Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #4 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

The Legion is fighting the Fatal Five, and Brainiac 5 has a plan all mapped out for them. But the Five don't behave as predicted, and Brainy concludes that his intelligence must be deserting him. He returns to Colu for testing. Saturn Girl wakes from the healing trance she'd been in since the fight, and reveals that she read Tharok's mind: Tharok knew Brainy was spying on them, and had fed Brainy false information about the Five's plans. The Five raid a factory on Colu, but the Legion shows up and beats them this time; the fight includes a part where Brainy outthinks Tharok.


Steve Uy does the art this time, and he brings a different style to it. The characters are small-featured and lightly detailed, and the backgrounds behind them are dark, often with a starfield pattern, and have a photographic quality that I'm not sure where it comes from. It's kinda different but not unpleasant. The dark-haired characters - Superman and Bouncing Boy, and occasionally Phantom Girl - are lit in such a way that it looks like they have white streaks in their hair. That's distracting.

Christine Boylan writes, and comes up with another good issue for us. That's three in a row since the disappointing first issue, so I'm very pleased with this series. Even more impressive, it's three in a row from three different writers! This one is basically a look inside the head of Brainiac 5, always a topic that I have time for, but there are also good character moments for Superman and Bouncing Boy. But basically it's the core Brainiac 5 story: he thinks he's smart, and he is smart, but that's not enough by itself. He's an effective superhero to the extent that he can connect with the other Legionnaires and see himself as one of the team. Every version of Brainy has to learn this.

Some little plot holes:
- why does Brainy call his flight ring a chatty piece of junk? What's so chatty about it?
- that's a pretty big team Superman sends to Colu with Brainy. Is there nothing else these people could be doing?
- just who exactly is in charge of the Legion? Brainy? It doesn't seem to be Bouncing Boy. Both Lightning Lad and Superman seem to be using some authority in Brainy's absence, but, depending on just when this takes place, shouldn't it be either Lightning Lad or Bouncing Boy?

Nice touches:
- Bouncing Boy kibitzing Brainy's plan at the start
- Saturn Girl's earrings when she's in her healing trance
- "It's the lighting."
- Superman patrolling the entire galaxy while listening to Bouncing Boy complain
- "What would I learn from that?"

Uh... what else to say... I can understand why they haven't done it, but I'd like to see more Legionnaires than just the core group. Also, the Fatal Five aren't the only villains out there. And I know I said it last week, but: I hope Tony Bedard is taking note.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't been able to get into the new Legion animated comic, the art still doesn't quite suit my sensibilities. I liked the cartoons I've seen, though.

What did you think of the Batman/Threeboot-Legion teamup in "The Brave and the Bold?"

12:10 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I've quite been enjoying The Brave and the Bold, but for some reason the Legion appearance didn't quite ring true for me. Which is odd, since of course Mark Waid is the B&B writer. And I expected to enjoy George Perez drawing the Legion a lot more than I did. Maybe the inker had something to do with that; I don't know.

I liked it, but I wanted to like it more. Maybe a reread will help.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perez's Legion looks too much like they're severely drugged out or possibly zombified - wide-eyed, dull stares. I thought he handled Light Lass effectively, though, and Phantom Girl.

Element Lad...well...for some reason, the look completely irks me. He always looks a little stilted.

Charaterization-wise, even having read the threeboot I still feel as though the characters are still a bit stiff in general and Waid didn't do them many favours here - which is too bad, considering, his B&B Supergirl interpretation is fairly awesome comparatively - he's made her into a Kara that I want to see grow up to be Superwoman.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious. What's your take on (imo) disasterous new take on Duo Damsel...or well...Single White Female now I guess. When she showed up at the end of Countdown I seriously went..."BAH!"

4:05 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Actually I haven't been reading Countdown. I figure I'll just find out about any developments online.

I did see a scan of the page where she appears, and it looks like the artist forgot to give her a neck.

I don't object to her having only one body left; the original Luornu was in a similar situation for quite a while. 'Una' is not a great name, though.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

I enjoyed the issue of "The Brave & The Bold" if only for Brainiac flipping out when Bats stole his flight ring. That just cracked me up. Plus we got to see a lot of the Legionaires out doing something, even if it was just flying around, so that was neat for me.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

The flight ring thing... it's been pointed out elsewhere that flight rings are keyed to the owner's DNA, and therefore Batman shouldn't have been able to use it. Which is a legitimate objection, but one which has a couple of answers:

1. In-story: Batman's smart enough to figure out that the ring probably has some kind of safeguard and it wouldn't take too much of an intelligent guess to figure out what kind. So all he has to do is come up with some kind of DNA sample from Brainy, which he could do by, say, punching him in the face.

2. Out-of-story: it's too amusing a notion to not use in the comic book, DNA key or no DNA key.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This does have a different look to it,due a lot to the coloring. Panel breakdowns are rather unique.It's not 100% successful, but it does have a gloss not found in the usual "kiddie komic".
Superboy's space patrol was ridiculously fast even for him.Either that or those planets are ridiculously close together.
Aren't Legion rings communication devices?Maybe Brainy's is tuned to frequencies inaudible to the others,so that's what he meant when he called it chatty.
Anyone notice the bowtie Brainy was wearing when visiting his old tutor? That's just adorable.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

This does have a different look to it,due a lot to the coloring. Panel breakdowns are rather unique.It's not 100% successful, but it does have a gloss not found in the usual "kiddie komic".

Maybe Kevin Sharpe should give this technique a try on Adventure.

9:44 PM  

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