Friday, August 10, 2018

Retroboot Legion of Super-Heroes #3

Legion of Super-Heroes #3 continued the trend of my liking the issues more on this reread than when I read them initially. I am a bit flummoxed. I know that this eventually dovetails into the New 52 series which I recently reviewed and semi-trashed. Maybe at some point it turns a corner.

Writer Paul Levitz with artists Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela give us a standard wonderful Legion issue with three plots. Levitz was known for keeping a couple of subplots brewing in the background, completing one thread, promoting another, and adding something new. By doing this, Levitz was able to keep the large cast engaged and keep readers interested.

Here the main plot involves Earth Man. I haven't been a fan of this character and didn't/don't like him being in such a prominent role here. But you can see that Levitz is working towards a redemption arc here. We already see him being taught lessons by the Legion and his GL ring.

The subplots are what grabbed me more here. Saturn Queen is really elevated to a major big bad, sadistic and insane. The Ranzz family is on the move to track down their lost sons and run into a new god. And Harmonia Li seems to have a history. Give me more of this!

The art by Cinar is solid in a sort of old school iconic look. But Portela continues to glitter in the Saturn Queen pages. I love Portela's shiny, slick style.

On to the book.

Earth Man has been forced onto the Legion team as a way to redeem his character as well as keep his followers happy. But neither he nor the team are happy. Here, he basically tries to escape before being stopped by Colossal Boy. But Earth Man is trying to escape because the GL ring is yelling at him to save a planet within Sector 2184.

With no other choice, Earth Man reveals his GL ring to Gim who is appropriately shocked to see it. After all, how could the ring pick a hate-filled, xenophobic boor like Earth Man to be worthy.

I agree. I do hope we get more of this soon.

Meanwhile, Saturn Queen plays with her telepathically enslaved Legionnaire prisoners, Tyroc and Brainiac 5. I love how Brainiac is able to continue to fight her off in his mind. She ends up knocking him out before he can shrug her off. (I don't like that Brainy calls her a b*tch in his head. That seems unlike him.)

Tyroc is a bit less strong-willed. She tries to convince him to toss himself into a fire.

The art here works with us seeing how much of a lunatic Queen is in closeup. Even the panel layout shows she is pretty unhinged. She even says how she was getting ready to ingratiate herself back into Titan's culture after being rejected for her passions. Alas, Titan is no more.

Meanwhile, Garth and Ayla catch up to Imra who has passed out trying to track her boys. Before they blipped away, she was able to see the star system they were in and broadcast that image to Garth.

Now I don't ever remember hearing how Lightning Lad was a superb pilot and astronomer before. But he is able tell where the boys are simply by the snippet of a star map he saw.

Does anyone recall this about Garth?

I am always happy to see Ayla and I like this outfit of hers.

Meanwhile on a swamp world, the ring tells Earth Man that he needs to save the local sentients. He tries plugging up a massive crevice which has opened on the planet's surface but it isn't enough. The ring wants more.

Without knowing what to do, Earth Man stumbles into the tentacles of local fauna. When he tries to kill it with the ring, the Lantern weapon ceases to function.

Already we see that Earth Man has had to learn to not only save beings different from him but also to not kill those different. He is bring taught civility and respect.

Harmonia Li was still a new character here. You could tell in the first two issues that enough time was being spent on her to solidify her place in the title. But I thought she would be ancillary like Gigi Cusimano.

When you get telepaths hinting at old history and terrible losses, I started to wonder if she would somehow make the leap to main player. We know how that turned out!

I always felt like I should like Harmonia more than I did.

In space, a Legion team arrives before Tyroc kills himself. When the Queen tries to take over this rescue party, she finds she can't. Tellus is there to block her attempts and there are too many targets. Even sending Brainy and Tyroc out to defend her proves pointless next to the rest of the team.

I do like how the fight begins with Phantom Girl showing up to chastise the Queen and then fade as the big guns fly in.

With a nudge from Sensor Girl's power (don't ask me what she does exactly), Brainy and Tyroc are freed to turn on their captor with dramatic effect.

I like this new vile take on Saturn Queen, someone who seems to live off of the adrenaline of passion. What I don't like is the new Sensor Girl costume complete with boob window and visible eyes. And I still don't 100% understand her powers.

Love the Portela art here. Not shown is a panel of Sensor Girl lashing out with her powers to rescue her friends.

With Queen in tow, we cut to Earth where we see a group of Durlans who seem to be worshiping RJ Brande and who are out for revenge. We saw this new belief system briefly last issue. This is a good D plot. I have no idea what it all means.

And remember when I thought Earth Man might be learning some lessons. It goes further as he is spurred on by the ring to change to atmospheric contents on the planet to save the insect population.

Disgusted he had to save anyone different than him, especially something as low as a bug, he removes the GL ring and chucks it into the swamp. He would rather not have that power if it meant saving beings other than his own.

You can't get rid of a ring that easily methinks.

As for the Ranzz family? The map takes them to the idyllic planet Avalon. Unfortunately, it seems to have been turned into a mini-Apokolips. Given Darkseid's connection to Validus and the Ranzz family, this is a surprising and satisfying cliffhanger. I had absolutely no recollection of this so it came as a true surprise!

So all in all a decent issue with a classic format. I love the Saturn Queen bits right now. Something about her and her insane way, especially as a foil to Imra, makes it extra special. And the art holds up.

Overall grade: B+


  1. IIRC, Garth had been establish as an excellent pilot many years ago. I think that he and Sun Boy were the Legions best pilots, but there wasn't much focus on Garth to reflect this since he retired the second time and became more of a supporting character watching the kid(s).

    I never warmed up to Harmonia either. Not that she was a bad character, she just didn't excite me. And if she was an immortal and centuries old, why was she brought in as a legionnaire? What happened to the "under 18" clause.

    Earthman - Ugh! I would have rather had a story about the recovery of Color Kid that have an arc on this moron. And the point that EarthGov can force the Legion to have him on the team sounds like a good reason to move the Legion to another planet.

    1. There is a history of the Legion waiving that rule in the past -- see LSH (v.3) #14, when Polar Boy joined -- so presumably they gave Harmonia Li the same consideration.

  2. Anyone who's read Levitz knows he loves some infighting, and Earth-Man adds just that. This issue was alright though. I really wonder what possessed Levitz to use Tyroc though since he previously could not stand him. I do feel it's weird how he is picking his characters though. He uses plenty of Phantom Girl and we haven't seen a single panel of Yera, Quislet or Vi.