Thursday, August 27, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #8

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Legionnaires fight the Rimborians, and win, but the United Planets puts political pressure on them to stand trial anyway. 

Review: I can't say a ton happened in this issue, but what did happen was chewier than it usually is in this series. I think the exercise of splitting the story among 21 art teams forced Bendis to write something interesting for every page--more or less--which is not generally my experience of this title. Also, forcing our attention on individual Legionnaires in turn is valuable. We get some nice little details about a lot of them! 

This issue is, like next issue will be, a gimmick. I enjoy gimmicks, but I try to remember that that's what they are. Again, this could be an actually good series if it ever gets going. (Usually, when you say that about a series, it never gets going. It stays mediocre. But usually it's boring-mediocre, not interesting-mediocre like this one.) 

I still want more details on Krav the General Nah's personal cadre, or whoever they are. There's no way to pack that into this issue, of course. We did get a couple of glimpses of them doing interesting things. I hope they get better developed than Terror Firma. 

Speaking of which, if there were still any doubts that the threeboot Legion had a big influence on Bendis and this series, it's time to banish them. We've got the "Micro Lad" take on Colossal Boy, and we've got Princess Projectra's director's cut of a name, and, really, her personality, a bit. I'm in favour of this, but I would also like to see the reboot Legion reflected in this team in some way. 

This "Trial" storyline... if we're just looking at it as a framing device to spotlight all the Legionnaires and guest artists, it's fine. But superheroes-on-trial storylines can be tricky. I propose that for a trial to work as a premise in a superhero story, you need several prerequisites: 

1) You need to be able to have some kind of interesting discussion over whether the heroes are actually guilty or not 

2) The court needs to be impartial enough, and the case unclear enough, that there's some suspense about how the court will rule 

3) The court must have authority to enforce their verdict, and it must be of such a nature that the reader respects it 

In this case I think we have 1). The role of the Legion in the United Planets and what their jurisdiction is compared to that of the individual planets is not sufficiently defined yet, and this might be an interesting way of exploring that. I don't think we have 2), though; does anybody really think the Legion will get a fair shake in a Rimborian court? And we don't have 3), either, because who cares what the Rimborians say about the Legion? You don't and I don't. So I don't see the trial as really a thing. 

And now I'm ready for something new to be added to what's going on in this story. 

Art: 98 panels/22 pages = 4.5 panels/page (2 splash pages, 1 double-page spread) 

I was worried that this issue would be like a portfolio: 22 individual splash pages. Didn't happen, though; the panel count is actually higher than normal. I guess it's not so strenuous when you only have one page to do all month. Anyway, the guest-artist-extravaganza gimmick basically worked, I think. I liked some artists' takes better than others. Dan Hipp's Blok page was charming, but I wasn't really smelling what Jeff Lemire was cooking, for instance. Favourite panel: panel 3 on Dustin Nguyen's Dream Girl page (p3). 

Membership Notes

We can confirm Ferro Lad as a member, and it turns out Lightning Lass is who we thought Light Lass was all along, I think, but I'm not going to pick up this particular ball until it stops rolling. We discover more details, too, which I'll put on the roster page; presumably there will be more of this next issue.

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