Monday, June 24, 2013

Legion of Super-Heroes #21 Review

Oh, yeah. I suppose I'd better review this issue. Sorry there.

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Invisible Kid and Polar Boy chat with a few dead Legionnaires.

Our big group of Legionnaires shows up to help Ultra Boy and Chameleon Boy fight the Persuader in the middle of a devastated Metropolis, but Tharok and the Emerald Empress also make the scene, and the fight goes against the Legion, until Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl show up on the last page.


At first I wasn't sure that a whole lot of progress was made in this issue, but then when I think about it... We get some strong hints that not everything is at it seems. Levitz may be screwing with us here. I'm not sure how much of what we're seeing is actually happening.

I speculated before about how Projectra is the missing member of the Fatal Five. Maybe she's unhinged because she couldn't handle Karate Kid dying again or something; maybe Tharok's been manipulating her somehow. But remember: we've had those illusions of Validus and the Atomic Axe. That's an indication for Projectra.

And in this issue a whole lot of things happen for no apparent reason; they happen just because they do. Or that's what it looks like, anyway. The Empress just sort of shows up on Earth fighting the Legion, because Tharok controls "digispace", which reminds me of the end of the threeboot, in which Projectra was evil for another reason. The quark relays coming on and off. The Persuader doing stuff that... well, how exactly does that work?

And Harmonia on the Legion cruiser. Where'd she come from? If she's there, why isn't Dragonwing there? Who's side is she on? Is she really there? Was she ever really a Legionnaire, or just some kind of manifestation of Projectra?

Now, clearly there's something serious going on, but I don't think we know what. I do think that Invisible Kid and Polar Boy are going to be key for sorting it out, though. Notice that in this dead-Legionnaire dimension where they are, the Happy Frunting Grounds, Sun Boy wasn't there. Now, Star Boy and Duplicate Damsel are only maybe dead, so that's not definitive, but shouldn't Sun Boy be? I don't want to put too much weight on that, because we didn't see Chemical King or Karate Kid either, but I do think we might have some trickery going on here.

Levitz only has two more issues to sort all this out. I honestly wonder how it's going to go, and how the Legion is going to be cleared off the decks to make room for DC's new stupid idea. I hope Phantom Girl comes back.

Art: 84 panels/20 pages = 4.2 panels/page. One splash page.

Jeff Johnson carries the ball this issue, and I guess he does okay; I'm not really a fan of the loose cartoony style he brings to the table. Really it's hard to get away with the loose sketchy stuff when you're drawing the Legion; Keith Giffen can get away with it but most people can't. Most of your classic Legion artists have been very definite with their renderings: Forte, Swan, Cockrum and Grell sorta, Lightle and Larocque, Moder and Moy, and especially Barry Kitson. Portela. Not Coipel, which is interesting. Anyway, on the one hand Johnson gives us some dubious faces on page 8, but on the other he gives us, uh, hm. I can't really point to anything that knocked me over. But really it's not bad: not to my taste, but I've seen far worse on this title and it wasn't that long ago.

Membership Notes:

Star Boy was marked as "possibly dead" a couple of issues ago, and that got some support this issue; Dream Girl believes him dead.

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Anonymous Todd said...

Interesting thoughts. I would love if all of this were some nightmare and the Legion survived intact. However, since Projectra is my favorite Legionaire I would hate it if she went off the deep end. We shall see.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I don't know if "surviving intact" is really on the table. I'm actually kind of worried about "only ever existed as a delusion of Chemical Kid" or something along those lines.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Jim Davis said...

Levitz only has two more issues to sort all this out.

I think he only has one more issue; #23 is supposed to one of those "aftermath" issues that Levitz is so fond of.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, okay: one issue to resolve the action; two issues for everything else. I assume something's going to happen in #23.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it about Projectra that has made people want to turn her evil? Anti-royalist sentiments,or the male writers just want to see a good girl go bad?
The reason why Sun Boy wasn't seen in the dead zone? Simple;he's not dead.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I don't know if there is anything about her. I think Shooter had the idea to turn her evil; that's one. And now Levitz may be doing the same thing, but he could just be riffing off Shooter's idea; he does do that a little bit.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Markk said...

No mention of Element Lad getting the big smack down from the Emerald Empress. Normally that wouldn't have raised an eyebrow with me, but with all of the carnage and mayhem and seeing what level of pain the Eye dished out to Mon-El, I did wonder if the Trom race went extinct here.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think there would have been some kind of indication if we were supposed to understand that he was dead.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

It's highly unlikely, but I also hope the last issue brings the Lost members back to the future, if only to tie up that loose end.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah. Although in the long run I don't think it's going to make any difference.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous AJay McL said...

just wait, in the last minute Tenzil comes to the rescue and makes a meal of the Fatal five minus one.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I would reread that comic.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous stile86 said...

Since when has the Persuader been so strong? He was always tough but how he handled Cham looked like super strength or something?
Why did it take him three swings to chop through the pillar Jo was holding?
Exactly what did he cut through on page 12/13? Gravity? (The cruiser computer says something like that.) Does gravity manifest as orange beams when it's released? I don't get this.

I've been struggling with the whole "who are the Fatal Five, but we know to check on Validus and Persuader" bit, especially when Tharok says this issue that the others weren't with him before. It finally occurred to me that perhaps the previous encounters with FF still happened and THAT Tharok did die with the Dark Man and this is a different Tharok (duplicate caused by the Colu chip?) which explains why he is different and hasn't worked with the others before. Maybe, although I can already see some holes in my own argument. Aagh! Confusing can be good when it's because our heroes don't know the full story yet, but confusing because our heroes know stuff we don't but act as if it's common knowledge - that's painful.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous stile86 said...

BTW your suggestion of Projectra is appealing and disturbing at the same time. Good point about the illusions in prison of Validus and Persuader's Axe.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Not sure about the Persuader. He's always been strong for a human, but not more than that I think. Of course, if Projectra is manipulating this action, it doesn't have to make sense. Which applies to a lot of your points, I think.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I had given thought to the fact that no one is asking "Where is Mano, or whomever the 5th is?" in this -- admittedly, they have been busy, but Brainy at least should ask it -- but I had not considered that the 5th is there, as yet unseen. Great idea.

I got a big kick out of seeing Chameleon Boy turn into an Earth-247 Orandan. Intentional or not in the art, the coloring gave us Sneckie vs. Persuader.

One of the big missing pieces in this (so far) has been Vi's infection by the Eye from the Legion Annual. It's a bug smoking gun, moreso because Giffen did that and started this story as well.

I agree with whomever said they should use these last couple issues to un-Lost Team 21. Even if Levitz only dedicates 1 page to it at the end of #23 -- heck, one *panel* -- and I would be happy. Just get them away from Lobdell, DeFalco, etc. -- and in the process, clear the 21st century slate for a likely eventual Legion re-reboot.

Quislet needs to be restored as well, and arguably XS. Again, do them on that same one page, bringing everyone into the fold before turning out the lights.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I wouldn't be surprised if none of that happened. I mean, it's probably a bit better than fifty-fifty that the Lost Legionnaires come back, but they might not. And we may never see Quislet and XS again.

As for Violet, well... that was never confirmed.

It looks like a lot of my crackpot theories about what was going on in this story were wrong. But the final word isn't in yet; I think Levitz may have one card left in his sleeve.

9:26 PM  

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