Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #5 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The in-the-past group of characters is locked up by the cavemen but get sprung by a mysterious entity who turns out to be Q. The mid-future group has dinner with Vandal Savage/Flint and he talks to them for a while.


Okay, so not much happened this issue. Nothing new there. And Q showed up on the last page, which I'm sure is going to be a big thing for most readers. But for me, the main attraction of this issue came on pages 18-19.

This may have been the first thing in the whole series that I liked unreservedly. (It's the spread of Vandal Savage's collection of time machines.) Because it's just such a totally Chris Roberson thing to do. If you don't know what I mean, hunt down his novel, Here, There, and Everywhere, and see for yourself. I was delighted when I saw it.

The fun thing to do would be to check out all those time machines and see how many of 'em we can identify. I know I only know about half of 'em. Anyone?

But still. Basically this issue could have been dispensed with in about four pages. At least it'll all be over soon.

Art: 63 panels/22 pages = 2.9 panels/page. 2 splash pages, 1 double-page spread, 1 double-page spread of 2 panels.

Strong issue for the Moys! It looks quite good all the way through. If the whole series had looked like this I would have been much better pleased. Check out page 9, for instance; very nice. Although Savage/Flint is reminding me of someone in panel 2 and I can't remember who. Gonna drive me nuts.

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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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