A Tribute to the of

As weíve discovered here during our silver mining expeditions, it was often pretty easy to find our favorite Legion of Super-Heroes members showing up in other titles. I, for one, am a sucker for a good crossover story and I recently discovered another one that bears investigation. This time itís in the good olí flagship Action Comics, #276 from May of 1961, with an on-sale date of March 30 of that year. That Curt Swan and Stan Kaye cover is for an interesting Supergirl centered tale by writer Robert Bernstein artists Wayne Boring & Stan Kaye, but weíre going to check out the backup feature, written by Jerry Siegel with Jim Mooney art and Mort Weisinger editing titled, ďSupergirlís Three Super Girl-Friends!Ē

The basic premise, from that splash page, is that three members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Phantom Girl, Triplicate Girl and Saturn Girl, all show up to introduce themselves to Supergirl as her new super girl-friends. Looks like olí Jerry went a bit overboard with the superlatives in the caption, but letís see how this goes. By the way, what happened to the legion flight rings? All three of our heroines seem to be using jet packs.

The story begins in Midvale orphanage where Linda Lee, aka Supergirl, is watching a little television with a couple of the other girls and she is reminded, as they chat with each other, that a girl needs another girl to talk to about things and due to her secret super status, this simple necessity is denied to her.

As she wanders outside, lamenting this lack, particularly for someone endowed with powers like herself, her thoughts seem to be read by someone when a telepathic voice tells her she does have a girl-friend and to meet her at the field near Cranston Creek. Quickly changing into her Supergirl persona and sending a handy Linda Lee robot to cover for her at the orphanage, Supergirl is on her way.

Soon, she encounters a girl in a red costume with a lead mask, but before revealing herself, the heroine we all know as Saturn Girl directs Supergirlís attention to Phantom Girl, emerging from underground and finally Triplicate Girl arrives, displaying her ability to split into three identical versions of herself and showing that she knows Supergirlís secret identity of Linda Lee.

At first, Supergirl is flummoxed and upset that her secret identity is no longer secret, but then she realizes who sheís dealing with and identifies the disguised Saturn Girl and the other Legionnaires. They confirm her hypothesis and Supergirl feels that she can associate with these girls without fear of Supermanís being unhappy as he, of course, joined the LSH as Superboy.

Saturn Girl then reveals their motive for visiting, asking Supergirl to try to join their club again, convinced that this time she will succeed. Supergirl quickly goes into flashback mode when her attempt to join the prior year ended in disaster when she was exposed to Red Kryptonite that aged her into an adult Superwoman and therefore disqualified her based on age.

Soon, the mighty maidens enter a classic LSH time bubble to head for the 30th century. Upon arrival, Supergirl meets up with Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad and is then introduced to her competition for membership. At the conference table, we see Shrinking Violet, Bouncing Boy and Sun Boy. It is also explained that the rules have changed and now one boy and one girl are allowed to join each year. Then, yet another candidate shows up in the form of Brainiac 5.

Brainy explains that he is the great-great-great-great grandson of the original Brainiac. He goes on to explain that he and his ancestors have been trying to atone for the evil done by the original Brainiac and that heís glad he met his end while battling Superman.

Following that revelation, Brainy recounts what happened. Apparently, Brainiac was engaging in a sneak attack on the Earth. This time, rather than shrinking and collecting cities for his collection, the green-skinned fiend is going for all the marbles and intends to shrink the entire planet and put it into a bottle.

Fortunately, Superman is on hand and creates a warning for the space marauder that if he should attack the Earth, he will be destroyed. The ego-maniacal malefactor ignores Supermanís warning, so the Man of Steel redirects the shrinking ray from the flying saucer so that it misses the Earth and then flings the ship into the pathway of the ray and watches it shrink down until it is no more. When Supergirl asks how it could happen as Brainiacís ship was protected by an ultra force-shield, Brainy replies that Superman had observed Brainiacís space pet via his x-ray vision and that Koko had accidentally switched off the force-shield.

Now itís time for the demonstration of the powers of the applicants and when itís Supergirlís turn, she swiftly tunnels into the earth and retrieves some historic artifacts, to include the sword of King Arthur, Excalibur, the helmet of Achilles and the shield of King Richard. Just then, Brainiac 5 asks to place a belt on Supergirl and moments later a huge Green Kryptonite meteor lands, but she is seemingly immune to it. Springing into action, she takes advantage of the force-shield radiated by the belt and destroys the meteor so it can do no further harm.

Supergirl is impressed by Brainiac 5ís quick action and willingness to sacrifice himself and offers to return his belt, but he says heís adjusted the controls on it to her vibratory pattern and to keep it always. Then, the decision is made and Supergirl and Brainiac 5 are inducted into the Legion.

Afterward, Brainy asks her to stay and be his girl, but Supergirl explains that she must return to the 20th century and remain on call as Supermanís emergency weapon, but promises that theyíll meet again. Then, itís back to 1961 for the Girl of Steel, once again via the time bubble.

It occurs to her that with the ability to use the belt, she may be mightier than her cousin by being invulnerable to Kryptonite. Supergirl decides to see if it will work in her time and enlists the aid of Lori Lemaris, requesting the mermaid to retrieve a green K meteor from the ocean floor that had been placed there in a lead container by Superman. Lori and Jerro, a merman and admirer of Supergirl, soon direct the Maid of Might to the chestís location and she is overjoyed to find that she is still protected by the belt.

She decides to dispose of the Kryptonite once and for all and over Jerroís lovesick protests, departs with it, heading for deep space. Finding a lead meteor millions of light years from Earth, she buries it within and then heads for home. Sadly, she has a mishap during the flight to Earth that destroys the force shield belt.

In the closing panels, Linda Lee is back at the orphanage and is being queried by her fellow orphans about whether or not she has a boyfriend. She says she guesses not, but smiles to herself as she thinks that in reality, she has two, in the form of the merman Jerro and the descendant of Brainiac in the far future.

So, with this story, we get some good old-fashioned Silver Age fun and also get to see the first appearances of a handful of well-known Legionnaires: Phantom Girl, Triplicate Girl, Shrinking Violet, Bouncing Boy, Sun Boy and Brainiac 5, who would all go on to be members in good standing, with, of course, Triplicate Girl losing one of her selves and changing her name to Duo Damsel and ultimately marrying Bouncing Boy.

Kind of a fun little romp when our four-color wonders only cost a dime. Iíll rate this one with a solid 9 for everything Jerry Siegel brought to the table in a short 12 pages and of course I will always have a heavy bias toward Jim Mooney, who was a favorite interviewee [Sage #185].

As always, I am at your disposal for questions or feedback. Just drop me an e-mail and youíll hear back promptly: professor_the@hotmail.com.

June 1st is the date to remember for the next installment in this ongoing feature. Címon back and, as alwaysÖ

Long live the Silver Age!

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