Legion #4: “That Which Is Purest Among You”

Last month, at the conclusion of Legion #3, we witnessed what I thought were the Ranzzes landing on the planet Avalon and spotting Darkseid. Silly me. It was only a statue of Darkseid.

Legion of Super-Heroes #4: That Which Is Purest Among You
Writer: Paul Levitz, Pencillers: Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela
DC Comics, October 2010

3 Stars

Plot

Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Lightning Lass arrive on the planet, Avalon, in desperate search of the Ranzz’s twin sons. They encounter a religious cult dedicated to Darkseid. But what do the fanatics want with the twins?

Meanwhile in Metropolis, Earthman attends a clandestine meeting of Earth-firsters, but rejects their invitation to lead them. At Legion headquarters, current-leader, Cosmic Boy, announces the upcoming election of a new leader to assembled members, including Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Quislet, Sensor Girl, Shadow Lass, Sun Boy, and Timber Wolf.*

On Naltor, Dream Girl, accompanied by Dawnstar and Gates, convinces Beren Kah to allow thousands of Titan refugees to settle on the planet.

Back on Avalon, the three Legionnaires are in a life and death struggle with the Servant of Darkness and his right-hand-creature, Zeemith.

On Oa, Dyogene admits to failure because Earth Man rejected the Green Lantern ring, but Sodam Yat prods him to find a new candidate.

Returning back to Avalon, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Lightning Lass defeat the Servant of Darkness and recover the twins.

At Legion headquarters, the team conjectures about the unpredictable Earth Man and his possible connection to the “xenos.”

Comments

With all of the jumping back and forth between planets, as well as the kidnapping of the Ranzz twins storyline ending with a resounding thud, this issue rates only three stars. I had fully expected an epic battle with Darkseid. Some dangling plotlines include the destiny of Earth Man in relation to the Earth-firsters, the Durlan conspiracy (referred to in #3), the election of the Legion’s next leader, and Dyogene’s search for the next Green Lantern candidate.

*At the meeting, Cosmic Boy mentions the Legion roster is comprised of 26 members. From the first four issues, I’ve culled the list of 23 heroes below. Who are the 3 Legionnaires who have yet to make an appearance?

  1. Brainiac 5
  2. Chameleon Boy
  3. Colossal Boy
  4. Cosmic Boy
  5. Dawnstar
  6. Earth Man
  7. Element Lad
  8. Gates
  9. Invisible Kid
  10. Lightning Lad
  11. Lightning Lass
  12. Mon-El
  13. Phantom Girl
  14. Quislet
  15. Saturn Girl
  16. Sensor Girl
  17. Shadow Lass
  18. Sun Boy
  19. Tellus
  20. Timber Wolf
  21. Tyroc
  22. Ultra Boy
  23. Wildfire

Postscript: Hmm. There’s semi-credible rumors floating around out there that DC may be bringing back the LSH. See here.

Legion of Super-Heroes #3: Earth Man’s Choice

It’s the end of the month, so let’s board our time sphere and travel to the 31st Century for another adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes! Last month, the Legion was contending with the diabolical Saturn Queen while the unpredictable Earth Man contemplated his new dual-role as a Green Lantern-Legionnaire, and Saturn Girl desperately searched for her twin sons. Let’s pick up the action in…

Legion of Super-Heroes #3: Earth Man’s Choice
Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciller: Yildiray Cinar
DC Comics, September 2010

5 Stars

Plot

As Earth Man begins to exit Legion headquarters, Colossal Boy and Cosmic Boy assume he’s reneging on his agreement and attempt to restrain him, but EM persuades them he’s just following instructions from his Green Lantern ring to journey to the planet Ozifer because sentient lives are at stake.

In the asteroid belt that was formerly Titan, Saturn Queen holds Brainiac 5, Tyroc, and Wildfire hostage and awaits Ultra Boy’s return in order to destroy the Legion contingent in one fell swoop.

Meanwhile, Lightning Lad tracks down his wife, Saturn Girl, with the help of his sister, Lightning Lass. Together, the trio vow to find and rescue the Ranzz’s kidnapped twins.

Earth Man arrives on Ozifer, but is overcome by a powerful swamp creature. Cosmic Boy had sent Sun Boy to keep tabs on EM and the fiery one reluctantly rescues his former tormentor in the nick of time.

Back in the Titan asteroid belt, Phantom Girl shows up to confront Saturn Queen, but she’s not alone. She’s brought Sensor Girl (known as Princess Projectra back in the Silver Age), Tellus, and Ultra Boy and the contingent makes short work of Saturn Queen.

In the middle of all of this action, we learn via a one-page blip that the Durlans are conspiring against the Legionnaires.

Back on Ozifer, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, and Shadow Lass reinforce Earth Man and Sun Boy, but a puzzled Earth Man still does not know the identity of the sentient life form he was sent to protect. The Guardians reveal a species of oversized insects will soon perish in the planet’s over-carbonized atmosphere. Element Lad and EM make the necessary correction, but EM then discards his Green Lantern ring in disgust, stating he’s just not into risking his life to save insects. As the Legionnaires’ cruiser climbs into deep space, Dyogene, powerful minion of the Guardians, ascends ominously from the glowing-green swamp.

Lightning Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lass follow the twins’ trail to the planet Avalon. As their cruiser makes its final approach, the trio spots…gasp, can it be?…uh, oh…it definitely is…DARKSEID!!!

Commentary

This issue tied up one loose end, Saturn Queen, but introduced another one: the conspiring Durlans. Earth Man seems to have quit the Green Lantern Corps just as quickly as he was inducted. But what’s Dyogen up to? What a surprise (not!) that Darkseid, the Legion’s most powerful foe, is behind the kidnapping of the Ranzz’s twin sons. In one of the Legion’s previous incarnations, Darkseid kidnapped one of the twins, Garridan Ranzz, immediately following his birth and transformed him into the mindless monster, Validus, an eventual member of the dreaded Fatal Five. What evil plan does Darkseid have for the Ranzz twins this time?

Levitz does an excellent job interweaving all of the subplots. After three issues, I’m really impressed with his storytelling skills while juggling the imposingly large Legion roster. Cinar’s pencils are excellent in some frames, but border on amateurish in others. Overall, very good stuff! Levitz has me looking forward to #4 and the confrontation with Darkseid.

Throwback Thursday: Hot Stuff the Little Devil and Me

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on May 3, 2016 and has been revised.

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Way, way, way back when I was just a young tyke in the early 1960s, my Dad would periodically bring home comic books for me. Boy, I loved those comic books! My favorite titles were “Sad Sack” and “Hot Stuff the Little Devil,” both published by Harvey Comics (which also published the much more popular but corny “Casper the Friendly Ghost” and “Richie Rich” comic books).

Hot Stuff was a mischievous, diaper-clad, pitchfork-bearing, child-demon who enjoyed playing tricks on humans. He especially enjoyed riling the adult demons by occasionally doing good deeds.

So why would a parent buy a comic book about a playful demon for his very young child? I’m sure my Dad never even thought twice about it. My parents were members of the Roman Catholic church, and like most members of that church, they compartmentalized religion and everyday life. Religion was something you did one day a week: go to mass on Sunday and receive holy communion and then go home and somewhat try to live a “good” life until next Sunday. Absolutely no time was spent in God’s Word during the week. If my parents owned a Bible I never saw it. I don’t remember my parents ever praying, out-loud or privately. No one had a “personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ.” That kind of talk was only for backwoods Bible Belt-ers who took their religion WAY too seriously. Buying a comic book about a naughty, young demon for a young child was perfectly fine in that milieu of religious unbelief. Even back then, the culture was inundated with movies and television shows about witches, vampires, ghosts, etc. Jesus was not real to many people back then, just like He’s not real to many today. People flock in droves to entertainment that focuses on spiritual darkness for the adrenaline rush, but they don’t want to give one second of their time to the Light.

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” – John 3:19-21

If I had young children, I definitely would not buy them comic books extolling demons, but maybe that playful little comic character was one of the many influences the Holy Spirit used in my life to eventually draw me to my Savior, Jesus Christ. If there are demons and a Hell, then there is a God and a Heaven. When people think of demons, they generally think of the stereotypical horned ogres, but the Bible says Satan appears as an angel of light. His servants appear as righteous ministers (e.g., Roman Catholic priests), but they peddle a spiritually deadly false gospel of works-righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).

Note: Hot Stuff was created by Illustrator, Warren Kremer, and first appeared in Hot Stuff #1 published by Harvey Comics in October 1957.

Legion of Super-Heroes #2: The Day After Titanfall

It’s the first week of the month so it’s time once again for some 31st Century frivolity! Last month, in our inaugural review of the 2010-2013 Legion of Super-Heroes, we witnessed the…gulp…destruction of Titan and the annihilation of its inhabitants. Let’s pick up the pieces in…

Legion of Super-Heroes #2: The Day After Titanfall
Writer: Paul Levitz, Pencillers: Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela
DC Comics, August 2010

5 Stars

Plot

Brainiac 5 directs a contingent of powerful Legionnaires – Mon-El, Tyroc, Ultra Boy, and Wildfire – as they break up the dangerously large asteroid belt around Saturn, the sad remains of the destroyed moon, Titan. The evil Saturn Queen stealthily enters the scene of her former homeworld and easily subdues Brainy.

Back on Earth, Earth Man secretly contemplates his new Green Lantern ring while Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, and Cosmic Boy, make preparations to assist the thousands of refugees from Titan who face the wrath of the xenophobic Earthers.

Returning to the orbit of Saturn, Saturn Queen switches her attention from the vanquished Brainiac 5 and subdues Ultra Boy with her telepathic powers. Jo quickly turns on his fellow Legionnaires.

As the pages turn, we see Saturn Girl hot on the trail of her two kidnapped twins, while on planet Winith, hubby, Lightning Lad, hears of his family’s predicament for the first time from his sister, Lightning Lass. What was Garth doing all this time? He was trying to track down his brother, Mekt, the evil Lightning Lord. Hmm. Saturn Queen? Lightning Lord? Does anyone else smell a reunion of the Legion of Super-Villains in the near future?

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Invisible Kid, Phantom Girl, and Sun Boy join Colossal Boy as he attempts to defend the Titan refugees from the xenophobe mob at the disembarkation site. Earth Man surprisingly closes ranks with the Legionnaires. Phantom Girl and Shadow Lass are injured in the fracas and as they later commiserate about the day’s events in the Legion infirmary, the renegade Ultra Boy crashes the scene. But girlfriend, Phantom Girl, is able to break Saturn Queen’s telepathic control over Jo. As the book closes, Earth Man sits alone in his Legion dormitory room and ruminates on his next move as the new Green Lantern. Oops, I almost forgot to mention the one-page subplot involving Dream Girl, Dawnstar, and Gates as part of a Legion emissarial team sent by Earthgov to reassure the Outer Worlds after the near-war.

Comments

There was an incredible amount of action at the various planetary settings packed into this issue. Writer Levitz does a nice job of interweaving the various sub-plots: 1) the attack of Saturn Queen, 2) Saturn Girl’s search, and 3) Earth Man’s transition to a Green Lantern, all against a backdrop of continuing hostility from the Earther xenophobes. There’s also a nice bit of interpersonal drama (Mon-El moping over his break-up with Shady), without excessive soap opera suds. Good issue! Ranks right up there with any of the 2019-2020 Brian Michael Bendis issues. Maybe better. Looking forward to #3 next month!

Waaaay back to the future

With apologies to my über-serious brethren and sistren, today we engage in some very un-serious frivolity as we kick off our monthly series reviewing DC Comics’ 2010-2013 era of the Legion of Super-Heroes, that 30+ member team of teenage crime-fighters of the distant future, each with unique super-powers. So, without any further ado, let’s climb into our time sphere and journey way back to 2010 and then waaaaaaay forward to the 31st-Century with the Legion of Super-Heroes as they battle crime across the Universe.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1: The Scream Heard ‘Cross the Universe
Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciller: Yildiray Cinar
DC Comics, July 2010

5 Stars

Plot

31st-Century Earth had been overrun by a xenophobic culture* led by Earth Man and his Justice League. Earth Man is eventually defeated by Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes, but as a concession to the remaining, large, anti-alien faction on the planet, the Legion agrees to allow Earth Man to become a member, albeit under the strict supervision of Brainiac 5. As events unfold, Saturn Girl visits her home moon of Titan and witnesses the relocation of the Time Institute there from the politically and socially unstable environment on Earth. Despite warnings, the foolhardy scientists at the institute decide to explore the origin of the Universe** and thereby unwittingly unleash a chain reaction that will ultimately destroy the moon. In the panic that ensues, Saturn Girl desperately searches for her twin sons.

Meanwhile, on the planet Oa, Sodam Yat, the last of the Green Lanterns, mourns as he perceives the coming destruction of Titan, but is visited by Dyogene, a being sent by the Guardians, who forcibly removes Yat’s Green Lantern ring.

Back on Titan, Saturn Girl locates her two boys, but they are kidnapped via a time-transport beam just before she can reach them. Saturn Girl absconds with a time sphere in desperate pursuit of her two children as the rest of the Legionnaires hurriedly direct a limited evacuation of Titan. The destruction of the moon along with the annihilation of most of its inhabitants reverberates throughout the galaxy.

Unperturbed by the destruction of Titan, Dyogene travels to Earth and presents the Green Lantern ring to the surprised Earth Man.

Commentary

This was a very entertaining inaugural for the 2010-2013 Legion and from here Levitz has the opportunity to develop many storylines. Saturn Girl plays a prominent role as she will a decade later in Brian Michael Bendis’ 2019-2021 Legion. Other Legionnaires appearing in this issue include Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Phantom Girl, Sun Boy, and Ultra Boy, along with very brief cameos by Blok, Bouncing Boy, Duo Damsel, and Polar Boy. Cinar’s pencils are decent, but not at the caliber we saw from Ryan Sook in the 2019-2021 Legion.

As with previous Legion incarnations, readers are asked to suspend their senses of sight and logic by characters who are supposed to be teenagers and are still referred to as “boy” and “girl,” but appear as PED-abusers in their late-20s. And the “girls” have more artificial enhancement than the Real Housewives of New Jersey (not to mention Saturn “Girl,” a mom with two pre-schoolers).

Criticisms aside, I enjoyed this introduction to the 2010-2013 Legion era and I hope you enjoyed my review. I’m looking forward to our monthly visit to the 31st-Century.

*Is the xenophobic culture on 31st-century Earth that’s presented by Levitz a thinly-veiled swipe at the populist Tea Party movement, which gained national prominence in 2009?

**In a scene at the Time Institute, the scientists ponder what time period they should investigate. One of them suggests that they examine “the Great Mystery in A.D. 33 and end the endless debate” (p. 12), but the beginning of the Universe is chosen instead. God gets His digs in, even in the most surprising places.

The Legion of Super-Heroes is back! Well, kinda, sorta…not really.

After a long, six-year hiatus, DC Comics relaunched its venerable Legion of Super-Heroes franchise in 2019 with a flurry of prelude tie-ins, followed by its inaugural monthly book in November. The creative team of Brian Michael Bendis (writer) and Ryan Sook (pencils) did a very good job, however, the much-anticipated reboot didn’t draw enough readers and lasted only twelve issues.

What’s a Legion fan to do? Well, back in 2010-2013, DC had resuscitated the Legion and was indulging Legion fans with multiple titles. I collected all of the 80 books that were published in that time span with the intention of reading them “someday.” Given the reality that the Legion is not a part of DC’s current or future plans, that day has come. My plan is to read and review an LSH book from the 2010-2013 period each month. At that rate I’ll get through all 80 books in 6.5 years.

As I mentioned, multiple LSH titles were published concurrently in that 2010-2013 span. I initially thought about reviewing them chronologically according to their publication date, but concluded that bouncing back and forth between titles would be disconcerting for myself and the reader. Instead, I’ll complete each title before moving to the next one. Here’s the four series we’ll be looking at:

The Legion of Super-Heroes (July 2010-October 2013) – After an absence of two years, DC reintroduced the Legion with their own monthly book in July 2010 with Paul Levitz as scripter and Yildiray Cinar as penciller. After 16 issues, the numbering reverted back to #1 (November 2011) as a part of DC’s “The New 52” relaunch and would continue to #23 (October 2013). Total issues: 42.

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics (August 2010-October 2011). Paul Levitz (writer) and Kevin Sharpe (penciller). This series was more of an upbeat, Silver Age Era-inspired alternative to the “sad astronaut” pessimism of the main Levitz-Sinar series. The mission of the complementary Adventure series was to “(fill) in some gaps in the (Legion’s) backstory” in order to “help new readers understand the history and relationships.” Total issues: 15

Legion Lost (November 2011-March 2013). With the demise of the Adventure Comics series in October 2011, Fabien Nicieza (writer) and Pete Woods (penciller) followed a contingent of Legionnaires stranded on 21st-century Earth. Total issues: 17

Legion: Secret Origin (December 2011-May 2012). Paul Levitz (writer) and Chris Batista (penciller) presented this six-part series which explored the “real beginnings of the Legion.” Total issues: 6

We’ll kick off this LSH 80-issue project with a review of the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (July 2010) next Friday.

“Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2″

Last month, the re-formed, future-state Legion tracked down former-member, Element Lad, who was apparently responsible for raining-down destruction and chaos upon the entire galaxy. Let’s pick up the action in…

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2 [of 2]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils and Inks: Riley Rossmo, Colors: Ivan Plascencia
DC Comics, February 23, 2021

3 Stars

Plot

A large contingent of Legionnaires, including Blok, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 7, Chameleon Lad, Colossal Boy, Duo Damsel, Ferro Lad, Lightning Lass, Monster Boy, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Superboy, and Ultra Boy, arrives on Trom and captures Jan Arrah/Element Lad. Saturn Girl examines Arrah with her telepathic powers (as Brainiac 7, Gold Lantern, and Ultra Boy look on) and discovers that he was not responsible for the galactic onslaught after all. She sends Chameleon Boy to Daxam to persuade a bitter Cosmic Boy to return to New Earth to learn the truth and to lead the Legion in “avenging the entire galaxy.” With Cosmic Boy present, Imra reveals what she had discovered. The elders of Titan, Imra’s home planet (actually a moon of Saturn), used her to infiltrate the Legion and to eventually manipulate Element Lad and his fellow Tromites into attacking the entire United Planets. Their motive? The Titians viewed the galaxy’s other inhabitants as “impure of thought” and radically inferior.

Saturn Girl returns to Titan to inform her mother that the moon has been removed from its position in the galaxy and “encased in a prison sphere for the rest of time” as punishment. After returning to New Earth, Saturn Girl and the other Legionnaires resolve to continue the Legion and “make a new normal where all feel protected and safe.”

Comments

This Legion Future State two-issue series was a semi-entertaining ride, with Element Lad starting out as the bad guy, but ending up being merely a puppet of the malevolent Titians. A decent twist, but overall, this series was not compelling reading with far too much plot awkwardly squeezed into forty-four pages. Writer Bendis had previously hinted at a surprising development involving Jon Kent that never materialized. To go along with the ungainly storyline, Riley Rossmo’s pencils are nowhere near the caliber of those of regular LSH artist, Ryan Sook.

Many have conjectured that this Future State series would be the Legion’s last gasp, although Bendis promises more (see here). The reality is there’s no sign of the Legion in DC’s March, April, or, just checked, May solicitations. In DC’s frazzled state, it’s difficult to imagine the LSH franchise being resurrected after such a lengthy hiatus.

Postscript A: The Legion of Super-Heroes is supposed to be a team of 31st Century, crime-fighting TEENAGERS with unusual powers, however, following the Silver Age era, writers and artists tended to portray the characters as being much older. In this issue, Rossmo presents Cosmic “Boy” as bigger and thicker than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Jon “Superboy” Kent has a Zorro-like, manicured mustache. Ridiculous.

Postscript B: Uh-oh. The day after I wrote the above, I stumbled upon a review of “Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2,” which describes how the entire Future State Legion was wiped out by something called, “the Undoing.” Of course, the end of the Future State Legion doesn’t mean Bendis & Co. couldn’t continue with tales from the pre-Future State Legion.

“Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1″ (and some possible good news)

No, my friends, I’m NOT turning this blog into the Legion of Super-Heroes frivolity blog. Yes, I realize I reviewed LSH #12 only last week, but there’s a good reason for this latest installment. DC Comics just launched its three-month-long, “Future State” reconfiguration with this two-part LSH tie-in. It’s been rumored that several titles won’t emerge from Future State intact, including the Legion of Super-Heroes, which just completed a one-year, twelve-issue relaunch. With that in mind, let’s go ahead and see what DC and Bendis have in mind for what many (including myself) thought might be the Legion’s final tale.

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1 [of 2]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils and Inks: Riley Rossmo, Colors: Ivan Plascencia
DC Comics, January 26th, 2021

Plot

At some indeterminate point in the 31st Century following the events described in LSH #12, former Legion leader, Ultra Boy, arrives on Planet Gotham to rendezvous with Shadow Lass, Saturn Girl, Brainiac 7, and Colossal Boy. We learn that the Legion had previously disbanded and that the United Planets are in almost total chaos. On Planet Daxam, the only remaining U.P. stronghold, Chameleon Boy is brought before a council comprised of former Legionnaires Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Polar Boy (see postscript below), Princess Projectra, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Superboy, Sun Boy, and Timber Wolf in an effort to ascertain the whereabouts of Jan Arrah, the former Legionnaire, Element Lad, who is responsible for an “incident”/”event” that precipitated the current crisis. On Planet Winath, a group of newly-empowered beings (who refer to the previous cataclysm as the “elemental rapture”) bands together as a pseudo, rogue Legion to exploit the chaos and also oppose Arrah and the crippled U.P., but are thwarted by the former Triplicate Girl (one of her identities was killed in the crisis) who is searching for Element Lad. She is joined by Blok who is on a similar mission. Brainiac 7 invites the duo/trio to join the reconstituted Legion and capture Arrah and also recruits a reluctant Bouncing Boy. On one of Planet Trom’s moons, Arrah interrogates his prisoner, Lightning Lad, who had attempted to kill the traitorous ex-Legionnaire. The proceedings are suddenly interrupted by Lightning Lass along with a contingent of Legionnaires including Blok, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 7, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Duo Damsel, Ferro Lad, (see postscript below), Monster Boy, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Superboy, and Timber Wolf. Argh! We must wait one month for the results of this showdown!

Comments

Bendis doesn’t provide a lot of information about the cataclysmic attack upon the galaxy and the Legion orchestrated by the traitorous Jan Arrah. I’m expecting more details in “Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2 [of 2].” All of the Legionnaires are presented in different permutations including alternate uniforms and different physical characteristics, with a reconstituted Brainiac 5/7 being the most radical. Rossmo’s pencils are nowhere near the caliber of regular LSH artist, Ryan Sook. A redesigned Superboy stays noticeably in the background in this book. I counted a few Legionnaires in the mix who I could not identify. Silver Age Legion fans will note that the death of one of the triplicates hearkens back to similar grim circumstances in “Computo the Conquerer” in Adventure Comics #340 (January 1966). It was sad to read the first issue of this two-part Future State series knowing DC is probably going to pull the plug on the Legion following the second installment.

Postscript

After writing the above, I came across a very recent interview with LSH writer, Brian Michael Bendis, in which he reveals some of the unidentifiable characters in this issue as being members of the Legion of Substitute Heroes and that the black-suited character on the cover with a laser sword is Ferro Lad. Okay. I had thought the character on page 8 in silver and red was Ferro Lad when it’s actually Polar Boy of the Subs. The writer hints that Superboy will play more of a major role in issue #2. To my great surprise, Bendis also reveals that DC definitely plans on continuing the Legion at some point after Future State despite the title’s notable absence in the publisher’s April solicitations. See the interview here.

Legion of Super-Heroes #12

It’s time once again for our monthly, LSH frivolity break (in fact, we’re three weeks past due because of DC’s ongoing publishing issues), so let’s climb aboard our time cube and travel to the 31st Century for another LSH adventure in…

Legion of Super-Heroes #12:
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils: Ryan Sook, Inks: Ryan Sook and Wade Von Grawbadger, Colors: Jordie Bellaire
DC Comics, January 19, 2021

Plot

At the end of LSH #11, Superboy and Saturn Girl arrived on New Krypton and confronted planet-destroyer, Rogol Zaar, as all of the other Legionnaires lay strewn about on the battlefield, bloodied and vanquished. As we pick up the action in #12, Superboy engages Rogol Zaar, but he too is subdued. Saturn Girl uses her mind powers to “psychically wake” the entire battered Legion corps, who then engage Rogol Zaar. Just as the Legion appears to be gaining the upper hand, Mordru the Sorcerer appears along with a large contingent of Horraz pirates and a full-scale battle ensues with multiple vignettes highlighting individual Legionnaires and their unique powers. The combined forces of Rogol Zaar and Mordru prove too much for the heroes and defeat looms. Mon-El suddenly appears, returning from his self-imposed exile, to buy the Legion a little more time. Saturn Girl, Dream Girl, and White Witch then confront Mordru with their combined powers, but the showdown is interrupted by Dr. Fate who easily subdues the evil sorcerer. A defeated Rogol Zaar is then returned to the Phantom Zone. As Element Lad leads the effort to rebuild New Krypton, a few Legionnaires ponder whether the preceding battle was the “Great Darkness” that had been foretold and conclude that was not the case. Gold Lantern returns to Earth to retrieve Brainiac 5 for the victory celebration, only to learn that his ring is NOT a Green Lantern ring (gasp!) and that those who issued it to him are not elders of Oa (double gasp!).

Comments

Writer Bendis did a nice job with this showdown between the Legion and Rogol Zaar and Mordru and he tied up some dangling loose ends with the return of Mon-El, Dr. Fate, and Blok. Ryan Sook’s pencils are top-notch as usual. The entire 34-person Legion roster was included in this issue with appearances by Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawn Star, Ferro Lad, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Matter-Eater Lad, Monster Boy, Phantom Girl, Princess Projectra, Rose Forrest, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, Triplicate Girl, Ultra Boy, and Wild Fire. The as-of-yet-unidentified-skeleton-in-a-containment-suit character was also present. The fact that Bendis has not identified this anonymous hero after twelve issues must be his idea of an insider joke.

Well, folks, this issue wraps up the first year of the Legion’s comeback. My hat is off to DC and the creative team of Bendis, Sook, Von Grawbadger, and Bellaire for a very entertaining ride. There was some speculation on the web that DC was pulling the plug on the LSH after this issue, however, a full-page “Future State Checklist” at the end of this book lists “Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1 [of 2]” on sale, tomorrow, January 26th and “Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2 [of 2]” on sale February 23rd. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee that DC will be continuing the LSH franchise after “Future State.” No titles are safe given the publisher’s severe financial troubles except for its flagship Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman franchises.

Legion of Super-Heroes #11

It’s time for our monthly, LSH frivolity break, so let’s climb aboard our time cube once again and travel to the 31st Century for another LSH adventure in…

Legion of Super-Heroes #11: Heartbreak On New Krypton
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils: Ryan Sook, Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger, Colors: Jordie Bellaire
DC Comics, November 24, 2020

4 Stars

Plot

As in LSH #10, the reader bounces around the galaxy, from planet to planet…

  • On New Krypton, a small contingent of Legionnaires – Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Karate Kid, Phantom Girl, Shadow Lass, and Wildfire – await the return of Mon-El when Rogol Zaar and his deadly horde suddenly attack.
  • On Xanthu, Dr. Fate, Saturn Girl, and Superboy search for Mordru and stumble upon the tattered cape of Superman, Jon Kent’s father. As Dr. Fate attempts to examine the cape, he appears to, yikes, explode?!?!?!
  • On Rimbor, Bouncing Boy, Dawnstar, Lightning Lad, Monster Boy, and Timber Wolf look on as Ultra Boy accepts the position of Planet Leader from the War Council, only to dissolve the council and call for free elections.
  • On Earth, the three personas of Triplicate Girl interrupt a class given by Dream Girl, asking for clarification on the upcoming, “Great Darkness.”
  • Blok, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lass, and Rose Forrest arrive on Daxam to investigate the Horraz pirates, when they are attacked by Mordru and his minions. Blok is cast out into deep space. Rose Forrest’s loose-cannon “Thorn” persona emerges during the battle, but Mordru prevails, capturing Cosmic Boy.
  • Back on Earth, as Brainiac 5 and White Witch question Gold Lantern regarding the source of his powers, the emergency on Krypton is brought to light. In response, Brainy directs Saturn Girl and Superboy to immediately journey from Xanthu to Krypton and then assembles all available Legionnaires, including Element Lad, Ferro Lad, Invisible Kid, Matter-Eater Lad, Star Boy, Sun Boy and the as-of-yet-unidentified skeleton in a containment suit, to be teleported to that planet as well.
  • Superboy and Saturn Girl arrive on Krypton, only to find that Rogol Zaar has vanquished ALL of the other Legionnaires.

Comments

The dizzying array of planetary scenarios featuring almost the entire Legion roster (I didn’t spot Violet or Projectra) is a bit disconcerting. Some readers will walk away from this issue with the feeling that Bendis tried to force fit way too much plot into its twenty-three pages. Many questions remain regarding the discovery of Superman’s cape and the fate of Dr. Fate, Blok, and Cosmic Boy. The upcoming showdown between Superboy and Rogol Zaar will be epic.

Postscript #1: As happens quite often in comics, the cover art for issue #11 has nothing to do with the story inside.

Postscript #2: After eleven issues, we STILL don’t know the identity of the skeletal Legionnaire in the containment suit.

Postscript #3: There’s fleeting references to Kamandi and Darkseid in this issue that has Sheldon clones all atwitter.