Friday, November 30, 2018

Retroboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #16

The Retroboot Legion rushes to its finish line with Legion of Super-Heroes #16. The Legion of Super-Villains/Blue Entity story-line needed to end so the jumping on of the New 52 Legion of Super-Heroes #1 could happen. 

I didn't like this issue back then and I have the same complaints now. This whole arc has felt disjointed. And this 'hurry up and end it' vibe killed any redemption. Things are said. Things happen. Things end. But not in a satisfactory way. 

I would love to ask Paul Levitz his opinion of this run (and the New 52 run) because it seemed to limp along without cashing in on the fire of this Legion's reappearance in the Geoff Johns' Superman book. 

So this series is over. And I have to say, looking back at the arcs/runs I have covered on this site, it is certainly a mixed bag. There are some highs. And there are lows like this. Perhaps there is a blog post in that.

On to the review.

It was bound to happen. With the DCU ending, and stories forced to wrap up in August, there was bound to be a clunker as creative teams rushed to finish things up.

Unfortunately, that clunker was the conclusion of the LSH vs. LSV arc in Legion of Super-Heroes #16. This story has been something of a slow burn, with slight progression each issue but few revelations. And, as feared, the story gets wrapped up in these 20 pages in a very rushed fashion. I was pretty underwhelmed by this issue. Not much seemed to work.

The Legion is relatively untouched by the new timeline of the DCnU so things will pick up right where this story left off. But I guess the whole 'jumping on' point of a number one issue forced writer Paul Levitz to finish things up.

Art is done by Daniel HDR and he has a smooth understated style that is works nicely. Here is hoping that DC finds some place for him to land.

The book opens with LSH battling the LSV on the World of Wisdom.

Earth Man has arrived and entered the fray, going right to the heart of the matter, challenging Saturn Queen and the Blue Entity.

So here is the first sort of misstep in the issue. We get a page of Sodam Yat on Oa. He can sense the battle that is happening and realizes he needs to lend his strength to Earth Man and 'fulfill his destiny'.

But you don't see Yat again in the issue. He neither shows up at the fight nor is shown lending his strength. Was the plan for him to have a bigger role?

One of the mysteries of this arc for me has been 'what is Dyogene?' Is it a living being? He looks like a chyrsalis. Is it a construct?

While we never quite learn what Dyogene is, I did find this line by the Blue Entity interesting. Is Dyogene truly Oan soil granted some form of life? Is it the ideals of the Guardians ... so concentrated that it gained some sentience? More on this a bit later. But it is hard to know if the soil comment is simply hyperbole.

And here is something else I thought was a misstep. One of the bigger mysteries of this arc is 'what is the Blue Entity?' Everything eventually seemed to point to it being the resurrection of Krona. But I wonder if that had to be scuttled when Krona became the big bad in the War of the Green Lanterns.

The Entity is not Krona. It is the 'evil loosed by Krona's crime'. So what exactly is this? The personification of evil? Of chaos? Is it the coalescence of the Guardians' hubris?

The problem is I don't know what he is. Or how he got freed. And that doesn't work for me.

Some of the Legion flocks to Earth Man to lend him their power. This bolstering of his psyche thwarts Saturn Queen's attempts to control his mind.

I have never been a big fan of the Earth Man character but this was a good moment for him as he tries to absorb the power of the Blue Entity and turn it back.

And then Mon-El shows up. Earth Man knows he is the best person to battle the Blue Entity and asks Mon-El to use his ring to connect Earth Man to all the Legion fighting on the World of Wisdom. As a result Earth Man becomes a one man Legion, juiced to the max.

Is this what Sodam Yat was supposed to do?

And then, and don't ask me how, Earth Man defeats the Blue Entity by exploding? Firing all the energies of the Legion? Kneeling?

There is really no explanation. And it happens on one page. I had to go back to make sure I hadn't skipped any pages that explained things.

So I think I just needed more to work with here. I don't even really know what the entity was let alone how he is defeated. And how did Earth Man know what to do?

Anyways, the maneuver somehow kills Earth Man. I guessed this a while back. It is an easy out, not ticking off old time Legion fans, while removing a connection to the old DCU.

And then there is nothing left to do but wrap things up.

Brainy punches out Saturn Queen.

Mon-El gives Dyogene back the Green Lantern ring he accepted earlier this year. So that seemed quick, without much explanation by Mon-El about that.

Shadow Lass scoops up Earth Man to mourn his passing.

The one interesting part of this was Dyogene hoping a new Mogo will evolve. If Dyogene is truly Oan soil, might he be a 'planet seed' from which a new Mogo might grow?

And Harmonia Li jokes about joining the Legion.

We never really learned who or what she is. So she was on the World of Wisdom at one point but left it. But she kept hinting about how she might be responsible for the Blue Entity. I never learned enough about her to care or to explain her role.

And she closes out the book with some pretty heavy prose about faith, wisdom, and will and how they will always help good defeat evil.

I am a Legion fan. I will check out the Legion titles in the DCnU. But I just think that this arc, this run of the Legion ended with a whimper and not a bang. I still have a lot of questions about pretty much everything. And that doesn't feel right.

Overall grade: C-

C- is just about right.  

So Earthman for some reason dies? And the Blue Entity for some reason dies too. And we see Sodom Yat but don't see him. And what is Dyogene?  

I don't know. And, unfortunately, I don't care.

Is the Legion too toxic a property now? Weighed down by its own continuity and fanbase? Will we be getting a new team?

Or is it like Harry Lime said in 'The Third Man', the dead are better off dead.

I want an A+ Legion book. I wonder when we'll see it.


  1. I agree, such a disappointing end to all of the stutter-step build-up.

    Harmonia Li: a mystery that I didn't care about, and whose reveal as a long-lived (but never heard of before this series) person of power irritated me.

    Earth Man: his reversal to redemptive hero was rushed, and didn't feel as organic as it could have under the earlier version of Levitz (1980s).

    Oh well. Thanks for the 'revisitcaps', I enjoyed them.

  2. I agree with absolutely everything, but a C- is too kind. I mean, we didn't even get an explanation about the World of Wisdom and all these other supposedly important worlds. There were no stakes for the reader. And I'm going to say killing Earth Man was a mistake. The redemption could have been better handled obviously, but volume 7 could have been him truly embracing his role as a hero. It should have been written as a bait-and-switch, where we think Earth Man does join the villains but he does so in order to use the powers of The Blue Flame against him.

    Other things in retrospect: Dream Girl should have been a Green Lantern, not Mon-El. Her powers are often problematic to stories so I feel it would have been some good development for her. With both her and Sensor Girl gone, it allows Dawnstar to be the only one with ESP-type powers which she displayed again in this issue when she scans the satellite.

    Also, the leaving of two female members means Nightwing and Lamprey could have earned places in the Legion. Possibly Jed too.

    Mon-El should have been the one to die. He could have told Kirt to take care of Shady. His sacrifice could have inspired Kirt to be better.

    Everything wrapped up to put things to a status quo. Maybe that was part of the plan, given the plans to do a new Legion Lost series? I'd like to think if Levitz would have taken a few more risks in vol 6, we would not have had to suffer through vol 7 and LL vol 2.