Monday, September 25, 2006

Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes #1-1 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

The Legion, understaffed and about to be attacked by the Fatal Five, needs help, so they go back in time to recruit Superman to their cause. The Time Bubble puts them in Smallville just as a young Clark Kent is on the verge of leaving for Metropolis. He isn't Superman yet, and doesn't know that he's going to be, but he goes with them anyway. The Legion is skeptical about whether they have the right guy or not, but when the Fatal Five attack, he proves himself and is instrumental in the Legion's victory. The Fatal Five do manage to teleport away at the end.

Review: Well, all they had time for in the first episode was a lot of setup and a big fight. The setup was deftly done and there were a lot of cool moments in the fight. But we won't really know what we have until we see a few episodes.

When I first saw the art for this show I was sure it was going to bug me, but really it didn't. The character designs work okay once you see them moving around on the screen. By the time the season's over I'm probably going to be raving about it. I like the backgrounds, too; they don't remind me of anything in the comics, but they seem futuristic and old at the same time. It's the future, but it's not a brand new future; it's a future that's been around for a while.

I should probably mention somewhere in here that my three-year-old son refers to Garth as 'Lightling' and Chuck as 'Bouncy Boy'. Lightling is actually not a bad name for a superhero.

The worst moment for me was when Brainiac 5 turned into the big mecha warrior. Come on, guys. That's no way to live. I mean, I knew he was going to be a robot or android or something, and, you know, fine, if that's the way you want to go, and I was ready for the stretchy arms and neck, but too much is enough.

The best moments were when Triplicate Girl was fighting. I remember reading some discussion (perhaps about the JLU episode last year featuring the Legion) about how Bouncing Boy's super-power was perfect for animation, but Triplicate Girl's is even better. Her fight with the Persuader was a thing of beauty.

The characterization of the Legionnaires we saw was just fine. Superman's new at this, Saturn Girl's compassionate, Brainy's like he always is, Bouncing Boy was comic relief... Lightning Lad may have been the most interesting of all. They walked a fine line with him: on the one hand, he was antagonistic about whether Clark was Superman or not, and took a couple of shots at Brainy about it; on the other hand, he wasn't actually a jerk about it. I could see how using Garth as a foil for Superman could work in this series, as long as they remember that he really is a good guy.

So I liked it. They started simple and delivered what they had to deliver, with style. More like this!

Membership Notes: The Legion core is supposed to be composed of Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Brainiac Five, Phantom Girl, Bouncing Boy, Superman and Timber Wolf. Of those, Superman joins in this episode and Timber Wolf hasn't appeared yet (although he is in the opening title sequence). Triplicate Girl is also prominent in this episode.

In addition, some offhand comments by Legionnaires, some group shots in the opening title sequence, and some glimpses of the Mission Monitor Board let us know who some other Legionnaires are (I get this list from Legion World and the Legion Omnicom, which as you probably know both come with my highest recommendation):

Chameleon Boy, Chemical King, Ultra Boy, Shadow Lass, Karate Kid, Matter-Eater Lad, Star Boy, Polar Boy, Element Lad, Blok, Shrinking Violet, Dream Girl, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Ferro Lad, Quislet, and possibly Dawnstar, Sun Boy and Invisible Kid. Assuming all the 'maybe's are true, after Timber Wolf joins that'd be a total of 27 Legionnaires. I would call that a comfortable amount.

It's also been widely pointed out that Booster Gold and Skeets appear in the Superman Museum scene. Not that that has anything to do with Legion membership.

Rating: LLLL

Labels: ,


Blogger Chris Arndt said...

One thing bugs me.

At first I thought it was a perfect middle ground between the original Superboy status and the post-1986 Superman origin and whatever relationship he could ever have as a teenager with future teenagers.

Then I realize that that makes no FREAKING SENSE AT ALL.

Clark wears glasses at the start of this episode. But the fact is that Clark never ever started wearing glasses at until he started using his power publically. In other words, a bumbling unsure Clark wouldn't be wearing glasses. The glasses have always been a diguise to hide the public hero, who acts swift and sure.

Clark's personality is up to the creators, but why dress a man who can read a book three miles away and see atoms unaided.... with glasses when he has no other identity to disguise?

3:15 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That's a good point. But let's face it: Clark Kent and eyeglasses are so strongly associated in the public mind that, if they didn't give him glasses, everybody would be wondering why not. And on a show for kids like this you really don't get much benefit from dwelling on relatively subtle points like that. Faster and easier to just give the guy glasses and move on.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Chris Arndt said...

I don't know about subtle.

Easier for them, harder for me. Glasses are things we carry only if we have a reason. Most people can't see. Some freaks have an affectation and Clark Kent wore them as a disguise...

In the last cartoon, not four years ago Superboy-age Clark wore no glasses because he had no disguise.

The only way this works is if "Clark" doesn't show up again.

Remember, kids are detail-oriented freaks too.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I could come up with all kinds of justifications for why he's wearing the glasses, but I think the real answer is that they gave him the glasses because they did, and we shouldn't think about it too hard.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Chris Arndt said...

should'na but did.

Quick. Give me a rationalization! Set my ever-working brain at ease!

7:28 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Here's a few:

1. Maybe before Clark's powers kicked in all the way, he really did have trouble focusing his vision for normal sight, and the glasses helped.

2. Maybe he already had some kind of Superman-like notions about his trip to Metropolis, and anticipated his need for a secret identity by acquiring some glasses.

3. Maybe the Kents persuaded him (years ago) to wear the glasses as the equivalent of a string around the finger, reminding him not to use his powers around other people.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This premiere is very similar to the JLU episode "Far From Home". Both shows have the Legion,under attack from the Fatal 5,reaching back to our time for some Superhelp(Supergirl in the JLU,SuperClark here)in fighting their foes.The shows also have the same ending; both Kal and Kara decide to stay in the future for a spell.I can't blame them reusing this plot;the JLU episode was a good one(though I prefered the Legion episode of SUPERMAN:TAS)and you want the first episode of a new series to be as good as possible,so if it worked once...

Rediscovered the LSH TV show after finding all 3 DVDs of the first season at a local store,marked down at a great price($3 each--brand new!).What an excellent show this was,a fine showcase for the Legion,but it had the bad luck to be on KidsWB,along with another great cartoon,"Spectacular Spider-Man".Both shows ended after two seasons,far too soon.If there's an afterlife for deceased TV networks,I only hope KidsWB is frying down there.

2:22 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Something about superhero cartoons that the networks don't seem to trust. JLU was always getting jerked around; LSH was abandoned after two short seasons; apparently DC Nation is getting jerked around now...

What is it? Are they not popular enough?

I want two things related to the Legion cartoon: I want both seasons released on DVD as full-season sets (if not a complete-series set), and I want to be able to buy an mp3 of the theme song.

(And then I want a new Legion series, or an animated feature, or both.)

8:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home