SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
This issue features art by Evan “Doc” Shaner, Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen, Joëlle Jones, Michael Avon Oeming, Liam Sharp, André Lima Araújo, Sanford Greene, Cully Hamner, Yanick Paquette, Dan Hipp, David Mack, Darick Robertson, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Bilquis Evely, Fabio Moon, Michael Allred, Ryan Sook, Wade Von Grawbadger, Alex Maleev, John Timms, and Duncan Rouleau.
We’re back! And, somewhat surprisingly given certain events of a couple of weeks ago, so is Legion of Super-Heroes and DC Comics! These are grim times in the comic book world, and especially grim for DC, but we’ll continue to cover new issues of Legion for as long as DC Comics continues to put them out.
But enough of the bleakness of the year 2020: Onward!
This issue’s got a little something for everyone: A nice set of one-page Legionnaire spotlights, a big fight, a two-page splash with three dozen characters crammed in, some plot advancement, some relationship status changes, and adds some new mysteries.
Also, it’s an art jam issue, with every page (and one double-page spread) being drawn by a different artist. It’s a fun sampler of different art styles, and gives a nice sense of who would make a good Legion artist (and whose art style doesn’t quite mesh with the team), plus it’s evocative of some of the anthology-style anniversary issues, like Legion of Super-Heroes #300.
On the other hand, having so many disparate art styles means the issue isn’t even in the same universe as the phrase “stylistic cohesion,” and where previous Legion anthology-type issues endeavored to have an organic reason for the different artstyles (the alternate futures of the aforementioned #300), this issue seems to just… have a lot of artists for the sake of having a lot of artists. Still, it’s a fun departure for an issue (or two, as the case may be).
Standout artists, for me, were Dustin Nguyen’s effortlessly sensual Dream Girl, Liam Sharp’s Crav-centric page, Dan Hipp’s stylized simplicity, and David Mack’s ethereal Saturn Girl.
Liam Sharp’s page was particularly interesting: I don’t think I’d want Sharp for a regular Legion artist (though it could be an interesting experiment), given the contrast between his baroque, Celtic style and the Legion’s streamlined future aesthetic, but he does an amazing job laying out his page and depicting Crav with primal energy that I can’t help thinking about how he would draw a hypothetical Mordru-verse issue.
As for the plot, we get the big fight promised in the last issue, as everyone fights back Crav and his bodyguards, the Parliament of Rimbor. This is depicted within a framing device of Madamhonor President having Chameleon Boy, her son, run through files on the various legionnaires, which incidentally gives us an opportunity for one-page single-artist spotlights on various legionnaires. We end on a revelation about Mon-El and the Legion going off to trial before the United Planets for… some form of disobedience.
I’ll be honest, I thought the general tension between the Legion and the UP were at least superficially resolved in the last issue, so I’ll be interested to see what goes on with the trial in the next issue. Not that the tension isn’t an interesting and welcome element in this new volume, but it gets a little frustrating when it gets pulled into focus so regularly. Having the Legion address the UP as the culmination of a conflict is interesting. Having them address the UP every other issue starts to get rote.
On the whole, though, it feels like this volume is settling into a nice rhythm and I’m starting to get a feel for this Legion. I really appreciated the character spotlights here, and the whole team is starting to cohere for me. I’m cautiously optimistic about where the book is going… independent of events out in the real world.
Bits of Legion Business
Slight modification to Element Lad’s origin; his homeworld and people were still destroyed by space pirates, but now it’s the Horraz (though, of course, there’s nothing ruling out the possibility of Roxxas existing and being a part of that destruction).
Another thing I like: Dreamy having a somewhat off relation to language and the perspective of others due to her constant precognition, somewhat like Saturn Girl’s telepathy. I like that this version of the Legion puts thought into that sort of thing.
An interesting bit where Princess Projectra demonstrates her powers upon first meeting the founders by projecting an elaborate palace in a blank room. Some shades of her medieval back story in the projected hallway. Projectra’s one of my favorites, so hopefully we’ll see more of her.
Making explicit what was previously implied: Cham was placed on the team in order to spy on them for Madamhonor President. Hmmm…
No big revelation here, just love it when Drake’s containment suit gets breached and goes all floppy.
Disappointing lack of details on the names/powers/general deal with Crav’s bodyguards, other than finding out they’re called the Parliament of Rimbor.
Looks like they’re borrowing the whole “Gim is naturally big and his power is to shrink” thing that was done in the Threeboot Legion. Fine. I feel like that falls on the wrong side of the “clever in an interesting way”/”Clever for clever’s sake” line, but it’s certainly not offensive.
Clever little twist and reference here to the famous death of Ferro Lad. Did we know Ferro Lad was on the team before now?
I believe this is finally confirmation that this is, in fact, Phantom Girl; her tag has been illegible up until now. Interesting design element with the halo!
The relationship between Phantom Girl and Mon-El that was mentioned last issue is no longer as of this issue. Though given the heat-of-the-moment nature of this rejection and the fact that they’re all a bunch of messy teens, to be seen whether they reconnect later.
Here we got an origin for Mon-El, this time as Superboy’s descendant. Neat. Still unclear why he’s so down on Jon, though…
Finally, Mooney Teleport would appear to be a reference to Jim Mooney, who drew a few Legion issues in the Silver Age but is mostly known as the long-time artist on the Action Comics Supergirl features.
That about wraps things up! Next issue: The Trial of the Legion… Again?
Bonus Feature: Learn Interlac!
Much less Interlac text this issue, but we’ve got our first partially-occluded text. Let’s see if we can figure it out! Guesses in brackets.
In Interlac on the side: Jon Kent is t[he] creator and founder of the United Pla[nets]. Named and designed after ancient Earth’s United Nations. Jon Kent was the one t[o] convince the First Order of the United Planets to come together.
Conner Kent did none of these things.
(Whoops! Looks like the letterer included the script notes!)
The Interlac narrative will be something like: Blok comes from Dryad where they believe justice is proportional. So to Blok, this attack on the Legion feels like a full-scale war.
Wow, umm… It seems like the editing process didn’t catch the Interlac issues.
Blok is mentally noting which Legionnaires are actively fighting and which ones are pretending to.
It wasn’t until this moment that Blok noticed that Shadow Lass doesn’t seem to do anything.