Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #4 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

We get the first half of the Legion's origin, and it's actually a lot like the origin we've long been familiar with. The Science Police kindasorta places the Legionnaires under arrest.


I won't spoil it for you, but there was a moment during this issue when I said to myself, "Oh, is that what they're doing!"

The origin of the Legion, as Bendis and Sook give it to us here, is neither shocking nor innovative; it's a variation on things we've seen before. Like most of the Legionnaires themselves, for that matter. Or the villains. This all fits in with my notion that they're putting their imagination into the setting.

But never mind what the origin is; let's look at when it is. Issue #4. I regard this as a sensible and conservative time for an origin story. A review of when we found out the origin story for previous Legion versions:
- original: several years into the run, which is odd, but it was the Silver Age and the state of the art was not quite so advanced then
- reboot: immediately. They started at the beginning
- threeboot: never
- animated: middle of Season Two

The fourboot, so far, has been reminding me a lot of the threeboot in various ways, but this is a minor point of difference. The threeboot got some mileage out of dropping hints about the origin of the team, but never actually got around to telling the story. I like the way they teased us with it, but certainly the threeboot wasn't any stronger for Waid and Kitson never actually showing their cards. Bendis has avoided that here, giving us their origin story in the first arc but not right off the bat. It's a very new-reader-friendly way of doing it, which, again, is consistent with the rest of the series: competent, but not inspired.

Which I'm glad to have! When was the last time a regular Legion comic was this good? Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century, I guess.

The bulk of the book is the time we spend learning about the three founders and how they came to meet. It's pretty strong. Titan and Winath and Braal are vividly portrayed and contrasted against each other, and we get to know Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass a lot better. (Cosmic Boy less so. Not sure I really get him yet.) Exactly the kind of thing we need more of.

I was expecting the origin only to take one issue, but splitting it into two gives us something to look forward to next issue, as does whatever's going on with the Science Police. Perfectly sensible way of building a comic. But, you know, it's not the origin itself that intrigues me. I mean, it's fine and I want to know, but what I really want to know is what Rose has had to say to the Legion. I mean, that's likely to be more important, right?

- anyone else find the Interlac distracting? I've been skipping over it on my first couple of read-throughs and coming back to it when I have leisure to translate it
- how long before we get Supergirl in the Legion? I bet it's coming
- the Horraz again. What's so great about the Horraz?
- of course we're going to need to learn how Lightning Lass became Light Lass. Assuming that's what happens
- I wonder if one of those security guys at the meeting is Blok


103 panels/22 pages = 4.7 panels/page. One splash page; three cases of art being spread over two facing pages.

Have you noticed that the panel count has been creeping up? Steadily since #1. This issue is in the range of "actually pretty good" by that measure. Fewer splash pages, but Sook can still indulge his habit of sprawling across two pages.

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Blogger Dylan said...

I'm enjoying this for the most part so far, but I keep finding I have to keep backing up my mental distance and repeat that "this is a different Legion, new rules, new personalities, new everything."

I don't know if that's good or bad, or just speaks more of me. Granted, none of that's any different than, say, Projectra being a giant snake.

I did like the idea that the Razz siblings were kind of sort of heroes even before the Legion. And the new dynamics on Titan remind me a bit of the "Titanians don't have working vocal cords" of the Threeboot. The mindscape also reminds me of some things that have been done with the Martians off and on over the years, which is consistent with a telepathic culture.

Cos being "the 1%" is interesting. Even if it's in reference to only a small portion of the Braalians having magnetic powers (interesting choice... I'm wondering if any of the other "everybody on my planet can do this" Legionnaires also are going to have that shifted up?), Cos has always seemed very working class/down to Earth. Making him into an exceptional minority changes things up for him a bit.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

The thing with Braal makes sense to me. It's preferable, isn't it, not to have uncounted hordes of magnetic powered randos floating around your fictional universe? The thing I really want to know, along those lines, is what (if anything) they're doing with Daxam. Because that's the real troublemaker; always has been. I think next issue will tell us something about that.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Dylan said...

I’m not sure if it’s good or not, but I’ll definitely concede that the Legion universe has always been a little strange with all these super powered planets and yet we rarely see any of them leaving home.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah. The way I'll put it is, I'm not sure that it's the best way to do it, to emphasize the setting over the other elements of the title like that, but I do think that the setting has been neglected in the past. Not completely. But overall it did deserve more attention than it got.

6:48 PM  

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