FINALLY! The Legion of Super-Heroes, #6

The previous Legion installment, LSH #5, was published way back on March 25 and and I had to buy that issue as a smallish Kindle-download because our local comic shop was on lockdown. DC kept delaying the release of issue #6 due to complications from the quarantine. Eleven weeks later, count ’em, we finally have LSH #6.

LSH #5 ended with the news that Aquaman’s trident had been located and that all inhabitants of New Earth were ordered to evacuate. Let’s pick up the action in…

Legion of Super-Heroes #6
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils: Ryan Sook, Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger, Colors: Jordie Bellaire
DC Comics,  June 10, 2020

5 Stars

Plot

It’s the 31st Century and the inhabitants of New Metropolis and New Earth are scrambling to evacuate. Why? We learn that Horraz pirates had stolen Aquaman’s trident from the Legion’s vaults and are returning to the planet en masse intending to use the powerful relic as a super weapon. The Legionnaires intercept the Horraz raiders in space and a grand-scale conflict ensues. The pirates unleash the trident and a multi-ocean tsunami of galactic proportions suddenly bears down on New Earth. Gold Lantern uses his significant powers to slow the advancing cataclysm, but it’s not enough. Mon-El suddenly shows up and, contrary to Brainiac 5’s warnings, impetuously pulls the trident from the Horraz leader’s hands while the apocalyptic water mass bears down on the planet. Is this the end of New Earth?

The very next scene answers the question. The reader is taken inside the Great Hall of the United Planets where Madam President Brande attempts to assuage the anger of General Nah after his release from one of the Legion’s security cells. Madam President humbly thanks the Legion for not only saving New Earth, but also for “returning” the oceans to the artificial planet via the trident. Hurrah! Nah isn’t buying it and vows revenge.

Commentary

This book concludes the newly-resuscitated Legion’s first series. I really enjoyed all of the various plotlines involved, including Jon Kent’s introduction to the Legion, the clashes with the Horraz pirates and General Nah over Aquaman’s trident, the Legion’s origin, and the team’s eroding relationship with Madam President Brande and the United Planets. Brian Michael Bendis did a fantastic job writing this series. This new Legion is definitely not a gloomy, “sad astronaut” Legion, which was the overriding characteristic of previous permutations. Penciller, Ryan Sook, has taken the Legion to new heights. What an excellent artist! I am so pleased. This particular issue has several full-page illustrations portraying the intense conflict between the Legion and the Horraz pirates and Sook does an amazing job building up to a climactic crescendo. New characters, Gold Lantern and Monster Boy, received some spotlight in this issue and it will be interesting to see how Bendis develops them in the future, along with Dr. Fate.

One of the difficulties for some Legion newbies is the incredibly lengthy cavalcade of characters, but being a “list man” myself, I enjoy the complexity. Legionnaires spotted in this issue:

  • Blok
  • Bouncing Boy
  • Brainiac 5
  • Chameleon Boy
  • Colossal Boy
  • Cosmic Boy
  • Dawnstar
  • Dr. Fate
  • Dream Girl
  • Element Lad
  • Ferro Lad – FL is not actually portrayed in this issue, but Rose Forrest makes reference to him. Neither did I see any sign of FL in issues 1-5, unless he’s the unidentified character listed farther below.
  • Gold Lantern
  • Karate Kid
  • Light Lass
  • Lightning Lad
  • Matter Eater Lad
  • Mon-El
  • Monster Boy
  • Rose Forrest
  • Saturn Girl
  • Shadow Lass
  • Shrinking Violet
  • Star Boy
  • Sunboy
  • Superboy
  • Ultra Boy
  • Triplicate Girl
  • White Witch
  • Wildfire
  • Unidentified – Skeleton in containment suit – Some online LSH fans are guessing this character to be Chemical King?

Legionnaires not featured in this issue, but referenced previously in LSH #s 1-5:

  • Invisible Kid/Gentleman (may have permanently resigned in LSH #5)
  • Phantom Girl
  • Princess Projectra
  • Timber Wolf

That makes 34 total members. I’m an old LSH fan from the Silver Age days, yet it took me six issues and a lot of additional sleuthing to identify (almost) everyone. If DC and Bendis had thought this through properly, they would devote an entire upcoming issue to brief bios of all the members to help out newbie LSH followers, otherwise they’re going to feel overwhelmed and bale for a series with a smaller roster.

Postscript: After writing the above, I came across an internet article, which said LSH #6 had sold out at the distributor level because of the keen interest among DC readers regarding the debut of Gold Lantern. That is encouraging news! DC had pulled the plug on the LSH back in 2013 because of low sales (which was the direct result of the dismal, off-putting, “sad astronaut” story lines.

29 thoughts on “FINALLY! The Legion of Super-Heroes, #6

    1. It sure is, sister! I understand that most readers would find such a long roster very off-putting, but Asperger’s-types like myself enjoy the complexity.

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  1. Aquaman’s trident is that powerful, like controling that volume of water into space?! Wow! No wonder, Arthur Curry is one of the strongest of the “original 7”. The battle was classic were almost all characters engaging the fight, the big guns engaging with the big bad, won, and no casualty on their side. Tom, the ending gives way to other possible stories like Nah’s war against UP (where back stories of these young heroes may be written) or tie ups with the 21st century heroes. I like this incarnation of Legion ring bearers of mostly boy, girl, lass, and lad better than the new 52 series version. Interestingly, there is now a gold lantern and is it related to the yellow lanterns of the 21st C (and it seems benevolent)? If the sales are that good, then it would be better to have 2-3 subgroups catering different missions and each with monthly comics so that other characters will get the spotlight. It is a gamble but with good writers, DC might earned a lot from LSH. Their 21st C counterparts have subgroups and allied groups too. Thank you for this post, Tom! Looking forward to another DC comics review. GOD bless you and yours!

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    1. Four oceans worth of water improbably careening through space towards the Earth is just another day in comics world. Yup, General Nah will definitely be going up against the UP. DC and Bendis did it right with this version of the Legion being young(er), idealistic, and upbeat. There was no incentive for anyone to read the bleak and dismal New 52 Legion, especially Legion Lost. The breakout popularity of Gold Lantern presents all kinds of possibilities. I read that DC is already capitalizing by featuring him on the LSH #7 variant cover. It will be interesting to see how Bendis utilizes the mile-long roster. It’s definitely a challenge to incorporate that many characters. Spinoffs (and a Legionnaire or two dying in battle) are possibilities. Thanks for all of your good thoughts and comments, Kent, and God bless you and yours as well!

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      1. Yes, the fantastic world of comics, for that reason it is hard to make them grounded on tv and film. Also, it depends on the writer. It seems Bendis did a good work on Superman and LSH with possible new stories. Yes, you are right, Tom, Legion Lost was not so good back to the past type and they have casualties in tje new 52, e.g. karate kid and one of the triplicates. You are right too, Gold Lantern might also change the present century methos on the lanterns. The dreaded possibilities of a fan but characters came back to life from nowhere, DC has lots of that and reboots too. By the way, Phantom girl was with “the terrifics” (plastic man, mr. Terrific and metamorpho) in this new reboot. Nice discussing with you on comics world, Tom! A blessed days ahead.

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      2. Thanks for all of the info, Kent! I was a big fan of DC and the Legion way, way, way back in the Silver Age days and only checked out the Legion sporadically in the intervening years, but I’m thoroughly enjoying this newest version.

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      3. Looks like the newest iteration is returning to its roots with just a little change in the characters e.g. Jon is the new Superboy. Thank you for this review, Tom! Looking forward also to your reviews on any of the 21st Century heroes.

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      4. Thanks, Kent! Yup, I’m very pleased with the route Bendis has taken with this new version of the Legion. I think DC learned the “sad astronaut” theme of the past was self-destructive.

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