“Revolt of the Girl Legionnaires”
Adventure Comics #326
Script: Jerry Siegel
Art: John Forte
DC Comics, 1964
by Chris Sims
(Hey, Kids! I want to introduce a new writer to our stable, Chris Sims, a hilarious and prodigious blogger; check out Chris's Invincible Super-Blog. Welcome, Chris!)
If “Queer Eye on Comics” has taught us anything over the past two years, it’s that gay subtext isn’t exactly hard to find in Silver Age comics. The whole era’s full of things like Superman killing off his alter-ego and moving into Jimmy Olsen’s apartment, and if you’re willing to put a little effort into it, making the connection isn’t too difficult.
And sometimes it doesn’t even take that much.
That’s the case with 1964’s “Revolt of the Girl Legionnaires,” the Jerry Siegel/John Forte classic wherein the girls of the Legion of Superheroes take their sapphic experimentation a shade too far and turn to murder in order to create an all-girl Legion that seems to be built more around slumber parties and hand-holding than saving the world.
And I for one am all for it.
“Our tale begins,” as the caption says, “in the 30th century home of lovely Legionnaire Light Lass,” whose admittance to the Legion can be directly traced to a bit of creative transvestism, and who’s currently standing around in a bathing suit using a “cellular trim ray” to get rid of what appear to be unsightly wiggle lines around her hips. But alas, bikini season’ll have to wait, as Saturn Girl pops up on her television and orders her to report to the Legion Clubhouse.
Also summoned are Triplicate Girl, Shrinking Violet, Phantom Girl, and Supergirl, who is interrupted while, and I quote, “experimenting” with Chameleon Boy’s pet shape-shifting blob Proty II, here in the form of an exact duplicate of Supergirl herself. The boy Legionnaires, meanwhile, are directed to a remote part of the galaxy so that the girls can have a little... alone time.
The reason for all this clandestine meeting is, of course, that the girls have finally decided to put their master plan for Operation: Betrayal into play, with each girl choosing a male counterpart to target... for murder! Triplicate Girl, always the adventurous one, chooses three boys to take on, and while Shrinking Violet doesn’t get one of her own, she obediently agrees to Triplicate Girl’s offer to help, taking her hand silently.
Did I mention that they were giving a lecture together at the beginning of the story? Or that Violet’s wearing a collar?
Shortly thereafter, as the Legionnaires mingle amongst the “gay throngs” of the Interplanetary Fair, the girls put their plans into motion, which invariably involves false seduction of their male counterparts followed by an awkward kiss before they trap them with a convoluted use of their powers. Element Lad gets abandoned on a mountaintop by Light Lass, Phantom Girl traps Starboy at the bottom of a pit, and Triplicate Girl, evil little dominatrix that she is, shrinks her three targets down and shoves them into a matchbox while mocking how small they are.
Man. That girl is harsh.
Anyway, after each successful hit, the girls retire to Legion Park, pulling bazookas out of their own statues to blow up those of the boys—thus begging the question as to why they didn’t just blow the boys themselves up with bazookas—before retiring to the clubhouse for a round of celebratory dancing with each other.
So what could’ve caused such a change in these law-abiding models of Silver Age femininity? My money would’ve been on the way Supergirl tarts around in that mini-skirt, but as it turns out, the sudden prevalence of The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name came from an outside source.
An outside source called Azura, Queen of the Goddess-Worshipping Amazons of Planet Femnaz.
Yes, at this point, anything resembling “subtext” has been thrown out the window and replaced with some kind of supertext, a rare substance known for its sheer overtness.
As the beautiful blonde Queen of the Amazons explains, the last time the girls of the Legion stopped by Femnaz, they were brainwashed with post-hypnotic suggestions delivered from a pretty jewel. See, Femnaz is inhabited solely by warrior women who cast out the entire male population of their planet after they not only refused to battle for the amusement of their ladytype overlords in the gladiatorial arenas, but also advised them that shooting highly explosive “prayer-rockets” at the moon was maybe not the best way to worship their goddess. Fortunately, the entire male population of Femnaz looks to be around three guys with receding hairlines, and the extermination of the Y-Chromosome was dealt with in a reasonably efficient manner.
But alas, the men were right about the effects of blasting nuclear weapons at the moon, and shortly after the command is sent to eradicate the boys of the Legion, the moon of Femnaz—a word I intend to keep using until such time as it stops being hilarious—splits in two and starts its deadly plummet to the surface of the planet.
Good thing, then, that that remote part of the galaxy the rest of the male Legionnaires were sent to back on page two is right in the vicinity. This, of course, allows the strapping lads of the Legion to handily save the silly Amazons from themselves, causing Queen Azura to release her hypnotic hold on the girls. The boys are rescued, and since there’s no permanent harm done, the girls are forgiven for their silly bouts of hysteria and everything works out okay.
But to be fair, Shrinking Violet doesn’t look too happy about it.
Chris Sims is a former professional humorist who now works at a comic book store. He is a black belt in Cobra Kai style Karate, and is not afraid to sweep the leg, even at the risk of disqualification.
All images and characters TM and © 2006 DC Comics. Review © 2006 Chris Sims
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