Monday, August 14, 2006

Score: the First Twenty Issues

Okay, we've had 20 issues of (Supergirl and the) Legion of Super-Heroes. What's good and what's bad?

GOOD: Barry Kitson's art is extremely handsome. The Legionnaires and the 31st century look great.

BAD: Kitson can't always make it to class, and his replacements have only occasionally approached his level of quality.

GOOD: Never before have I seen the Legion this well characterized. There are no ciphers on the team. I never thought anybody could make me care about Triplicate Girl or Princess Projectra, but I like them in this version.

BAD: Pace is a little slow. The ending of the Lemnos story dragged out too long, and since Supergirl showed up it hasn't been clear if we're in the middle of a big storyline or not, and if so, just what that story is about. And we're all getting a bit impatient about Dream Girl.

GOOD: Supergirl. Could have been just a stunt, but she's been likeable without being overwhelming to the comic book.

BAD: Very few decent villains. Elysion was nasty and quite menacing, and Lemnos was a good idea that worked out almost as well as it looked like it was going to. The robots aren't interesting, though, and we didn't see enough of the rest of Terror Firma to get any real sense of them.

GOOD: The generation gap. I may be alone in this, but I like the generation gap. I think it makes all kinds of sense and that it's an excellent setting for a futuristic superhero comic. And I think it fits in well with the ideals of the Legion.

BAD: Terror Firma was handled badly from the beginning. Other than Elysion, I couldn't tell you the first thing about any one of them, and they were supposed to be the big threat for, what, about eight issues? And then at the end, they get to walk away? With Sun Boy? Pfui.

GOOD: The character selection. Using what's basically a classic lineup of Legionnaires like this is a good way of not only grounding the book in Legion history, but also of respectfully allowing that history to continue... not uninterrupted, but at least in some kind of recognizable fashion.

BAD: The character selection. There were, after all, some worthwhile Legionnaires created after 1970. I'm sure we could all name some. Is there any good reason why none of them are in this comic book? Not even one, just to give us some hope that there might be more someday? I don't think I'm asking too much here.

GOOD: The costumes. Some of them look good, and the others look real good.

BAD: The costumes. Why exactly is it that the male Legionnaires are all bundled up in long sleeves and turtlenecks while several of the female Legionnaires have their belly buttons hanging out? It seems odd. Not that any of the female Legionnaires are approaching immodesty, but still.

EVALUATION: The basics are all here. Waid and Kitson have built a powerful machine. Now let's take it out on the highway!

WHAT I'D LIKE TO SEE OVER THE NEXT TWENTY ISSUES: How about an origin of the Legion? Maybe in an annual drawn by George Perez? I'd like to see more issues drawn by Barry Kitson. I insist on seeing the Dream-Girl-resurrection plotline concluded smartly (in both senses of the word 'smartly'). I'd like a bit of turnover in the membership, not because I particularly want to get rid of any of these characters, but because I want to see some new ones--new new ones and old new ones. Nothing drastic; just the same level of change the Legion has always had. I'd like to see if Dream Boy is at all worthwhile. Let's see, twenty issues should take us into 2008, which is the Legion's golden anniversary year. I'd like to see something cool done to commemorate that. I'd like less setup and more action: let’s pick up the pace! Everybody’s been introduced! I'd like fewer (none, actually) of the kind of time-killing backup stories we got in #10, #11 and #12 to stretch two issues out to three. I’d like to see the letter column feature again, but not too often! Once or twice is enough. And, for the sake of answering the doubters as much as for its own sake, I guess I’d like to see a one- two- or three-part story that leaves everyone convinced that, yes, this comic really is the Legion, it feels like the Legion, it acts like the Legion, it’s worthy of the Legion.

Labels: , ,