Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 Review

Countdown:

Zero. That's all for Legion comics; there aren't any more.

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

At the end of time, the Time Trapper (revealed last issue to be an aged Superboy-Prime) spars with Superman, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy. Meanwhile, Superboy-Prime and the LSV fight the rest of the three Legions in the 31st century. Saturn Girl manages to communicate with the rest of the Legion and they realize that, despite what the Trapper believes, nothing about this fight is set in stone. They recruit a bajillion other Legionnaires from all over the multiverse and bring them all to the end of time to help stomp the Trapper into a paste. Then, while he's dazed, they bring him with them and return to their own 31st century.

Meanwhile, Mordru has absorbed all kinds of magic from killing Kinetix and is using it to raise hell. The White Witch decides enough is enough and turns to the dark side of the force in order to get enough magic to beat him. This works astonishingly well and she goes on to mop up the rest of the LSV, aided by the other Legionnaires (including Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel, now powered up to be Duplicate Damsel, who both show up for no particular reason).

Superman and the three founders put the Trapper in front of Superboy-Prime, and the two of them immediately annoy each other. Superboy-Prime punches out the Trapper, and both of them disintegrate and disappear. Superboy-Prime reappears on Earth-Prime, where his parents and friends now hate and fear him because they've just read Legion of 3 Worlds.

Sodam Yat returns to Oa to restart the Green Lantern Corps. The White Witch returns to the Sorcerer's World to become the Black Witch. The threeboot Legion returns to Earth-Prime. The reboot Legion resolves to wander the multiverse looking for other survivors of Crisis-type events, and rename themselves the Wanderers, except for XS and Gates, who remain with the retroboot Legion.

Review:

I noticed some things about Perez's art this issue that I've never seen before. In a few panels (like the one focusing on the Adventure #247 Legionnaires) it's like he's trying on an entirely new style, and it's a nice one. I can't decide who it reminds me of. Alan Davis? Immonen? Anyway, it's all excellent, of course.

This issue is a feast for those who like to annotate issues like this. Fortunately, I'm not one of them. Moving on.

What are the things worth mentioning here... the Superboy-Prime business, the new Legion status quo, the seeds of future stories. Anything else?

Superboy-Prime first. This comic book has more of a clever ending than a profound ending. Still satisfying, but on a different level. I was kind of hoping that more would be made of the redemption angle, but I guess that was never part of the plan.

Instead it's clever, and in kind of a mean-spirited way. That last shot of Prime in his basement seems to set up a comparison between himself and a) cockroaches and b) fans of DC Comics. There have been times in my life when I've felt more flattered than this. I mean, all in good fun and everything, but it's certainly an odd note to go out on.

The way he was defeated was... it wasn't a copout, and it also wasn't one of the possibilities I listed here. So that's good! Geoff Johns surprised me.

The new Legion status quo. A while ago, Dan DiDio said that after this series, there would be one Legion. It is not so. All three Legions still exist and are distinct, and we've also seen that there's a multiverse full of other Legions, including ones we've seen before. And I'm okay with that. But I wish that DC would stop teaching me not to believe anything they say.

Anyway, it looks like DC's go-to Legion for... well, for whatever they end up using the Legion for from now on; the Adventure backup and the odd guest appearance in Superman or whatever... will be the retroboot Legion, augmented by Gates and XS. But the door is certainly not closed on either of the other two Legions, or for that matter any of the other Legions of the multiverse, any more than it is for a return to active villainy by Superboy-Prime. There's not a lot that's necessarily final about anything that's happened in this series, unless DC wants it to be final. But we all know how that works.

Seeds of future stories. Let's just list them all, shall we? Superboy-Prime versus the threeboot Legion. The Wanderers looking for castaways in the multiverse. The retroboot Legion looking for their missing Legionnaires. Apparently Starman's up to something in the present day on behalf of R.J. Brande. The new Karate Kid. The new Green Lantern Corps. The Black Witch. Say one thing for Geoff Johns, he doesn't short himself on things to do.

It turned out to be more of a Legion series than I thought it was going to be. It was Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5 who came up with the key insights, and the turning point of the battle came when the Legionnaires accessed one of the key features of what the Legion is: their great numbers. I think Kermit the Frog said it best when he said, "That's it! That's what's been missing from the show! That's what we need! More frogs and dogs and bears and pigs and chickens and things!"

A good series. Much better than I was afraid it was going to be, not quite as good as it tried to tell us it was going to be, well above average for blockbuster crossover limited serieses.

I like the Legion of Super-Heroes. I'd buy another comic book about them if DC ever printed one. How about you?

Notes:
- Lots of typos this issue--Mygg, Shakari, "I can asborb all of their abilities!"...
- When Wildfire blows up he says, "NNRRGG!" which was, of course, his codename during the Legion on the Run era
- That's why Kinetix had to die, and also why she had to have the magical aspect of her powers played up: it was all setup for this Mordru/White Witch business
- "You may want to keep your distance."

I've probably forgotten a lot of stuff I wanted to say about this comic! Oh well; that's what the comments are for.

Labels: ,

36 Comments:

Blogger snell said...

I felt there was a lot within the series itself that was not followed up upon. Superman's declaration in issue #1 that they had to "redeem" Superboy-Prime--never mentioned again, and certainly unexecuted. All of the Legion of Super-Villains beaten--off-panel?? And even if he was somehow just a "sentient alternate timelne," it would have been nice to have at least a sentence of two explaining how Superboy-Prime became the Trapper.

All of that (and more) was ignored, mainly because of some very odd pacing and choices of focus...

8:28 AM  
Blogger murrfox said...

A while ago, Dan DiDio said that after this series, there would be one Legion

Maybe what that means is that there will only be one Legion that DC plans on following. We get to read about the retroboot, while the others languish about in limbo.

I guess this is what I was always expecting, but I'm a little disappointed to see some of those interesting characters and teams shuffled off to most likely be forgotten.

it would have been nice to have at least a sentence of two explaining how Superboy-Prime became the Trapper.

I'm pretty sure that an explanation was given... maybe on the second page where Prime says that because he's been thrown into the multiverse so many times he eventually became the Trapper.

Murray

8:35 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think the redemption angle could have made for a really good story. Maybe not with so many fireworks, but something that'd have some meat to it. Oh well.

Maybe what that means is that there will only be one Legion that DC plans on following. We get to read about the retroboot, while the others languish about in limbo.

Which is pretty similar to the status quo ante, so I don't know what they thought they were trying to tell us there.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Eye-Roller Lass said...

Great review! You always add an extra (smarter)layer to all things Legion. You, sir, rule.

Loved:
- Superboy Whine and the Time "Won't-shut-his" Trapper fighting each other into oblivion!
- Brainiac 5's relief to see his other versions off.
- Bouncing Boy showed up. Yay!
- L.E.G.I.O.N.naires, too!

Annoyed me:
-The big middle finger Geoff Johns gave the Threeboot Legion, by placing them on Earth Prime with the chore to keep an eye on SBP.
-The whole story felt like Geoff was writing for himself. After all, his favorite version of the Legion prevailed, plus his favorite Reboot Legionnaires. I don't usually have to pay for fanfiction.
-Remember how Superboy Prime was a metaphor for the annoying fanboys? Now it's all literal, if anybody had any doubts!I wonder if it wasn't a last time addition as an answer to all the complaints about the delays.

For laughs:
http://www.letsbefriendsagain.com/2009/05/06/matter-eater-lad/

10:55 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks!

Annoyed me:
-The big middle finger Geoff Johns gave the Threeboot Legion, by placing them on Earth Prime with the chore to keep an eye on SBP.


No, that was good. Superhero characters aren't like real people: you blow them off by giving them tidy happy endings; you compliment them by giving them new hard problems to solve.

-Remember how Superboy Prime was a metaphor for the annoying fanboys?

Geoff Johns actually addressed that on page 9 of the ComicBloc discussion thread for this issue. Turns out he has a more nuanced view of this metaphor.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous brainypirate said...

I had the opposite reaction to this being a Legion series. With the "Titans Together" cheer, I realized that this truly is a Final Crisis series, simply set in the 31st century. It was designed more as a way of introducing changes into several key properties (Supes, Flash, GL, Titans, Gemworld, as well as LSH) than it was designed to be an LSH story. Only about 10 Legionnaires had any substantial action in the story, and most of the onscreen activity had to do with SBP, Bart and Conner.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Bill D. said...

Well, 2 out of the 3 reboot Legionnaires I wanted to see make it into the new/old/new LSH did, so I'm happy about that.

Still mad Johns felt the need to kill off Zoe, though.

7:56 PM  
Blogger murrfox said...

I don't think Johns killed Zoe off so much as made her a story point to be dealt with at some point in the future. She was "killed" then absorbed by Mordru and then absorbed by the White Witch. It's not that much of a stretch for some writer to come up with a way to bring her back. Maybe Mysa gets a cough... or eats a bad batch of shrimp... blurrp! Zoe's back, none the worse for wear.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omnicon pointed out that there was just a thread on DC forums with THAT particular title and there was a member posing as SB that posted there.

Intereasting triva, I guess this is the highlight of this series. So many "I didn't notice that before", I've had to read it multiple times to see everything.

This feels like the end of a lot of things. Seeing Gates (one of my more fav. Legionaires) is sticking around made me happy at least. I do recall vaguely someone mentioning there being a Earth Prime comic sometime, if s we might see 3boot then.

2:28 AM  
Blogger Mart said...

Lovely review - my favourite bit of the comic was seeing a Daring New Kara!

I think you liked it just a tad more than me:
http://dangermart.blogspot.com/2009/07/final-crisis-legion-of-3-worlds-5.html

8:49 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

You guys are so elegant and concise in your comments that you leave me nothing to respond to. I'm reading 'em, though!

9:14 AM  
Anonymous nhc said...

I was disappointed that they never tied the end into Brainiac Five showing Superman the Miracle Machine in Final Crisis.

In fact, I don't see how the end of this (with Superman showing up at Titans Tower with Bart and Conner) fits into Final Crisis at all.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh, none of it fits into Final Crisis. I didn't really think it would.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Bryan-Mitchell said...

I thought it was pretty bad. It was pretty pointless and just chock full of fan-boy retcons that make little sense. The whole earth prime recreated thing was nonsensical at best. The whole XS saying that her family changed universes was silly. Having Superboy-Prime hate his future self was cute. The ending was a bit too AnimalMan for my tastes. Lady Quark's cameo confused me until I remembered she was in L.E.G.I.O.N. but I'm not really sure why they were involved.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

I haven't read the issue yet, but I am thrilled that Gates & XS made the leap to the 'Retroboot' team. I think it was pretty obvious that XS would, but it's fantastic that Gates got to hitch a ride.

And the 'Threeboot' Legion is right where it belongs, I feel. In the same universe as another well-intentioned experiment that didn't catch on with fans.

I can't wait to read (and see the art in) #5!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

The thing is, there's still stuff about the threeboot Legion that I want to see how it comes out. Like Projectra, and Cosmic Boy. There's nothing about the retroboot that I'm similarly curious about, because in my mind I already know how their story goes; those comics were published between '86 and '94.

1:05 PM  
Blogger snell said...

Well, I am vaguely curious to see Johns resolve exactly what the post-Crisis history of the retroboot Legion is. We know 5YL is out...where exactly is the cutoff? Which stories "happened"?

And did anyone else find it odd that so much time was spent on Myg and Lythyl? The whole of Legion history to talk about, and we keep coming back to Karate Kid II...

4:02 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, I am vaguely curious to see Johns resolve exactly what the post-Crisis history of the retroboot Legion is.

I recommend against holding your breath while you wait for that.

And did anyone else find it odd that so much time was spent on Myg and Lythyl?

Nah. Just means that Johns has something in mind for Karate Kid III.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Oxymoron 5 said...

“But I wish that DC would stop teaching me not to believe anything they say”.

Is DC just stalling? Waiting for the Superman lawsuit to finalize so Geoff Johns can go forward with his vision of the Legion? Geoff Johns said he likes and always wanted to write the Legion.

I enjoyed FC:L3W. Still have to go through and see if I recognize every character in the big splash pages.

At the end of FC:L3W any Legion ever is available to use in a story. This allows for crossovers with 21st century continuity while having a standalone 31st century continuity. It also gives us no clue which one will be featured in the next, or any, Adventure back up. So send comments and write letters to DC. Long Live the Legion!

10:28 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Honestly I don't think the Superman lawsuit has a thing to do with anything.

1:14 PM  
Blogger murrfox said...

Well, I am vaguely curious to see Johns resolve exactly what the post-Crisis history of the retroboot Legion is.

I'm curious where the divergences are and what the differences are between classic Legion and the retroboot... but that's not really the stuff that makes for great storytelling.
I suspect that Johns is just going to move forward, while any niggling questions that we have about what happened or didn't are going to remain frustratingly unanswered.

At the end of FC:L3W any Legion ever is available to use in a story.

Any Legion is available, but we're only going to be seeing the retroboot. I have no faith at all that I'm going to see the reboot or threeboot teams anytime soon.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Actually Johns said that all the Legions will be showing up in Adventure eventually.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Deq Zekker said...

'm glad the two other Legions are alive, and that we might even get to see the 5YL Legion at some point in the future. Much, much better ending than what I thought would be. I think I can now look forward to Adventure Comics, and can trust Geoff Johns to take care of the Legion franchise.

8:09 AM  
Blogger murrfox said...

Actually Johns said that all the Legions will be showing up in Adventure eventually

Yep. He said that. Underline the word eventually which I think probably translates into "when I'm done telling stories about the cool new retroboot guys, I'll try to slip in a story about one or two of the other guys". :)

And underline the word Legion, too. I'm still not convinced we'll be seeing the Legion... not in ten pages. We'll get some good character pieces... maybe with as many as three or four characters... and that's fine for what it is. And it's fine for now. But it's not really Legion, to me.

Wow. I'm cranky today.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think I can now look forward to Adventure Comics, and can trust Geoff Johns to take care of the Legion franchise.

I don't share your reaction. With all the other Legion writers going back through Shooter, Waid, DnA, Stern/Peyer/etc., Giffen/Bierbaums... I had a pretty good notion of what their view of the Legion was. I can't really say that about Johns yet.

murrfox: Well, it's more than any other Legion writer has ever said about the Legion versions he wasn't using.

And I agree; this team's too big to fit into eight pages.

9:29 AM  
Blogger murrfox said...

Well, it's more than any other Legion writer has ever said about the Legion versions he wasn't using.

Yeah, true, but no other Legion writer has had access to the other Legions either. When the reboot came along, the original Legion was off limits.
When threeboot came along, reboot was sent packing to limbo and unavailable.
Johns is the only one who's been allowed to craft a story with any Legionnaire he wanted available to him.

And I agree; this team's too big to fit into eight pages.

Yep. So it will be character pieces and/or pairs of characters used to slowly build to the next story... presumably in Superman or pairing up with Connor in Adventure.

Murray

2:25 PM  
Anonymous stile86 said...

Great discussion as always Matthew. I for one enjoyed it, although Mysa going dark ... poor Mysa. Ever since 5YL she has been treated as a character of tragedy.
Funniest line for me, not even Legion related, "Warrior needs food badly." One of the most famous lines from that arcade game some 20-30 years ago - what was it called? Johns is showing his age (oops so am I).

10:30 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah, but the Question used the same joke during 52, which Johns cowrote.

11:02 PM  
Anonymous duck458 said...

One of the most poignant moments in this story was when BubbleHeaded Cosmic Boy stops and asks LL, SG and CB "The dream! It all comes TRUE doesn't it?" And YellowBlouse SG goes, "Mr. Brande is RIGHT. We help actually UNITE the universe". But as I'm typing this I realize how dense those three are, considering that they are surrounded by gobs of Legionaires in a story called "The Legion of Three Worlds" wtf did they think was happening? No wonder he has that bubble on his head. What a dumbazz obvious question. "Lets see we're on a double page spread where my future self has gathered Legionaires from all over the multiverse to save all of the multiple timelines across the multiverse, I better ask my future self if this Legion thing is a good idea after all because its just not clear to me if we've done the right thing here. Maybe we shouldn't oughta done it."

So anyway, now I'm wondering what happened to those guys and everyone else who wasn't a member of one of the three Legions. Where did the Orginal Three go and the 5YL, etc. in relation to the Legion of Three Worlds and how did they get there? Did the Cosmic Treadmill send everyone back to where they belong and how does that work?

2:49 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I figure they went home through the same portals they used to get there.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I was happy to see the belief about the Trapper that I've held for 20 years validated: that the identity of the Trapper changes to fit the needs of the Trapper (now as a semi-sentient alternate timeline, or whatever). So the Trapper *is* Superboy-Prime, and it is Cosmic Boy, and it is the personification of Entropy (or maybe that's the alternate timeline itself), and it sis even a Controller.

How many ongoing cross-universe Legion characters are there now? XS crossed from L1 to L2 and back to L1. Gates from L2 to L1. Ferro from L1 to L2 (so there have been two Andrew Nolans in this timeline?). Inferno from L2 to L1. Kon-El Superboy from L1 to L2. Supergil from L1 to L3. And L3 Brainiac 5 is advising L1 Vril Dox. Jeez.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's more complicated than that, because these versions of the characters can also be split along the lines of time irregularities. I can think of the following inflection points that theoretically created whole new versions of characters that were not officially rebooted:

Crisis on Infinite Earths
the Mordruverse/Glorithverse shuffle
Infinite Crisis
and possibly 52

Basically this is one of these things that, if you pursue it, it makes you understand things less than you used to. I like to leave those things alone.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Multiverse continuity gives me an aneurysm.
This wasn't the ending I wanted.I wanted to see Superboy-Prime crushed like a bug.I hoped all the cockroaches swarming around the Time Trapper was foreshadowing that.I hoped punk-Prime and Trapper-Prime would wipe each other out and we would never see it/them ever again.
Superboy-Prime is a horrible creation,a corporate tantrum no doubt resulting from the Siegel lawsuit.He symbolizes everything wrong with superhero comics nowadays.I hope he remains in that basement and never sees the light of day.DC may have got something off their chest with that last scene,but seeing as how they make their money off the very fanboys they are satirizing,I only hope it comes to bite them in the ass.
If not for the Perez art,this would've been a total waste of lumber and dyes.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

My big problem with it is that wherever the Legion was going under Geoff Johns, it isn't going there anymore. It's going wherever Paul Levitz wants it to go. Now, I actually expect to like Levitz's destination better than I would have liked Johns's, but I really wish DC would leave the Legion along long enough for the writer to show us what he/she had in mind all along.

Look at the record. Johns, off Adventure so he could do the Flash. Shooter, had to cut his stupid sixteen-issue mega-arc short when LSHv5 was cancelled. Torres and Briglio and the LSH31C writers having to circularfile all their season-3 ideas. Waid and Kitson, leaving the threeboot early after the retroboot stole their thunder. DnA not getting the chance to tell us what was the deal with Cub. Giffen and the Bierbaums dodging all kinds of editorial insanity only to be hit with the Zero Hour reboot. The only Legion writers who got to finish up properly were Levitz, last time around, and maybe the pre-DnA reboot writers.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame that writers don't always get the chance to walk off a book when it's time.Often as not,they stay on too long and have to limp off,or get yanked off before their time.Shooter and the LSH31C crew were taken off too soon.For the others,it probably was time to go.Past time,in some cases.
As for Johns and Levitz,I think that worked out for the best.I like Johns(liked him better before he became a continuity pornstar)but I think he's stretched too thin nowadays.The Legion needs someone to give it full time attention.If Waid had been half serious about making the Legion the #1 book,he should not have gotten diverted by all his side projects.Levitz can devote himself to the Legion now.As for the Legion being left alone from the rest of the DCU,maybe Levitz can use some of his clout to do just that.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think the Legion's in about as stable a situation as it can be, assuming it sells well enough. If it doesn't, then I have a hard time imagining what DC's Plan B is.

3:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home