Saturday, December 29, 2012

Long live the Legion!—girl power

PART II: WEAK WOMEN

Growing up around strong women like my grandmother, mother, family friends, and probably my latent gay boy self showing itself, I didn't care much for weak super-hero women.

Marvel's teams in the 60s and early 70s featured women as the weakest links (Invisible Girl, Marvel Girl, the Wasp), but DC's didn't (Wonder Woman, Wondergirl, Elasti-Girl)—except for the Legion. 

The only powerhouse, Supergirl, was "retired" off leaving the weaker, defense, peripheral members like Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, and Shrinking Violet. 

Spotlight on: Princess Projectra
One of the worst offenders was Princess Projectra, whose illusion powers generally created fake giant monsters to frighten or confuse foes. In later years, they really got her powers right when she re-appeared as Sensor Girl. 

But the worst offender of all was Dream Girl, a precognitive who couldn't use her powers on command, and often fainted when she had powerful or upsetting visions. She went through extensive training with Karate Kid, so she could fight, and they made her willful, and could use her flight ring like no other Legionnaire. But these weren't super, so you were left with a basically an average pretty girl who couldn't help, really, unless she randomly had a useful vision.

By contrast, Night Girl was rejected as an applicant. Her dad had infused her with super-strength, but since she was from a planet without a sun, her powers faded in day light or bright light. So, a girl, who for 12 hours a day (night shift) or in deep space (where a lot of Legion tales took place) who would reliably be among the most powerful members, male or female... Rejected! But a girl who can't use use powers on command, and faints when she does... Accepted! To say nothing about how Invisible Kid invented the serum to give himself powers, Saturn Girl invented a serum to keep Mon-El safe from lead (which Brainiac 5 perfected), and Supergirl invented cancellite to negate the powers of Durlans. Couldn't these whiz-kids have perfected things for Night Girl, giving her at least some super-strength during the day? The did cartwheels for Mon-El, why not her?

5 comments:

GeorgiaUnity said...

These are sublime, Tim! Keep 'em coming! (Especially love the Night Girl!)

Javier said...

My biggest issue with Dream Girl was that Grell was going out of his way to make the Legionnaires individuals. He would draw Shadow Lass with a fairly prominent nose and Star Boy had the hardest crew cut imaginable. Unfortunately, Dream Girl ended up having enormous pornstar breasts and a teeny tiny waist. She always seemed like she was going to topple over.

I also felt her power was mis-sused. She ended up being the Debbie Downer of the party. She was always predicting someone would die.

Xavier Lancel (SCARCE) said...

Yeah, Dream Girl was clearly used as a bimbo. Later, I don't remember her fainting but mostly sleeping (yeahhhh:p). Was really pissed me off about her was that she had Star Boy and would not see how lucky she was! :p
Contray to you, I think they later (with the Legion 2.0) made a really good job with Saturn Girl, making her one of the most important and powerful element of the serie, and a really good leader.
Lighting Lass, on the other side, almost always looked like a tired effort, especially with her ever changing set of powers. Making things lightier was really a crappy power! :p

Tim Fish said...

That puts me in mined, that the fact that every girl Legionnaire had a BF, and usually one more powerful than themselves (certainly they were never more powerful than their BFs)... I think only Supergirl was officially unattached, but her ongoing flirtation with Brainiac 5 and her home 1000 years in the past put her in a different category.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Fish, I have *always* felt that about Night Girl! patrick