Monday, June 26, 2017

Legion Bugs Bunny Review


Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny Special #1
Title: The Impostor Superboy!
Writer: Sam Humphries
Penciller: Tom Grummett
Inker: Scott Hanna
Letterer: Josh Reed
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Cover Artist: Tom Grummett
Variant Cover Artist: Ty Templeton
Assistant Editor: Michael McCalister
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Substitute Hero(?): Joey Cavalieri
(I have no idea what "Substitute Hero" is supposed to mean.)

Legion Roster: Brainiac 5, Lightning Lass, Dream Girl, Ultra Boy, Timber Wolf, Wildfire, Sun Boy, Chameleon Boy, Shadow Lass, Supergirl, Phantom Girl, plus many cameos


Initial Thoughts: I really didn't know what to expect when this issue finally came out. I've been vocal for a while on how I DON'T want a new Legion series with the way DC's handled them the last few years (especially from what I've heard from a certain creator who shall remain anonymous), what with the handful of appearances they have made since the last Legion title got cancelled being poorly written, boring rehashes, or just plain insulting. So, I guess maybe I truthfully wasn't looking forward to this comic a little bit.

When I read this the first time, I wasn't happy. I've been so unhappy about the Legion's treatment I misconstrued the humor in this book as mean spirited and mocking towards the Legionnaires instead of affectionate, as was intended for these Looney Tunes one-shots. It took a good talk with a friend of mine to make me realize I needed to unclench. With that in mind, I re-read the issue with a more positive attitude and understood this wasn't a potshot at the Legion like I first believed.
A lot of the humor in this tale comes from parodying the angst and melodrama Legion comics can fall into, as well as teasing the enormity of their history by making numerous references to past Legion stories. Thankfully the setting of this story is in a New 52/Rebirth free zone based primarily on the late 70s/early 80s adventures, and the grim looking Bugs on the main cover is misleading. The variant by Ty Templeton gives a better idea of what's to come.

And with Bugs Bunny the writer avoids making him obnoxious as he gives the Legionnaires the Looney Tunes standard treatment. This is still a mercurial Bugs who can be annoying and screwy but definitely has a conscience and remains sympathetic.

My one hang-up is that I wish it'd been Saturn Girl playing off against Bugs' antics. She's such a hardass it would've been fun seeing Bugs press her buttons. But she only has a small cameo in this.

Oh I guess my other hang-up would be that once again, Ultra Boy's symbol is yellow. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE GREEN. WHY FOR THE LOVE OF COLOR KID DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING?

So this and the Batman '66 crossover are definitely going to be breaths of fresh air in what (I pray to God will remain until they get their crap together and I especially pray won't involve Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Tom King, or James Robinson) is mostly a Legion-free zone. And even if you're not a Legion fan this is still pretty funny.

Main Story Recap: The issue is filled with notes from the editors about Legion adventures that never happened, and eventually they get in an argument over how many references they have to keep making.

Dream Girl has a vision of an *gulp* HOMAGE, of some figure in a Superman costume holding what appears to be an unconscious or dead Supergirl in his arms. Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 is freaking out in his lab and the other Legionnaires (Timber Wolf, Lightning Lass, and Ultra Boy) tell him to “Cool up.” Brainiac 5 must assuredly will not, because Supergirl is comatose and dying.
The Legionnaires are briefly swallowed up in their own angst (except Brin, who’s hungry), before Brainy snaps out of it to have COMPUTO 2 explain their predicament. Supergirl can only be saved by “Illudium Phosdex,” (the shaving cream atom) an element extinct since the 24.5th Century. The others are horrified that Brainy created another COMPUTO after what the first one did, but Brainy assures them it’s fine because he programmed COMPUTO 2… to LOVE. Aww. Anyway, Nura dramatically poses over the doorway to Brainy’s lab to inform them of her dream, which Ayla interprets as meaning they need Superboy to save Supergirl. If Illudium Phosdex exists in the 24.5th Century, then it certainly exists in the 21st Century where Superboy lives. Again, more angst, except Brin, who’s still hungry. Brainy orders COMPUTO 2 to depart for 21st Century Smallville, but the sentient computer hesitates for a moment. Hmm…
In 21st Century Smallville, we find not Superboy, but Bugs Bunny, tenderly caring for his crop of baby carrots (complete with bibs and pacifiers because, yes). In another part of town, a Time Cube emerges, and while COMPUTO 2 finds Clark Kent (and Lana Lang), it flies off in a different direction.
Bugs enters his home… which is just the front of a house built around a rabbit hole in the ground. Wishing goodnight to his little darlings, Bugs gets ready for bed before checking on a box containing what looks like crystals in the shape of carrots. While he snoozes, COMPUTO 2 emerges in Bugs’ hole, its only thoughts being those of love before teleporting Bugs’ entire burrow into the Time Cube.

The Time Cube returns to the 31st Century, the Legionnaires gushing about how wonderful Superboy is when surprise! Bugs’ burrow spills out of the Cube, and Bugs clearly looks like he slept on the wrong side of the hole.

The Legionnaires are briefly shocked speechless, and Bugs is too half-asleep for it to register where he is. He checks his reflection in Wildfire’s visor while rubbing the sleep crap from his eyes with Shadow Lass’s cape. Brainy is outraged at COMPUTO 2’s mistake, while Brin remembers he does like roast rabbit…
It finally hits Bugs like a sack of anvils where he is when he looks outside the Legion’s HQ and sees the 31st Century Metropolis city-scape. The Legionnaires want him gone, either back to the past or put in the Legion of Super-Pets. Brainy tries to salvage the situation, hypothesizing that maybe there are molecules of Illudium Phosdex inside Bugs. Brainy asks for Bugs’ help, and Bugs seems okay with it, until he sees Brainy’s “examination chair.”
Bugs tries to hightail it out of there, pulling the “Duck Season, Rabbit Season” trick on Jo and distracting Brin with a giant bone. Ayla is amazed, construing Bugs’ tricks as genuine super powers, while COMPUTO 2 uses this distraction to send a signal…

For Bugs’ next trick he briefly dons a Wonder Woman costume and decks Sun Boy. Shadow Lass covers Bugs in darkness, but Ayla orders the Legionnaires to back off. From his display of abilities, Bugs is clearly a super hero and might be able to help them after all. Suddenly, the ground begins to tremble and through the walls bursts Validus of the Fatal Five!
Bugs slips away to the Time Cube and tries to rewire it to send him home while the Legionnaires fight the hulking brute. But Bugs, mercurial trickster that he is, can’t ignore his conscience since the Legionnaires DID ask for his help. While the Legion focuses on Validus, COMPUTO 2 sows seeds of victory by instigating another angst attack first by asking Drake a dreadful question. If Drake isn’t human, how will he enjoy… ice cream?! (Honestly I’m so happy this didn’t involve Dawnstar because she’s not even in this issue). One by one the Legionnaires are put out of action by rumination and angst, leading COMPUTO 2 to guide Validus to the unconscious Supergirl so he may destroy her. Luckily, who should arrive but none other than… SUPER-BUGS!
Having ingested one of his special carrots, Bugs is now decked out in a fancy Superman costume, complete with the spit-curl, and flattens Validus. COMPUTO 2 tries to use the angst attack on Bugs and fails miserably, underestimating Bugs’ looniness. COMPUTO 2 bemoans another homage as Bugs lifts up Validus Action Comics #1 style. Unfortunately, Brainy declares that time has run out for Supergirl, and blames COMPUTO 2. COMPUTO 2 admits the truth, that it did all this to remove Supergirl because it truly loves Brainy and was jealous of her. Ashamed of its actions, COMPUTO 2 self destructs… out of love. Bugs sees this as his opportunity to leave, but holding his last special carrot, wonders if maybe it will save Supergirl.
Nura’s homage dream comes true, as Brainy channels the energy in Bugs’ last carrot to Bugs, holding Supergirl in his arms Crisis-style. Supergirl begins to stir, and embraces Brainy.

Our story ends with Bugs back in his time, and the Legion construct a statue in his honor, standing next to Superboy, as thanks for saving the Legion in their darkest hour.

Back-Up Feature
Written and Drawn By: Juan Manuel Ortiz
Special Thanks To: Mark Prudeaux
Back-Up Recap: The back-up feature is essentially a retelling of the main story but done in a more Silver Age homage style. I'm assuming all the Looney Tunes one-shots are going to have back-ups done in a more cartoony style. Since it's the same story, there's not much else to say but it does add a couple of things I enjoyed like Bugs kissing Jo and Validus' goofy look after an explosion goes off in his face.
Thoughts As A Whole: So I liked this issue, honestly. I don't know why I got so worked up about it but it was pretty fun. Pet peeves aside about Ultra Boy's coloring I liked Tom Grummett's take on the Legionnaires and Bugs. He manages to do a nice blend so Bugs still looks cartoony without being too different from the Legionnaires.

Brainy not realizing using COMPUTO 2 is a bad idea works with how stubborn and pigheaded Brainy can be when he assumes he's absolutely right, but I'm surprised they didn't use the rebooted COMPUTO design from the Levitz/Giffen era.

I thought this portrayal of Lightning Lass was better than her portrayal in the Convergence miniseries, and was surprised she got the most focus besides Brainy. She has this comically serious tone that doesn't make her sound like a pompous windbag, and I love how her angst was all about how she can never let anyone know she doesn't read Interlac. It could've used more Ayla/Vi though.

As for Validus being one of the bad guys, it makes sense to use a rampaging brute to back up the scheming COMPUTO 2, someone Bugs can freely use cartoon violence on without it seeming too weird.

Again, the back-up segment is a cute and condensed version of the main story, but that means there's not much to really say about it in terms of a review. The Silver Age touch was cool, but it's not really something you HAVE to read. It's more of a time waster, I guess.

The issue as a whole is must-have for Legion fans who've been burned too much by DC's failed Legion works since 2011. Or anyone who just needs to relax and have a good laugh.

6 comments:

  1. I really liked this comic, more than I thought I would.
    I do wonder if this would have been better as 2 or 3 separate stories instead of one long one. It did kinda drag, I thought.
    And I, too, was annoyed how the artists got various Legionnaires' uniforms wrong. Ultra Boy's look hasn't changed in 50 years, but Grummett drew him with gloves, and Ortiz got his wrist bands wrong!
    Grrrrrr!

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  2. That's...........just............wrong.

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  3. So does this mean Bugs Bunny will get his own Who's Who on this site? (Joke)

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    1. Perfect for the next year's 1st April

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  4. Yes, Ultra Boy's costume modifications were annoying, but not a word about that thing Sun Boy was wearing???? ;-)

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  5. Hmm. I was iffy about picking this up, but after really enjoying Tom King's Batman/Elmer Fudd, I was leaning more towards a buy. But this just kinda seems... I dunno, typical. Maybe King's issue just gave me different expectations.

    The art, however, is really nice. I'd be cool with Grummett doing sonr lighthearted Legion stories in the future.

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