Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #29 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

This issue is mostly from the Dominators' point of view. One Dominator in particular, their top combat technologist (TCT). He walks us through a lot of backstory, starting with the old Invasion miniseries from the '80s, where the Dominion led a lot of alien races in an unsuccessful invasion of Earth. After that, the Dominion retreated to lick its wounds, and eventually (centuries later) signed a nonaggression treaty with Earth. So that was fine. But then one day about twelve Dominion-years before this series, Booster Gold showed up out of nowhere, stole an experimental weapon, and disappeared, saying he had 'fifty-two worlds to save'. (Which ties in to recent issues of 52.)

The Dominion immediately concluded that Earth had violated the treaty and assembled an alliance of fifty-two worlds, and began arming, planning, and picking off some of the border U.P. worlds. But our Dominator, TCT, was playing a deeper game. Like other Dominators, he believed that humanity's predilection for superpowers made them a threat to the Dominion. Unlike them, though, TCT had a plan to deal with it. He would provoke a cataclysmic war with humanity, which the Dominion would lose. Then the Dominion would be forced to evolve, and the genetic modifications built into those super-Dominators we've seen would allow the Dominion to produce its own 'superheroes'. And then they'd be able to beat the humans at their own game.

In aid of this plan, TCT releases Sun Boy and the Terror Firmians, who promptly hook up with the Legion and the Wanderers, currently raising hell all over the Dominion homeworld. TCT is killed soon thereafter, which is pretty much what he expected. Not much to report from the Legion's point of view, other than that Mon-El's in rough shape again.


First things first: Waid and Kitson don't participate in this issue; it's Bedard and Sharpe. No idea if they've taken over early or if this is just a fill-in before Waid and Kitson's last hurrah. Anyway, no point in trying to figure out anything about Bedard's writing until we're sure he's doing his own stuff and not working off Waid's notes, but Sharpe's art is overall not too bad. He's no Kitson, his Dominators often look like they're made of vinyl, he hasn't got a lot of command over the Legionnaires' faces and that's a brutal picture of Light Lass on the last page, but he'll do.

Let me first touch on what we don't get in this issue. We don't get any more info on what's up with Dream Boy, we don't get any more info on what Phantom Girl found under Legion HQ, and we don't get a whole lot of action. Some, but not a lot. I guess that's gonna have to wait until next issue, which should be the end of this story.

I liked the tie-in with 52. When I turned the page and saw Booster there ripping off the Dominion... like the man said, I was amazed. Also not surprised. Who else would screw up a centuries-old treaty between the two great powers of the galaxy? Typical Booster Gold. Win the battle, win the war, mess everything up anyway. And the reveal that he was involved was timed perfectly to fit into the rhythm of 52. It's extremely deft storytelling and it ties the Legion to the present-day DCU with yet another strand.

I'm starting to get the notion that the themes of this series are a) changing society and b) that the ends do not justify the means. All through this series, we've been meeting people like Lemnos, and Elysion, and Terror Firma, and the Wanderers, and the robots, and the Dominators, and TCT, who have wanted to change society in some way, always for reasons that are positive to them. And they've all been willing to go to any lengths to do it. They'll commit crimes, they'll kill, they'll destroy, they'll start wars. The Legion wants to change society too. It's what they're all about. But the Legion is the one group that has scruples, the one group who won't kill to force change. They wouldn't even trash the Public Service when they had the chance! That's why they're superheroes and the rest aren't. If this is the key idea of the series, then by rights it ought to be the centre of next issue. Maybe there will be a point where the Legion has the chance to deliver a killing blow to Dominator society, the kind of thing that would send them irrevocably on the path TCT wanted for them. And Mekt will want to do it. But the Legion will settle for, say, cancelling the tech virus and reinstating the nonaggression treaty. And it'll be the right decision.

Membership Notes:

This issue, Mon-El appears with the Legion, not the Wanderers, on the splash page. So who knows.

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