Thursday, March 10, 2011

Legion of Super-Villains #1 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Saturn Queen raises hell on Takron-Galtos and recruits a new Legion of Super-Villains. Their mission is to reduce the universe to anarchy, and in pursuit of this they destroy the Rock of Eternity and are about to raid Colu to select their next target.


The biggest thing I take from this comic book is the new cosmology: the universe rests on three worlds: Dormir, Ttrxl, and Earth... no, wait. The worlds of faith, wisdom, and willpower, which turn out to be the Rock of Eternity, something we don't know yet, and Oa. This strikes me as something that Levitz (and other DC writers) could get a lot of mileage out of. Especially how the three have been conspiring against evil throughout history.

Levitz's take on Saturn Queen is noticeably different from Geoff Johns's. Johns saw her as someone who believed people were evil and corrupt deep down, and wanted to use her powers to bring that out in everyone. The opposite of Saturn Girl, who always sees the best in everyone. Levitz has (with the assistance of the blue space baby) turned her into a kind of psychotic evangelist of anarchy. I think I liked Johns's idea better, but there's no denying that Levitz is making her formidable. (Although my favourite is still 5YL Saturn Queen.)

The new LSV seems like an interesting group. I mean, anytime Lightning Lord is the voice of reason, you know you're pretty much through the looking glass. Some of the LSVers pose interesting questions, like just what is Sun-Killer's backstory? Or who was Immortus before he put his brain in the robot? General Immortus of Doom Patrol fame? What's Questor's story? (One problem: Zymyr. Anytime you have a teleporter in your group, you've got to work extra hard to make them more than just the one who gives everybody a ride all the time. Right now all Zymyr has is his alien appearance and speech pattern. It's not enough. (And if you want to go through that reasoning, substituting "Gates" for "Zymyr", it'll be just as applicable.)) (Oh, and what's Hunter doing here? Does Levitz actually have an idea for making him interesting?)

The obvious question with the Rock of Eternity is, now that it's been destroyed, does that mean that Thunder's going to be showing up in this book? Probably not. Levitz doesn't seem to like doing stuff that's already been done. Presumably that hand that appeared in the last panel of page 32 is whoever's acting in the role of the wizard Shazam these days. I like how the Rock looks like a big floating d8.

It's a pretty good comic book even though it was mostly just setup. I mean, the only reason all this didn't happen in the pages of the regular LSH title is that Levitz wanted to have some room to spread out, right? Which is fine. After all, more is better. And, even if we didn't get a complete story, the story we did get is, oh... semi-complete? I guess you could say that Saturn Queen succeeded in creating her new LSV, and that's the story. And only two weeks until we find out what happens next, and an issue of Adventure in between! We're being spoiled.

- the being extruded by the Rock of Eternity looked a lot like Abnegazar, Rath, and/or Ghast, huh?
- wonder what kind of recruits Mekt is going to find on Rimbor
- I'm going to miss Micro Lad. Oh, wait: no I won't

Art: 154 panels/38 pages = 4.1 panels/page. 4 single-panel pages and 1 double-page spread. Nice job by Portela. In particular I like how he portrays Saturn Queen. I'm not sure that her kooky-bloodthirsty appearance really fits with her character, but it's nice to look at. (I say Emma Caulfield plays Saturn Queen in the movie.) Really, it's shocking how good Legion art has been over the decades, with the rarest of exceptions.

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Blogger snell said...

Prediction: The wizard Shazam will give Mon-El his power, making him Mon-El/Green Lantern/Captain Marvel. I mean, come on, why stop at two? Have him find the Hero Dial, too...

11:48 PM  
Blogger Martin Gray said...

Ha, nice one Snell!

And lovely review, Matthew. I think this is the story that's kicking the revived Legion up a notch - I feel it in my water.

So who could Immortus be? Maybe Cosmic king or Chameleon Chief has had an accident? Perhaps Tharok got sick of having a vulnerable half? Hmmm ...

8:36 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

snell: You know what? I don't think Mon-El and Sodam Yat are going to get along. I have the notion that Mon's tenure as a Green Lantern is going to be short and unpleasant.

As for Immortus... none of those ideas really rings true for me. I think it might be a new character, or at least a character new to Legion comics.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Jim Davis said...

As for Immortus... none of those ideas really rings true for me. I think it might be a new character, or at least a character new to Legion comics.

My first thought was about Immorto of the Wanderers. Not sure how he could have would up on T-G, though.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Who does Immortus remind you of visually? The single eye suggests that one Rocket Red suit of armor, but the mandibles are from something else, and I don't think it's going to come to me.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the first time in a generation,the classic LSV returns (Crossovers don't count) Like the last time,they think big,moving planets to achive their goals.And as before,one of them is killed. Unlike Nemesis Kid's demise,Micro Lad's death was quite arbitrary. Almost felt sorry for the guy.
Unlike other LSVers.The late, little-lamented Wizard magazine used to have a best-of list at year's end;Best Hero,etc.For Best Villain,Saturn Queen would've won this year's contest.She truly is queen of this group,she's amped up in every way,and she's literally playing with fire.Whatever's planned for Hunter,at least he's lost those ridiculous pigtails.
Great looking comic;Portela pulls out all the stops.Great reading,too;this comic succeeds in being both a prelude to the upcoming LSH/LSV war and a complete story in itself.Levitz was more about teasers than tales for much of his run.This goes a good way to redress the balance. But he does try to increase the reader's wordpower.Words like "weregild" and "mandala" have dotted his scripts.See? You can learn something from comics.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, it's kind of obvious that Micro Lad was only a stooge who was there to show us how much of a wingnut the Sklarian woman is. What's her name? Akka, something like that?

12:18 PM  
Blogger karl said...

Absolutely adored this super-fine issue. High-about time the much maligned and underised LSV started to kick ass and take names. I cant remember Saturn Queen being this vicious; she was always rather bland back in the 60s. The colouring is beautiful and evokes the day-glo four-colour optimism of those 60s silver age tales.
Hey, is it true that Wizard magazine has been cancelled? Its not in the recent Previews. I cant say Im surprised; since it went tabloid its been more about movies and tv than about the most important thing in creation...comics!!!!!

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The paper Wizard is cancelled;they're just on-line now.
Here's a theory about Immortus:he's really Tarik the Mute.Downloading his self into an android,he's waiting to step in as leader when Saturn Queen and Lighting Lord take each other out.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm kind of unenthusiastic about the LSV in general, although I am enjoying this take on it so far. As an overall concept I find it too generic and derivative. Again, though, that's not a problem at the moment.

I like the Tarik the Mute idea! I think you might be right, too, and I'm adopting it as my theory. I'd give you credit for it, but--oops!--you're anonymous. This is why you should always post as yourselves, boys and girls!

10:28 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

Liked this quite a lot. Also glad to see the bubble worms are back to being the Gil'dishpan (the post-ZH Legion had tried to say at one point they were the Gil'dan and that the other name was from a mistranslation).

6:51 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Aah. Details.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Enjoyed this issue for the most part. I'm surprised, given that Saturn Queen and the LSV were on Takron-Galtos that they couldn't find a few more recruits actually from the prison riot. But yes, I'm also interested to see who Lightning Lord recruits from Rimbor - hopefully some new, interesting and powerful members who will come into their own not only for this arc but also for the future.

I don't know why, but I got the feeling that the Sklarian Akka woman has been created as a counterpart to Timber Wolf. She's probably agile and she uses a knife. So I see her as a hand-to-hand combatant like Timber Wolf.

The introduction of Admiral Allon: I guess he's being introduced so that he can die at a later stage and Gim can go all grief-stricken?

I do like this nutso Saturn Queen. I don't really remember her earlier incarnations (although I wasn't old enough/haven't got the earlier issues of the Legion stories so don't really remember much of her). She sure snarls a lot, doesn't she?

And I find it amusing that she's totally the top dog and Lightning Lord is effectively her be-atch.

Right, I can't for the life of me recall who Tarik the Mute is. So I'm gonna go look him up now.

P.S. Is the teleporting Zymyr guy a Gil'Dispan or a Gil'Disphan? Think it was spelt differently in this issue than it has been in the past.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, Eve and Mekt go back a long way, so I'm not surprised that he's putting up with her insanity. But she should watch herself; he's too crazy himself for her to keep the lid on him forever.

The spelling I'm used to is Gil'Dishpan. If they changed it for this issue, I didn't catch it.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Chronicler's error: second to last page (i.e. the page opposite Lightning Lord destroying the ship), Saturn Queen says: "They'd love to run gene-codes on a Gil'Disphan teleportation organ..."

But I don't blame such minor mistakes on Levitz. Checking this kind of stuff is what assistant editors and editors are for.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, the current crew is a lot better than whoever was doing LSHv5 for a while there; there were mistakes and problems all over the place. These guys, teach them how to spell "Vyrga" and they'll be fine.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Avalon Lad said...

I liked that the Coluan guy wasn't Braniac 4. I thought the identity of Braniac 4 in the Archie Legion was one of the better ideas of the run and I'd love to see it reintroduced.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I agree about Questor. The 31st century needs stuff to be happening that isn't necessarily Legion-related.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I wouldn't mind Immortus being General Immortus. He's immortal, after all.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

When I first reviewed the comic I would have agreed with you. But now nothing will do for me but that it's really Tarik the Mute.

4:40 PM  

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