Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #6 Review


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Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Ryan Sook
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 10, 2020

The final issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ opening story arc on Legion of Super-heroes begins with a planet-wide evacuation and ends with a whole lot of water. In between those two Earth-shattering and saving events, the Legionnaires battle against an invasion by the Horraz Collective, whose intended weapon of mass destruction is the ancient trident of Aquaman! Does this issue deliver? Let’s dive into the ‘new’ oceans of 31st Century New Earth and find out.



I am happy to report that my cynicism at the beginning of this series that Bendis would require 36 or so issues to complete his first story arc was wrong. This 6th issue not only ends a narrative that results in the final ingredient being added to form a New Earth, but it continues to add hints of character relationships, hidden enemy motives, and outright new heroes that whet the appetite for what is to come. I am particularly intrigued by signs of a romance between Superboy and Saturn Girl and what an exploration of such a relationship would mean for an already schizophrenic time-rattled DCU. Other interesting seeds that are planted for future storylines are (1) How concerned should the Legionnaires be that Ultra boy’s father, General Crav severs his alliance with the United Planets and declares that the “future is war”? and (2) what is the origin of the Gold Lantern? 




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At one point, Tortor, the leader of the Horraz Collective, dictates that “The Earth will fall as it was supposed to...” and draws the reader in with a potentially revealing question - “Look at what the Gods of the Universe did to the Earth.” One has to wonder who the “Gods of the Universe” are that Tortor is referring to. Could it be the Judges of creation from Scott Snyder’s Justice League run, or perhaps a reference to the dark universe that we will see play out in Death Metal? Presently, there are a lot of continuity glitches being addressed at DC, and with Madamepresident Brande referencing what appeared to be Grant Morrison’s Justice League and Marv Wolfman’s Teen Titans last issue (along with Brainiac 5 referring to ‘time’ as a concept and not a straight line), it remains an open question exactly what rules, if any, govern the ever-evolving DCU. 



   
What Bendis does well is to utilize artist Ryan Sook’s talents. Sook choreographs the battle scenes against the Horazz beautifully and moves the combatants around the New Earth environment as both established and new Legionnaires enter the scene. Superboy might indeed be the “one true Superman” but he is far more impressed with how amazing his fellow Legionnaires are in action, especially Saturn Girl (Imra) whose graceful battle maneuvers appear to have Jon Kent contemplating his “first true crush”. The dialogue continues to contain some ‘Bendis-speak’, most notably by Superboy, who repeatedly suggests that he can “super speed [the battle] and end it.” Fortunately, the frenetic pace of the Horraz attack overrides the occasional choppy utterances moving the reader’s eye to the explosive visuals while Brainiac convinces Superboy not to underestimate Totor’s forces.  




The appearance of the Gold Lantern reflects the most impressive debut of a legionnaire to date. Sook’s illustrations embody the power of the gold lantern perfectly. At the same time, Jordie Bellaire’s colors capture the majesty of the visual spectacle as DC’s future Lantern transmutes the bulk of the Horazz assault into harmless gold energy. 

Bits and Pieces:

The climax of this issue is one that is somewhat predictable but welcoming as the good guys get a much-needed win, and New Earth receives what it needs to begin a new millennium; hope and renewal. Given the current state of the world right now, I allowed myself multiple reads, stare lovingly at Sook’s rendering of Saturn Girl, drink a cold glass of water… and smile. Long live the Legion!  
     
6.5/10

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the review, and you're right, the action and cool art by Ryan Sook does take my attention away from Bendis'' dialogue. However - and I'm going to sound like a sour grape here - it doesn't deter me from the various story issues. Like the animosity between the Legion and the United Planets, which feels like Bendis trying to be political and topical but he's oversimplifying it. Plus, how is adding water supposed to help the Earth when it's been reduced to an apple core with most of its mass removed, save for the orbital space habitats drawing power from its core? If they plan to launch an Earth reconstruction effort than cool, let's see that, make that the big story of bringing Earth together, figuratively and literally.
Not to mention, Dr. Fate was nowhere to be seen, Monster Boy was just a missed opportunity, and they keep repeating the use of "the Galactic" instead of simply saying the Galaxy. Aside from the last part, this isn't mere nitpicking, these are problems that Bendis has created for the entire book and it appears they will continue to stick around. It always feels like there's a ton of stories he wants to share but he withholds them to tell in future issues instead of just giving us something solid and clear to chew on aside from simply, "wait till you hear about this guy." as he did with the new Gold Lantern. He shows up, does his thing, looks cool, and a random Legionnaire says that Jon's gotta here what his story is. Which we'll likely get with next issue, in throwaway dialogue, off-panel or never. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but the problems aren't going away no matter how cool the art looks which is too common in comics: brilliant art and subpar stories.

Jim Werner said...

I think the next issue or two are the 1-artist per page nonsense! Maybe we will get some info though!