Monday, January 02, 2012

Legion of Super-Heroes #4 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Legionnaires get Res-Vir under control and chase off the Dominator fleet.


I wonder what it was about the stuff that happened this issue that made Levitz pay so much attention to it. Invisible Kid finding Kryptonite on Daxam? Chemical Kid dropping Res-Vir where he stood? Chameleon Boy scouting a Dominator spaceship? Brainy discovering Glorith's powers are time-based? Dunno. None of it seems like a big enough deal to take up as much of the issue as it did. From a plot point of view, anyway.

Take the Chemical Kid scene. He doesn't seem like the same kind of cavalier jackass he did in the Legion Academy stories in Adventure; he's much more tentative. Given that, I'm not sure if this is really a good Chemical Kid scene so much as it's a good Element Lad scene. In the past, Levitz's Element Lad has been too curt with people to work with young Legionnaires this effectively, but then again that was before he was Kon-El's chemistry teacher. More to the point, it looks like Levitz has taken the time to figure out what he can do with Chemical Kid's powers, which is key to using the character well; it was Bates and Shooter's failure to do this the first time that led to Chemical King's untimely death, at least as much as the Adult Legion story.

Anyway, a scene like that doesn't advance the narrative at all. Res-Vir was already beaten and immobilized; it would have been no trouble at all for Levitz to leave him like that. But no: he wanted us to spend some time with Jan and Hadru, and that's fine.

I wonder when Dragonwing is going to get some attention. We seem to know a lot more about what makes Chemical Kid and Glorith tick than Dragonwing; it's not clear to me just what her place on the team is going to be. Maybe next issue; am I remembering the solicit right? There's something going on with Dragonwing next issue?

Here's what's so great about Brainiac 5. And also why he must be such a problem for a writer. Brainy is not satisfied with comic-book logic. Sure, okay, obviously Glorith's powers are based on magic, but how exactly? Just because you've put a name on it doesn't mean you know how. And it's important to know! Threeboot Brainy was like this too: not lazy. Brainy always wants to do the work. Most superpowers let you avoid doing the work; you can accomplish things with them that you can't understand. Not good enough for Brainiac 5. He's got the advantage that his 12th-level intelligence lets him do all the work fast and well, but he still has to do it. There are no shortcuts for Brainy. He's like Karate Kid in that sense, especially if Karate Kid had trained himself in superspeed instead of martial arts.

I guess everyone's looking forward to next issue with Walt Simonson. Walt Simonson is all very well but I hope Levitz gives him something to do.

- What's going on with Mon-El?
- And while we're at it, what's going on with anti-lead serums these days? Levitz once wrote a whole comic about how the serums need Kryptonite
- Lightning Lass's new(ish) costume. I think it works better as a superhero costume if the shorts are blue or white or even yellow. The red seems exhibitionistic
- I wonder if Hadru will ever learn to turn off Jacques's powers the way Condo did with Lyle
- Still no word on Quislet, or definitive status on Harmonia

Art: 92 panels/20 pages = 4.6 panels/page. 1 splash page.

Is Simonson going to do a better job than Portela's been doing? I think Portela's been knocking it out of the park all series long. Look at the Brainy/Dream Girl pages. Just excellent.

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