Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #5 Review
What Happened That You Have To Know About:
Superman is doing some Legionnaire training, and Lightning Lad becomes frustrated that Superman outdoes him in every way. Eventually he storms off, and is easy prey for an Emerald Empress ambush. She controls his mind and learns from him that the way to defeat the Legion is to beat Superman. So Lightning Lad activates his distress signal and Superman is the first to respond. Lightning Lad attacks him, and the two of them fight until the rest of the Legion shows up, at which point the Empress teleports away and Saturn Girl frees Lightning Lad of the Empress's control.
First, the art, which is provided in this issue by Alex Serra. He makes the Legion look babyfaced at times and just kind of off at other times. I wouldn't call it bad by any means, but the cartoony style doesn't seem to be a good fit for the established look of these characters. And there are some good moments too; I particularly liked the last panel of page 5.
I'm sick of the Fatal Five.
The characterization of Lightning Lad here is consistent with how he's been portrayed in the cartoon: keeping himself just this side of the Jerk Line. But, you know, when I was reading it I was wondering just how much in his right mind he was in when he was fighting Superman. Obviously he wouldn't have attacked him if he'd been acting entirely of his own free will, but there were a couple of hints that maybe Lightning Lad was rigging the fight so as to lose. It's not followed up on in the ending, though, so maybe it was just my imagination. Oh, well; I kind of wish that the rest of the Legion hadn't barged in. I would have liked to see how things got resolved without them.
A note about the colouring: traditionally, Lightning Lad has been portrayed with yellow lightning. But here, it's coloured blue, which has been Mekt's colour. Green, of course, is the Empress's colour, if you subtract yellow from green you get blue. So maybe the blue lightning is an indicator of the Empress's control? I could be making too much of this.
I did like the way the story juxtaposed Saturn Girl and the Emerald Empress. It is, I suppose, the kind of trick that your professional writers like Torres pull all the time, but I like stuff like that and it makes me feel smart when I notice it.
Anyway, it's another solid single up the middle. Other points I liked:
- "It's a lost art in the 31st century!"
- the Shusters' ranch
The letter column of this comic (Johnny DC does letter columns!) contains a section where Johnny DC explains who some 'lesser-known Legionnnaires' are, saying "some you've met, some you'll see soon, and some just may remain a legend..." It's quite a list, but if there's any chance that this crowd is going to make it into animated continuity I'm all for it. The Legionnaires mentioned are Chameleon Boy, Dawnstar, Blok, Dream Girl, Ferro Lad, Invisible Kid (Jacques Foccart), Polar Boy, Princess Projectra (described as either "a girl who makes herself look like a snake or a snake who makes herself look like a girl"), Quislet, Shadow Lass, Sun Boy, Calamity King, Fire Lad, Reflecto (Stig Ah of Rimbor) and Monstress. Does my poor heart good.