Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #9 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

The discovery of a 21st-century comic book, or magazine, or something, reveals to Brainiac 5 that his ancestor, the original Brainiac, was a great enemy of Superman. Apparently, according to this story, Brainy hadn't known that. He gets Superman to trigger more memories within himself, and this kind of... upgrades?... Brainy in some way. Brainy takes Superman and some other Legionnaires to the place where Krypton used to be; he's got some idea about making amends to Superman. They use a time bubble as a time-and-space bubble to get there extra fast, but a (red) solar flare wrecks it, and Brainy has to jury-rig a new one to get the Legion back home. Brainy and Superman clear the air about Brainiac.


Is this a two-part story? It sort of seems like it, but it does say, 'The End' at the end, so I'll assume it isn't.

One thing about the issue is this: there's no villain. Which is fine; not all stories need a villain. But they do need some kind of centre for the action. This comic has a wrecked time bubble and some prehistoric Kryptonian monsters, but nothing to make you think that's what the story's really about. So I did what I do anytime I need a hint about what's going on in a story: I checked to see what hints the writer gave me.

In this case, that means that I checked the title. The title of the story is 'Bad Ideas', which refers to Superman's reassurance of Brainy on the last page that he's "not responsible for [his] ancestor's bad ideas", as well as all the nutbar things Brainy was doing throughout the story that resulted in the Legion being trapped on Krypton in the first place. So what the story's really about is Brainy overreacting and not just talking to Superman the way he should.

I'm going to have to go back and compare this comic to the most recent new episode of the cartoon, which also has Brainy and Superman getting things out into the open. But just from memory, I preferred the cartoon's approach; this story not only didn't delve into the issue too deeply, it also took the easy way out by saying that Brainy never knew about Superman and Brainiac. Which also implies that Brainy's retrieval of young Superman instead of veteran Superman from the present-day wasn't really part of a plan. In the comic book, anyway. Feh. I think it would have been more interesting if Brainy had known all along.

What else to say... art by Ethen Beavers, perfectly good... How about Sun Boy? I thought they were going to portray him as kind of a surfer dude, but here he seems more of a cheerful hothead with a habit of singing sunshine-themed easy-listening songs. One thing I thought they were going to do, but didn't: Superman has no powers because of Krypton's red sun, right? So why couldn't they just have Sun Boy supply him with some yellow-sun-energy? That'd work, right?

It definitely looks like they're adding a bit more ongoing continuity to the title; there are several references to Bouncing Boy's date with Triplicate Girl from last issue.

I'm having a hard time coming up with stuff to say. It really didn't feel like there was a whole lot to this issue.

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Blogger Unknown said...

I'm all for adaptations, especially on a property as long-standing as the Legion, and I've enjoyed very much the animated episodes I've seen. One of the things that bugged me a bit was turning Brainy into a robot. How do you feel about that decision? I always felt that one of the wisest rules of the legion charter was "no artificial lifeforms allowed". Other then R2-D2 and C-3PO, the robot, computer, or android is always, always at some point going to go rogue.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm not nuts about it, but I understand it; someone whose power is just being really smart isn't a compelling visual for a kids cartoon these days. If they make him an android then they get to do other tricks with him. And they have been able to make some storytelling hay with the premise.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Timothy Callahan said...

This was, by far, the worst issue of the comic. I just read it with my son tonight, and he was angry that Brainiac wasn't even in the issue! What a weak story.

1:23 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'll still take it ahead of issue #1.

10:15 AM  

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