My friend Steve usually uses an icon of one of the members as his profile picture, which is how I found out that he was also a huge fan of the Legion of Superheroes. Who else but a fan would know who Matter-Eater Lad is, much less have an icon of him? Anyway, we've talked about the icons a few times, and this morning he got someone on Facebook to make me an icon to represent Satan Girl, to use as my profile picture. I, of course, thought this was awesome, but most of my friends didn't get it, and I ended up having to explain to a few who Satan Girl was:
"Oh, she's the villain from the story where all of the girl get a crimson plague and none of the boys can go near them."
Yeah. Someone totally approved that as a plot point. As my friend Prole put it: "Was it bring your non-subtle plot idea to work day?" Another friend, who immediately followed her statement with, "Oh, God, don't write on your blog that I said this," muttered grimly, "All the girls get a crimson plague? Really? And you wonder why more girls don't like comics."
Look, it's not as bad as the issue where all the girls get mind-controlled into beating up the boys by the man-hating queen of the planet Femnaz ("Adventure Comics" #326), and girls could learn a lot from comics. In the same way that comics instilled a healthy moral structure, sense of justice, and respect for the difference between right and wrong in me, there could be similar lessons waiting for potential female readers.
Let's take a look, shall we?
Our story opens with the girls out doing superheroic chores, and then suddenly falling ill:
Dizzy, weak, and turning red... something's terribly wrong. And in a defiant blow against sexism, Sun Boy manages to escort Shrinking Violet back to the clubhouse without asking if she has the vapors or if her humors are out of balance. He just calmly accepts that the girls are striken with a crimson plague, which the boys don't seem to catch, are somewhat suspicious of, and don't want to be around.
Fortunately, they don't have to be around it, because Night Girl, Legion-reject and secret member of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, volunteers to nurse the stricken girls:
But she also succumbs to the plague.
Now, I'd like to take a moment to address my nameless friend: Just because this is a story where a bunch of girls who all hang out together are suddenly stricken with a crimson plague at the same time, and another girl joins them and her crimson plague immediately matches up with the timing of their crimson plague, it doesn't mean anything sexist is going on here. This is a story written by men about a female-only crimson plague and how awful it is, not anything sexist.
Let's get back to our story, just in time for Superboy to be a total dick:
He's sending the girls into quarantine with a cheery, "You're doomed! I hope we can cure you before you all die!" and then he doesn't even try to find a cure. Nope. He flies away to another emergency, just like that time that hanging ghosts tried to kill his dad.
And also, that ship he made them all fly to Quarantine World on doesn't even have any chairs. Dick.
As soon as the girls are gone, in comes a potential replacement:
I don't really think she thought through the importance of first impressions when she was picking out her name.
"SATAN Girl? Why, with a name like that, how could we not sign you up immediately?"
She kind of doesn't take rejection well:
Yeah. She wanted to join the Legion of Superheroes, so she named herself after the devil, then poisoned all their female members, and then told the Legionnaires that she did it. I'm wondering if she decided to take superhero tips from Mnemonic Kid or something, because she's going about this all wrong.
Enraged by rejection, Satan Girl goes berserk, and decides to just go ahead and kill the other girls:
Supergirl shows up to save them, and Satan Girl gives her a move that I like to refer to as the Full Lois, right into a tree:
They fight for a few panels, and then Supergirl shoots her in the face with her heat vision:
Is that not badass?
Supergirl doesn't always get a lot of credit from comic fans as someone who kicks ass and takes names, but deciding, "Hey, this girl's pretty tough. I'm going to just go ahead and shoot her in the face. With laser beams," is pretty awesome. Sure, she was trying to melt off Satan Girl's lead-lined mask to figure out who she was, but still, someone who decides that the best way to solve a problem is to shoot someone else in the face with laser beams is someone that I want in my corner.
It's probably also one of the many reasons why God never gave me laser beam eyes.
Back to the story, there are several pages of Satan Girl chasing Supergirl and the Legion across the galaxy, continuing to zap the girls with her crimson plague beam and then deciding that she should probably just go ahead and kill Supergirl, too:
Despite being dazed and weakened by kryptonite poisoning, Supergirl maintains her newly minted badass status by opening a fresh can of whoop-ass: She sics a pack of angry, vicious animals on Satan Girl:
The Legion of Super-Pets.
First she shoots someone in the face with laser beams, then when that doesn't work she throws a cat, a dog, and an angry monkey at them and lets them get trampled by a horse.
Supergirl is stone cold, people.
Defeated, Satan Girl is finally unmasked...
And she's also Supergirl! Supergirl is so badass that she spent an entire issue beating up herself, thanks to the wonders of red kryptonite, which created a duplicate Supergirl who had to siphon off all of the red kryptonite energy or die. She shot herself in the face with laser beams, just to watch herself die:
So, what did we learn?
For starters, first impressions are important, especially when you're choosing a superhero name.
Second, sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to shoot someone in the face with lasers and then let your pets maul them to death.
Third, sometimes girls are stricken with a crimson plague, and boys should avoid them during these times.
And finally, Superboy is, more often than not, a total dick.