Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #9 Review

 What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Legion's trial continues. There's some back-and-forth about whether the Legion is actually loyal to the United Planets or not, but this gets swept aside when Dream Girl reveals that a Great Darkness is coming. Dr. Fate and the White Witch back her up, and it turns out that Krav the General Nah already knew about it and was trying to take over the United Planets to fight it. Gold Lantern takes Krav into custody and President Brande says that this was what she was after with the trial all along, which, sure.


So let's break down this trial story. We've had Krav as one of our major villains for quite a few issues now. The Legion has had a few fights with him, with mixed results, but it took this trial to finish him off for good. The key to his defeat was not the kind of traditional superheroics that the Legion is trying to bring back, but President Brande's political machinations. I'm not sure what I think about that. On the one hand it's quite off-brand for a superhero comic; on the other hand I can't really argue against "legal authorities acting responsively within their authority in the pursuit of justice" being a better way to deal with problems than "punching".

One of the features of the threeboot Legion was that the Legionnaires all believed different things about the purpose of the Legion and that this caused strife and disunity on the team. We get a different take on that here: Dawnstar and Bouncing Boy, for instance, are very anti-United-Planets, while Timber Wolf and Wildfire are very pro-United-Planets... but they're all invited into the team anyway, because the point is that they're all united by being superheroes and by their shared commitment to fighting for what's right. Really I like this better.

Not super stoked about the approach of another Great Darkness. For one thing, we've already had one. You may have heard about it; it was pretty great. For another, I think that big events should be few and far between. This Legion hasn't really earned a big event yet. Maybe it'll be okay if it's the kind of thing that's built up to over a long period?

Trying to figure out what bothered me about this issue, and I'm settling on, I don't think this comic book can ever be really good if Brian Michael Bendis insists on featuring the whole team in every issue. I don't think it works if we always have to zoom out as far as we can to see everything at once. Sometimes you have to zoom in and look at just a couple of things for a while. That's how every other Legion writer has handled it, and I'm skeptical about whether Bendis has perfected a new technique for how to write about a superhero team with three dozen members in it. I'd like to think that, now that the first storyline is over and the readers have a sense of what's going on here, that he'll switch to a more conventional arrangement, but, uh, I'm not getting that vibe.

Art: 95 panels/22 pages = 4.3 panels/page. 5 splash pages.

The art show continues this issue, with a few pinup type pages (like the ones for the White Witch and Dr. Fate, which I enjoyed). Even with that, the panel count is pretty good. Note page 10, which is Invisible Kid's page--it isn't credited to a particular artist. I think it's just a detail of page 3, all blurred out to give the desired visual effect. Anyway, I like that. Also Reis & Prado's Bouncing Boy page.

Membership Notes:

Someone else pointed it out first, I believe on Twitter, but it's true: look at the top left of page 3, north of Rose, south of Bouncing Boy, west of Ultra Boy and east of Gold Lantern. Chap with a black-green-grey costume and a long purple head with a pointy skull. He's standing with the Legionnaires while they're on trial, so I guess he's a Legionnaire? I guess we'll find out more about him when we do. Anyway, we get details about more of the Legionnaires, which I'll collect up, but no solutions to any of our deeper mysteries.

Labels: ,