Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #17 Review
What Happened That You Have to Know About:
Thanagarian space pirates want Legion flight rings for the nth metal, so they capture three Legionnaires to lure others in in a ransom scheme. Brainiac 5 goes along with it, because he's built some emergency overrides into the flight rings for just such an occasion. The Legion quickly turns the tables on the pirates.
Torres and Greene are the team this time around, and it's a typically solid effort for both of them. Torres's story is, as usual, action-heavy and easily summarized. The big attraction here is the characterization of Brainiac 5: it's as manipulative, Machiavellian and disconcerting as reboot or threeboot Brainy at their worst, but with a kind of benevolence that was often missing from those portrayals. "Try not to lose them, okay?" It's a new aspect for animated Brainy; up until now his main characteristics have been his shaky confidence and his friendship with Superman.
It's the second Legion comic in a row I've read that's drawn by Greene. Take a look at them together, okay? Same artist, but his style is much more at home here, and it looks quite good. I like the panel on page 14 with Superman's hands coming out of the darkness, for instance. One thing I'm not as keen on is the panel count: I like it when there's so much story that you need a lot of panels to tell it all in. Here, though, there are relatively few panels, and even one full-page panel, which hardly ever happens in this series. Oh well; I guess it depends on the story. But there's also not a lot of detail in the backgrounds--on several pages, there's literally no more background than a few straight lines. And what background there is isn't particularly interesting. On the good side, Greene does an excellent job on Brainiac 5's facial expressions.
Our visit with the 31st-century Thanagarians isn't quite as successful as the encounters with the 31st-century Amazons or 31st-century Green Lantern Corps. But then, Thanagarians aren't that interesting in the first place. Although I bet there's quite a tale behind how some space pirates from Thanagar ended up with the Blackhawks war cry. (That's not a criticism. I bet it's quite a story.)
It seems like all I'm doing is shooting holes in this comic book. I don't know why that is; I did like it.
It's really not clear to me just why it is that Lightning Lad, Superman and Brainiac 5 lost their first skirmish with the pirates, and so did Bouncing Boy, Shrinking Violet and Timber Wolf, but they won the second time around. What was different? Element of surprise? It seemed like they lost at the start because it was the start of the story, and won later because it was the end.
Anyway. One more on the list of solid singles up the middle that have made up the greatest part of this title's run (I just calculated it out. If this comic book were an inning, it would have scored thirteen runs and have a runner on first with two out.)