Monday, June 25, 2012

Legion of Super-Heroes #10 Review

 What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Cosmic Boy, desperate, tries to search the Dominator embassy for helpful evidence about the Brainiac 5/Dream Girl kidnapping. He almost gets caught and Ultra Boy has to pull him out. Star Boy assembles a team to go and rescue Brainy and Dreamy (consisting of Bouncing Boy, Duplicate Girl, Comet Queen, and new recruits Mwinadji and Otaki. Meanwhile, Brainy and Dreamy try to break themselves out, but it doesn't work; plus, Dreamy gets a vision that one of their rescuers is going to betray them.

Review:

It's another one of those comics where when you read it, your reaction is to think that next issue could be pretty cool. To put this into perspective, so was last issue.

I wonder if Levitz is trying to convey to us, through his characters, that the Legion at this moment is an institution that's a prisoner of its own status, and that the only characters who can take effective action are those that strike out on their own. This comes at a time when more and more creators are leaving DC and Marvel to do creator-owned stuff that they'd never have the freedom to do if they stayed. Now, if anyone's a company man, it's Paul Levitz, and I don't mean that in a bad way at all. But if something's in the air then it's in the air, and after all there is supposed to be some kind of shakeup coming for the Legion.

Notes:
- Mwinadji or Mwindaji?
- use of "their" at the bottom of page 11 was quite awkward
- had trouble recognizing Bouncing Boy on the cover. Thought it might have been Matter-Eater Lad. Was thrown by the tinting of the bubble he's in
- Mwinadji and Otaki certainly do make the cast more diverse, which is all to the good. Don't forget the nonhumans, Paul!

Art: Portela: 57 panels/12 pages = 4.8 panels/page; 1 splash page.

Andres Guinaldo: 31 panels/8 pages = 3.9 panels/page.

Man, I'm going to miss Francis Portela on this comic book! He's just got this great balloony style that is, and I want you to attend to this point, very pleasant to look at. (Although I suspect that the colorists, Javier Mena in this case, also deserve a lot of the credit.) For an art highlight in this issue, check out the pages with Brainy and Dreamy on the Dominator homeworld.

Andres Guinaldo helps out with eight pages here, and acquits himself well for the most part. Sometimes he leaves facial features a bit blurry, but

Membership Notes:

Star Boy quit last issue, and it seems that Comet Queen quits this issue to join his mission. We're going to have to wait and see if these resignations "take"; the Legion could very well accept both heroes back onto the team seamlessly when this Dominator thing is over.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Ric G said...

Really enjoyed this issue, the limited cast with coherent reasons for being together works so much better than the randomizing up to this point. While I respect all of the members involved, not a huge fan of any of them but I'm reaqlly enjoying the portrayals.

It's definitely Mwindaji. Oddly his other name also translates as 'hunter' in a different dialect.
His home world of Kirinyaga is almost definitely a call to the Mike Resnick story of the same name. The titular world of the story is a recreation of the African savannah where the inhabitants live a version of their ancestors' lifestyle.
This added to him having an established reputation outside the Legion make me quite excited for the character. Maybe not as a Legionnaire, but roaming around the 30thC.

Can't say I'm as enthused about Otaki. All I've been able to dig up is her name is Japanes for 'Cascade'. Her civillian name, Bina, is probably a play on Binah of the Qaballah. It translates as insight or understanding and is associated with the left eye, the brain, the heart and the planet Saturn. That's a lot of nice background work from Mr. Levitz, but visually she's just boring & it seems like she's going to have a fairly passive power.

I'm so with you on the alien characters as well. We need more.

I'm really interested in where the Legionnaires' quitting is going. If this does cause a political rift it could end up with the expulsion of several key members: Jo, Rokk, Thom and Mon-El. I'm sure they wouldn't blame Brainy for being kidnapped, but forcing the others to stay resigned would be a huge shake up.

An interesting note is Star Boy mentions his stay in the asylum. Do you think this is related to Mr. Levitz writing about Earth @ in World's Finest?

Some questions: Do you think that either of the books is suffering by being included in the 'teen' category? Is DC right in keeping these rigid guidelines or should they just quietly drop it?

Do you think the Legion needs to have a civillian supporting cast in the book? Since the reintroduction the only ones we've really seen are Brande, Zendak and Senius and two of those are already dead.

Membership wise are you counting Karate Kisd II as having been a member? There seem to have several 'Schroedinger's Legionnaires whose status is unclear. How do you list them?

(sorry if this is wordy, thanks for considering them)

3:43 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That is a lot of helpful detail; thanks very much.

I don't think the "teen" category is anything in particular; Levitz doesn't seem to be doing anything other than what he's always done.

I always like the civilian supporting cast, although I grant it's a challenge with a book like LSH. One problem is that too many potentially useful supporting-cast members have been turned into superheroes and then disposed of, like Yera and Rond Vidar. While we're on the subject, whatever happened to the Shvaughn Erin of this version of the Legion? Did I miss something?

I do count Karate Kid II as having been a member. He was a member of the original Legion during the Five Year Gap, offscreen, as confirmed by the famous 2995 Sourcebook for the DC RPG, and he was also a member of the retroboot Legion during the gap between the Magic Wars and the Lightning Saga, offscreen. I count everyone as a Legionnaire who joined the team and either completed one "story" as a Legionnaire in good standing (i.e. not a traitor) or died doing so. Therefore, by my reckoning, Dream Girl didn't really become a Legionnaire until the Shooter era, Nemesis Kid didn't really become a Legionnaire until the animated series, Kid Quantum I did qualify as a Legionnaire during the reboot, and Firefist and Blood Claw count as Legionnaires 5YL. And I do count offscreen service time for purposes of Legion membership. Complete list on this page.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cover of this issue misrepresents what actually happens in the comic! Can't decide if DC stands for Deceptive Covers or Damn Crossovers.
I think you're over-reacting to signs of a Legion shake-up.Sounds more like the usual "things will never be the same again" hype. Illusion of change,and all that.
Those new kids aren't long for this world.If this were Star Trek,they would be wearing red shirts.And Otaki's "mindsense"?Please.It's another name for telepathy,and we already have a "mindsenser".Bring Saturn Girl back,along with the no-duplicate-powers rule.
One moment Brainy and Dreamy were in a cell,the next they were in the middle of trying to fight their way out of jail.Either my comic was missing some pages,or this is really fast paced storytelling--or really sloppy storytelling.
I too will miss Portela.His art game seemed to raised a notch this month.

You may have heard that Keith Giffen is going to team up with Levitz for a 6 month storyarc starting with LSH #13.Yay,I guess.In another time,this news would've benn thrilling,but with the Legion in the state it's in now...yay,I guess.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think you're over-reacting to signs of a Legion shake-up.Sounds more like the usual "things will never be the same again" hype. Illusion of change,and all that.

No, I'm not. When I say, "It's another one of those comics where when you read it, your reaction is to think that next issue could be pretty cool. To put this into perspective, so was last issue," what I mean is, if this wasn't the Legion, I'd drop it. Because comics that always seem like next issue is going to be great never get great. They stay the way they are.

As for Keith Giffen, well, Giffen is capable of making a difference on this comic book. Might not play out that way. But the possibility exists.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget Tellus has the same power type as he will be back when his Legion Lost gig is up. I too think the new guys are just extras... or at least I hope so. I for one am not looking forward to seeing Giffen doing art for 6 issues. I don't like his style compared to Portella, Cinar or Lightle. At least I hope the story will be good.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

For me it depends on which style Giffen is using. But that's the great thing about Giffen; you don't really know what you're going to get. All you can do is turn him loose and see what happens.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Dylan said...

The issue was pretty decent on the whole, though the new guys don't really sing to me one way or the other.

On the other hand, I always love it when Levitz reminds us that Dream Girl is one of the most dangerous members.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Typical of the Dominators, really. The kinds of guys who would mail themselves a letter bomb.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

I agree with Anonymous about the misleading cover. There have been a couple DC covers in the past month or two where the cover scene is inferable as happening after the last page of the story -- that is, the scene will actually occur next month. I presume we will see that with the LSH cover, too.

That's bad planning from someone's part. Covers are usually planned way before the story is done, but to be off by a month, on several titles? Bad form, DC.

And it should be "Mwindaji", according to what Google returns for the two words.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I don't really care about the cover thing; when was the last time I relied on the cover for any kind of information?

I'll make sure I get Mwindaji right if he joins the Legion.

3:43 PM  

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