Monday, December 23, 2019

LSH (v8) #2

Legion of Super-Heroes #2 (February 2020)
title: (Untitled)
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
penciller: Ryan Sook
inker: Ryan Sook and Wade Von Grawbadger
colorist: Jordie Bellaire
letterer: Dave Sharpe
associate editor: Brittany Holzherr
editor: Brian Cunningham
covers: Ryan Sook (main); Jim Cheung & Tomeu Morey (variant)

reviewers: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage and Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Mission Monitor Board: 
It's hard to list who had a role in this story, because it was another example of "let's have everyone in the scenes but only identify the main ten or so characters."
Here are the characters who were identified or had speaking parts, in (kind of) order of their appearance: Cosmic Boy, Timber Wolf, Brainiac 5, Ultra Boy, Superboy, Lighting Lad, Triplicate Girl, Wildfire, Blok, Mon-El, White Witch, and a female Legionnaire who had many lines but who was never introduced who I am assuming was Phantom Girl.Also recognizable were Element Lad, Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, Chameleon Boy, and Bouncing Boy

Supporting Characters:
Rose Forrest, MadamHonor President Brande, Robin the Boy Wonder

the Horraz, bad writers, worse editors

The story continues from where it left off last issue, as the Horraz pirates have followed Ultra Boy's team back to Legion Head-quarters in order to re-claim Aquaman's trident. Saturn Girl eventually puts the majority of the pirates to sleep, except for the leader, who is still fighting Superboy for possession of the trident. Somehow, one of them "activates" it and a huge flood of water suddenly appears. 
Rose Forrest, who is now the Legion liaison to the United Planets, goes to the the Great Hall on Daxam to report to President Brande regarding the membership of Superboy. The President is angered by Rose's tone and information. Rose thinks the President is angry because the Legion went back in time to recruit Superboy without asking permission or communicating their intention to her. The Legionnaires, for their part, believe they have absolute authority on who they ask to join and do not see a problem. 
During a lunch meeting the Legionnaires discuss the situation with Aquaman's trident. Ultra Boy's father has always been looking for ancient artifacts, and when he found out that Mordru and the Horraz had found the trident, he wanted it. Ultra Boy heard of its power and decided to retrieve it from all of them. He trailed them to planet Gotham, and the rest we know. 

Cosmic Boy decides to lead a team to Rimbor to try to placate Ultra Boy's father. Lightning Lad leads another team to Gotham to try to find some clue as to what Mordru was planning. And Superboy is tasked with staying behind and watching the orientation presentation that the Legionnaires prepared for him. 
So of course, Superboy borrows a time bubble and returns to present day Gotham City to meet up with Robin, the Boy Wonder. 

Russell's Review: 
Let me just say up front that this series was probably not written for older fans like me. That being said, I'm not exactly sure who this book IS being written for. I think that if DC managed to hook some of the long-time Legion fans while also bringing in long-time Bendis fans, there's no question that this book would be a success. We'll have to wait and see on that score, but in the meantime, the more and more of this stuff I'm seeing the less and less I'm liking it.

I don't want to appear to be too negative, because I actually do want you to buy this book. I want to  continue to have a Legion book out there. On the other hand, I'm not happy with THIS particular creative team and would be just as pleased if they leave after the first major story arc.

Sound schizophrenic? Maybe, but if you have actually read these first few issues I think you may atleast appreciate where I'm coming from. Let's go over a few scenes in this issue and how they hit me.

The book opens with an extreme close-up of Cosmic Boy, well drawn by Ryan Sook and Wade Von Grawbadger (love that name!) telling us (the press?) things that we end up learning more about during the course of the story. So....wasted page. (Also, when was this "interview" or whatever it is supposed to have taken place? Cosmic Boy never takes a moment during the course of the story to brief the press, so this seems quite out of place in the overall time-line.)

The second page is a huge battle scene but although it includes the creative credits, it doesn't feature an individual title. Then we get a few more pages of badly choreographed pages....who is doing what?....before we get a huge two-page spread of....water? The illustration is impressive but I would actually have liked to have seen more detail (or gotten more details.) And....where does the water flow to?!? I thought it was established that there were no more oceans. But there is a sewer system? Huh?

Then we get six pages (SIX!) of Rose Forrest arguing with the UP President and reporting back to the Legion about it. This is my least favorite part of the book because 1) WHAT THE HELL IS ROSE DOING HERE!?!?! I thought the whole point of the Millenium mini-series was to introduce time-hopping Rose who wanted help from the Legion or something....? Now, without as much as a "how do you do" she is the official Legion Liaison to the United Planets?!? I don't understand. And 2) why is the UP President angry at the Legion? Obviously she has something going on that we are not privy to, but Bendis gives us NOTHING other than a snarky attitude. Or is that characterization?

Lastly we get my favorite bit of the issue, the Legionnaires having lunch during a meeting. Sook really put a lot of work into these pages, and it shows. On the other hand, I feel like the guest who showed up to the party late and is trying to catch up. Who or what is Ultra Boy's father? Everyone seems to know him but they don't explain to us the significance of  his involvement. Ultra Boy apologizing to the others for his father was a nice touch. But then when the Legion teams are assigned, what happens to the remaining Legionnaires? NO ONE wants to stay and hang out with Superboy? Or, at least, make sure he watches the orientation stuff? That's just stupid.

As a huge Aquaman fan I love how his trident is part of this plot. However, is Bendis trying a little too hard to tie "current" DCU to the 31st Century? There are literally thousands of worlds to explore and yet he's giving us Aquaman's trident, planet Gotham, and Robin the Boy Wonder? Shakes my head......he seems to be missing the whole point of setting this series in the future!

So to sum up: the book is pretty. The characters are interesting. But I want MORE details. I want names. I want motivations. I want explanations of certain things before we go back in time and recruit Robin to join! Hopefully next issue will spotlight the two smaller teams and we'll get a bit more interaction and less Grand Scenes. I hope so.

Mike's Review:
Let me start out on a positive note. I love the art. Really, really love it. All of the design work here is beautiful, from the individual Legionaires, to the 31st century technology, to all of the aliens we have seen so far.

As for the story...I hate to say it but its been disappointing. Like Russell, I am perplexed as to why Rose is being given such a prominent role and her scenes so far have not been that interesting. The first time we meet the UP President and Rose of all people is there for the Legion? There are so many Legionnaires that could have been given an early focus in this reboot instead of her. And that was all I kept thinking throughout their discussion.

Also, we are two issues in and while we have seen lots of Legionnaires, we have barely gotten to know any of them. I understand why the entire team would be there to welcome Jon in the first issue, but I wish we could spend an extended time with just a small handful of them. So we could really get to know their personalities. It seemed like there was a chance that would happen here when it opened with the smaller team battling for the Trident but then Rose showed up and took the focus away. There were quite a few details dropped about Ultra Boy but so much was lacking any context that it left me more confused than anything.

I fear Robin showing up next issue is just going to continue taking the focus off where it should be, the Legion. I like Damian as a character and was a fan of his and Jon's series. But I am not buying this comic to see them team up again. Yes, the idea of seeing this Robin among the Legion is intriguing and has the potential for a great story, but it feels way too soon. Readers need the chance to get to know these characters and care about them before there are guest appearances like that. Hopefully I am wrong and we will start to get to know our Legionnaires better in spite of him showing up. Because I really want this book to grow into one I love.

Science Police Notes:  
  • The President of the United Planets is named Brande, but does not resemble RJ Brande whatsoever. 
  • When Ultra Boy apologizes for his father, Chameleon Boy is one of the members who commiserates with him about fathers. 
  • Bronze Age Interlac is used three times in this story: once on page six when Saturn Girl puts the Horraz to sleep (she can do that?) and twice during Rose's interview with the UP President. In those scenes (reprinted below) she says, "I asked for the damn Legion of Super-Children and instead I get this?" and when told "Long Live the Legion" she responds,  "Yeah, sure." 

This issue has been not yet been reprinted. Wait six months.


  1. "This issue has not yet been reprinted. Wait six months."

    Wait six months for Bendis' semi-coherent, snark-filled ramblings to turn into an actual story? Sounds about right.

  2. Love the Interlac. I can still read it.

    Do not like the HEAVY 21st century ties at all. Give the book a year (at least!) before dragging in all of the crossover stuff (especially that brat Damian).

    And just from the few images posted, those "Long live the Legion!" outbursts are an obnoxious turn-off (almost as bad as "Eat it Grandpa").

  3. "Long live the legion" makes this version of the Legion sound like a cult.

    Seeing how the Legion in threebot was a movement that kind of phrase would have worked there. But here it just sounds so disturbing.

  4. "I WANT to have a Legion book out there"

    Yeah, no. Not when it's a book this bad.

    It sucks that Johns went through all this effort to reboot the DCU AGAIN to bring the gang back only to return as....THIS.

    BTW - I suspect that this is why Doomsday Clock got delayed. My theory is that Johns was going to bring back the OG LOSH but Bendis wanted his hands on the team (because Bendis gets what Bendis wants), and Johns had to drag out the book until Bendis got Millenium and the redesigned team ready to go. If you look at the behind the back shot of the three founders in issue 12, they look and dress like their pre-Bendis selves.

    This is just the Threeboot all over again - everybody was SO EXCITED to see a new spin on the LOSH, the writers veered too far from what made the team tick, and once the novelty wore off, people dropped the book because who wanted to see a great character like Jeckie reimagined as evil Paris Hilton?