Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Legion of Super-Heroes #11-12 Review

You know what? It totally slipped my mind that I didn't review LSH #11. I honestly thought I had. I hope none of you will object if I combine reviews of #11 and #12? Because we've got some catching up to do.

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

#11: Star Boy's team arrives on the Dominators' planet to bust Brainiac 5 and Dream Girl out, just as they're trying to escape anyway. This goes well, but Brainy insists on going back for his irreplaceable force shield belt, and this gives the Dominators another shot at them, which succeeds when Comet Queen unexpectedly betrays them. Meanwhile, on Earth, Mon-El reveals to Cosmic Boy that Star Boy's team was operating with Mon's secret approval.

#12: The Legionnaires on the Dominators' planet try to escape again, but run into trouble when the Dominators release their new invention: a guy who's half Daxamite and half Dominion. Meanwhile, Cosmic Boy gets Mon-El to smarten up and call Sensor Girl, who shows the United Planets what the Dominators are up to. The UP accepts this, and Mon-El and Ultra Boy speed to the Dominion homeworld to save their friends and trash some Dominators.

Review:

We all are assuming that Comet Queen turned on Brainy because of some kind of planted instructions from when Saturn Queen mindwiped her, right? I mean, it'd be stupid if it wasn't that.

These are very streamlined comics, atypical of Levitz. Not a lot of subplots. We're focusing on Brainy and Dreamy, on Star Boy's team, and on Cosmic Boy and Mon-El back on Earth. Remember when it was implied that this series would focus on the recent Academy grads? I don't even remember the last time I saw them, except for Comet Queen of course.

Strong characterization on our regulars, like Brainy and Mon-El and Cosmic Boy and Duplicate Girl, but Otaki and Mwindaji are pretty much ciphers. That's okay; that's all they have to be. I don't see either of them as more than Academy background types.

This isn't exactly a plot hole, but it doesn't reflect well on the Legionnaires: they could have called Sensor Girl to show the U.P. what the Dominators were doing minutes after they found that Brainy and Dreamy were kidnapped. Would have made Star Boy's whole mission unnecessary. Okay, maybe Mon needed Cosmic Boy getting up in his grill to make him think of it, but these guys are supposed to be better at this by now.

I appreciate how the Dominators continue to be losers who make bad decisions.

It's true that I haven't been overly enthusiastic about Levitz's third run, but let's be fair: there are any number of eras in Legion history when comics of this quality would have been desperately refreshing. It's pretty good and next month's should be the same.

Art:

You know what would look good? Francis Portela drawing Aquaman, that's what would look good.

#11:
Portela: 61 panels/14 pages = 4.4 panels/page. Andres Guinaldo: 25 panels/6 pages = 4.2 panels/page. Portela's great, of course, but I found that there were a few places where all the orange panels stuffed with detail blended into each other. Kinda have to squint at it. Guinaldo's style didn't really work for me. The Lightle cover was pretty distinctive; would anyone else make Comet Queen's "hair" so, oh, luxurious?

#12:
Portela: 57 panels/15 pages = 3.8 panels/page. One double-page spread of 5 panels. Tom Derenick: 24 panels/5 pages = 4.8 panels/page. One thing about Portela's art, he makes Star Boy look really... delicate? Dapper? I don't think it's a good look for Thom, anyway. Derenick's style might look better on him, but the way it fell out, Star Boy didn't appear on any of his pages. Instead, he's drawing Duplicate Girl and Mon-El, neither of whom look right with the strong, emphasized features he gives them. Oh well.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Katherine Ann said...

...but these guys are supposed to be better at this by now.

Naaaaaaah. That's what they have Brainy for! And really, if that were the case, half the legion's history would be made completely null and void! I expect my legionnaires to be slightly inept, lest I lose interest in them altogether. XD

Is Portela leaving the legion comics? Has that been mentioned? Because that makes me sad. Very sad. I think I just like the way he draws lips, to be honest.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I've heard that he's leaving and I've heard that he's going to be part-time between guest artists like Giffen.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Katherine Ann said...

So what you're saying is no one really knows either way. XD

I would sincerely like to see Batista come back if Portela is really leaving. For whatever reason, his style just pushes all my happy buttons. I thought Legion: Secret Origins was super pretty to look at.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm sure DC knows. But I don't. If Michael was still keeping up with the Legion Omnicom, he'd probably know.

Chris Batista's art will always be welcome in any comic book I read.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Ric G said...

Did you get the impression that there were some script pages just missing from the book? As in instead of re-writing an over long story they just ripped out a couple of pages at random?

Brainy seems to imply he needs his belt in a plan to defeat the Super-Dominator, then he and Mwinadji go off-panel... and don't come back till it's all over. Odd.

3:17 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I hadn't noticed Brainy's and Mwindaji's absence, but I figured that the thing with the force shield belt was a) Brainy just really wanted it back, and b) it'd come in handy for defense with the Daxinator running amok. Brainy's whole plan seemed to be to stall for time until Mon-El and Ultra Boy showed up.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those cockroaches Brainy was collecting a while back--what became of that? With all the other subplots that have been left hanging,at the risk of saying Levitz has ADD...well,I just did.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's possible that the cockroaches weren't a plot point, that they were just characterization. It's possible that they were a plot point and will show up again sometime. It's possible that the upcoming issue #0 is that time. Just a hunch.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Were the cockroaches under Levitz or only under Johns? (I don't recall.) I assumed they were tied to the roaches crawling around the Time Trapper in Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds -- which was a nifty bit of subtext, I thought.

It says to me that if we see roaches show up again, we can expect a Time Trapper story in the works.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Both Johns and Levitz used the cockroaches, and I also noticed the connection to the Time Trapper (and thereby to Superboy-Prime, if you care to take it that far).

The aspect of that that intrigued me was this: there's a time-traveling villain who's shown up in DC comics in recent years named Black Beetle. He's been the arch-enemy of Booster Gold and the new Blue Beetle. But you know what "blackbeetle" means? It's the British expression for "cockroach". There's got to be a connection there, doesn't there?

2:51 PM  

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