Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Legion of Super-Heroes #3 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Green Lantern ring hauls Earth-Man off to another planet in sector 2814 to save some aliens. A Legion team follows him and helps out, but Earth-Man doesn't care for the whole experience so, afterwards, he throws the ring away and returns with the Legion. Phantom Girl leads a Legion team back out to the ruins of Titan to bring Saturn Queen in. Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass catch up with Saturn Girl and they arrive at the planet where they think the kids are (Avalon); there's a big statue of Darkseid there. A bunch of R.J.-Brande-worshiping Durlans are on Earth, looking for revenge against someone.


The main problem with this issue is that the main stories didn't feature much opposition. Earth-Man's mission was a pretty low-tension one, swamp monster or no swamp monster, and as formidable as Saturn Queen is, I never had any doubt that a prepared team of Legionnaires could take her down quick. There's progress on all the other subplots, but the underwhelming adversaries in the A-plots give the comic book a popcorn quality. (Also I'd like to know if there's anything more to Saturn Queen's actions than we've already heard about.)

The other thing is this, and I'm not sure if it's a problem, exactly, but I know if I was writing a comic book I wouldn't want this: some of the individual plots aren't very cliffhangery. For instance: at the end of last issue, I kinda had the idea we were done with Saturn Queen for now. Like she showed up to see what happened to Titan, messed with some Legionnaires, and that was the end of it. There was nothing there that suggested that we'd see more of her this issue, or that she was keeping Brainy and Tyroc as puppets, or anything. Similarly: it's obvious that there's more to say about Dyogene and the Green Lantern Corps, but without a hint of what more, there's no pressure to tune in next month to see it. (Now, the subplot with the Ranzz kids... that one's percolating nicely.) For a serial comic book to be satisfying, you need two things: a complete story with a real payoff, and something to make you intrigued about next month's issue (or, I suppose, the knowledge that this is the last issue).

I noticed something in the first panel of page 4: Earth-Man and Cosmic Boy have the same colour scheme on their costumes, but (sort of) reversed. This makes sense; Earth-Man was the leader of a group who opposed the values of Cosmic Boy's group, and even their superhero names reflect this difference. I guess this was Gary Frank's contribution...

One thing I liked about Earth-Man's mission: it was an example of a GLC mission in sector 2814, but not on Earth. I'm not a Green Lantern reader, but I get the idea that Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle don't go on a lot of such missions (that we ever see). And yet it should be the biggest part of their jobs.

What else can I say about Cinar's art? It's as good as it was the last couple of issues. Panel Count: 131 panels/30 pages = 4.4. 3 single-panel pages.

It was an all-right issue. Next couple of months should be better.

- it's not obvious to me why we're still interested in Professor Li and the Titanians
- seems like Earth-Man's xenophobia also extends to anti-Semitism. This is certainly a reasonable choice, but it is a choice; I could see a 31st century where prejudice among humans has been replaced by prejudice against aliens
- this issue brings us the return of one of Paul Levitz's favourite Legion themes: Stretched Too Thin. Levitz's last run on the title showed a constant preoccupation with who was on what mission, how many Legionnaires there were to spare, and how they really needed more people on the team to be able to cover all their responsibilities. I like it, actually
- which was the Avalon story? Was that Lord Romdur's Castle?
- I didn't notice the letter P before on Tinya's costume. How long's it been there?
- anybody know the goose-girl story well enough to comment on its use here?
- not sure about Sensor Girl's line after finishing off Saturn Queen. It's a Jeckie thing to say, but not really a Sensor Girl thing to say

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