Thursday, August 26, 2010

Legion of Super-Heroes #4 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Turns out Graym and Garridan have been kidnapped by a Darkseid cult on Avalon. The cult has some kind of sacrifice in mind. Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, and Saturn Girl raid the temple and succeed in getting the twins back.

Meanwhile, Earth-Man hasn't entirely cut all ties with the xenophobic faction on Earth, but it's unclear what exactly his plans are. Dyogene and Sodam Yat manage to take a break from feeling sorry for themselves long enough to start one more search for another Green Lantern. And Brainy still has some secrets about Earth-Man's flight ring.


From one of my comments attached to last issue's review:

I could certainly imagine the Avalonians starting up a Darkseid cult

Therefore I win.

We certainly got our money's worth this time around. Garth, Ayla, and Imra stage an old-school D&D-style dungeon crawl into Darkseid's personal Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, and the fight against Zeemith and the EHP was a nifty one. I'd like a little more insight into just why the Darkseidians had to import kids from Titan instead of sacrificing domestic twins, but maybe that'll come.

It sort of feels like Levitz was trying to clear this plot out of the way. It may seem weird for me to say that, given the way I like each issue to finish a story, but I thought this particular one would take longer to play out. (Although, given next month's solicit, maybe it hasn't been resolved.)

I had a lot more to talk about when I reviewed issue 4 of the threeboot. That's because there were a lot of questions about just what Waid and Kitson were up to--who all was in this Legion, and how did they get to be the Legion, and how did they go about being superheroes, and what have you. This isn't a complaint, but the same questions just don't exist for Paul Levitz. His take on the Legion is a more conventional and uncontroversial one, and as such there are a lot of things we just don't need to think about.

I'm curious to see how the first TPB of this series is marketed. What's the title going to be? How is the overall arc going to be described? See, I don't know if there's a lot of unity to this story, as one story. Is there one plot-thread that's going to tie it all together? The Darkseid one could have done that, maybe; the Earth-Man or the Titan one... not sure. Can't wait for issue #5, to find out!

Particularly strong art this month, although it's not as densely packed as it usually is. I like the way Cinar gives each setting a different feel; Naltor especially looked good. And check out panel 3 of page 13! That's really cool. I also find that Jeckie's new costume, while it looks bizarre and off-putting with the mask, looks excellent without the mask. So maybe she can just do that. Panel Count: 125/30 pages = 4.2 panels/page. 4 single-panel pages.

- Levitz continues to not quite get Gates's voice. He's got the attitude, but he doesn't have the politics
- those speculating about Earth-Man and Shadow Lass getting together certainly didn't see anything to change their minds in this issue
- putting the Titanians and the Time Institute on Naltor makes a lot of sense. But the possible unintended consequences make the mind reel
- Ayla's reference to breaking the Legion code on killing is, as I recall, another old Levitz standard. Anybody making a drinking game for the retroboot? This should be on it

Membership Notes:

Levitz does us a solid this issue and gives us a definitive membership count: 26. (That's after Matter-Eater Lad goes back to Bismoll.) So, best I can figure it, here are our 26 current Legionnaires:

Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Chameleon Girl, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Duplicate Damsel, Earth-Man, Element Lad, Gates, Invisible Kid, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Night Girl, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Quislet, Saturn Girl, Sensor Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Starman, Sun Boy, Tellus, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, Ultra Boy, Wildfire, XS... okay, that's 32. Which are the extra six? Looking at the Mission Monitor Board when Cosmic Boy mentions the 26 Legionnaires, I can see 26 squares. So that must be what he's talking about. In order, starting from the top left:

unknown, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Earth-Man, Phantom Girl, is that Chameleon Girl? Or who? No, we're going alphabetically, and this is everyone who's present at HQ, so it's Quislet, Sensor Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, must be Tellus, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy. Next row, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, and a blank space that must be Gates; Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, and Saturn Girl; Mon-El and Polar Boy (I don't know why they're associated); looks like Element Lad, unknown, Tyroc, and Wildfire. The first unknown must be Brainy, because it's alphabetical and he's right there; the second one must be Invisible Kid because we know damn well he's a Legionnaire and where else could he be?

That leaves Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Girl, Duplicate Damsel, Night Girl, Starman, and XS as, apparently, not Legionnaires. Not surprised about Chuck and Luornu; Levitz likes having them be in charge of the Academy and so do I. I also prefer Yera as a supporting character. But what about Night Girl, Starman, and XS? Did they not officially join/rejoin or something? (Is Starman still in the 21st century and I missed it?)

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