Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #5 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Legion talks their way out of their confrontation with the Science Police. Brainiac 5 picks up the trail of Aquaman's trident, and sends a team after it. Superboy completes the orientation video, and learns that the Legion's purpose in bringing him to the future was to ensure, through him, that the present, on which reality depends, would be saved. And then there's a cliffhanger ending of a mysterious nature.

Review:

Well, the big revelation about why they recruited Superboy takes the wind out of my sails a little bit. It's a perfectly reasonable premise, and one that's consistent with previous portrayals of the Legion, but it's still disappointing to me. See, I like it when the Legion is in the centre of their own stories, and having the 21st century be the key era necessarily puts the Legion in a secondary role and the current-day heroes, especially Superboy, in the centre. I get why they did it. I just don't prefer it, that's all.

Now here's something I do like. We get a lot of Brainiac 5 this issue: first, his speech to the Science Police; second, his conversation with Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy in Superboy's orientation flashback. And he's shown as very intelligent, yes, but also emotionally intelligent, which he absolutely should be, and he's patient and empathetic, and he communicates with people on their own wavelengths. Up until now my favourite Brainy portrayal was the Levitz-era Brainy, who could be both arrogant and wise. Reboot and threeboot Brainy was/were obnoxious, which could be funny, but I never thought it was a good way to go. Animated Brainy was more earnest, which I appreciated. But fourboot Brainy may be my new favourite.

The scenes in the orientation, where the idea for the Legion is being formulated... to me, this is one of the strengths of this series. I like how Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy and RJ Brande and Brainy love the idea. I like how they're thinking big. How they know each other so quickly, because suddenly they have so much in common that they care about. Bendis's knack for putting this across is basically something that is just always going to work on me.

That said, we're five issues in, and I had been hoping for more motion on Aquaman's trident by now.

I had been hoping for more information on just what Rose had to say to the Legion! It's obviously important.

Every now and then there's a detail in the dialogue that makes me narrow my eyes and wonder if Bendis forgot how to language or if it's intended to be some kind of futuristic syntax. I'm assuming it's the second one, and, if so, I think I approve. One thing that's just a straight out mistake, though, is Lightning Lad asking, "Who's justice?" instead of "Whose". But it's a good question and one that I hope does not fall out of the conversation. I'm sure that superheroes think about that stuff all the time, but it doesn't always make it to the page.

Bring on issue #6. I hope we get some kind of resolution to some of this; it feels like we've just been feeding out line for a few issues now.

Notes:
- okay, just what is the deal with Invisible Kid? He's Jacques here, but I clearly remember he was Lyle in an earlier issue
- all the racial, species, and costume changes these dozens of characters have gotten in this version, and the thing that's shaking me the most is Bouncing Boy's hair colour going from black to brown
- so Computo's a Legionnaire. That's good, and I hope she plays a real role in the stories and isn't just furniture
- I have hit my limit for the word 'qrot'. Enough for now. Maybe bring it back once next year
- "Pqolmorph", on the other hand, intrigues me
- were Brainy and Chameleon Boy flirting a bit there?
- Sir Oliver Queen the Eleventh

Art: 98 panels/23 pages = 4.3 panels/page. 1 splash page, 3 double-page spreads, 2 cases of multiple panels spread over 2 pages. Do I have this right? 23 pages? That's what it looks like. It's my first time doing this with digital comics.

Anyway, check out page...I think it's 4? Sook gives us a mix-and-match effect of Brainy dealing with two places at once. (Or possibly three.) It's neat.

Also:

This current pandemic is part of the great struggle of our generations, and it's time for us to rise to the occasion. Listen to the medical experts, use your best judgment, and help other people if you can. It's going to be a hard time, but we are humans, and humans have a long history of doing hard things.

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2 Comments:

Blogger stile86 said...

Your are right. I really like this portrayal of Brainy. He is incredibly smart but not obnoxious about it. His approach to the three founders in the Computo history showed remarkable empathy while still jumping through to what he saw as the important bits. Yet it also makes sense that he wouldn't get on with everyone and we can see some waves with Ultra Boy. Even the way he talked down the confrontation with the SPs showed understanding of their position and was in now way condescending. I guess Bendis likes Brainy too.

Thanks for the comment about the current world situation. Well said.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks.

I think if you're a Legion writer you have to like Brainy. How could you not? He's so useful and you can do so many things with him.

10:46 PM  

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