Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1 Review
What Happened That You Have to Know About:
Six of the crew of the USS Enterprise and six Legionnaires, separately, while traveling, end up on a 23rd-century alternate Earth where it's all totalitarian and stuff. Actually it doesn't look like the two groups have gone back to exactly the same time and place; the Legion could be a little later in the timeline than the Star Trek group. The two groups don't meet up.
There's also something going on on prehistoric Earth, and, uh, really it's not clear how the timeline of this Earth fits together; there's stuff with the Talokians and the Durlans and the Dominators and I don't know what all.
I had been really looking forward to this series; I figured Chris Roberson was practically born to be a Legion writer, and I really wanted to see what he could do with the characters.
Sure enough, Roberson demonstrated in his first issue that he's quite adept at writing Legionnaires, and, if I'm any judge, of Star Trek characters. If a wrong note was struck, I didn't hear it. And it's clear that Roberson has some kind of idea for this story that could very well be an interesting one. I am still looking forward to this series.
And I hope it starts soon!
Because this is all setup. It's good setup; it looks like something intricate is going on here, which is fine; always nice when a writer is really thinking about this stuff. And I have no idea how it all fits together. But... well, I guess it depends on what I'm supposed to care about.
If I'm supposed to care about the plot, then this was an eventful issue; we've got some kind of an alternate-earth deal where history has gone wrong in some way that's not obvious to us, and it looks like there could have been some tampering involved somehow. And who's the "something powerful" that Saturn Girl detected, and who's the guy with the glowing eye, and so on.
But I don't, in the strictest sense of the word, care about the plot. I'm interested in the plot, and I know the difference between a good plot and a bad plot, and I certainly want there to be a plot, but it's not what brings me to the comic book. The plot is like the bread in a sandwich: you have to have it, and the bread is what makes the sandwich a sandwich, and there's a difference between good and bad bread... but rarely is the bread the thing that separates a good sandwich from a bad sandwich.
What I do care about is the characters and how they are expressed. (I'm making this up as I go along, but it sounds right.) What do they do in the story that tells us more about them, or that gets at the core of what the character is all about? How do they interact with each other? And so on. In this series, in particular, I was looking forward to seeing the Star Trek characters interact with the Legion characters. See, the two franchises represent the same kind of thing: optimistic-future space-adventure. But they do so in different ways, and the contrast between the two is one of the only reasons why anyone would even want such a series to exist. And another is, because some of these characters are so beloved and distinct that we're almost rubbing our hands together at the thought of them meeting. C'mon: Spock and Brainy! Kirk and Shady! Bones and Brainy! Spock and Saturn Girl!
We didn't get any of any of that.
Anyway. I'm looking forward to the next issue. It pretty much has to be better than this. Doesn't it? I mean, this wasn't bad. But it's all appetizer, and it's making me feel like an idiot for buying comics at all. Ha ha, psych! The main event doesn't start until #2! Maybe! Thanks for your money! It's a well-done comic about the Legion and it's making me want to quit comics.
God damn it all.
- my copy of this comic had a real problem with pages sticking together; not impressed
- the Dramatis Personae page has Saturn Girl listed with Winath as her home planet. Which isn't wrong, really, but it may not be what people need to know about her...
- my Trek-fu is not strong enough to know whether characters like "Commander Starr" and "Captain Tomorrow" are established characters or what. Can't be Tommy Tomorrow, can it?
- I wonder if we're ever going to find out about what mission the Legionnaires were on that they're coming home from
Art: 78 panels/22 pages = 3.5 panels/page. Three single-panel pages, one case of three panels spread over two pages, one case of eight panels spread over two pages, one twelve-panel page.
Art is provided by Jeffrey and Philip Moy, who are of course well-known for their work on the reboot Legion. I don't want to make it sound like the two are joined at the hip or anything; my recollection is that Jeffrey Moy was the regular penciller and Philip Moy also got a bit of work here and there; please let me know if that's not accurate. Anyway, the art in this issue avoids being heavily stylized in the way that the reboot Legion was, which I believe is a wise choice. I can't pick out any panels or pages that particularly impress me, but one thing I do like is the way they give the characters a lot of room within the panels; see page 13, panel 2, for an example of what I mean.
Notice that there were only 78 panels in this issue. Typically a 20-page Legion comic has more than 80. And a typical 20-page Legion comic is also a buck cheaper.