Thursday, July 20, 2017

Batman '66 Meets the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Legion of Super-Heroes team up with Batman and Robin to fight Universo and Egghead in the 1960s and the 2060s.


I know that this has been out for a while on Comixology. I'm not on Comixology; I read this for the first time yesterday.

It was okay. Cheap-and-cheerful done-in-one superhero story. It worked 75 years ago and it works now. The Allreds are obviously proficient with the material, and gamely try to grapple with futuristic teen slang. I can see myself reading this again.

One little problem I had with the story... why exactly was Projectra disguising herself as Phantom Girl? Did they explain that and I missed it?

Can't help but notice that DC's choice of crossovers for the LSH have included, in recent years, the 1960s Star Trek lineup, the Atomic Knights (a 1960s comic), the Batman and Robin from the 1960s TV show, and Bugs Bunny, whose adventures ran originally from the 1940s through the 1960s. I don't like it. The Legion was not made for nostalgia.

Any LSH news from San Diego?

Art: 125 panels/20 pages = 6.25 panels/page. No splash pages! (Note that the Bugs Bunny/LSH comic had ten more pages than this, and fewer panels!)

The Allreds handle all the creative stuff in this comic, and I have to say I'm not a big fan of the art style. It's, uh... I dunno. Simple? Flat? It's clear and effective and I thoroughly admire how much they pack into a page, but the way it looks just doesn't appeal to me. The specific features that stand out to me as me particularly not liking them are Batman's lips and the lines in his cheeks.

Note that there are a lot of little circular panels, presumably a thematic echo of the two villains of the story; that's cool.

Roster Notes: The lineup featured here is a very mid-sixties one. 1966, probably! (I'm not going to check that to see if it's right or not.) Shadow Lass is cited as the newest member, and as we all know, Shady and Ferro Lad were never teammates in the Silver Age LSH stories. The comic book addresses this, though, describing Ferro Lad's death in the Sun-Eater as a "time-branch" created by the Time Trapper that the Legion has already dealt with. I bring this up not because there's any real reason to scrutinize the continuity of a one-off novelty comic like this one, but because I'm wondering if DC might adopt this approach to continuity in regular Legion comics. It could be very useful.

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Anonymous Tim said...

"Any LSH news from San Diego?"

All I could find. The inclusion of Phantom Girl makes it Legion-y news? Even though this is a Fantastic Four pastiche and PG is the Invisible Girl stand-in.

I liked this better than the Bugs Bunny installment but I think your review is fair.

Thanks again for updating and reviewing.


7:35 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

You're quite welcome.

I was wondering whether I should do a post on _The Terrifics_. I'm definitely going to be giving the comic a spin, and I guess we'll find out then how Legion-relevant it is.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Carey said...

Regarding the panel count and no splash pages: Batman '66 Meets the Legion of Superheroes was originally created as a direct to digital comic, with each digital page being one half of the traditional comic page, making full page splashes impossible (and therefore every time there's a single half page illustration then that would be the equivalent of a full page splash). Allred, of course, is talented enough that this will be unnoticeable in the comic version.

I liked this and the Bugs Bunny one shot, but agree that they are very disposable and geared around appealing to nostalgia more than anything else. In this respect, Allred's art fits perfectly, but this approach continues to reinforce the (in my opinion) mistaken belief that the Legion is impenetrable because of its long history and continuity. Which, having grown up with the Uncanny X-Men (wait, Cable and Rachel are brother and sister from different, albeit identical, mothers who both grew up in futures that no longer exist? Being one such example) has always struck me as a false argument.

5:14 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, was it, though? I mean, I know it was distributed digitally first, but was the digital format driving or trailing the creative process?

I think the biggest problem for the Legion is that nobody believes in the future anymore. And why should we?

5:54 AM  
Blogger YoStabbaStabba said...

Are the batman '66 comic and the Bugs Bunny teamup both one-shots? I've been away from comics for a few years and just trying to fill in my Legion gaps.... thanks!

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

They are both one-shots.

Incidentally, here's the sales in the direct market for some of the more recent "Batman '66 and..." issues along with the Legion issues for comparison:

07/2016: Avengers #1 of 6 -- 13,921 (+ 25.9%)
08/2016: Avengers #2 of 6 -- 11,079 (- 20.4%)
09/2016: Avengers #3 of 6 -- 10,082 (- 9.0%)
10/2016: Avengers #4 of 6 -- 9,556 (- 5.2%)
11/2016: Avengers #5 of 6 -- 9,223 (- 3.5%)
12/2016: Avengers #6 of 6 -- 8,675 (- 5.9%)
01/2017: Wonder Woman #1 of 6 -- 23,687 (+173.0%)
02/2017: Wonder Woman #2 of 6 -- 14,484 (- 38.9%)
03/2017: Wonder Woman #3 of 6 -- 13,277 (- 8.3%)
04/2017: Wonder Woman #4 of 6 -- 12,537 (- 5.6%)
05/2017: Wonder Woman #5 of 6 -- 12,192 (- 2.8%)
06/2017: Wonder Woman #6 of 6 -- 11,887 (- 2.5%)
07/2017: Legion of SH #1 of 6 -- 15,319 (+ 28.9%)


2:28 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks for getting in there to answer that. Interesting on the sales numbers... I wouldn't call them good numbers, but they're not that bad for 2017, are they?

3:49 PM  
Blogger YoStabbaStabba said...

Wow-thx for that I info. I will say that the owner of my local comic book store said that batman 66 isn't a great seller-maybe 15 copies/month. The legion issue though sold out quickly and it was the only issue so far he had to reorder....

1:01 AM  

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