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Queering The Legion

Giffen riffing on Kirby

A few months ago (October 20th, 2010 to be exact) Paul Levitz teased Legion readers with a two panel scene hinting at the return (or re-establishment?) of the relationship between Vi and Ayla. It may not have gotten a lot of attention because Phil Jimenez drew some serious man candy in the second story with a modern Grell inspired costume on Legion Academy recruit Gravity Kid. And his rendition of fellow recruit Chemical Kid and Legionnaires Ultra Boy, Lightning Lad and Timber Wolf are drool worthy too.

The tease became solid confirmation this week in Legion of Super Heroes annual #1 by Levitz and artist Keith Giffen. When last seen in Legion #6, the women were on their way to Imsk for the holidays. In the annual their ship has been violently pulled from space near Orando by the Emerald Eye and its new host, a young woman who was forced to be the sex slave of Duke Pharos. Found unconscious by the Empress, Vi and Ayla awake to find themselves imprisoned, which doesn’t prove to be an obstacle in the least. What does prove to be dicey is facing down this new Empress. Even when Sun Boy, Sensor Girl, and Gates arrive in the palace (got to love Gates’ teleportation!) containing the Empress is a huge challenge. Motivated by love and concern for Ayla’s welfare, Vi shows she’s not to be underestimated by using her ability to sever the connection between the Eye and the woman. Of course, this is comics so there’s a hint of something troubling in Vi’s future, and I think the possibility will be make for a good story and character development.

Major props to Levitz for giving back the Vi – Ayla relationship to readers and to Giffen for his artistic input. The way I see it there are two challenges ahead for Levitz and the Legion artists. One is easy. Continue developing Vi and Ayla as a couple. The other less so: create a gay male Legionnaire. The idea isn’t without precedent. Just see here, here, here, and oh, here, too. Bonus points if the character isn’t chronically single or doesn’t fall in love with a straight male character. Double bonus points if the boyfriend is a superhero too though it isn’t necessary. I think Levitz is up to the challenge.

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