Saturn Girl's surprise appearance in "The Button" is the latest of several cameos the character has made since she first popped up as one of the mysteries of "Rebirth." But what does her presence in "Rebirth" mean?
The telepathic character is best known as a founding member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who are a team of teenage superhero from the 31st Century (although they were from the 30th Century when they launched, of course).
The heroic team was founded by Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad, but it has incorporated young people from throughout the galaxy, from countless worlds and species.
The key element of Saturn Girl and her fellow Legion of Super-Heroes is that they exist in the future. Sure, they travel back in time every once in awhile.
But during "Rebirth," she's not in the future — she's in the present. And for fans, the mystery of why she's in the present is secondary only to the excitement that Legion fans feel about the prospect of Saturn Girl and friends returning as part of "Rebirth."
S.G. Rebirth History
Saturn Girl's first appearance in "Rebirth" was in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, when the Gotham City Police arrested her for stealing a sandwich (which she thought was free — all food is free in the future).
When questioned by the GCPD, Saturn Girl said she had "come here" to speak to Superman.
"I'm a friend of his," she said.
When she was told that Superman had gone missing, Saturn Girl appeared unfazed by the news. "Everything's going to be all right," she said. And she knows it's going to be all right because she's "seen the future."
The only possession the police found on Imra was a Legion flight ring.
The next time the character was seen, she was a prisoner in Arkham Asylum, whose cell has her identified only as "Doe."
It's a brief appearance that occurs as Batman and Jim Gordon are walking by a cell in Arkham. Behind the glass, readers are shown a blonde who draws a Legion symbol on the window as Batman and Gordon walk by.
The character's name popped up again when Emerald Empress appeared in recent comics. First, the character said she was looking for Saturn Girl, then Emerald Empress said Saturn Girl told her something about Supergirl's future.
Of course, the most recent appearance showed Saturn Girl watching a hockey game on television among her co-inmates at Arkham Asylum.
The hockey game between the Gotham City Blades and the Metropolis Mammoths is down to the final minute, with the two teams tied. The two teams are about to face off at center ice.
Saturn Girl suddenly shouts, "Wait, wait, wait. This is the game. Where they kill him. They're going to kill him!" She keeps saying, "Stop it!" and grabs her head. "Can't you see?" she says. "Superman won't come. Our friends will die. The Legion will die. No one will stop it. No one will save us!"
By the end of the issue, one hockey player has been killed by the other. Concurrently, Reverse-Flash has been killed by an unknown assailant in, presumably, another dimension.
So what is the point of Saturn Girl being in Arkham Asylum? Yes, it's becoming obvious that "Rebirth" will have a Legion connection eventually — maybe even a new Legion of Super-Heroes comic book that spins off later. But why, specifically, is Saturn Girl part of this story?
In DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Saturn Girl got the attention of the Gotham City police when she stole a sandwich, calling it a "misunderstanding" (because where she comes from, food is free).
But then, when Imra started talking about being from the future, the cops thought she needed "professional help," and she was referred by the police to "Mental Services." The next time readers saw her, she was locked up in Arkham Asylum, meaning her sessions with psychologists didn't go so well.
She didn't share her name with the folks at Arkham either, as she was only identified as a Jane Doe.
So… why doesn't she use her name? Why hasn't Saturn Girl called someone she remembers from history? Why did she say in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 that "everything's going to be all right," but now speaks about the demise of the Legion as if she previously forgot about it?
And for that matter, why doesn't she demonstrate her powers to someone, so they might believe her statements about knowing Superman?
Could Imra have lost her memories somehow? Has she lost the ability to use her powers?
At the beginning of Batman #21, it appears that Imra suddenly remembers something she'd forgotten (or at least not anticipated) when she is watching the hockey game.
If Imra lost her memories, does the beginning of Batman #21 indicate that she's now regaining them?
The other thing to notice about how upset Imra is in "The Button" is that previously, she said "everything's going to be all right." But now, she's predicting the death of her friends and the Legion itself. What changed? Is it her memories coming back? Or is this more related to the many "Rebirth" changes that are happening? If she's from the future, perhaps she's having trouble adjusting to the changes of the timeline around her.
Mission in the Present?
When Saturn Girl was captured, she was captured, alone, apparently walking around the streets of Gotham City.
Then in Batman #9, as she draws a Legion symbol on the window, it looks like she's specifically trying to communicate with Batman or Jim Gordon, since she draws the symbol as they walk by.
Why would Saturn Girl have come to Gotham City? What happened in Gotham City that Saturn Girl might have been trying to prevent?
The hockey game from Batman #21 that triggered her memory, the destruction of the letter from Flashpoint, the death of Reverse-Flash — those things all happened in Gotham City. If Imra somehow got sidetracked from her mission in the past (and/or lost her memories), are the events of "The Button" part of what she came to the present-day to influence or change?
Because the first issue of "The Button" debuted with Saturn Girl's reaction, it's likely that the Legion and Imra herself are trying to prevent the villain who's behind the Button and the time manipulation first introduced during Rebirth #1.
Not 'he' but 'they'
It's also worth noting that Saturn Girl did not say "this is where he kills him," which would make sense for the hockey game, which pitted one player against another. She says "they kill him."
Who are "they?" Could she be referring to the death of Reverse-Flash?
Many of the clues surrounding Reverse-Flash's death could be linked to Dr. Manhattan, the Watchmen character whom other DC stories have hinted about being involved in "Rebirth" mysteries. In particular, Reverse-Flash's travel to the dimension where he died was apparently caused by the Watchmen button he was holding in his hand. He also disappeared in a blue flash, and he reappeared (almost dead) in another blue flash — a color that's been associated with Dr. Manhattan. And half of his body has been vaporized, an injury that also points toward Dr. Manhattan.
However, if Saturn Girl's alarmed statement about someone being killed was about "they" — or multiple characters — killing someone, then a single murder by Dr. Manhattan doesn't fit.
Could Dr. Manhattan have an accomplice? Or is the villain who killed Reverse-Flash actually a group of people?
Or could Saturn Girl be talking about a different death?
Geoff Johns connection
There's also a Saturn Girl connection to DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, who's orchestrating the mysteries by "Rebirth" and helped conceive the plot of "The Button." Not only is Johns a self-described Legion fan, but he wrote the Smallville episode where live action versions of Saturn Girl and her Legion co-founders debuted.
He's also the writer who brought the Legion back into the DC Universe during his Action Comics run in 2010, as well as reconciling the various versions of the Legion during the Legion of Three Worlds event.
Fans of the Legion can find hope for the return of the Legion during "Rebirth" not only because Saturn Girl's appearance is teasing the team's importance to one of its greatest mysteries, but because of Johns' involvement.
As he once told Newsarama of Saturn Girl and her importance to not only the Legion but the DCU, "Saturn Girl is the heart and soul of the Legion of Super-Heroes. … She knows everyone's deepest, darkest secrets. If she has faith, then at the base level, human beings and aliens and everybody can reach that goal, can reach that achievement and have that goodness inside them. I believe her. I'm with her. And that's why Saturn Girl is so important to the Legion. She says, 'We can do this.' And it's like, well, if she believes it, then I believe it too. She's at the epicenter of truth for the entire universe for me."