Sunday, April 22, 2012

Legion of Super-Heroes #8 Review

Apparently Chris Roberson has cut his ties with DC Comics. I gave Roberson a hard time for the, oh, density level of Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes, but I still liked him as a writer and will continue to seek out his stuff. Looks like that's the only Legion writing we're going to get out of him, which is everybody's loss. He cites this blogpost as his reason for not wanting to work with DC any more; it's certainly an excellent blogpost and I support Roberson in his decision. I had my thoughts on just this kind of thing earlier this year; they're available here if you missed 'em and are interested. (Oh, and, don't forget: The Avengers is hitting theatres pretty soon; make sure you don't go to see it!)

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Invisible Kid disrupts a theft but some of the thieves manage to get away with the goods, at least as far as Mon-El and Ultra Boy. Unfortunately, the thieves sent out a bunch of copies of the booty, which turns out to be the chip that makes Tharok Tharok; Brainiac 5 speculates that someone's trying to put the Fatal Five back together.

Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl show up to take Cosmic Boy out for a night on the town in Istanbul. Cosmic Boy may be reuniting with Night Girl and Lightning Lad has to do some real work for a change and stop a lightning storm from getting out of control.


A slight issue. Felt like a fill-in. Here are the things it got done:
- screen time for Invisible Kid, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad
- kicking off a Fatal Five story
- walking back Geoff Johns's breakup of Cosmic Boy and Night Girl
- giving us some Lightle and Cinar art

All of which are worth doing. (Depending on how you feel about Night Girl. Me, I like her.) But it doesn't really add up to a comic book.

The first story was best: interesting villains, good action, real stakes. Only thing I didn't like about it is that the Legion came off looking like a bunch of chumps. But I guess that's par for the course in the superhero life.

The second story, on the other hand... well, was it really a story? There wasn't any conflict in it, unless you count Lightning Lad's chore, which is about as routine an affair as I can recall.

Here's my question. Who would be trying to put the Fatal Five back together? Not a lot of candidates I can think of. Basically just the Five themselves, and not all of them. Obviously not Validus (whoever Validus actually is, now that Garth and Imra have Garridan back). I doubt the Persuader would bother. There is no Tharok at the moment (right?). Mano, don't know. There is no Emerald Empress at the moment, that we've seen, anyway, but maybe the Eye could be doing it on its own? I could see Caress or Flare wanting to do it; it was their one shot at the big time. But could they?

The problem with anybody else doing it is they have to know that the Fatal Five can't be controlled. Is anyone out there stupid enough to believe that Tharok or the Empress or Validus will take orders? And if they can't be controlled they why exactly would you want them around? Which brings us to one possible answer, as the Dominators are exactly stupid enough, and they might not need to control the Five anyway; they might just want to turn them loose on the U.P.

Levitz has gone to some trouble, with his portrayal of Brainiac Five, to make it clear that he isn't just arrogant, that he actually does care for his friends and respect them. Still, he's a lot more arrogant in this run than he was in Levitz's second run; read 'em back-to-back and see for yourself. It's not entirely to my taste; I prefer Brainy when he's nicer. Like in the cartoon. That was good.

- what's the deal with the Interlac on page 2?
- so the Legionnaires go out on the town in their regular costumes, huh? I guess it makes it easy for new readers
- Saturn Girl sounds like she's planning on dancing with some other guys after Garth


First story, by Steve Lightle: 51 panels/10 pages = 5.1 panels/page. One double-page spread of 6 panels.

Second story, by Yildiray Cinar: 43 panels/10 pages = 4.3 panels/page.

Nice to see the boys back again. In particular check out Cinar's take on 31st-century Istanbul on page 14 and Lightle's designs on the thieves (specifically I'm not sure how he got away with Jerl. Jerl looks like a Phil Foglio character, and I mean that in a good way).

Membership Notes: Nothing much interesting here; just that Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad are still on the off-duty roster.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Dougie said...

Weren't we to assume Salu had been infected/possessed by the Emerald Eye on Orando in the LSH Annual? I think we saw this plot before in the 90s (I wasn't a regular reader then) but an Emerald Vi might be "putting the band back together".

10:55 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

There was a hint along those lines but that's all. Certainly it's possible that Violet is behind the Fatal Five plot; the woman on Orando wouldn't think to reform the Fatal Five when taken over by the Eye, but Vi would.

That might actually hook up with another subplot: the longtime Legionnaire who's about to quit. If Violet is falling under the influence of the Eye, then she might quit the Legion to do stuff more secretly than she can as a Legionnaire.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Jim Purcell said...

I for one am glad to see Night Girl in an issue. For some reason I love her, and her powers. I really wish she was a regular active member on the current roster.

But I will agree, this issue felt a little light, with the second story really not doing anything except reintroducing Imra and Garth to new52 readers (which, if they are going to be playing a larger role soon, might be the whole point of the story?)

I'm increasingly convinced that you can't tell satisfying Legion stories in 20 pages. And that's the biggest hurtle of trying to keep the Legion relevant to todays readers. Each issue just needs more pages so writers can not only tell big bold A-Plots, but also fit in a lot of sub-plots. And its just not possible in the current 20-pages for $3 monthly modal. LoSH should be a $4 book with at least 32 pages of story. IMO.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I like the way you think.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me one of the most interesting plot threads was the fact that that Legion Lost members were pictured. That must mean that they'll be coming home soon! Great seeing classic Legion artists at the helm even for one issue!

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Mo Walker said...

I agree with everyone's suggestions that Violet is behind the reformation of the Fatal Five. This would tie into one of Levitz's interviews on Newsarama. Levitz suggested that he was about to work on a story involving someone becoming evil.

@Jim Purcell - One of the things I enjoyed about the initial issues of the previous volume was the increased page count. Given the current climate, I think we are going to get a series in which a main story arc plays out followed by an issue devoted to subplots. I think Levitz is really trying to hard to adapt to the 20 restrictions.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

anonymous: I don't think that's what it means at all. I think Levitz has just decided, perfectly reasonably, that the remaining Legionnaires would not have forgotten about the missing seven, and is showing us that.

Mo: I hope that's not what it is. I hope that there's something going on other than what it seems like.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every issue of the current series feels like a fill-in.
While it was fine to have Lightle back(and doing a fine job)it feels like they're trying to evoke the glory days of the '80s;y'know,when the Legion was more popular.

How do you feel about the rumors that Giffen will return for the upcoming #0 issue,and possibly beyond? Mixed for me.The current series needs more and better ideas,and Giffen has never lacked for ideas.Some of them are even good.But his work on last year's LSH annual wasn't so hot.His return could also be seen as another act of nostalgia-mongering.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I agree about the hearkening back to earlier days aspect, but Keith Giffen is one of those guys that I'll always be happy to see on a Legion comic. I don't think we've come to the end of what Giffen has to say about the Legion. (Mark Waid's another.) He's certainly not a conservative choice, regardless of how much history he has with the title.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Jim Purcell said...

If Keith Giffen is going to involved on Legion with the #0 and beyond that's the best news I've heard all day. I thought his Annual issue was SPECTACULAR, and love his current art style.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

The thing for me is, what is there for a #0 issue to be about? Makes sense for some titles, but LSHv7 had LSHv6 to come before it.

I suppose we could get a two-part story about how the Lost Legionnaires got shoved back in time.

Or, even better! Issue #0 could be what happened to Quislet! I'd go for that.

3:31 PM  
Blogger karl said...

Good if unremarkable seemed a fill-in but Levitz does do these to introduce sly new sub-plots for future stories. So, to summarize;
didnt htink much of those space pirates, obviously there just ot steal 'whatever'...
liked Jacques's martial arts, and his nod to Shady. Karate Kid used to teach the LSHers their martial defences didnt he, but he and Projectra werent in th eteam when Jacques joined.
Ultra Boy - get a bloody haircut, thats too long!
Mon-el looks emaciated and slightly camp [joke btw]
interesting to see if this new Fatal Five takes off, but with the Empress long dead and Validus out of the equation, who could take over...I nominate Saturn Queen.
nice to see the founders againn, wish Imra and Garth would come back full-time.
Cos and Lydda must get back together.
loved seeing Istanbul.
cool sequence with Garth, tho the action seemed rather tacked on to provide some drama. When will the LSH get some REAL threats instead of these endless enviromental disasters?????
Danielle Foccart back in hospital? Hopefully a return for her beckons, along with Computo who I assume still resides inside her system [remember when the door crackled?]
cool art.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

- oh, I think the pirates knew exactly what they wanted
- we can have a new Empress, though, as the Eye is still around; remember last year's Annual?
- somehow Validus still exists too, as we saw in FC:L3W
- the environmental disasters are well within Legion tradition and I don't mind them a bit. (Every now and then)
- we don't know that Danielle is still in the hospital; what Jacques said was ambiguous on that point. But I'd like to see Levitz's plans for her finally come to fruition

9:40 AM  
Anonymous AJay said...

I'm kind of hoping that Salu's not the next Empress. If a legionnaire were to go irredeemable I'd rather it was Ayla. That would cause some plot twists there.

Also, yes, 20 pages is not enough.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

If I had to pick a new Empress... Dream Girl might not be a bad choice. I wouldn't want any of the Legionnaires to be irredeemable, though.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

Given the cross between low sales and the upcoming end of JLI at #12, there's a fair chance that Legion Lost will end there or at #0 in September. Might depend on the sales bump from The Culling.

The absence of Quislet from the Lost grouping implies that he isn't Lost, that they know what happened to him. Maybe on a super secret mission (fun fun fun!).

Will be interesting to see Tharok return. Is there another major villain who has been on the "presumed dead" list for over 30 years? They better shield him against Quislet, though, or that fight will be over in two panels.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It could also mean that Levitz is fed up with writing him.

Another villain who's been presumed dead for 30 years... well, it's kind of a special case with Tharok, because if you're not counting Tharok's countless reboot, threeboot, and animated appearances, you also can't count the years in which those were the only Legion versions that were available.

But hold on. Didn't Tharok reappear in an SW6 Legion story? Because that would throw it off too.

2:17 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home