Hello. My name is Field, Lyle Field.
This review, I will be continuing my focus on the New 52 titles with a focus on another Superman-oriented phenomenon—Legion of Super-Heroes (LSH).
What is that you say?
Legion of Super-Heroes is part of the “Young Justice” brand of New 52 titles and not part of the Superman titles.
Well, too bad.
Origins of the LSH goes back to 1958 when they were the very first super-teen group (plus the first super-team to debut from the Silver Age Era) where Superboy/Kal-El was recruited and joined the team (see Adventure Comics #258 for details). DC did “experiment” in separating the LSH from the Superman line of titles (between 1985-2007), but it has diminished the wonder and fun of the premier heroes of the 31st century. Thank you Geoff Johns for bringing back the LSH into the Superman fold again.
Ironically, the New 52 did NOT change the LSH in any major way unlike most of the other DC line of titles. In essence they stayed pretty much to the core where even Superman/Kal-El was an active member of the team. How is that? Well, that is supposed to be answered by Grant Morrison in Action Comics #5-6. Be patient all you LSH fans, it will be out starting in January 2012.
Okay, let’s start with the review beginning with the primary title: Legion of Super-Heroes.
First off, it is very nice to see that Paul Levitz continues to write the LSH during the New 52 transition. He is “Mr. Legion” and if you want to experience more of his work, order the “Great Darkness Saga” and “The Curse” Deluxe Edition Hardcovers. It is indeed his best work.
Anyway, it seems some time has passed between the end of the previous LSH series and the New 52 edition. Earth Man is buried after his heroic sacrifice against the Legion of Super-Villains. Six members of the LSH are “lost” through time and presumed dead. Colossal Boy has decided to retire to join the UP Starfleet like his dad while missing his wife Yera (aka Chameleon Girl) who is listed as “dead”. Four new members have joined from the Legion Academy: Dragonwing, Chemical King, Glorith and Comet Queen. Mon-El is still the LSH’s current leader with Brainiac 5 as his deputy. Mon-El has given up his Green Lantern ring. Plus, Dream Girl mentioning that they are unable to rely on Superman for help due to the events of Flashpoint. There are probably some things I have missed but with the LSH there is a lot to absorb.
The inaugural storyline points to a new Dominion offensive into the United Planets using rogue members of the UP Starfleet military soldiers led by the Daxamite known as the Renegade (who happens to be immune to the effects of lead in some fashion). Thus far, not bad but a little slow even for a Levitz penned issue. I was expecting maybe a two parter with 5-6 issues of single issue stories with underlying plotlines that would segway to a major multi-part story arc. The typical “Levitz Paradigm” of storytelling.
Francis Portela’s art is adequate and improving, enough to go from back up artist in the 2010-2011 series to lead penciller. Although I am looking forward to Walt Simonson (the man who rocked the pages of Thor during the 1980s) doing a one issue guest art stint.
Not a big fan of the four new recruits joining the team so soon, however I did love the mere mention of Darkseid in #3. Hopefully, Darkseid will make his return to plague the LSH down the road. I did enjoy Mon-El taking direct action in the same majestic fashion as Superman would, however I wonder how does Mon-El’s origins fit into the New 52 Superman back story.
While LSH gave me a touch of nostalgia, Legion Lost on the other hand is by far one of my favourite New 52 titles. I have enjoyed (in the past few years) the LSH journey into Superman’s time for an outrageous adventure. This time trying to stop a hyper-virus from infecting the 21st century and changing the timeline.
The choice of Legionnaires in Legion Lost is cool. Wildfire and Dawnstar, the love birds who are unable to truly express their love to one another. Timber Wolf, whom I always considered to be the “original Wolverine” of the DC Universe. Tellus, one of my favourite Legionnaires due to his character and his non-humanoid appearance. Chameleon Girl and Gates, two Legionnaires who have yet to really shine gets their opportunity unfortunately Gates is dead in the first issue. Tyroc, he joined the LSH over 35 years ago and was never given a proper break out performance until now.
The team of Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods really shine. Woods whose has spent five years honing his art in the pages of various Superman titles and has improved as time went by. Nicieza is a great writer even though I have not really experienced much of his work since he left the New Warriors after the 50th issue in 1994. It is unfortunate that he is leaving after Legion Lost #6 due to other non-comic book commitments. However I am glad that one of my favourite writers will be taking over the series, Tom DeFalco.
I am looking forward to seeing how Legion Lost will tie into the events of Superboy and the Teen Titans in 2012, especially where KNOWHERE is concerned. KNOWHERE is fast becoming an organization that I am more and more curious about. I also hope that Superman will also make an appearance.
The one thing working against Legion Lost, I see it as a finite series. The primary story has a year, maybe two if they push it, but eventually it will end and the lost Legionnaires will have to return home. Then again, there might be a significant twist to them going “home”. Could this series turn into DC’s version of the time-lost Exiles?
Legion: Secret Origin focuses on the New 52 origins of the LSH. Chris Batista makes his return to the Legion Lore after a seven year absence and his pencils always remind me of Curt Swan’s Legion work during the 1960s. As for Levitz, this his chance to put his modern spin to the origins of the LSH, however I am finding it a bit slow as well. I believe that Levitz needs to speed things up a bit in his plots in both this mini-series and the primary series.
What has me curious about the mini-series is the trio of Zarl Jax, Anisa and Mycroft. They seem to be a “shadow cabinet” dedicated to protecting the United Planets, which got me thinking… is this the evolved version of Stormwatch and Demon Knights? If you are reading Paul Cornell’s work on Stormwatch and Demon Knights, you will know what I am talking about.
Anyway, I have yammered on enough about the LSH. Obviously, I love the whole Legion Lore from its highest point to its lowest point. I really doubt that I will leave the Legion behind. I hope you are trying the Legion out and maybe even get some of the reprinted graphic novels if you enjoy those adventures. I know I certainly do.
Well, my next 52 reviews will revolve around the rest of the “Young Justice” group of titles.
Until next time… I’ll smell you later.