Thursday, October 20, 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes #2 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

A Daxamite called Renegade shows up and roughs up the Legion team on Panoptes, capturing everyone but Phantom Girl, who summons help. Renegade or Res-Vir, is trying to use the anti-lead serum to free Daxam from United Planets "oppression". Help arrives in the person of Mon-El, who frees the other Legionnaires but all of a sudden there's a fleet of spaceships overhead.

Meanwhile, Legionnaires are doing stuff at HQ and on Shanghalla but it's mostly not important. Except maybe that Brainy has an idea about Glorith being able to solve their time-travel problems. That's probably a good idea, right?


So Levitz is turning his attention to what we must admit is a plot hole that's been in existence for most of Legion history: why don't more Daxamites take the anti-lead serum and come out and be with the people? For a while it was suggested that it was because they were all quiet and shy. In the reboot, it was because they were xenophobic. In the threeboot, it was because the Tromites had killed them all off (although LSHv5 #1 suggests otherwise). Now Levitz is giving us the idea that it's because the UP has withheld the magic potion so that the Daxamites don't come out and kill everybody like they almost did during Great Darkness (which doesn't answer the question of why they didn't get the serum before that).

Which is understandable on the UP's part. Then again, the Daxamites always seemed like decent sorts to me; would they really be such a problem? Even Renegade doesn't seem like that bad of a guy. And that means this storyline has some potential, because ideally you'd like your villains to have some kind of a personality and a motivation and a sympathetic aspect, and we've got all of those here. Plus it means that Mon-El has some interesting decisions to make.

Then again we can't just have a universe full of powered-up Daxamites. It's not workable. So whatever the status quo is after this storyline, it's not going to involve Daxamites all over the place.

What the flip is the matter with Polar Boy, hitting on Comet Queen? Dude, you don't want any part of her, and you should know that. Not like you can't do better, either (see LSHv6 #1). He's lucky she wasn't into it. Are there no other single female Legionnaires? Let's see: Dragonwing and Glorith; too young and new. Dream Girl, Lightning Lass, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, already attached. That leaves Shadow Lass and Harmonia. I don't think Shady has much time for Polar Boy, and anyway Earth-Man's body isn't even cold yet, so that lets her out. And Harmonia, well... I have to say that I just don't see it. So Brek is going to have to look outside the Legion's active roster. My suggestion? Night Girl. Think about it. Is there another human in the universe with a better idea of what a worthwhile guy Polar Boy is than Night Girl? In any case, anything, including celibacy, is preferable to getting mixed up with Comet Queen. I do think I see what Polar Boy had in mind, though, now that I think about it. Geoff Johns gave us a new, swashbuckling, neck-or-nothing attitude for both Polar Boy and the Subs, and Comet Queen has displayed similar audacity, so I guess they have that in common. But I still can't support it.

And let me just say a word here about my girl Tinya Wazzo. The part where she escapes from Renegade and hides inside Panoptes waiting for help to show up? See, she's a member of the Espionage Squad, but espionage is not what her power is primarily good for. Yes, she can hide; yes, she can pull off cool combat moves (like we saw in the cartoon). But the real advantage of her powers is invulnerability. Really she's got pretty much Ultra Boy's power of invulnerability: if she's got a split-second to prepare, she can be untouchable by any physical attack. It's a very good superpower. Now, unlike Ultra Boy, she's got the limitation that she can't really do anything else while she's invulnerable, which is why she's just sorta hanging out until Mon-El arrives, but sometimes it's useful just to have someone who's around and paying attention.

When I write these things, the way it sometimes works is that I pose a question, and by the time I finish typing I've come up with the answer, and then I have to type that. Like right now, I was about to ask, if Phantom Girl is so invulnerable, why's it so important that she hide from Renegade? What's he going to do to her? But, obviously, he can threaten one of the other Legionnaires until she surrenders herself; she's a free agent only so long as he can't deliver that threat. So that's okay.

- I very much like the broken-chain logo on Renegade's temple. Free your mind!
- "Res-Vir". Relative of Ol-Vir, one must assume?
- still nothing new on Harmonia's membership status
- someone asked Levitz recently if Quislet was still a member post-Flashpoint, and he answered, "That's a good question!" Which implies that there's some kind of interesting answer to it, which is really all I want to know

Art: 84 panels/20 pages = 4.2 panels/page. Three single-page panels.

Fine work by Portela as always. I direct your attention to Tinya's little grin on page 16, and the parallel poses of Phantom Girl and Ultra Boy and Dragonwing and Chemical Kid on page 1. No skimping on the backgrounds either. I'm very pleased with Portela's art; he looks like a keeper. But three splash pages? No reason for all those to be splash pages. Especially page 10; it's just Mon-El flying.

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Anonymous Madman2001 said...

I really enjoyed the issue. I loved seeing Monel cut loose and loved how Phantom girl escaped and hid out. The art was magnificent.

I just wish the issue was longer. I myself would be willing to pay $1 more and get more pages. I note that All-Star Western #1 (an excellent excellent comic, by the way) ran 28 pages for $3.99. I'd love to see the Legion in that format.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'd like more pages too, but that's a lot of money. But if we want more content in these comics, and we should, all they have to do is increase the number of panels per page. Basically Legion comics have had about eighty or so panels in them recently, which works out to about four per page, usually a little more. If they mandated at least six panels per page, that would be more than a hundred and twenty panels, which is almost an extra half comic book. And no need to raise the price.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I read the Daxamite Serum thing isn't that the UP is withholding it, it's that the serum simply isn't available. Presumably Brainiac 5 has a patent on it for starters, and it requires increasingly rare kryptonite isotopes. And maybe it is only creatable by someone with at least an 11th level intelligence.

Res-Vir made some reference to the Coluan's serum, and I took that as referring to whomever the recent LSV's Coluan was. (Questor, something like that?) Maybe he synthesized a version of it.

(Makes for an interesting reason why the Legion so often goes back to the 20th/21st century -- Brainy needs kryptonite isotopes, most of which have decayed away by the 31st century, so he goes to where he can get it. How that ties into cockroaches, don't know yet.)

Unrelated to this issue, I notice that the new DCU Booster Gold still has his Legion flight ring, very prominent in the latest issue of JLI. I'm actually surprised that they kept that connection.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That would work. In which case the question becomes, who is deceiving Res-Vir and the other Daxamites into opposing the U.P.?

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read the upcoming issue blurbs: must be the Dominators. Presumably the Legionnaires will ask the same question, unless they find the asnwer first.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Now that you mention it it does seem like a very Dominator thing to do. "Let's turn the Daxamites loose! There's no way that could go wrong for us!"

2:39 PM  

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