Friday, October 31, 2008

Legion of Super-Heroes #47 Review

The Legion Omnicom has a couple of posts up that link to or contain some information and speculation about the Legion's future. I am, of course, one of the people who has doubts about DC having anything specific in mind for the Legion. I don't put any weight on those doubts, though; I'm quite aware of how little I actually know about the situation. Certainly the theories being thrown around are plausible and could quite easily be true. I would just urge everyone to remember that:
- DC doesn't always do the smart thing
- Geoff Johns is much in demand and we can't assume that he's going to be available for a Legion title
- the status quo for the Legion after FC:L3W may well be very different from how we can imagine it to be

The notion of bringing back the Adventure Comics title is an interesting one. The idea I like... well, not like, exactly, but I see the sense of it... is to have the Legion act as frequent guest stars in Action for a few years, and only let them have their own title once everybody was used to them and there was a big demand for an LSH title. It would fit in with the technique used to introduce Johns' retroboot Legion. And, if you check what DiDio said about Action, it fits in with that too. We'll see.

At this point, I'm not as concerned about what DC does with the Legion as I am about how they do it. I want whatever Legion comic that comes out of this mess to be a) good and b) interesting. It's been a while since Legion comics were both those things. Waid and Shooter have been producing a title that's been extremely interesting, but often hasn't been quite as good as we were hoping for. On the other hand, I'm worried that a Johns Legion title would be good but not at all interesting. Like the six-issue arc in Action Comics, for instance.

Countdown:

Seven Legion comics left.

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Uh... let's see. Brainiac 5 goes to see a psychic named Meander to help him communicate with Dream Girl while he's awake. This works okay, but Princess Projectra, worried that Dream Girl might interfere with whatever she's plotting with the Orandans, so she secretly does some kind of thing to release Brainy's inner demons the next time he's asleep. Brainy defeats them (except for one, who escapes into the real world) but not before they blind Dream Girl and destroy her precognitive abilities. Then Brainy and Nura get married.

Review:

Not the strongest issue (but mostly self-contained, which is certainly a point in its favour). As was revealed in Jim Shooter's recent interview, it's something of a fill-in, and it feels like it. Rick Leonardi subs for Manapul on the art, and provides a style that seems to me to be about halfway between Manapul and Carmine Infantino. I'm not calling for Leonardi to get a regular gig as LSH penciller, but it's one of the better guest appearances we've seen on this title. Who else has been good--Jeanty, Lopresti...

So that part was okay. I wasn't as nuts about the story, though, which seems to be a way of resolving the whole Dream Girl subplot that's been hanging around like a bad smell ever since she died way back in the Lemnos arc. If this is a resolution, though, I'd just as soon it went unresolved.

First, she's still mostly dead, and now she doesn't even have her powers, or, for that matter, her sight. So what exactly does she have? Just her personality, really. And that would be fine if not for the second point.

Second, she's been mischaracterized ever since she was killed. (I shouldn't say 'mischaracterized'. It's as likely as not that this was done intentionally.) Go back and read LSH v5 #2. Continue, if you like, with the rest of the Lemnos arc, and don't miss that backup story late in the arc that sort of counts down to her death after the fact. She was calm, cool and competent; she always kept Brainy off-balance; she didn't always pay attention to whatever was going on around her that wasn't important; she was more attracted to Star Boy than Brainy. And now look at her: she's Brainy's bit of skirt. She doesn't even fight back against the demons!

A theory is that she's now partly--probably not completely--a figment of Brainy's imagination, and that she's being influenced by Brainy's image of her. That line about how awesome Brainy's mind is--does he say it in repetition of her, or did she only say it because he wanted her to? This would be an excellent kind of thing to explore in future issues... except that there aren't many future issues left.

Third, the encounter that Brainy and Nura have in this issue, facilitated by Meander, reminds me of three things, only one of which I really care to be reminded of: Apparition's resurrection in the reboot Legion's trip to the 20th century, prostitution, and the movie Ghost.

Brainy, on the other hand, was characterized very well. The part where he described his nap to Lightning Lad was perfect, exactly the sort of thing he'd say.

Other than the parts about the continued deterioration of Dream Girl's character, it was okay. Didn't do anything to keep the tension going for the intruder planet/alien destroyer invader plot, and ideally one would want to get a running start as we approach the last issues of this series. But on its own merits it wasn't too bad.

Notes:
- two of Brainy's inner demons are named Beater and Biter. Tolkien reference?
- Meander is a pretty neat character. I can already hear the calls for her to join the Legion. She shouldn't, though; she should remain a neat minor character
- if Dream Girl doesn't have her powers anymore, does that mean that Dream Boy is going to get his chance at the spotlight? (I bet it doesn't)

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading at the omnicon, Shooter was going to have this story in two parts. Part 1 B5 was engaged to Dream Girl and part 2 he married her. DC threw that in the air.

Checking back at the issues, Dream Boy was in the screenin part 1 (but so was Dream Girl) but not in part. He hasn't been around at all in the latest few issues, but so haven't quite a few cast members. If he is here, he seems to have been side-lined.

3:37 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I remember him on that screen. I wonder if Shooter meant him to be there or if Manapul just sorta threw him in there on his own.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned to me (haven't seen the issue yet) that Brainiac's adopted son got mentioned again. I was suprised to here ol' V.Dox again, but with L.E.G.I.O.N. being recently mentioned I wondered if its a nod to that. Can't find other issues that note it, if its there I've forgotten about it.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I suppose I'm going to have to get the new L.E.G.I.O.N. series. I never read much of the original one, but I still intend to pick up the (many) back issues of it I'm missing.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Don said...

The "Beater and Biter" bit may also be a nod to Lois McMaster Bujold: in one of her Vorkosigan books she had a character who gave similar names to the various darker parts of his psyche. I believe the book was Mirror Dance.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Never read Bujold, but it seems a more likely allusion than Tolkien, given your description; the Tolkien 'Beater and Biter' really don't have anything to do with anything in this comic book.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Bryan-Mitchell said...

I got to say that this was a pretty bad issue. To have Dream Girl turn into a fawning lovestruck puppy dog was just sad. It would be nice if the whole thing was a figment of B5's imagination but with time running out there probably isn't time to revisit it.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That about sums it up.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Head sup everyone, reading the Legion Omnicon leds to the fateful woe we may be without a issue for 5 months. Ow! We won't see another issue until Lo3Ws is over that will end by July. So since the story is tied to FC, we have to wait for that to play out and on top of things, we may see timeframe skips.

For those like me not following the other FC storylines, thats going to be a little confusing.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I saw that. As it happens, though, this news doesn't bother me too much as I'm already more pessimistic than that. I'm braced to not see any more Legion comics for a few years after FC:L3W ends.

(Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm talking about.)

8:46 AM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

Between this issue and the irritating snippets of the threeboot Legion in 3 Worlds #2, I've increasingly found myself saying that I just don't care about this Legion any more. There are a tiny handful of nifty character bits that I would map onto other characters/situations -- and until this issue, Brainy/Nura was one of this -- but 3 Worlds can go through and kill 90% of this Legion and I won't even blink. The ones who are not ciphers are just irritating.

God help me for saying so, but I'm looking forward to the end of this series, just so we can come out the other side with something -- anything -- better.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

A lot of my regard for the threeboot has been based on all of the potential it obviously has. That potential is a reflection of Mark Waid's concepts and characterization. But, now that it looks like that potential will simply never be realized, I agree that there's not a whole lot else there to attract us. I mean, there's Manapul's art, and Shooter puts some neat sf stuff in there every now and then, but the rest of what Shooter's been up to is not so charming that there's much enjoyment to be gained from watching it coast to a halt.

4:27 PM  

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