Saturday, March 24, 2012

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #6 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

In the semi-future, Vandal Savage is torturing Kirk, Chameleon Boy, and Lightning Lad to get their time-traveler secrets from them. They resist, and get into an argument with Savage. In the distant past, Vandar Adg and his tribesmen come upon the Enterprisers and Legionnaires trying to release Q. The ST/LSHers subdue their enemies and Brainiac 5 and Spock figure out how to free Q, which basically undoes all the events of the series.


Across the first five issues of this series, I've been pretty rough on it. These comic books have been fluffed out beyond tolerances and have shown more interest in the trivial correspondences of the crossover than in the more substantial possibilities. Some have suggested that I just have to wait and the good stuff will show up toward the end of the series.

That turned out to be absolutely true.

Chris Roberson's central idea for this series, that Vandal Savage (in one universe, at least) learned about the possibilities of the future from the Enterprisers and Legionnaires and was inspired to become Flint, is great for three reasons:

1. It makes the series centre on, not details like the similarities of Coluans and Vulcans, but on the basic themes of what makes the Legion and Star Trek so great in the first place
2. You couldn't have done a story like this without a crossover between two great franchises; there just wouldn't be any way of doing it. To take a superhero comic book character and make him be the secret origin of a science-fiction TV character from the other, because of the basic premises of the two series, is not something that's possible without the special circumstances of the crossover
3. It makes this series an actual story, one you can even take as canonical if you really want to, a story about the redemption of an immortal.

I was looking forward to seeing what Roberson could come up with for this series from the moment I heard about it; I couldn't imagine a better candidate to write the Legion than Roberson. But at my most optimistic I didn't imagine he'd conceive of anything as brilliant as this. I'm just very very impressed.

In fact, if this series had been one or two issues long, I'd be ready to nominate it as one of the great Legion comics.

At six issues, it's seriously flawed. Overall I'd still rate the series as more good than bad, but it would have been so easy for it not to be that close.

Oh well.

I wonder whose fault it was that it's like this. Did the Moys say that they couldn't fit any more story than that into 132 pages? Was Roberson unable to come up with any more content to fill the six TPB-mandated issues of the series? Did IDW editorial tell them how they had to do it? Did the DC people and the Star Trek people put some kind of constraints on the project that made it work out this way? Whoever it was, they did the readers no favour. Damn it, this thing had a component of greatness in it and all they could think of to do was surround it with as much air as they could.

One of the things I thought of complaining about was that the key to defeating Vandal Savage turned out to be more of a logic puzzle than an action scene. But that's actually okay; it wouldn't be the recommended way of resolving a superhero story, but there's nothing wrong with it at all for a Star Trek story, which after all it also is.

I'm glad the series ended as well as it did. I won't miss it; the thing has been annoying me for half a year. But on one level at least, Roberson has more than justified everything I hoped for from him.

Art: 86 panels/22 pages = 3.9 panels/page. 1 splash page. Neither the best nor the worst job the Moys have done on this series. In the end I can't say that their art was much of a plus. Only in patches did it have the kind of polish that it did when they were drawing the reboot Legion; mostly it was all right but not noteworthy. Say this for them, at least: they were not the biggest problem this series had, and they did do some good work.

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