Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Justice League Vs. the Legion of Super-Heroes #6 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

We open on Vandal Savage as the sheriff in an Old West town. Everyone's scared of him. He's got Batman locked up in the hoosegow; apparently he's keeping him around to taunt him with how the world he knows doesn't exist anymore. While this is going on a couple of deputies bring in Jonah Hex, who Savage regards as a sort of seed of the Age of Heroes; Savage kills Hex unceremoniously. But then it turns out Batman isn't Batman. It's Chameleon Boy in disguise. And Savage is surrounded by Legionnaires and JLAers. Because all of this--since sometime last issue--has been taking place inside the Gold Lantern ring, and they've just been letting Savage think he's won because they're trying to collect a complete confession from him for the benefit of the Elders of Oa. Savage resists a little but eventually the Elders remove him from this reality and name Gold Lantern the new leader of the Gold Lantern Corps, which he is to go build. There's a bit of celebration and the Legion prepares to send the League home, and we get one last view of Savage, in some other dimension, being helped up at the side of the road by Jonah Hex.

Review:

Well, that was a legit ending. No complaints on that basis. It's an ending that made sense and was based on things that were emphasized throughout the story. And Brainiac 5 is given an excellent squelch line on Vandal Savage, so that was satisfying.

But...

If you think about what all happened in these six issues... it's not a lot. This story could have fit into one or two comics. And even then it'd be an understated kind of story.

And that would be fine if something other than plot was happening in all those comics. But really it wasn't. A lot of churn. Some little fun character moments. Really a lot of time and space was taken up by the large unwieldy cast of characters being a large unwieldy cast of characters.

(Thought experiment. Pick Brainy, Gold Lantern, and two other Legionnaires. Now pick four JLAers. Now replot the story with just those eight heroes. Think of everything you'd be able to do!)

One problem with Legion reboots is that they don't often produce classic stories in volume. The reboot was good for about five years and then great for three or four; that's the high-water mark. Waid and Kitson produced a couple of years of flawed but high-quality threeboot comics before turning it over to others. There were almost no good Legion comics in the retroboot. And now the fourboot... it's hardly even gotten started! We don't know these characters at all, and they haven't *done* anything!

I'm very disappointed. I'm glad to have Legion comics, but why are we getting Legion comics with such obvious flaws?

I'll give Bendis and Sook credit for this much: they've left the Legion in a good place. It's an interesting-looking team with a solid foundation of mythology and information and another creative team ought to be able to pick it up and do just about anything with it. I hope we see it happen.

Bah.

There was a time on this blog when I said that we were in a golden age of Legion comics and I hoped we were all appreciating it. I hope we all appreciated it.

Anyway! I'm not going anywhere; see you next time we have something to talk about!

Art: 98 panels/22 pages = 4.5 panels/page. 3 splash pages; 1 double-page spread; 2 cases of multiple panels spread across 2 pages.

I hope Scott Godlewski gets work on the strength of this series, because he's been quite impressive. Look at how he renders Jonah Hex on the last page. He's not just some fill-in artist; he portrays Hex with a great deal of assurance and an awareness of how much detail is needed. I've seen any number of fill-in artists who simply could not do that with anything like competence.

I haven't seen much in Legion comics for a long time that I thought was much good to read... but some of the art has been spectacular. Godlewski. Sook's been very good. Perez. Francis Portela. Gus Storms. Riley Rossmo. And I'm definitely leaving people out who oughtn't be left out.

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