Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Legionnaires: Chameleon Girl

Chameleon Girl, aka Yera Allon of Durla. Created by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen.

Yera--I'm going to call her Yera--spent most of her history not as a Legionnaire but as a supporting character. She was a spy who infiltrated the Legion of Super-Heroes in disguise as Shrinking Violet. In this capacity she fell in love with, and married, Colossal Boy, and they remained married even after Yera had been revealed as a spy and the real Violet rescued.

Yera was an actress of some renown; she used her Durlan shapeshifting abilities as part of her acting career. It was strongly implied that she wasn't as adept a combat shapeshifter as Chameleon Boy, but it's possible that her skill at imitating specific individuals was greater.

Original Legion continuity ended with Yera and Colossal Boy still married and Yera not a superhero, but in the retroboot she volunteered to become Chameleon Girl, Legionnaire, for a dangerous mission when Chameleon Boy was unavailable. Later, she and Colossal Boy's marriage broke up, and Yera was stranded in the 21st century as part of the Legion Lost series.

I liked Yera best as a supporting character. She was great: a Durlan actress who had priorities of her own that had nothing to do with the Legion, but who was married to a Legionnaire? It was good stuff. Just the sort of supporting cast that any superhero title needs. As such I think it was short-sighted for Geoff Johns to turn her into just another superhero in the retroboot; exactly the kind of unsubtle pandering retcons that characterized Johns's contributions to the retroboot. If and when the Legion returns to comics, I certainly would like to see Yera come back with them... but I hope she gets to be herself.

Let's use this as Yera's big moment: she defeats one of Darkseid's Servants of Darkness more or less all by herself! And we didn't even know it was her!

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Blogger Dylan said...

I seem to vaguely recall some hints that the break-up was part of a cover-up for... something, but I might be mis-remembering, seeing as how it's been years since I read those comics.

I also did like from the Baxter series Gim's parents meeting Yera for the first time.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah, everyone had a secret in Legion Lost. I kinda hope that all that stuff will be conveniently ignored if and when the Legion starts getting published again.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I would anticipate Yet Another Continuity, or maybe a return to the reboot as an outside chance. Chasing 50-plus-year old fans is dangerous -- there are ever fewer of them and many are so locked into 30-plus-year-old continuity that you cannot satisfy them.

Myself, I would start fresh but have my core 8-10 have members echoing different continuities -- Gate, XS, Kono, Micro Lad, (black) Star Boy, Chemical Kid, Catspaw, Wildfire, Dream Girl, and the founders, plus others. That would give a massively new dynamic (some close to a blank slate) with something familiar to attract some fans of any era.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm wondering if DC sees the Legion as something that they should try to write good comics about, or as a talisman to remind them of when people used to buy their comics.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evoking the salad days of an entertainment franchise is what corporations do now. The recent Mickey Mouse cartoons are explicitly made in the style of the cartoons made in the character's early '30s heyday.I've seen clips of the latest Looney Tunes toons,and they are totally modeled on the late '30s cartoons,with a porcine Porky Pig and Daffy Duck acting truly daffy.
I like the idea to taking Legionnaires from different continuities,mixing them together,and starting out afresh with no callbacks to past continuities.Sometime you have to return to your roots in order to move forward.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Right, but Legion comics are *about* the future, and it’s hard to do a story about the future when you’re doing a story about the past. Of course, it’s also hard to do a story about the future when it doesn’t look like there’s actually going to be a future, so this all may be a useless exercise.

3:31 PM  

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