Friday, April 15, 2016

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #13

Recap: The Legion had been on the defensive against Praetor Lemnos and his Terror Firma, heading to defend  key UP worlds to keep the lines of communication and teleportation open. But then Cosmic Boy had a revelation. The best defense is a good offense. Cos suggests the Legion take control of all UP communications and derail the teleportation lines, stranding Lemnos' army on their command world. With civilians relatively safe, the Legion team decides it is time to do what they do best - inspire young people and kick the tar out of bad guys.

Legion of Super-Heroes #13 closed out the major story which had been moving through the title since its first issue. Writer Mark Waid and artist Barry Kitson had the tough task of reintroducing us to a 'new' Legion while giving us a major plot that would bring the right gravitas to the team and title. I enjoyed the way Waid went about this, focusing on key Legionnaires so we could get to know these new versions while having the Lemnos plot of destroying the UP percolate in the background. If you read these reviews, you know that I have enjoyed the book ... more than I remembered.

You know there was going to be a 'but', right?

The truth was, this plot was now a year in and even as I review these, one book a week, I was kind of ready to see it end. Now that I felt that I had a handle on this new team and new continuity, I wanted more. I wanted different villains. What was Mordru like here? The Fatal Five? Was there an RJ Brande? A Daxam? I was happy with this new reality. Now I wanted to see more than Praetor Lemnos and his machinations.

And so I was glad to see the arc end here so Waid could branch out a bit. The ending feels a little rushed. But there is closure. There is a departure. And there is a mystery.

The away team on Ttrxl has taken control of all telematter teleportation portals. This ends up being a major blow to Lemnos' plans. For one, the Legion away teams are able to unite at Lemnos' headquarters and fight the majority of the invading army. Remember, we learned last month these are mostly disenfranchised, non-powered beings.

I loved the opening pages of this issue as finally see the majority of the Legion cutting loose with their powers. The team makes short work of this army. We also see more of Projectra's powers, from visual illusions to thoughts of terror within the mind (albeit with a little help from Saturn Girl).

This is the Legion. About 10 kids with powers united, defeating an entire army.

Now some of Lemnos' armies did get through the portals before they were shut down. But it is a fraction of the force. Lemnos' troops offworld are quickly rounded up by police, military, and those youths who espouse the Legion philosophy.

One thing that I did like, a lot, in this run was the idea that the Legion was more than a celebrity team of super-heroes. It was an ethos. There needs to be progress in the universe ... but intelligent progress.

As for Lemnos, like the worst of villains, with his plans burning to the ground around him, he decides to leave. He who plots and runs away, lives to plot another day.

But before he can skedattle, a communication avatar of Cosmic Boy arrives to boast about the Legion's victory. The brief conversation was basically a stalling tactic so Sun Boy could come in and knock out Lemnos.

And this is how the war ends, with a left hook in a back room.

Cos does take the time to gloat a bit.

Remember how I said that this was a new Legion and I wanted to see more. That trickles down to the relationships the team members have.

In the old Legion, Projectra and Karate Kid were very much a long standing couple. In this new reality, Karate Kid seems to have a relationship with Shadow Lass. And Projectra seems to be linked to Brin Londo.

One of the things I love about the Legion is that the stories are more than just the fights. We learned about these characters lives and loves. I was ready to see more of this.

The members of Terror Firma on the planet show up to try to free Lemnos. They freeze Sun Boy. But they aren't happy.

First off, they are angry at Lemnos. Terror Firma thought they would be allies with the Legion. They thought they would bring about change ... but good change. This plan for war, the insane chaos that Elysion brought ... they didn't sign up for this. Seems odd that this conversation is happening now. Why not bring up this dissent earlier, maybe before the armies are mobilized?

But they are also angry at the Legion and the UP. Turns out Terror Firma are the ancestor's of criminals who were exiled. They wanted to belong, feeling they were being punished for the sins of their great-grandparents.

They are just as disenfranchised as the mob, easily roped into Lemnos' plan. It gives this team some back story. You empathize a bit more. But this also seems rushed. We hear this only in these three panels. Just a couple of issues ago, these kids were ready to fight the Legion to the death.

During all the discussion, Lemnos again tries to slink off and escape. Witnessed only by Sun Boy, Brainiac 5 steps through a portal, stuns Lemnos, and takes him away.

Brainiac 5 has walked a fine line between sanity and obsession recently. Seeing him secret away villain makes me think he is veering towards insanity.

With the war over and Lemnos supposedly having escaped, nothing is left but the victory parties.

The party isn't started when the first guest leaves. We knew Sun Boy was unhappy with the Legion. Here he outright quits. He will lead Terror Firma. He will make them into something better. And he can't be a Legionnaire and do that. He tosses his ring away.

Now this is a new and improved Sun Boy. The vapid skirt-chaser of the old Legion is gone. This Dirk was the field leader. And now he wants to lead. This is an improvement.

Cos uses his control of the communication lines to tout the power of youth. It was the Legion that saved the day ... all the Legion.

I liked this page of alien faces celebrating the win.

And Brainy and Lemnos?

Well Brainy has Lemnos in stasis in his lab. The Legion doesn't know Lemnos is there. And somehow Brainy wants to use Lemnos to somehow save the dead Dream Girl.

That is a decent hook for future stories.

And so ends the first arc of the Threeboot Legion. What did you all think? Did you embrace the new team? Jump off?

The idea of the illustrated letter column returns. This included a few blurbs about the artistic process that Waid and Kitson used to put together the book.

But the biggest thing about this is the Amanda Conner art! Happy hunting Conner completists!

1 comment:

  1. This was a good story, but I agree that Waid was on the verge of dragging it out too long.

    As for the back-up story, anything with Amanda Conner's art gets a thumbs up from me. For me, she ranks right up there with George Perez.