Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Legion of Super-Heroes Election 3010: You Got to Be a Spirit; You Can't Be No Ghost

You've probably already seen the recent Legion-related announcements that came out of New York Comic-Con. (If you didn't, they're here.) I'm most enthusiastic about the one about the Legion Academy series, but the one I want to get into here is the Legion election.

DC has a long history of letting the fans pick the Legion leaders, and it's certainly a gimmick worth trying now. I don't think it makes the comic book any better to let the fans tamper with it this way (although there have been times when it's worked out real nice), but if Levitz is prepared to cope with it, then why not? Gets some attention, gets people involved, it's fine.

Now, in this election, there are of course many characters who would make plausible leaders for the Legion, and many more who would not be quite so plausible but who would, if elected, provide the opportunity for some good stories. So there's really no wrong decision here. It's not like, if we all stuff the ballot box for Quislet, that then Levitz will go out and write a story where Quislet gets the whole Legion killed and the comic book is cancelled forever and Levitz says, "Sorry; there was nothing I could have done." We're insulated from negative consequences, is what I'm saying.

So I am now prepared to announce that Legion Abstract is endorsing Phantom Girl for the 3010 election. Here's why:

1. Phantom Girl is one of the longest-serving of all Legionnaires, yet has never been leader.

All the other Legionnaires with comparable tenure--Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, Superboy*, Supergirl, Brainiac 5--have had their turn as leader (except Duplicate Damsel, who isn't currently eligible). Cosmic Boy's a great leader, sure, but we've already read that story. Let's read a different one now.

2. We can narrow the gender gap a bit.

So far I count 22 different Legionnaires who've had a shot at being leader, and of those 22, 16 were guys. Breaking it down further, the six girls/women to become Legion leader were disproportionately blonde--four out of six of them. Let's mix up the demographics some more.

3. She does have a bit of leadership experience.

She's served as acting leader of the Espionage Squad in Chameleon Boy's absence on occasion. And, you know, it'd probably be useful for the Legion to have a leader who is well-versed in sneakiness.

4. She is trusted by her constituents.

In recent years it has become the convention to portray Tinya as the confidante of the other Legionnaires, the one that everybody can talk to and feel better afterwards. This is obviously a useful quality for a leader.

5. It's about time she got some of the spotlight.

When was the last time a story really focused on Phantom Girl? There was the Dave Gibbons backup from early in the threeboot. There were a couple of issues in the DnA run. There was that whole thing in the early reboot where she was a ghost. And before that... do I have to go all the way back to the Reflecto story? Oh, wait: there was some stuff with the animated Legion. Still, it's not much for a character who's been around as long as she has.

So! When the voting URL opens up, let's all go and vote for Phantom Girl. E-mail me if you want a sign for your lawn.

Note: If one has to be on Facebook to place a vote in the Legion election, then this one, at least, is not voting. For the present I prefer not to be on Facebook. I'll post about this again when the voting starts.
* I know, I know. Details.

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Blogger Murray said...

Cosmic Boy's a great leader, sure, but we've already read that story.

Not to derail this thread (cuz you make some very compelling points), but when exactly did we read the story where Cosmic Boy is this great leader?

I know that it's Legion tradition to think of Coz as the first and one of the best leaders... but I don't see it. I can see why people might think reboot and threeboot Coz has got it going on (he doesn't... but I can see why people might *think* he does), but original Rokk? Nope. I'm not seeing it. I haven't read those stories.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Not a lot was demanded of him as leader in the original Legion, true, but he did get the whole thing started, which is worth something. I think he did a legitimately fine job as both reboot and threeboot leader, too, and then there's his 5YL tenure.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Prof. Lemaris Lang said...

I was goinga to organize a campaign for Tenzil, but you make a very good argument for Tinya. Go Wazzo in 3011!

10:15 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Our biggest problem is going to be that pesky rumour campaign saying that she was secretly born on Venegar.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

I agree that Tinya would make a great leader - she has the experience and seems to have a good head on her shoulders. But I personally can't see any fabulous stories coming out of it. So I'm going to vote for... hmm, actually I'll need to think about it.

And do let us know when the voting opens and how we need to do it!

12:04 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I will make a point of it.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

Legion-leadership aside, I'm disappointed in the Legion Academy announcement at the lack of any Superman descendants. I think it's long been overdue to put Laurel Kent back into continuity as a non-Manhunter robot.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well... here's what I think about that.

First, Laurel Kent was a tactical mistake that DC was wise to back away from. The question of whether Superman has any direct descendants or not is best left up in the air. I don't expect to see her ever again and I'm okay with that.

Second, it's been a few years in-story since we last got a look inside the Legion Academy. Any student who's still in the Academy now who was in the Academy back then probably doesn't belong in the Academy. So I think and hope that we're going to get mostly new characters.

(Of course, Chuck and Luornu are going to be the instructors, and we could get one or two other former students as co-instructors, or something.)

Among the new characters? Maybe the new upcoming Green Lantern. Maybe the new upcoming Karate Kid, if Levitz chooses to pick up that plot thread. Maybe Danielle Foccart (not new, but appropriate to this use).

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Mo Walker said...

I second the Legion Abstract's endorsement of Phantom Girl for LSH leader. So far in the current series, Tinya has displayed a level head but speaks her mind. Then again, Tinya's character has been fairly consistent throughout the various versions.

I also believe that Colossal Boy would make an interesting choice. Levitz would have so many potential plots threads because of his marriage to Yera and his parents' political connections.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

True, but that's all stuff he can use without Gim needing to be leader. I agree that leadership suits his character, but then again we saw a bit of that in the early reboot era, so I'm inclined to give it to someone we haven't seen in there yet.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

I was sold the minute you said her name. I was planning on voting for Tinya anyway, she has seniority over most of the team, and has always been portrayed as level-headed and resourceful.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

All we need is to arrange a running mate who can deliver the South.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazed that PG was never leader. She's overdue for a term then,tho a Quislet administration does sound intriguing.
But you know who would be a really intriguing choice as leader? Earth-Man.You can just hear brains blasting all over the internet.
Way I see it,the votes will be so close the Space Supreme Court will have to make a ruling...

8:36 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I considered that. Then I stopped considering it.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Darrell Lawrence said...

PG would be a good choice, but I was thinking of Timber Wolf, given his term as Deputy Leader was rather short (the series ended).

Back to Laurel Kent for a sec. Superman isn't the only Kent around. Unknown if Conner Kent can pro-create or not, but Jonathan "Mon-El" Kent could.

Laurel could be his descendant rather than Clarks.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, Timber Wolf also had some time as leader during the Five Year Gap, not that that's well documented.

But for Laurel... sure, they could shift her ancestry, but then what's the point?

Hey--maybe Levitz could (re)introduce Laurel Gand! I could probably go for that.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Darrell Lawrence said...

For Laurel GAND, I was thinking of that blonde Daxamite Mon-El sent back to Daxam in his ship at the end of his 21st century run.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think we all were. But I didn't get the vibe that anything was going to come of it.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

hey, ultra boy was a two-termer.... they could play the 'package deal' angle up...

4:15 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I suppose. I think the characters are stronger when their romances aren't dragged into everything else they do, though.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

well i was thinking they could just work the angle for interesting storytelling... some legionnaires don't do politics, some ARE politics (nura, i'm looking at you and not for the obvious reasons) and levitz was pretty good back in the day having the political frictions weave in and out of the stories, like ultra boy's rough gig as nura's deputy, thom's disintegrating relationship with her because of her term, and even jan's slowly bubbling resentment that he couldn't GET the gig (until, of course, he did)

could be wrong, but the last straight-up tinya-is-the-focus-of-the-story i can think of is way WAY back in the grell run, 'the sudden eclipse of sun boy' (not counting the re- or three- boots

(she may get along with MOST of her team mates, but the antipathy between her and thom was visceral and very thick during levitz-days)

12:04 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Could be. I don't see it, but it might very easily be something that appeals to Paul Levitz.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

Perhaps Brin could be her deputy. For some reason she's shown a bit of distaste for him in the past. This would be a good chance for her to learn to get over it, and respect the man for his usefulness and admirable qualities.

Or maybe Dawnstar - I don't think there is any real 'chummy' vibe between those two ladies, and it'd be cool to see some friction and exasperation there.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Shan/KryptonKid said...

Actually, Dawnstar would be an interesting Deputy for PG. Both characters need a personality update, and both need a shake up in their relationships. Friction between them would an excellent oportuntity for three dimentional story-telling.

That being said, I think Levitz should consider, but be bound to, whomever is runner up in the election.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous KryptonKid said...

Sorry, I meant "not be bound to".

4:31 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'd be okay with any of those. For a minute I was thinking Mon-El, as a way of having the two characters interact in a way they haven't before, but now I kind of like the Dawnstar idea.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

Unknown if Conner Kent can pro-create or not, but Jonathan "Mon-El" Kent could.

And has. Before he got sent into the Phantom Zone at the end of the War with Krypton story, we learned that whoever he had been sleeping with was pregnant.

We did learn that, didn't we? I'm not just imagining things am I?

Wasn't she Steel's niece or something?

5:38 PM  
Blogger Craigopher said...

There is no one I would rather see get a bucket full of story attention than Tinya. Darn right she would make a great leader, and its about time. So glad to see you are promoting her.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Technically, we are promoting her.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

up with wazzo!

3:05 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I always want to try to make some kind of pun involving the French word "oiseau" (= "bird") but I've never been able to come up with anything good.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Filthy McMonkey said...

I'm sorry, Matthew. I simply cannot endorse your candidate.

Please allow me to present my rebuttal: http://www.thecomicforums.com/forum2/index.php?showtopic=173340

2:20 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I saw that, yeah.

And I do like the idea of having a Legion leader whose presence in the role would kick off story ideas all by itself like that. (Not that Phantom Girl doesn't do this, but it's true that it's no more true for her than for any other character.)

The only thing for me is that I don't like Earth-Man, and I'm hoping that his Legion tenure is a story that's going to come to an end pretty soon, and then I won't have to read about him anymore. Let me put it this way: I'd vote for Atmos before I'd vote for Earth-Man.

Another thing is this: how exactly does he win this election? It's more a problem for Levitz than for us, of course, but who are all these Legionnaires that are supposed to be voting for him in-story? The only way I can figure it is that every Legionnaire votes for himself or herself, except that Earth-Man convinces Shadow Lass to vote for him, and he's the only one who gets more than one vote.

I may cross-post this to your thread on the forums later.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me,it comes down to six candidates:
1)Phantom Girl/a fine,long overdue choice.
2)Gates/it would be interesting to see how the team anarchist deals with becoming The Man.
3)Quislet/so crazy it just might work!
4)Tyroc/the blankest slate of the Legionnaires.Making him leader would flesh him out.
5)Polar Boy/perhaps a second term would grant him long due respect.
6)Chameleon Girl/so out of nowhere-from spy to leader.
For deputy,the choice of Earth-Man would make things...combustible.

1:36 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's true. I'm not sure there's a bad choice on the ballot.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when are we going to find out who won-and will they show how many votes each candidate got?

3:11 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think we're going to find out the winner in the December issue of LSHv6. As for the voting, dunno; whenever they want to tell us, I guess.

3:45 PM  

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