Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #3 Review

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Ryan Sook
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 15, 2020 

There are some major revelations in this issue that, depending on the stability of present-day DC editorial could make for an interesting future for even non-Legionnaire readers. Say what you will about Bendis’ sporadically convoluted dialogue and decompression; a lot is going on in the 31st Century and the weaving of complex plot lines are beginning to form. Put bluntly, I am intrigued by what I am reading. Why?  Let me tell you.

The most glaring plot point is the acquisition by the Legionnaires of Aquaman’s trident which I assumed (perhaps wrongly) was to be used to create water for New Earth.  It appears that the captured Master Daemon Mordru, (who unsuccessfully tried to steal the Trident for his Horraz followers) is unaware as to why he was sent to steal it in the first place. To add to the mystery, Ultra boy’s father, (Craz of the planet Rimbor) also seeks possession of the Trident.  It is implied that other universal forces are desirous of the ancient Atlantean artifact, but it is not clear exactly who they are or what specific power they expect the Trident to bestow upon them.  The easy answer is that it can create water; however, it is doubtful that the Horraz or Rimborians would have that motive as they do not require any. Some other motive is at play and the Legion is caught right in the middle of it. 

Bendis does a reasonably good job in this issue transitioning between different intergalactic scenes that are beautifully illustrated by Ryan Sook and Travis Moore. After a holo-introduction from Dawnstar, we witness a diplomatic crisis develop on Rimbor as Mon-el unintentionally becomes ruler of Ultra-boy’s homeworld. Meanwhile, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Light Lass, and Chameleon boy convince Qwaynefoundation Commissioner of Police, December Sevenbergen, to let them interrogate Mordru regarding his attempted theft of the Trident.   The debacle that ensues (in ‘Dini City’ on Planet Gotham) hints at other unrevealed agendas at play. It also allows readers to witness Mordru’s telepathic defenses when confronted by the Legion’s primary telepath. Saturn Girl is powerful but this issue makes clear that she still has much to learn in terms of focusing her telepathic efforts.  There is a comical altercation where Imra (Saturn Girl) tries to put Ultra-boy’s father Craz to sleep only to accidentally render Brainiac 5 and Wildfire unconscious. The Legionnaires are inexperienced and Bendis does a good job conveying their un-honed teamwork and powers through the aforementioned incompetence of Saturn Girl, Cosmic boy’s insistence on teammates knowing diplomatic protocol and, perhaps most glaring, the utter failure of the 30-plus member organization to finally get Superboy to attend the Pavilion in Metropolis to watch the 31st Century orientation.  As frustrated as I might be at the continued absence of orientation to educate us readers on the details of the 31st Century, I must admit that Bendis has succeeded in building up my anticipation. Paradoxically, there is also a part of me that feels like Lex Luthor’s barber, afraid to ask why he keeps making appointments when it is obvious he has no hair to style. Until then I am a member of a captive audience of Legion fans trying to piss in the corner of an oval jail cell. 

I can’t believe I have not mentioned Damian Wayne!   Jon insists on showing him the 31st Century, which according to virtually every Legionnaire is not a good idea.  Only the Legion of Superheroes can ignore United Planet time travel regulations.   Naturally, Superboy asks what the big deal is. The response he gets is… you guessed it.  It’s in the orientation!  If only a single legionnaire could just bluntly tell Jon straight out “What the ‘Qrot’ is going on?”  The ongoing failure of Jon to watch the 31st Century orientation began as a wisecrack in issue one. What prevents the appearance of Robin devolving into a sad plot device to increase present-day comic book sales is a revelation about what Damian Wayne’s future holds; a future that may or may not become reality.  Readers are left to speculate whether the reference to Damian as “Baby Hitler” is a clue about his future in DC’s anticipated 5G timeline or just humorous misdirection.    What is particularly revealing are Brainiac 5’s comments that the Legionnaires are actively working to avoid such a dark fate for Damian and have “dedicated their entire existence to rooting for Damian’s success.”    DC editorial rumblings have hinted that the first signs of 5G will be in Wonder Woman #750; however, could the first sign have already been revealed here?

Two other things I want to address.  The words “Loveball” and “Qrot” are part of 31st Century linguistics. Shadow Lass views her boyfriend, Cosmic boy, as her little “Loveball”. This is likely used in tandem with the word “Qrot” which is the 31st Century equivalent of our present-day ‘F’ word. Consequently, it is perfectly acceptable for Superboy to wonder “Why the ‘Qrot’ can’t Damian join the Legion?” or for Shadow Lass to call Cosmic boy her ‘Loveball’ whilst ‘qrotting’ him senseless.  Don’t let her darkness fool you; the future is bright indeed, especially (ironically) if you’re dating Shadow Lass.

I can’t ‘Qrotting’ believe I’m writing this, but Bendis has succeeded in pulling me into the 31st Century despite the lack of a formal orientation.  Multiple plots are taking shape and character relationships are being established. The portrayal of team competence as well as dysfunction evolves amid a New Earth struggling to survive in a galaxy disturbingly indifferent to whether or not it ultimately succeeds.  Sook and Moore’s artistic talents are on full display and do not disappoint.

Bits and Pieces:

There are hallmarks of a compelling story here for those readers who embrace the challenge of piecing this future puzzle together. If you are a reader who lacks such patience, you might consider picking up the next issue whereby Superboy finally (it is presumed) attends the Orientation his teammates (and us Legion fans) have been begging him to attend since this series began.



  1. 7.0. That's my score also. I liked, that we have a continuing story with father-one, his world and even a team of his. That does nothing in this issue, but maybe in the issues to come. Still some nice interactions and a funny resolution with damian, even if it was totally senseless. And nope, i don't think we will see the orientation video next issue. Max a cliffhanger in the last Panel. And the cover will say: Superboy finally finds out, why he is needed in the 31st century.
    I guess i could write for bendis, if i was aiming for an average 5.5/10 in comics ^^