Who Is Sensor Girl?
"Who Is Sensor Girl?" is an American comic book story arc that was published by DC Comics, and was presented in Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #14-27 (September 1985 – October 1986). It was written by Paul Levitz, and pencilled primarily by Greg LaRocque, Larry Mahlstedt and Mike DeCarlo. The story arc includes the induction of five new members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, with the identity of one posing a major mystery.
|"Who Is Sensor Girl?"|
|Publication date||September 1985 – October 1986|
|Title(s)||Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #14-27|
|Main character(s)||Legion of Super-Heroes|
With its three founders (Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad) having announced their intention to resign from active duty, the Legion of Super-Heroes holds its first major membership drive in years. Power Boy, Comet Queen, Mentalla, Energy Boy and Dev-Em are among the various candidates. Ultimately, five new members are voted in, including the telepathic/telekinetic Tellus, the extradimensional entity Quislet, Cosmic Boy's younger brother Magnetic Kid, and Legion of Substitute Heroes co-founder Polar Boy, who finally accepts the Legion's long-standing offer of membership. The fifth new member is Sensor Girl. She is a masked woman who keeps her powers and identity secret, but is voted in based upon a recommendation from Saturn Girl, who states that she “has the best of reasons to deserve Legion membership.”
Over the new few weeks, Sensor Girl displays a variety of powers. She is aware of an explosion occurring miles away before any of her teammates, illuminates the darkness with infra-red light, and displays impressive prowess in hand-to-hand combat. She properly analyzes the glandular imbalance in one of her teammates, and is able to see and hear through walls. Brainiac 5, grieving the death of his longtime love Supergirl, begins to suspect that Sensor Girl might actually be Supergirl — or a traitor in their midst. The mystery deepens when Brainiac 5 breaks into her quarters and discovers that she has been flying without using her Legion flight ring. Team leader Element Lad is reluctant to ask Sensor Girl to reveal her identity, as years earlier he was also admitted into the Legion on Saturn Girl's recommendation alone. However, as teammates grow suspicious and internal conflict develops, he is forced to raise the subject with Sensor Girl. She responds by resigning from the team. As she leaves Legion Headquarters, Ultra Boy uses his penetra-vision to see through her mask, and is stunned when he discovers that her costume is empty.
Meanwhile, the Emerald Empress has reformed the Fatal Five, recruiting the Persuader (her former teammate), along with Legion reject Mentalla, and two additional criminals: Caress, a woman with an acidic touch, and Flare, a woman with destructive energy blasting powers and flight. The Legionnaires desperately search for Sensor Girl, worried that she might have accepted the Empress’ previous offer of alliance. Dawnstar tracks her to the cemetery planet Shanghalla, where the trail dissipates. Element Lad raises the subject of Sensor Girl's qualifications with Saturn Girl. She reiterates that Sensor Girl deserves Legion membership, adding that "she was already a Legionnaire." On the planet Stratus, the new Fatal Five ambushes and attacks a small faction of Legionnaires (who were, ironically, searching for Mentalla), made up of Dream Girl, Colossal Boy, Tellus, and Polar Boy. Despite fighting valiantly, the four Legionnaires are overpowered and on the verge of losing. Sensor Girl arrives and leaps to the defense of her teammates, but she too is overcome by the Empress, who exposes the mystery woman's true identity: Projectra.
Brainiac 5 finally deduces Sensor Girl's identity, which is confirmed by Saturn Girl. Projectra had traveled to Shanghalla to visit the tomb of her late husband Karate Kid, who tutored her in hand-to-hand combat. She was able to fly without the aid of her new Legion flight ring by using the one she received when she originally joined the team years earlier. Her other seemingly endless abilities were the result of her illusion-casting powers, magically heightened by the spirits of her ancestors to include the ability to see through reality's illusions — including those of size, distance, time and death. Desiring to return to the Legion in secret, she and Saturn Girl developed the Sensor Girl identity.
Projectra (who re-adopts her Sensor Girl persona) and the other Legionnaires, having escaped from the Fatal Five, are forced to engage them in battle once again. As in the previous fight, the Legion members take a vicious beating from the Fatal Five, but do their best to fight on. However, they all soon realize that Mentalla is a mole in the Fatal Five, and has not truly betrayed the Legion. Using her powers, she possesses Flare and the Empress, using the former to destroy communication jamming satellites around the planet, and the latter to send out a distress call to the Legion via the Legionnaires' flight rings (the Empress had taken the flight rings from them at the beginning of the second battle to prevent them from escaping a second time). In retaliation, the Empress murders Mentalla. The psychic backlash from her death incapacitates Tellus, removing him from the battle. The two teams fight again, with the Legionnaires, now less one member, once again being brutally routed by the villains. One by one, the remaining Legionnaires are defeated. Only Sensor Girl is left. She is eventually able to single-handedly defeat both the Persuader and Flare before being overcome by the Empress and Caress. However, Wildfire and Dawnstar, having received the distress call, arrive, with Wildfire blasting and incapacitating the Emerald Eye, and Dawnstar defeating Caress. Sensor Girl, with her last bit of energy, punches out the Empress, thus ending the battle.
Afterward, Projectra abdicates the throne of Orando. The Legion officially votes her into the Legion again as Sensor Girl, accepting her role in the death of Nemesis Kid as a case of self-defense.
In the aftermath of the Infinite Crisis miniseries, most of the Legion's original continuity has been restored. Elements of the Sensor Girl mystery are once again part of Legion history. Sensor Girl's supposed connection to Supergirl is removed, as the current incarnation of the Girl of Steel has not been killed.
The mystery of Sensor Girl's identity produced much reader speculation. Greg LaRocque's art in the series was praised in The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide, and Hassan Yusuf recommended a number of issues from this storyline as highlights in a review covering all volumes of the Legion of Super Heroes.SyFy Wire wrote that the story arc is "one of the best Legion stories ever."
- Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #12 (July 1985)
- After his application for membership in the Legion of Super-Heroes was rejected, Polar Boy co-founded the Legion of Substitute Heroes, along with fellow rejected applicants Night Girl, Stone Boy, Fire Lad, and Chlorophyll Kid. – Adventure Comics #306 (March 1963)
- Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #16 (November 1985)
- Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #17 (December 1985)
- Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #20 (March 1986)
- The original incarnation of Supergirl was killed by the Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October 1985).
- Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #21 (April 1986)
- Adventure Comics #307 (April 1963)
- Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #24 (July 1986)
- The original Fatal Five disbanded some time after Tharok was seemingly destroyed (along with his clone, the Dark Man) following one of the group’s failed attempts to defeat the Legion. – Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2, #269-271 (November 1980 – January 1981)
- Karate Kid was killed battling expelled Legionnaire Nemesis Kid on the planet Orando. – Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #4 (November 1984)
- Sensor Girl received a flight ring when she first joined the Legion as Princess Projectra in Adventure Comics #346 (July 1966).
- Projectra became the reigning monarch of her homeworld in Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2, #288 (June 1982).
- As Queen of Orando, Projectra executed Nemesis Kid in combat. – Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #5 (December 1984)
- Legionnaires #43 (December 1996)
- Yusuf, Hassan (1997). Plowright, Frank (ed.). The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (First ed.). Aurum Press. pp. 332–334. ISBN 1-85410-486-1.
- Murray, Jesse (January 12, 2016). "Every Member of the Legion of Super Heroes, Ranked: #49-1". SyFy Wire. NBCUniversal.