DC Comics geared up for the auspicious relaunching of the Legion of Super-Heroes with five prelude books spanning August through October. Last week, we briefly reviewed the first three lead-ins (see here), and today we’re going to review the final two.
Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium: Part 1 of 2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencillers: Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino, Andre Lima Araujo
DC Comics, September 2019
Over the decades, DC Comics has created multiple universes, continuums, dimensions, and alternate realities. How to keep track of them all? A comic book reader these days needs a Sheldon Cooper-ish IQ to keep it all straight. One of the problems writer Brian Michael Bendis had in relaunching the Legion was in somehow connecting the team to the various future “realities” and dimensions. He attempts to do so, with the help of four different artists, via the character, Rose Forrest, who struggles with a split-personality. Her other identity, Thorn, is an angry, vigilante super-anti-hero. In the first sequence (drawn by Jim Lee), the very unstable Rose seeks help from President Supergirl. In the next sequence (penciled by Dustin Nguyen), she commiserates with an ersatz-Batman. Rose/Thorn then appears (courtesy of artist Andrea Sorrentino) in a desolate post-apocalyptic future that has something to do with something called “The Great Disaster” and a character named “Kamandi.” Finally, Rose journeys to a future reality featuring Tommy Tomorrow and the Planeteers (compliments of penciller, Andre Lima Araujo). Only an absolute comic book geek could possibly make heads or tales of all of these stops along the disjointed DC multiverse. But onward I pressed because I was confident that all of this chaos had something to do with the Legion.
Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium: Part 2 of 2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencillers: Nicola Scott, Jim Cheung, Jeff Dekal, and Ryan Sook.
DC Comics, October 2019
In Millennium: Part 1, we followed tortured soul, Rose/Thorn, as she journeyed from one dissatisfying DC alternate future to the next. Part 2 continues along the same agonizing path. In the first segment, Rose travels to the 25th century and encounters an overenthusiastic Michael Jon Carter who would go on to become Booster Gold (drawn by Nicola Scott). In the following sequence, Rose meets up with OMAC after “The Great Disaster” (pencils by Jim Cheung). Next, we see Rose freefloating in the depths of space as she attempts to overcome Thorn, her violent second identity (art by Jeff Dekal). And then, finally, FINALLY, Rose somehow comes to grips with her raging inner-turmoil and shows up in 31st Century at the founding ceremony of the Legion of Super-Heroes (pencils by Ryan Sook).
Comments: One of the main reasons why the Legion franchise progressively lost readership over the decades was because it was the mothership of the depressing “Sad Astronaut” genre. While the first three Legion preludes in “Superman” and “Supergirl” were optimistic and coherent, these two Millennium preludes were the epitome of “Sad Astronaut” bleakness and incoherent navel gazing. The only optimism in these two Millennium preludes is the last few pages of Part 2 when Rose shows up at the Legion’s doorstep. I sure hope Bendis keeps things positive and buoyant moving forward.
“I’m bewildered by the “Sad Astronaut” genre and there’s a lot of it in comic books.” – Brian Michael Bendis
Hmm. We’ll see. On the plus side, Nicola Scott’s artwork in Millennium: Part 2 is extraordinary and Ryan Sook, the Legion’s new regular penciller, isn’t far behind. After decades of uncomplimentary artistry adorning Legion tales (e.g. Keith Giffen), it will be sweet having a top-flight illustrator presenting the stories.
Next Up: The Legion of Super-Heroes #1! Yay!