Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Legion of Super-Heroes #5 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Earth Force, former allies of Earth-Man, attack the Titanian refugees; Earth-Man helps apprehend them. Then later Phantom Girl catches him and Shadow Lass sleeping together.

Dyogene shows up on Naltor and tries to foist the power ring off on Harmonia Li, but she refuses it; later, in conversation with Circadia Senius, Brainiac 5 learns that Dr. Li is a lot older than she looks.

The Durlan revenge squad assassinates Chief Zendak and replaces him with one of their own, disguised, as part of their plot to avenge R.J. Brande.


The solicit for this issue said that we'd learn the final fate of Lightning Lad's and Saturn Girl's kids. And we didn't see anything about that. Of course, last issue seemed to neatly end that subplot, so our takeaway from this incident is that solicits lie. Not that that helped us with the Shadow Lass thing; people have been guessing for months that she was going to trip the light fantastic with Earth-Man, and that's just what happened.

Is it just me or was this a short issue? It seemed like it was over in a hurry. Not that many subplots addressed, and a couple of the ones that were addressed were addressed quickly.

I'm going to miss Chief Zendak. Good supporting characters are hard to come by, and he was definitely one of the good ones. There are other good Science Police characters around, true, and I think I have an idea what Levitz has in mind.

What we've got with Earth-Man and his rehabilitation is the normalization of xenophobia. The way I figure it, Earth-Man is still a xenophobe; he's just a moderate one instead of an extreme one. And now he's a Legionnaire. That's the effect of extremists in real life, I think: they rarely get their way, but they do clear some space for the moderate versions of their views. I wouldn't be surprised if Earth-Man was shrewd enough to realize this. But anyway: we've got a Legion of Super-Heroes that now has some entrenched xenophobia in it, and they're going to be going up against a bunch of Durlans, of all people, and they'll be fighting mad because of Zendak, and it'll be real easy for the powers that be to really put the hammer down on not just these Durlans but potentially all aliens, or all Durlans at least, and there's gotta be a faction of Legionnaires who'll oppose that (Chameleon Boy and Colossal Boy for two). The Legion could split right down the middle on this, and Levitz is making it look easy. And all of that is just me thinking off the top of my head; Levitz has actually put some time into it and has likely come up with something that's like that but, you know, interesting.

The big controversy this issue is supposed to be Earth-Man and Shadow Lass, of course. At the moment I have no opinion on it because I don't know what anyone's thinking. Ask me next month. The other stuff... I wasn't impressed by the Earth Force and I don't know why it took the Legion so long to polish them off; I don't know why it's taking Dyogene so long to find a Green Lantern and I'm starting to lose what little interest I had in the question; I don't know what is the deal with Harmonia Li but I think this could be the most intriguing subplot of all. She's real old but looks young; she does time travel research; she has a beef with the Oans. What's it add up to?

Panel Count: 107/30 pages = 3.6 panels/page; 3 single-panel pages plus one 2-page panel. No wonder it seemed like a short issue! Check it out. Here's the rate of panels per page in each issue since #1:

1 4.8
2 4.5
3 4.4
4 4.2
5 3.6

The difference between this issue and the first one is 1.2 panels/page. At 30 pages, that's 36 panels, which calculates conveniently to 10 pages. Now, issue #1 was extra-long, at 39 pages, but even if it had only been 30 pages, it'd still be effectively 10 pages longer than #5. That's a lot!

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