Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Legion of Super-Heroes #7 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About: Durlan assassins attack the Winathian ambassadors, and a Legion team defends them. They catch one and save one of the ambassadors. Brainiac 5 is frustrated about something to do with time travel, and goes to Naltor to confront Harmonia Li. Chameleon Boy goes too, and Beren has a vision of the other Legionnaires attacking Cham.

Review:

Takes you out of the story a bit to have the issue chopped in half the way it is, but the plotlines continue to develop, and it's not like there's a dropoff in art quality between Cinar and Portela. The story seemed fairly sparse, and I wondered if there had been a dropoff in panel rate, but no; we're actually up a bit from issue #5. Maybe it's because of the split story, maybe it's because there are a couple of pages here and there devoted to... I won't call it inconsequential stuff, but it's stuff that I can't quite see yet how it's consequential.

The confrontation between Mon-El and Earth-Man, for instance. Well, we all knew something like it was coming, but I guess what this really means is that Levitz looks at this Earth-Man/Shadow Lass relationship as a Continuing Plot, with capital letters, that's going somewhere, and not just incidental background stuff. The conversation the two guys were having puzzled me a bit. Earth-Man wants to know why Mon and Shady broke up? Really? That would imply that he actually likes her, which I have a hard time accepting. It also took me a minute to understand just what it was that Mon-El did to Earth-Man and why it was clever, but it actually was pretty good.

Are we to believe that Shadow Lass is going to be the next Green Lantern? She's capable of holding down the job, but it's a bit strange to consider how she'd be the bearer of three great heroic traditions - the Legion, the Green Lantern Corps, and the Shadow Champions of Talok. A neat idea, but also kind of overkill.

I do like this business of having small squads of Legionnaires handling menaces without bringing in the whole rest of the team. Lets us get to know them; leaves the possibility of failure on the table.

At some point, Levitz should start laying the groundwork for some kind of major opponent for the Legion. We've had a couple of small-scale villains in a row, with the xenophobes followed by the Durlans. Gotta keep changing speeds on us. Bring on Continuus, Despoiler of Everything!

Coming up: who's the Green Lantern gonna be, and who's the new Legion leader gonna be? I'll tell you: I'm going to be glad to know both those things, because then it means we'll be finished speculating.

Notes:
- what's with all the Zendak handshakes?
- SimGalaxy!
- Polar Boy has his arm back. I kinda liked the ice arm
- perfectly sensible that they'd think of Chameleon King. Would have been easy for Levitz not to mention it. I appreciate that

Panel Count: First story (Cinar) -- 77 panels/18 pages = 4.3 panels/page; no single-panel pages. Second story (Portela) -- 53 panels/12 pages = 4.4 panels/page; one single-panel page. Anybody else find that the shadows on the side of Tyroc's head occasionally made him look bald? I mean, naturally bald as opposed to shaven-headed. Also, the fight had a couple of confusing parts. Check pages 14 and 15. At the bottom of page 14, does the Durlan that Timber Wolf is fighting change from Timber Wolf's form to some kind of reptile just for the last panel, and then back to Timber Wolf for page 15? Or is it a second Durlan? And then, going from panel 1 to panel 2 on page 15, Timber Wolf's and Tyroc's color palettes are just similar enough (so's Ultra Boy's, for that matter) that the transition is a difficult one; your eye doesn't warn you that we're switching characters.

Membership Notes: Sun Boy says something about "when Star Boy finally gets back." So maybe he is still some kind of Legionnaire.

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48 Comments:

Blogger MaGnUs said...

This issue was kind of a disappointment, the dialogue was very stilted compared to previous issues; and I don't get how Tyroc can generate an image with ultrasound of something that's no longer there... that's not how ultrasound works.

And is it me, or Cos calls "chief Zendak" something like Zarma at one point?

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last page of the first really pissed me off.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

MaGnUs: Yeah, but Tyroc's magical. I'm gonna have to go check the Zarma thing; I'm not sure what you're talking about.

anon: Because of the cliffhanger?

2:47 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

Tyroc's magical... well, then... sorry, still not good. :)

And I just checked again; Cos is referring to "Razma", which is the last name of the councilors that have been attacked.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Tyroc's magical... well, then... sorry, still not good.

I can't help it; that's still why.

3:04 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

You're just entranced by his wonderful black chrome dome. If he still had the afro, I'd forgive him.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm actually getting sick of all these black superheroes shaving their heads. Black Lightning doesn't look right at all, and Tyroc, well, it is an improvement over his old look, but it'd be better with hair. At least Invisible Kid still has hair.

9:59 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

Skunk hair.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

No, the white streak's gone, isn't it? I thought it was gone.

8:38 AM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

It just might, and I add it mentally when I see him. :)

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Darrell Lawrence said...

That Shadow Lass dialog at the en do f the first story seemed really weird. Does she now think she's a prize to be won?

Very strange behavior for her lately...

And Mon-El sticking it to Earth Man... loved it! However, dialog there also was strange- Why would Earth Man be asking Mon-El what happened between Mr. El and Ms. Mallor, when he could just ask Tasmia?

2:41 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

"Yo, Mon-El, what position does Dark Smurfette like more?"

2:44 PM  
Blogger Brainy Pirate said...

I wondered if Diogene was coming back to Earth-Man for the ring. Shady would be an interesting choice, but I'd hate to see her leave the group--she's always been one of my favorites.

I didn't think Tyroc was showing anything that wasn't there, but rather showing the internal damage. Did I misread that?

2:53 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

The dead councilor is on the floor, and Tyroc shows what happened, showing an upright image of the councilor with his heart bursting from inside out... complete with the arms in different positions than the body in the floor.

2:56 PM  
Blogger karl said...

news just in, Legion Lovers...it seems from what ive read on CBR that Mon-el is the new leader with Tinya as his deputy. Thats a shame, i voted for her to be leader.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That's just the Legion Omnicom's poll, though. It only represents what you might call a large segment of internet-active Legion fans, which is not necessarily representative of the voters as a whole. In fact, I'd be surprised if it was. I think in general the comics-blog crowd is way different from the majority of readers. But we'll see.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Haggard Lad said...

The Omnicom poll results are probably a good representation of how Legion fans voted, but I wouldn't be surprised if the actual results are different. Since the election was an internet poll, I think the range of voters might be larger than the normal Legion readership. I posted a link to it on the City of Heroes forum and I think someone waid 4chan was getting involved.

As for #7, I enjoyed it. I loved the use of Tyroc's powers. I don't worry about whether or not stuff like that is scientifically accurate since it's all comic book psuedoscience anyway.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Jim Davis said...

I don't worry about whether or not stuff like that is scientifically accurate since it's all comic book psuedoscience anyway.

Oh, I don't worry about that either. What I would be interested in is knowing exactly what is Tyroc's power. Hitherto, it seems his power is opening his mouth for any desired effect the writer has in mind.

2:05 AM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

Pseudoscience is one thing, gross inconsistences and ridiculous things that make no sense, are other. You have other ways of finding out what happened than turning Tyroc into CSI with an absurdity.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Mart said...

Darrell, perhaps Smurf-Man doesn't think he'd get the truth from Tasmia - I can see him enjoying the sex, but neing suspicious.

Great review, Matthew, but what was it that Mon-El did to Smurf-Man? I thought he'd just bashed him through the wall and into space!

7:33 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think the thing about Tyroc's powers is that they should be at least a little bit plausible as manifestations of sonic energy. Back in the '70s they had him using different screams to teleport and all kinds of weird stuff. With the imaging thing he was doing here, we can say, "Well, that wouldn't work, but at least we have some idea of just what it is that wouldn't work."

What Mon-El did to Earth-Man is this: he left him way out in deep space all by himself. Now, this is no trouble if you've got Mon-El's powers and are experienced about finding your way around in deep space, but when you're Earth-Man and your powers are going to fade in a couple of minutes and you don't really know what you're doing, it's a major problem. Earth-Man would be dead if it wasn't for his flight ring and transuit (which Mon-El was obviously counting on).

9:09 AM  
Blogger Mart said...

Ah, thanks Matthew - I was fearing I'd missed Mon-El vibrating them through the Clubhouse wall or something.

Speaking of which, I don't recall ever seeing the rocket roof, and here we got it in each story.

9:31 AM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

You know what? I'm going to accept that perhaps Tyroc can use the vibrations generated by his sonics to display a "past image" of what happened; similar as to how speedsters vibrate their own molecules to travel through time.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

When Accomplished Perfect Physician from the Great Ten showed up in 52, I observed that he was a way to reinvent Tyroc's powers as something if not more sensible, at least less random. Seems like Levitz could be following that same idea.

Did I catch that Harmonia Li is from the 21st century, perhaps periodically jaunting forward in time? Could she be Rip Hunter's secret mother? (You do tread Booster Gold, yes?)

4:38 PM  
Blogger Mart said...

If she is, her genes aren't very strong ... or she's using an image inducer.

4:40 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

I don't think she's Rip's mom, but yeah, she's pretty old. :)

6:04 PM  
Blogger Meerkatdon said...

MaGnUs: Tyroc used ultrasound to project an x-ray-like image of the insides of the body on the floor in front of him -- kinda the way present-day doctors use ultrasound to project x-ray-like images of the insides of bodies in front of them. What's so implausible?

Seems to me that Tyroc's powers could be like Black Canary's, which are...uh, what now? If writers of Justice League can make Black Canary an effective member of the team (and they have), then I trust Levitz to do the same with Tyroc.

Shady is not behaving like herself at all. And Mon is being very uncommunicative. I suspect that the two of them are up to something. Either that, or Shady has been replaced by a Durlan impostor. No, wait, we've seen her use her power recently.

Similarly, Dream Girl freaking out about Sun Boy touching her hair seemed odd. Durlan impostor?

Matthew, I really like what you said about building up for a major enemy for the Legion. I hope it's not someone we've seen before. Does everyone realize that most of the Legion's worst arch-enemies date from the first Shooter run?

7:00 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

No, that's not what Tyroc did, he projected an image of something that happened in the past... the body is in a different position, and you can see the heart bursting from inside the chest. It's not an ultrasound image of what's lying on the floor.

And Black Canary's sonic scream only does damage; it's, to my memory, never been used for exotic effects.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Meerkatdon said...

Whatever. Have a nice life.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Play nice, guys.

I read Tyroc's use of his powers the same way MaGnUs did, and I actually like it. Well, I like it better than I like all the weird stuff he used to do. Certainly I don't want his powers reduced to a Black-Canary-level of simplicity*.

Does everyone realize that most of the Legion's worst arch-enemies date from the first Shooter run?

I hadn't realized it, but it doesn't surprise me. Really I've never been impressed by the Legion's rogues' gallery; anything that can be done to revitalize it is okay by me.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually,everyone realizes most of the Legion's greatest foes come from Shooter's first run.Mordru, Universo,Nemesis Kid,the Fatal 5....anyone who thinks otherwise must be a Dr. Mayavale fan.
That's not to imply the Legion doesn't need new opponents.Super-heroes always need new opponents.
After all his time off-stage,Tyroc needs all the build-up he can get. His sonic autopsy sounds just the right note.He may have done it using very faint echoes lingering in the room. Pseudo-science,sure, but on those terms it's pseudo-plausible,and it makes for a cool scene.

1:36 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Agree with whomever made the comment that it's nice to see small squads of heroes in action together. I do feel, however, that we've seen too much of Ultra Boy.

Good to see Mon-El back and to see that he's not happy. I didn't understand the dialogue between him and Earth-Man though.

No idea about the Harmonia Li thing. But I'm guessing that the secret will be revealed imminently.

The issue did feel very short. But at least there was a good fight so I feel like I got better value out of the comic. From my point of view, they're super heroes with super powers - they need to use their powers every issue!

11:47 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

But at least there was a good fight so I feel like I got better value out of the comic. From my point of view, they're super heroes with super powers - they need to use their powers every issue!

I agree, but it's the sort of thing that makes one sound, what... uncultured? Thuggish? I don't know. "Never mind all your story crap; let's see these guys beat each other up!"

But there's more to it than that. If your genre is "mystery", then you have to have a murder, or at least some kind of compelling crime. And if your genre is "superhero", then you have to have some kind of physical conflict. The superhero genre is the one in which abstract conflicts and dualities are made concrete and played out physically, and if your story doesn't do that, it's not really participating in the genre.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Mart said...

Very true, Matthew. And of course, Rob didn't say using their super-powers HAD to involve a fight. I like the subtle uses, such as Tyroc's ultrasound scan, or Jeckie sensing something acorss the universe.

12:00 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

If you market your story as a superhero one-shot, one-off, then I agree. If not, if it's an ongoing, as long as every now and then they do super-hero stuff; it's still a super-hero book; but there are different kind of super-hero books... the genre is never "pure", and much less in the case of the Legion Of Super-Heroes, a book that has had (soft) science fiction and character relationships at its core since its inception.

If you just want people punching each other, the LSH is not the right book for you, and has never been.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Mart: No, he didn't, but I did.

MaGnUs: Ongoing or one-shot, every comic book should be a complete comic book; I can't stand it when issue #127 is nothing more than something to keep #126 and #128 from crashing into each other. If you can have a complete (superhero) comic book with no fights or meaningful power use or, what, superheroic conflict, then fine, but it's rare.

If you just want people punching each other, the LSH is not the right book for you, and has never been.

That's exactly the kind of thing I was trying to say I was specifically not trying to say. Like I said, it's difficult to talk about.

12:09 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

I'm not talking about decompression or how you tell the stories, I'm talking about the genre.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

So am I.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

you can NEVER have too much ultra boy... but MAN, does crav and mytra's kid need a damn haircut and some sleeves...

12:31 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Like a lot of other things... maybe you can't have too much, but you can have more than enough. In Legion comics, somebody's always going to be shorted on screen time.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Agree that Ultra Boy needs a haircut. What's with this new stoner version of him?

Actually, yeah, some sleeves (even short sleeves) would be good too.

I was actually reading an old issue of Superboy & LSH (can't remember the issue number), but it was the one when Ultra Boy got accused of the murder of his old girlfriend, An Ryd on Rimbor. It was scripted by Jim Starlin with a plot assist from Paul Levitz. But I thought it was a great, more-or-less self-contained story. I think a couple of self-contained, one-off stories like that might be quite good for this new run?

5:42 PM  
Blogger Mart said...

That was my favourite issue of the double-sized run. #238 if memory serves.

And I didn't think the sequel was the worst thing ever (controversial!)

5:57 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Haven't read it; the period in between Archive 12 and Reflecto is the biggest gap in my Legion reading; I only have some comics from that time.

In general I'm in favour of the self-contained single-issue story.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harmonia Li and her yangquin got me thinking...she's older than she seems.... she knew RJ Brande,who spent time in the 20th century (assuming his L.E.G.I.O.N. history is intact)...she seems to have firsthand knowledge of the Guardians... Ra's al Ghul knew Durlans could be incapacitated by certain sounds...Prof. Li's name is Harmonia..don't know how or if it all fits,but it makes one think.

1:44 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I don't think it'll be long before we find out what her deal is. Before springtime.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

I really got the impression that Brande's L.E.G.I.O.N. past is no longer the case. At least that's what Adventure 516 seemed to be saying. A shame, that. I really liked the idea of Brande having been Dox's Durlan comrade, the only guy that Dox ever seemed to respect.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah, but with Brande dead, maybe that can be left up in the air so we can take it how we want it.

3:34 PM  
Blogger karl said...

On a side note for a moment....what does everyone think about this new one-off...
LEGION OF SUPER-VILLAINS due out I think in March. It has a tie-in to LSH 11 where Harmonia Li is targeted by one of the LSV.

3:56 PM  

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