Friday, March 16, 2018

A look back ... And a look forward ... At Friday's With Anj

Hello all, it's Anj again.

It is hard to believe but in a couple of months I will be hitting my four year anniversary on this blog.

It was back in the spring of 2014 that The Irreedemable Shag asked me to be on the site and I had to say yes. The Legion has been a near constant in my comic book fandom. How could I say no?

I have been manning Fridays here since then. It is an interesting side truth that since this blog went live, no Legion book has been on the shelves. We have come close to a dramatic comeback. We have seen characters and heard hints of it since Rebirth. We even have a live action Legion on the Supergirl show.

But no comic.

And I recently had the (un)luck of covering the book that was the final nail in the coffin, the New 52 Legion. So what is next for the team? And what is next for Fridays? It is an interesting question. And I will try to answer both, in a way, by looking at what I have done before.

My first assignment was the 5YL run. I covered the first 50 issues, jumping off when Rokk became the Time Trapper in Zero Hour.

This was, perhaps, the most ambitious run for the book. Dense, complex both from a written viewpoint as well as visually, it wasn't the easiest of reads. But it somehow managed to mix in a dystopian future with an inspirational team all while respecting Legion history *AND* rebooting the timeline.

No easy task.

Once Keith Giffen left, it lost it's artistic edge and seemed to meander a bit. But it was still pretty good, even in this 'regular comic book' phase.

I relished this assignment. I love this book.

But it wasn't classic Legion in any way.

Then I reviewed the Threeboot Legion.

This was a complete reimagining of the team. Yes, the names and the powers were the same. But there was no history to lean against. This was the first time we 'met' these characters. They had some youthful exuberance and a lot of rebellion in them. They weren't going to kowtow to adult manifestos and rules. They'd write their own.

It was different for sure but I thought Mark Waid and Barry Kitson both respected the past while carving a new path for the property. In the end, it lost it's way.

After that, I was put back into the book's heyday, reviewing the post Great Darkness Saga issues which led up to the Baxter series.

After two semi-experimental takes on the team, I was looking at the high water mark. This was the time that jaded older fans look at with whimsy and nostalgia. The sort of symbiotic energy that Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen brought to the book in this time period is astonishing. It all seemed to flow with subplots simmering in the background to bubbling to the surface. All the characters seemed to have important moments. And it was beautiful.

I was riding a crest of excellence.

So of course the wave had to finally crash back to the surface.

The next assignment was the Legion Secret Origin mini-series.

After reading the excellence of the pre-Baxter world, I was sure to be disappointed in anything I read.

This was disappointing.

In a time where things like Green Lantern Rebirth and Superman Secret Origin were reinvigorating and reenergizing their respective fields, Paul Levitz put together something of a snoozefest. This was a tangential look at the team through United Planet political machinations. We didn't really see the team form and grow. We were told they formed and grew.

You know that things are off when the thing I remember most is artist Chris Batista's fascination with Phantom Girl's backside.

And then I limped into the New 52 series.

I knew this was going to be a challenge. I remembered I liked Francis Portela's art. But I didn't remember much else.

Nothing seemed to gel in this book.

And the 'Hail Mary' pass of bringing the band back together didn't work either. Keith Giffen seemed to muddy things up more rather than bringing in some light.

You know that things are off when the thing I remember most is the awful characterization of Phantom Girl at the end of the series, with her crying in terror and abandoning the team.

And yes, I'll remind you again that this was the cyanide pill which ended the Legion's publications.

I actually thought about leaving the blog for a bit, trying to figure out how to refocus.

But then I looked at all the stuff I've covered and it is actually quite varied. These are all relatively unique takes on the Legion, some more successful than others. It made me wonder why DC can't just figure it out.

And then I thought again how the New 52 Legion put the pin in the balloon.

But it wasn't alone ...

There was also The New 52 Legion Lost book. And my history with it is similar to the main Legion book from the New 52.

I have reviewed it over on Supergirl Comic Box Commentary. I have very little recollection outside of there being a 20th Century mutation plague as a plot point early on (like I remembered little of N52LSH). I remember I loved the Pete Woods art (like I loved Portela's in the N52LSH). And I haven't reread it at all (like the N52LSH).

So I thought it was time to revisit and re-review it as I did with the New 52 book. I'll post the old review and I'll bracket it with new thoughts.

And so Fridays With Anj will cover The New 52 Legion Lost title, starting next week!


  1. The Legion Lost book?

    Be strong, Anj!

  2. Looking forward to this, since my experience reading Legion Lost was that it had a lot of potential that it just never realized from early on.

  3. Sweet, I'll be interested to see if others feel the same way I did about this particular mistake, which had a lot of unrealized potential.

  4. Oh! I can see I will be doing a lot of speed reading on Fridays for the next chunk of time.

  5. Hate to ask this & do this to you but are you going to cover the nonsensical Culling crossover with TT & Superboy? I won't blame you if you didn't just wondering.

  6. Probably not here. Although I covered this book and the Superboy book at my SG site when they were coming out.