Monday, September 23, 2019

Superman #15

Superman #15 (November 2019)
title: "The Unity Saga: The House of El: The Conclusion: Part Two"
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
penciller: Ivan Reis
inker: Joe Prado & Oclair Albert
colorist: Alex Sinclair
letterer: Dave Sharpe
associate editor: Jessica Chen
editor: Mike Cotton
group editor: Brian Cunningham
covers: Ivan Reis/Joe Prado and Alex Sinclair (main); Adam Hughes (variant)

reviewers: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage, Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane, and Jude "Sarcasm Kid" Deluca

Mission Monitor Board: 
Twenty-eight members (not counting the triplets individually) appear in this issue, but the only ones specifically called out are Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5. Identified via earlier appearances in Legion: Millennium #1 are Lightning Lad, Princess Projectra, and Shrinking Violet. Based on the character designs shown, the following 18 members can be reasonably assumed to be this iteration's versions of Blok, Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Element Lad, Karate Kid, Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El, Shadow Lass, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, Triplicate Girl, Ultra Boy, and Wildfire. (see below for details). That leaves six characters unidentified.

Opponents:
Galactic animosity, time-travel glitches, stupid corporate decisions


On Thanagar, Superman and representatives of each warring planet are still standing around about to declare Peace when the Legion of Super-Heroes arrives to help them celebrate "Unity Day." 
It becomes painfully obvious to everyone almost immediately that the Legion has appeared a few minutes early; Brainiac 5 then re-calculates and realizes that they are four minutes premature. 
Still, Superman and his son, Superboy, succeed in rallying the planets to vote unanimously to create the United Planets, and the Legion assures the planets' representatives that their efforts at unity starting today will continue well into the 31st Century.  
The Legion asks Superboy to join them, because he was their inspiration. Superboy isn't sure if he wants to visit the future to join the Legion, though, giving a firm "maybe" to their offer. They understand that their appearance might have been a bit overwhelming, so return to the future without him. 

There are some bits with Adam Strange, General Zod, and Jor-El but they have nothing to do with the Legion, and frankly, they were confusing.    

Random Thoughts From Bilingual Boy: 
I don't dislike this. As I mentioned in our review of this new Legion's first appearances, I'm not a fan of how the Legion are kind of "shoe-horned" into this Grand Cosmic Epic Storyline where I have no clue as to what is happening. For example, why is Superman so glad to see Adam Strange? A quick note as to his emotional state here would have been nice, editors! Oh, wait, Bendis is writing for the TPB audience. Never mind. :-( Yet, if the idea is to get people like me who are NOT reading Superman to pick these up and, oh, I don't know, keep reading, wouldn't it behoove DC to make the story a bit more clear? Guess not. And guess what? I'm not going to buy Superman #16. So there.

Anyway, the pages where the Legion appears (which happen to be all of the pages reprinted above; you're welcome) are clear enough, even if they are not really the stars. They basically walk in on a ceremony already in progress, stand there, say WOW, and then walk out. Not *really* a great introduction, in my opinion. For example, I don't know if I like the idea that Brainiac 5 can NOT accurately set a time travel device. Assuming he got into the Legion because he's super-smart....but his calculations were OFF? Again, not a great first impression.

And as an aside....how ARE they time travelling? Is it a boom tube? I certainly didn't see any time bubble.

On the other hand, the art is nice, of course, and some of the posturing and facial expressions are fun. Of course, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado are awesome, and I wish they were going over to Legion book, too.

I'm going to keep quiet on the new Legionnaires (their identities, their uniforms, their "looks") for now, other than to say that I do NOT mind the re-imagining of characters as different races. The Legion was always made up of "people" from more than a dozen planets, so if, for example, that "fire man" directly in front of the carbon being turn out to be the new Sun Boy and the new Blok, I'm okay with it. Who is to say that Braalians don't resemble Asians? Come on!

On the other hand, I'm a little bit more perturbed by meaningless alterations and "tweeks" to classic uniforms or character designs. For example, Ultra Boy's color-reversal (red & green) on his uniform or Bouncing Boy's switch to brown hair. Why change these things? And while we're on the subject of appearances, I am not and never have been a fan of the "zip lines" I call them that appear on what would otherwise be solid color uniforms. Think of the current Flash as the worst example, but here we see Saturn Girl and Mon-El and Brainiac 5 and dare I say it almost all of the characters with lines on their uniforms for the sake of lines. It's most clearly viewable in the group shots on the Unity Day page or the last two pages before the Legion leaves. I just don't get what is wrong with solid colors.

To sum up: I am excited to have a new Legion book. However, I was going to buy the book anyway, regardless of how DC handled their "cameo" appearances here. I just wish DC had handled their return with more gusto and....well, better. They aren't even ON the variant cover for this issue! I walked right by it when I first saw it, and I was LOOKING FOR IT. How's THAT for trying to grab new readers!?! Sheesh.

Random Thoughts from Nostalgic Kid:
I am also disappointed over how small a role the Legion played in this issue. Yes, this is Superman's book and the end of a big storyline involving the character, so in that sense it is understandable. But yeah, I wish the Legion's reintroduction had been bigger than this. I had higher hopes after they showed up last issue and I am afraid many others may have as well. Hopefully, Superman readers who have no history with the team will still find them intriguing enough to follow them into their own book, but I am fearful that this may not be enough to grab them.

On a more positive note, I am really digging the new look of most of the Legionnaires. I have seen a lot of backlash from long time Legion fans, which is to be expected. But this is 2019, and a reboot, so it is inevitable that they would undergo major redesigns. For the most part, I think they work, although a few of them are a bit busier than I would like. These are supposed to be teenagers from a thousand years in the future though, so major changes from what we have seen in the past make sense.

At least, I think they are still supposed teenagers? I had trouble telling here. Most of them looked more like they were in the twenties but I guess we will find out when their comic launches.

As for Jon replacing Clark as their present day recruit in this incarnation, I certainly do not mind as I very much like the character. I do wish they had kept him younger, and perhaps portrayed the Legion at least a little younger as well to sync them up more, because I was attached to that version of Jon.

One final negative comment, which Russell already mentioned. No time bubble?? If so, that makes me sad. I have always loved the look of them, its just such a classic sci-fi design. It is impossible to tell how they are traveling here, but it does appear to be more a portal than a vehicle of any kind. But I suppose that may have more to do with the large number of them. Perhaps bubbles are still there for smaller groups? Anyways, its a really minor point, but just something I'll miss if they are not used.

Random Thoughts From Sarcasm Kid:
I said it before I've no interest in anything else that was going on in this issue, the Mr. Oz stuff, Zod, Adam Strange. I haven't been following anything Bendis has done with the Superman titles so I ignored everything that didn't involve the Legion in this issue too. Though as a side note I'm still extremely annoyed they're sticking with "Lor-Zod" and "Chris Kent" is no longer a thing, especially since Chris never got to hang out with the Legionnaires too.

That out of the way, this was honestly more what I'd expect from the Legionnaires. In the previous issue I felt they sounded way too formal and it was rather stiff and off-putting. Not exactly a decent first impression. Here they sound more like the dorks the Legionnaires should be as they quietly squabble over Brainy making a mistake and ruining their big entrance because they arrived early.

The coloring inconsistency with Bouncing Boy's hair was a little annoying. I still can't believe they're using yellow for Ultra Boy, which feels extremely weird since it started out as a coloring mistake so many years ago. And again, the possible Karate Kid counterpart's hair is SUPER gross and does not fit him at all. My friend Denise Zhang seems to be only person complaining about how racist it is.

I still enjoy Triplicate Girl's new design, and it finally hit me regarding Matter-Eater Lad's redesign. I can't say I'm fond of it, but something about it always looked familiar and I couldn't tell why. I've realized Tenzil's got a very Brent Anderson feel to his new look, like something that came out of Astro City.

All I have to say really, I think everyone else covered it better than I could.

Science Police Notes:  
Here are the 28 members who appeared in this issue and our guesses as to who is who.
We have NOT referenced any DC PR or mass media information, making assumptions based only on our knowledge of previous Legions and the character designs supplied in this and earlier stories.
shiny happy Blok?

 clearly Bouncing Boy
(no longer with black hair)

 Brainiac 5
(named in the story)

clearly Chameleon Boy
(...with freckles! nice touch)

clearly Colossal Boy

obviously Cosmic Boy

clearly Dawnstar

presumably Element Lad
(his uniform appears to be a mashup of his Silver and Bronze versions)

presumably Karate Kid
(even though the queue hair is Chinese, not Japanese;
maybe he's Kung Fu Boy?)

Lightning Lad
(real name established as Garth!)

presumably Matter-Eater Lad
(colors match Silver Age uniform)

obviously Mon-El
(his code-name can't be that without a link to
The House of El, though, can it?)

Princess Projectra 
(identified in LSH:M #1

Saturn Girl 
(obvious, but also named in the story)


obviously Shadow Lass

Shrinking Violet 
(identified in LSH:M #1)

presumably Star Boy 
(his chest logo is more clear on a different page) 


potentially Sun Boy?


a modified Timber Wolff? 


 manga-esque Triplicate Girl


color-reversed Ultra Boy


obviously Wildfire


 possibly XS?
or maybe Light Lass?

 male version of Catspaw?

possibly Dream Girl or White Witch??

the costume and its coloring and the hairdo
all hint at Phantom Girl

a Yellow Lantern? Invisible Kid?
and the White Witch, maybe? 

Status: 
This issue has been not yet been reprinted. Check back in six months.

5 comments:

  1. Oh! When I saw that character with the cat's tail, it didn't occur to me that he could be Catspaw. I thought he was the even more minor character, Polecat.

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  2. Oh-- and the 'Yellow Lantern' was someone I assumed to be Invisible Kid

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  3. I'm sorry that none of you are following the Bendis Superman comics. The Adam Strange and other references were perfectly clear to those of us who are reading it regularly. To me, the final (?) fate of Jor-El was quite moving, although it does suggest that at least some members of the brand-new United Planets have more pinpoint time-travel skills today than the Legion will have 1000 years from now.

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  4. Yeah the sand girl is Dream Girl, & the big dude in green is a Matter-Eater lad.

    I assume one to be Light Lass given she's the only other character who's black with red tints of red in her hair & Her costumes color do reflect something Light Lass would wear.

    The "Yellow Lantern" is actually a new character known as Gold Lantern & he's one of the "OG characters" for this Legion along with a new Doctor Fate & someone called Monster Boy (who's either the Cat kid or this weird skeleton man seen in promotion material for Millennium #2)

    From what I've gathered & theorized Invisible Kid seems to be the only mainstay Legionnaire not on this team (though I assume there's a bad joke there where "he was always there")

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  5. One thing I have always wanted to do, if I was to write a new version of the Legion, would be to have KK just go under his real name.

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