Thursday, December 20, 2012

Legion of Super-Heroes #15 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About: Glorith suddenly disappears, and reappears in Barcelona, where people want to burn her for a witch. The Legion is just getting around to looking for her when they're called to Barcelona because dinosaurs are attacking the place. There's a timestorm there. The Legionnaires find Glorith in the middle of it, and figure she's the inadvertent cause of it, so they have her shield everything from herself, and that shuts the timestorm down. The question of who arranged all this remains.

Meanwhile, Chameleon Boy suspects that there's a reason why they aren't making any progress with tracking down the Fatal Five.

Review:

It felt sorta like a fill-in, but no; there's presumably a reason why someone was messing with Glorith and, what, distracting the Legion? No, I'm going to assume that this is part of a larger story. And we haven't checked in with Glorith recently, so that's good too. Compare it to one of the early issues in Levitz's second run, like "Night Never Falls at Nullport". That was a done-in-one story, but the conflict with the Khunds turned out to be important for, well, the whole rest of that run, so really it wasn't a done-in-one story.

But weren't we supposed to find out who won the election this issue? Could have sworn. Oh well; it's not like I had a bet down. January is fine.

Another example of Levitz leaving important stuff offscreen: it looked like Glorith was going to be able to use her flight ring to escape there, and then the next time we see her she's barely conscious. So what happened? Should we have to fill these things in?

Check out the Fatal Five on that one page where Cham is talking. Who is that? Validus, Persuader, the Empress, fine. But what about that fourth guy? Is that Tharok himself? It ain't Mano. Someone new?

Speculation: Either Violet is the new Empress, or she's got some kind of connection to the Eye, as was suggested in the Annual back whenever that was. And that's why the Legion can't track down the Fatal Five. But has Cham clued into this? He's talking right to her! Presumably we'd see next issue.

More speculation: Whoever is poking Glorith with a sharp stick, the timing of it is suspicious. If it's an attempt to distract the Legion while the Fatal Five set up their plans, then is the same person sponsoring the Fatal Five? Or it could be a coincidence; Levitz doesn't mind having a few things going on at once.

The big news is this Keith Giffen interview on Newsarama. Those things he's saying there? Those are just the sorts of thing the Legion needs, and it's why Keith Giffen will always be welcome in any Legion comics I buy. I hope that this upcoming storyline is all it's cracked up to be. The creators involved are certainly capable of making it great.

Notes:
- just what were we supposed to understand from Harmonia's conversation with Chemical Kid on page 10?
- I liked the interaction between Brainiac 5 and Ultra Boy; clearly, they're comfortable with getting on each other's nerves
- the famous Legion teamwork is certainly on display in this issue

Art: 75 panels/20 pages = 3.8 panels/page. 1 splash page, 1 double-page spread of 5 panels.

Yay! Portela's back. By the way, compare Portela's skinnyish Glorith, in the interior of the issue, to the much more dramatically mammalian Glorith Steve Lightle portrays on the cover. There's a continuity error for you, if you want one.

I like Portela's Harmonia. Probably I've pointed that out in previous issues.

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19 Comments:

Blogger Ric G said...

While I agree with your analysis of the issue and enjoyed it as is, can't say the gaps in the story haven't been a continual source of frustration either. For me just what was the rationale for inducting the newbies & any memorial/ closure for Zendak have been the big ones. Can't help thinking what a huge difference 2-3 pages extra an issue would make.

Good thoughts on Violet and the eye. She wasn't the only one effected in the annual so maybe he's planning some kind of Emerald Empire.

Of the 4 members of the Five shown, the small guy looks to be Tharok exactly as shown in the LSH 0 issue. Maybe there was a period using his classic look but I fear it's going to get lost in the semi-reboot and DCs notoriously bad editing covering time jumps.
It also shows up a weakness in the contract nature of DC artists in that a lot of them only seem to be able to work with a costume that's been designed by Lee or shown in a previous book. Despite Portella's obvious strengths he is either unwilling or unable to make a contribution to this. (Though Harmonia's costume may be an exception).

I'm not sure if the Harmonia/ CK lecture was anything on the surface but it did seem to me that Marya & Hadru were having a 'Harmonia luvs Brainy' snicker at it.
A little more disconcerting is that Li's 'elemental' powers now include creating/ controlling the weather which strays her into sloppily undefined.
A pity that she couldn't have been given control of the chinese elements which would have been open-ended and unique enough to be interesting. Now she's becone the latest Tyroc/ Kinetix of the team.

Still looking forward to the Fatal Five storyline despite possibilities of a reboot or Giffen's getting bored & having a slaughterfest. Not so keen on the talk of making the 31stC not so high tech.

4:42 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm assuming that Levitz has, at least in his mind, a reasonable handle on what Harmonia can and can't do.

As for the high-tech of the 31st century...

I like it when it's a reasonable science-fiction extrapolation of what's possible, maybe with some superhero-comic leeway. But when you start bringing in the Miracle Machine, you might be going too far. I don't blame Giffen for wanting to dial it back a bit. (Not that I think Levitz was being excessive.)

12:43 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

It's a little thing, and I don't know if we've seen it before, but I love Brainy "air-walking" while everyone else is using their flight rings to actually fly.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yes.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Dave Mullen said...

It hit me this issue that with her time travel research scientist background and friendship(?) with Brainy Harmonia is the new Rond Vidar.
I'm starting to warm to her but her position on the team and in the book has never been clarified well enough. Out of all the new recruits though she is undeniably the strongest character and the most useful.

I'm looking forward to a shake up, but on the strength of his work I think they've made a bad decision not keeping ahold of Francis Portela, I'm not convinced Giffen's style has a mass market appeal or suitable for a book as forward looking as the Legion.
Nontheless his return to the book is the most exciting thing since the teams return to monthly title status!

9:33 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm looking forward to Giffen as co-writer more than as artist. His art is no-question-about-it competent but he gets experimental, and the results aren't always attractive. (Although I'm always willing for him to try stuff.) Plus he's one of the few Legion artists who's ever been really able to revolutionize the look of the 30th/31st century (Cockrum, Giffen, Kitson, period. Actually Giffen did it twice.) Anyway, that article illustrates for me the reason why Giffen (and Waid) are always welcome on the Legion for me: he's still got stuff he wants to try with them. Paul Levitz knows how to operate the machine, maybe better than anyone else ever has, but Giffen knows how to soup it up.

2:24 PM  
Blogger M Jay said...

I will greatly miss Portela's art; I'm hoping they can lure him back for a guest stint in the future. I'm thrilled that Keith Giffen is going to part of the writing/plotting team with Paul; it should provide just the jolt of energy and unpredictability that will make the book a more engaging read than it has been of late. I'd rather not see Giffen on art though; my dream would be to have Phil Jimenez in that role! Ideally, I'd love to see the Legion shift to a single $3.99 title, with back-ups featuring an array of guest artists, retelling origins, providing solo spotlights and seeding future stories. I'm not eager to see meaningless deaths, but I am ready to see the Legion keep me guessing and quickening my pulse again!

9:59 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Just make it good and keep it going; that's all I want. I'm relatively easy to please. No complex demands.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Giffen interview has me less thrilled;it reads like the usual publicity puffery to me.I'm glad he's on board,but Shooter's return got me excited,and that was a letdown.Levitz's return got me excited,ditto.The reunion of Levitz and Giffen?Let's wait and see.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, think about it this way: if this title does get a fire lit under it, like we hope, what kind of stuff would we see Giffen saying in an interview beforehand?

I say we would see this kind of stuff. Not a guarantee, of course, but hopeful nonetheless.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just hope the dead legionnaires don't end up being the Legion Lost team, who return only to get knocked off.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I doubt it. Levitz plans too far in advance for that. I don't think we're going to be seeing the Lost Legionnaires in this title for a while. It'll take some time to work them in just right.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Unrelated to LSH #15, check out the previews for Action #16, like this page:
http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/1301/08/action163.htm

The Earth-247 Legion is back in the New 52! (The Adult E247 Legion, at that!)

3:48 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, that's interesting.

I can't see how it's a very bright idea for DC, but it's interesting.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

The one thing I continue to find peculiar about this is that no one has any reaction to Glorith's name. Although with the recent references to the Fatal Five as "new" foes -- that this version of the Legion apparently hasn't fought them two dozen times -- presumably that's the case here, too. (Then again, had the pre-5YG Legion met her other than the one time in the Adventure era? Remove that one story from continuity, or have the Time Trapper wipe memories of it, that's an easy answer.)

No mention of Glorith using the "Nura burned at the stake" trip to try and get free? At first I was "Cool, that's been done before", then I was "Come on, Paul, do something new", and then I was left with "Wish she had a thought balloon indicating that she knew of the past use, that would make it fine for me".

I'm hoping that the Legion's biggest dangling plotline is going to be addressed in this Fatal Five story -- the Dark Man. (That story was my first intron to the Legion.)

1:27 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think Levitz is definitely feeling free to ignore anything that came before if it's convenient for him to do so, and that Glorith is an instance of this.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Of course, he has to be aware that there's only so far you can ignore things. Any character with a villain history (even if just in their name) eternally has a "potential traitor" neon sign following them around. Hawkeye, Rogue, Emma Frost… even Blok.

Until she faces that crisis of conscience, continuity-aware readers can never quite accept here as being as valid as her peers. (And Hadru will always have the Chemical King threat hanging over him, to be threatened on the off years when a Legion planet doesn't get blown up.)

1:52 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh, I'm sure he's aware of it. Probably one of the reasons he wanted to use her as a character. For that matter, even if she does have the crisis of conscience, it still won't change anything, because her villainous destiny can always just be somewhere in the future.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Definitely true -- that potential destiny lingers forever. Same thing as a dead character is only dead until he isn't.

But to be sure, for any of these revitalized characters, that crisis point has to come sooner rather than later, or it drags the character down. We know we can't really trust her until she has proven herself to not be a pawn of the Time Trapper. Once she has proven that, we can relax enough the believe that she might be okay, for the current team's tenure. Only then can we really accept character growth as valid.

Rogue is the classic case for this. She still has that lurking in her background, but she has transcended it about as much as comics could allow her to.

2:43 PM  

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