Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Legion of Super-Heroes #2 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

A bunch of Legionnaires are cleaning up the debris from Titan's destruction, when a curious Saturn Queen shows up. She mind-controls Ultra Boy to beat up his teammates and go to Earth and smash Legion HQ, seemingly just out of malice. Meanwhile, Lightning Lad abandons his search for Mekt's twin to start trying to find Saturn Girl and their kids, while Saturn Girl is making progress in the time bubble. Xenophobic earthlings start a riot protesting the arrival of refugees from Titan, and Earth-Man gets his first assignment as a Legionnaire, assisting in keeping the peace. He also learns how to use his Green Lantern ring, and uses it to deactivate the safety on his flight ring.


The machine continues to operate.

This issue, the focus seems to be on the consequences of Titan's destruction, what with the refugees and the live-action game of Asteroids the Legionnaires get to play, and all. Anybody disappointed in this issue? Shouldn't be; it's about exactly what one should have expected out of a second issue by Paul Levitz. None of the plots or subplots are ready to end yet, so we have to be satisfied with the resolution of Ultra Boy's mind-control as all the closure we're going to get.

I wonder if Levitz has long-term plans for Saturn Queen, or if this was just a one-off appearance. Not enough time has passed yet for us to have perspective on just what exactly Geoff Johns did for the Legion, but I'll mention one positive contribution he made right here: he turned Saturn Queen into a dashed interesting character. I may not like her as much as I did when she was Tenzil Kem's blushing bride, but she's a pretty good supervillain now, and I would not always have said that.

I'm sure there will be much talk about the breakup of the longstanding Mon-El/Shadow Lass couple. Here's my take on it: if you need your Legion comics to satisfy your nostalgia, Paul Levitz is not the writer for you. He doesn't cater to any of that stuff. Paul Levitz doesn't want anybody to get comfortable.

Also good to see that Earth-Man's trajectory is still unclear at this stage. It looks like he can be a ... viable? ... Legionnaire, at least, if not any nicer of a guy. I mean, I still don't like the guy, or want him on the team, much, but Levitz has found the one thing to do with him that makes him interesting, and that's to not let him be what he wants to be, and as long as that's unresolved, he's worth watching. So let's string that out as long as we reasonably can.

Cinar's art is strong again this issue. Maybe not quite as good as in #1... that happened with Manapul, too. I think there's a general second-issue-letdown effect that applies to comics. I particularly liked panel 2 of page 26. Panel Count 4.5 panels/page over 30 pages, one single-panel page.

Anyway, I say it's another clean single up the middle, and I'm looking forward to next issue.

- just what's so hard about spelling "Brainiac", anyway? I swear I see it misspelled more than just about any other Legion-related word
- more than "Vyrga", for instance. This is not the way to impress me, Sal Cipriano, Sean Ryan, and Brian Cunningham!
- somebody check me on this... is Dream Girl's mole on the correct side of her mouth?
- Saturn Queen's costume kinda reminds me of the original Saturn Girl costume from Adventure #247. I think it's the combination of her coloring with the dark colors of the costume

Membership Notes:

Tyroc is apparently a Legionnaire in good standing, as he's part of the team cleaning up debris around Titan. And Earth-Man seems to be officially a Legionnaire.

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Anonymous Jim Davis said...

It may be a clean single up the middle but (to further your metaphor) it'll be interesting if he can knock some runs home. Most writers can do competent setups; the great ones deliver satisfying resolutions as well.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, Levitz does do that... sometimes. More often, he goes for the long simmer, with each individual issue having enough of its own story that you don't keep feeling like nothing happened the way I often did in the middle third of the threeboot.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

I haven't read the full issue yet, but just based on the preview pages on Comic Book Resources, this feels like vintage 'second-go-round' Levitz. I am extremely optimistic, and thrilled that Tyroc has been updated and reimmersed. As I posted elsewhere, I hope his friendship with Tasmia is developed more fully, and am wondering if her split with Mon-El has made room for more than just picking up their friendship where it left off...

4:14 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Notice also that Tyroc's powers haven't been completely redefined. See there where he screams a lightning bolt to clear away asteroids? The lightning bolt doesn't come out of his mouth.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well,two issues in and still hitting on all cylinders.No sophmore slump here.Levitz proves he's the ace of Legion writers,handling characters and storylines with the surest,deftest touch.Cinar and Portela make a complimentary tag team on the art.And 30 pages of Legion this month!Don't know how long that'll last,but I don't mind paying 4bucks for as long as it does.
The look of the Legionnaires often gets an adjustment,usually by a change of clothes.Not all the new duds work for me,but Wildfires' does.His remodeling into walking Kirby krackle should be his definitive look from here on out.
Lot of familiar faces,and one that's new to me:Tyroc.Heard of him,now I'll see what the talk was all about.Could've started by explaining how his sonics work in airless space.
I'm sure we'll see more of Saturn Queen.Next issue,at least.Yes,she is more compelling as a villain than as Tenzil's bride.More plausible,too.
Poor Ultra Boy got no respect this month-used as a tool by Saturn Queen,insulted by Shadow Lass, chanting"Destroy"like some B-movie robot.There even seemed a note of condescension in Tinya when taking down her man.Jo must have Rodney Dangerfield in his family tree.
Earth-Man continues to compel and puzzle.No clue as to the reason he was made a Green Lantern,apart from the baldly commercial one.One way or another,this won't end well.
Only fault with this issue:No story.Several installments of seperate stories,yes.Intriguing stories,to be sure,but long simmers aren't what I buy comics for.Let's turn up the heat.There's an observation about watched pots and boiling we've all heard,and it applies here.

2:36 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Could've started by explaining how his sonics work in airless space.

I think his powers are sourced in magic. Plus he's got his transuit.

No clue as to the reason he was made a Green Lantern

Go back and check out Sodam Yat in FC:L3W, including the revised GL oath. I'm not convinced the GL Corps are going to be the good guys this time. Earth-Man could be exactly what Yat had in mind.

Only fault with this issue:No story.

Sure there was. The Saturn Queen/Ultra Boy thing. That's not much, but it did get wrapped up by issue's end... well, the Ultra Boy part of it, anyway. A) Second issues are generally underwhelming, and B) this is not atypical of Levitz. The book is still performing within tolerances.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

I've seen a lot of people in various places complain about the 'lack of story'. With no disrespect, if they are going to enjoy some good old-fashioned Legion stories, these people are going to have to wash off twenty years of changes in storytelling styles.

I am so thrilled to be back in the land of multiple plot threads that move along month to month, and actually end up somewhere. Today's "write for the trade" mentality has bugged me for years. Not all change is progress, and hopefully Levitz's senior status at DC will allow him to write at his own pace.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah. I hope people give this run a chance; Levitz is a writer who is best appreciated in the long run.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I was impressed by the perceived density of the issue, which is mostly having 4 or more plots running, all getting adequate movement. Feels like a lot more than an issue of Avengers or JLA.

As for Tyroc, in addition to magic being involved, we can handwave that what he does is create vibrations via a screaming-type action. On Earth, that is an audible sound, but in space (where no one can hear you scream, of course), he vibrates the aether (gravity well, ley lines, whatever). The scream probably focuses and directs the magic effects, rather than creating them.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I was impressed by the perceived density of the issue, which is mostly having 4 or more plots running, all getting adequate movement.

Well, that is the Levitz Method.

As for Tyroc... we could drive ourselves nuts trying to explain it. I prefer just to see how it plays out.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really liked this ish a lot!! As others have postulated, there wasnt much actual story but who cares? Its second-issue-syndrome and we need more time to take in the new status-quo. Im only upset at two things..theway Ultra-Boy is portrayed as an idiot when he clearly ISNT, and hearing that Mon-El and Tasmia have split, no, no I dont want this to happen, I love them together. Great to see the Ranzz twins acting civilly to each other foor once, Garth not just tearing off after his sons. And, yes oh yes cool to see Gates and Jenni back on the team[though XS wasnt in this].9/10, a good effort.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Im only upset at two things..theway Ultra-Boy is portrayed as an idiot when he clearly ISNT, and hearing that Mon-El and Tasmia have split, no, no I dont want this to happen, I love them together.

Well, for the first one, I'm going to watch and see how Ultra Boy is actually portrayed, as opposed to what other Legionnaires say about him. For the second, just think about how great it is to read a comic book where you actually care about stuff like that that much.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

I was a little underwhelmed. Still going to stick with the comic for the foreseeable future - I have high hopes of Levitz and will stick with the comic for as long as he's at the helm. But I felt that there could have been more of a resolution to the Ultra Boy fight. Why did he keel over suddenly? Did he overcome Saturn Queen's influence or did PG snap him out of it or was Saturn Queen just too far away? (I may need to re-read the issue as I only read it once last night - so apologies if I missed the explanation).

Yes, I can see that there are lots of things on the simmer. So I look forward to some of these paying off big-time in the near-future.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think he keeled over because Tinya snapped him out of it.

11:43 AM  

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