Wednesday, August 15, 2007

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.

Review:

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

Membership Notes:

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.

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4 Comments:

Blogger snell said...

Most of those Legionaires did appear in the final episode of season one on the show. Let's see, I've already erased the TiVo, but I definitely know we saw Blok, Polar Boy, Ferro Lad, Sun Boy, Shadow Lass, Dream Girl and Dawnstar...I think Quislet, too, but I couldn't swear to it.

Most of them did have anything substantial to do (except for Sun Boy and Ferro Lad), just standing around in big outer space battle scenes.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I reviewed each episode, and noted all the Legionnaires involved in the 'Membership Notes' section of the reviews (when anyone new showed up, anyway). Of the Legionnaires mentioned in that letter column, we've seen Blok, Dream Girl, Ferro Lad, and Sun Boy as Legionnaires. Invisible Kid II, Polar Boy and Fire Lad showed up in Legion audition scenes. No sign of Chameleon Boy (although he's set for Season 2), Dawnstar, Princess Projectra, Shadow Lass, Quislet, Calamity King, Reflecto or Monstress. (The array of Mission Monitor symbols in the opening sequence alludes to Quislet, Chameleon Boy and possibly Dawnstar and Invisible Kid too, I believe, among others, but we can't really go by that.)

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Mark Dykeman said...

Incidentally, have you seen the LSH toys that are currently being included in McDonalds Happy Meals? They are in Canada, anyway. So far I've seen Validus, Tharok, and Timber Wolf. I know that Mano, Lightning Lad, and Superman are also featured.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yep. I wasn't sure they were going to be available in Canada, but was pleased to find that they were. I commissioned the rest of my family to try to hunt down the whole set, primarily for my son (but I'm claiming any doubles). So far we've got Superman and Validus, and doubles of Lightning Lad, Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy, Mano and Tharok. (Of course, he's already lost Lightning Lad, Tharok, Brainy and Mano.)

2:52 PM  

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