Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Legion of Super-Heroes #43 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

A lot.

On Rimbor, Saturn Girl's team is on the run from the cops after getting Ultra Boy away from them. They encounter a wounded Giselle on the way, and help her out, and she doesn't betray them to the SPs. By the end of the issue, though, they've been surrounded and overrun.

At Legion HQ, the Science Police execute a search warrant, make nuisances of themselves, get allegedly full access to Brainy's systems and files, and eventually shut the Legion down after discovering the autopsy data Invisible Kid stole. (Turns out Element Lad kept one of those muskshrews. I wonder if that's important.) M'rissey introduces himself to Brainy and the two of them come to some kind of agreement, the details to which we are not privy.

On Velmar, Karate Kid's team decides on a straightforward assault to rescue captives from Ikilles and the Ikonns, but Karate Kid and Triplicate Girl disappear mysteriously into a... portal or something... and the Ikonns beat up Timber Wolf, Shadow Lass and Light Lass, leaving only Invisible Kid free.


The thing that's most striking about this issue is the unexpected recruiting of Triplicate Girl and Karate Kid through that portal. I guess we must assume that this has something to do with Countdown and Final Crisis and all that stuff, given who the two characters are. But it's also possible that this has something to do with the Knights Tempus.

Or maybe both. What if the Knights Tempus were just a Time Trapper trick?

The various plots seem to be reaching some kind of inflection point. The events on Rimbor and Velmar seem like they'll eventually work themselves out in some more or less conventional way, but I'm curious about just what's going on on Earth. What happens with the Legion shut down and arrested? What's Brainy up to? What's M'rissey up to?

I find it hard to keep coming up with new things to say about Manapul's art every month. So let's just say that it's up to his usual standards. Here's one thing I like: other than the opening splash page, the smallest number of panels on a page is four, and there's only one such page; most are more than five. It shows the right spirit.

The other Legionnaires' contempt for Invisible Kid is starting to wear a little bit. I mean, I get it, and I don't object to the idea in principle, but I think Shooter is trying to sell it a bit too much. On the other hand, he seems to have dialed back a bit on the future slang.

I don't know how well I'm going to be able to evaluate this story until it's over. Really, until then, there are only bits and pieces to comment on. The story's been starting for about seven issues now and I don't know what else to say about that. Stupid sixteen-issue mega-arc.

- the auditors, Buptkie and Spondulix. I don't know about 'buptkie', but 'spondulix' is an old slang term for money. That's the other thing Shooter does: he gives his characters joke names
- I noted before about Brainy: if he's being nice and polite to you, that's an indication that he's got you right where he wants you. Sizzling satellites!
- I wonder if we're actually going to see anything of the Peril Men
- Chameleon can duplicate 'physical properties', but if he shaped himself like a wall, it'd still be made of flesh... I wonder if anyone who hasn't spent time trying to make polymorph self work for them can really process that nuance

Membership Notes:

The mission monitor board lists the following members: Brainiac 5, Dreamer, Element Lad, Karate Kid, Invisible Kid, Light Lass, Shadow Lass, Timber Wolf, Triplicate Girl, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Princess Projectra, Saturn Girl, Atom Girl, Chameleon, Colossal Boy, Star Boy, Ultra Boy. Dreamer is listed as 'excused', 'off duty'; it's not clear whether it means Dream Boy or Dream Girl (or if it's a camouflage name that means both!). No Sun Boy, no Cosmic Boy, no Supergirl.

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Blogger snell said...

I don't know about you, but I can never get enough of "Lightning Lad incompetently dealing with bureaucrats!"

Oh, wait, yes I can. I sorta passed that point 5 issues ago.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think I automatically gloss over those parts now. Oh well; this storyline can't last forever. Well, not much past forever anyway.

9:02 PM  
Blogger snell said...

Question for consideration: was it a mistake to let Shooter start off with a 16-issue story? If an editor (they still have those at DC, right?) had said, "No, Jim, bring it down to 10," would it have resulted in a tighter, better story? (That's assuming, of course, Shooter wasn't promised carte blanche to come on board...)

10:36 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I find it hard to imagine how a 16-issue story can be anything but a mistake. It's a year and a third!

But, okay, maybe I just need to get with the times. Maybe, in a world in which six-issue stories are the norm, it's okay to go sixteen issues every now and then.

But this is a title that started off with a thirteen-issue arc, and after a couple of breather issues, embarked on a fifteen-issue arc.

We have had enough of the long stories for a while.

We want some short stories.

DC needs to mix it up a bit.

And I don't consider six issues to be 'short'. Anyone who read the 'Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes' arc in Action Comics knows that the requirement of making a story six issues long just leads to padding. I consider one issue to be a short arc. Two, if you absolutely insist. Once a year we can have a three- or four-part story, but that's all. Any longer than that is just, except in the most exceptional cases, self-indulgence.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Cristiano Silva said...

I don't understand why Sun Boy hasn't showed up yet, since he returned to the Legion in the quest for Cosmic Boy storyline. Also, where's Wildfire? In the same storyline, he's appeared and Brainiac said it'd be a new member.

Didn't Shooter read the previews issues?

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a weird way to describe it. Imagine holding apples in your hands - the more you try to hold in them, the more you just end up dropping on the floor.

Thats how the long arc is turning out for some. The apples left in the hands are straining them. Not only that but there is a crisis at hand to find a mop to clean up the mess on the floor. But how do you mop up the floor without dropping the remaining apples?

A better way to handle it might have been to have it take place in 3 small 3-part story arcs with two or so issues in between to give the reader a break. Either way, after this arc the ending better be good.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On another note; Legion animation had Venusian Wiggler... now Threeboot has mentioned Venusian Muskshrew.

Yes... You know if it has "Venusian" in it you don't want to shake hands with it.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Cristiano Silva: Yeah, I don't know what the deal is. Maybe Shooter read to the end of Waid's version and wrote all his scripts at once based on that, without waiting to see what Bedard did. Weird, though, because it sure seemed like Bedard was leaving things around for Shooter to pick up on. Or, and I think this will be a popular idea: Shooter said that one of the things he'd be bringing back would be the Legion Academy. Maybe that's where all our missing characters are. Sun Boy would make an excellent instructor, and the students could include Dream Boy, the Terror Firma gang, Wildfire, Matter-Eater Lad, and that Radiation-Roy-like guy we saw in that one issue.

Anonymous: The apple metaphor isn't a bad one. I'm just tired of the lack of resolution. I'm tired of things always not being over.

Anonymous II: I think Rhysling said it best when he said, "We rot in the moulds of Venus / We retch at her tainted breath / Foul are her flooded jungles / Crawling with unclean death".

8:35 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I would agree that "lack of resolution" is a problem here. There's nothing wrong with a 6 or 16-part story, so long as there are resolutions of subplots along the way.

Plot 1 is 16 issues.
Plot 2 is 6 issues
Plot 3 is 2 issues
Plot 4 is 5 issues, starts in #3
Plot 5 is 10 issues, starts in #4
And so on...

Trying to have everything culminate in #16, tying up into a nice little bow, becomes precious, suspect, and tenuous. People will second-guess the plots because they expect them to end at the same time and thus be interconnected, so red herrings get ID'ed for what they are. And readers get antsy, apt to ditch out partway through because they are getting lots of fuse but no earth-shattering kabooms along the way.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm less patient than you. I want *something* to end every issue. I want a complete story in every individual comic book. Sure, there can be some stuff that carries on from issue to issue, but I want to be able to pick up any individual issue and be able to pick out a story that begins and ends within those covers.

5:37 PM  

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