Sunday, November 04, 2007

Legion of Super Heroes #2-6 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

The Legion had the bright notion to fake a Persuader escape from Takron-Galtos and send Chameleon Boy to infiltrate Imperiex's forces disguised as Persuader. Part of the disguise involves some mental programming so that Cham would believe himself to be the Persuader and so play the part right. It goes okay, everyone figures, until the real Persuader escapes and goes after his replacement. The Legion rescues Cham but it's difficult to bring him back to himself. In the process of doing so, it's revealed that Superman is really Ron-Karr, disguised as Superman the same way Cham was disguised as the Persuader. Ron-Karr tells them that Imperiex is about to attack Durla with his new super-weapon. The Legion goes to stop him but are only able to do so because Ron-Karr betrays Imperiex in the middle of the fight, either because of his own conscience or from some remnant of his Superman programming.

Review:

This episode seemed to be mostly about some be-true-to-yourself, be-all-that-you-can-be kind of theme that I didn't feel like thinking about too hard because this isn't an after-school special. I mean, I'm sure it's appropriate in a show for kids; it just didn't capture my imagination. Although it did serve the plot in this sense: when Brainy said, "That would mean that the potential for evil is within all of us," that of course is a reference to Superman-X's revelation that Brainiac 5 is due to betray everybody at some point in the future (which I had just about forgotten about).

When Cham said, "Let's bring out the bad boy in me!" my reaction was basically, "You know what? Let's not." Because there's been too much of that this year. I don't like the trends with the characters. First, this is the second episode in a row with no female characters, which I don't care for at all. Second, there's been an increased focus on the male Legionnaires who have been made extra fighty this year: Superman (older, more confident himself, plus there's his battlehungry Superman-X counterpart), Lightning Lad (with his scary beard and megablasty robot arm), Brainiac 5 (instead of a young-adolescent robot with a mecha form, now he's a bigger robot with a souped-up mecha form) and Timber Wolf (bigger, more savage). This is not a nice direction. I hope somebody likes it, but I don't.

Much was made in the early part of the episode about Imperiex's new super-weapon and how it would revolutionize warfare. I thought it seemed pretty lame. It was basically just a big missile with a bunch of little missiles inside it. What's so revolutionary about that? For that matter, what Ron-Karr did to stop it didn't seem so elaborate to do: he basically picked out the lead missile and opened it up along the side, and they all blew up. Seems like a design flaw to me. And they all blew because that one missile was sending the other ones 'data'? Why do missiles have to be IMing each other? And what messages are they sending? "Don't blow up," I guess, in this case. The Hey Empire had a better superweapon.

I don't want to sound too negative about the episode. For instance, the plot twist, that Superman wasn't really Superman, caught me completely by surprise. I didn't know what was going on for a second there. Nicely done.

That scene where Superman grabs Brainy and says, "What have you done?!" is one of those things that gets you thinking. First, of course: it was out of character for Superman. Which makes a bit of sense, as that was really Ron-Karr disguised as Superman. So was that his natural villainous aggression showing through? Or was he identifying with his fellow mind-altered shapeshifter? Or is this something Superman actually would do? After all, Cham is one of the few Legionnaires whose heroic career Superman's significantly predates (real-time); Superman may feel protective over him in a way that he wouldn't for a more long-serving Legionnaire. Or--and this is just me beating my pet idea to death with a rock--does Superman see Cham as another victim of Brainy's manipulations, just like himself?

(By the way, why was Ron-Karr ever evil in the comics? One moment, he wants to be a Legionnaire, then he ends up sitting beside the Silver Slasher vowing to kill a Legionnaire. Dude, you're not a supervillain; you're a poor schnook with a grievance and a minor superpower; you're not going to be killing Mon-El anytime soon.)

Nice touches:
- the expression on Cham's face after being asked, "Are you ready to become one of our worst enemies?" He was obviously intrigued
- Super Death Star!
- "Destroy them both." Well, of course. Imperiex had to be told that?
- So that's Durla, huh?
- that whole scene with Cham and Ron-Karr and the mirror was really cool

So it wasn't done badly. It just looks like it's in the middle of turning into something I don't want to see. Not too late to change course!

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7 Comments:

Anonymous random person said...

Oh wow, this whole Brainiac/Superman/Chameleon Boy thing is starting to sound like a soap opera. But yeah, I'm expecting Brainy to do something psychotic in the next few episodes now.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

...I don't think he will. Not Brainy's style. If he does something wrong, it'll be a mistake out of the best of intentions. Or, something that's misinterpreted as a betrayal but is actually the right thing to do! Watch and see.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Bing Shalimar said...

Yeah, I was all, "That's so NOT Durla." Fields of flowers? Wasn't Durla in the comics this hostile, survival-of-the-fittest type hellhole?

3:44 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It was. I mean, I don't care if they change it; no big thing. Plus we've already seen too many hostile planets: Raal and Zuun for instance.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Bing Shalimar said...

I just thought it incredibly ironic... it was like the anti-Durla.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took something different away from this episode.Rather than an after-school special,it seemed a meditation on idenity and the nature of the self.Do we really have free will? Do we really make our own choices or do our choices choose us? Since this was written by J.M. DeMatteis,no surprise there's a bit of philosophy laced in the story.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's been a while since I've seen it, so it's hard for me to think about it in those terms. Looking back on it, what it reminds me of is the Buffy episode where Buffy and Faith switch minds.

9:20 AM  

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