Thursday, September 25, 2008

Legion of Super-Heroes #46 Review

First, an update on the Save the Legion initiative. I wrote DC a letter asking them not to cancel LSH31C and saying why, and today I got a nice letter back from them. If you also don't want LSH31C to be cancelled (and you shouldn't, because it's a very good comic book), and if you haven't signed the petition or written a letter, well, time's a-wastin'. I don't know if there's any hope that this'll actually work, but I do know that if there's something you want, there's nothing wrong with asking for it.

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Saturn Girl and Ultra Boy confess to Lightning Lad that they succumbed to their evil, evil lust. He doesn't take it well. Invisible Kid and Brainiac 5 make a couple of conceptual breakthroughs that bring them a little closer to figuring out just what's going on with the alien invaders. Orandan partisans are trying to use Princess Projectra for something, and she's having a hard time coping with Earth society and her loss of her home, family and planet. A bunch of superpowered rioters cause trouble but Ultra Boy handles them easily. Invisible Kid and Ultra Boy are cleared of any wrongdoing for their earlier charges (spying and vehicular homicide, respectively).


I was trying to figure out what this issue was about, as a single comic book, and I had a hard time. There are a lot of subplots, but no single plot. If there is a unifying aspect to this issue, it's probably the character of Ultra Boy. Jo appears to his best advantage here. He tries to take the heat for Saturn Girl with Lightning Lad, he's innocent of running some poor slob down, and he's more than a match for a bunch of superpowered yobbos. Shooter seems to have a good handle on him; a lot of people think that Waid wrote him as a lunkhead, but he certainly doesn't seem like that here... and yet, he's portrayed consistently with how Waid wrote him.

Projectra's another one whose edges are softened in this issue. She really is trying to learn a better way. (And Manapul draws her beautifully here.) One thing I'm curious about: the comic book Phantom Girl reads and rereads to her. Tromium of the Legion World boards identifies it as "Action #242, the 1958 debut of Braniac. Did it actually have a story in it about a king turned villains who lost his people?" If someone could summarize that comic in the comments here, I'd appreciate it; I have an idea that it's going to come into play indirectly soon.

While we're at it. We will need, eventually, a ruling about just how it is that the Legion has access to comic books featuring characters they encounter in 'real life'. Does the Legion live on Earth-Prime? Do these comic books include any Legion comics? Could we ever see Phantom Girl reading a comic book about herself? This is the point at which my suspension of disbelief starts to break down.

Brainy accelerates his popularity campaign in this issue by chopping off Chameleon's hand. Now, I'm willing to grant that Brainy--especially this version--isn't particularly charismatic or empathetic, but you don't need a whole lot of insight about people to understand that nobody likes having their hands chopped off. Maybe it was a good and necessary thing to do, but he could have asked. I think Brainy is probably smart enough to process this idea.

Brainy tries to convince people in this issue that Dream Girl has no continued existence in his consciousness or elsewhere. Which is unacceptable, from an editing point of view. Let me remind everyone that a) Saturn Girl and Dream Boy (wherever the hell he is) have also encountered Dream Girl in her new state of existence, and b) her new existence has been revealed to the rest of the Legion twice now, once at the end of Waid's run and once during Bedard's run. Is nobody paying attention to this stuff? It's not just a minor detail!

A list of the minor villains nabbed by Ultra Boy this issue: Visegrip, Flea, Radiant, Steel Squid, Bloodbat, Slugg, Zaphammer, Sister Scrap Iron. They only had a few panels each, and I don't know how eager I am to see them again, but guess what? They're already more interesting than Terror Firma or most of the Wanderers.

It was a middle-volume kind of issue. It'll probably work pretty well as part of a trade, which makes me feel a whole lot better about not having waited for such. Stupid sixteen-issue mega-arc.

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