Legion of Super-Heroes #37 Review
What Happened That You Have To Know About:
Karate Kid defeats a big pointy purple monster (PPM) on a mining asteroid. Lightning Lad is having leadership problems; he's letting details get away from him and sending Legionnaires out on missions unsuited to their talents. United Planets bureaucracy is hampering the Legion at every turn, including stopping their transmatter privileges and removing Projectra's diplomatic status as ruler of Orando. A team of Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Invisible Kid and Timber Wolf goes to Triton to prepare for another PPM attack, which comes on schedule, but the Legionnaires don't do so well and Timber Wolf is the only Legionnaire still standing when the issue ends. Plus the UP submits seven 'pre-approved candidates' for Legion membership.
Francis Manapul exceeds my wildest expectations with his art. He seems to be trying to pick up where Barry Kitson left off, although some of his faces remind me of... Georges Jeanty's fill-in issues, possibly? Not sure. A couple of points of note: the Phantom Girl panel on page 7 is very pretty but perhaps not the kind of thing that matches the tone of Legion comics, and Karate Kid's blasting the PPM's guts out through his spine on page 2 may have been a bit much, especially since, as far as he knew, the PPM was a sentient living thing.
We've only learned a little about where Shooter's going with all of this, long-term, but that's okay because we've got all the short-term information we need. There was a lot packed into this issue: Val's initial encounter, Lightning Lad's problems, the Triton mission, Projectra's subplot... We're being pitched right into the middle of things, which is something that should happen more often in comic books.
I counted how many single-panel pages there were in this issue. Just one, the first page. Action #860, also out this week and also starring the Legion, had seven of them. In fact, it had only six panels in those seven pages, because there was one two-page spread. So it looks like Shooter is giving us a bit of recompression here, and I appreciate it.
Whatever misgivings I had about Shooter writing this book have been mostly quelled. Of course, ending a story is not the same as beginning one, but this was as good as any Legion issue we've had since, oh, let's say the Lemnos arc. I did get a few Silver Age twinges from this issue, though. Some of the characters' names (Winch Boone, Nimra C. Lafong), some of the dialogue, some of the Legionnaires' nicknames (Phant?)... they would not be out of place in a 1970s comic. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
What's the 'Scattered Disk'? At first I thought it might have been some kind of Dominion diaspora thing...
Oh, and: take note, everyone, there's no sign of Mark Waid's generation gap theme. So can we stop talking about it? It hasn't been part of the comic for almost two years now...
I liked it! I think it'll work. More like this!
No sign of the quasi-Legionnaires like Theena, Dream Girl, Dream Boy, Wildfire, Tenzil Kem or Terror Firma. We'll be seeing seven new candidates next issue, and Shooter gives us a look at a Tritonian girl who seems promising, but according to Invisible Kid, she dies on the third-last page. Is she secretly alive, or did Shooter fake us out? I'm betting on 'alive'. She sure looked like someone who'd be sticking around for a while, and Lyle could have been fooled by her metabolic abilities. Think of this: if she became a Legionnaire, she'd be only the second Legionnaire native to someplace in our solar system that isn't Earth.