Friday, January 22, 2010

Brainiac 5 and Supergirl: The Levitz Years

There has been a lot of buzz recently about Supergirl #52, the upcoming re-introduction of the Brainic 5/Supergirl relationship. Of course, this isn't the Supergirl that Brainiac 5 loved, that was the pre-Crisis Kara. I am very interested in seeing how Sterling Gates handles the prior DCU history, Brainy's feelings, and of course, Supergirl's response.

Anyways, that solicit made me think about looking back at the most recent interactions of that Supergirl and Brainiac 5. (It seems that the current version of the Legion as seen in Action Comics is based on the pre-Crisis Legion and not any of the reboots.)

I already touched on Supergirl's role in The Great Darkness Saga (here is the link: ). So I thought some back issue looks in the subsequent Legion issues might be fun. We have 4 months before Supergirl #52 so I'll need to pace myself.

And I promise I will review Action Comics #276 as well, but I'll save that for right before Supergirl #52 gets released.

So this trip back in time will start with a brief peek at Supergirl as she arrives in the 30th Century in Legion of Super-Heroes #300. This anniversary issue included this group cover which was part of a contest. Each character was drawn by a different artist. Some were inked by the same person, others by an inker. Readers were given the list of creators and could match up who they thought drew which Legionnaire. The winner would get a page from the issue.

Here is Supergirl on the cover, pretty obviously drawn by Carmine Infantino. That makes perfect sense since Infantino was the current artist of The Daring New Adventures Of Supergirl at the same time.

Supergirl isn't in the issue that much, just in these few panels. Her first question, even before saying hi to the Legionnaires present, is to ask where Brainiac 5 is. It almost makes me wonder if he is the only reason she is there rather than taking part in some missions.

I liked how Paul Levitz realized that Legion of Super-Heroes didn't need Superboy or Supergirl as a tent pole character to hold up the title; the Legionnaires were strong enough characters on their own. But I also think he realized that the super-cousins were important parts of the Legion history and therefore didn't need to be banished from the title either.

And as I commented before, I loved Giffen's style back then ... smooth, round, organic. This Supergirl is wonderfully rendered. As you will see in the subsequent reviews, Giffen had Supergirl holding and using her cape a lot. See how she is holding it as she blips in from the time stream.

Certainly, as a fan of Giffen, it has been very interesting to watch his style evolve over the years from this style to the murkier more moody art on '5 Years Later' to the super-stylized, scratchy work we saw on Trencher and Lobo.

Okay, that's just a taste as we work forward through those 80's Legion appearances. This review is too brief to warrant a grade. For a Supergirl fan, these issues are fun but not crucial for a collection. They are probably found for anywhere between $1-4 at stores and conventions.


Nikki said...

I absolutely agree she was only there for him. We'll see as the stories go on even when she makes the tiniest appearances she is with him. Even in KK and projectra's wedding she drops hints that she'd perhaps like to start as a legionnaire again properly. When the story comes to a head the whole point is that Brainiac 5 can never stop her leaving because he can never tell her how he feels no matter how many hints or prompts he gets. She confuses him and for a 12th level intellect who has quite possibly never really been confused in his life that is dramatically tangible.

Anonymous said...

Yeah if there was anyone in the late Bronze Age who could have saved the Supergirl character from the "Crisis on Infinite Irks" then that person is Paul Levitz. You get a real sense from her Legion appearances that all Supergirl really ever needed was good writing a little creative TLC. The character just blossoms in these Legion stories and she isn't even central to most of the stories. She has a good classic dual agenda, be a good team-mate & win the heart of Brainiac Five, endless possibilities there with a good writer on the job.
Kudos to Paul, he "got" Kousin Kara and when he finally became publisher it seems no accident that he had the original resurrected as soon as possible.

John Feer

TalOs said...

Anj said:

Giffen had Supergirl holding and using her cape a lot. See how she is holding it as she blips in from the time stream.

Man how I loved that scene upon first seeing her show up in the 30th Century, heh.

I truly hope Kara and Brainy proper (not the E-Prime version) hit it off something chronic current continuity wise. :)