Saturday, June 13, 2020

Current Legion of Super-Heroes Roster

I've probably told this story before, but starting in the early '90s I quit comics for a while, and only came back to them in about 2001, when I had a sudden hankering for Legion of Super-Heroes comics and nothing would do but that I start collecting them again. When I did, it was in the middle of the DnA run of the reboot. I fancy the "Dream Crime" storyline had just started. Anyway, I snarfed up a whole batch of back issues and was able to get myself up to speed without too much trouble.

But one thing that would have really helped me was the answer to this question: who all is in the Legion of Super-Heroes these days? I couldn't find an answer anywhere. There was no list in the comics; there was no definitive list online.

So when, at the dawn of the threeboot, I launched Legion Abstract, one thing I wanted to make sure I did was provide a list of current Legionnaires.

I haven't updated it since the fourboot came along; I was waiting for Bendis and Sook to come up with some kind of handy reference. They haven't. So I'm doing what I can.

Here's what I'm drawing on. I have Superman #14, but not Superman #15 (my comic shop sold out of it). I have both issues of Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium. I don't have Doomsday Clock, although I will refer to it once. And I have Legion of Super-Heroes v8 #1-6. I'm going to be going through all of these and see what information about the Legion roster we can regard as established. Squinting at Frichtman tags and so on. I won't provide footnotes, but I will hold myself to the standard of, I won't put anything in there that wasn't on the page someplace. If you can come up with something I missed, please let me know in the comments. Anything with a question mark is something that needs to be confirmed.

(Note: Bendis and Sook seem to be mostly playing it conventional when it comes to the Legionnaires' real names and home planets. Anything like that that I leave out of this list, it's not that I'm doubting that what we all think is the answer is the answer. I'm just saying, here's what we know that we know.)

Legionnaire Name Planet Notes
Blok Blok Dryad
Bouncing Boy Charles Earth
Brainiac 5 Querl Dox Colu
Chameleon Boy Reep Daggle
Chemical King? possible identity of green-suited skeletal Legionnaire
Colossal Boy
Computo Computo n/a?
Cosmic Boy Rokk Krinn Braal
Dawnstar Dawnstar Gr'Ell Starhaven I hate the "Gr'Ell" thing
Dr. Fate
Dream Girl?
Element Lad Jan
Ferro Lad not shown, but mentioned in LSH #6; but is this the green-suited skeleton?
Gold Lantern
Invisible Kid Lyle in LSH:Millennium #2
Invisible Kid II Jacques Foccart Earth in LSH #5; it's not clear what the deal is with the Invisible Kids
Karate Kid Val
Light Lass? There is an Ayla Ranzz of Winath, with lightning powers, who resembles the Legionnaire I'm calling Light Lass, but this hasn't been connected up yet
Lightning Lad Garth Ranzz Winath
Matter-Eater Lad?
Mon-El Lar Gand Daxam
Monster Boy
Phantom Girl Tinya Wazzo Bgtzl I think the Frichtman tag in issue #2 confirms all this...
Princess Projectra?
Saturn Girl Imra Ardeen Titan
Shadow Lass
Shrinking Violet?
Soultaker has only appeared in Doomsday Clock
Star Boy
Sun Boy?
Superboy Jon Kent Earth
Timber Wolf
Thorn Rose Forrest Earth officially the Legion's liaison to the UP; not necessarily a regular Legionnaire
Triplicate Girl Luornu Durgo Cargg
Ultra Boy Jo Nah Rimbor
White Witch Mysa Nal Naltor
Wildfire Drake Burroughs Earth

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #6 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Legion evacuates Earth in preparation for the Horraz attack. Then the Horraz attack. There's a big fight, during which Aquaman's trident comes into play. We don't see the end of the fight, but the Legion must have won it, and Earth gets its oceans back. Ultra Boy's dad, the leading general of Rimbor, is not pleased at how things turned out, and says it's time for war.

Review:

Short issue, and somewhat laced with false advertising. The cover promises to introduce us to new characters Monster Boy, Dr. Fate, and Gold Lantern. But really we just get a couple of panels about Monster Boy and Gold Lantern and that's it.

Should we consider this to be the end of this arc? If so... I mean, there really wasn't a lot to it. They get the trident, they lose the trident. They fight Mordru once and the Horraz a couple of times. Robin drops by to borrow a cup of sugar. And Ultra Boy's dad gets mad. Six issues.

It'd be okay if those six issues were rife with characterization and exposition that they had to establish in order to get the series off to a good start, but they weren't. There was some. But it was pretty interstitial.

I don't want to give you the idea that I don't like this comic book. It's quite readable and lively, and Bendis and Sook are clearly Trying Stuff. But they aren't great at distinguishing characters from each other, this first story was extremely fluffy, and our information about this whole situation is spotty at best. I dunno, man. I'm glad to have this comic book, but they'd do a lot better to tighten this clyde up.

I do like Saturn Girl's new logo.

But this thing with the trident restoring the oceans... was it supposed to be a surprise? Was it not clear from the beginning that this was what was going to end up happening? I don't get how something so directly obvious qualifies as a story.

An analogy. Let's compare Legion comics to food.

Silver Age Legion: Spaghetti-Os. Comfort food for kids.
Bronze Age Legion: Cheese pizza and chicken nuggets. The same, but more advanced.
Paul Levitz's run: Actual food that someone might eat for a meal.
5YL: Also actual food that someone might eat for a meal, but very rich and spicy; not for everyone and you can have too much of it.
Reboot: Chain restaurant food. Does the job but you might not go so far as to actually recommend it to anybody.
DnA: Good restaurant food.
Threeboot: Sushi. You may think you don't like it, but it's actually pretty good, although you're not going to have it every day.
Retroboot: Diner food. You nostalgically think you like it, but if you're honest you'll admit it just isn't very good.
Fourboot: Dessert. Looks fun; tastes good; will not nourish you.

(That's kind of off the top of my head. I freely admit that you can improve on a couple of those.)

Art:

63 panels/22 pages = 2.9 panels/page. That's low! Here's why: 2 splash pages, 2 double-page spreads, 5 cases of multiple panels spread over two pages.

I don't really know what to say about the art that I haven't already been saying.

Membership Notes:

Ferro Lad gets mentioned this issue; that's a name that hasn't been on our board yet. Honestly, I'm going to have to go through the series and compile everything we know for sure. Maybe soon!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #5 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Legion talks their way out of their confrontation with the Science Police. Brainiac 5 picks up the trail of Aquaman's trident, and sends a team after it. Superboy completes the orientation video, and learns that the Legion's purpose in bringing him to the future was to ensure, through him, that the present, on which reality depends, would be saved. And then there's a cliffhanger ending of a mysterious nature.

Review:

Well, the big revelation about why they recruited Superboy takes the wind out of my sails a little bit. It's a perfectly reasonable premise, and one that's consistent with previous portrayals of the Legion, but it's still disappointing to me. See, I like it when the Legion is in the centre of their own stories, and having the 21st century be the key era necessarily puts the Legion in a secondary role and the current-day heroes, especially Superboy, in the centre. I get why they did it. I just don't prefer it, that's all.

Now here's something I do like. We get a lot of Brainiac 5 this issue: first, his speech to the Science Police; second, his conversation with Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy in Superboy's orientation flashback. And he's shown as very intelligent, yes, but also emotionally intelligent, which he absolutely should be, and he's patient and empathetic, and he communicates with people on their own wavelengths. Up until now my favourite Brainy portrayal was the Levitz-era Brainy, who could be both arrogant and wise. Reboot and threeboot Brainy was/were obnoxious, which could be funny, but I never thought it was a good way to go. Animated Brainy was more earnest, which I appreciated. But fourboot Brainy may be my new favourite.

The scenes in the orientation, where the idea for the Legion is being formulated... to me, this is one of the strengths of this series. I like how Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy and RJ Brande and Brainy love the idea. I like how they're thinking big. How they know each other so quickly, because suddenly they have so much in common that they care about. Bendis's knack for putting this across is basically something that is just always going to work on me.

That said, we're five issues in, and I had been hoping for more motion on Aquaman's trident by now.

I had been hoping for more information on just what Rose had to say to the Legion! It's obviously important.

Every now and then there's a detail in the dialogue that makes me narrow my eyes and wonder if Bendis forgot how to language or if it's intended to be some kind of futuristic syntax. I'm assuming it's the second one, and, if so, I think I approve. One thing that's just a straight out mistake, though, is Lightning Lad asking, "Who's justice?" instead of "Whose". But it's a good question and one that I hope does not fall out of the conversation. I'm sure that superheroes think about that stuff all the time, but it doesn't always make it to the page.

Bring on issue #6. I hope we get some kind of resolution to some of this; it feels like we've just been feeding out line for a few issues now.

Notes:
- okay, just what is the deal with Invisible Kid? He's Jacques here, but I clearly remember he was Lyle in an earlier issue
- all the racial, species, and costume changes these dozens of characters have gotten in this version, and the thing that's shaking me the most is Bouncing Boy's hair colour going from black to brown
- so Computo's a Legionnaire. That's good, and I hope she plays a real role in the stories and isn't just furniture
- I have hit my limit for the word 'qrot'. Enough for now. Maybe bring it back once next year
- "Pqolmorph", on the other hand, intrigues me
- were Brainy and Chameleon Boy flirting a bit there?
- Sir Oliver Queen the Eleventh

Art: 98 panels/23 pages = 4.3 panels/page. 1 splash page, 3 double-page spreads, 2 cases of multiple panels spread over 2 pages. Do I have this right? 23 pages? That's what it looks like. It's my first time doing this with digital comics.

Anyway, check out page...I think it's 4? Sook gives us a mix-and-match effect of Brainy dealing with two places at once. (Or possibly three.) It's neat.

Also:

This current pandemic is part of the great struggle of our generations, and it's time for us to rise to the occasion. Listen to the medical experts, use your best judgment, and help other people if you can. It's going to be a hard time, but we are humans, and humans have a long history of doing hard things.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Drura Sehpt's Great Revenge on Legion Abstract

Here's what's going on. I ain't braving The 19 and leaving the house just to go buy comics, so that's one thing, and I'm trying for the first time to use Comixology, so's I can get this week's issue in a timely fashion, but LSH v8 #5 isn't out yet on Comixology, near as I can tell, so that's another thing. So, no review tonight, but it'll be along as soon as I can contrive.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #4 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

We get the first half of the Legion's origin, and it's actually a lot like the origin we've long been familiar with. The Science Police kindasorta places the Legionnaires under arrest.

Review:

I won't spoil it for you, but there was a moment during this issue when I said to myself, "Oh, is that what they're doing!"

The origin of the Legion, as Bendis and Sook give it to us here, is neither shocking nor innovative; it's a variation on things we've seen before. Like most of the Legionnaires themselves, for that matter. Or the villains. This all fits in with my notion that they're putting their imagination into the setting.

But never mind what the origin is; let's look at when it is. Issue #4. I regard this as a sensible and conservative time for an origin story. A review of when we found out the origin story for previous Legion versions:
- original: several years into the run, which is odd, but it was the Silver Age and the state of the art was not quite so advanced then
- reboot: immediately. They started at the beginning
- threeboot: never
- animated: middle of Season Two

The fourboot, so far, has been reminding me a lot of the threeboot in various ways, but this is a minor point of difference. The threeboot got some mileage out of dropping hints about the origin of the team, but never actually got around to telling the story. I like the way they teased us with it, but certainly the threeboot wasn't any stronger for Waid and Kitson never actually showing their cards. Bendis has avoided that here, giving us their origin story in the first arc but not right off the bat. It's a very new-reader-friendly way of doing it, which, again, is consistent with the rest of the series: competent, but not inspired.

Which I'm glad to have! When was the last time a regular Legion comic was this good? Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century, I guess.

The bulk of the book is the time we spend learning about the three founders and how they came to meet. It's pretty strong. Titan and Winath and Braal are vividly portrayed and contrasted against each other, and we get to know Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass a lot better. (Cosmic Boy less so. Not sure I really get him yet.) Exactly the kind of thing we need more of.

I was expecting the origin only to take one issue, but splitting it into two gives us something to look forward to next issue, as does whatever's going on with the Science Police. Perfectly sensible way of building a comic. But, you know, it's not the origin itself that intrigues me. I mean, it's fine and I want to know, but what I really want to know is what Rose has had to say to the Legion. I mean, that's likely to be more important, right?

Notes:
- anyone else find the Interlac distracting? I've been skipping over it on my first couple of read-throughs and coming back to it when I have leisure to translate it
- how long before we get Supergirl in the Legion? I bet it's coming
- the Horraz again. What's so great about the Horraz?
- of course we're going to need to learn how Lightning Lass became Light Lass. Assuming that's what happens
- I wonder if one of those security guys at the meeting is Blok

Art:

103 panels/22 pages = 4.7 panels/page. One splash page; three cases of art being spread over two facing pages.

Have you noticed that the panel count has been creeping up? Steadily since #1. This issue is in the range of "actually pretty good" by that measure. Fewer splash pages, but Sook can still indulge his habit of sprawling across two pages.

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