Monday, March 26, 2012

Legion of Super-Heroes #7 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Mon-El calls a Legion election. The Dominators seem to have created a race of Daxam-Dominion hybrids and are preparing to unleash them on the galaxy.

Sun Boy, Chemical Kid, and Element Lad discover that the Fire Sea problem is being caused by some of Phoenix's men, and they stop it. Meanwhile, Phoenix takes out Chameleon Boy, but Comet Queen and Harmonia show up to help, and they help Dragonwing finish off her annoying sister and the rest of them, and turn them over to the SPs.


The planet Daxam is one of the biggest problems in all of Legion continuity. Because what do you do with the Daxamites? There's so much latent power there, and, even worse, benevolent power, that it potentially unbalances any large-scale story you want to put there. Every Legion writer has had to figure out how to handle them. In the reboot, the writers made them xenophobic homebodies; in the threeboot, Mark Waid killed them all off. Paul Levitz's strategy has been to make enemies out of them, either one at a time like Ol-Vir and the Renegade, or a whole bunch at once like in the Great Darkness Saga or the current storyline. I don't really find them all that interesting, but I do think Levitz is wise to use them every now and then. After all, the Daxamites are, sort of, Supermen, and you want to refer to Superman in Legion stories when you can. Note that Levitz's portrayal of Daxam is basically a positive one.

Of course, another major theme of Legion comics is that of the bright future. So when Harmonia, a Legionnaire, defeats Phoenix, a supervillain, I think it's a misstep to have Harmonia representing the past and Phoenix representing the future. For that matter, I'm not sure about having a Legionnaire as old as her to begin with. (Not that I dislike Harmonia. I like her, actually. I'm just not sure she's right for the Legion.) Mon-El's bad enough, but he entered the cast back when all these things were still in flux.

The Dragonwing/Phoenix story seemed to be wrapped up in a hurry. When the SPs said, "Can we take your prisoners, Legionnaires?" I halfway expected them to be fakes who were pulling something, but this was a two-issue story, not one of your big six-issue ones. Caught me off guard.

That last panel, where Cham was walking away from the rest of the team, that's the classic dejected-superhero-quitting-the-team posture right there. I know we're supposed to lose a Legionnaire soon, but Cham would not have been on my top ten list of candidates to go.

Decent issue. Like most of the rest of Levitz's third run, it hasn't really set my imagination alight, but it's perfectly respectable comics. Maybe this will improve.

- dear Paul Levitz and Chris Conroy, a horde is a swarm of warriors and a hoard is a cache of treasure. It's the first entry in the genre-storytelling style guide. Learn it, live it, love it
- what do we all think of Harmonia's costume? I'm okay with it
- can't say that Dragonwing is much more interesting to me after this story, but she does seem to have mastered the trick of fighting supervillains

Art: 78 panels/20 pages = 3.9 panels/page. Two splash pages.

That's a bit of a low panel count for Portela, isn't it? Otherwise, the issue is up to his usual high standards. Can't find any panels that stand out from the rest, but that's not at all a criticism.

The caption for next issue tells us that the art will be by "classic Legion artists" Steve Lightle and Yildiray Cinar. Can you really call Cinar a "classic" Legion artist? I mean, he was great and everything, but he only left the book about half an hour ago. Anyway, it'll be good to see both of them again; I don't mind missing Portela for a month if they're the alternative.

Membership Notes:

What with this issue's events, I think we have to count Harmonia as being a full-fledged Legionnaire as of issue #1.

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