Thursday, April 23, 2015

Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

30th-century Metropolis is trapped in a dome and the Legionnaires who are there don't have any powers. They're trying to hold it together. Brainiac 5 is trying to figure out exactly where the dome is but isn't getting far. Then Telos, the villain of Convergence, announces that the heroes of the various trapped cities are going to have to fight each other. The Legionnaires aren't nuts about this, but prepare, and the Atomic Knights show up.

Review:

The Convergence premise sounds like a pretty stupid idea in the first place, and I don't see what else there is to be said about that.

The writer and artist on this comic, Stuart Moore and Gus Storms, are the creative team on the EGOs comic published by Image. EGOs, like LSH, is about superheroes in the future. So that's interesting.

I've been collecting and reading EGOs, incidentally, but it hasn't captured my imagination the way The Hypernaturals did, to bring up the other obvious comparison. I'm going to have to go back and reread it and see if I can get a better impression of it because it really hasn't stayed with me so far. It sounds like I'm criticizing the thing but honestly I'm not; it might be really good and I just haven't clicked with it yet. Give it a shot; it's if nothing else more than just the same old thing.

But anyway it's cool to see Moore's and Storms's take on the Legion, given all this. I'll deal with Storms below. Much of Moore's story is wished on him by Convergence; I imagine that his only choice was to have the Atomic Knights show up a bit earlier or a bit later. (If that.) So all we really see him do is character work.

And there are some odd character choices. Superboy having self-doubt and needing someone to talk him out of it? Superboy and Lightning Lass attracted to each other? I'm not sure I agree with you a hunnert percent on your police work, there, Lou.

But, you know, it's only for two issues, so what the hey. (It is only for two issues, right? Right?)

One of the first things Superboy says in this issue is that they've been in this dome for more than three hundred days. But a lot of the dialogue sounds like the characters are discussing some of these points for the first time. Nobody said exposition would be easy, but you've got to do better than this...

Anybody notice on page 1 they used the logo from the threeboot Legion? Hey, threeboot logo. Long time no.

One of the differences between me and whoever makes the Legion decisions for DC is that I am impatient with middle ground and half measures and would like choices between two alternatives to be resolved in favour of one of the alternatives and not the other, while DC seems to want to eat its cake and have it too.

So, for instance, when it comes to the notion of bringing back the Baxter-era Legion, I would either a) do exactly that, or b) not do it at all. DC, frustratingly to me, sorta brings them back. And has done so more than once: the Legion in this story is a variant on the Baxter Legion about as much as the retroboot Legion and the Infinitus Saga Legion. And each writer who does this ends up putting their own spin on the team. Which, good for them! But I don't know if that's what the nostalgist faction is looking for.

Anyway, that's really the only attraction here, I think: Moore's take on the characters. The story certainly isn't of any interest. And, while we're at it: the next-issue blurb says "Down in the Bunker". So... is issue #2 an introduction to the Atomic Knights side of this story? If so, when does the big fight get resolved? If at all?

I dunno. Convergence. Cripes, man. Oh well, any port in a storm.

Art:

Gus Storms has a loose, open kind of style that I am trying real hard to come to terms with in a Legion comic. I most definitely do not prefer it, but I am trying to meet it halfway. Storms takes the very familiar Levitz-Giffen Legion and draws them like reference sheets are things that happen to other people. He changes facial types, sizes, body types... It's hard to get used to, for a longtime Legion fan, but it's absolutely the right thing to do. The Legionnaires all look like different people. Imagine! This doesn't look like any other Legion comic I've ever read, and there should be a lot more Legion comics that don't look like any other Legion comics I've ever read.

So that's fine. Really the art goes along with the story in that sense: it's very different from what we're used to, and may not in fact be a good fit for the Legion at all, but at least it's something sorta new.

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Nina said...

Agree on the art part, quite objective. For me I do like the everchanging art style, and I think it's better than that in EGOs.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Even by the standards of the massively exposition-heavy-by-design Convergence event, the exposition in this comic was noticeably clunky and artless. And Superboy's even more pointlessly expository address to Metropolis was so out of character it defies explanation. "By the blood of my Kryptonian ancestors! By Grabthar's hammer!"

I didn't mind the art so much. The artist needs a bit more tightness and consistency, and -- as Mart Gray pointed out -- what is up with his weird belt fixation?

I have to say, this whole Convergence thing feels more like a disdainful brush-off to old fans than an affectionate tribute.

1:04 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Nina: Yeah, it's more cartoony here--and for me, "cartoony" is not at all a negatively-used term--but you can still sorta tell it's the same guy.

Richard: Yeah, I noticed that with the belts. But I figured, you know what, we're getting different body types for like the first time ever, I'm gonna call it a win and move on.

As for Convergence, the premise does have a sort of appeal on the level of who'd-win-if-Superman-fought-Mighty-Mouse, but if this issue is any gauge, it's not being done in such a way that's actually interesting.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Scott M said...

i kind of liked the art but I wish it was more internally consistent. Within three pages Sun Boy's hair went from red to brown to red to a ponytail! I had to go back to see who was in a ponytail - but since he was wearing Sun Boy's clothes I guess Dirk was primping off panel?

12:12 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

There was definitely some weirdness going on with the colouring. Check out Ferro Lad, for instance. But I missed the thing with Sun Boy's pony tail. Anyway, I'm not going to make a huge thing about it until such time as Storms is named regular LSH artist, which I suspect is unlikely in the first place.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

The one thing I did find interesting was the burgeoning attraction between Ayla and Clark. This is set pre-Crisis, right about the time that we started seeing the connections between Ayla and Salu, but Metropolis was taken here when both Brin and Salu were not there.

So it's not out of bounds to see something which she may have long suppressed rise to the surface, something which never would have shown without (a) the doming changing the social circle and (b) the depowering making Clark seem possible. And even then, the attraction is just building after 300 days under the dome.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah. I can see why they did it. And I appreciate that they're trying something with the characters that hasn't been tried before.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

Also interesting (and perhaps highlighting the inconsistency of the tie-ins), all the Legion members under the Dome have acquired, rather than natural powers; with the Dome blocking out real sunlight and Brainy's intelligence not being something you could suppress.

Would have been interesting to see, say, Imra suddenly being telepathically cut off, or Cham dealing with being shape-locked. Or not, as I noted, the tie-ins are inconsistent on what counts as "powers."

7:58 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That's interesting about how all the powers were acquired; I didn't pick up on that. Nice one. But I didn't try to think too hard about the whole no-powers thing because I figured it came down from above and was therefore of little interest.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Per other Convergence books, all powers are affected -- innate, acquired, tech, etc.

Pity we don't get to see a book with the Brotherhood of Dada. Wonder if the Quiz would be able to beat the dome. (The Quiz had the power to have any power you haven't thought of. Or something like that.)

4:43 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

Some powers have been retained. The pre-Zero Hour Aquaman seems to have retained his strength and water-breathing, while the Pre-Crisis version has not.

So yeah. Inconsistent.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks for reading it so I don't have to.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matthew: Any thoughts on #2?

10:57 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I know, I know, I know; I've got #2 sitting right here and the review partly written. I swear I'll get to it.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Also the Blue Beetle and Booster Gold Convergence serieses, although I haven't even been to the comic shop to pick up the second issues yet.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your work. Looking forward to the reviews.

12:00 PM  

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