Sunday, April 21, 2013

Legion of Super-Heroes #19 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Emerald Empress is trashing Weber's World, and Mon-El shows up to fight her, followed by two groups of Legionnaires, the ones who were with Mon-El and the ones who took off from Earth in an improvised spaceship. The Legionnaires overcome the Empress, but Mon-El is seriously injured.

The Promethean giant scratches where it itches, under Tharok's control, and Phantom Girl thinks that Polar Boy and Invisible Kid have been killed by this attack. We'll see.

Tharok's control over the Promethean giant may not be perfect, just like his control over the Persuader, whom he sends to Earth.

Ultra Boy, Chameleon Boy, and Glorith arrive on the Sorcerer's World just in time for Validus to attack.

Review:

The plot continues to advance about like in the previous issue. The story is probably equally good, then, but is hampered by the awful awful art. It's distracting. Fortunately we get Portela back next issue. Again, for this story, I'd rather have Giffen, but Portela's got to be better than this mess.

Weren't the Legionnaires supposed to be hurtling into the sun this issue? Stupid solicits.

Art:

Scott Kolins 41 panels/10 pages = 4.1 panels/page. 1 splash page. Jeff Johnson 48 panels/10 pages = 4.8 panels/page (although there was an 11-panel page with 8 little headshots).

This was an ugly damn issue. Is it because Giffen ducked out unexpectedly that we had this one-two punch of Kolins and Johnson? I already knew I wasn't going to like Kolins's art, but I hoped that the Johnson half of the book would be better. Sadly no. Both artists turned in lively performances, for sure, but the action wasn't as easy to follow as one could ask for, and the characters were rendered terribly.

Kolins's pages were bordered with white and a kind of double-outline pattern; Johnson's pages with black. Why? Shouldn't the comic book at least pretend to have some kind of artistic unity? And the changeover happens in the middle of the fight between the Empress and Mon-El! I think J.P. Arencibia said it best when he said "#notpro".

No, it's just terrible. Look at Phantom Girl's inflated abdomen on page 7 panel 1, or Dream Girl and Shadow Lass on page 19. Brutal.

One point: I can't say I'm a big fan of the new Emerald Empress's design, but I do like how the Emerald Eye is now big enough to ride on; that's kinda cool.

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26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a fan since the days of Mike Grell, and I think this is one of the worst issues ever. Mon-el injured by the eye? No way. I hope this is all some terrible dream brought on by Mordru or Darkseid.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Giving the Eye a power upgrade is the least of my worries. "Villain too powerful" is generally not something to complain about. They should be powerful!

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not against but powerful villains, but Mon-El losing an arm is like Superman losing an arm.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

You know what? Here's how much the art made me want to not look at it: I didn't know Mon-El had lost an arm. I had to go back and check just now. "Oh, yeah, son of a gun, his arm's gone."

Anyway, I'm not going to object. I can see this playing out in a couple of ways, and I trust Levitz with both of 'em.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lost all trust in Levitz.He's not only lost his mojo,he's now trying to be Geoff Johns.How many more Legionnaires are going to lose body parts?
I'm not buying another Legion comic until Levitz leaves.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, let me expand on my previous comment. Either a) Levitz is shaking things up as a result of Giffen's brief co-writing stint pushing him out of his comfort zone, or b) DC Editorial is mandating radical changes to this title, including a drastic reduction to the cast of characters.

If it's a), then that's good: the one thing Levitz most needs is to be pushed out of his comfort zone. If it's b), then is there really anybody other than Levitz I would want to guide the Legion to a soft landing under those conditions?

So, no, I don't like the maiming of Mon-El, but what kind of a stupid comic book would it be if only stuff I liked happened in it?

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Lol I am the first 'anonymous' but not the third. First of all, I haven't lost faith in Levitz. I haven't been unhappy with this run so far. I really liked the Dominator storyline, and I like the newbies. But I do hate the fact that characters seem to be dying right and left. It's one thing to kill off someone, but what we have seen so far isnt good.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah, I really wonder what's going to happen. I don't like to repeat rumours, but I find myself wondering if Star Boy, Polar Boy, Invisible Kid, and maybe Mon-El (I'm taking Sun Boy's death for granted at this point) are actually all-the-way-dead, and that they're not the last.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

I feel so terrible for Phantom Girl's stint as Legion leader. As unceremonious as Mon's was, this is practically getting lost in whatever shake-up is needed to goose sales.

All she seems capable of is despair at all the carnage unfolding.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yes... so far.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Madman2001 said...

I really liked this issue. It moved the story along, it had a battle royale (between the Empress and Mon-el), and we actually saw a villain (the Empress) defeated.

I thought the art was good enough, and much much better than Keith Giffen's.

By the way, the fact that Sun Boy was somehow eaten will somehow play into his resurrection. Maybe Dirk will take over some Promethean Giant. You heard it here first.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I honestly don't think Sun Boy's coming back. I think Levitz and Giffen were trying to make that as clear as possible to us.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Tiffany Park said...

I detest Giffen's art, especially his mock-Kirby style, so I'm glad to see any other artist on this title. I understand why they are all going with mock-Kirby, given the Promethean giants and all, but really, only Kirby ever made that art style look good.

I'll be glad when Giffen is gone (please, please, please tell me he's not becoming permanent on Legion). I'm still uncertain about Levitz at this point. Let's face it, that team managed to screw up the Legion so badly that it had to be rebooted (and rebooted and rebooted...).

I'd really rather not see that happen again, but if things keep going this way, it is almost certain.

Seriously, does DC now rely on reboots, rather than decent writing on series that are supposed to be, y'know, serial stories?

1:09 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It looks like Giffen was only really here for one issue and then bailed, but of course his efforts as co-writer will persist through this storyline. So, no, I don't think you have to worry about him coming back anytime soon. (Not that I'd mind it; Giffen is on the short list of writers who I'd be happy to see come back and take on the Legion any old time.*)

And while there's probably a lot of blame to go around for the sequence of events that led to the Zero Hour reboot, I don't think any of it lands on Levitz.

I'm not a fan of rebooting myself, but right now I can't see how a reboot would be necessary, desirable, or useful. (That may change.) I really don't think DC's going to go that way.
--

* Keith Giffen, Mark Waid, Abnett and Lanning, Matthew K. Manning. Okay, okay, J. Torres and Jack Briglio too, I guess.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous ampm1789 said...

I'm surprised no one caught this, but nothing was mentioned about the bit with Polar Boy and Invisible Kid II. I'm thinking both characters didn't bite the dust just yet. For what I could remember, Jacques once had the power of teleportation, but had Brainy block it from his mind. Even in the panels with the Promethean Giants, the two were glowing before being 'smashed' during the battle. So they could've survived. Same thing with Phantom Girl, utilizing her phasing powers.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh, I hadn't thought of the teleportation thing. Yeah, I suppose it's there if Levitz wants to use it. Nice catch.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Or why not have Tinya phase her and her friends to her home dimension, take a safe ride to Bgtzl, and then phase back?

12:46 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

If she could reach them, sure.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a real problem with Phantom Girl acting like such a weenie and a HUGE problem with the Eye suddenly being powerful enough to take down Mon-El - - - not to mention, NO insight as to who this Empress is at all.....the one from the Annual? GEEZ the series is dying, really dying, right before our eyes....

12:31 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I don't like the characterization of Tinya either, but a) I'm withholding judgment until we see how it all plays out, and b) I learned with the Five Years Later run that just because I don't like a particular development doesn't mean it doesn't make a good story.

Powering up the Eye is entirely within bounds for a Legion writer. We already know that, in retroboot continuity, the Legion has never really encountered the Fatal Five before; who knows what else is different? Sure, I'd like to know who this Empress is too, but there's time to fill all that in.

I think the Legion franchise is in some trouble myself, but not for the reasons you mention. I say we trust Levitz. He is, after all, Paul Levitz, and it can't be denied that at least this storyline has some of the old pepper on it.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

I think Sun Boy is gone for an extended period of time, but not dead -- or at least easy enough to bring back.

In the split second of the crash, he instinctively powered on and melted a hole in the equipment coming at his head. The incident and the crash knocked him unconscious. He woke up later, burned himself out, and went looking for the others (or wandered around in a semi-amnesiac daze).

Ergo, he appeared dead (was not moving and appeared to have his head crushed), but there was no blood and no one checked vitals. When Tinya, et al returned to the ship, his body was gone and the aliens were eating something, so the jumped to conclusions.

Solving this one doesn't even involving jumping to the level of Soapdish (“He doesn't have a head!”)

2:50 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, you can find a way to bring anybody back. I don't expect it to happen anytime soon for Sun Boy.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I agree. This does feel like an externally dictated paring down of the team in advance of some big change.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

But then again we'll see.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous stile86 said...

Thank goodness for fan reviews or I'd miss half the story.

Mon-El's arm gone? I completely missed that. I wondered what everyone was looking horrified at the top of page 18. He wasn't dead just brutally beaten so it seemed an overreaction. Looking back I can see that the blast on page 17 is meant to show him losing his arm but it certainly isn't clear.

They haven't met the Fatal Five before? I sure missed that. It all seemed a bit strange with some lines like they didn't know who was going to be part of it and yet as soon as Tharok was thought to be involved they check up on the Persuader's axe and Validus. Sure Tharok seems a LOT different but I don't get it.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That's a good point; I hadn't thought of that. If they haven't met the Fatal Five as a group, how do they know who's in the group? Hmm.

8:58 AM  

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