Friday, October 12, 2018

Retroboot Legion of Super-Heroes #12

Welcome again to the retro-review of the Retroboot Legion of Super-Heroes title.

Today I look at (and look back) at Legion of Super-Heroes #12, written by Paul Levitz with art by Yildiray Cinar. 

Looking back at my review, I find the grade of B/B+ a little inflated. There is nothing like an LSH/ LSV war to get the blood pumping, but this villainous team headed by Saturn Queen isn't exactly big enough to make me quiver. I also find this take on Saturn Queen, suddenly a murderous sadist, to be a bit off-putting. Yes, she is scary. But it seems so over the top that it takes me a little out of the story. And then, of course, when those murderous tendencies vanish when she is facing characters that 'matter', it is even more strange.

There are some high points. The battle against Lightning Lord, with Phantom Girl and Lightning Lass doing some serious lifting, is definitely worth the price of admission. And the Star Boy scene is a nice catalog of Legion reboots in a way.

But truly not much happened here. And after reading this it made me realize that the Durlan conspiracy story truly wrapped up too soon. On to the old review.

Last week was a big week for me when it came to comics and so I am still wrapping up my reviews. The second to last issue to review from last week is Legion of Super-Heroes #12, written by Paul Levitz and drawn by Yildray Cinar & Jonathan Glapion.

As I have said before, this comic is growing on me. I have always been a Legion nut and I am ready to be reading a very good Legion comic again. The beginning part of the Waid/Kitson reboot came close. But this current run, picking up on the continuity that I grew up on, is really hitting its stride with the current LSH vs LSV arc.

After a whirlwind of plot progression in the LSV one-shot and last issue, this issue takes a sort of baby step forward in the plot progression. We know that Saturn Queen's LSV is looking for the 'world of wisdom' to destroy. And at the end of the issue she is still looking for that world, or maybe she has found the world. Otherwise, this issue just further sets the stage for the upcoming battles.

And, as always, Levitz tries to juggle all the plot threads that he has set in motion. It is hard to do with a cast as large as this books. Unfortunately, that means some plots that I really want to see played out weren't mentioned here.

The issue starts with Lightning Lord and Atta trying to recruit new members for the Legion of Super-Villains,  staring with someone named Stegus. I do think it is somewhat strange to have Saturn Queen split her small team up so quickly. Wouldn't she want the muscle here available on Colu? I suppose she needs an army to fight off the LSH so that might be the impetus here.

I also have to say that I like how Colossal Boy is really treated as a power in the Legion. Unfortunately, Atta and Mekt are able to subdue him before battling with Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl.

One of the plot lines that is out there is the return of Star Boy to his right time. I absolutely loved this panel where the 'multiverse' energy is being drained out of Thom. We see the Silver Age Star Boy, the Legionnaires Star Boy and the Waid/Kitson Star Boy in visions above him while the machines do their healing. Dream Girl's irritation at Brainy's 'experimenting' on Star Boy is perfect.

With the machines on auto-pilot, Brainy decides he is more needed elsewhere, specifically on the now 'radio silent' Colu.  Unfortunately that means that Brainy doesn't question the enigmatic Harmonia Li and here recent revelation that she has caused all of these problems. That is the plot line I was hoping would be more explored here. I mean Brainy leaves without even asking her what she meant. Hopefully answers will be forthcoming soon.

I have to say that I am enjoying seeing this more sadistic Saturn Queen and her plots. With Questor not able to find the information about the World of Wisdom on his own, Saturn Queen rips the knowledge from this Coluan's mind, killing him in the process. Look at that look of glee on her face as she crushes his 'delicately wired' mind.

Of course, you need to be consistent in that sadism ... something which might be hard to do as we'll see soon.

Another of my favorite Legionnaires getting some screen time is Timber Wolf, who is hunting Sun Killer. Here we learn something about Sun Killer's origins. He is a solar power vampire. He needs sunlight to live. Cue the sequence where Shadow Lass defeats him ...

But another thing I liked here was the SciPo officer asking Timber Wolf if he is off-duty. I don't think Brin has had a love interest since Ayla way back in the 80s. It would be nice to see him finally moving on from that heartbreak.

The battle against Atta and Lightning Lord continues on Rimbor. This is just a great panel showing Phantom Girl take out Atta with a flying kick. The whole issue shows how powerful Phantom Girl can be by moving in and out of phantom mode quickly, even solidifying parts of her body while others remain ghostly. Phantom Girl has really been seen a lot in this book. I wonder if she is one of Levitz' favorites.

Perhaps my favorite moment in the book though is when Ayla shows up to fight Mekt. These two have such a long and painful history. Remember, Mekt tortured her the last time the LSV teamed up.

I really love Ayla ... just such a strong character, powerful, opinionated, decisive.

Unfortunately it's a non-fight as Zymyr teleports the villains away. Too bad. I hope we see that fight eventually happen.

And another plot line we see is Mon-El working with Dyogene as he tries to aid in the investigation. He ends up heading to Oa where I am sure he'll meet up with Sodam Yat.

I do like that Mon-El equates the Legion with Dyogene's long lost Green Lantern Corps. After all these years, I don't think anyone should underestimate the Legion.

Maybe Yat will be able to shed some light about the 'blue entity' that is behind Saturn Queen's plans.

Here is where I think Saturn Queen's current persona is troubling. Brainy shows up with Earth Man to stop her from leaving. Incredibly, she easily overpowers both Querl and Earth Man, telepathically freezing them in their tracks. They are helpless ... but she simply leaves them saying she doesn't have the time to do more. And yes, I see Tellus being teleported in. But after all we have seen of this Saturn Queen, wouldn't she do more to them ... if not kill them than injure them more? This is a woman who rubbed the blood of the slain on her lips while playfully picking of fingers from her clothes. Wouldn't she tell them to kill themselves, a move we have seen her do already? Of course, that means we would have a couple of dead Legionnaires. Maybe I am looking for too much realism here. Instead, she takes off with the information about the World of Wisdom.

She is a big threat though, eliminating one of the Legion's most powerful minds while taking out Earth Man, who mimicked her powers.

So overall a very good issue, filling out the overall arc while not moving too forward. I think splitting up Saturn Queen and Lightning Lord here only is further proof that they will clash somewhere down the line. And I think this is a very good story with mysteries, action, and lots of characterization. Too bad the Harmonia Li one was left temporarily hanging. And I was hoping to see more of Dawnstar's quest.

Still, this is a Legion comic I am enjoying right now. I really can't ask for more.

Overall grade: B+/B

When thinking of my grade on this reread, I kept settling on a C. This wasn't terrible. It had its moments. The art is very nice. But some of the plot points are a bit too off for me. Perhaps the thing that bugged me the most is how the Saturn Queen who has been gleefully killing anyone she can get her hands on doesn't kill the two Legionnaires she has in her clutches.

Will Levitz be able to pull this arc out of this downward trajectory?


  1. I have fallen so far behind on your reviews. Must get caught up.

  2. Jeez, eight years later I *finally* got the "Dyogene" pun. And I was a classical studies minor!

  3. Ok, all caught up. I've always thought Tinya was a Levitz favorite. She always seemed to factor heavily in his stories even if she was just there. It seems like she's been in nearly every issue of volume 6 which is more than be said for some of the other Legionnaires.

    Gim's line while he is laying on the ground is pretty funny. It reminds me there isn't much humor in this book or in Levitz's writing. That's a shame.

    Back to the writing. Why didn't Jo, Tinya and Gim show up at the same time. Kinda stupid to put a big target right in front of Mekt. That's one of my biggest complaints under Levitz, his fight scenes can be pretty bad. The Legionnaires act like individuals and show very little tactical experience. I mean, why wasn't Ayla there when they first encountered Mekt? It feels like Levitz is really stretching it out to fill space. Also kinda confused why Tellus wasn't on the Brainy team because I thought in the previous issue, it was stated that Tellus was at the ready to take on Saturn Queen? I think I would have much preferred a first round between them in this battle with Tellus commenting how much more powerful she is. Nevertheless. This who LSV story is stretching out way too long and does not even compare to the 5 part story that started the Baxter series. This issue gets a D from me.