Friday, January 18, 2019

Final Crisis Legion of Three Worlds #2: Part One

Last week I began my review of Final Crisis Legion of 3 Worlds, a book I fear would break me. The first issue almost did. A dizzying array of inset panels, bulk text, uncertain continuity, and story bloat made it nearly impossible to cover in one review.

And then, like a wish from the Miracle Machine, an answer was provided to me by fellow Legion Blogger Siskoid. Why not take two posts to review one issue of this book? God knows, there is enough story stuffed into these pages to warrant at least that much.

So welcome to Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds # 2 review, part one. I'll finish this issue next Friday.

One of the interesting things for me to do, as I decipher this book, is to try and come to grips with the continuity speed bumps. I didn't read any of the Reboot Legion, the Abnett stuff. I had intimate knowledge of the Threeboot book, still fresh.

But it is the classic Legion, the one brought back by writer Geoff Johns that I struggle with the most. The assumption is that 5YL never happened. The Legion timeline progressed differently from the end of the Baxter Run and the Magic Wars.

Clearly 'stuff' happened between the end of the Magic Wars and the Action Comics storyline which just preceded this. So we are sort of dropped into a fresh, unknown, yet oddly classic timeline. Please get me some ibuprofen!

Johns again puts about three books worth of material into this issue. And that despite having not one but two double page splashes! Poor George Perez. If you thought Crisis On Infinite Earths was a great example of page layouts and panel variation, you ain't seen nothing yet. No surprise, Perez shines here. But I wonder how much wonderful art was covered by the massive dialogue balloons needed to convey the story?

I usually wail against decompression. But this is overstuffing. This would have been a great 9 part mini-series. I wonder if the time alloted was dictated by the main Final Crisis book. And yet, if I recall, the book was delayed badly meaning more actual time and issues could have been devoted here.

Ah well .. what might have been. Onto the half-review!

 We start on Sorceror's World where it seems Mysa, the White Witch is imprisoned by Mordru.

Poor Mysa. She can't catch a break. We saw her used and abused by Mordru in the 5YL run. So to see here again in his possession, chained and beaten is just disheartening. I don't think this was even hinted at in the Baxter run. So this is a new plot point.

Despite her haze and somewhat powerless state, she begins to see visions. We see the 'other two' Legions. And we see Superboy Prime forming his LSV. But she even gets a glimpse of the true power behind the plot. That is definitely the Time Trapper's hand.

Perez does a good job of evoking the sort of gaunt appearance that Gary Frank gave the Legion in his Action Comics story. And Mysa here definitely looks worse for wear. But this whole page of swirling visions with the silhouette of the White Witch just works.

 I wonder just how long Mysa has been held there. My guess is with the Earth Man rule broken and the Legion back again, the team feels more empowered to act.

And so Blok, Wildfire, Dawnstar, and Green Lantern Rond Vidar lead a raid to free their fellow Legionnaire.

There are nice character beats here, catching up all the readers of the newer incarnations of important plot lines for these characters. I love how White Witch calls Blok 'my rock', something stable in her life. And I also love how Wildfire says he'd lose his mind if someone chained up Dawnstar.

Now new readers know that these four have relationships beyond mere teammates.

 But then a little weird conversation.

I always think of Dawnstar as a true tracker. She can see paths and directions to locations, persons, or things.

But here she seems to be talking about a timeline or a metaphysical direction to getting a Legion rebuilt. That isn't a physical direction.

I know that Dawny has been one of the more spiritual Legionnaires in the past. Do people think she actually sees some sort of destiny direction? Or just that reuniting lost Legionnaires like Mysa is an approach to rebuilding UP trust?

I read it more as the former, which would be a very new ability for her.

 There has always seemed to be a creepy vibe between Mordru and his obsession with Mysa. It definitely was cringe-y in 5YL where she let him use her body in hopes of placating him.

He isn't going to let his prize be plucked away. He arrives and brings his power to bear against the team, raising the dead to fight for him (including such names as Glorith and Dragonmage), and firing bolts of destruction.

But listen to his dialogue! Eating the organs of the Legionnaires while making love to Mysa in a pool of their blood. Ew! This isn't the infantile Mordru, purged of his evil and chuckling on Sorceror's World as seen in the Baxter series.

 The timing of this whole thing is disastrous though.
Wildfire, Blok, Dawny, and a Green Lantern might be able to hold off Mordru ... maybe. But when Superboy Prime arrives with ... hmmm ... every super-villain in hopes of recruiting Mordru, this tiny Legion team is outgunned.

Look at this spread. Remove Prime and I'd buy it as a LSV poster. And this is maybe 75% of the splash, the most my scanner could capture.

Amazing. Perez just shines in group shots like this.

 In case you were lucky enough to not know who Superboy Prime was, Vidar's ring gives us a truncated 'greatest hits' history.

I'll say it again. I can't stand this character. I had thankfully forgotten so much of the awful stuff he had done.

But Mordru is Mordru. He isn't the joining type. Mordru isn't a team member. He runs the show. And he especially isn't going to follow the orders of any Superboy.

 But what about the main Legion?

Well back on Earth things are still unsettled. Earth Man might be gone but xenophobia is still thick in the air. And the Legion aren't suddenly being embraced by the masses.

That said, the threat of Superboy Prime and his Legion of Super-Villains is real. So how could Superman think that reforming Prime is a possibility.

And so we get another continuity speed bump.

The Lightning Lad from the Baxter series at this point was retired and a house father. He was a rather sedate and calm man. The Johns version is much more classic, a hothead with a quick temper. Hmmm ...

How interesting to hear the Legion debate tossing their code against killing away and just outright murdering Prime. Garth is all for it, dropping F bombs like pez. And Violet seems to agree. Meanwhile others think that is awful.

It is up to Rokk, as the foundation of the team and all it embodies, to step up and say that will never happen, not even as a theoretical conversation. It reminds me so much of that powerful moment in the 5YL #12 when Jan says that killing a villain will change everything, my favorite moment of that book.

 Back on Sorceror's World, Rond's ring is scared and thinks this squad should retreat. A freed Mysa thinks she has absorbed enough ambient magic energy to open a portal to Earth.

Encased in a bubble of green energy, Rond pushes his colleagues through, allowing the portal to close behind him. The LSV won't be able to follow. But now he is alone against the masses. And that bubble probably can't stand up for much longer.

If you know Geoff Johns and you know Superboy Prime, you can probably guess where this is going.

And on Earth, the idea of a unified Legion team fighting this scourge and his army seems unlikely. Even the founders are squabbling.

When Garth says that Rokk's leadership has led the team to ruin, Rokk decides enough is enough.

I have to say this bit of characterization was pretty incredible. Rokk says that he has shouldered all the pain and weight of the Legion in hopes that Imra and Garth could lead a semi-normal life.


Now that is a confession. And an awkward one given that Night Girl is right there.

But somehow, that made a lot of sense.

Whew ...

That's a lot of story and we are only halfway through the issue.

I suppose I'll give a grade when the issue review is complete but what do you guys think so far.


  1. "Now new readers know that these four have relationships beyond mere teammates."

    Say what you will about Johns, he is good at writing continuity-heavy yet accesible stuff. I barely knew something about the Legion when I first read this series but I was able to follow the story easily.

    "There has always seemed to be a creepy vibe between Mordru and his obsession with Mysa. It definitely was cringe-y in 5YL where she let him use her body in hopes of placating him."

    I first found out about Mordru's existence as reading a fanfic. In that story, he lusted after a revived Satan Girl -shudder- so it's interesting to find out his comic self was a creep, too.

    "In case you were lucky enough to not know who Superboy Prime was"

    Vain hope. Back then I didn't read any DC comics and I STILL knew who Superboy-Prime was. Sadly, Mr. "I'll kill you dead!" and his Reality Punches are too memeable.

    "The Johns version is much more classic, a hothead with a quick temper. Hmmm ..."

    Hmm... I think it's possible Garth gained a shorter fuse after the Crisis. Think about it: Earth has become a xenophobic cesspool, the Legion has been split and faces threats everywhere, he can hardly spend time with his twin sister -which to a Winathian is a big deal-, his wife and his sisters are being hunted down by murdering loons... I think I'd be running out of patience and manners in that situation.

    "If you know Geoff Johns and you know Superboy Prime, you can probably guess where this is going."

    SuperCosmicTantrumBoy throwing a fit and murdering someone?

    "I have to say this bit of characterization was pretty incredible."

    Yes, and I also noticed Night Girl staring sadly at the background as Rokk stated he has renounced his own happiness so his two friends don't have to.

    A good issue so far. And George Perez is incredible.

  2. While I've headcanoned that Garth's anger and Imra's passiveness were brought on by the stress they've endured because of Earth-Man, it still really bothers me seeing him scream at her like that and she just takes it. Like, Johns tried to portray her as being patient but he pretty much ripped out her spine and had to amp up (no pun intended) Garth's temper to emphasize her "Patience."

    My friend Alec described Johns' take on the founders by asking if they really were supposed to be lifelong friends when all they do is argue with each other and then apologize, but with nothing else in their interactions.

    And Lydda deserves better than her and her relationship with Rokk being treated as THINGS Rokk had to give up to be leader. Johns makes her an official Legionnaire but he still objectifies her.

  3. I think I need to locate and re-read these.

  4. The only good things that came out of this were Gates & XS (horrible name) joining the main DCU Legion (although the revelation that the most recent book was Earth 2's Legion might mean this isn't quite true).

    Superbrat Prime got way too much paper for a character of his ridiculousness. And many characterizations were way off. Salu was far too meek. Garth was far too hotheaded. Imra's pants weren't as iron as they should have been.

    And as heartbreaking as it is for Night Girl, Rokk has always been a workaholic when it comes to the team. It was nice to see it spelled out. Someday they will have their happy ending.