Friday, July 7, 2017

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #307

Legion of Super-Heroes #307 is an interesting issue for a number of reasons, at least in my mind.

For one, this is the first issue that you begin to see the looser, more interpretive art by longtime penciler Keith Giffen. After having a precise, pristine, rather organic appearing style since coming on board, we start to see some of the rougher style that Giffen began to showcase in the late 80s.

Second, after hitting home run after home run for the last two plus years, the creative team of Giffen and writer Paul Levitz sort of stumble a bit here. The Omen and the Prophet has just never been embraced by the majority of Legion fans. We still have some subplot development as the team as a whole is handled nicely, but the main story here is a bit lackluster. And that is despite the fact that these villains are immensely powerful and give the team a run for their money.

Let me put it in a different way. I have reread Legion 285-305 many many times over. I have only read Legion 307-308 a couple of times. So after reading reviews where I have tended to gush a bit, prepare for something much more straightforward.

'The Prophet Shall Speak' was co-plotted by writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffen with inks by Larry Mahlstedt.  I will give colorist Carl Gafford a special tip of the cap for this issue which is filled with purples, oranges, and pinks explode off the pages.

And that is evident from the first page. An away team of Invisible Kid, Shadow Lass, Phantom Girl, and Timber Wolf are investigating the planetoid Trewsk and its research station. The entire planet has been razed. It is nothing but a husk, the dead strewn amid the destruction.

It is so upsetting to view that Shadow Lass has to cover the sight with her darkness. Given all that these Legionnaires have seen, it just affirms that this must be particularly gruesome. To add a personal layer, a friend of Invisible Kid was stationed there.

It is an interesting team. Three members of the Espionage Squad and the Lone Wolf? Perhaps most interesting is the pretty blatant disgust that Shady and PG have for Timber Wolf. Perhaps they think he mistreated Ayla?

From a nearby star, two humanoids fly off. They have power levels that would 'give Darkseid a hot foot'.

They are clearly unbelievable powerful. Living in a star is one thing. But they toss the Legion cruiser around like a child's toy, sending it crashing onto a nearby world.

The pages are just flooded with oranges and Kirby Krackle, giving it a great fiery feel.

And you can start to see some of that rougher Giffen peeking through.

Meanwhile, we get to look in on the rest of the team.

Element Lad has dropped off Violet at Medicus One for care. Jan doesn't believe that he has been voted leader, laughing it off when Wildfire mentions it.

And we get to hear that Colossal Boy is settling in with Yera. Given all the moaning Star Boy has done recently about Dream Girl, I love that Cham teases him a bit. Of course, this irks Star Boy to the point that Cham ends up with a shiner.

These little character moments mean a lot for me as a Legion fan.

And we check in on another away team, helping the UP negotiate with the Khunds on Khundia.

This little interaction between Dreamy and Ambassador Relnic is great. For one, it shows how respected the Legion is, even here on Khundia. The UP brought them as a symbol of strength. Second, I love that Dreamy is still in a position of authority, leading this team. Her run as leader has changed her. She becomes a very prominent Legionnaire.

And then this bombshell!!

The original Legionnaires are on Khundia as well. There, Imra announces to Rokk that she is pregnant!

A lot ends up happening with this pregnancy. It is a huge piece of Legion history. So seeing it announced here was great. I love how demure Imra looks.

But again, that new, somewhat cruder Giffen style is present here.

The Legion Cruiser is patched up and the away team tracks the figures to Corvan IV.

As I have said since starting these reviews, the interaction and personality that Levitz give the characters is just astounding, especially given the size of this roster.

Here, I love that Phantom Girl and Shadow Lass basically say they are more than arm candy for two of the most powerful Legionnaires on the team. They are smart and strategic. It is time to show it.

The planetary defense system on Corvan kicks in and attacks the ship.

In a great page of vertical strips, Levitz and Giffen give each of the away Legionnaires a moment to shine, their own little action sequence, battling the defense squadron sent their way.

What a wonderful page showing how the espionage members, wielding subtle powers, can still bring it. And I love the vertical layout.

And in another nice moment, we see Phantom Girl talking to Invisible Kid about how defensive powers have their place on the team. They are just as important as brute strength. Phantom Girl is basically a lifer at this point. And despite everything that has happened during his tenure, Invisible Kid is still basically a rookie.

I love that she would be a mentor to him. It makes sense.

The two continue to investigate the energy signature and come across the Prophet, spreading his message of doom to the populace of a Coryan city.

It is a powerful telepathic message, flooding their minds with horrible images as well as classic symbology of suns and moons. And the words speak of a being coming who will judge this world and burn it. This is pretty wild stuff. I love it.

The Corvan citizens spot the Legionnaires and assume they are the threat and attack the team. Luckily, Ultra Boy and Mon-El arrive to grab everyone and head off. I didn't like their bailing the team out, especially given the prior moment where Tinya says she needs to be her own person.

But after spreading the word to Corvan IV, the prophet leaves. He goes to worlds to warn them of the incoming threat. With his message given, he heads to the next world on his list ... Khundia.

There were other nice moments in the book. We begin to see the Shvaughn and Jan romance. We get some more of the UP/Khundia negotiations, moderated by Gil Dish'pan mediators.

And for an opening chapter, this wasn't bad. Certainly you get a sense of the threat. But will the ending pay off?

If anything, this issue stands out to me as showing the slow evolution of Giffen's art.


  1. There's another nice touch during the vertical panel fight, when Timber Wolf briefly reverts to his "James Howlett" look.


  2. I really liked the character interaction. PG has always been one of my favorites. It's nice that her long tenure is recognized, especially as the founders take lesser roles. I agree that the colorist did a really nice job, but I'm not a big fan of Giffen's change in style. Too me it looks sloppy and rushed.

    But I have to agree - this story just didn't connect with many Legion fans. Me included.

    1. Not a fan of Giffen's later artwork?

      >fist bump<

    2. Ditto. The characters all looked alike.

    3. The change in Giffen's style was the beginning of the end for me, too. It just got sloppier and uglier from here on out.

  3. This was the "Iceberg" storyline that sunk a great run !

  4. I can't believe you have me reading this again... happily, I liked so many bits, it was worthwhile. The Phantom Girl/Invisible Kid wet chat was my favourite, and I didn't think the transitional art bad; certainly, the way Giffen had Tinya's outfit work with the environment was amazing.

    Shall I continue? It does mean I could read the reviews!