Friday, January 20, 2017

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #45

Recap: The Legion has been in turmoil. Their funds are dry. They are infighting.Princess Projectra is in jail. They are battling weird, monstrous,exceedingly powerful technocreatures. The UP seems to be their enemy. And they recently just got into a significant brawl with intergalactic pirates. And just when things couldn't get worse or busier, a moving planet is flying through the solar system heading to Earth.

Legion of Super-Heroes #44 continues the Jim Shooter/Francis Manapul run of the Threeboot team. I have not enjoyed it much finding it a mix of too many subplots (both boring and action filled) , rampant sexism, and bitter teammates. The bottom line is that it has felt too much like a book trying desperately to be overly edgy and extreme and as a result it simply doesn't read like a Legion book.

And yet, I have to admit, this issue is an interesting one for me. And that is because I find that there are some bright spots in this book, some scenes that I think are really fantastic and reminded me of a Legion book I might like to read. But surrounded by that are more instances of things I find completely odious.

On the bright side, we see the team actually come up with some pretty ingenious solutions to some of the problems facing them. I like that aspect.

But as has become routine for this book, there is a fair amount of cheesecake and sexiness to the proceedings, much of which feels gratuitous and out of character for those involved. In particular, I just find the way Shooter writes Saturn Girl to be off-putting. At this point there were decades of characterization that Imra was built on that Shooter seemed to be ignoring.

And, as what is also routine for this run, the art is wonderful. Manapul does seem to love these characters and the future atmosphere.

The planet hurtling to Earth is wreaking havoc on the solar system and is just starting to disrupt Earth's gravity. The United Planets president Kin'Thea Kieselbach calls the Legion begging for their help.

Last issue, M'rissey fixed the Legion's financial issues by selling the rights and designs for a stripped down flight ring to a manufacturer. (We are told in no uncertain terms that this ring is basically' a toy'.)

Here, M'rissey steps in and basically demands that the Legion not only get full pardons but also diplomatic immunity before they jump into stopping this careening world problem. With no other choice, the President grants it all.

Suddenly, thankfully, the plot of the Legion being broke and drowning in bureaucracy is over! Hooray!

So that is a high point.

The two away teams, one returning from a fight in Rimbor and the other returning from combat with the Ikann pirates, limp home. They are clearly exhausted and wounded. Lightning Lad tells all of them to rest and visit the medic pods. All except Saturn Girl ...

But she refuses to join him at the UP Defense headquarters. She is exhausted. She needs rest just as much as everyone else.

Between his avoiding her sexual needs a couple of issues ago and now pushing her limits, a wedge is appearing between these two.

Of course, we get the mandatory hormone-fueled interactions between the team members.

At the medical bay, Shadow Lass doesn't need to have any modesty as she undresses in front of Brin and Gim. She isn't shy. And she likes the view, seeing them.

Hey, they are well-adjusted healthy teens with healthy outlooks about their bodies and with healthy sexual appetites. But this read a little bit like dialogue from a randy teen comedy or an adult film. Seeing her undressing and hearing she likes to ogle her teammates just doesn't add much to the story. It feels forced into the narrative to be bawdy.

And then a little bit of a conundrum in my mind.

Atom Girl refuses to get treatment for her wounds. She is upset she lost her hand to hand combat last issue. It is clear that she is very upset about losing like that. She needs to be the best.

When Colossal Boy comes to ask her about it, she breaks down and falls into his arms. In some ways, I thought this was a good turn ... humanizing Vi a touch. On the other hand, it is another instance of Shooter having the female characters swoon over the men and ask for support.

But then she storms off when he asks her why she didn't use her powers in the fight. She wanted to win in full size. So maybe she has deeper issues.

I'm torn. Is it a good scene for Vi? Or a bad scene?

Lightning Lad and the Legion show up at the Department of Defense. Outside is a membership rally for the UP Young Super-Heroes. I see some familiar faces and shapes in the crowd.

That is definitely Night Girl! Hurrah!

But that could be an Atmos-dude next to her. And maybe the rotund guy is Bouncing Boy (even if he looks more Puck-ish). Anyways, I appreciate little nods to Legion history.

But here is more of those Shooterisms.

Lightning Lad refuses to call the President 'Madame President' or President Kieselbach. He insists on calling her by her first name Kin'Thea, even when corrected.

And she doesn't seem to mind. Of course, a tremor has her fall into his arms where she looks longingly at him.

This seems inappropriate and actually disrespectful.

Or am I overseeing these things?

Meanwhile, Saturn Girl heads to the cafeteria for a snack and she meets Ultra Boy there. You may recall that she has been hanging on Jo over the last couple of issues. And he has been leering at her and calling her sexy and hitting on her.

Here he says she is 'sexy for a dumpy girl' and starts thinking lewd thoughts 'loud' enough for Imra to pick up on them. She chastises him for his dirty mind but he doesn't really relent. While he doesn't go after taken women, he knows that she has been ignored by Garth recently. He can sense her frustrations. She needs attention.

It just reads as icky ... at least to me.

Maybe I am too old or thinking there are better stories to tell with these characters.

Finally, we get back to a high point for the issue. This might be my favorite moment of Shooter run so far.

Brainiac 5 realizes he will need tractor beams and gravitational forces to repel or change the course of the oncoming planet. So he relies on Star Boy and Light Lass and their powers to try to slow things down.

His mind is constantly assessing and reassessing, and changing the distribution of these powers to try to slow things down. His mind is working faster than any known computer as he reacts.

This is what a Legion book should read like - three team members using their unique powers together to stop a major threat. Wonderful.

Except there is one problem. They aren't successful. The planet's power and momentum is too much. At the very least, the planet seems to be trying to contact the UP.

But this is an extinction level threat. People are rioting.

With a presidential pardon, Princess Projectra is released. But her time in stir hasn't changed her outlook. She really looks down on the 'peasants' as beneath her, like cattle.

I really don't like this characterization of Jeckie.

And then we end on one last sleaze. Invisible Kid walks into a food closet to see Ultra Boy and Saturn Girl in their birthday suits. That means Imra succumbed to Jo's charms. And nothing is classier than sex in a pantry.

I don't know. This isn't my Saturn Girl.

Maybe I am just too old. Maybe I am a prude. Maybe I should yell 'get off my 31st century lawn!!'

So we had a great moment with M'Rissey. We had a super moment with Brainy, Thom, and Ayla. We might have had a good moment with Atom Girl. And we saw Night Girl.

But then we had the never-ending raunchy moments, a fallen Legionnaire descending deeper in anger, and even more raunch.

There are five issues left!


  1. Shooter is hardly ignoring decades of characterization for Saturn Girl. The entire book (from issue 1) "ignored" decades of characterization in favor of characters who shared some names, powers and maybe even a few traits but were essentially different characters. "Eat it Grandpa" indeed.

    By this time, hadn't the "originals" popped back up in some form in Justice League and Justice Society? Shooter was attempting a Hail Mary after the previous writers had lost all but the most die hard fans. (I almost dropped the book right before Shooter came on board).

    1. These Shooter stories are completely new to ME. I did drop the book.(Threeboot) Twice. I first came back when Supergirl joined. When she left, I left... again.