How the Legion In Supergirl Draws From The Comics
In the current season of Supergirl, the Legion of Super-Heroes is slowly revealing itself to be a big part of the story with Supergirl fighting the Kryptonian threat of Reign. Mon-El, introduced last season as an eventual love interest for Supergirl, vanished at the end of last season due to lead poisoning from Earth’s atmosphere. Now, announcements have been made for casting two members of the Legion, Saturn Girl, already appearing in two episodes, and Brainiac 5, traditionally a love interest for Supergirl from almost his first appearance.
Spoilers abound after here, so don’t say you were weren’t warned.
With Mon-El making the journey almost instantly from the 21st to 31st century, the writers avoid a significant tragic part of his Silver Age origin. Mon-El doesn’t see himself stranded for centuries in the Phantom Zone, but arriving in a new time and seeing a bad situation and working to make it better, based on the example he saw in Supergirl. This not only plays off of the traditional role Superboy played in being the motivational example for the Legion, but builds on the role Mon-El, as Valor, played in being the inspirational force behind the Legion during the “Five Years Later” Legion and the first reboot, or “Archie” Legion.
Saturn Girl being written as Mon-El’s wife is something entirely new, as Saturn Girl has almost exclusively been written romantically linked with fellow Legion founder Lightning Lad. Mon-El has been romantically linked in the past with fellow Legionnaire Shadow Lass, so freeing Kara from a romantic relationship with Mon-El does set a stage for a potential relationship with Brainiac 5, a development yet to be leaked in any talk of the Legion’s role in the series. with only those two characters revealed, we don’t know which other Legionnaires may be in the other three cryogenic pods on the Legion ship.
There are other references in Mon-El and Saturn Girl’s description of the 31st century that give us direction on where the writers are creating this version of the Legion from. the 31st century was described as being chaotic and violent before Mon-El shaped the Legion into an example for the rest of the world, and beyond. This example harkens to two reboots of the Legion. In the first reboot, the Legion is formed to provide an example to unify the fledgling United Planets by showing what teenagers from different worlds can achieve together. In the “threeboot” Legion that followed, the Legion served as a cultural movement for young people oppressed by a galaxy-wide system that sought peace through control. The chaotic and somewhat violent Earth of the 31st century draws more from the Xenophobic society of the last incarnation of the Legion that drew out of the Action Comics series “Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes.” Of course, everything we know so far doesn’t yet mesh with the fact that in Season 1 of Supergirl, it was revealed that Superman has a Legion ring in his Fortress of Solitude. The Arrowverse has played well with the concept of time travel not being completely linear, and this ring could be from the Legion’s future after they have returned from helping Supergirl.
We do have a possibility of the mysterious appearance of a young girl talking to Barry Allen at his wedding in the first episode of the “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover, which was the eighth episode of Supergirl for the season. The young lady talked about being excited to be at the wedding, was not recognized by Barry, and offerred him advice to be sure to say “I do.” Immediately, speculation began that this young lady had something to do with the future of Barry and Iris, and she bore a resemblance to a character in the comics that was the granddaughter of Barry and Iris, and just happened to be a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes named XS. She also possesses super-speed, and has a history of travelling back to the 20th/21st century on her own. If she’s connected to the Legion on Supergirl, it is unclear how she crossed over to Earth-1, although speedsters have a way of breaching between Earths regularly.
On January 15, the Legion is promised to see action and further develop. Based on the three hands, we should at least see Brainiac 5, and just possibly learn more about who are in those other three pods. My money is on Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl, with the outside hope that we’ll see Ferro Lad, but I wouldn’t bet money on it, with so many other Legionnaires to choose from. We also will get developments on how the Legion will return to the 31st century, but from the period of the DC Event Final Night and in the New 52 title Legion Lost, there is precedent for the Legion finding itself stranded in the present day. We just have to watch it develop in future episodes of Supergirl.
In the meantime, enjoy the promo for the next episode of Supergirl.