Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Legion of Super-Heroes #8 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Well, Mon-El's leader, for one thing.

The Legionnaires fight a bunch of the Durlan assassins, and bring in two of them, including the Zendak impersonator. The last one, though, defeats Colossal Boy and Earth-Man and kills Brande's former assistant Pheebs.

Review:

Let's look at what happened with these Durlans. Dream Girl and Shadow Lass nailed one of them; fine. Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Phantom Girl, and Element Lad got another; fine. Colossal Boy and Earth-Man lost to the last one. Poor Colossal Boy; he's always the punching bag. It's too bad. I mean, I expect Earth-Man to get kicked around by his opponents; he's basically a supervillain who must let his opponents determine the terms of the fight. It's not a recipe for success. Colossal Boy, though, is a pro. He's not only a superhero; he's also had Science Police training. He should be a lot better at this. But no: his problem is that he's got the strength of a powerhouse but no corresponding invulnerability. Plus he's a big target. Still, this has happened way too often. I'm ready for a story in which Colossal Boy, you know, succeeds at something.

There were only ever four Durlans, right? And now only one of them is still at large? I guess I should have been keeping more careful track of this. Okay, yes, next issue's solicit confirms that there's only one Durlan still out there.

Okay, so, this Durlan-assassin plot is moving along nicely; shouldn't we start seeing some more seeds of plots to come?

Some interesting bits in the voting. Cosmic Boy and Dream Girl and Element Lad voting for Sun Boy, really? Earth-Man voting for that filthy Tharrite Polar Boy? What the flip is that all about? Gates voting for Earth-Man? I don't freaking think so; not in a million years. That would simply never happen. I don't say stuff like this often, but Levitz got that wrong. Brainy and Polar Boy voting for themselves; cool. Quislet voting for Gates, well, I could certainly see it. Gates is quite an intriguing candidate; is the implication that Quislet is the only one who can see that, or that only Quislet is frivolous enough to vote for him? And Violet voted for Polar Boy, too? I guess she's come around on him since the election that he won, back in LSHv3.

I wonder if the voting was intended to mimic the proportions of the votes sent in by readers.

With Mon-El not around, it looks like Brainy is going to be the interim leader, as Mon's deputy. The thing I don't get is, why does Brainy want to be leader at all? I mean, I get why he thinks he'd be better at it, but it strikes me that he's always complaining about being too busy in the first place, and I don't think that his extra duties as leader would be that interesting to him. If I'm Brainy, what I do is I delegate almost everything.

Another good issue. Shame that the Annual's going to be late (delayed due to Keith Giffen's medical problems); oh well. We do have the LSV one-shot to look forward to; wonder what the deal is with that. I hope Levitz isn't planning one of these elections for every year; once every few years would be enough for me.

Notes:
- page 8, "We're stretched thin,"--there it is again
- Earth-Man to one of the Durlans: "That's human! The species that covered a galaxy--and didn't blow ourselves up." Got to admit he scored a point there
- Now. Did that last Durlan get away, or is he disguising himself as Earth-Man now?
- Who is that statue on page 15, panel 3? Between the Karate Kids?
- Timber Wolf was the only one who voted for Cosmic Boy. If I'm Cos I'm not letting him get away with that. "Listen, you doofus, I told you I don't want to do it anymore!"
- On page 6 we've got Dr. Gym'll with four arms. That's not right, is it?
- Yes, yes; Cancellite for the diehard fans. I know

Panel Count: 128 panels/30 pages = 4.3 panels/page. 2 one-panel pages. Cinar gets some help on the art this week by someone called Daniel HDR. Not sure how that breaks down, although Earth-Man's and Colossal Boy's scuffle with the Durlan does look a bit different from the rest of it.

Membership Notes: The Legionnaires listed as voting are the same Legionnaires indicated by the Mission Monitor Board a few issues ago, so I guess that's definitive: Star Boy, XS, Night Girl, Chameleon Girl, Bouncing Boy, and Duplicate Girl are not active Legionnaires. Mon-El isn't listed among the voters, but I think he's best regarded as being on a temporary leave of absence, which, one must presume, is coming to an end now that he's been elected leader.

Labels: ,

51 Comments:

Blogger snell said...

Perhaps Gates' vote for Earth-Man should be viewed as the anarchist's F.U. to the system--since every outcome provides injustice, why not vote for the worst guy? Especially if it cheeses off everybody else??

12:00 AM  
Blogger Adama said...

A friend suggested Gates may have voted for Earth Man so he would have a reason to quit in a huff if he were elected :)

12:46 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

snell: Yeah, but Gates has been through this before. He's been a Legionnaire and participated in elections. Furthermore, he's come a long way since his first appearance, and he believes in the Legion now; he's committed to it.

Adama: I don't buy that either; Gates wasn't forced to join this Legion. It was his own choice, and an out-of-left-field one at that.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

dr gmy'll SHOULD have three arms, but it's one of those things that really seems to be 'artist's discretion' as it's often four.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

it's just one of those 'chronicler errors' one sighs and has come to expect from the legion.... i mean ultra boy's flash vision has been blue since the sixties, but try telling a colorist today that... (not to mention the terms 'flash' and 'penetra-vision' having been discarded...)

9:44 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm not so worried about that; the way superpowers are depicted routinely changes from artist to artist. That's one area where you just have to give them some leeway.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Darrell Lawrence said...

Gym'll has four in the Who's Who. I think, when people see three, that he actuall has one arm down or behind his back. I went through a few issues to check just that and that is the way it appears.

One other thing about the election: In the official ballot, only active members were allowed to run AND vote, right?

So why did Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad both vote, but Chameleon Girl didn't? (Mon-El didn't vote either, most likely because of his GL thing,, but he was on the ballot).

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Darrell Lawrence said...

Also, it wasn't odd for Cos and Dream Girl to vote for Sun Boy, given separate conversations between them in previous issues.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

One other thing about the election: In the official ballot, only active members were allowed to run AND vote, right?

So why did Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad both vote, but Chameleon Girl didn't? (Mon-El didn't vote either, most likely because of his GL thing,, but he was on the ballot).


Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad are active members. They're just on vacation, that's all. Chameleon Girl (like the others I listed) seems to be not a full-fledged Legionnaire at all, according to Levitz. Mon-El's situation needs some clarification, but I think that he would have had a vote if the rest of the team had known how to reach him.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Darrell Lawrence said...

If the Ranzz's were only on vacation, then why weren't they eligible for being on the election poll? If Chameleon Girl is a reservist/cadet/whatever (ie, not a full fledged Legionnaire) then why was she on it?

11:32 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

If the Ranzz's were only on vacation, then why weren't they eligible for being on the election poll?

I think that was just Levitz saying he didn't want either of those two to be elected. I think there was no in-story reason for it.

If Chameleon Girl is a reservist/cadet/whatever (ie, not a full fledged Legionnaire) then why was she on it?

...she was, wasn't she? I don't know. I guess Levitz was prepared to write her as the leader even though she's only a reservist. Or maybe someone made a mistake.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Brainy Pirate said...

Given how many times Imra was Legion leader, and given the fact that even Nura has been elected leader, it's odd to me that only ONE woman received a vote this election. Really? What a shame....

11:01 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

True, but I'm not sure to what extent that's supposed to mirror the fan voting.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Knew the two pages of election results would get all of the attention.Elsewhere on the Web, fans ignore the butt-kicking Dream Girl dealt out this issue to moan that her hair is the wrong color. Legion fans...never mind missing the woods for the trees,we ignore the trees to complain about the color of the leaves.
Seeding more plots? Let's tie up the storylines now pending before planting any more plot-seeds.

2:16 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Legion fans...never mind missing the woods for the trees,we ignore the trees to complain about the color of the leaves.

Ha. Good point. I don't know about the fans of other comics, 'cause I no longer collect other comics. But I do get the feeling that Legion-fans do obsess a lot about the details.

Talking of which...

i mean ultra boy's flash vision has been blue since the sixties, but try telling a colorist today that...

Actually, a couple of days ago I just re-read the issue in which Ultra boy fights Omege the Miracle Machine-generated embodiment of hatred (S/LSH #250 or #251, I think) and his flash vision was orange there. And that was the late 1970s, so it hasn't always been blue.

Generally though, I thought it was a good issue. I was complaining a few issues ago that there was too much exposition and not enough of the Legionnaires using their powers. And this issue it's all powers and fighting. But it also felt appropriate, after building up over several issues.

I was glad Dream Girl made the comment about the Durlans not being trained, which made it so easy for them to be wiped out. After all, they don't seem to exhibit half as much creativity in their changes as Cham Boy does.

One question though: what is the Durlans' natural form? I vaguely remember from the past that Durlans used to have squidy-tendrilly things coming out of their faces. But the unconscious one in the tank that Tellus scanned seemed to be humanoid with no squidy things. Anyone know what a resting/unconscious Durlan should look like?

3:44 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

the butt-kicking Dream Girl dealt out this issue

That was pretty good. I think I was kind of taking it for granted that Dreamy could do that.

Seeding more plots? Let's tie up the storylines now pending before planting any more plot-seeds.

Well, this is Paul Levitz; he always has to have stuff simmering in the background.

One question though: what is the Durlans' natural form? I vaguely remember from the past that Durlans used to have squidy-tendrilly things coming out of their faces.

I'm not sure they have a natural form anymore. My best understanding is that the illithid look you mention is a preference of that particular tribe of Durlans and not characteristic of the race as a whole.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

When I heard that Mon-El won the election, and Brainy was deputy, I was a bit disappointed that Tinya didn't win. I am still hoping for a "I am GL now and can't lead" from Mon, and "I'm way too busy to accept when i didn't even run" from Brainy so she can step in on a 'seniority clause' or something.

P.S: I haven't read the issue yet, so if my musing (and wishful thinking) makes no sense, my apologies (holiday budget: exceeded! I won't be able to pick it up 'til Monday).

11:30 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think Levitz is going to live with the voters' decision. Plus it'd be kind of hard for Brainy to refuse to serve after he voted for himself.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Martin Gray said...

What a splendid issue. Regarding the vote, if it did mirror the reader vote I'd have expected Phantom Girl to have had some kind of showing, given a wee campaign was undertaken. Oh well, let's see where we go from here!

7:30 PM  
Blogger karl said...

Id just like to wish everyone here on this board a very Merry Xmas and a happy and peaceful new year.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

legion fans are interested in details for one reason...because more than any other comic in the history of comics, the legion has those details re-worked and re-wired at random intervals in seemingly random fashion.

superboy #98 (that's 1962 for those of you concerned with detail) splash page- superboy: "That's impossible, my heat vision can't melt lead!"

though the penetra vision also displays in this issue as blue, the implication is clear as day- flash vision is hotter than heat vision..

why is it relevant? as brought up in many, many (many) stories, ultra-powers are similar to the standard kryptonian/ daxamite set, but as many writers have illustrated with varying degrees of success (i'm looking at you roy thomas) different in fundamental ways as jo tries to articulate in S/LSH #282

next time he *really* cooks someone? the orion servant in #291..what color? blue.

why does it matter in the meta?

because it is about distinctiveness. you want to call it 'x-ray/ heat vision/ super strength/speed?' shave down the variances that make the characters special, and what's the point then? you end up with another kryptonian heavy hitter with a hard-on, and we already have that, his name is (was) dev-em...

you don't want continuity and details? don't read a sci-fi based book that's been around since the middle of the last CENTURY. otherwise don't get annoyed when people who have been reading these stories and following these characters for FIFTY years (or so) want some semblance of consistency at long last...

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch! Hit a nerve here...
This is why comic books are on the ropes saleswise.Instead of offering something for fans in THIS century,they have to tip-toe around the old-timers' easily snubbed sense of entitlement.

1:50 AM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

Mon? *yawn*

And Eddie:

"superboy #98 (that's 1962 for those of you concerned with detail) splash page- superboy: "That's impossible, my heat vision can't melt lead!""

Chalk that up to silly 60s writing style... it's dumb for Kryptonian heat vision no to be able to melt lead, when it has a third of the melting point temperature of iron...

10:39 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm okay with keeping--for instance--Ultra Boy's powers distinctive, but different writers and artists may have varying ideas about how to achieve that, and I say we let them have their heads.

I'm also okay with keeping details consistent across the history of the comic book... but I'm not willing to sacrifice anything to achieve that. Basically what I want is for it to be a good story. If it's a good story, I'll forgive a lack of consistency; if it's not, consistency won't help.

10:43 AM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

I will have to disagree sligthly with you, Matt... if you don't have consistency, why bother writing within a specific universe/series, instead of doing a new project, or even an Elseworld or stand-alone story?

For me, when talking about collaborative, decade-spanning fiction such as superhero comics (from Marvel and DC, mainly), consistency is an important, even vital, part of good stories.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, there's consistency and then there's consistency. I don't want to read a story where Superman's secret identity is suddenly Lana Lang, just because the writer thinks it would work better that way. But the kinds of details we're talking about here are not that kind of a problem.

11:01 AM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

But they eventually pile-up, and end up showing a disregard for the character or series you're working on.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

Regarding the various comments about creator consistency:

I think the annoying thing to many long-time readers is that if we (the readers) can keep everything straight, is it really too much to expect the current creators (in any given run) to show at LEAST the same amount of attention to detail when doing their work?

Anachronistic things that aren't key from a particular 'long time ago' story might be forgiven, but things that are key to the characters should be respected. For example: Flash vision is best known as being blue (it's how I've experienced it over the last 30 years). As a professional colorist, shouldn't the current person in charge of coloring make sure it is indeed blue? The research isn't "archaeologist in an ancient library" extensive, it's just a few clicks away these days.

Hire the best to DO their best, I say.

3:10 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

"it's just a few clicks away these days""

Exactly.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I disagree. Writers and artists need license to be able to do things their way. Nothing disrespectful about it. Minor details aren't worth worrying about; that's why they're called minor details.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

wel, here's the thing... in the reboot and threeboot, flash vision was referred to as heat vision, and colored red.. i kind of thought of those things as both visual tags that we were not in the original timeline, and that somehow superman's terminology had become so prevalent on earth 247 and earth prime's future that ultra boy never thought of calling it flash...

so going back to the close approximation of the original legion that we've got going now with this run, calling it "ultra vision" (like in #2) and making it red is another way for DC to be blurring what we know about this timeline and how close it is to the pre- magic wars legion, or in this case, how far away..

because if these aren't the old characters, hell, you could call it incandescent-eyeball-zappy beams, and it would be ok...

but if they ARE... then you probably shouldn't...

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well,here's the thing...for a canonista,no detail is too minor. Even a coloring error or misnamed super-power is the most heinous of crimes to them and causes them to suffer endless days of wrath.If you know someone like this,maybe you should suggest to them that it's time to take a break from the Legion.Tell them it's okay not to read the same comic book month after month and year after year. They might even feel better not combing their favorite comic book for things to get angry about.
Or,to put it another way,the Legionnaires aren't real people.

2:15 AM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

Matt: There's a difference between artistic/writing license and lazyness, and you can see the former in many comics today. They just don't bother to do the research... what do you call coloring Dawnstar's skin as white as Tynia's, and her eyes blue?

7:32 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

"Never mind the forest; can't you see how terrible these trees are?"

10:36 AM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

It's a different in tastes and criteria. You enjoy what you enjoy, I enjoy what I enjoy.

We both enjoy the Legion, though. :)

11:03 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

And I'm not saying that the details aren't worth paying attention to. They are. Do it myself all the time. But just because they're worth paying attention to doesn't mean that they're not details.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Martin Gray said...

I don't think it's the end of the world if a small detail is incorrect, but when it's so easy to get them right, people should. Is there no internal DC Bible of character looks, relative heights, power displays etc that could be emailed to creators?

11:10 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

Martin, thank you, that was my point exactly.

It's so easy to 'get it right' these days, that there is no excuse for not doing so. If Levitz is the current writer, then details should match up to his previous stint on the team.

I am not slavishly glued to blue flash vision, it was merely an example, since it was previously mentioned. However, because it being blue is a visual cue that Ultra Boy's powers are different than Superboy's, it seems like something that should not be overlooked. Another example would be X-Man Cyclops' eye beams being shown to heat something (those mistakes took me out of the handful of stories it happened in too). They are concussive force, only, differentiating them from any fire-based powers.

I am baffled by the people on this thread who are defending the creators' mistakes. I am not suggesting that a good story be sacrificed by slavish attention to minor details. I am just pointing out that in this digital online age, there is very little excuse for getting anything easily researched incorrect. It's called 'professionalism' (not to mention 'editing'), and taking such easy steps would ensure that no one gets unnecessarily jolted out of a story even for a moment.

1:17 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

Ken again said it perfectly. You can write a great story, and respect all previous ones.

As for online references, DC doesn't have any public one, but dcdatabase.com is pretty comprehensive, so's its sister site marveldatabase.com. Marvel has an official wiki on their site, but it's not as complete as the Database; so I cross-reference both when writing.

Then there's general comic wikis such as comicvine.com's, or Spider-Bob's encyclopedia http://spider-bob.com/ (which is woefully behind on continuity, and therefore on new characters, but is a great resource for stuff like eye color, height, etc).

1:26 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

BTW, Ken... have you read my column, The Dissector? You might like it, but "Anonymous" will hate it. :)

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

With regards to the discussion about U-Boy's ultra-flash-penetra-super-power-maxi-vision (and details in general), as Anonymous said:

This is why comic books are on the ropes saleswise.Instead of offering something for fans in THIS century,they have to tip-toe around the old-timers' easily snubbed sense of entitlement.

Not sure I'd have phrased it so strongly, but I personally agree we do have to give the whole creative team sufficient license to focus on telling great stories that draw in new readers rather than having to double-triple-quadruple-check everything in order to make sure it's consistent.

1:48 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

Rob, it's not hard, it's not something they have to actually "focus" on... it just takes one read of the book to spot stuff. And some stuff should be obvious... they give blue eyes and caucasian skin to Native American and Asian characters on a routine basis...

2:05 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

Does Colossal Boy have SP experience? The reboot one did, but does this one? But whatever, Gim's eternal problem is that he think being big is enough; he's never really learned to use his size abilities to his advantage (well, this Gim hasn't, Micro Lad did somewhat).

Star Boy is still in the 21st century; he'll be back in #11. And XS -- well, she'll be locked up with Flashpoint in the spring, so we should just assume she's on extended leave.

Chameleon Girl is nowhere to be heard from at the same time some renegade Durlans are making a bid to assassinate the UP Council. You don't suppose there's a plot point there? Not to mention Brande's desire to repair the Durlan homeworld in conjunction with the 21st century squad seeding New Durla? I sense some threads tightening up.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

Also loved the comment that Brande was responsible for teaching the Legionnaires how to fight Durlans. And of course Dreamy checking to see if she had broken a nail.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Does Colossal Boy have SP experience? The reboot one did, but does this one?

Late in Levitz's last run we had that flashback story with young Gim and GiGi going through SP training, I think, and encountering a young Starfinger on Mars.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

Matthew, that was one of my favorite tales at the time. I love it when they use the original artist to fill in characters' backstories, and it was fantastic to see Curt Swan work on The Legion again.

6:24 PM  
Blogger MaGnUs said...

Matt, I thinj Jim's question is about if Pre Zero Hour stuff holds for Gim. I'd say yes, everything holds for all characters unless they say otherwise.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I figure that Levitz considers anything he himself wrote for the original/post-Crisis Legion to be either in-continuity or fair game for being in-continuity; that's how he seems to be approaching it. But not everyone might remember that specific story.

8:50 PM  
Blogger karl said...

Good issue indeed, good issue.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

On that, I can definitely agree with you Karl. Probably my favourite issue of this run so far.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Madman2001 said...

Agree with Karl & Rob: the best issue of the series (so far).

1:03 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home