Saturn Girl

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Saturn Girl
Saturn Girl in her second silver age uniform.
Art by Gary Frank.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Adventure Comics # 247 (April, 1958)
Created by Otto Binder
Al Plastino
In-story information
Alter ego Imra Ardeen
Species Titanian
Place of origin Titan, moon of Saturn
Team affiliations Legion of Super-Heroes
Abilities Telepathy

Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen) is a fictional character appearing in DC comic books. A talented telepath from the 30th century, Imra first appeared in Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958) as a founding member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Imra's "Saturn Girl" title refers to her homeworld of Titan, the largest moon of the planet Saturn. She was ranked 50th in Comics Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list.[1]

There have been three versions of Imra since her original debut, separated by the events of both the Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis limited series.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Silver Age[edit]

Saturn Girl in her silver age variant uniform.

During the Silver Age of comics, 30th century Earth is a member of the United Planets and home to its military branch, the Science Police. The most talented telepath among a race of powerful mentalists, Imra left her homeworld of Titan to join the Science Police as a teenager. However, during her flight to Earth, an assassination attempt was made on the life of fellow passenger and billionaire R.J. Brande. Using her powers of telepathy, Imra discovered the plot, and, with the help of two other teenagers on board, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy, caught the assassin and saved Brande's life. At Brande's urging, she adopted the persona of Saturn Girl, and joined Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy in founding the Legion of Super-Heroes - an organization of teenage heroes formed to honor the legacy of Superboy.[2] They traveled back to the 20th century and gave him a place on the team after he passed their tests. When Lex Luthor and the Legion of Super-Villains were about to kill Superman, Saturn Girl offered to die in his place, although a trick by Superman made Saturn Queen save her.

As a Legionnaire, Imra gained a reputation for self-sacrifice; just prior to the leadership elections of 2975, she learned that a Legionnaire would die during an attack on Earth and decided to take on that responsibility herself. Using her telepathy, Imra forced the other Legionnaires to vote her leader and then ordered them not to use their powers during the attack. However, Lightning Lad defied her orders and took her place in death.[3] Distraught over his selfless act of devotion, Imra vowed to do all in her power to bring him back. A method was soon developed which could revive Lightning Lad, but only at the cost of another member's life. Imra again interfered in the process to ensure hers was the life taken, but her plan was foiled by Proty, the telepathic shape-shifting pet of Chameleon Boy. Proty admired Imra and tricked her so that it could take her place. Upon Proty's death, Lightning Lad was restored.[4] Despite this series of events, Imra's leadership was highly valued in the Legion, and her position as leader, despite its means of acquisition, was allowed to stand. She earned a second term the following year.[5] As leader of the Legion, Saturn Girl was the first female comic book character to head a group of superheroes.[volume & issue needed]

Romantically, Lightning Lad (Garth Ranzz) had pursued Imra for some time, but she had repeatedly rebuffed his advances. However, after he sacrificed his life for her own, she understood the depth of his feelings and came to realize that she returned them. After dating for almost ten years, Garth proposed marriage but Imra initially rejected his offer due to a Legion rule which forced married members to retire. After consulting with her mentors on Titan, however, Imra relented. However, the couple's retirement was short-lived; a few months after their marriage, war broke out in which all active Legionnaires were captured and the reserves were forced into action. Imra's telepathic skills were instrumental in the Legion's eventual victory, and as a result the rule barring married members was repealed. The Ranzzes returned to active duty until Imra gave birth to their son, Graym, after which they both retired in order to devote their energy to him. Unbeknown to the couple, however, Graym had a twin who was stolen at birth by Darkseid and transported into the past, where he was transformed into the monster Validus(Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes Annual 3). Validus fought the Legion on numerous occasions (and even killed one of the comrades, the first Invisible Kid), but was eventually returned as a normal infant to his parents by Darkseid at Imra's insistence.[volume & issue needed]

Imra briefly rejoined the Legion again in 2987 when Universo took control of the Earth and hypnotized and imprisoned many heroes, including her. Imra's powerful mind broke free and eventually broke Universo's hold over Earth and forced him unconscious. It was then that she realized how much the Legion was in her blood, and she rejoined, this time without Garth, who was enjoying life as a father and househusband. However, during the "Five Year Gap", Earth's government became hostile to the Legion, and Garth became incapacitated from the Validus plague which ravaged his native Winath. Disillusioned by the government and feeling needed more at home, Imra resigned from the Legion for the last time in 2990. Returning to Winath, she and Garth took over running a Winathian Lightning Ring plantation, which became quite prosperous. Using their new-found wealth, Imra and Garth replaced their super-heroism with simple but necessary helping of others, feeding a galaxy suffering more from hunger than from super-villains. When the Legion re-formed in 2994, the Ranzzes helped them out, but did not rejoin. Instead, they enlarged their family with the birth of daughters Dacey & Dorritt, who inherited Imra's telepathic abilities.[volume & issue needed]

Post-Zero Hour[edit]

Saturn Girl in her post Zero-Hour uniform (art by Jeff Moy).

After the reboot of the Legion in the Zero Hour series, Imra remained known as Saturn Girl, and a founder of the Legion along with Cosmic Boy and the renamed Live Wire. Her design was changed from previous versions, combining some elements from past uniforms. The top and pants of her uniform are similar in design to her red & white uniform, but now colored pink instead of red, and has the familiar Saturn logo.

She was initially torn between her two fellow founders romantically, after she was left catatonic from shutting down the Composite Man's mind; as her mentor Aven was only able to restore her to an infant-like state, she demanded Garth, and it was only after he told her he needed her that she was restored to normal.

Later, controversially, after half the Legion, herself included, were stranded in the past by the Emerald Eye, she inadvertently awakens and is subsequently attacked by the misogynistic telepath known as Doctor Psycho. As a result of the attack, Cosmic Boy was knocked comatose and Psycho destroyed barriers Aven had placed on her powers, increasing them considerably. As a result, Saturn Girl would unconsciously animate the comatose Cosmic Boy and almost married him in that state before her subconscious mind rebelled, turning Cos into Garth until she shut down the link and Cosmic Boy was properly awakened.[volume & issue needed]

After Invisible Kid's resignation, she became Legion leader, and stationed Garth as part of a second group of Legionnaires on a space-station known as the Legion Outpost to avoid the appearance of nepotism; this fact irritated him for some time until the three founders went on a mission together against a corrupt regime using their identities and the Legion's symbols to prop up his regime, during which they cleared the air. Shortly thereafter, Garth proposed to her and she assented.[volume & issue needed]

Unfortunately, both of them were among a group of Legionnaires stranded in another galaxy (Legion Lost) by a collapsing rift, during which time Imra also created a psychic projection of Apparition to stabilize Ultra Boy. When the deception was discovered, it severely strained her relationships with most of the other "Lost" Legionnaires. She resigned as leader, and soon thereafter Garth sacrificed himself to stop the mad Element Lad and allow the others to return home safely.[volume & issue needed]

On their return home, her mind was strained by what she had gone through, and returned to her home moon of Titan to undergo psychic therapy. Universo then trapped her in an illusion where she had never impersonated Apparition, Element Lad was not a villain, and Live Wire had never died, to prevent her interfering as he absorbed most of the galaxy into a hivemind with himself at the center. Depressed and angry, when Sensor broke her free, she used her anger to trap Universo in a similar illusion.[volume & issue needed]

Shortly thereafter, when she and Cosmic Boy visited Element Lad's home planet of Trom, they found a resurrected Garth in a crystalline version of Element Lad's body, recreated from electrified crystals Spark had found and placed there. Uncertain of how to react to him, it was some time before they reconciled properly.[volume & issue needed]

"Threeboot"[edit]

With the 2005 revamp of the Legion, Imra's personal history stayed largely the same, although her powers (and those of the Titanian race) have now changed drastically. The Titanians only communicate telepathically, having lost use of their vocal cords due to centuries of evolution. It's stated, in the case of another Titanian, that somehow this type of telepathy can mimic the likeness of verbal communication, rendering a mute Titanian able to make some tongue-in-cheek humor, or change the "tone" of his telepathy according to the situation. As a result, Imra only "talks" by broadcasting her thoughts to her fellow Legion members. She is still able to read minds, but cannot express herself in spoken language, which puts her at a disadvantage in those situations where her telepathy is useless.

Imra's appearance has again changed slightly. Her new uniform is similar to her Post-Zero Hour uniform in design, but colored red instead of pink. This uniform is later changed again by M'rissey.

Imra has always been portrayed as cold, but this latest revamp further exaggerates this personality trait. She engages in emotional isolation, and has a very serious, introverted demeanor. This may, in part, be caused by shame over her muteness, which she managed to keep secret from the Legion (with the exception of Lightning Lad) for quite some time. In fact, Lightning Lad seems to be the only one Imra feels comfortable opening up to, (a nod to their Pre-Crisis relationship, and the basis for the revamping of their engagement). Her mother holds a high position in the UP Council, and was instrumental in forging the current alliance between the UP and the Legion.

Her coldness, however, is shown to hide much deeper insecurities; neglected by Lightning Lad, utterly devoting himself to the Legion cause, she always harbors feelings of inadequacy, putting all the blame for her failing relationship on her perceived lack of attractiveness, her plain personality, and her "handicap". When Ultra Boy tries to comfort her, Imra shares a moment of passion, soon discovered by her teammates, of which Lightning Lad isn't informed. Later Lightning Lad is made aware of her affair, putting a considerable strain on her relationship, leading Imra to avoid Garth for a time.[6] However, pressured by dealing with the increasing antisocial behavior of Princess Projectra, Imra is forced to admit her true feelings to him, including the possibility of having consummated her passion with Ultra Boy on the mind plane.[7]

Using her telepathy, Imra was instrumental in locating the wraith-like form of Mon-El, hearing his telepathic pleas for help. She pursued a warm relationship with Garth, and kept in contact with her mother, even knowing that the strained relationships between the UP and the Legion mean that her mother risks her career whenever she meets her own daughter.[volume & issue needed]

It's mentioned that her Legion Ring is modified to reroute mental impulses, enabling her to benefit from the improved range of communication and reply telepathically to spoken radio communication.[volume & issue needed]

Post-Infinite Crisis[edit]

The events of the Infinite Crisis miniseries have apparently restored a close analogue of the Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Legion to continuity, as seen in "The Lightning Saga" story arc in Justice League of America and Justice Society of America, and in the "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" story arc in Action Comics. Saturn Girl is included in their number. She is still married to Lightning Lad, as she is identified as Imra Ardeen-Ranzz.[8]

Comics writer, Geoff Johns, commented on the character stating,[9]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Saturn Girl in Legion of Super-Heroes.

Saturn Girl's powers in her initial Silver Age appearances appeared to be great: she could summon distant people; probe human, electronic, and animal minds; "push" weakened minds, and even directly control others' thoughts and emotions. In later years, her abilities were portrayed more conservatively: her telepathy was used most often for communication or sensing surface thoughts, while her ability to influence and probe minds was usually limited to minds that had already been weakened in some way, such as by fatigue or a villain's mind control.

Saturn Girl post Zero Hour was again able to alter, manipulate, and read minds. She could communicate mentally, as well as cast illusions and maintain them indefinitely, including pseudo-tactile contact, while the illusions could display a personality different from her own and she would be aware of all interactions the illusory figure was involved in at all times.

The extent of her powers after the "Threeboot", though unknown, is substantially more limited. Although she's retained the "soothing" effect of her powers from her Pre-Crisis incarnation, she is unable to probe shielded minds, and must concentrate to exert direct influence on an opponent's brain (such as disrupting an opponent's amygdala). Her mother, (a United Planet ambassador) seems more skilled than her daughter, able to instinctively sense when Imra is using her telepathy. Titanians may choose an "open broadcast" system of communication, enabling everyone, even non-telepathic as a species, to "hear" their thoughts, or a "closed broadcast", creating a sort of "astral plane" in which they can "speak" completely undetected and in absolute privacy. Imra is able to modulate her telepathic voice in various modes, including a "telepathic scream", overwhelming and compelling as a voiced one.

As described by Princess Projectra, Titanian telepathy involves mostly the control of the higher brain functions, and Imra is powerless against mental attacks dealt directly to her subconscious, or her id urgings.[6]

The current (V6) version of Imra has also demonstrated a telekinetic (TK) ability, using this power to shatter a window blocking her path to her two sons. She also is seen holding back a collapsing building column from crushing some people apparently with some form of telekinetic force. In addition she is later seen to apparently telekinetically "catch" or at least levitate a very large block of falling masonry about to crush another group of people.

The (V6) version is essentially a continuation of "Silver Age" Saturn Girl, so it's possible telekinesis is either something Imra learned how to do over the passing years, possibly by studying with Tellus who is both telepathic and telekinetic, or perhaps it's an ability that took some time to manifest in Imra. Titanians generally only have various degrees of telepathic abilities, with the notable exception of Saturn Queen (Eve Aries).

A TK ability is consistent with the animated Legion of Superheroes version of Saturn Girl who exhibited a Thought Blast ability capable of destroying robots, which clearly had to be a telekinetic force. Furthermore, Imra also directly exploded or at least caused to explode a group of energy weapon satellites, also consistent with some form of TK.

Its also possible she has always had a TK ability and perhaps more; it has been at the very least implied (especially after Zero Hour), that Imra is vastly more powerful than she herself, or in some cases her trainers/teachers are comfortable with. Some of her "weaknesses" and "limitations" may be psychologically self-imposed. Also, one of her professors, Dr. Aven is known to have telepathically planted "psychic circuit breaker" suggestions in her mind when she was younger to limit her abilities.

Equipment[edit]

As a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes she is provided a Legion Flight Ring. It allows her to fly and protects her from the vacuum of space and other dangerous environments.

Other versions[edit]

  • In The Dark Knight Strikes Again, a young, precognitive girl is befriended by Catgirl. She uses the name Saturn Girl, "on account of she's not born yet", implying that this 21st-century character has some information of the 30th century and is named after the Legion's Saturn Girl. She is a stony-eye figure who is at first keen to join Batman's growing army, but then turns the offer down when she foresees the vicious attack on Kelley by a Joker-like villain.
  • In Amalgam Comics Spider-Boy Team-Up #1, Saturn Girl is combined with Psylocke as Psi-Girl of the Legion of Galactic Guardians 2099. When time shifts, her rebooted form is called Psi-Girl II.[10]

In other media[edit]

DC animated universe[edit]

Saturn Girl appeared in the episode "New Kids In Town" of Superman: The Animated Series with Chameleon Boy and Cosmic Boy. She was voiced by Melissa Joan Hart. She also appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Far From Home."

Legion of Super Heroes[edit]

Another version of her is a regular character on the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, voiced by Kari Wahlgren (who also provides the voices of Triplicate Girl, Shrinking Violet and Infectious Lass). This version of the character is closer in abilities to the original Action Comics incarnation, with a somewhat more alien look to her. Besides her telepathic abilities, including communicating with cybernetic minds such as Brainiac-5, illusion-casting, and calming emotions, she displays advanced hand-to-hand combat skills; in the episode "Timber Wolf" she also displays a "thought-blast" which destroys several robots, and enters a "healing trance". After frequent appearances in the first season, Saturn Girl appeared briefly in the season 2 premiere before being put into a healing coma during a battle with Esper. She was shown recovering alongside Matter-Eater Lad, and temporarily returned to action, in the episode "In the Beginning" and later served a pivotal role in the season finale.

Smallville[edit]

Alexz Johnson as Imra Ardeen on Smallville.

Saturn Girl, along with Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad, made her live-action debut in the eleventh episode of the eighth season of Smallville, entitled "Legion." This incarnation of her did not have the classic one piece suit but a more modern jacket, pants, and shirt combination, though she still had the Saturn logo on her shirt. During "Legion" she, Lightning Lad, and Cosmic Boy saved Clark Kent from Persuader and helped him defeat Brainiac in Chloe Sullivan's body, taking Brainiac's remains to be reprogrammed in the future. She was portrayed by actress/singer Alexz Johnson.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 36. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0. 
  2. ^ Superboy #147 (May-June 1968)
  3. ^ Adventure Comics #304 (January 1963)
  4. ^ Adventure Comics #312 (September 1963)
  5. ^ Adventure Comics #323 (August 1964)
  6. ^ a b Legion of Super-Heroes #47 (December 2008)
  7. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes #49 (February 2009)
  8. ^ Action Comics #859 (January 2008)
  9. ^ Rogers, Vaneta & Briggers, Cliff. Their Name is Legion. CSN 1093: Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds
  10. ^ Spider-Boy Team-Up #1 (April 1996)