Monday, November 05, 2012

Please Don't Bother Trying to Find Her: Legion Election 3012

Apparently there's an election of some note taking place on the other side of our southern border this week. This roughly coincides with the Legion election, of course, which I expect is not a coincidence.

Here's the difference between the two elections: the U.S. election is between two major candidates, only one of which it makes any damn sense to vote for; the Legion election is between roughly twenty major candidates, most of which are plausible on one level or another.

Obviously the U.S. election is outside the normal range of topics for discussion on this blog, but I hope you will allow me to touch on it for a moment anyway.

The Republican Party has largely gone insane and who knows what kind of destructive madness would be unleashed if they were to win? I mean, I don't think Romney himself is crazy, or that there's a lot of crazy stuff that he's really in favour of... but I also don't see him doing anything to restrain the nutclusters in his party. I figure that as long as he's got as much money as possible going to as few people as possible, he's not really going to worry about the other stuff too much. I may be underestimating the man, of course, but then again he's made it pretty easy for us to do so. It's pretty silly, really; it should be possible for a right-wing party to get me on its side. But these guys have achieved an unholy combination of mean, stupid, religious, and dishonest that I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.

The above paragraph is obviously not going to do much to convince those who disagree with me to come around to my way of thinking. But then nothing would anyway. Because these days, those on the right don't trust a word that comes from anyone on the left, and those on the left don't trust a word that comes from anyone on the right. Is there anybody out there who can seriously be talked from one side over to another? (Don't make the mistake, by the way, of thinking that I am treating the left and right as equivalent in this respect. While there are the usual roster of shady sorts, persiflagists, and liars on the left, as has always been unavoidable, there are still factual facts and reasoned arguments to be found there also. On the right, though, is a maelstrom of rabid irrationality and paranoid malice. The right doesn't listen to the left because they think all truth comes from themselves and themselves only; the left doesn't listen to the right because the right is as crazy as a rat in a coffee can. I speak in general terms.) (And what the flip am I doing on the left in the first place? Honestly, I don't belong there...)

In contrast, Obama and the Democrats? They've got good points and bad points. The Democrats are a somewhat cromulent party at the moment, and it's hard to imagine Obama doing a much better job than he's done, given current conditions. I must also admit that Obama's calm and reasonable style is much more to my taste than Romney's condescending-entitled-snob act. I do certainly have some problems with the Obama administration, but at least they aren't trying to ruin everything as quickly as possible in as many different ways as possible.

If you live in the States, you're probably not relying on a blog, about superheroes in the future, written by a guy from Canada, to make up your mind about who to vote for tomorrow. As it should be. There will be many who will tell you that the important thing is that you get out there and vote, and permit me to disagree with them: you should first take the time to inform yourself about the issues, so you know who you should vote for. Then you should vote. If you're planning on voting from a position of ignorance, do everyone a favour and stay home.

Okay, that part's over. I don't expect to be touching on that subject again on this blog.

Last time the Legion had an election, I endorsed Phantom Girl. I still think she's a good choice, but let's run through the candidates.

Legionnaires Who Aren't Currently Eligible: Wildfire, Dawnstar, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, Chameleon Girl, Gates, Tellus, Quislet, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Sensor Girl, Blok, Black Witch, Colossal Boy, Bouncing Boy, Duplicate Damsel, Night Girl, Matter-Eater Lad, XS. They aren't currently active members, you see.

Legionnaires Who Have Been Leader Recently Enough That We Don't Need to See It Again: Cosmic Boy, Mon-El, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Polar Boy (Dreamy, Jan, and Brek were the most vividly-drawn leaders from Levitz's second run, which was certainly a long time ago, but he did a good enough job of portraying them that I see no reason for him to go back to the well with these characters again)

Legionnaires Who Are Too New to Be Good Choices: Dragonwing, Chemical Kid, Glorith, Harmonia

Legionnaires Who Are Kind of a Joke in the First Place: Comet Queen

That leaves these ones:

Brainiac 5 - Let's face it; Brainy works a lot better as the guy who wants to be the leader. I don't know why he does, because he's always complaining about how he has no time for anything in the first place, but he does. I prefer things with someone else as the leader and Brainy sniping at him or her.
Chameleon Boy - Cham's only tenure as leader came during the 5YL era, when conditions were quite different. I think he'd be an awesome Legion leader and I wouldn't mind if he won this time.
Invisible Kid - Similar to Cham. Jacques as he stands now would fit into the leadership role well, but before electing him I'd like to see a story showing that he'd be good at it.
Lightning Lass - A plausible candidate.
Phantom Girl - An excellent candidate, as noted last time.
Shadow Lass - A plausible candidate.
Shrinking Violet - A plausible candidate. Violet was leader for a little while during the reboot era, but there was some jiggery pokery going on with the Emerald Eye at the time, so we never really got to see how she'd do.
Star Boy - Star Boy's having some problems these days, but maybe a stint as leader is just what he needs. Keeps him out of the field. He did okay leading that rescue mission to get Dream Girl and Brainiac 5 back. (Although Duplicate Damsel ended up exercising most of the authority in the end.)
Sun Boy - A plausible candidate.
Ultra Boy - Really isn't giving off much of a leadership vibe these days, is he? Doesn't mean he couldn't do a good job; he's been leader in the past and there's no reason Levitz can't write him as one now.

Looking at this, I'd like to endorse Chameleon Boy, but my arguments from 2010 for Phantom Girl still apply, and I don't see a good reason to switch from them. So once again, Legion Abstract endorses Phantom Girl for the 3012 Legion Election.

Send your votes via postal mail to:

Legion Election
DC Comics
1700 Broadway
New York, NY
USA 10019

The deadline is, what... I don't have it in front of me. November 15th? Something like that. But your vote has to be there by then, not just be on the way. So might as well send it off now.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curious to see how many fans will participate this time.Last time,I think the total number of votes was less than a hundred,and that was an online vote.Don't except a bigger turnout this time,now that a stamp purchase is required.

I know who shouldn't win:Shadow Lass.Not after the Earth-Man business.Amazed that she's still on the team.

My choice also falls between Cham and Tinya.I'll have to decide with the toss of a coin.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh, I don't know. Really, Shady was right about Earth-Man. He was a good fighter and he did come through when it counted. Maybe he didn't believe in the Legion's ideals, sure, but at least he lived up to them. Shady's got nothing to apologize for.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Meerkatdon said...

I expect you'll get some flak for talking about real-world politics, but I'm glad you did. One of the reasons we give for liking the Legion is the moral framework that they embody; it's not out of place for us to apply that to the real world.

Very nice analysis of the candidates. I voted for Tinya becasue (a) she's long overdue for a stint as Leader, and (b) she's way experienced, level-headed, and good in a crisis. Besides, Tinya has been the stable one in the Legion for so long, it would be interesting to see Levitz mess up her life a bit. We can't get too complacent. :)

1:18 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks. No flak yet; maybe Legion readers skew to the left. I could probably BS a couple of reasons why that should be so.

I hope Sandy didn't mess up the Legion election plans. I mean, a) no reason why it should have, and b) it's not like it's the most important thing New York has to worry about, but I do hope there was no disruption.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would definately vote Tinya again (although I'm in the UK so bit more of a pain). It's more than about time she was leader - she is the longest serving current member to have never been leader plus they really need another female leader to even the ratio a bit. Go Tinya!

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

I voted for Tinya, because she's been one of the better-handled characters since the relaunch. I really liked how Levitz wrote her in Secret Origin, and was pleased when she showed up in the otherwise uninspiring zero issue.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Anonymous: I think if you send your ballot now it's got time to get there. Worth a shot anyway.

Nate: I wonder if we can actually make it happen this time. Everybody in these comments is pro-Tinya, (some of) the gents over at the Legion of Substitute Podcasters support her, there's no volatile internet voting...

I wonder what would be a good campaign slogan.


9:21 AM  
Blogger Chris Cottingham said...

Agreed on your election stuff - both US and LSH.

I heard about the election via the Substitute Podcasters in time to participate, this time; I've campaigned a bit for Phantom Girl, which I credit to the idea sticking in my head from reading it here last time.

Some excerpts from my vote/letter to Paul: PG is still the senior active Legionnaire, she’s smart, fiery, sneaky, determined, and heroic. She and Ultra Boy are my favorite Legionnaires...I almost voted for Ultra Boy, but...having Tinya as leader would be an interesting dynamic for their relationship...some attention, conflict, and progression of their relationship would be welcome...I’d like to see if you can do as well with PG as Leader as Barry Kitson did with Phase and L.E.G.I.O.N. Retcons be damned, that was Tinya, and she was phenomenal. As one who’s invested in all these characters, I was oddly *proud* of her. I’d like her to have the opportunity to do as well with the “real” Legion.

On Shady and Earth-Man, agreed that Shady was vindicated. My problem is that we were not shown the development of that relationship, just handed it as a fait accompli. I'd have liked to see some introspection from Shady, before, or during, or after. I'd like to know how she's feeling now about things. Bah. I'd like to know what makes *any* of these guys tick these days. It seems to me that Levitz is currently almost purely plot driven, with little real attention to developing three-dimensional characters that seem real. And the plots, like the character bits, have these odd holes, as you've mentioned, where we're shown some setup, or some aftermath, but little of the actual development (whether or relationships or fights).

Given those observations, what's your thought on the news that Giffen's returning to the LSH as a regular? I'm sure you'd rather see something new; but I've been looking at the storyboarding of the GDS from the big hardcover volume that includes Levitz and Giffen's first run, and I'm noticing that Giffen may have choreagraphed a lot of scenes. Paul's storyboarding is "the Legionnaires fight a Servant" and then it moves on to the next event. The actual plotting of the action seems like it may have come from Giffen. If so, and if they co-plot again, that could help with some of my complaints about the current run.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, I'm not so wild about Giffen coming back as an artist; obviously he's a capable artist, but I'm not always willing to follow him down his experimental meanderings. I wasn't nuts about that Annual he drew last time, with the Empress on Orando. I know he can do better, but he may not want to.

Giffen as a co-writer, though, is another story. Unlike with Levitz, I never got the sense that Giffen had come to the end of what he had to say about the Legion. There's certainly a chance that he'll get things stirred up a bit.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

Of the available candidates, I wouldn't mind seeing Cham being thrust into the leadership role. He's got plenty of experience leading the Espionage Squad, and it might be interesting to see how he handles not always being able to pull off the sneaky stuff if he's also being the "face" of the Legion at the same time.

On the other hand, while not necessarily as strong a vibe, I do sometimes put Cosmic Boy in the same general basket as Superman and Captain America, in that even when they're not the chairperson/leader of their team, it's hard not to think of them as being it.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I know a lot of people think about Cosmic Boy that way, but I've never been one of them. Not that he doesn't make a good leader; just that it's not mandatory.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand corrected;the last Legion election in 2011 pulled in almost 20,000 votes.That was an online vote.Have to wonder how many votes this snail mail election will get.
Have to wonder if the current LSH title has 20,000 readers...

11:18 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That does sound more right.

I'd say 20K readers is a reasonable ballpark figure for the current readership, but obviously not all of those are going to be moved to vote. Cripes, back in the '80s, I never did.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I wonder have Cham would fare as Legion leader in light of the Durlan stuff that happened just before the New 52. Could he carry any weight with the external politics? WOuld he have to use the capital of being Brande's son?

8:09 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's an interesting point. I'd say it wouldn't cause any trouble for the rest of the Legion, especially with Earth-Man no longer around, but he might have a hard time dealing with the U.P. and especially Earthgov.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

Yes, that's my thought. If Levitz wants to jump into the UP politics arena, Cham is a fruitful leader. (But I can also see him having Cham recuse himself from such a position, that the wounds from Earth-Man and the Durlan infiltration are too recent.)

1:12 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think that would be an uncharacteristically cautious move for Cham.

1:16 PM  

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