Saturday, October 13, 2007

Legion of Super Heroes #2-4 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

We first get the famous Lightning Beasts of Korbal scene, as Lightning Lad dreams of how he and Mekt got their powers... and their sister Ayla mysteriously disappeared, apparently vapourized by the lightning that hit them as they were trying to recharge their spaceship years ago. Lightning Lad has been dreaming of this a lot recently, for some reason... meanwhile the Legion is trying to stop the Dominators from using a strange space-energy-field to power up their tachyon cannon. They soon discover that the Dominators are working with Imperiex, Validus and Mekt, and there's a fight, in which Lightning Lad loses an arm and has to get a cybernetic replacement. The Legion eventually discovers that this energy field is actually a disembodied Ayla, and comes up with a Mekt-centric plan to save her. Mekt resists involvement while Imperiex has his eye on them, but turns his coat as soon as he gets the chance. The tachyon cannon is destroyed and Ayla is restored to existence, still the little girl she was when she was disintegrated on Korbal. And Mekt turns himself in.


This was a mostly satisfactory episode that wraps up the Ranzz family's loose ends pretty nicely: Mekt seems to have resolved his issues and isn't wandering around loose anymore, and we've met Ayla and know that she isn't going to join the Legion anytime soon. Which we knew: they're not going to have two Legionnaires with lightning powers, and the Light Lass powers won't do either because Star Boy has them. So keeping her as a little girl is as good a way as any of keeping her offstage.

Mixed results on characterization. Shrinking Violet gets her first full speaking part in this episode, and is a breath of fresh air... but Lightning Lad adjusts to his new arm a little too quickly, and the writers seem to have taken their hands off the steering wheel when it comes to Superman-X's personality. In the first two episodes, he was all business, with no time for friendship or civility or even for simple tactics: it was all stuff that interfered with his Imperiex-fighting time. Since then, he's been callous when it's convenient for the plot that he's callous, and sympathetic when it's convenient for the plot that he be sympathetic. I was expecting Superman-X's emotional education as a hero to be the main arc of this season, but so far it's all been circumstantially driven.

When the Legion was in the energy field, and Lightning Lad and Mekt were having nightmares, and Ayla was trying to get their attention... Watching all this, I kept thinking that this is a job for Saturn Girl. I wonder if that's one reason the writers shuffled her off into a hospital bed?

Brainiac 5's interaction with Shrinking Violet was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, of course, it echoes their current relationship in the threeboot version of the Legion (although this Vi is much nicer than that Vi). Second... he didn't seem to know her very well. Now, she's been a Legionnaire since before the series started, and now it seems that not only haven't we seen much of her, it turns out that Brainy hasn't either. I'd kind of like some exploration of why this Legion is so diffuse. I mean, I can figure out the reasons for it as well as anyone can; I just want the series to look at it, because it's never been a feature of the Legion before.

Now, to Lightning Lad. On the one hand, he's got both Ayla and Mekt back now, which could soften his character. On the other hand, Saturn Girl's still on the DL and he's had his arm roasted off (considerate how they never actually showed us his wound, isn't it?), which might have the opposite effect. I wonder if we'll notice any difference? I was a bit put out at how enthusiastic he was about his new robot arm. Dude, you just had your freaking arm singed off. Don't you miss it a little bit? Nor am I enthusiastic about how he can now use it to shoot lasers and explosions and stuff: for one thing, that's what we've got robo-Brainiac-5 for; for another, you could already shoot lightning; for yet another, stop trying to impress me with pyrotechnics. (For those who don't know, Lightning Lad once lost his arm in the comic books too. It wasn't to any kind of Imperiex-like figure; it was while he was going after the Super Moby-Dick of Space. Come to think of it, that does sound like Imperiex, if you take out the 'Moby' part.)

Nice touches:
- the piano music in the closing scene with Mekt in prison
- the animation on the lightning effects and the 'drop landing' on Korbal
- did anybody else think that the Lightning Beasts looked a little bit like umber hulks?
- we finally found out how Lightning Lad got his scar. Not that it was a huge surprise
- the famous Winathian Twin Thing doesn't seem to be a part of this Legionverse; Garth and Ayla's bond doesn't seem to be any deeper than any other sibling relationship, and Mekt was messed up for other reasons entirely

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