Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Super-Human Detritus of the Thirtieth Century: Review of Infectious Lass, By Johnathan

Holy crap - this is my one hundredth post. Well, I guess technically Paul wrote some of those one hundred, but I'm claiming the milestone since he's not paying attention. I tried to think up a thematically appropriate review - something like 'Review of One Hundred Corrupt Cops From Gotham City' or 'Review of Lois Lane's One Hundred Best Falls From Skyscrapers' - but I wasn't quite committed enough. Maybe I'll be ready by post number 500. Instead, I'll be writing about Infectious Lass, because her painful rejection by the Legion of Super-Heroes is the whole reason for this series of reviews and I just never got around to her. Sad, sad thing. Well: no more tears, it's time for a review!

Infectious Lass made her first appearance in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes No. 201. Right from the get-go she was a-friggin'-dorable. Let's watch:

See? Isn't she cute? That's her with Porcupine Pete and Molecular Master, two fine Legion rejects and future reviews in their own right. Take a moment here to take in Infectious Lass' enthusiasm and optimism. Boy, she really wants this Legion thing.

Now, on to the tryout:

Before we get all caught up in the drama of the demonstrations and the voting and so on, I think there's just enough time for a look at Infectious Lass' costume. Hmm. Definitely the best costume that a Legion applicant has ever worn - take that, Storm Boy. Heck, seeing as how it debuted in the Seventies, this is probably the best female costume in the whole building at the time. I mean, look at it: it's got an insane and stylin' pattern, an incredible collar that possibly can be hurled like a batarang and a matching mucus theme on her mask and cape (if you can't get a good look at the mask, it looks like she got hit in the face with a ball of Ghostbusters-brand slime). I must say, the mucus cape shows real devotion to a theme. It's possibly my favourite hero accessory of all time. Screw bat-cloaks and Spidey-mobiles and those little wings on the sides of the Flash's head - a cape that looks like it's made of snot, that's where it's at.

So: back to the action (look at the mucus! Awesome!). Star Boy has unwisely volunteered his services as guinea pig and pays the price. Can't blame him though - Infectious Lass is completely hot, in a two-dimensional, alien sort of way. Were I a futureman I would be all over that.

Now, by my reckoning Infectious Lass is doing great. She took out Star Boy in no time! Man, she could probably lay out the Fatal Five with head colds with her hands tied behind her back! And taking out a Legionnaire is a traditional way of impressing the judges, right? I mean, Karate Kid got in by beating Superboy down, so there's precedent, right?

Apparently you have to be, like, super confident and brag about it first for that to work. By saying that she's sorry, Infectious Lass reveals too much weakness and the feral teen clique that is the Legion snarls and boots her out on her shapely rear.

This is actually the panel that inspired the whole 'Super-Human Detritus' thing. It's a perfect example of what is entertaining and tragicomic about the whole Legion tryout phenomenon. Poor Infectious Lass - a distinctive, interesting character who was made up specifically so that she could fail to get into the Legion - stands there, meekly apologizing, while over her looms Superboy - possibly the most influential super-hero in history and someone Infectious Lass has looked up to her whole life - bellowing "REJECTED!" and chastising her for doing a good job. I mean, I guess it's a realistic way for a bunch of incredibly powerful teenagers to act, but still.

Lucky for us: Infectious Lass isn't one to give up easily and so shows up again in Superboy No. 218.

Here she comes with Absorbency Boy and Quake Kid, two more rejectees. Now, even I must admit that the Legion were probably right in rejecting her this time - she needs more control of her powers, not greater potency. I would have dearly loved to see a panel of her demonstrating her Epidemic Power, though. The whole Legion stricken with pinkeye or mono would really be something to see.

Quake Kid, I've got to say, really knows how to make the most of a bad situation. Sure, he didn't get in to the Legion and sure Dream Girl screeched "REJECTED!" at him as soon as he entered the room, but at least he gets a chance to tap some fine alien ass. I'm guessing that STDs have been wiped out by the 2970s, as a name like Infectious Lass would otherwise cause at least a moment of hesitation in even the most Tony Stark-esque of Lotharios(I hope. Otherwise Quake Kid is likely swarming with space-syphilis or Saturnian Gonorrhea). Infectious Lass had better realize what this guy is up to - he's blatant enough that the artist didn't even have to draw the pup tent in his spandex for me to know that it was there.

Aw geez. See what I mean about control, Infectious Lass? Now you're not going to get "commiserated" and since you can't commiserate with yourself you're going to have to find another euphemism for what you do when you get home. Tough luck. (This, by the way, is Quake Kid's only appearance. Since we don't actually learn anything else about him I'll judge by his taste in women and pronounce him JOHN APPROVED)

Infectious Lass eventually joins the Legion of Substitute Heroes, which is really a much better place for someone who is naive and nice - Subbies can just be themselves, especially if it generates laffs:

So that's that: Infectious Lass. Pretty and oh so rejected, with a great costume and a pretty good power. I'm going to leave you with this exchange between her and the ever-popular Ambush Bug:


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