Legion of Super-Heroes #50 Review
What Happened That You Have to Know About:
Brainiac 5 figures out the way to deal with the mysterious enemy is to upload some Legionnaires into their virtual domain. One of those Legionnaires is Invisible Kid, who insists on having some modifications made to the version of himself that gets sent in there. Those modifications turn out to be really useful as a way for Brainy to get a handle on this programmed reality and just what's what in there, and he takes control of the whole thing and stops the attack. As he reconstitutes the Legion team into their bodies, he figures he might as well use the same technique to remanifest Dream Girl, complete with her eyes. And that's it for the threeboot.
I didn't actually get this issue until Sunday the 1st. But I'm not really a stickler when it comes to spoilers, so I was quite cognizant of the online reaction to this issue before I got my copy. Based on what, for instance, the boys and girls on the Legion World forums were saying, LSH v5 #50 was one of the worst comics every published by DC. When I opened it, I was expecting, basically, twenty-two pieces of used toilet paper, attached by two staples. My reaction after reading it?
Man, some people out there are overreacting.
First I'll talk about what is there, and then I'll get to what isn't there.
The art is by one Ramon Bachs. I was not previously familiar with this gent's work. Certainly, he's no Manapul, but I think there's only one of those around, so I won't hold that against Bachs. No, really, the art is above average for Legion fill-in art; I've seen way worse art than this in Legion comics. There's no problem with the job Bachs did. There were quite a few panels I liked... let me pick one out... how about the top of page 6, where the Legionnaires arrive in destroyerspace or whatever we're calling it?
The story, by someone of a shy and retiring disposition, focuses entirely on resolving the destroyers/intruder-planet storyline. And it does a decent job of this. Brainy and Lyle's solution to the invaders was perfectly plausible by superhero-comic standards.
I'd also like to note that the issue was fairly self-contained, which, as you know, I appreciate.
The trials and tribulations of Dream Girl have been an unsavory mess for way too long. Waid and Bedard and Shooter, in my opinion, completely mishandled the whole thing. There was a lot of potential there – neat stuff, a Legionnaire whose existence is purely theoretical – but we just got a lot of mischaracterization instead. Given what has gone before, though, her resurrection in this issue isn't a bad development, and the possibility of it happening occurred to some of us a couple of issues ago.
My biggest complaint: Gazelle was acting totally out of character all issue long. She's not recognizable as the character Shooter created.
One thing about these aliens: in their methods and goals, they're quite a bit like Brainiac (in the JLU and LSH cartoons, if nothing else), aren't they?
It's quite possible, even likely, that I didn't mind this comic so much because my expectations had been set low before I opened it. Because we had been promised a lot of stuff for this issue that we didn't get: Shooter and Manapul, Cosmic Boy, a Legionnaire dying, a resolution of the Projectra stuff... I guess the lesson is to never trust the solicits. It's not like this is the first time they've been inaccurate.
Here's what I thought happened. I figured that DC needed the threeboot Legion to match, at the end of this issue, the threeboot Legion shown on that splash page in FC:L3W #2. Therefore, they couldn't bring back Cosmic Boy, they couldn't do anything to get Jeckie off the team... et cetera. And that made sense to me. But why, then, do they allow Sun Boy and Gazelle and Dream Girl continued active membership, when those three weren't shown on that splash page? I dunno.
The Projectra storyline, in particular... that's the big one. One of three things is going to happen with that:
1.her insanity and crimes are going to be addressed in whatever Legion comic comes out of... uh... it'll be addressed someday.
2.the threeboot Legion isn't going to survive FC:L3W in any form that keeps the question of Projectra's actions relevant.
3.the whole thing will just never be brought up again.
I sympathize with everyone who wasn't happy with this comic book. It wasn't what we were hoping it would be. It was the last chance for LSH v5 to show the potential we had all seen in it over the last four-plus years, and DC's handling of this issue seemed to show less interest in achieving that potential than ever before.
And if anyone should be mad about that, it's me. I've been blogging, all this time, about how great this take on the Legion could and should be. I've been defending it on message boards. And it turns out, I can handle myself okay when talking up this Legion to just about anybody... except DC. I believed in this team more than they did, and now I'm just sitting here looking like a jerk. So, okay: nice one, DC! Got me that time!
But it's not worth making a big thing about. In a way, we all knew something like this was coming, right? As soon as we saw Dawnstar's arm on the last page of JSA #1, that should have tipped us off right there. Couple of years later, and now the threeboot is being chopped up for firewood to burn in the FC:L3W furnaces.
Man, the threeboot was abandoned by a lot of people, wasn't it? Steve Wacker quit on it. Waid and Kitson quit on it. DC cut its legs out from under it. All kinds of readers quit on it. Even Shooter and Manapul bailed on it before the end.
But I still like it.
Anyway, #50 was a competent comic book, but it's no way to say goodbye to the threeboot. So I'll try to put something together myself, sometime before the next Legion series starts. I suspect I'll have quite a bit of time to think. Meanwhile let me leave you with this: