Thursday, February 8, 2018

Who's Who Laurel Gand

I have been a long time fan of the Fire and Water Podcast Network. And in particular I have been a big fan of their Who's Who show, even joining in as a guest host on several Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes episodes.

Starting next week, Rob and Shag will begin their look at the 'loose leaf' Who's Who from the early 90s and I am very excited. I collected these when they were released so can't wait to relive them. Unfortunately, my binder of M-Z has been lost to time!

Anyways, to honor their hard work in this endeavor I thought I would review a Who's Who loose leaf page. But I already have reviewed the Supergirl one. And if you look hard enough here, I have also reviewed the Silver Banshee and even Maxima.

So this time I thought I would review Laurel Gand, the Supergirl analogue for the 5YL Legion run. For those who don't know, I reviewed the first 50 issues of the 5YL Legion over on the Legion of Super-Bloggers. I loved that run and I loved Laurel. Even though Matrix was around, I thought Laurel really captured the spirit of Supergirl.

And I love this Keith Giffen art. She is tall, proud, powerful. And I love how the red cape is a bit more of a darker, less primary red color. She was the muscle of the team. And that Darkseid head in the background has to be referencing the Great Darkness.

Just gorgeous.

I loved how the Bierbaums and Giffen sort of melded so much of Supergirl's original history and even her early Legion history into Laurel's tale. From living in a domed city to being in an orphanage with an 'LL' name to how she joins the team, her history a sort of reflection of Kara's history. Add to that a history with the Khunds and Zaryan, and you have a very good mix of old Legion and new Legion. Even that early outfit, a combination of blue skirted Supergirl and headband Supergirl and (of course) Mon-El. And she had that sort of fierceness I love in Supergirl, willing to throw herself into action to save people and battle injustice.

But the big thing about Laurel is her very ingrained past with Brainiac 5, discussed at length in this history. This wasn't a passing fancy. This was a hard core romance and a sort of doomed relationship. It was just what Kara/Querl fans were kind of looking for.

I mean it when I say that I love the 5YL Legion, in particular the very dense first year, and the equally satisfying first 3 years. If you are a Legion fan, you need to seek it out.

And definitely listen to the Who's Who Podcast. That is an absolute hoot!


Martin Gray said...

Laurel Gand was a gem, from the cute 'Mary Mon-El' version to the battle-hardened Legion vet; I hate that we lost all the 5YL guys. Just one big fat Eleworlds, that's all I need.

I'm jealous of anyone who's not heard the earlier Who's Who podcasts - so much fun to find.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Laurel Gand. Another character who reveals how pointless it was removing Kara. Seriously, if you're going to create another character with such a similar likeness, backstory and powerset... and even same love interest... what was the point?

Anyway, I'm afraid Laurel was another victim of the Post-Crisis DC character-replacing and replacement-retconning continuity nightmare. It wasn't Kara's fault, as proven by the fact that Laurel and all Kara Zor-El replacements vanished prior to her reappearance, but when Superman's Kryptonian cousin was reintroduced, DC probably thought "We do really need more stand-ins yet?" They have a hard work juggling four -now six- Green Lanterns and several Flashes, I guess they didn't want to have deal with several Supergirls.

It's a pity when characters have to suffer because of editorial's changing policies, but that's how it is.

Unknown said...

I remember an interview with Keith Giffen (can't remember where, sorry) a descendant of the Gand family along the lines of Laurel well before Crisis and when they had no choice but to lose Kara they turned necessity into opportunity.

She turned out to be a great decision, allowing them to keep most of the history Supergirl had with the Legion but also making her a much greater story thread; her romance with Brainy feel more of a real relationship, for one.

It's a great picture too, one of Giffen's best for the loose-leafs.
One thing about the background is that it does call to mind Darkseid but also in the old Adventure stories the Legion were constantly finding rows of monumental giant heads in space so that's a nice touch to giving a feel to her being part of the 5YL Legion's early days

Thank you for posting this, look forward to the podcast.

Anonymous said...

A bit off-topic but seems like a reasonable place to mention:

I just finished reading through the Legion Threeboot (Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes) #16-#36, along with your great reviews at legionofsuperbloggers. Without your writing to inform me about the history and the referential twists on it, I would have gotten so much less from it. So - thank you!

But I actually did like most of Dennis Calero's art, an unpopular opinion vs. yours and the other comments on your reviews. I thought it was nuanced and shaded rather than muddy.

We can all agree Brainy's in that Quest for Cosmic Boy arc made no sense - there were many other ways to accomplish his goals.

Do we think they planned to either show the 41st century "Legion" (Knights), or have Cosmic Boy return? It was a sad ending for him without seeing him prosper in the future.

The final exposition of Evolvo Lad made - zero sense. Instead of telling us the plan to get Supergirl to return to the 21st century to save the day, why not - just execute the plan to get Supergirl to return to the 21st century to save the day!? Did Evolvo have sudden pangs of guilt and decide not to go through with it? As luck would have it, Saturn Girl came up with a similar conclusion (not to save the day per se, but to go back and inspire the future legion). Very clunky plot!

One observation: your review says Imra wiped Supergirl's memory, but at the bottom of the large panel of Supergirl (with the Teen Titans on her left), Brainy's off-screen dialog mentions that Sev (Evolvo Lad) was the one who did the wipe. I think that may be what they are trying to show in the panel right after Supergirl jumps into the portal. It's ambiguous. On the one hand it looks like he is simply recoiling from the white energy beams coming from the open portal, but at the same time, there are white-purple-green radio-like emanations from his head, and I think that must be him doing the mind-wipe.

Also - there is a footnote in this issue that the ChronoNexus was last seen in Action #850 - which I think came out around 6 months earlier, around the time of Legion #30. I don't think you have ever reviewed #850 on this blog - if you haven't, do you any interest in doing so? It plays nicely into this issue.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for the long comment! But I have one other question:

I have a recollection that at some point, Supergirl meets some Legionnaires in the 21st century and is reminded of the adventures with them in the 31st century, and says something like she always thought those adventures had been a dream. Am I having a false memory? Was it from this series or the New 52 series?

Re the question of how did Supergirl end up in the 31st century, which you suggest was never adequately explained, isn't it from the malfunctioning Zeta Beam mentioned in World War III #2? Among the other effects, "Supergirl was sent somewhere" and J'onn suspects she was lost in time. She now returns. (With darkness choking her heart? Is the darker Supergirl back, or is she just freaked from the wind-wipe she only just endured? This is 6 months before the Legion story so who knows what they were planning.) She passes through J'onn and crashes to Earth.

Seems reasonable enough explanation for a time travel story.