Saturday, November 11, 2006

Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes #1-5 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

Lightning Lad is competing in the Space Olympics, or whatever they think they call it. His event is the dodecathlon (which is awesome). Unfortunately, he's up against some stiff competition consisting of a Bismollian (I think his name is mentioned as Tenzil; anyway, it's clearly supposed to be him), Jo Nah of Rimbor, and Mekt Ranzz of Winath (no lightning powers, though). Mekt cheats and wins the gold but Garth also medals. Meanwhile, Superman and Phantom Girl are there as spectators, sitting in the presidential luxury box with Phantom Girl's mom, and it's all very awkward, especially since the Fatal Five keep trying to assassinate President Wazzo and Superboy and Phantom Girl have to stop them without causing a panic. Climax of the story: during the medal ceremony, Mekt unwittingly lets the Fatal Five through security in return for helping him cheat, and the Legion (plus Jo and Tenzil) has to beat them to save the president.


Perfectly good episode. Continues the pattern of having a *lot* of action packed into a short period of time, and yet still getting a lot of story handled. Phantom Girl continues to provide cool moments in the fights; there were two occasions on which she phased through somebody in order to grab them from behind, and, best of all, in the final fight she phased Mano underground and then pushed him up out of the ground so that his disintegrating hand melted Tharok's cyborg leg.

We did have some plot holes. Like why did the Five need Mekt to melt the security dome during the ceremony, if the Emerald Eye was already inside? Or the 'dot bomb' that was planted on the presidential skybox. According to Phantom Girl it's powerful enough to blow up half a planet. If that's so, why was Tharok hanging around outside a moment later? Choose your answer:
- Tharok is a suicide bomber
- Tharok only showed up once Superman flew off with the bomb; the Empress must have teleported him for him to be there so fast
- someone other than the Fatal Five planted the bomb
- no good reason

The most important thing about this episode was how it put Lightning Lad on display. Garth has been a bit of a jerk in this series... but not too much. He gave Superman and Timber Wolf a hard time when he first met them, but once they joined the Legion, he accepted them as his teammates. In this episode, he shows perspective: doesn't let Mekt goad him into a fight, doesn't hesitate to save people in danger even if it means losing a race. He's got a temper and he can be abrasive, but he's not close to forfeiting his good-guy status.

One thing I didn't like was the subplot about Phantom Girl not getting along with her mother. It was cliche from start to finish, it wasn't funny, it was all over the place in terms of characterization and I would rather it had been left out entirely.

Nice touches:
- Phantom Girl thinking Jo was cute
- comedy (1)--Phantom Girl mocking Superman for his awkwardness upon meeting her mom
- when the Emerald Empress called to the rest of the Five to get their attention, the Emerald Eye turned to meet her gaze
- the sportscaster at the beginning referred to "the lucky 343rd Galactic Games". 343 is obviously three times as lucky as 'lucky 7', as 343 is 7 cubed
- comedy (2)--Superman moves in on the buffet table, saying, "Hey, crab legs!" At which point a face appears from the cluster of 'crab legs', retorts, "Monkey face!" and scuttles away

Membership Notes:

When President Wazzo is thanking the Legion at the end, there are six people there on the podium, five of whom helped out in the fight: Superman, Phantom Girl, Lightning Lad, Jo Nah, Tenzil, and a four-eyed corkscrewy alien named Zzok of Sephia (he has burrowing abilities). So are we to believe that these last three are now affiliated with the Legion? I hope so. That'd be cool; a new Legionnaire who only exists in the cartoon. Both Ultra Boy's and Matter-Eater Lad's symbols appear on the Mission Monitor Board sequences in the credits, which would imply that they're already members, but that's not reliable.

Also, apparently Drake Burroughs's name appeared in Interlac at one point.

Rating: LLLl

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