Monday, September 25, 2006

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

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

The Legion, understaffed and about to be attacked by the Fatal Five, needs help, so they go back in time to recruit Superman to their cause. The Time Bubble puts them in Smallville just as a young Clark Kent is on the verge of leaving for Metropolis. He isn't Superman yet, and doesn't know that he's going to be, but he goes with them anyway. The Legion is skeptical about whether they have the right guy or not, but when the Fatal Five attack, he proves himself and is instrumental in the Legion's victory. The Fatal Five do manage to teleport away at the end.

Review: Well, all they had time for in the first episode was a lot of setup and a big fight. The setup was deftly done and there were a lot of cool moments in the fight. But we won't really know what we have until we see a few episodes.

When I first saw the art for this show I was sure it was going to bug me, but really it didn't. The character designs work okay once you see them moving around on the screen. By the time the season's over I'm probably going to be raving about it. I like the backgrounds, too; they don't remind me of anything in the comics, but they seem futuristic and old at the same time. It's the future, but it's not a brand new future; it's a future that's been around for a while.

I should probably mention somewhere in here that my three-year-old son refers to Garth as 'Lightling' and Chuck as 'Bouncy Boy'. Lightling is actually not a bad name for a superhero.

The worst moment for me was when Brainiac 5 turned into the big mecha warrior. Come on, guys. That's no way to live. I mean, I knew he was going to be a robot or android or something, and, you know, fine, if that's the way you want to go, and I was ready for the stretchy arms and neck, but too much is enough.

The best moments were when Triplicate Girl was fighting. I remember reading some discussion (perhaps about the JLU episode last year featuring the Legion) about how Bouncing Boy's super-power was perfect for animation, but Triplicate Girl's is even better. Her fight with the Persuader was a thing of beauty.

The characterization of the Legionnaires we saw was just fine. Superman's new at this, Saturn Girl's compassionate, Brainy's like he always is, Bouncing Boy was comic relief... Lightning Lad may have been the most interesting of all. They walked a fine line with him: on the one hand, he was antagonistic about whether Clark was Superman or not, and took a couple of shots at Brainy about it; on the other hand, he wasn't actually a jerk about it. I could see how using Garth as a foil for Superman could work in this series, as long as they remember that he really is a good guy.

So I liked it. They started simple and delivered what they had to deliver, with style. More like this!

Membership Notes: The Legion core is supposed to be composed of Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Brainiac Five, Phantom Girl, Bouncing Boy, Superman and Timber Wolf. Of those, Superman joins in this episode and Timber Wolf hasn't appeared yet (although he is in the opening title sequence). Triplicate Girl is also prominent in this episode.

In addition, some offhand comments by Legionnaires, some group shots in the opening title sequence, and some glimpses of the Mission Monitor Board let us know who some other Legionnaires are (I get this list from Legion World and the Legion Omnicom, which as you probably know both come with my highest recommendation):

Chameleon Boy, Chemical King, Ultra Boy, Shadow Lass, Karate Kid, Matter-Eater Lad, Star Boy, Polar Boy, Element Lad, Blok, Shrinking Violet, Dream Girl, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Ferro Lad, Quislet, and possibly Dawnstar, Sun Boy and Invisible Kid. Assuming all the 'maybe's are true, after Timber Wolf joins that'd be a total of 27 Legionnaires. I would call that a comfortable amount.

It's also been widely pointed out that Booster Gold and Skeets appear in the Superman Museum scene. Not that that has anything to do with Legion membership.

Rating: LLLL

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