Thursday, October 25, 2007

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #7 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

Princess Xenobia of New Themyscira is missing, and her friends in the Legion (Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Triplicate Girl) are worried about her. So they go to New Themyscira to investigate, and Superman, Lightning Lad and Bouncing Boy tag along, because, hey! Amazons! Turns out Circe was keeping Xenobia locked up to usurp her power, and she traps the girl Legionnaires too. The guy Legionnaires free them, but are then turned into pigs. Circe is magically protected against attacks by anyone female, but Xenobia makes a plan by which she and the girl Legionnaires can use the powers of Supershoat, Bouncing Boar and Lightning Hog to defeat Circe.


The thing that strikes me the most about this issue is how unafraid the writer, Jai Nitz, is about introducing stuff into the story that bounce awkwardly off of DC continuity. New Themyscira, fine. Princess Xenobia and Circe as her regent, okay. Xenobia and Superman attracted to each other? Tricky. Phantom Girl's boyfriend Rax? Also tricky. Not that it matters, of course; I don't suppose anyone else is going to feel any pressure to pay any attention to this.

The issue of Superman and Xenobia catching each others' eyes... this is exactly the kind of thing that logically should have happened in the original Superboy/Legion comics, but never did. Come on, a teenaged Midwestern boy travels to the future and meets a bunch of attractive teenaged superheroines--he's not even going to consider getting involved with them? No way. But here's the problem: the writers know that Superboy has Lana Lang waiting back in Smallville, and Lois Lane lurking in the future. For Superboy to even flirt with a Legionnaire would be like if he was cheating on Lois, and we can't have that. Nitz doesn't seem to be worrying about it too much, and I applaud that.

Ethen Beavers provides the art and does a creditable job. Considering all the different artists this title has had, it's impressive that the look of the characters is so consistent. There's a lot more unity on these seven issues than there is on a set of randomly selected renditions by Barry Kitson, Dennis Calero and Francis Manapul, for instance.

I wonder if perhaps a pattern is setting in: we've had the Green Lantern issue, and now the Wonder Woman issue. What's next--Atlantis? Thanagar? I'm not complaining, mind you; there's no sense of rote in this issue.

I like it that Phantom Girl and Xenobia are friends. On the one hand, it gives us a look at the personal lives of the Legionnaires (well, the whole issue does, really; there are a lot of throwaway details that add some depth), which gives more resonance to the whole universe. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense--who else would the president's daughter hang with?

Nice touches and other notes:
- Triplicate Girl spends the entire issue trifurcated. I wonder if there's a reason why.
- Rax, huh? When do we get to meet the young man? What do his parents do? (Has Rax ever appeared in a Legion story before? Anyone know?)
- there's no skiing on Tharr! It's way too hot! That's the whole point of Tharr! What are they, lava skiing?
- I like Superboy's expression on page 3, panel 3.

I'll say about this issue what I've said about past issues: if they can maintain this level of quality, they'll never get a complaint out of me. For the most part, they've managed to do it.

Membership Notes:

There's an interview with artist Sanford Greene in the lettercol, and he drops the hint that Ultra Boy may be set to join the team.

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