Saturday, November 28, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #11 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About: The Legionnaires on their various missions all are dealing with some kind of escalation: the group on Krypton get taken out by some kind of blind dragon in conjunction with Rogol Zaar. On Xanthu, Doctor Fate gets... destroyed? On Rimbor, Ultra Boy accepts leadership of the planet. On Earth, the remaining Legionnaires are called into action and head out to Krypton, where they are immediately defeated. A group on Daxam runs into Mordru, who attacks, steals Cosmic Boy, turns Rose to Thorn, and teleports Blok into deep space. Superboy arrives on Krypton and confronts Rogol Zaar.

Review: This series is still being spread too thin. There are... five different groups? And they all do get some advancement, and there's some consolidation of the storylines. But the point of sending smaller groups out on missions is so that you can temporarily limit the number of characters involved and focus on individual characters more, and to give them longer turns in the spotlight. That didn't really happen here.

Still, it is an improvement over the whole Legion staying in one big group the entire time, which is what we had before. One might expect Bendis to have more proficiency with superhero-team comics, but... is there another group that's really like the Legion, with their dozens and dozens of characters? I don't think writing the Avengers prepares you for it. (Although... it's not like Paul Levitz (who clearly did have not just proficiency but mastery) kept his technique a secret.)

I'm glad to see that we're picking up on a couple of threads from LSH: Millennium, namely Superman's cape and Rose herself. Let's not take our eye off the ball here: I'm convinced that whatever Rose's deal is is the key to understanding everything Bendis is trying to do in this series.

So here's a question. How many stories are we dealing with here? It isn't just one. I think the main event is Superboy vs. Rogol Zaar, but the other stuff isn't related. It's just other stuff the Legion is also dealing with. This is not a problem; it's actually the kind of thing Levitz would do all the time. But I wonder how many of these other threads are going to get folded into the Krypton one. "None," I think, is an appropriate answer.

I have no idea what to expect from next issue. Bring it on! Should be a good read! Of some kind!


- so what the flip is the deal with Karate Kid's word balloon on page 3?

- look at Mon-El's page-one monologue. Bottom of the first column of word balloons, top of the second. The word "more" appears 4 times in 22 words. To me this is a failure of editing

- couple of times at the end of the issue where Brainiac 5 changes his mind very quickly in a short time. Uncharacteristic. Editing again?

- losing interest in Rimborian politics. And I didn't have much to begin with

- I think the practice of naming stuff in comics after comics creators has reached the point of cliche and they should stop doing it

- notice Invisible Kid on page 20?

Art: 82 panels/23 pages = 3.6 panels/page. 1 splash page, 7 double-paged spreads of 1 or more panels.

You know what I'm curious about? I'm curious about what Dream Girl is supposed to look like. Is she sandy or golden or luminous or cloudy or starry or what? She's basically all one colour and that would make it easy for artists and colourists to take shortcuts and make her look simple and uninteresting (not that simple = uninteresting!), and so far Sook and the others have managed to avoid that (see pages 12-13 of this issue). I remember she looked particularly good in her introduction in the Trial issue artfest (although I can't think of who the artist is off the top of my head). But I still don't feel like I understand what effect the artists are trying to elicit in her portrayals.

Membership Notes: We get some names for our mysterious Legionnaires! There's X-Ray Girl, Entropy Kid, and Radius Lad. I get this from a reddit thread here; technically this is all apocrypha but I'm going with it.

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Blogger Lucas Schimmel said...

I don't have much to add to what you already said.

My concerns with bringing back Rogol Zaar are still up. I just fail to see how the character can be anything interesting specially after his first appearance in the Superman comics.

As for juggling many characters at once, well, Bendis did try in his Young Justice team that just ended. But most of the time it was just cameos and the book ended so abruptly, going nowhere. Same with his Action Comics, it had a plotline for two years but he just kept making cameos and crossovers, with so many characters that the main plot just got forgotten. He isn't really that good at writing teams. Or long storylines. Or villains.

I don't like bringing back a writer's other works but... have you noticed how the comic ends with "to be concluded"? That's usually means the next issue will be the last, which is strange because I don't remember reading about LOSH's cancellation (which was odd because Bendis was pretty much booted from all his projects in DC, both in works - Superman books, YJ - and announced - Leviathan), with LOSH sticking out. I'd not be surprised if it had as an abrupt end as Young Justice had.

Lots of meandering and insecurity.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, we do have that future-of-the-future thing coming up which is going to interrupt the regular story. I dunno. I think it’s a bit early for cancellation.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Hal Shipman said...

First - I was waiting for this post SO much. Thank you!

I enjoy Bendis, generally, but I think he does have a weakness on team books. His Avengers was unreadable after a certain point. I'm actually okay with his splitting them into smaller groups, as I think that threads that needle a bit.

His story-telling is a bit all over the map these days and I'm not sure if that's him or editorial. For example, I waited on Event: Leviathan until the trade, so get everything in one place and there were STILL huge gaps and leaps all over the place. And even after reading the Lois Lane trade, hoping Rucka would straighten it out, I still have no idea why she hid out in Chicago without telling Clark. There are things in LSH that make no sense (see: Ayla's outfit/name), but the wheels haven't fallen off yet. But it's looking a little wobbly.

I was wondering what you thought of those character reveals - from the back-matter of the LSH: Millennium collection. Do you mean "apocrypha" in the sense those folks haven't been used in story yet?

3:06 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

- Thanks!
- I'm okay with the smaller groups too, but I don't think they're being used to best advantage.
- Like editorial is going to bother with the minutiae of the Legion.
- Yeah, like the 2995 Sourcebook for all the 5YL stuff.

10:10 PM  

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