Monday, January 23, 2012

Legion of Super-Heroes #5 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:



It's the Christmas issue! Oh yes it is; that's exactly what it is.

I have strong opinions about the superhero story and its conventions. I believe that a superhero story is about some kind of conflict that is ultimately expressed and resolved through physical conflict. So you'd think I wouldn't like an issue like this, where you'd have to really stretch to find any such element of the "story". It's just a day-in-the-life issue where we check in on all the Legionnaires and see what they're up to. I liked it quite a bit.

Not the first such issue I've liked; another of my favourites was the Infinity Inc. issue way back when that followed up on the Justice Society story where the JSA are all condemned to fight Ragnarok over and over forever. No combat in that one, either; it was just really good. Anyway, yes, this issue is a bit of a rulebreaker, but anytime Paul Levitz wants to get experimental he has my full support.

One thing I've always liked about Levitz's handling of the Legion is the way he establishes that former Legionnaires, like (in this book) Garth and Imra and Blok and Mysa and Chuck and Luornu, may not be on the team at the moment but are still part of the cast. They're off the team but not off the book. I think that's not only a realistic approach, but also a pleasant one.

- so Computo isn't smart enough to come up with "Stonehenge" when he's looking for big old stones? I don't blame Dreamy, who's an alien, but you'd think Mon-El would have twigged to it
- Luornu seems to be "Duplicate Damsel" again. Damsel, Girl, Lass, whatever, just pick one and stick to it
- I don't believe I've ever seen the word "piss" in a Legion comic before

Art: 107 panels/20 pages = 5.4 panels/page. No splash pages; 1 10-panel page.

Yes, yes; Walt Simonson, all very well and good. And he did a nice job. I wouldn't call him a great fit for the Legion, but what the hey. Simonson and Levitz were generous with us, too; this thing was packed full.

Check out Element Lad's face, page 5, panel 6. He's not into her at all, is he?

Membership Notes:

We find out that Quislet disappeared in battle sometime between LSHv6 and LSHv7. Glad to have it said, but I hope Levitz isn't just throwing him away.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

One comic book,two different responses.
Usually I enjoy a good day-in-the-superhero-life story,but for these stories to work,something charming or interesting has to happen.I found none of that here. The only thing we learned was that Legionnaires are a randy bunch(but we did get inarguable confirmation that Alya and Vi are a committed couple.Good for DC for putting them out loud and proud.)Otherwise,all we got were inklings of storylines that may or may not get told one of these days.
I bought this comic book for the art.Sadly,that's the best reason to buy any Legion comic these days.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Ah, well. I wouldn't want every issue to be like this. But it's probably a pretty good jumping-on point for new readers. (Which is what you want out of your fifth issue.)

It's okay if I prefer Portela's art to Simonson's, right?

12:52 PM  
Blogger Dougie said...

It's dispiriting to read about yet another boring LSH comic. With all the creative changes at DC, we're still stuck with Levitz, rehashing his glory days of thirty years ago but with the most interesting Legionnaires all written out.

I'm reminded of the mid-80s and the plodding LaRocque issues: month after weary month of nothing interesting happening.

I think it's time we took off the rosily-tinted nostalgia specs and demanded a writer with something fresh to say and the dramatic flair to say it.

2:21 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think it's time we took off the rosily-tinted nostalgia specs and demanded a writer with something fresh to say and the dramatic flair to say it.

I'm all for it, but the last time we had that, Geoff Johns and the readers ran him (Mark Waid) out of town. So I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Joey said...

I like my rose-tinted nostalgia specs. These issues, and Levitz's singular voice on these characters he loves and knows so well inevitably leave a huge smile on my face and a sense of great satisfaction. These are the most important things I can ask of a comic. (And fewer manage to do so for me nowadays.) The Legion books are friends to me - thank you, Mr. Levitz, for allowing them to visit and update me every month.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous AJay said...

I really think that it strengthens an extended narrative to stop and catch a breathe every now and then. The amp shouldn't always be cranked to eleven. There are little things included in this issue that will enhance the tale told later. But saying that, no Lydda, no Tenzil and what happened to the rest of the academy students? Hmmmm.
I wish that they would stick with Duplicate Girl instead of Damsel.
Perhaps Quislet got LOST.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I don't think anything happened to the rest of the Academy students. What rest of the Academy students? Lamprey? She's with the SPs, on some aquatic world.

As for the importance of varying the pace of your series, I couldn't agree more. I'm a huge admirer of the DnA Legion, but that's one trick they never seemed to master.

My current crackpot theory about Quislet is that he's the guy behind the guy in Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous AJay said...

I mean Nightwind, Westerner, Mandalla, Visi-Lad y'know.

I keep thinking that Flashpoint is like a firewall between the New 52 and our 31st Century.

Quislet may be the lead in a new hybrid sci-fi cooking show Star Wok.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Now that you mention it I forget what happened to Nightwind. Must have signed up with the SPs too, right?

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm interested in who the third person Cos was talking know, the one who called him "lad."

5:16 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Uhh... I'm going to have to go back and look at that; I can't call it to mind.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Shan Rumsey said...

If Quis is "Lost", perhapshe's the reason the time bubble fell apart...?

1:17 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I guess. But I don't think he is.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

I suspect Levitz just wanted to set Quislet aside and having him disappear during a battle is just a convenient way to shunt him off stage. He's done it before at the end of the Magic Wars, and I get the impression that he's kinda done with the character. I hope that I'm wrong... I'd like to think that he's going to pop up in a couple of issues when Steve Lightle steps in for a guest issue, but I have a feeling that Quislet has pooped his last doop for a while.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I would not be at all surprised if you were right.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

re: Quislet...
It's not like Levitz was pulling to have him back on the team anyway. Quislet was part of the War With Krypton story and needed to be dealt with one way or another when all the other characters came back. And Levitz gave him some scenes and stuff in the last series which is more than he did with XS.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It is true. I wonder if Karate Kid III is another such subplot that Levitz would just as soon went away.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

Re: Karate Kid... but that was a story thread that Levitz brought in himself. It's not like it's something that he was left with and felt obliged to touch on (like Lightning Lord's mysterious twin... is that bubbling away in the background? Or set aside as the ramblings of a villain?). I think that he's got plans for Karate Kid... it's all about when he gets around to telling that story, and maybe, how he can tell that story so that it helps to showcase some of the newer characters.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

No, I don't think it was. Wasn't it hinted at at the end of FC:L3W? Something like that?

9:10 AM  
Blogger Murray said...

Nope. It was introduced during Legion of Super-Heroes #6. It's the back-up story that introduces us to the new Academy students. Sensor Girl is on Orando clutching the remnants of Val's uniform while she narrates a couple of captions that tell us that she can hear his footsteps coming for her while we get to see not-Val approach the Academy and then turn away from it.

There was a scene in 3 Worlds near the end where Cosmic Boy says that he ought to be reaching out to Myg's replacement in order to heal the rift between Earth and Lythyl. The character that is depicted in that panel, though, doesn't look anything like the character in Legion #6.

Which isn't to say that those two scenes couldn't be connected later, or aren't already making connections in Levitz' head.

When I read the 3 World scene, I took "Myg's replacement" to mean the person that would take over the role that Myg had on Lythyl (which was as one of the rulers and trainers), but it's certainly open to interpretation and could be taken to mean the "Karate Kid" role. Though why the title of Karate Kid needs to go to someone from Lythyl and not any other planet isn't clear to me.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

All right, well, maybe I was thinking of that Cosmic Boy/Lythyl scene, or some interview, or some other scene. But I know that the Projectra scene you cite wasn't the first I had heard of it.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

Hmmm... now you're going to have me scurrying through the back issues and looking at the stories that appeared between the end of the 3 Worlds and the beginning of Levitz' run. Maybe there is another piece out there.

3:24 PM  
Blogger karl said...

I forgot to say but last issue when Brainy was working at his computers did anyone get the feeling that Dreamy gave him a hint as to how to fix the problem? It was very subtle but on repeated readings I got that impression.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I got the idea that that might have been what happened but wasn't, if that makes any sense to you.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously, Quislet is off rescuing Variable Lad (and Cosmic King).

You do wonder what info Nura pulled out of her dream that would pull up images of both Terran pyramids *and* alien fish, but not Stonehenge. (One implication might be that Stonehenge doesn't exist any more in the 31st century, and where Sun Boy and company were was a re-creation, perhaps made specially for that solstice celebration. And thus nothing for the search engine to really work on.)

2:04 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, one piece of information I had was from an interview with Simonson on CBR where he said that finally he gets to use all the photographic research he had done on Stonehenge. Apparently he's been ready to put Stonehenge in a comic book for years but nobody ever gave him the chance until now.

2:21 PM  

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