Friday, July 28, 2017

Legion of Super-Heroes v2 #310

Legion of Super-Heroes #310 closed out the Omen and the Prophet storyline ... thankfully. I know this storyline is somewhat vilified. I have never really liked it. And yet, every few years I go back and reread this to see if there was something that I missed and basically every time I walk away saying 'nope'.

For me, the real interest of this story is to witness the rapid change in Giffen's style, something which happened literally over the course of one issue. I am interested in eventually reading the letters column on these issues to see how much it is discussed.

Regardless, neither Omen nor Prophet are heard from again and I think that is a good thing. I don't think I understand any of the motivations of either being.

All that said, the subplots covered in these issues are big ones which impacted the team for years.

On to the book.

'Omen' was plotted by writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffen with inks by Larry Mahlstedt. The Omen has arrived on Khundia, brought there by the missing presence of his Prophet, the reverend on Sciene Asteroid Trewsk who was transformed by Omen's power.

The design of Omen is interesting. He is eyeless. He is massive. He is in a sort of golden aura with cascades of flowers. It is all very trippy. And while we have been told he is a destroyer of worlds, we haven't really witnessed that in any way.

Still, the Prophet keeps saying that Omen will raze every place that he visits and people need to prepare. The Legion is there and ready.

The Omen wants his Prophet back and uses a multi-directional beam akin to the Omega Beams to grab him.

This whole issue is something of a wild and misguided brawl on Khundia and Giffen brings some energy to that by giving us warped panels, tumbling all over the page. This is supposed to be a chaotic scene and it sure does feel like it.

Meanwhile, Shvaughn finally decides that she needs to be obvious to Jan about her feelings for him. While playing some board game, she leans in and the two kiss. This 'romance' has been simmering for months. Thankfully, Erin realized Jan can't read the signals.

Unfortunately the moment is broken up by Chief Zendak who informs Element Lad that as Legion leader he needs to help out on Khundia. All along, Jan had thought people were joking about his win. I like how by having that last panel be smaller, it gives Jan a sheepish feel.

But look how this page is more orderly in its layout.

Back on Khundia, Dream Girl tries to strategize with the team. It really is incredible how much she has grown since Great Darkness.

Ultra Boy thinks the time for waiting is over. He decides to just try to bash his way into Omen with no real effect.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Brainy continues to try to cure Danielle Foccart. But his experiments all seem to fail. I love that Kara is still on his mind. Her adventures with him only occurred a few months ago. He should still be reeling a bit.

Still, his desire to cure Danielle is enough for him to not go with an away team to the Khund homeworld. Classic Brainy.

As for Omen, at least for now, he seems almost disinterested in all that is happening around him. He is described like a storm by Prophet. There are no feelings here.

Again, the look of these pages is slick.

And, to make matters worse, the Khund army arrives and fires on the Legion thinking they are part of a UP plot.

Wild art and colors here, especially that last panel with Garth frying the Khund warriors. And I love Dreamy hiding behind Blok.

At last we see (maybe) what drew the Omen to the Khund world, a negaton bomb, a sort of black hole weapon.

Why was he drawn to this? It is strange.

Omen then 'absorbs' the Prophet's feelings and thoughts. Given that knowledge he is able to talk to the Legion. He asks why they are interfering with his 'experiment'. I suppose that might be infusing the Prophet with some energy. But this all seems incomprehensible.

At least it ends quickly.

While the Omen lashes out knocking all the Legionnaires unconscious, Dreamy was able to avoid his blast. She knew he was going to do it. And then she detonates the negaton bomb, sucking the Omen into this new void.

Is this akin to killing him? (No trial happens.)
Why didn't the prone Legionnaires also get sucked in?
What was the experiment ... purpose ... motivation for anything the Omen did?

Someone answer me!!

The bomb did have one more effect. Out of the rift comes the supposedly deceased Invisible Kid I! More on this to come, I'm sure.

Okay, all plot issues aside, this is a wildly gorgeous issue to look at assuming you can deal with Giffen's new style. The colors, panels, perspectives all lead to a roller coaster ride of visuals. But I think that is all I can say about this arc that is positive.

Does anyone like this story? Or can anyone explain it better?


  1. How long before the original "Crisis" did this story appear? The cover date is April 1984, so it was likely created in late 1983. At that point, DC Editorial was hip-deep in creating "Crisis" and trying to figure out (originally) how everything was going to turn out. Levitz, being an editor, was probably caught up in all of that and wondering how to preserve the Legion in ANY recognizable way. So he couldn't devote as much care to this story as to others, particularly with the great LSV storyline and both the Baxter title and this one on his plate.

    That's just a theory. To coin a phrase, I could be wrong.

    1. Crisis was more than a year away at this point. I am guessing it was the stress of two books and also trying to get a new artist. THIS is the script that DC sent to Terry Shoemaker and Steve Lightle (atleast them, possibly to others) for them to draw as a "test" to take Giffen's place.
      Surely there was a lot on Levitz's plate at this time.

    2. Yeah, Crisis the SERIES was more than a year away, but it was several years in the making behind the scenes. And since Levitz was in Editorial, along with preparing/working on two books (one with a major multi-issue plot that was already being set up here) and breaking in a new artist, he had a LOT going on at the time.

      So, maybe fans should reconsider their views a little on this story. Factor in all the real-world happenings, and something had to give. Sadly, the "Prophet/Omen" story may have been it.

  2. You skipped the ending where the Khunds threaten Relnic and he basically tells them to shove off given how thoroughly the small group of Legionnaires wrecked Khundia. That ending scene stuck the landing no matter what else happened on the way. I give it some credit for that at least.

  3. Thanks for comments. I do wonder with the Baxter series on the way and the need to run double legion books for a while when the Baxter book first got released, if Levitz was stretched.

    And yes, the Relnic scene was great. At times it is hard to figure out what to put in and leave out!

  4. Am I the only one who (for a moment) heard a Jamaican accent in my head when Ultra Boy was talking to Mon-El up in the 2nd image? Lower left panel. :Þ

    1. "Mon" as in "done" or as in "Don."
      The never-ending debate. ;-)

  5. That last full page is very, very Kirby isn't it? Specifically, Forever People-y, at least to me. I wonder if Omen and Prophet may have made sense in a 30th century expanded fourth world context that eventually got vetoed...