Sunday, April 22, 2007

JLA 8: Lord of the (Flight) Rings

Two covers for this issue: the regular one on the left, and the 1-in-10 cover on the right.

OK, so I'm wondering about the Legion flight rings in JLA 8. The ones shown on Starman and Karate Kid were clearly the post-Zero Hour design, while these are clearly (supposed to be) the pre-Zero Hour Legionnaires. Artistic license?

They mentioned five other Legion flight rings in the present:
  • Booster Gold's is/was a pre-ZH model, I don't think it was ever retconned or explained after ZH.
  • When did Vril Dox get one? If Phase were Tinya, she would have had a pre-ZH flight ring, but Enya wouldn't have had one.
  • They said Superman had two, one at his home and one back in Smallville. Where would they have come from? This Superman was never Superboy the Legionnaire. Maybe he's got two of the rings discussed below.
  • Supergirl still has her post-IC ring, apparently.

There are a few post-ZH rings that I don't remember their status. What about these?
  • Inferno had one, but she hasn't been seen in a while. Didn't she get rid of it somehow so the Legion couldn't find her?
  • Clone Superboy had one from early in his series and gave it to Roxy, but the Legion took it back later (don't remember the details). Is this the one they gave to Inferno? Or was it Shvaughn Erin?
  • Superboy (now as Kon-El) had another one when he was a Legionnaire in the future. Is this one of the ones that Superman has, maybe his Smallville ring?

There are "Seven Soldiers" from the future who are now in the present, a sort of "Law's Legionnaires" if you will:
  • Star Boy/Starman
  • Dream Girl
  • Karate Kid
  • Dawnstar
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?

Starman says "--r not hearing me! The angel is close. The white angel's screaming. She's screaming at -- [in Interlac, to Karate Kid] Lightning Lad. The angel screams in C-sharp! Then the wolf howls -- in B-flat!" and later makes the "itsy bitsy spider" hand gestures.

Based on the issue's title, it's not unreasonable to assume that Lightning Lad is one of the missing Legionnaires, along with Timber Wolf ("the wolf howls") and possibly Shrinking Violet, unless Starman is just being nuts.

Continuity-wise -- Gah! This version of Karate Kid died in LSH v3 #5, and Dr. Destiny plucked a Darkseid dream from Dream Girl's mind (meaning it follows the Great Darkness Saga), so if this is original continuity and they're all from the same time, it takes place between January 2984 and November 2985 (according to the generally accepted Legion timeline). On the other hand, there's no room in the original continuity for Star Boy to have left, gotten stranded in Kingdom Come and then the 21st century, then returned to the 30th century, and it certainly never came up in the original series.

Why did we need 5 pages of "capture the flag" when we could have had a bad-ass Karate Kid vs Batman fight?

Here's some discussion in the ComicBloc forums (here, here, here, and here). Reviews at RackRaids, ComicVine, The Roar of Comics, Comic Book Revolution, The Fret, Black Lightning Unlimited, Broken Frontier,
Worst Blog Ever, PopSyndicate, and Living Between Wednesdays.

Regarding Karate Kid -
  • Major Spoilers has a nice hero-history writeup.
  • We already saw him on the original cover to JLA #1 -- we all thought at first "WTF is he doing there?" before it turned out to be a red-herring when the original cover was released, only to have it be a fake red-herring all along where he is involved with the JLA somehow. Only that Karate Kid is the current continuity's version, not the version currently appearing.
  • Over at Newsarama, Dan DiDio notes that
    Oh, and the storyline that spins from the JLA/JSA crossover, which features members of the Legion of Super-Heroes touches on Countdown as well, and what you’ll find out is that Karate Kid was left in the past – in our time, hopefully to unravel what’s going on the DC Universe. He’s left behind for a purpose. It wasn’t his choice. He was left.

Line of the issue:
"So you're like the Teen Titans from the future..."
"No, Not-- We're not the Teen Titans. We're like the Justice League."


Jonathan Miller said...

Impulse/Flash also had a ring. Superboy had one. Hmm. I have no idea how Dox got one, unless he had contact with Brainy during the "trapped in the 20th c." thing. With Booster's ring and Kal's two (see below for my thoughts on that), that makes 6. Inferno's could be the seventh, unless that's one of Superman's.

I'm willing to bet that the post-IC Superman/boy was a member of the LSH. There's the Mon-El story, the revelations about the "mysterious flying boy who helped people and disappeared" and the statues in the current Fortress of Solitude, not to mention the computer records used in this issue of JLA.

The flight ring design, I think, is artistic license. Although we're making an assumption that this is the Earth-1 Legion we're talking about; if "the Multiverse is back!", then we could easily be dealing with a Legion that's almost like Levitz/Giffen, but with room for Karate Kid to be alive and Starman to have disappeared. (Also, Val did spend time in the 20th century, maybe they're playing off that?)

Steven said...

Yeah, I agree that one of the rings is Clark's, from his (ret-conned back in) time with the Legion, and one of them is Conner's.

Also, Dream Girl's dreams about the future, so the vision of Darkseid Destiny manifested may be from something that is still to come (say, in Countdown).

wndola said...

Here is my lineup

I posted all my reasoning on

As to the flight rings
Clark's 2 are definitely his from his boyhood (the map of the Fortress in the Action Annual showed statues of the silver age legion) and Conner's from right before the last reboot.

Vril's is probably phases (did Monel have a ring when he was with L.E.G.I.O.N.)

I don't like that they did this though. Doesn't this limit the rings that can pop up?

Anonymous said...

Are we to presume that Karate Kid was beaten by shock-incapacitation by Black Lightning or by a cheap shot from Batman?

--qvohryrj, clerk at the galactic money exchange

Scott said...

I also believe that what we are seeing here is the reintroduction of the LSH in Superman's past. Must say that as excited as I am to see these characters, I'm also very nervous as to where this is going to lead. Ripping the scab off a barely-healed wound seems the most likely outcome.

Matthew E said...

I have a notion that this crossover may be tied in to LSH #300, which falls in the right time period. And I'm okay with that, if it's handled right.

I went to Brad Meltzer's website and asked him a question on the message boards there. I thought it was a pretty safe question. I asked him something like, "Did you and Geoff Johns just generally pick out a bunch of Legionnaires from approximately the era you wanted, or did you place this crossover at a particular point in Legion history to make sure you had the exact Legionnaires you wanted at the exact right points in their lives?" He answered me with, "That's a very fair question, and I can't answer it."

Which frustrated me. Not because he didn't answer it; he's Brad Meltzer and he can tell me what he wants to tell me. If he's communicating with me at all he's going above and beyond the call of duty for a writer. No, the frustrating part is, why can't he tell me? I can't think of a reason for it. What would be revealed by him telling me which of my two choices was closer? Unless neither of them was close, in which case maybe there's something weird going on that I'm not sure I like.

Michael said...

Matthew - You asked why he couldn't tell you. I think it's because you are too close to the truth and he doesn't want to give the hook away too early.

Based on who and what we've seen, I think it dates from right around the Great Darkness Saga, which is just a few issues from LSH v3 #300 - which showed Brainy viewing alternate versions of the Legion.

I'm working on a post for tonight that will attempt to combine a whole bunch of things we've seen across the DCU recently into something semi-coherent.

Matthew E said...

You asked why he couldn't tell you. I think it's because you are too close to the truth and he doesn't want to give the hook away too early.

Yeah, but I didn't even specify a point in time or anything. I basically just asked, did you fit it into Legion continuity or just use the characters? I don't see what that reveals.