Sunday, November 19, 2006

Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes #1-6 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

Not a lot, really. If this was a comic I'd say it was a one-shot or a fill-in. Which is not a criticism, mind you.

Five Legionnaires (Superman, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Bouncing Boy) are aboard the Legion spaceship when it gets caught in some kind of space storm. They take refuge in an old abandoned space station, which tries to imprison them by preying on their fears and picking them off individually. Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl and Bouncing Boy all get caught, but Brainiac 5 uploads himself as a virus into the space station's computers and gives Superman the opportunity to smash the key chips and release everyone.


The thing about this episode is that there's really nothing about it that required it to be a Legion episode. The main theme was that heroes need to be able to overcome their fears, which is perfectly standard not only for superheroes but for any adventure genre (and therefore quite appropriate as a plot for a kids' show). I thought we were going to delve a little more deeply into the complicated Brainiac 5/Superman friendship, especially when Brainy handed that disc to Superman 'in case anything happened to him', and when the space station conjured up those Coluans to try to get under Brainy's skin. But it didn't happen. What we got instead was Brainy keeping information from Superman (again!) so that Superman would have to face his fears (in this case, fear of killing Brainy when he brought down the station's computers; if Brainy had told him that the disc he gave him was a backup disc of Brainy's self, he wouldn't have worried). Which actually supports Your Obedient Serpent's theory that Brainy recruited Young Clark instead of Veteran Superman in an effort to train him up so he'll better be able to deal with Brainiac back in the 21st century.

The other notable thing about this episode is its homage to horror movies. Little kids probably wouldn't pick up on it, but there are extended references to 'Alien' and '2001: A Space Odyssey', and a creepy servant saying things like, "Walk this way," and "the master would like to have you for dinner." And I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface with those. Again, you don't have to write a Legion episode to put stuff like this in your story; anything will do. But it was fun.

Nice touch: I like how those three linked circles seem to be Brainiac 5's symbol.

Rating: You know what? I'm not going to do the ratings anymore. They're kind of arbitrary, and I'm sure I'm not being consistent in how I grade the various episodes and issues. So rather than try to quantify the basically unquantifiable, I'll let the review speak for itself.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what makes a story a Legion story? What qualities distinguish a Legion comic from another comic? If you wrote a column on that,I missed it.
It's fine for a comic book to have its own unique identity.It's even necessary.But you can put so many rules and regs on that comic book there's little space left to do anything new and unique.
Your review identifies the two qualities I look for in any LSH story;it has Legionnaires,and it's fun.That's all I need.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

A story is a Legion story if it is about the Legion. This one wasn't, exactly.

It wasn't bad. But this TV show ended up only having 26 episodes, and I would have rather had a Legion story than a generic haunted house story for one of them.

3:10 PM  

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