Thursday, April 21, 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes #12 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Mekt and Atta are trying to recruit muscle on Rimbor, and some Legionnaires show up to fight them. The Legionnaires mostly win, but Mekt and Atta get away.

Timber Wolf is still hunting Sun-Killer. Mon-El and Dyogene happen upon the rubble of the Rock of Eternity.

Brainy leaves Starman's treatment (Star Boy's treatment?), and Harmonia Li, behind as he leads a squad of Legionnaires to Colu to see why it's been cut off from the rest of the galaxy. They run into Saturn Queen and company, and there's another fight. Saturn Queen, Questor, and Zymyr duck out early, though, having found what they were looking for, and leave the rest of their guys (including Mekt and Atta, who show up at the end) to keep the Legion busy.


I have the idea that the reduced number of pages is cramping Levitz's style. We got one page each of checking in on Timber Wolf and Mon-El, and to what end? Just to remind us that they're there?

The plot here reminds me of the Great Darkness Saga. Supervillains teleporting around all over the place, chasing targets of ancient significance. The Legion pursues them and manages to contain them but not defeat them or ruin their plans (which remain mysterious). The villains are hostile to the Legion but not really interested in killing them. What would cinch it? I guess it depends on what happens in the climactic ending. (Which doesn't look like it's coming soon.)

Don't know what else to say about it. It's the middle of everything. The only real development is that Saturn Queen finds where the second world to destroy is, the world of wisdom. Wonder if it's someplace we already know about.

- so, did Brainy manage to summon Tellus and Gates? And, what, send them after Zymyr and the other two? It's possible; Earth-Man had telepathy at the moment and might have transmitted their destination
- we get another minor supervillain in Stegus, a big dinosaur guy. I hope Saturn Queen wasn't counting on the extra personnel, though; they had no luck in recruiting on Rimbor
- so we got a glimpse of the other Star Boys as Brainy released Thom's multiversal energy, fine, but who was the one with the red mask?
- Colossal Boy gets roughed up again. Should we start keeping track of this?
- When did Mon-El meet Captain Marvel? CoIE?
- Another new supporting character: Science Police officer Adin

Art: 92 panels/20 pages = 4.6 panels/page. One single-panel page.

Cinar turns in his usual fine job. I find myself wondering about his panel arrangements. It's not like he's in a rut or anything (he had a sequence of seven pages, each with exactly five panels, none of them the same) but the panels are often stacked or layered in ways that I don't know why they're like that. I mean, I could be making it more complicated than it has to be; he could just think it looks cool.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

In two consecutive issues,Colossal Boy gets knocked on his ass.He's become more useless than Arms-Fall-Off Boy.If this is meant as humor, it's not funny.If it's setting up another plotline,I don't feel like waiting.
The retroboot has become one big waiting game.Lots of motion,but no movement.It's epitomized by Brainy leaving for Colu to investigate its communication blackout, leaving behing Prof. Li,who just admitted she was responsible for the blackout!Can't bring her along, can't stop to have her explain because---why?Can't help but feel Levitz has no idea where he's going with all these storylines, and is just vamping furiously until inspiration strikes.If that's the case,I'm getting off this merry-go-round.

2:19 AM  
Blogger Murray said...

- so we got a glimpse of the other Star Boys as Brainy released Thom's multiversal energy, fine, but who was the one with the red mask?

He showed up in Starman towards the end of the series. He's the 1950's Starman, and while I ought to remember his identity, I don't.

- Another new supporting character: Science Police officer Adin

And was she flirting with Brin? I kinda thought that she was... except that Cinar's expression on her face kinda confused me.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Anonymous: Oh, I'm sure he knows where he's going. But I agree with you about the Harmonia Li part; that was awkward.

Murray: Thanks. I figured it was something like that.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

I enjoyed this issue more than I've enjoyed many of the issues so far. A good balance of Legionnaires in action - the female Legionnaires seem a lot more accomplished than the guys, don't they? In a previous issue, Dreamy and Shady took on a Durlan and kicked butt while Gim and Earth-Man had butts kicked. Similarly in this issue, poor Gim (again!!) as well as Ultra Boy got zapped but then saved by Phantom Girl and Lightning Lass.

Agree that it just didn't make sense for Brainy to storm off without at least having a 30-second conversation to ask: 'So what's the deal Harmonia?'

And yeah, I thought that the new Science Police officer was flirting with Timber Wolf. He deserves it I guess. After all, he hasn't had any romantic interest since Ayla split from him.

I liked Mekt being not-so-subservient. I think that a major part of the end of this LSV saga will be him turning on Saturn Queen, basically zapping her in the back and reinstating himself as the Big Bad Guy.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

he hasn't had any romantic interest since Ayla split from him.

Sure he did. Marella Tao.

I think the likelihood of Mekt betraying Saturn Queen is entirely dependent on how much he likes whatever her grand plan is. In other words, only if he sees it as her betraying him first. Other than that, I think the two of them have enough history together that he'll go along if it's reasonable for him to do so.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

At this point, it really seems like Colossal Boy's being turned into a running gag. Has he successfully managed to tangle with a bad guy yet since the relaunch started?

Gim's got SP training, Legion training, and has had his powers for a long time now (plenty of experience being a big target). It's almost enough to make one wonder if it isn't being seeded as some kind of plot point, like him having some kind of disease that started with slowing his reflexes and is only going to get worse.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Or have him learn how to fight effectively. All he does now is just show up and provide the enemy with a big target.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Brainy Pirate said...

Maybe if we all post about Gim's incompetence on Levitz's Facebook wall (he takes pretty much all friend requests), he'll either tell us that it's part of a plan or he'll realize that he's been misusing Gim?

2:48 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Go for it.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

mon-el and marvel were part of the strike force against the anti-monitor's fortress in coie#7..

4:04 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

and DOES lightning lord REALLY have a lot of history with saturn queen? i thought that kooky adult legion story in superman, where luthor uses a time-radio to contact an adult version of the LSV, and she is given a chunk of saturn's rings and turns straight (at least till the ice melts) was wiped from continuity due to the events of legion #300, and she doesn't appear again till the brilliant five years later version married to evilo--

in this reconstructed timeline, other than the legion of three worlds arc and another nullified timeline from the superman/batman title, when has she teamed with mekt for any significant amount of time?

(afer all, even cosmic king is relatively new to the party, having just joined up with the LSV in the first issues of the baxter run)

4:15 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Good point, but I think Levitz is proceeding on the assumption that they do know each other well.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Filthy McMonkey said...

The 50s Starman turned out to be David Knight, brought back from the dead for a limited time in the past by some magicians in the afterlife.

As far as Colossal Boy goes, I always figured that being a huge target WAS his job. The bad guys flip out seeing this huge dude, and then instinctively shoot at him, leaving the other Legionnaires with more effective powers free to clean house.


11:04 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Not a bad plan, if you can get Gim to go along with it, but a guy that strong, wouldn't you rather make constructive use of him? If you could?

11:25 PM  
Blogger Blue Tyson said...

Think those big giant supers throughout history are knockdown comedy relief, whoever they are, if 'big and strong' is the only power.

CB's fight win-loss ratio might be the worst in the Legion. :)

12:33 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

But one of Paul Levitz's strong points is that he can find things to do with characters who've been left in some kind of uninteresting limbo. Levitz has done okay by Gim in that he came up with a cool wife for him, and a good storyline with Starfinger in the Baxter series, and some backstory with GiGi and the Science Police. And I wouldn't want Gim, or any Legionnaire, to win all the fights, but it's silly for him to win none of them.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

On a completely unrelated note, isn't it great that we've had a full year of new-but-old Legion stories? I never bought the Reboot or Threeboot stories (apologies if I've got the names of them wrong), so it's been a looong time since I've actually been buying Legion comics. And, for me at least, I'm very glad the team that I read in the 80s are back!

1:48 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm glad you're enjoying it, but I'd rather have some new-but-new Legion stories. I like Levitz, and I certainly don't think he's resting on his laurels, but I also don't think he's being as ambitious with this title as it's possible to be. Levitz does what he does very well, but I've already seen him do it better than this.

3:47 PM  
Blogger karl said...

Cant help but feel sadly that this new version is showing male legionnaires as incompetent and the female ones as ultra-capable [Dream Girl and Shady against Earth-Man and Gim]. Never thought that particular political correctness would turn up in this book...
That SP officer could have been flirting with Brin, but Cinars faces are so odd to decipher with their odd looks its difficult to tell. About time he got some though[!].
Brainy shouldve dealt with Li by now...just the merest hint she had anything to do with Titans destruction and hed be right on it. Her 'mystery' has been dragging on too long...itd better be worth it.
As for Gim...!!! What IS it with him and Levitz. I hate how hes seen as a 'whipping boy' by each villain until another Legionnaire captures them. When he was injured by Starfinger in the 80s run I thought he was going to be retired from the LSH as his leg injury hindered his size-changing powers. Bit of a long shot but could that be a reason for his slow reactions?

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Levitz has too many storylines in the air.He needs to pick one story,stay with it,and bring it to a conclusion.He's making Mark Waid look focused.
Levitz said he patterned his storytelling after the style of his favorite film director,Robert Altman,who was never known for fast-paced narrative.Levitz should find another film director to emulate.I would suggest JJ Abrams, who had success with another fictional franchise set in the future.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Karl: I don't really think male Legionnaires look incompetent in this run. I mean, I don't dispute your list of examples; I just don't think it makes a pattern.

Anon: Juggling storylines is what Levitz does best. I'm happy with the way he's handling that part. I might wish the storylines were different, but I'm fine with how they're layered.

6:55 PM  
Blogger karl said...

I think Levitz taking his writing style after Altmans is very good [Ive not heard that about him before]; I wouldnt suggest writing in the style of JJ Abrams though; after the debacle of "Lost" we dont want long rambling narratives with unexplained events. Levitz at least gets round to explaining most of what his plans are, tho in this run so far its been disapointing imo; all the trouble the Durlans caused [inc killing Chief Zendak] for what? To get their hands on Brandes fortune and some minor [unfocused] revenge? Then theres the mystery of Professor Li yet to be worked out and the odd recruiting of Earth-Man into the LSH...for what? Redemption?
We should be getting some clear resolutions on certain plots by now; in particular the Durlan plot whicj seemed to end abruptly [ and unsatisfactorily imo, Id have preferred it to continue indefinitely in the background. Thats one plot Id wouldnt want ending any time soon].
Loving this LSH/LSV storyline!!

3:21 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

[b]karl[/b]: For more on Levitz and Altman, see Tim Callahan's chapter in [i]Teenagers from the Future[/i].

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long rambling narratives with unexplained events? What do you think we have now? Almost every storyline introduced in LSH #1 and before is still waiting to be resolved,and those few that were resolved were not worth the wait. It goes without saying that a good story needs a good ending.If a long-running storyline comes to a bad end,the thud is doubled.

What JJ Abrams did for Star Trek was to inject some energy to a series that had become stodgy. Levitz needs to do the same for the Legion.Juggling storylines with skill is all well and good, but you can't watch them swirl in the air forever.They have to come to a point sometime.

2:28 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

He'll get there; don't worry.

9:57 AM  
Blogger karl said...

Anonymous...I was talking about Abrams writing of "Lost" not "star Trek" actually. And I agree Levitzs plots need to end satisfactorily; his Durlan plot just seemed to end abruptly.
I have that "Teenagers From The Future" book and will deffo read it for that reference.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

I suspect that the Durlan assassin plot suffered somewhat from the cut from 30 story pages to 20. Levitz does have lots of storylines going on (which, for what it's worth, I *love* and would not want to see change any time soon!!) but you can't forget that when he was planning the structure of these stories, he was working with a lot more pages available to him. The whole "Stay the line at $2.99" thing came out of nowhere really quickly and caught lots of people (including the creative folk, I'm sure) by surprise.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

and you know, waaaay back in the day gim DID show some verve and cleverness in combat...witness his takedown of the jiggsaw beast in Adv#350... (yeah, that would be the wayback part)

and before brainy blew up the HQ (second time? third?) they always used to showcase the giant-sized weaponry that was available to CB, so maybe the thought was that in a legion with some very heavy hitters, a kid with just growing powers needed a little something-something to help him compete...

but yeah, he used to have SOME competence and the implication of cleverness, where the hell did he put it..

(like he couldn't shrink away or grow through the ice on his face? come on....)

3:27 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Also, Shooter gave Gim a nice action scene in that threeboot story where he and Ultra Boy were catching rats.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I'm sure the World of Wisdom has to be somewhere that we know, or the value of destroying it would be very low. Under the idea that it is hidden and thus not something we would look for, I say it's... Bizarro World.

A minor note you didn't comment on: Immortus was constructed on Zuun. Sounds like he may be the return of the android who took Brin's place in Timber Wolf's origin.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I hope it's not Bizarro World. My Bizarro threshold is pretty low.

I did notice the Zuun thing, but I didn't take the extra step the way you did. That's a good theory.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

i woulda gone with zerox as the planet of interplanetary wisdom... don't know if it's still blowed up in this timeline...

i DO like the karth arn idea, but as long as it's not the long-lost brain of tarik the mute in there...

though, what if it's GENERAL immortus, the doom patrol villain, in a brain-case, like, well, the brain, the dude who hung out with the (other) evil talking gorilla...

(you know, but with legs..)

4:19 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I suspect it's not Zerox; we already have the magic thing sorta covered with the Rock of Eternity. Maybe something we haven't thought of, like, oh, Trom or Lythyl or Mardru or something.

I agree that we don't need both Karth Arn and Tarik the Mute. Either one is fine, though.

But I'd rather it wasn't General Immortus. Just doesn't seem like the right fit.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

IS the sorcerer's world that mysa's been hanging out zerox? or are they keeping the bit that the wizards got refugeed to tharn after the magic war?

(i'm somewhat intrigued by the idea of a planet full of gravestones as the planet of wisdom, but i DO see the virtues of casting a wider net, for all we know it could be new genesis...)

4:44 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh. Ah. Hm. Zerox. Tharn. Yeah, I don't know. But I'm still guessing that the world of wisdom is neither of those.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous stile86 said...

I'll second (third? fourth?) that Harmonia Li mess. Let's see... The mysterious woman that I have previously chased across the galaxy to learn her secret but who wouldn't tell me now lands on my doorstep offering to tell me how she is the cause of the problem on my homeworld. Do I listen to her? Nahh! I'm so desperate to find out what's wrong on Colu that I'll ignore the source of the information I need and go off to figure it out myself and of course she'll be waiting here when I get back ... won't she?

Incidentally does anyone else think it a bit over the top that the mere presence of the LSV on Colu cuts the planet off completely? I mean was there only one Coluan network link? No other Coluans able to converse with the galaxy?

11:44 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I didn't like the Harmonia Li thing, but it's the exigencies of storytelling. I might have been tempted to do the same thing myself.

Cutting off Colu doesn't bother me, though. We don't know how they did it, that's all.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Chris Cottingham said...

I just got the issue two days comic shop in this town, grr...and I'd read your review first. I figured Questor was Questar, that old forgotten hero/fraud from Superboy and the LSH days. Clearly he's not, but I don't get the deal on several of the new folks. The LSV could definitely use some new, less-derivative blood, far I'm not sure about any of these folks.

Looking at Dyogene, after having just re-read some it just me, or did Variable Lad in issue 6 look a LOT like Dyogene?

About Harmonia Li...I've, as I said, been doing some re-reading. I wonder if "it's all my fault" just refers to viewing the beginning of time in issue 1? It was that which destroyed Titan and, seemingly, released the blue baby from Olduvai Gorge...which empowered Saturn Queen...who attacked Colu.

Or Harmonia could even be referring to the very existence of the Time Institute, since she taught Circadia Senius.

I'm beginning to wonder if Harmonia Li isn't from the mysterious third planet of Wisdom. When she met Beren on Naltor (issue 4 or 5?) she says her gifts are not the same as his, just "the wisdom to know that ancient truths hold", or something. And when she rejects the GL ring, she calls the Guardians the "lease wise" of the immortals.

We know she's old, she talks like a peer of the Guardians, and she values wisdom. Third planet of wisdom? What do you think?

8:21 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That would make sense, actually. Plus I think there's some aspect to the destruction of Titan that has yet to be revealed.

8:39 PM  

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