Saturday, May 21, 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes #13 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The LSH and LSV continue fighting on Colu, with mixed results. The LSV tries to recruit Earth-Man. Saturn Queen fails to find the planet of wisdom and asks the Blue Space Urchin for help. In the end, the LSV warps away, and Harmonia Li seems to have some crazy idea involving Star Boy.


My first reaction here was, man, these Legionnaires really don't know how to fight. Look at Element Lad versus Immortus. Element Lad is supposed to be smart. He's fighting Immortus, who has a robot body of regenerating inertron. And Element Lad doesn't know what to do about that. I guess his trick with the oxygen and Willie Pete is cool and everything, but wouldn't you really want to just create more inertron? I guess it must be tough stuff to make, but you don't need much; just enough to lock up his joints and bearings. If his body's trying to make more inertron anyway, it should be easy for Jan. I thought of that right away and I'm neither a superhero nor a Trommite.

Look at Timber Wolf. He's trying to wake Earth-Man so Earth-Man can wake Brainy. Why not just try to wake Brainy himself? To be fair, he could have tried it off-screen, before we see him trying to wake Earth-Man. But since we don't see it, Timber Wolf looks like an idiot.

Or look at Shadow Lass. She's fighting Sun-Killer. If you're Shady and you're fighting a guy with light powers, wouldn't you try blasting him with your shadows? Might not work at all, I grant you, but then again it might work really well. They did beat Sun-Killer without my expert advice, of course, so who am I to complain.

Or look at Earth-Man. Hmm. Well, we don't actually see him react to Hunter's offer, so maybe he's going to turn out to be not so dumb after all. But if I'm him, I certainly let them think I'm going to go along with whatever they want. Spying on the super-telepathic Saturn Queen when your fellow Legionnaires already don't trust you is a tricky business, to be sure, but it's too good an opportunity to turn down.

My second reaction was that it's a lot of fighting and not much else; a very middle-of-the-story kind of issue. Which isn't actually true; we do get some motion on this and that. It's a rare Levitz issue that doesn't have some storyline beginning or ending, though, and this is one of them; maybe that's what I was thinking of.

I guess we've all seen the August solicits, so we know that a Legionnaire is set to die at the end of this LSV story. I have to say I'm a bit leery about this. I mean, by all means, have a character die if it makes the story better... but this death is being presented to us as just something that the Legion writer does every now and then, and maybe we should start a pool about which Legionnaire draws the black spot. Bleah.

Art: 99 panels/20 pages = 5.0 panels/page. One single-panel page. This issue didn't look typical of Cinar's stuff; I wonder how much of that is because of the inker (Glapion). In particular I wasn't so much on the last page, but I thought Quislet's transformations were particularly well done.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Element Lad is one of those superheroes who,once they get in a fight,that fight should be over.They're just too powerful to have any credible opposition.The threeboot's limitation of physical contact was a great idea that's evaporated with the rest of the threeboot.
Same with Saturn Girl:She's really too powerful for anyone to fight against.The reboot had a logical reason she didn't overwhelm her opponents,but that's gone too.Now that we have the "original" Legion back (or a reasonable facsimile) we're back to ignoring how powerful Jan and Irma really are.This is progress?
Shadow Lass has decided she's now the new Karate Kid.Can't remember if she used her shadow-power at all this past year.Maybe the influence of Earth-Man makes her want to use hand-to-hand combat. What will she do when the mystery Karate Kid shows himself?
Quislet is someone the retroboot has improved on.Before,he/she/it was too off the wall.Now Paul's toned down the "boop-a-doop" while keeping the quirkiness.This Quislet I can read without cringing.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

There are sensible ways to keep both Element Lad and Saturn Girl under control... but having them not do obviously smart things is not one of them.

7:33 PM  
Blogger karl said...

So a Legionnaire is going to diie at this arcs end? No, I dont want takes me back to the 80s when someone seemed to be killed off every year. If it has to be done I hope its that ghastly racist Earth-Man; no place for him in the LSH.
As for this 'all-action' issue...why not? Its cool to ust have an issue long fight scene once in a while. Paul Levitz has earned his LSH stripes over the years to put the plot [what there is of it] to one side and just give us action, action, action.
Be nice to have even a small inkling of where were going with this story, though.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I don't mind not knowing where this is going; in fact, that's good. I shouldn't know where it's going.

I am a bit frustrated, though, at the shorter page count and how it's not leading to more condensed stories. This issue, for instance: if we had more pages and more panels per page, how much more story could there be?

And writers should never kill anybody just because it's time.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hadn't seen the solicits about a Legionnaire dying - do we think the "Colossal Boy = Loser" meme Levitz has been running is actually an intentional lead-up to him getting killed by the LSV?

10:57 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

No, I think Colossal Boy is portrayed like that because he's got an unfortunate combination of powers (strength, yes, but no invulnerability, plus he's a big target) and because there are lots of characters who seem to draw the short straw of being the one that other people beat up to show the reader how tough they are.

1:32 PM  
Blogger karl said...

Dont let it be Colossal Boy who gets killed off!!

6:11 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

If ever anyone has overestimated my powers, you have just done it now.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous AJay said...

After looking at the solicit cover in question I realized how many causasian-esque male legionnaires wear gloves. It could be Brek?

1:45 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Doesn't he wear gloves? He'd be freezing in the chilly Earth climate if he didn't.

The glove thing is a big hurdle. I don't think we can exclude any Legionnaires on the basis of glove-wearing just because it'd be too easy to have someone's costume burned off or something.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous AJay said...

I guess that I agree with you in theory. But now I think it's Dirk. Too many solar characters fighting on the covers.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm thinking it's a character who's not just, you know, a Legionnaire who's there fighting the LSV with the rest, but who plays an actual role in the story. And I'm not sure who that could be, because Levitz has been touching his characters' heads very lightly in this run, but I have my eye on Cosmic Boy and Star Boy. Probably not Earth-Man, although it would fit.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous AJay said...

Kirt"s death would certainly seem an homage to Andrew, Lyle, Luornu, Condo, and um...Ilshu Nor and...Luornu.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I had to look up Ilshu Nor. That's the only one I think would fit. I still don't buy Earth-Man as a good guy.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it strange that the thing that gets people talking about comics the most is a death,even though nobody believes anybody in comics will stay dead?

3:35 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah, but then again there's really nothing else as, I don't know, newsworthy as death; do you have something else to nominate for people to talk about?

Also, deaths do tend to stick in Legion comics. Not always, but more often.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

immorto shouldn't be that tough..

we've seen element lad create man-sized blocks of inertron in the VOID OF SPACE in the blink of an eye...
(when he put the hurt on radiation roy)

(not to mention anyone near the kryptonian range being able to shred it like foam-core)

hell, brin could probably rip his arm off and beat him unconscious with it.

(thinking an organic brain in a super-hard braincase is gonna be very suceptible to being bounced around said super-hard braincase and getting severely concussed.)

12:00 PM  
Anonymous eddie blake said...

sorry, i meant immortus-

and yeah, i was totally expecting shady to pull the shadows-in-the-eye bit she nailed the prophet with

12:10 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Doesn't even have to be in the eyes. If the guy's body is light-based, then her shadows may actually do physical damage to him. I would have thought it'd be worth a shot, anyway.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Chris Cottingham said...

Coming late to the party, no local comic shop, etc. DC totally owes you kickbacks. I was vaguely dissatisfied and stopped making the hour drive for comics around issue 6; when I decided I might check back in last month, your reviews made it possible for me to catch up.

Maybe your review last week kept my expectations in check, I liked this issue more than I expected.
1) Matt, you mention that Levitz is "touching his characters' heads very lightly" so far. Sparked a thought - I really hadn't noticed before, have thought balloons disappeared? Most comics dialogue is snappier and more buffy-esque than in the 80s, but individual introspection is gone. This may explain why I don't know what the heck is between Shady and Earth-Man, or have a sense that any of these new LSVers are any more than ciphers. (Sun Emperor was so creepily crazy, why replace him with Sun Killer?)

2) Re: Jan’s fight with Immortus (Has anybody suggested Immortus might be Karth Arn?), block of inertron seems the way to go. Maybe Immortus’ speed is such that Elad can’t target him long enough to form the inertron around him? I like that idea better than Jan just not thinking of it. If so, though, the art, ELad’s thoughts, or something should explain it. I’m not sure, if the guy’s made of inertron, why Jan thought setting off an explosion would do anything other than blow himself up.

I also agree with you that there are ways to restrain Jan’s and Imra’s powers without making them dumb. Levitz did it with Jan in his prior run – having him comment at times about needing to let his powers regenerate, or exhausting himself if he tried something too large scale (as in LSH 312). I think this is much better than a touch limitation, b/c it lets the writer limit him or not as needed.

3) What the HECK is up with needing “codes” from Brainy to summon reinforcements? Can’t they just turn the L on the flight ring?

4) Gates teleports between worlds? My reboot memories had him strictly short-range. Did he get a power up at some point, and if so, when can we power him down? Easy interplanetary teleporting is too limiting on the writer.

5) I did enjoy Jo and Wildfire coming to the rescue, esp. their race. Like the meme of “the Legion is spread too thin”, using some combo of UBoy, Wildfire, Mon-El, and Dawnstar as a rescue squad is something Levitz likes.

6) Tellus is overly gigantic and almost has fingers AGAIN. Gates is blue? His lower half looks more centipede than insect-like. Ick..

7) Blue Baby’s pulling an Izaya. Could it be Krona? I hope Blue Baby is more than “chaos good, destroy civilization, be evil.” Because, lame.)

8) Is Mon-El doing an “Energy Twin” thing?

9) Cryptic Lass aka Harmonia Li’s cheerful musing about sacrifice says Star Boy could be the casualty. I don’t buy it, but if it happens, I call it!
I really enjoy your blog and the level of conversation here!

7:49 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

DC totally owes you kickbacks.

Thanks very much!

1. What you get these days instead of thought balloons are thought captions, which aren't exactly the same thing, as they have a retrospective connotation as opposed to the in-the-moment nature of thought balloons.

2. Someone did suggest... not Karth Arn, but maybe Brin's dad? Anyway, you probably don't even need a whole block of inertron; you just need to coax his body into making enough of it to freeze his bearings and stuff, which ought to be duck soup for Jan.

3. I don't know.

4. You know, I don't recall. You could be right.

5. He definitely does like using Wildfire, Dawny, and Jo as the, oh, long-range unsupervised commandos. For quite a while now.

6. What's the right amount of leeway to give an artist on this, when he's not the artist who originated the characters? If it was a costume, it wouldn't be a big thing. For anatomy, it's different in one very obvious sense... but from an artist's point of view, they're both just something to draw.

7. Krona fits in some ways but not in others. We're probably dealing with a new character here. But I do think his main motivation is a dislike of civilization (which is one of the ways he doesn't match Krona).

8. Something like that, it seems.

9. Could be, but it sort of seems too easy a call. I have to believe that there's more of a surprise in store for us.

I really enjoy your blog and the level of conversation here!

Thanks again!

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Agree with all the comments about Shady: she should have used her powers on Sun-Killer. When I first saw the cover, I thought 'oh, obviously they've sent Polar Boy and Shady to capture Sun-Killer because they have powers that should cancel his out' but she just did her kick-ass chick thing again, didn't she?

Quite liking the suggestion that the blue flame baby (now boy) is a new enemy (although he has supposedly been around for millenia). The Legion universe needs some new Big Evil Badass Dudes rather than revisiting Mordru, Darkseid and the usual crowd.

Didn't like Glapion's inking - it made Cinar's usually clean lines look a bit scruffy.

But I'm still enjoying the ride so far. Oh yeah, and echo the comment about the level of debate. I waste far too much time on here when I should be working! ;o)

2:04 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

she just did her kick-ass chick thing again, didn't she?

Which I don't have a problem with, I should say. In fact I like it. It's just in this one particular case I wonder if another tactic might have served.

9:39 PM  
Blogger karl said...

How could Tasmia knock out Sun Emporer wiht one punch? Isnt his bodt super-hot?

5:11 PM  
Blogger karl said...

oops meant Sun Killer!

5:22 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

She knows how.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I think Colossal Boy is either the one who will die or one who will almost die to be save at the last second by someone who will did instead (and thus presumably Earth Man).

Jan has had problems with inertron in the past, in the Computo annual. As a presumed high atomic value noble solid, he can probably only deal with it in small quantities with great concentration -- fighting a robot made of the stuff would not be conducive to that.

Possibly they could use Chemical Kid here: since Immortus' body is regenerative, CK could slow down or speed up that process and stop Immortus in his tracks. (Given Academy graduation day coming next month and this storyline closing down in three issues, that could be in the works.)

The obvious answer for Shady not using her is that she knew they wouldn't work, or that Sun Killer's powers sapped hers when she came near. But of course, there was no text covering that but should have been.

2:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home