Legion #8: Trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Part 1

Time to take a frivolity break, so climb aboard our time cube and take a trip to the 31st Century with me as we review…

Legion of Super-Heroes #8
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils and Inks: Ryan Sook and twenty-two guest artists, Colors: Jordie Bellaire
DC Comics, August 25, 2020

5 Stars

LSH #7 ended with General Crav Nah of Rimbor attacking the Legion with his powerful forces and demanding that the heroes surrender in retaliation for having imprisoned him during the Trident Saga. Let’s pick up the action in LSH #8.

Plot

Chameleon Boy and his mother, Madame President Brande of the United Planets, review various video files of the Legion from a vantage point following the team’s encounter with General Nah. First off are the orientation files of Superboy, Element Lad, Dream Girl, and Princess Projectra. Cham then recalls the battle with General Nah, with one-page spotlights on Lightning Lass, Wildfire, Mon-El, Blok, Saturn Girl, Timber Wolf, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy (yup, the former leader is back), Brainiac 5, and Ferro Lad, who manages to single-handedly defeat the Rimborian leader in a cataclysmic finale.

Madame President Brande then dialogues with the Legion’s U.P. liaison, Rose Forrest, before directing the entire team to face trial for disobeying their oath of allegiance. The Legion reacts in dismay, with the spotlight on an incredulous Phantom Girl.

Comments

One of the objectives of this two-part “Trial” saga was to introduce each of the Legionnaires with an individual page. Legion newbies really needed some assistance to help become acquainted with the intimidatingly long roster. I counted 17 members who were highlighted in this issue, which leaves 17 for issue #9. I had assumed Bendis was going to include a lot more biographical data in these one-page “spotlights,” but that regrettably was not the case. Twenty-three different DC artists were each given the task of illustrating a single page of this issue. I enjoyed the variety (although some of the artwork is just downright poor), but didn’t see anything that surpassed the work of regular penciller, Ryan Sook. This installment marks the first appearance of Ferro Lad in the reconstituted Legion. His single-handed effort to defeat Nah recalls his sacrifice to vanquish the Sun Eater in Adventure #353, which was published way back in 1967. Did Ferro Lad survive this ordeal? Bendis doesn’t make it clear if FL is still around and neither does he make it clear why Madame President Brande changed her mind once again about prosecuting the Legion. I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this two-part saga, which will be another cavalcade of character spotlights and guest artists.

Postscript: As sometimes happens with comics, the cover illustration depicting two factions of the Legion in conflict, has zero connection to the plot within.

Legion #7: Showdown With the United Planets

Time to take a frivolity break and review…

Legion of Super-Heroes #7
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils: Ryan Sook and Stephen Byrne, Inks: Wade von Grawbadger and Stephen Byrne, Colors: Jordie Bellaire
DC Comics,  July 28, 2020

5 Stars

Plot

The Legion arrives en masse at the Great Hall of the United Planets and the Legion’s leader, Cosmic Boy, begins to express his regrets on behalf of the heroes for the incarceration of General Nah, but is interrupted by Madam President Brande, who informs him that the U.P. has just declared Nah a criminal for breaking intergalactic law. Brande then castigates the Legion for interrupting the proceedings and for defying U.P. time travel restrictions and bringing Superboy to the 31st Century. The Boy of Steel interjects and is able to placate Brande.

The incident at the Great Hall further exposes a critical problem; Cosmic Boy’s lack of leadership abilities. Back at Legion headquarters in New Metropolis, Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5 confront Cosmic Boy, which leads to an impromptu team meeting in the Legion’s mess hall. Brainiac 5 proposes a proper election of the Legion’s leader (Cosmic Boy had been appointed by Brande). Ultra Boy presents himself as an opposing candidate and the membership subsequently elects him over a dejected Cosmic Boy. As the Legionnaires celebrate their new leadership, General Nah and his powerful forces unexpectedly arrive at Legion headquarters, demanding the heroes surrender to him.

Commentary

It was clear in issues 1-6 that irresolute Cosmic Boy wasn’t cutting it as the Legion’s leader, culminating in the near-crisis at U.P. headquarters and the subsequent call for an election. Legion #7 serves as a transition from the opening epic involving the struggle for Aquaman’s trident to the upcoming showdown with General Nah. Bendis does a nice job with this bit of “Legion business” downtime, including some additional interlude segments featuring Triplicate Girl, Monster Boy, and Lightning Lad. Guest artist, Stephen Byrne, ably spells the Legion’s regular penciller, Ryan Sook, throughout most of this issue. Speaking of guest artists, in the interview below, Bendis hints at some big things in store for issues #8 and #9 with 44 artists contributing, including a long-overdue, one-page introduction of each Legionnaire! Hey, we’ll finally find out who the skeleton is in the containment suit!

Brian Michael Bendis Talks Legion, Gold Lantern, & Balancing Characters
https://screenrant.com/brian-michael-bendis-interview-legion-superheroes-gold-lantern/