Friday, January 25, 2013

Legion of Super-Heroes #16 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About: Chameleon Boy, Lightning Lass, and Shrinking Violet are still investigating the Fatal Five, and this time they go to Takron-Galtos and discover that Validus isn't really there. Star Boy is ready for active duty. Phantom Girl is elected leader. And a complex quark relay fails, with what are probably going to be disastrous consequences.


Happy to see Phantom Girl as the new leader. I'm going to be interested to see the voting, if ever we do. There's been some online support for Tinya, both on this site and from the Legion of Substitute Podcasters, and I can't help but wonder if we actually had any effect.

The issue itself is obviously little more than a setup for what is to follow: Validus missing, Star Boy healthy, new leader, technological cataclysm initiated. Levitz was checking a lot of things off his list in preparation for Keith Giffen's arrival. (In particular, I think he made sure that each currently active Legionnaire got some screen time.)

As for what's coming... I'm a bit worried it's going to be like a lukewarm revisit of the Five Years Later era. Or the Magic Wars or something. Certainly doesn't have to be! But it's hard not to think of, especially with the attention they're paying Glorith.

So: not a very thrilling comic book if this is your first issue ever of LSH, but not a waste of time either. Next issue, of course, is when the good stuff is supposed to start; wish Levitz wasn't looking past this one to see it so much.

Oh, and I finally got Action #16, with its two Legion stories. I'll write about that later. I haven't been missing any Legion stuff from previous issues, have I?

- where was the Legion hanging out in the first few pages, exactly? Some kind of cafe in Weisinger Plaza, I guess?
- I'm missing the subtext in the Dragonwing-related conversations on pages 3-4
- Phantom Girl is now the seventh female Legion leader, by my count, but only the third non-blonde female leader (after Shrinking Violet and Kid Quantum in the reboot)
- still curious about who's going to be the fifth member of the Fatal Five

Art: 74 panels/20 pages = 3.7 panels/page. 2 splash pages, 1 double-page spread of 5 panels, 1 double-page spread of 9 panels.

Art by Scott Kolins again, and I continue not to be fond of his style. There are things here to like, though: the double-page panel where Brainy and Harmonia are examining Glorith is pretty cool, and I like Kolins' off-model take on Chameleon Boy's looks on, for example, page 17. I wonder what Keith Giffen will bring.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the most interesting aspects of this issue was the last panel. The image resembles what the Legion Lost team found when they journeyed to the 31st century in Legion Lost #10. Could it be possible that Levitz and DeFalco used that issue to foreshadow this upcoming storyline? If so, then it will be interesting to see how Wildfire, Dawnstar and Gates's discoveries get played out.

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you know you and the podcasters DIDN'T have an effect on the election? In the absence of any evidence to the contrary,give yourself some credit.

But,from the "door opened,window closed" department;it's being rumored that Keith Giffen has quit the Legion comic,having done only two issues.

2:32 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Anonymous 1: I hadn't thought of that. But I'd be surprised if Levitz had any use for anything that came out of Legion Lost, except perhaps to get a few of the characters back.

Anonymous 2: I don't know if we had any effect or not. That's why I'm interested in seeing the numbers.

As for Giffen, well... was he ever going to be on the title for the long run? I never understood that he was. This is Keith Giffen for you: he comes and he goes. And I don't mind. As an artist, he's replaceable. As a writer, he's probably almost as useful in small doses as he is over the long haul. The real question is, can Levitz make the most of his contributions while he is on the title? All assuming that the rumours are true in the first place.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

I'm very happy about Tinya's victory in the election. As I said in the comments a couple issues back, I thought Levitz was having a good time writing her in the Secret Origin mini and the flashbacks in issue #0, and, while contemporary PG hasn't been as much fun as flashback Tinya, it'll be nice to see her get more pages. (Now about that costume....)

Anyway, I enjoyed this issue a great deal. One of the things that the shift to fewer pages and more action-based storytelling have robbed us of are the quieter moments where the Legionnaires just hang out with one another. Issues like this one and the earlier Walt Simonson one are all quiet moments and go a little ways towards making up for the absence of such scenes in other issues.

Anyway, thanks for maintaining this blog and providing a place to chat. This is my favorite internet discovery of the past year.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd agree that Levitz might have very little use of anything from Legion Lost except for getting his characters back, but the events from Legion Lost #10 seemed peculiar at the time as the 1/2 issue future storyline seemed to interrupt where DeFalco wanted to go with his storyline in the present day. My hunch is this was not a DeFalco thing, but a Levitz crossover at that point to link the two titles in a foreshadow sequence: a kind of hidden Easter egg to tease main title readers who were following Lost as well. I may be wrong, but the artwork seems similar enough to warrant the question. I for one will be interested to see if this hunch plays out in the upcoming arc.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Nate: My pleasure.

Anonymous 3: Well, could be; if it happens I'll remember you called it.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally Tinya as leader. I did vote a couple of years back in the online vote (I think she came 3rd then). Hopefully it will mean more of a spotlight on her. Its about time after about 50 years...

3:43 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

The timing seems to be right for her to be remembered as a great-leader-when-the-stakes-are-high, in the same way that Dream Girl's leadership reputation was aided by the Great Darkness Saga.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Dylan said...

Various thoughts...

1) The art style makes Cham look a little weird.

2) Perhaps a bit late to this party, but I kinda miss the origin that Valdius was one of the Ranzz kids stolen by Darkseid. On the other hand, if you need a big guy for your Fatal Five, hard to go wrong with the classic version.

3) Maaaaany issues back, we had a little scene of Sun Boy hooking up with what looked like some kind of cult. Will that ever be returned to?

7:09 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

1. I actually kinda liked the way Cham looked.

2. I'm with you on Validus.

3. See, the cult didn't strike me as sinister; wasn't it just a kind of 31st-century Christmas thing?

8:54 PM  
Blogger RicG said...

The cafe set inside the HQ was odd. I guess it was meant to tie back in to the breakfast from #7 but Colins got the idea it was for the public? Previous versions have included an open to the public section (In the Who,s Who I think) but given the regularity of attacks it doesn't seem that practical.

I think the subtext of Dragonwing's speech was Brainy rolling his eyes at how someone could not logically vote for him after he had taken the time to explain to them exactly why they should.

More interesting is the unspoken Brainy/ Harmonia panels which could be read as either growing attraction or evil mind controlling seductress. Don't know which but I still don't like her.

The oddest part of the book was the Shady & Lar section because we still haven't been given much info on why they broke up.

I've been getting the ida that a lot of the subplots Levitz wanted to set up in the book were put on hold in anticipation of nu52 crossovers (like the sort of one we got in Action) and with Morrison moving on he's finally going through with them. Unfortunately this one reads like an issue he wrote but never got to us.

The big news of Giffen already moving off the book is a mixed blessing. I do like his work a lot but he already announced a Legionnaire WILL die and that pretty much sums up my reservations with him. (After seeing the Mysa vs Validus cover for may I'm already guessing Blok's day's are numbered)

1:22 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I still think Mysa's saving Blok to trap Mordru in. (And I'm never surprised when Levitz's subplots take years to resolve.)

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised when Levitz's subplots don't take years to resolve.Shouldn't be that way.
I think there was a writer who had a rule that any subplot had to be resolved by 10 months from its introduction.Not quite a year,but it seems that long.Forget who the writer was,maybe I dreamed it up,but it's a rule Levitz should adopt.
Wine left unopened may get finer with age,but stories left unresolved turn to vinegar real quick.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Aah... I wouldn't want to make a rule. Depends on the situation. I do have a couple of problems with Levitz, but that isn't one of 'em.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also like Kolins' take on Cham.He looks truly alien here.
Finally read this issue.Three things:
*the Legion's world has (had?sigh) gotten overcrowded.
*the new Legionnaires are either dull or unappealing.
*the senior Legionnaires have gotten dour and grumpy.
No wonder this comic got canned.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Nothing that can't be fixed by a creative team with both craft and a vision.

4:13 PM  

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