Monday, October 5, 2020

LSH(v8) #9

Legion of Super-Heroes #9 (November 2020)

title: "The Trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes Part 2"
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artists: See list of artistic credits, shown below
colorist: Jordie Bellaire
letterer: Dave Sharpe
associate editor: Brittany Holzherr
editor: Brian Cunningham
cover: Various

reviewers: Jude "Sarcastic Kid" DeLuca and Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Overall Summary: 
The trial of the Legion continues at the United Planets head-quarters. 

Mission Monitor Board: 
At this point does anybody know, or care? Computo is an actual member? (I thought she was just the network in-house AI). There are two characters on page three that I don't recognize (next to Gold Lantern and in front of Colossal Boy). 

Supporting Characters:
UP President RJ Brande

General Crav, bad writer, worse editor

After two full-page close-ups of Shadow Lass and President Brande, we rejoin the trial of the Legion. Brande shows the UP representatives several more "audition" tapes of various Legionnaires, where members such as Dawnstar, Bouncing Boy, and Monster Boy speak clearly of wanting the Legion to fight against the authority of the UP. 
We also see auditions of Wildfire and Timber Wolf, which are there to show the "heart" of these two members. Invisible Kid shows up on what is a "gag" page but he has the quotable line of the issue: "I am NOT a fan of ALL of these Legionnaires." 

General Crav suddenly returns, with his son in chains (although Ultra Boy was clearly standing there on page three). Mon-El beats General Crav again, freeing Ultra Boy, but annoying everyone else. He flies off in a huff, screaming "I am Kryptonian Prime!" 
Dream Girl then steps up and shares one of her recent visions to the assembled mass, saying, "A Great Darkness is coming."  Dr. Fate supports Dream Girl, magically showing all of us some of the chaos he senses will come. (Side question: how are Dr. Fate and White Witch both members?) 

Finally, White Witch, on behalf of all readers, comes forward and says that she has had enough. She edges on General Crav and he admits that he was plotting to take over the United Planets. With that confession on the record, President Brande cancels the trial and everyone is free to go. 

On the way out of the hall, Saturn Girl and Superboy share a kiss. 

Jude's review:
I-I genuinely don’t know how to talk about this comic anymore without sounding angry, because while I really don’t want to be the “EWW I’M THREATENED BY CHANGE AND WANT THE OLD STATUS QUO BACK” guy, that doesn’t change that this isn’t a good comic. In terms of writing, I mean. WHY COULD THEY NOT GET ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO WROTE ANY OF THE YA DC BOOKS FOR THIS? I MEAN DID ANYONE EVEN *TRY* TO GET IN TOUCH WITH LANDRY WALKER???

Okay fine, I am threatened by change, specifically when the "change" is stagnation and not growth. Sure, we couldn't stop them from rebooting the Legion's continuity. But for the love of God, WHY did it have to be BENDIS? I can think of over a dozen writers who are better qualified for the Legion. Magdalene Visaggio, Marguerite Bennett, Carly Usdin, Kelly Thompson, Delilah S. Dawson, Joe Glass, Mariko Tamaki, Marieke Nijkamp, Stjepan Sejic, Saladin Ahmed, Skottie Young, Sina Grace. Hell, Landry Walker and Eric Jones' pitched sequels for Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures In The 8th Grade were basically Legion stories, why weren't they asked to work on this?!

Every issue so far the dialog is an absolute, rambling mess. It makes me feel like Bendis is only using the dialog from the Legionnaires to take up space. It’s especially grating regarding Triplicate Girl who, unique design aside, only ever appears to argue with herself. I gotta ask among people who have been paying closer attention, in any issue has Lu merged back into a single person? Does she really have the power to split into three girls, or is she three separate girls who share a mind?

Mon-El is rather grating and his whining has becoming reminiscent of Superboy-Prime. He screams “I AM KRYPTONIAN PRIME” for God’s sake! It’s clear not even the other Legionnaires seem to like Mon-El that much, and I don’t know how to feel about that.

The biggest problem with this issue is that I thought all the Legionnaires would be getting at least one page each in both #8 and #9. That clearly didn’t happen here. Of the Legionnaires who received no focus, there’s Shrinking Violet, Karate Kid (whose redesign is still racist and gross), Sun Boy, Star Boy, Matter-Eater Lad, and that weird glowing skeleton person who STILL doesn’t have a name.

This sucks loads because both of these issues feel like an incredible waste of some awesome artists. God, I feel so bad for everyone who worked on these issues and I can only hope they at least had fun.

That said, Mike Grell’s page is the funniest thing I’ve seen since this series began. They got one of the oldest Legion pros to come back, and yet somehow no one could convince him to draw the new costumes. The new hairstyles, sure, but he sticks Imra and Rokk back into the bikini and corset. I mean, I hate those costumes and I still think this is hilarious. Bendis named Dawnstar after Grell, and Grell not only used Dawny’s classic costume but her old wings as well. Nice to know the editors are doing their job.

(Yes, I know there’s still been mention of “temporal disturbances,” but I get the feeling that Bendis will use that as an afterthought to justify all the editorial errors. So Dawny’s wings, Ayla going from Light to Lightning Lass, etc, none of it was probably deliberately planned but Bendis has a handy excuse ready to justify the mistakes.)

Speaking of Ayla, a thought occurred to me while discussing this with another Legion fan online. Does it bother anyone else that in a setting where the Ranzzs are now a Black family, instead of living on a farm they are now all cramped in some inner city apartment?

For that matter, on the topic of Imra being with Jon. Look, I know realistically we can't expect the same couplings in every continuity (even though I really, really, really wanted Garth and Imra's marriage back). And I also know historically Imra's been attracted to other men besides Garth (her almost wedding to Rokk in the Reboot, the affair with Jo in the Threeboot). But so far in this continuity I get the sense that there's been no hint of an attraction between Garth and Imra at all. The fact that it occurs after making Garth Black and keeping Imra white, while pairing her up with another white person, it... it doesn't feel right. And I'm not interested in hearing that excuse about "waiting and seeing where the story goes," because that argument is bull. It's been two guest appearances, a mini series, and nine issues in and the quality of this series' writing hasn't improved at all. The editorial inconsistencies are becoming more and more glaring and considering Garth AND Ayla were originally supposed to be white, it's kinda clear none of this was thought out in advance nor did anyone use the production pause thanks to the pandemic to fix anything.

The ONLY things I can genuinely praise in this book are Nicola Scott’s page because Nicola’s stuff is always amazing, and Jenny Frison’s White Witch. Oh my GOD I wanna like Mysa, I MEAN, Xola’s new design..... but this story is garbage. Jenny’s probably done the best page out of both issues. For years I actually had “Black Witch” jotted down next to Jenny’s name on my commission wish list, so at least this justifies she’d be a good fit for the character.

I'm also abstaining from commenting on that last page, because Mitch Gerads artwork pisses me off on sight alone ever since he worked on Heroes in Crisis with Clay Mann, Lee Weeks, Travis Moore and ol' Tommy Boy.

Ah screw it, here's all I have to say on that.

I should have used this several issues ago for whenever Bendis' Imra does something asinine. Again, comic is by wouldntyoulichentoknow on tumblr.

Russell's Review: 
I have to say that I have had a lot on my plate for the past week and I didn't have the time to really peruse this issue. 

That being said....I hated it. 

Am I correct in saying that it took two issues and dozens of artists to tell us that the leader of Rimbor was plotting against the United Planets? The President of the United Planets was setting up the Legion in order to trick the leader of Rimbor into admitting that he was plotting? Is that really all there was to this? That sounds like a throw-away line in the SETUP to a classic Shooter or Levitz tale, not the tale itself! And also...didn't Crav already admit to this a few issues ago when the UP challenged him about Aquaman's Trident? 

Other things I hate: 
  • The idea that Bendis is "introducing" us to each Legionnaire, but is doing it in such a way that he is showing us what we already know. Case in point: Dawnstar and Bouncing Boy in this issue, and featuring Monster Boy without actually answering HOW he deserves membership when they already have a "changemorph." 
  • The time jumping on Mon-El's page because....why? Why could the scene of Mon-El vs Crav not have been told linearly? 
  • The almost total lack of editorial management. Here's Triplicate Girl at the trial with all the others on page three. A few pages later, she's back on Metropolis? Somewhere else? With Monster Boy only? Who knows? Who cares? 
  • Illustrations that are supposed to mean something but really are just....there. I'm looking at you pages one, two, fourteen, and nineteen. 
And lastly, I echo Jude's comments about Saturn Girl not falling for Lightning Lad. I can understand them not necessarily starting out together, but on the other Right now I see a series that might want to appear to be "edgy" actually being trite and "safe." White girl with Black boy would have gone a long way in my mind to "save" this series, atleast symbolically. As it is now, it's less than the sum of its parts. 

As Wildfire so eloquently says, "I am sick of all the talking." 

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


  1. I think the one in front of Colossal Boy on p3 is Computo.

  2. Well, it took a pointless two part miniseries and 8 prior issues, but Bendis FINALLY made an issue worth reading. Too bad he had to piggyback on The Great Darkness Saga to do it.

    At least we also FINALLY get some info and characterization on some of the cast. I guess Bendy remembered that fully fleshed out characters are one of the main reasons the LOSH has stuck around for so long.

  3. Out of everything that has been a problem with this iteration of the legion the one I'm sick & tired of is "The Horraz are responsible for everything related to the Legion" like there are other hostile aliens for the Legion to fight & not all of them have to be the soul reason behind most of the Legionnaires joining.

    Also surprised you guys didn't mention how Jacque is now apparently from an alien world called "Kit-Son" (still waiting that ill place hyphen for Dave Cockrum's "tribute")

  4. I wrote to Bendis years ago during POWERS and complained about how the issues took 3 minutes to read and I said there was more plot and character development in one issue of, for example, Keith Giffen’s 5 Years Later LOSH run than a years worth of POWERS. He printed my letter and criticized and ridiculed Giffen’s work. Now he’s brought his pointless excessive splash pages and other lazy writing habits to LOSH itself.

  5. "I am sick of all the talking."
    I like your reviews, I still hate the book.

    1. You made me laugh, thanks.
      The art is purty. I'm hoping for more from Bendis, but with each issue my optimism grows smaller and smaller.

  6. I sure hope someone is enjoying this book. I am not.

    I'm going to spend this upcoming Winter of COVID-19 beginning from the er, beginning, with the first three Silver Age Omnibuses (Omnibi? Haha).

  7. Who is the green skeleton person? I'm assuming the Storm look-alike in the green is Shrinking Violet.

    1. I`m thinking that the green, glowing skeleton thing is Chemical King? But, does it really matter at this point? This book is a freaking, no-good mess!