Thursday, October 18, 2012

Legion of Super-Heroes #13 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

    Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, and Chemical King fight space pirates at a space mine; Cosmic Boy is wounded. Other Legionnaires try to get ahead of any potential Fatal Five reunion.


    I wonder if Levitz is trying to do some kind of changing-of-the-guard thing here. He's already moved Colossal Boy out after having him look bad in a couple of fights, and now Cosmic Boy also seems like he's not quite getting the job done. And of course Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are already on parental leave. This is something Levitz has done before, back in LSHv3; he had the three founders semiretire, and brought in new Legionnaires like Magnetic Kid and Tellus to replace them. I approve the effort: anything Levitz has in mind that alters the status quo is okay by me. And certainly he's made an effort to bring in new superheroes who are female and/or nonwhite, which is not only sensible but laudable; if only there were more nonhumanoid characters.

    Of course, Levitz's attempts to keep the Legion's membership moving into the future were followed by the 5YL Legion, which wasn't an immediate followup to Levitz's work, although it was more or less in its spirit (in the sense of moving on from the Adventure-era roster)... but then we had the SW6 Legion, which was not, and then the reboot Legion, which was not, and the threeboot Legion, which was not, and the animated Legion, which was not, and the retroboot, which was most emphatically not. So Levitz has a lot to undo here. Fortunately, he's Paul Levitz, which means that he's got about as long a leash as anybody at DC does.

    Things I liked here: the Persuader's new look, with the hood. That's pretty cool. Continuing characterization of Element Lad as hating pirates (first isolated in the threeboot!). The education of Chemical Kid. The scene with Duplicate Damsel and Dream Girl.

    Things I didn't like: note that we only saw the start of what happened to Cosmic Boy. This is something Levitz has done more and more: not show us all the action. The leadup, yes; the aftermath, yes; the event itself, no. Didn't like that not much happened here, other than skirmishing with some pirates whose names we don't even need to learn.

    Next issue doesn't sound particularly intriguing to me. More space pirates; more runup to the Fatal Five, more scratching of heads over Comet Queen. I hope it's done well.   

Art: 81 panels/20 pages = 4.1 panels/page. 1 splash page.

    Scott Kolins again on art, and it's fine, I guess, but I'm not pushing him to be the permanent artist or anything. Basically I don't think his style is very Legiony. I do like some of the lighting effects he uses on faces, like Chemical Kid on page 4 panel 1, although I imagine he has to share some of the credit with the colorist on that.

Membership Notes:
    The Legion election is announced this issue, and it's quite the perfunctory affair. No website this time; you have to send in actual letter mail. I'm not sure what I think about that; it's liable to attract a different (although overlapping!) set of voters, for one thing. Also, it takes us back to the Legion's comic-book roots... while taking us away from the Legion's conceptual roots, by which I mean the future, which is surely better represented by online voting than by mail ballots. Maybe I'm making too much of it; maybe the website was a pain for them or something, and it's easier for them this way.

    The other thing is this. It says that "all active members (except those LOST in the 21st century) are eligible."

    Great. Who are the active members?

    Let's try to come up with a list. My idea of who the current active Legionnaires are follows: Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Chemical Kid, Comet Queen, Cosmic Boy, Dragonwing, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Glorith, Harmonia, Invisible Kid, Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Ultra Boy. That's 20.

    We know that Wildfire, Dawnstar, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, Chameleon Girl, Gates, and Tellus are ineligible because they're in Legion Lost, basically. Fine.

    What about Quislet? Quislet's going to get some votes.

    What about Star Boy and Comet Queen? I've got them listed as "active", but technically they've quit. In Levitz's mind, are they active?

    What about Legionnaires who are still on the roster, but are taking a leave of absence, like Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Sensor Girl?

    What about Legionnaires who have quit but are still part of the comic's supporting cast, like Colossal Boy, Blok, and the Black Witch?

    What about reserve members and Academy students who have been recently active with the team, like Night Girl, Bouncing Boy, Duplicate Damsel, Matter-Eater Lad, Otaki and Mwindaji? They're gonna get votes, some of 'em, and they might get the most votes.

    Or what about, and work with me on this one, XS? (I am strongly considering voting for XS.)

    On the one hand Levitz might have left the voting wide open like this just to see what happens. That's fine if he intends to live with whatever he gets, be it a resurrected Earth-Man or whatever. But it ain't going to go over well if Bouncing Boy gets the most votes and Levitz makes Sun Boy the leader anyway because Bouncing Boy is only a reserve member. I think it would have been better for Levitz to be more specific about exactly who's eligible for this election.

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Blogger Jim Purcell said...

I'm really digging Collin's art on LoSH. Its not without its flaws (character models seem a bit inconstant from panel to panel depending on how prominent they are in the panel)But its colorful and has a lot of energy. And the way he draws Duplicate Damsel (my vote for Legion Leader btw) was awesome.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I know a lot of people like his art but it's really not my thing. I was trying to come up with what would I like his style on more than I like it on LSH, and I couldn't even come up with anything.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since DC can't be bothered with having message boards on their website,an online Legion election is too much to hope for.Maybe DC just wants to give the post office more business;they certainly could use the revenue.

A changing of the guard? Good luck with that.The old guard has its fans,and you know they'll be heard from.The new kids will have to be pretty damn awesome to quiet their critics,and frankly I doubt that they would be.
It's not the lineup that needs changing;it's the writer.Your use of the phrase"head-scratching"fits this LSH run:Lots of talk about what might happen or what just happened but the actual events hardly cause a stir. Even Titan's destruction turned out to be a non-event.
Chris Claremont's return to the X-Men turned out to be a non-event, and sad to say,the same thing can be said about Paul Levitz and his LSH comeback.

But Yes to the return of XS to the LSH!

3:43 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

A changing of the guard? Good luck with that.

No, it can work, and here's why. 1) It's being done by Paul Levitz, who can be trusted to treat the Legion with respect if anyone can. 2) Levitz keeps ex-Legionnaires in his supporting cast, so fans won't miss them too badly. 3) Levitz makes these changes organically and not violently via reboots and such.

As for your other complaints... I agree that these comics haven't been real exciting, but I can't say that Titan's destruction was a non-event; the repercussions were bouncing around in this comic for quite a while.

As for whether Levitz should be replaced... I like Levitz, but I don't think he's got much to say about the Legion that he hasn't already said. I would like to see a hungrier, more innovative writer, one with some kind of vision for what she or he wants to do with the Legion, but I have no idea who that is or where to find her or him. In the meantime we could do a lot worse than Levitz.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous David Spofforth said...

Good call with XS. I hope she (and Quislet) get enough votes for Levitz to consider making use of them.

Maybe the issue went to press before the announcement, but if Legion Lost is cancelled, shouldn't those characters be now in play? Or maybe they will be left in 20th century limbo.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That's probably it. I predict that Levitz will bring them back at some point, but because of the nature of time travel, he can do it on his own schedule. Assuming they don't all die at the end of LL#16, that is.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I liked Kolins' art when he first showed on the Legion, back in the DnA days. It was a refreshing change of look.

These days, after his period on the Flash and elsewhere, I actively dislike his art -- no more on the Legion than anywhere else, though. His style is flat and open -- too little detail and too little differentiation of line weights, and thus lots of light and little depth.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I still haven't forgiven Kolins for that Timber Wolf cover in the threeboot.

2:20 PM  

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