Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Legion: Secret Origin #6 Review, and Site Notes

I wonder if you would indulge me, in this review, if I mused a bit about the purpose of this blog and the current state of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes franchise.

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The villain turns out to be the Time Trapper. He controls Mycroft into trying to kill Brande, who is really Chameleon Boy in disguise. Cham defends himself against Mycroft and then against the Trapper himself. Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 uses Phantom Girl's Bgtzln insights into the structure of reality to turn the busted time bubble into a bomb that destroys the wormhole; when the wormhole's destroyed, it also gets rid of the Trapper, because, I guess, that's how he was accessing the 30th century.


I was expecting more out of this story. The whole thing turned out pretty conventionally: Brainy pulls something out of his hat, the villain is the Time Trapper, long live the Legion. Last issue's twist didn't, oh, remain twisty.

Let me tell you what I didn't do tonight. I went to the comic shop and got one single comic. This comic. Looked around for something else to buy this week, didn't find anything, bought this issue, brought it home, read it, started typing this review. That's what I did. What I didn't do was to drive to the comic shop at noon and read the thing in the parking lot once I had bought it. Like I did for Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5.

Why didn't I?

Combination of reasons. There wasn't the big wait before this issue; that's a factor. I can't say there was a huge gap in quality between the two. Some, yes: good as Batista is, Perez is better, and the FC:L3W story had more zazz than this.

Mostly, though, when FC:L3W was coming out, we were wondering what, if anything, DC was going to do with the Legion. Now we're not. (And even if we were, a miniseries going back to their early days wouldn't be part of that wondering.)

How many of you remember when I first started this blog? LSHv5, better known as Waid and Kitson's threeboot Legion, had just started, and it was controversial. There was a school of thought, a big one, that said that whoever those snotty punks were that Waid and Kitson were portraying in that comic, they weren't the real Legion. Also, the real Legion wasn't the one who had been appearing in the pages of the late The Legion comic, or the one who would soon appear in the cartoon. The real Legion hadn't appeared in comics in about 20 years.

I didn't think much of that attitude, still don't, but it did produce a lot of discussion about just what the Legion was all about. And I had a lot to say about it. (Which was convenient, what with the blog and everything.)

In the end, though, it seems like it didn't matter what I had to say about it; the nostalgists carried the day. Their Legion, or at least one that they're willing to claim as theirs, is now the Legion appearing in LSHv7. And there's no debate to be had about this: everyone agrees that they're the Legion, and that Paul Levitz knows his way around them. (Including me! That's obvious, right?)

So now what's to talk about?

I mean, I can review comics twice a month until the cows come home, but what's the point of it? Levitz isn't the most experimental of writers, and his concept of the Legion is a fairly conservative and comfortable one; so he's really not giving me much to sink my teeth into here, and in any case there aren't any issues for me to take positions on.

In case you were wondering, I'm not leading up to saying that I'm closing down the blog or anything like that; that's not my point at all. I'm just saying that this blog was started partially as a way of contributing to a debate that is now over, so if I don't want to get really bored, I'm going to have to find something else for it to do. I may in fact shrink the reviews, at least on a temporary basis. I don't want to just summarize plots and pick over minutiae, you know? I want to try to bring some intelligence to it and say something that you might actually want to think about for five seconds.

And I'm not going to be able to do it if all I have to work with is comics like this one. Again, it's not bad or anything but it didn't seem like the game was worth the candle. Oh well. Back down to two comics a month.

Art: 86 pn/20 pg = 4.3 panels/page. One double-page spread.

Let's tally up the differences between L:SO and ST/LSH, shall we?

L:SO: 104/20 + 96/20 + 93/20 + 86/20 + 81/20 + 86/20 = 546pn/120pg = 4.6 panels/page

ST/LSH: 78/22 + 77/22 + 74/22 + 78/22 + 63/22 + 86/22 = 456pn/132pg = 3.5 panels/page

The difference between the two is 90 panels. 90 panels is basically one entire comic book. Essentially, L:SO was one comic book longer than ST/LSH, despite being twelve pages shorter.

Or we could look at it this way:

L:SO: $2.99 x 6 = $17.94
ST/LSH: $3.99 x 6 = $23.94.

DC's the bigger and more dominant company, so let's pretend that they're the baseline. They're selling us 546 panels for $17.94. That means that one panel of Chris Batista Legion art costs about 3.3 cents. Let's take that as the standard price. Multiply it by the 456 panels in ST/LSH, and you get $14.98. Did you pay $14.98 for your six issues of ST/LSH? You did not; you paid nine bucks more than that. That's the cost of three DC comics. But at least you got the Moys instead of Batista for the extra money.

I know that DC has some advantages that IDW doesn't, and can afford to charge less for their comics. I got no problem with that. But it's no excuse for this level of fluffiness in a comic on the part of IDW.

Membership Notes:

The membership at the end of this issue consists of Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl, Colossal Boy, Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid, and Ultra Boy. There's a set of six headshots of possible new members that includes Brainy and Superman, and four others. Anybody think they know who the four others are? One looks kinda like Shrinking Violet, one could theoretically be Sun Boy, and another maybe Star Boy. I don't have a guess at the girl in the bottom left.

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