Saturday, March 26, 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes #11 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Some Legionnaires go to Rimbor to round up the LSV escapees from Takron-Galtos. They don't get any of the big fish. Brainy wants Dawnstar to help investigate what Saturn Queen's up to, but she insists on chasing the blue space baby instead. Dream Girl returns with Star Boy, and Mon-El shows up to assume leadership, so Brainy can treat Star Boy's mental condition. Timber Wolf searches for Sun-Killer in Japan, but finds Sun Emperor instead, and defeats him. Whatever the LSV is up to on Colu, it's severed all communications to the rest of the galaxy. And Harmonia Li shows up to accept blame for the Colu situation, for some reason.

Review:

One of the principles of Paul Levitz's writing technique, he has said, is that every time you revisit a plotline, you should advance it in some way. This comic book was written by Paul Levitz. Therefore, we should be able to see how plotlines advanced in every scene of this comic.

I guess the progress in the Rimbor scenes is that this is the Legion's first engagement with the LSV. They round up a bunch of infantry, but none of the commanders, so that's not significant. Fume and Frost are introduced as new villains, but they get caught, so... are we going to see them again? It is unclear.

Can't tell what progess was made on Takron-Galtos. Nothing we don't already know.

Dawnstar going rogue is new information; fine. Also Dreamy returning with Star Boy, and Mon-El showing up, and the stuff with Colu and Harmonia Li.

The main part of the story seems to be Timber Wolf versus Sun Emperor in Japan. I would suspect this part of being gratuitous fighting except that a) I don't think Levitz does that, and b) Saturn Queen's first appearance in this series was quite similar and that turned out to be a big setup for this storyline. So I don't think Sun Emperor's appearance here is just a throwaway. Maybe he's part of Sun-Killer's backstory somehow.

I think the part of this comic book that's going to go over biggest is Brainy's conversation with Dream Girl where he says that he stays with the Legion because they're his friends. It is an important side of Brainy's character. If he was really as arrogant and obnoxious as he was famous for being, he wouldn't stay with the Legion; he'd do something else. And this version of Brainy, as I recall, never really had to learn the lesson of friendship, not like reboot and threeboot (but not animated!) Brainy.

I am curious about just how Harmonia Li is involved with whatever it is on Colu. Because that suggests that she's tied into the whole thing with the LSV and Saturn Queen and the blue space baby and the Olduvai Gorge and everything. But then she's already connected to Saturn Queen because it was her time-travel experiment that caused the destruction of Titan, which is what brought Saturn Queen into the story in the first place. Possibly too many connections here. I mean, it's not ridiculous yet; the blue space baby didn't cause Mysa to become the Black Witch and Sun-Killer isn't Dyogene's long-lost twin brother or anything. But still. It's okay for some things not to have anything to do with each other. Makes it more realistic sometimes.

Having said all that, it's quite possible that Levitz's idea of how he wants this story to go is a good one and I should keep my yap shut until I actually see what he's got in mind.

Notes:
- the letters page has the vote totals for the election. Phantom Girl was fourth. I wonder if that was because of us
- notice they're calling him "Star Boy" and not "Starman"
- Colossal Boy must be the most incompetent superhero this side of G'nort. When was the last time he actually won a fight?
- the Moys are going to be drawing XS in Adventure this spring. Haven't they already had their chance at her?

Art: 81 panels/20 pages = 4.1 panels/page. 1 single-panel page.

This month we get a fill-in from Daniel HDR and Wayne Faucher, and it's very good by fill-in standards, although I'd rather have Cinar or Portela. HDR has a different style with faces that sometimes makes the Legionnaires look unfamiliar, and, at worst (see the first panel of page 2) approach a kind of Sharpeian minimalism that I've come to dislike. Other than that, the look of the comic is well within tolerances for this series. Note: this issue was very consistent in its panel count from page to page. Except for the splash page, all the pages had four, five, or six panels; none more than six or fewer than three. That's unusual; typically there's a larger swing.

Membership Notes: Mon-El comes back to active duty. Star Boy shows up, but I don't know if we can really call him an active Legionnaire yet.

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25 Comments:

Blogger Brainy Pirate said...

I was trying to translate the various Interlac phrases throughout, thinking there may be some jokes in there. I think one of the signs in Japan had the words nerd and robot, but I'm not sure. And whose holostatue was Brin standing next to when talking to the SP? I couldn't figure out the inscription there either.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got questions...
What's up with DC's website? Why is the cover advertised for LSH #13on this issue instead? Why does the ad copy for upcoming issues so often not match up with what's in the actual comic? Take this month: Girls Sensor and Saturn were nowhere to be seen.And Saturn Girl's "shocking" reason for seeking out Prof.Li?(wild guess: it's something to do with Li's destroying her homeworld)OK,things change,but how long does it take to update a website?
Last issue,the walls of Legion HQ were falling around Brainy's ears. This issue,no mention is made of it.Like it never happened.What did I miss?
When Brainy was talking to Dawnstar,how could he see her?What was sending her image to him?The same thing that gave her clothes?
Brainy is unable to express compassion without being insulting,isn't he? He seems doubly spiky to Dreamy,maybe because they were once engaged(threeboot,I know,but still...)
Why is Gim such a doofus and Mon such a dweeb?
What kind of name is Daniel HDR?
Why shouldn't the Moy boys draw XS?Who better?
Why can't we question where the storylines are going or how long it takes to get there?It's our money,so we've the right.
For all my quibbles,I did enjoy this ish.It was Paul's usual potpourri of plot threads,but it was lively.The fill-in art was acceptable.But we're not donkeys to be led around by carrots on sticks.If we don't like where we're going or how long it's taking,we should damn well speak up.If DC can "draw the line at $2.99" (still too high) we can draw the line at being taken for granted.

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And another thing...
How tough is Timber Wolf? Why was he sent to get Sun Killer instead of Sun Boy? Did Brainy have a brain fart?

3:33 AM  
Anonymous stile86 said...

The inscription under the hologram statue transalates as "Fabio Yabv Park" but I think the V is meant to be a U. A quick search shows that Fabio Yabu is a Japanese-Brazilian writer and illustrator of webmanga (Combo Rangers) and more recently children's book series and animated tv show Sea Princesses. Images from his blog do resemble the hologram so I guess someone is a fan.

The sign on the last TW page reads "Prof Nerd Robot Store".

7:45 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I've kind of given up on translating Interlac to myself; I'm content to just let it be decorative. So thanks, stile86.

I can answer some of those questions:
- Never trust solicits. The best way to find out what's in a comic book is to open it up and take a look. Like our peasant ancestors did.
- I presume Brainy and Dawny were communicating via flight ring.
- Brainy and Dreamy have always been on different wavelengths.
- I got nothing against the Moys. They aren't my favourites, but they're fine. But I already know what it's like when they draw XS, and I'd rather check out someone else's take. Like, oh, say, Jimenez.
- By all means, question the storylines and the pace. You should. I prefer to give Levitz the benefit of the doubt whenever possible (in much the same way that I preferred to be skeptical with Geoff Johns), but you should find your own level.
- Timber Wolf is very tough, and is also one of the Legionnaires who works best on a solo mission. I'd trust him to hunt down Sun-Killer any day.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

Just a few comments:
- Brainy's stuttering bothered me. I find it uncharacteristic for such a cerebral being to stutter as if he can't put together a coherent thought, and for not very earth-shattering reasons.
- On the flip side, I loved his reply to Dreamy about why he sticks around. Very cool to hear him articulate it.
- Gim is ex-Science Police. You'd think he would spend lots of time training with and against his fellow Legionnaires, especially Polar Boy, who is another die-harder when it comes to 'be all you can be'.
- Timberwolf solo was fantastic. I wonder if Paul is subtly upgrading Brin with a healing factor. He was in startlingly unharmed shape at the end of the inferno-laden fight.
- And I agree with Matthew: we have seen enough of XS done 'Moy-style'. I'd much prefer to see her drawn by the current artists.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Brainy's stuttering bothered me. I find it uncharacteristic for such a cerebral being to stutter as if he can't put together a coherent thought

I didn't take note of the stuttering, but my understanding is that stuttering isn't because the brain can't put together the thought; it's that the thoughts are coming faster than the mouth can keep up with. (I'm pretty sure that's the case for little kids, anyway.) Which certainly could be true of Brainy.

I'm tired of Gim being a punching bag. Seems like he's just there for soaking up damage. He should be better at this by now!

8:06 PM  
Blogger DanielHDR said...

Hey, guys!
I found the review in a quick search on Google! Thanks a lot for the comments about the book, in special abou my work on it! I love LSH since my childhood and I liked a lot the possibility to work at the book (previously on #8 and now his edition).
HDR are the initials of my second and third names (not easy to write - and most of the time it was typed with error at my first works with comics, when I started to work at Marvel.

Thanks again!

3:08 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

My pleasure; thanks for commenting. Hope I can see more of your work on the Legion!

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a blog! Ask a question about someone and you get an answer right from the source!
I get that Dawnstar is talking to Brainy via flight ring,but whatever's taking her picture is more than arm's length away.Is it a satellite or what?
Several times,the solicits promise something that the comic doesn't deliver.This is deceptive,even insulting.It implies that fans will buy anything DC puts out. Another case of DC taking us for granted.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

re Dawny's picture in space: doesn't bother me and I don't even try to figure it out. It's 31st century science. And it's nothing new. We've seen holograms of the Legionnaires since the early eighties.

Several times,the solicits promise something that the comic doesn't deliver.This is deceptive,even insulting.It implies that fans will buy anything DC puts out. Another case of DC taking us for granted.
I don't think so. It's more a case of having to do the solicits months in advance of having the issue published. And when you take into account that this book went from a 30+ pager to a 20 page story it's not surprising that there are some changes from solicit to story.
re Moy and XS: I totally understand wanting to see someone else's interpretation of the character. But at the same time, it's kinda cool to see DC dig into reboot land and bring the artist most closely associated with the character back for a one off. These days it's really rare for DC to do anything that looks to the past (hello... 75th anniversary? Anyone anyone? Bueller?) so I'm all for them giving the Moys a chance to do an issue.
Re Gim: some guys never learn, and Gim strikes me as one of them. Just a big, nice, boring doofus who stumbles through life.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

What a blog! Ask a question about someone and you get an answer right from the source!

Oh, we're not kidding around around here.

I get that Dawnstar is talking to Brainy via flight ring,but whatever's taking her picture is more than arm's length away.Is it a satellite or what?

Hey, this is the 31st century; the flight ring can do all kinds of things.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Friday said...

@anonymus

Remember, the election upset the applecart a good bit too. I don't see this as anything but a new chainsaw thrown into the juggling act. Give them another month and it'lll all sort out.

Having said that I'm really starting to feel jerked around with the whole Harmonia Lee bit. We really should have found out what's going on with her. The next issue really needs to pay off with that for me.

1:12 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

I echo the comment that Timberwolf (is he one word or 'Timber Wolf' - can't recall at this moment) didn't seem very harmed by his fight with Sun Emperor. There seemed to be quite a few panels of Brin being blasted with flames. Either Sun Emperor is a bit rubbish and can't generate much heat or Brin should have been more hurt.

But there are obviously hints there about Sun-Killer's back story here. Sun Emperor is trying to kill Sun-Killer. So perhaps Sun-Killer was engineered in some way to kill Sun Emperor? Anyway, it has set up a little conundrum that I'm sure will be resolved in the future.

Poor Colossal Boy. Agree Matthew E, he's always getting dusted, isn't he? Would have been a nice change if say Wildfire had been sprayed with ice but Col Boy had punched the ship out of the air and caught Frost and Fume in mid-air or something.

4:50 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Aah. Brin just made his Reflex save, that's all.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Mitchell said...

Want to chime in on Colossal Boy. It seems that Colossal Boy only reacts in battle. I've been getting the impression that he doesn't want to harm anyone, and given his size and power he holds back on all but the hardest opponents so he doesn't hurt them. I doubt his police training helps him that much in combat, since who could have taught him to use his size in combat. I assume hes a fair hand in a fight at his normal size, but that doesn't translate to when he uses his power. Think about how you would fight off a person versus how you would fight off a cat. I strongly doubt even karate kid knows giant-jitsu.

Really the highlight of this issue wasn't what was brought up in the review. It was the science police Godzilla and Jet jaguar. Thats the buddy cop movie I want.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah, but he gets his clock cleaned all the time; he should be smart enough to learn from that. He's been at this a long time.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what about the debris falling on Brainy at the end of LSH #10? Can't find an explanation or even any discussion about it anywhere. Fans love to debate continuity discrepancies dating from the last century,but discontinuity from one month to the next,nothing.

2:03 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'd have to go back and look at it, which I haven't done, but my first instinct is to say that Legion Headquarters, of all places, should have some kind of real good automatic cleanup system.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Avalon Lad said...

Very pleased to see the Moy Boys back. I was a big fan of the reboot years and loved their "Archie" style.

Agree about Gim. Can he please have a good win sometime? Favourite Gim moments: Seeing his big boot stomp Omega into the ground in Superboy 250 (or 251?). Very cool. Also Legion v4,34 seeing SW6 Gim actually punching Dominator spaceships out of the sky!

11:56 AM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

yeah, he got to put a hurt on the imskian separatists back in the day and wrecked a few patrol boats in the omen/prophet arc, but ever since starfinger carved up his leg, he's been a giant blue and red punching bag...

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Even when he stomped on Omega, Gim still got thrown up into the air and ended up landing on his back, so again he was pretty ineffective. Poor boy.

Someone should report the writers of LSH to the Society for the Protection of the Rights of Fictional Characters.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

There are a few characters like this around. Tomato cans. Anytime the writer wants to prove that somebody's tough, they have them beat up on Colossal Boy or Nightwing or the Penguin. I don't mind it in small doses, but when it comes to Gim we've had some large doses over the years.

8:59 AM  
Blogger karl said...

They should give Gim a solo story, possibly when Adventure is thru with the Academy. Remember his flashback ish where he was with GiGi in the Science Police? He has police training, his moms the ex [?] President, hes married to a Durlan [with all the attendent problems that brings]...he could be doing so much in the book , instead of being the set-up for others to capture the bad-guys.
ps...loved the interaction between Dreamy and Brainy; yes, this Brainy is far far nicer than that threebooted version; so goddamn rude! Several issues now without Earth-Man [still hate the idea of someone like that being in the LSH] whats happened to him?

8:34 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

There are easy enough handwaves to the Dawnstar and Timber Wolf issues:

* Dawnstar 1: with no imaging source available, the monitor board puts up stock imagery (which also explains why she is in costume).

* Dawnstar 2: the flight rings are enabled with nano holocams, which they emit and retract as needed to provide this sort of imagery.

* Timber Wolf: Legion transsuits deploy in cases of temperature extremes, atmospheric pressure loss, etc., to provide life support protection. Sun Emperor should probably burn out the tech, but it is enough to keep Brin alive for a while during the fight.

3:32 PM  

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