Friday, August 28, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #8 Review

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Allred, Andr Lima Arajo, Bilquis Evely, Sanford Greene, Cully Hamner, Dan Hipp, Joelle Jones, Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire, David Mack, Alex Maleev, Fabio Moon, Dustin Nguyen, Michael Avon Oeming, Yanick Paquette, Darick Robertson, Duncan Rouleau, Evan Shaner, Liam Sharp, Ryan Sook, and John Timms
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 26, 2020

The title of the story to issue 8 of Legion of Super-Heroes is set forth on the cover; however, it only spelled out in an alien alphabet within its contents. When combined with the eclectic array of artists that provide the disparate visuals, the unfortunate effect is a feeling of disconnect to the narrative growing since issue one. Writer Brian Bendis continues to leave plotlines open while making questionable creative choices, such as highlighting 22 artists to pencil different scenes in a vain attempt to create a cohesive story. Adding more chefs to the kitchen has not improved the taste of this soup.

Superboy is the opening narrator, and he explains what has happened so
far. Unfortunately, Jon Kent's synopsis is useful for all the wrong reasons. It actually re-interprets what has gone on in previous issues and puts a new spin on events. Why the future citizens of New Earth tolerate teenagers who insist on taking the law into their own hands and play fast and loose with United Planet authority has never been adequately explained. Moreover, it is not clear why Craz, the leader of Planet Rimbor (and Ultra Boy's father), has been given so much narrative attention. He is simply not that interesting a character. Craz wants Aquaman's Trident and to presumably to … what? Rule the galaxy?

What about the Horraz? How are they involved again? Why is this important, and why should the reader care? The name "Superboy" is in the title of this comic, and I can state with confidence that most readers want to know why Superboy was dragged to the 31 st Century in the first place beyond the writer's ego. That question has yet to be answered explicitly with any scintilla of satisfaction.

The art is a disorganized combination of different artists that makes the
future look and feel like a jumble of random action scenes in a cartoon that did not have the budget to employ an editor. As for the narrative itself, the only revelation is that aside from Mon-el exclaiming he's related to Superboy, he's also apparently been 'coupling' with Phantom Girl this whole time. But hey, don't worry about this relationship being explored; less than one panel after this tidbit of useless information Mon-el breaks up with the whiny "fowqnut". This is grade 'A' level ploddingly and bland soap opera scripting. 

After eight issues, there should be at least a few characters that I care about. Alas, this title is in desperate need of a reason to exist.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I think most readers want to know 'specifically' why Superboy was brought to the future. That has not been definitively addressed, and Superboy is an idiot for not yet having insisted on an answer. Why is it okay for Superboy to travel to the future and no one else? How is Superboy the "One True Superman"? What is the multiversal threat that required the Legionnaires to violate time travel protocol and bring Jon Kent from the past to the future? I expected this to all have been explained in the orientation that Superboy received. None of it was. 
Instead, the orientation provided an origin story. Bendis fails to grasp the difference between the two, and this failure infects every character in this franchise with an air of stupidity that goes well beyond the window-licking idiocy of having each Legionnaire project a holographic 'frichtman' tag for fear that they collectively forget each other's names. 

Maybe the best thing for the Legion would be if Brainiac 5 enrolled them all in a life skills course taught by an actual adult. Seriously, who in their right mind would want a future protected by this group of mentor-less, directionless, arrogant, self-entitled egocentric, 'same-sounding' losers who apparently must look 1000 years in the past for help finding a purpose? Was having 22 different artists supposed to help
provide an answer?

Superboy's ongoing portrayal in this series is problematic. His purported
importance to the central narrative has lacked verisimilitude given the insane manner in which he was aged-up 7 years via traumatizing incarceration by Ultra-Man on Earth 3. Rather than attempt to explain how such a loss of childhood must have affected Superboy, Bendis pretends it never happened and instead seems intent on foreshadowing (through the image on Cover 'A' of this issue) that Jon's first wet dream will involve Saturn Girl. How much do you want to wager that Superboy's 'Frichtman tag' will soon be changed to "Imra's boy-toy"?

Bits and Pieces:

This series had potential but has evolved into nothing more than
an ongoing disappointment with no sign on the horizon that its writer knows what is going on. Gracing the pages with different artists only reinforces how disjointed this title has become. It is in desperate need of adult supervision. 



  1. Not having read it but having read Bendis in general, I would assume the point is that he finds these characters inherently interesting, and that he presents characters first and plot second. For instance, the Millenium prelude( which I did read and very much enjoyed) could be interpreted as a tour of future DC history, as a lead-up to the Legion, or enjoyed as a character exploration of Rose/Thorn. I enjoyed it as a Rose/Thorn comic. It was quite brilliant.

    1. I actually hated Millenium because we get a future written by a guy who doesn't even know the past or present. That aside, you don't get much of any characters in this book. It's a complete mess, everyone sounds the same and he never focuses enough on any one character to give the reader any characterization at all. You should check it out and let me know what you think though. Also, Rose is in it, but has done nothing at all