Friday, December 22, 2017

New 52 Legion of Super-Heroes #13

Legion of Super-Heroes #13 could be the sort of tipping point in my reviews of this title. 

During this reread I have been a bit more forgiving of the book. That might be that I have given it more of a chance. Or it could be that I am hungry for a Legion book again. 

But this issue felt like something of a tipping point. And it is funny how quickly my feelings changed. Because it seems like some of the things that irked me with this issue are things I have pointed out before. Could it be that I have lost my patience?

I also have to point out that Scott Kolins is on art. I like Kolins art, especially on Flash and JLA 3000. But for the shiny future of the Legion? It doesn't work for me. And it is very different feel to the Francis Portela art we have seen here. Could the art change be it?

There are good points, of course. I like Mon-El acting like a leader. And I like the Dreamy/Duplicate Lass scene. But the rest ...

Legion of Super-Heroes #13 came out last week and took a few baby steps forward in the Fatal Five storyline which has been percolating for a bit. After a quick closure to the Dominator arc and a decent if disconnected zero issue, I was hoping that the main title would come out guns blazing.

Sure there is some action and some reverberations from the last arc but this mostly felt like a table setter for writer Paul Levitz, an issue to put the characters where he wants them to be when the main story unfolds.

It also is another issue with Scott Kolins on pencils and his rough pencils don't necessarily work with the sort of shiny future I am used to seeing in the Legion. He certainly doesn't have the glossy look of prior artist Francis Portela. It seems as if Portela is off the book and he'll be missed.

I also think there was a bit of melancholia happening given the announced demise of Legion Lost.

The bulk of the book revolves around a mission where Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, and Chemical King are trying to stop pirates who are pillaging an asteroid mine. There has been a spate of mine raids recently and the Legion have been called in to help out. The pirates, while stopped from getting away with any ore, are able to escape when the team needs to basically rescue Chemical King from being crushed by falling debris. While doing that, Element Lad actually gets wounded.

The 'Chemical King is unprepared' plot has been going on for a while. And while the swagger he showed way back in the Adventure Comics run has dimmed, he is still more a liability than anything else. His actions make me think he should still be in the academy studying basic survival and mastering his abilities. Poor Lamprey! She got rejected over this guy.

Perhaps most surprising is that the veteran Legionnaires would still let him head into combat. They have seen their friends die. Do they want one more body?

In the Legion Headquarters, Brainy is trying to figure out just why Comet Queen would betray them. At least he realizes that this medical evaluation will most likely come up empty. That is especially true given empath Otaki felt it was a compulsion. I guess all the folks who guessed it was a Saturn Queen suggestion were right. Give yourself a high five.

I do think it is sweet that Bouncing Boy has some extra feelings for Comet Queen.

My favorite moment in the book was a tense moment between Dream Girl and Duplicate Damsel. Luornu is steamed that Brainy is caring for Comet Queen rather than punishing/imprisoning her. As noted in the past, Duplicate Damsel has been a bit more rough around the edges these last couple of years, jumping into battle and acting somewhat hardened.

Here Dreamy calls her on this gruffness. I love that she points out that Luornu's feelings towards Brainy are 'complicated'. Brainy created Computo which killed one of her original three selves. Of course she'll hold a grudge. I don't know of any longstanding feud with Dreamy (even if Dreamy hints at one).

I kind of like the 'tough' Luornu.

Back on the trail of the pirates, Rokk chastises Chemical King for skipping classes and not being prepared. He doesn't even seem to have some regular utility reactions at the ready.

So I am going to say, the way this is going, one of two things is going to happen. One, Chemical King dies. I doubt it as he is so new. Two, he can't save a colleague who dies and either unravels or becomes militant. We'll see.

With the Tharok chip stolen, Mon-El worries that the Fatal Five is being reformed. He sends a team of Glorith, Chameleon Boy, and Ultra Boy to try to track it down.

Glorith is being held up as the model new Legionnaire in terms of preparation. Her reluctance or lack of confidence does remind me of the old White Witch. 

He also sends out a team of Sun Boy, Polar Boy, Phantom Girl, and Invisible Kid out to make sure that the Persuader's atomic axe is still locked up in an illegal weapon cache.

You would think that the UP would melt down the axe rather than store it somewhere. Seems like a recipe for disaster.

I do like this cloaked, chain mail look for the Persuader. It's new to me.

And I like that Mon-El is actually acting like a leader here, being proactive and sending out specific teams for specific tasks.

The primary team is able to track down the pirates and try to stop them from escaping again.

As much as I am a bit tired of the Chemical King character, I do like that Element Lad has sort of taken him under his wing. Together they could be unstoppable, Element Lad providing the fuel for Chemical King's revved up reactions. Here together, they simply dismantle the pirates' ship.

But despite this, the pirates are able to again escape after Cosmic Boy is badly wounded in a battle with three other Braalians. I am surprised that this fight was so lopsided. We have seen Cosmic Boy battle other Braalians in the past and wipe the floor with them, either by his own power or from battle experience.

So a couple of nice moments, some more Chemical King ineptitude, and a sort of prologue feeling to the Fatal Five arc. It's a good thing that the Duplicate Damsel scene was so powerful or I might not have anything very positive to say about this issue.

Overall grade: C

Seems like Anj from 2012 was on the money. C is the right spot. And my same thoughts reading it this time are all here in this review.


  1. Maybe a C- minus.

    I don't mind the occasional set-up issue. This one was one that was setting things up. I thought the story was okay. Not great, but no serious flaws.

    My issue was with the art. I can deal with a different artist (though I prefer Portella to this Kolins). I don't mind the "shiny future" for the Legion. I was one that despised the 5YL stuff. But I really like the art to be consistent within the issue. Even the panel you showed with Nura & Luornu illustrates the problem. One character has detail, the other looks like an unfinished sketch. Meh.

  2. Hello Anj. You hit a lot of my pain points on the writing here. I find though that after Saturn Queen's mindwipe of CQ and having her memories restored on Titan, that any hypnotic suggestion would not have maintained intact.

    I agree with the take on Lu here. I assumed from Dream Girl's conversation that there may have been some romantic feelings that Lu had for Brainy. Maybe I read it wrong.

    As for Chemical Kid, it's amazing how almost all of the Academy grads are failures. Going forward, someone really needs to revisit the idea of the Academy. What do they actually learn there? I thought any of the active Legionnaires may be called on to supplement training. Why wasn't Jan involved in Hadru's training early on?