnumbered boys 5-2 (I'm counting Luornu as 3.)

I understand that toy buyers and collectors in general don't go for lots of female action figures...but "this is really aimed at those hardcore Legion fans." I would guess that the average "hardcore Legion fan" would love to have a few more female figures. (Besides, a lot of hardcore Legion fans are women; doesn't Mattel think women want action figures they can identify with?)

Ah, well. I'll have to be content with my own figures.


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