Thursday, September 11, 2008

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #18 Review

About the Save the Legion campaign to keep this title going. In addition to the petition, it'd probably be a good idea to write some letters. Not e-mails, but actual paper letters sent through the postal system. Recommendations: keep it brief, to the point, and civil. I'm sending mine to:

DC Comics
1700 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

Attention: Dan DiDio, Senior Vice President and Executive Editor

Let's not delay too much; there are only a couple of issues left on the schedule.

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

There's chaos all over the place because Mordru has removed the language Interlac from the world. Brainy sends a small team to fight Mordru while the rest of the Legion holds the fort, and between them, Nemesis Kid and the White Witch defeat him. But there's a lingering sense of mistrust towards Nemesis Kid (whom no-one seems to know much about) and Brainy (because of last issue's revelation about the flight rings).


Ethen Beavers returns to do the art for this issue. I don't remember his work being so chunky in his earlier efforts (check the first panel of page 2), but that's okay; I like it. In particular I like his White Witch; it's a good adaptation of the Levitz-era look to the animated-series style.

Writer J. Torres is trying to get sneaky with us again. Mordru's idea is to remove Interlac from the world to cause a breakdown in the United Planets (he refers to the Babel legend, in fact). If all these people of different species and planetary origin can't communicate, they'll be far more vulnerable to an outside threat, in addition to the natural entropy that will set in. Kind of subtle for Mordru, but what the hey. It's also a good counterpoint to the diversity/xenophobia theme that Geoff Johns is using in his Legion-related writing.

But then, at the end, Sun Boy says to Brainy (in reference to their mistrust of him for his flight-ring-override of last issue), that "sometimes, it's like we're speaking a different language". So lack of communication is the Legion's adversary in two different ways here.

This whole business of there being issue-to-issue continuity... I'm on record as being a big defender of the done-in-one comic-book story, and that's what we've got here, so we're still cool. But this whole deal with Brainy and the flight rings has extended over two issues now, and it sorta seems like there'll be more about it next issue, and I'm really not sure that we need that kind of thing in this title. It's probably pleasant for Torres to have the freedom to do it, but I think there's something to be said for having each comic book as a self-contained unit, at least as much so as possible.

I also can't say I'm nuts about the use of Harry Potter spells in the Mysa-Mordru duel. Legion comics have enough lore and tradition of their own without having to borrow someone else's mythology. Then again, it may just appeal to the intended audience.

It's weird, you know. This series has been as consistently good as any I've ever read. Just about every issue has been as good as this one (okay, a couple were a little weak, but they were balanced out by a couple of damn excellent ones). Does DC have so many high-quality series that they can discard them so readily? I guess it's more of a sales thing, which is either less depressing or more depressing.

Membership Notes:

We get actual appearances for Ultra Boy, the White Witch and Nemesis Kid, which we haven't really had before, and a mention of Dawnstar.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't stop laughing about Mordru potter. I wasn't expecting to take him as a serious threat anyway because of episode 10 in season 2 of the show. Now he's either slower or gutsy for trying to use a spell in the wrong universe (I'm going with slow). Sorry Nemesis Kid. You didn't really save the day.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I've done my best to forget about episode 10 of season 2.

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think episode ten was meant to be a "Mordru intro" episode more then anything. Fancy throwing in a characer never been in the show, saying his big and mighty and not giving a reason for his actions. Even Imperiax was handled better. Mardru's handling was like mud and something I'd expected to see about 50 years ago. Considering his big role in the Legion's history at points of it, it seemed like a waste. Like the producers did the sum: Throw in a previously big Legion villan from the comics = win.

I remember reading back in season 1 that they wanted to introduce Darksied later on... After Mordru's handling I'm glad they never did.

A thing that threw me off. Brainy's leader in this issue? Wow... When did this happen? Sun Boy also did have his surfer dude accent like before with he appeared in issue 9. (Actaully I'm glad of that).

2:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Missed something; This issue is written as though end of season 2. There is references to the B5 being taken over by B1.0 and that he had taken a leave for a while. Yet... Why is Brainy still a robot here? I know they are following the series and all, but if they are going to do this, they may as well get it right.

I know it doesn't bring the issue down, but its still a bummer the little details of the end of season 2 are being left out.

3:29 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

The impression I get - and I can't remember if this is bolstered by the chat I had with J. Torres at a convention - is that this issue is all happening after Season 2 is over and done with, and then some. So Brainy isn't still a robot; he's a robot again. (For instance.)

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comic has shown before that it doesn't have unbreakable iron-clad ties with the show. In the issue where Brainy goes home, the comic's depiction was nothing like what you'd think of Colu based on the show. Supposedly, the giant robot form is his natural form and he's frowned upon for taking on a more human appearance. In that issue, everyone has a more human like appearance. Maybe, for whatever reason, he was never human and they just wanted to keep him as a robot.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

In my mind, he's not a robot even if he is a robot, so it's not something I would recommend anyone devote a lot of processing time to.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job from Ethen Beavers.The best artists on this series try to mirror the look of the show while remembering that this is a comic book and not a handful of animation cels.
Dead-letter matter now,but I was okay with this book having issue-to-issue continuity,as long as it was in small doses.I also feel that way about the DCU proper.
For someone considered a major Legion foe,Mordru doesn't seem to have a lot of memorable battles with the Legion.His debut,yes,one of the all-time classics,but after that there seems to be a long dry spell.Don't even know what the next good Mordru story would be. Which just goes to show,if you make a really good first impression,follow-ups are almost unnecessary.

3:50 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Great Mordru stories... well, there's Earthwar, of course. After that I think you have to look at the 5YL stuff (especially the Mordruverse issue).

10:13 AM  

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