Friday, December 28, 2007

Legion of Super-Heroes #37 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

Karate Kid defeats a big pointy purple monster (PPM) on a mining asteroid. Lightning Lad is having leadership problems; he's letting details get away from him and sending Legionnaires out on missions unsuited to their talents. United Planets bureaucracy is hampering the Legion at every turn, including stopping their transmatter privileges and removing Projectra's diplomatic status as ruler of Orando. A team of Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Invisible Kid and Timber Wolf goes to Triton to prepare for another PPM attack, which comes on schedule, but the Legionnaires don't do so well and Timber Wolf is the only Legionnaire still standing when the issue ends. Plus the UP submits seven 'pre-approved candidates' for Legion membership.


Francis Manapul exceeds my wildest expectations with his art. He seems to be trying to pick up where Barry Kitson left off, although some of his faces remind me of... Georges Jeanty's fill-in issues, possibly? Not sure. A couple of points of note: the Phantom Girl panel on page 7 is very pretty but perhaps not the kind of thing that matches the tone of Legion comics, and Karate Kid's blasting the PPM's guts out through his spine on page 2 may have been a bit much, especially since, as far as he knew, the PPM was a sentient living thing.

We've only learned a little about where Shooter's going with all of this, long-term, but that's okay because we've got all the short-term information we need. There was a lot packed into this issue: Val's initial encounter, Lightning Lad's problems, the Triton mission, Projectra's subplot... We're being pitched right into the middle of things, which is something that should happen more often in comic books.

I counted how many single-panel pages there were in this issue. Just one, the first page. Action #860, also out this week and also starring the Legion, had seven of them. In fact, it had only six panels in those seven pages, because there was one two-page spread. So it looks like Shooter is giving us a bit of recompression here, and I appreciate it.

Whatever misgivings I had about Shooter writing this book have been mostly quelled. Of course, ending a story is not the same as beginning one, but this was as good as any Legion issue we've had since, oh, let's say the Lemnos arc. I did get a few Silver Age twinges from this issue, though. Some of the characters' names (Winch Boone, Nimra C. Lafong), some of the dialogue, some of the Legionnaires' nicknames (Phant?)... they would not be out of place in a 1970s comic. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

What's the 'Scattered Disk'? At first I thought it might have been some kind of Dominion diaspora thing...

Oh, and: take note, everyone, there's no sign of Mark Waid's generation gap theme. So can we stop talking about it? It hasn't been part of the comic for almost two years now...

I liked it! I think it'll work. More like this!

Membership Notes:

No sign of the quasi-Legionnaires like Theena, Dream Girl, Dream Boy, Wildfire, Tenzil Kem or Terror Firma. We'll be seeing seven new candidates next issue, and Shooter gives us a look at a Tritonian girl who seems promising, but according to Invisible Kid, she dies on the third-last page. Is she secretly alive, or did Shooter fake us out? I'm betting on 'alive'. She sure looked like someone who'd be sticking around for a while, and Lyle could have been fooled by her metabolic abilities. Think of this: if she became a Legionnaire, she'd be only the second Legionnaire native to someplace in our solar system that isn't Earth.

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Blogger Timothy Callahan said...

I liked it too! More than I expected.

The Dominator diaspora thing is an interesting take--and it might turn out to be spot-on. We'll have to wait and see.

But, yeah, RE-compression!

4:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to think that the Tritonian girl was just knocked out, because other wise what was that flash of light? We don't get to actually see what happens to lyle.

5:20 AM  
Blogger Timothy Callahan said...

That Tritonian girl sure was set up as some kind of important character, so I expect we'll see her alive in the future, no matter how dead she looked.

Although, when I read that scene, I was impressed that Shooter didn't just have Lyle rescue the girl as I expected. So even if she's not really dead, ultimately, Shooter still managed to fake me out a bit.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

The more I think of it, the more I think she's using her metabolic abilities to fake death, perhaps as a way of surviving outside of those shelters. And maybe she's responsible for that flash of light, as jackalyn pointed out.

I hope at least some of the seven pre-approved candidates are new characters. Worthwhile new characters.

2:14 PM  
Blogger kenaustin said...

Matthew, Dream Boy can be seen on the Mission Monitor...umm, I mean Duty Roster Board, toward the end of the book. He's above Lightning Lad and to the right of Cosmic Boy.

I agree about the Tritonian girl. I believe she will turn up alive next issue, although I thought the flash of light was coming from the monster and not her. The monsters were shown to have some type of white force blast.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Deq Zekker said...

Really love the re-compression too!
Definitely got my money's worth with this issue. I can see myself re-reading this several more times, like I did (and still do) with the 5YL issues (at least until the end of the Terra Mosaic arc).

Haven't felt this way at all with any of the Action Comics issues so far.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I did notice that guy you said was Dream Boy, although I'm not 100% sure it wasn't Sun Boy. (Just going by the circular emblem.)

Anybody notice the resemblance between the Tritonian girl and late-reboot-snake-humanoid-Sensor? It's mostly facial.

On recompression... why can't every comic writer do this? Don't be scared, guys, you're not going to run out of ideas.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

I'm a few days late on this, but wanted to mention: the Scattered Disc is a real thing, and this might be construed as Shooter bringing a bit of real science lore into the book the way it often was during his first run as a science-fair-winning teen writer. Though it would have been better if a printed note had explained the reference...

1:31 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks. I did have a suspicion that it might be something like that, but hadn't gotten around to checking.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Francis Manapul has confirmed that that was Dream Boy on that one mission-monitor-board shot. So he's still around.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On his blog,Jim Shooter has posted his original ideas for his time on the threeboot Legion.If you haven't read them,you should give them a look.They're...interesting.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I have been reading it, yes. Interesting, but it doesn't change my opinions of his run as a whole. Stupid sixteen-issue mega-arc.

2:54 PM  

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