Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Legion of Super-Heroes #3 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Green Lantern ring hauls Earth-Man off to another planet in sector 2814 to save some aliens. A Legion team follows him and helps out, but Earth-Man doesn't care for the whole experience so, afterwards, he throws the ring away and returns with the Legion. Phantom Girl leads a Legion team back out to the ruins of Titan to bring Saturn Queen in. Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass catch up with Saturn Girl and they arrive at the planet where they think the kids are (Avalon); there's a big statue of Darkseid there. A bunch of R.J.-Brande-worshiping Durlans are on Earth, looking for revenge against someone.


The main problem with this issue is that the main stories didn't feature much opposition. Earth-Man's mission was a pretty low-tension one, swamp monster or no swamp monster, and as formidable as Saturn Queen is, I never had any doubt that a prepared team of Legionnaires could take her down quick. There's progress on all the other subplots, but the underwhelming adversaries in the A-plots give the comic book a popcorn quality. (Also I'd like to know if there's anything more to Saturn Queen's actions than we've already heard about.)

The other thing is this, and I'm not sure if it's a problem, exactly, but I know if I was writing a comic book I wouldn't want this: some of the individual plots aren't very cliffhangery. For instance: at the end of last issue, I kinda had the idea we were done with Saturn Queen for now. Like she showed up to see what happened to Titan, messed with some Legionnaires, and that was the end of it. There was nothing there that suggested that we'd see more of her this issue, or that she was keeping Brainy and Tyroc as puppets, or anything. Similarly: it's obvious that there's more to say about Dyogene and the Green Lantern Corps, but without a hint of what more, there's no pressure to tune in next month to see it. (Now, the subplot with the Ranzz kids... that one's percolating nicely.) For a serial comic book to be satisfying, you need two things: a complete story with a real payoff, and something to make you intrigued about next month's issue (or, I suppose, the knowledge that this is the last issue).

I noticed something in the first panel of page 4: Earth-Man and Cosmic Boy have the same colour scheme on their costumes, but (sort of) reversed. This makes sense; Earth-Man was the leader of a group who opposed the values of Cosmic Boy's group, and even their superhero names reflect this difference. I guess this was Gary Frank's contribution...

One thing I liked about Earth-Man's mission: it was an example of a GLC mission in sector 2814, but not on Earth. I'm not a Green Lantern reader, but I get the idea that Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle don't go on a lot of such missions (that we ever see). And yet it should be the biggest part of their jobs.

What else can I say about Cinar's art? It's as good as it was the last couple of issues. Panel Count: 131 panels/30 pages = 4.4. 3 single-panel pages.

It was an all-right issue. Next couple of months should be better.

- it's not obvious to me why we're still interested in Professor Li and the Titanians
- seems like Earth-Man's xenophobia also extends to anti-Semitism. This is certainly a reasonable choice, but it is a choice; I could see a 31st century where prejudice among humans has been replaced by prejudice against aliens
- this issue brings us the return of one of Paul Levitz's favourite Legion themes: Stretched Too Thin. Levitz's last run on the title showed a constant preoccupation with who was on what mission, how many Legionnaires there were to spare, and how they really needed more people on the team to be able to cover all their responsibilities. I like it, actually
- which was the Avalon story? Was that Lord Romdur's Castle?
- I didn't notice the letter P before on Tinya's costume. How long's it been there?
- anybody know the goose-girl story well enough to comment on its use here?
- not sure about Sensor Girl's line after finishing off Saturn Queen. It's a Jeckie thing to say, but not really a Sensor Girl thing to say

Labels: ,


Anonymous Paul Newell said...

- which was the Avalon story? Was that Lord Romdur's Castle?

Yep. That's the one.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks. Well, I don't figure we're going to see Mordru in this story, not after FC:L3W, but I could certainly imagine the Avalonians starting up a Darkseid cult in his absence. Although I hope that Levitz has something more interesting than that in mind.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Murray said...

- it's not obvious to me why we're still interested in Professor Li and the Titanians

I wonder if this scene was included just to further (or remind us) of the story of Titan's destruction. Any character could have been used to let us know that the reason for the destruction of Titan hasn't been revealed to the characters yet, and in this case, Levitz was choosing two supporting characters that he'd previously introduced. I don't get the sense that either one of them is going to become much more than that.

- seems like Earth-Man's xenophobia also extends to anti-Semitism.
I didn't read it that way. I mean, I can see how it could be interpreted that way. But I think it's equally valid to read it as Earth-Man's a jerk and he's unhappy with being placed on the Legion and is just lashing out at whichever member happens to be there.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, someone on Legion World did speculate that Prof. Li was going to become the next Green Lantern.

As for Earth-Man... I don't think one says what he said without there being something sinister behind it.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

The general buzz online about this issue hasn't been great. I REALLY hope Levitz pulls it out of the bag.

Yes, I agree that there could be more cliffhangery action. I was left confused at the end of issue 2 as to why Ultra Boy collapsed and whether we'd be seeing more of Saturn Queen.

Now that we've seen the covers for the next couple of issues though, hopefully there'll be a big wrap up by issue 5. Fingers and everything else crossed!

1:46 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Got to be patient. No guarantees, but in ten years we could be looking back at these issues and wondering what we were ever complaining about.

1:54 PM  
Blogger balian said...

About the goose girl story; I just reread it, it's a Brothers Grimm story about a princess on her way to be married whose maid switches places with her by threats and who is forced to be a goose girl. The true story is discovered after some unlikely magical events.

Saturn Queen is made out to be a false queen here, but I don't quite see how that makes Tinya the real one. Instead, Projectra/Sensor Girl seems to fill that role, although there've been no Goose Girl story shenanigans here.

I wonder if Levitz is instead just having Tinya sarcastically refer to herself as the opposite of the queen, the goose girl... but successful in overcoming her. Sort of a faint reference to the goose girl fable, but not intended to be very direct.

It also occurs to me that with some sort of story set on Avalon about to occur in one of the other plotlines, if Levitz is up to something regarding fairy tales. So we may understand something else about the goose girl reference later.

My copy of the Lord Romdur's Castle story (late Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes period, right?) is in storage, so I don't know where that's headed.

12:01 AM  
Blogger Friday said...

I'm a little confused as to why use Darkseid at all. We just had a massive stoyline that he was at the center of a few years ago, and Levitz did an excellent end to his story back in the Annual. It seems a little bit of a cry for attention, and maybe half a plug for the Great Darkness Hardcover (I don't need it. I don't need it. I have the trade. I have the singles. I don't need it...) coming out soon.

I enjoyed the Earth Man plotline the most. The guy seems to really want to turn it around to me, he's just too much of a jackass to do it properly. The fact that the rest of the Legion treat him like, well, like he tried to get them all ran off planet and tourtured some of them, I guess that can't be helping.

I think the Li as the next Lantern might be spot on. She all but said "remember my name. I'm important." There was really no reason for her and that scene unless we really needed to be reminded about Titan exploding. Except Saturn Queen did that. So there we go.

You know what? No matter the problems I still dug this issue. It was a bit of a transitional issue, moving us from Earth Man and Titan to fully focus on the Ranzz kiddos, but they need to happen now and then.

1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why Darkseid? Two results:One,he won't appear,fans will be disappointed.Or,he appears,fans will expect another GDS,won't get it,will be disappointed.DnA tried a GDS II some time back which nobody liked.That first encounter with Darkseid has grown in stature over the years to the point where even an effort by the GDS co-plotter won't match the memory fans hold of GDS.The novelty of Darkseid vs.the Legion is gone now.
The Darkseid story I'd like to see? He's facing off against Luthor and Joker for the title of most over-used villain.They fire their weapons at each other.They vanish,and we never see them again.A fan can dream...

2:47 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

You know, I bet it isn't Darkseid at all. I think that's a red herring.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can something be a Jeckie thing to say but not a Sensor Girl thing to say?

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

"How can something be a Jeckie thing to say but not a Sensor Girl thing to say?"

In the early days, Princess Projectra was always portrayed as a bit snooty. But since the murder of her husband, she rejected the old ways and took on a new, more sombre Sensor Girl guise. So I can see what the original comment implied.

On the other hand, I didn't see a huge problem with Sensor Girl's comment. Just because she no longer takes the whole royalty thing seriously doesn't mean that she can't make the occasional sneering comment about someone that she sees as a minor villain.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I continue to be impressed by the density of the Levitz issues, due primarily to the number of subplots. Compared to (say) the latest issue of The Avengers -- one big fight scene -- this takes three times as long to read and is that much more satisfying as a result. This is the way I like my comics.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Rob: Yeah, that, and also because one whole point of the Sensor Girl identity is that she had seen through the illusion of royalty.

Jim: One thing about a Levitz comic. There's no guarantee, especially after so many years off, that the engine will run properly... but all the parts will certainly be there.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous fanboi said...

I still think It was supposed to read Ghost Girl NOT Goose Girl and someone screwed up. Fairy tale reference is a stretch and that story's context doesn't make sense here.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Plausible, but I'm still going with not-a-typo.

7:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home