Saturday, June 17, 2017

Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Nothing in the strictest sense; this story is way out of continuity. Basically, Supergirl is sick and the Legion of Super-Heroes tries to bring in Superboy to help, but they get Bugs Bunny instead, and there are various shenanigans with Computo 2 and Validus.

Review:

To me the biggest question about this comic book is, do they get Bugs Bunny right? Because to get Bugs Bunny right is difficult. It hasn't been done often. In the old Warner Brothers cartoons they do, but there's a point in the '60s or '70s where they obviously lose the trick of it and he just isn't funny anymore. The thing that makes Bugs funny is... I don't know if I'm going to be able to say this right... the unhurried deliberateness of his snarkiness. This is a hard thing to get across in comics.

Anyway, the writer, Sam Humphries, does not too bad of a job in this sense. Like, it's not really funny, but it's kinda funny in the right way. There are also jokes that come at the Legion's expense, and those mostly don't land. They're decent enough jokes; they just don't have a lot to do with the Legion. In particular, consider the Timber Wolf jokes. Funny stuff, but this Timber Wolf doesn't resemble any Timber Wolf we've ever seen in comics or on TV. I'm not complaining; I'm just describing.

I've seen people talking up Humphries as a potential Legion writer on the basis of this comic, and I don't know if I see what they see. Not that he did anything wrong; it's a decent comic book. It's more that I don't know what this funny one-shot comic has to do with an ongoing Legion title. They seem to require two different skill sets. Sure, he seems to have an easy familiarity with the material, but that's the smallest part of it. Maybe he would be good! But we shouldn't take this as an audition.

Thing about this comic book; it has an eight-page backup feature which is kind of a juvenile Gold-Key-style retelling of the main story. I don't know why we want this; it doesn't seem to be much value-added. Do all the DC/Looney Tunes crossovers have this?

tl;dr: if you need to scratch your Legion itch, you could do worse than to pick up this comic book. It's pretty good. It's on a different mission from most Legion comics, but it does complete it.

Notes:
- of course scholars of old cartoons will recognize "illudium phosdex" as the shaving cream molecule from the original Duck Dodgers short
- Bugs dresses up like Wonder Wabbit of the Just'a Lotta Animals at one point
- note that there's a resemblance between this story, with Computo 2, and the '70s story where Brainiac 5 builds a Supergirl robot
- I had to squint at the page for a while to make sure I had the layout of Bugs's house straight
- Where did this Lightning Lass costume originate? Was it from Convergence? I know it's fairly new

Art:

The art is provided by Tom Grummett and Scott Hanna, and it's very attractive. Everybody looks like what they should look like; the 31st century and 21st century are both well-rendered. Maybe a little light on the backgrounds, and too many splash pages. But it was a lot nicer work than you might expect to find in a novelty crossover comic like this.

Panel count: 122 panels/30 pages = 4.0 panels/pg; 4 splash pages.

Membership Notes:

We're borrowing from all across original-Legion history here. Notice we've got Shadow Lass's 1960s look, and we've also got Invisible Kid II. So there's no point in paying too much attention to this. But I do have one question. Where's Lightning Lad? He's not there. He also wasn't there in the Convergence series. I wonder if DC is trying to de-emphasize him for some reason, like if they want to use Lightning Lass instead.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Tim said...

I think I liked this less than you.

I got the feeling reading Bugs' lines that someone had cribbed them from the cartoons. No harm done there, it just didn't feel particularly interesting. It was reminiscent of a promotional giveaway comicbook that might accompany a box of cereal or something bundled with an action figure.

"There are also jokes that come at the Legion's expense, and those mostly don't land. They're decent enough jokes; they just don't have a lot to do with the Legion."

I agree with this especially. The Legion seemed like ciphers. I have to ask myself in these instances if there was a quality about the story that required the Legion in its telling. I'm not convinced, outside of the setup for the story being a one-time Legion trope of needing to summon Superman from the past for a future peril, that the Legion were at all serviced. Employing the Braniac/Supergirl romance counts for something but standards have got to be low.

"I've seen people talking up Humphries as a potential Legion writer on the basis of this comic, and I don't know if I see what they see."

Speaking of standards being low...I wonder if by virtue of working on a Legion project these days does a writer become injected into the conversation about who brings the Legion back? It's interesting. I'm not too familiar with Humphries' work but not being known can give a creator ambition and certainly the Legion could use, among other things, an ambitious writer upon their return.

The backup feature seemed a weird choice.

"Where's Lightning Lad? He's not there. He also wasn't there in the Convergence series. I wonder if DC is trying to de-emphasize him for some reason, like if they want to use Lightning Lass instead."

Interesting. I did see him recently in Batman '66 meets the Legion (which I thought was superior to this) but only for an instant in a group panel shot.

Pleasure reading the review. Thanks for updating.

-Tim

9:51 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

My pleasure.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I found myself mildly irritated at the Bugs Bunny antics because it felt like "This is my one shot at writing this character, I need to shove *every* identifiable bit of Bugs schtick in that I can." A couple of the jokes didn't land because they didn't have time to stick before moving on to the next one.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Now that you mention it, yeah.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Nina said...

I'm curious about some Legionnaires' outfits too. Lightning Lass and Sun Boy both got their new costumes from Convergence, if I am not mistaken. But those are essentially based on the old costumes back in the day.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's probably a good idea for DC to become less rigorous when it comes to LSH continuity. And it's probably a good idea for them not to say that's what they're doing. But it does leave the rest of us scratching our heads.

4:09 PM  

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