Sunday, March 30, 2008

Legion of Super Heroes #2-12 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

While Imperiex prepares for a big attack, Brainiac 5 is trying to overcome the Brainiac 1 programming he invoked earlier in the series. It wants him to embrace power and make the universe nice and orderly. It turns out that Imperiex's attack is intended to push Brainy over this edge so that Brainy will become his ally, and it succeeds: Brainy joins with the Legion in fighting off Imperiex, but later, he fights his way free of the Legion (fatally injuring Superman) himself and joins Imperiex. Imperiex calls up the Legion to share this good news with them, but it turns out that he was a bit premature: Brainy kills Imperiex and Validus and heads for Colu to begin the process of conquering the universe his way. To be continued!


Well, the core of this episode is more... personal and psychological than that of the first season's finale, isn't it? And for some reason I'm always dubious about that. See, for any ongoing character such as you get in superhero comics, there are external stories and internal stories--that is, there are stories in which the conflict is with some external force, and there are stories in which the conflict is internal and involves the protagonist's own identity and nature in some way. I have always preferred external stories. I don't mind one every now and then, but too many in a row will tick me off.

It's also an odd way to end a series. I'm sure that when the writers mapped out the season they didn't know it would be the last, so what can you do, but I'd like the Legion's final villain to be someone other than my favourite superhero. Speaking of which, Imperiex was disposed of rather unceremoniously, wasn't he? Guy made the classic Bonehead mistake (see my review of S&LSH #28 for more on this notion): he released forces he could not control. Never release forces you can't control!

I guess we're not going to get any more on the whole Karate Kid/Nemesis Kid thing. Imagine that, Nemesis Kid ends up not betraying anybody. Oh well; the LSH31C comic still gets to take a shot at him.

While watching this episode, the obvious thing to think was that this was all part of a ploy by Brainy to fake Imperiex out, or something... but his fight with Superman sort of put an end to that notion. That was brutal, and I'm glad my son didn't happen to see this episode. This cartoon never shocked me in that way before. Superman ripping off Brainy's arms and legs? Not cool.

But I'm looking at what next episode is faced with resolving... Brainiac 5 is trying to conquer the universe, has the power to obliterate anyone or everyone around, and has killed Superman. For us to get our happy ending, we need Superman to be alive, Brainy to be redeemed, and, preferably, somehow, history to be intact to the extent that they can save Luornu's third body from Superman-X's future (forgot about her, huh?). And there aren't a lot of ways to get that done. I think Brainy's gone too far, and while there's always a way to bring Superman back if you want one, we already seem to be on a different time-track from the one that took us to the 41st century that we already saw. (I think.)

And there's another problem. Superman can't be dead.

By which I don't mean, the show would never go so far as to kill him. And I don't mean, Brainiac 5 doesn't have enough juice to kill him. I mean, if Superman dies in the future, that changes history, and the Legion's 31st century never happens. And if anybody knows that, it's Brainiac 5. So even if they were enemies, he'd never try to kill Superman; it couldn't possibly do anything other than interfere with his plans. And I don't know where that leaves us. Maybe this whole thing, including Superman's fake death, and faked footage from Imperiex's ship, is all a Mission Impossible-style put-on to decoy Nemesis Kid--?

I do suspect that time travel is going to be part of the Legion's solution to all this, though. Someone will have to go back and stop somebody from doing something, and Brainy won't turn evil, and they'll have to cope with Imperiex some other way, and the Time Bubble's glove compartment will pop open and Triplicate Girl-White will jump out. You heard it here first.

A good episode, and I'm certainly looking forward to the conclusion... but, like the rest of this season, not quite as good as I was hoping for.

Membership Notes:

The crowd scenes in this episodes were a treasure trove, as a trio of previously unseen Legion characters turn up: Chemical King, Dawnstar and XS, as well as more familiar faces-in-the-crowd Ultra Boy, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Polar Boy, Night Girl, and the current Subs team. (Many thanks to all the sharp-eyed posters at Legion World.) Since the Subs are there, there's no way to be sure who's a Legionnaire and who isn't, but hey: they made it to TV just under the wire.

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