Monday, February 1, 2021

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1 
(March 2021)
title: Future State Part One
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artist: Riley Rossmo
colorist: Ivan Plascencia
letterer: Dave Sharpe
associate editor: Bixie Mathieu
editors: Brittany Holzherr & James S. Rich
covers: Riley Rossmo (main); Ian MacDonald (variant)

reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Overall Summary: 
The scattered Legionnaires come together to track down a threat. There appears to have been some cataclysmic event that broke up the United Planets AND the Legion.  

Mission Monitor Board: 
We don't know who are Legionnaires during this story AND the characters who do appear are not all clearly identified. So....your guess is as good as mine. 
Legionnaires identified by name are: Ultra Boy, Shadow Lass, Saturn Girl, Brainiac 7, Colossal Boy, Chameleon Boy, Duo Damsel, Blok, Bouncing Boy, Element Lad, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass. Cosmic Boy is the new head (?) of the United Planets and during his scene there are some other UP members who appear to be former Legionnaires: Mon-El, Shrinking Violet, Timber Wolf, Sun Boy, Star Boy, and Princess Projectra. Also, at the end of the book with the big reveal there are three or four members who are not identified. One looks like Monster Boy, another has a green glow ala Green Lantern, and one has a Superman "S" shield on his chest. 

Supporting Characters:
Fire Lad, Infectious Lass, Antennae Lad, Double-Header, Color Kid

bad writing, bad art, bad editing

On Planet Gotham, Ultra Boy sends out a summons to reform the Legion of Super-Heroes. Shadow Lass, although violently opposed to the plan initially, agrees when they are joined by Saturn Girl, Colossal Boy, and Brainiac 7. 
On Daxam, Chameleon Boy is being interrogated by "what is left of the United Planets," as represented by the former Cosmic Boy and various un-named characters. The UP is looking for "the traitor" Element Lad. 
On Winath, Fire Lad is trying to create a new group to fight against the UP and the "broken" Legion. Duo Damsel (not Triplicate Girl) interferes, and then Blok, too arrives and helps her fight the rebels. 
Near Colu, Bouncing Boy is fighting solo against a horde of Horraz when Brainiac 7 alerts him to the whereabouts of Element Lad. 
On the sixth moon of Trom, Element Lad and Lightning Lad are having a heated discussion when Lighting Lass and the rest (?) of the Legion arrives. 

Russell's Review: 
So....basically we have 21 pages of the Legionnaires responding to an emergency summons. Is this worth $3.99?!? 

Full caveat: I don't read news sites so I have NO idea why DC is doing this Future State co-opt of their books. I don't know if there is some wide-reaching thematic link between all the books. And I don't really care. As the customer, I want to pick up the new product and be entertained. You can probably guess that this didn't really happen. 

This story as a whole reminds me of the classic Jim Shooter Adult Legion story from waaaay back in the Sixties. That's the one where SuperMAN instead of SuperBOY visits the Legion and we see how various young Legionnaires grew up. We got various vignettes about the characters and it was basically a self-contained glimpse into a possible future state. 

Here, instead of actual facts and pertinent information, we get only partial glimpses and hints as to what has happened to the status quo. For example, Cosmic Boy makes a reference to Chameleon Boy's mother, the former head of the United Planets. From that scene I think it's safe to say that we're supposed to assume that she has died. It is not, of course, made clear. 

Even when the characters are given natural, organic opportunities to tell us what is going on with them, they don't. For example, when Ultra Boy asks Brainiac 7 why/how he has a new "body," Brainy could have easily explained to him (and us) about his white morphing identity. He doesn't. 

I won't spoil the main point of the plot, but suffice it to say that it is NOT an original idea. If you have some recent history with the Legion of Super-Heroes you will recognize the antagonist as someone we have seen in that role before. 

Likewise, the overall feel of this issue reminds me of Five Years Later, where the bright and beautiful future is replaced by a dark, mysterious one. 

In other words, there really isn't much original in this whole thing. And frankly, the art to me is just ugly. 

The future doesn't look all that great from here.  

Science Police Notes:  
  • Shadow Lass now has blonde hair. 
  • Saturn Girl now wears some type of "death's head" helmet and has a mechanized right arm. 
  • Triplicate Girl has lost one of her three bodies. 
  • We learn that Bouncing Boy's real name is Charles Foster Taine. For those of you who might not know, Charles Foster Kane is the hero of the classic Hollywood film, Citizen Kane


  1. Doesn't remind me of 5YL so much as the "One Million" issues.

  2. I like the art of Rossmo. I kind of like this kind of experimental styles, different, more expresionists and worked for a character like Martian Manhunter. For a issue about Chameleon, it would be a trip.
    That said, I don't think his work in this series would had been for the best. Maybe for this kind of context, but not for a group which is starting (again). This is the first issue I read from Bendisboot. ANd doesn't help is already another possible timeline. As you mention, this is an group of ideas already seen in other reboots of the Legion and putting together to see if they fit. Bendis hint a cataclysmic event, but the last time I read about him teasing a cataclysmic event it was Cyclops giving a speech in Washington (OK, that could be seen as cataclysmic today). I just say this isn't a future I want to visit again, specially seen how the Subs has become a group of fanatical religious under Bendis.
    See you until next reboot. (and I'm not joking, sadly). I will keep reading your reviews.

  3. Does anyone else notice Shrinking Violet's now inexplicably white after Ryan Sook redesigned her as dark skinned?

    1. Rossmo based his drawing on the Legion Animated series. If such racebend didn't make any noise, most probably it's because nobody cares about this title already. Which is sad, but not unexpected.

      By the way, it seems like Immortal Wonder Woman kind of spoiled the end of this book.

    2. Yeah. Looks like DC is done with the Legion. And, now I am done with DC.

  4. Yes why are they not following Sook's redesign?

  5. So in addition to more of Bendis' sloppy writing, Ryan Sook's great art has been replaced with this mush.