Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Legion of Super-Heroes #6 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Sun Boy, Element Lad, and Chemical King fix a pollution filter on a giant sea of fire someplace in China. The Legion and Dominion leaderships have separate discussions about recent events on Panoptes. Dragonwing is at home, also in China, visiting her family, but it seems her sister Bao has fallen in with the wrong crowd.


It's pretty clear that the core of this issue is the Legion's visit to the China part of 31st-century Earth, in particular Dragonwing's family and background. That's all straightforward. What I'm more interested in is the continued education of Chemical Kid by Element Lad. See, the solicits for a few months from now said that a powerful Legionnaire is going to quit the team, and I suggest that it's Element Lad, and that Chemical Kid is going to assume his ecological niche.

And then there's the Dominators. We already knew they were Boneheads; I'm not sure that Levitz is giving us anything about them we haven't had before. The Dominators have several interesting uses but so far they just seem to be "enemies".

Really the whole trouble is this. What Levitz brought to the Legion in the '70s and '80s was a more, much more, sophisticated storytelling style than had been used before, and a willingness to explore the characters more deeply than anyone else had. But that was more than 20 years ago. Since then, almost every comic book writer has been doing that, or at least trying to. Which means that if there's anything revolutionary about what he does with the Legion now, it's going to have to be something new that he thinks up. And I don't see very many signs of that.

Since he started his third Legion run, Paul Levitz has been giving us perfectly competent Legion comics, no question about it... but his main value is probably nostalgic. Even now I occasionally hear from people who are just happy to have "their Legion" back. Well, it's back, but are you really that pleased by it? Is it all you hoped it would be?

I mean, it's not bad or anything... Usually it's quite decent!

But are you familiar with the expression, "the good is the enemy of the great"? Paul Levitz does good Legion comics. I want great Legion comics. I don't think I'm gonna get 'em from Paul Levitz. Not now.

Next issue we get more of Dragonwing and her family. I suppose that'll be okay.

- "Jan doesn't play well with others." Sure he does, Sun Boy; he's just not an extrovert like you. I wonder if we're supposed to interpret that as Dirk's flawed opinion
- Did I say something once about how Portela hadn't really made the 31st century his own? Or was that Cinar or Manapul I said it about? Anyway, I think Cinar has now
- The Dominator homeworld looks not entirely unlike Phlon
- At what point did Cham substitute for Fu? I'm going to say between pages 9 and 14
- My first instinct is to classify the "Middle Kingdom" plot as insufficiently futuristic for my Legion preferences

Art: 89 panels/20 pages = 4.5 panels/page. 2 splash pages.

I'm really impressed that Portela has managed to keep up the level of detail in this book issue after issue. It's not easy, especially in a Legion title. Take a look at page 14. Portela's climbing my list of favourite Legion artists.

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Blogger taichara said...

"Jan doesn't play well with others." Sure he does, Sun Boy; he's just not an extrovert like you. I wonder if we're supposed to interpret that as Dirk's flawed opinion

Given how Jan has been being portrayed as more and more morose/depressive/however you would like to describe it (see his lines in the previous issue, for example), I'm inclined to consider it less Dirk's opinion here and more character skewing by Levitz for whatever hellforsaken reason.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Cayomagnetking said...

I enjoy your Blog...I just gave you a recommendation at my Facebook group which focuses on the Legion. Could you return the plug? LSH fans should stick together! Thanks-Cayo


8:38 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

taichara: Could be. I do think, as noted above, that Jan is not long for this group. So that would fit.

Cayomagnetking: Thanks. I'll look into it. If I don't you shouldn't interpret it as any kind of rejection; I just try to keep the stuff I do on Facebook within strict parameters.

8:52 AM  
Blogger karl said...

Delightful issue. I approve of Element Lad being Chem's mentor/teacher and hope it'll be ongoing; I dont want Jan to leave!
Couldnt understand Dirk's comment about Jan - Dirk, back in John Forte's day you threw a group of Legionnaires off a spaceship, youve no room to talk[!] Do love seeing more of Sun Boy, however; he may be a bargain-basement Human Torch but hes a good one. Dont like Facebook; never have, never will, sorry.
Thought I wouldnt like Dragonwing's little trip to China - shes a difficult character to like or get a grip of - but it made an amusing diversion. Like to see more of her sister.
As I mentioned on another blog, are Brainy, Dreamy and Glorith in their own separate book now, we never see them mix with the others anymore.
LOVED the colours! This is a truly beautiful looking book; I could happily drown in the gorgeous images this book brings us. So bright and bouncy, it brightends my day when I get it. Makes me want to live in the future...

4:18 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

As I mentioned on another blog, are Brainy, Dreamy and Glorith in their own separate book now, we never see them mix with the others anymore.

And, I think, Harmonia. Still waiting to see what the deal is with Harmonia. But I'm starting to think that Harmonia:retroboot::Celeste:5YL. As in, she's just never going to get the spotlight and when it's all over we're going to be wondering what they had in mind.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

I figured Mon-el would be the Legionnaire who would be leaving, but you make a good point that it could be Element Lad. He could certainly be considered "the greatest" Legionnaire by some.

I'd prefer for Mon-el to leave, though, as Jan is a favourite and I like the mentor/friendship that's building between him and Chem.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I thought of Mon-El too; I'm just imagining that Jan is grooming Chemical Kid as his replacement.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm warming up to Dragonwing.The LSH hasn't had a good "wild child" character since Catspaw.
But this Phoenix Fire bothers me. The talk of "China's rebirth" is too reminiscent of the "yellow peril" stereotype.A century since Fu Manchu,and it looks like we haven't made any progress. Besides,I would've thought the X-Men have a lock on the word Phoenix.
I'll echo the praise for the art. I've had my problems with the Legion in the past few years,but never with the art.LSH comics are some of the best drawn comics on the stands.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Would you call Catspaw a good character?

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well...maybe.Been a long while since I've read those issues,but I've long been fond of such feral characters as Catspaw and T-Wolf (on those occassions when he is feral).
And every team needs a wild card.D-Wing may be no Catspaw,but she's sure to be better at that post than Earth-Man was

11:36 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

No, well, that's why I wish Quislet and Gates were still around.

11:43 AM  

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