Monday, March 14, 2022

Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes #2

Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes #2 (May, 2022)
title: The Gold Lantern Saga Part Two
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artist: Scott Godlewski
colorist: Ryan Cody
letterer: Dave Sharpe
editor: Michael McCalister
senior editor: Paul Kaminski
covers: Scott Godlewski & Ryan Cody (main); Travis Moore & Ryan Cody (variant)

reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Overall Summary: 
Gold Lantern is stuck in the past, the Justice League is stuck in the future, and I'm stuck in the middle with you. 

Mission Monitor Board: 
Without a "Roll Call" it's hard to tell but here are the characters I recognized or who were actually mentioned in the story, in (kind of) order of their appearance: Gold Lantern, Chameleon Boy, Dawnstar, Lightning Lad, Karate Kid, Brainiact 5, Triplicate Girl, Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, White Witch, Bouncing Boy, Monster Boy, Cosmic Boy, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, Shadow Lass, Mon-El, Superboy, Wildfire, and Dr. Fate. 

Supporting Characters:
The Justice League: Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Black Adam, and some chick named Queen Naomi

Opponents:
bad writer, worse editor

Summary:
The issue opens with a scene on the planet Apploza, a year before the Legion was formed. Teen Kala Lour saves several chilren traped in a burning building.Soon after, an alien named Gdon arrives because "the Elders" have sent him to recruit the youth into their new Corps. 
Now (well, in the 21st Century equivalent), Gold Lantern finds himself alone. All of the Legionnaires and Justice Leaguers have disappeared in a cloud of "darkness." And because he is disconnected from the main lantern power source by time and space, his ring does not function well, However, he does manage to find the dark anomaly hovering in the sky near the Hall of Justice. 

In the 31st Century, Green Arrow awakens in a sterile, plain room to Wonder Woman watching over him. She turns out to be Chameleon Boy, who tells him, "We thought you might like to hear (our news) from a friendly face." 
Elsehwere, Queen Naomi awakens in a hologram of her room, with Dawnstar hovering over her. In the scene shown, Dawnstar tells her nothing. In fact, she adds to her (and our) confusion. Next door, Wonder Woman is overwhelmed by the greatness of the future. 

They get together in a room called "Heaven," but Batman is anxious to return to the present. Brainiac 5 is concerned with the time stream problem, so doesn't want to let the Justice League go just yet. As Batman is about to get into an argument, the darkness anomaly appears in the sky over Legion headquarters. Batman orders Ultra Boy and Black Adam to lead a team to investigate. 

In another flashback, Kala Lour is attempting to refuse membership in the Gold Lantern Corps, and the Elders try to convince him to join. 
A team of Legionnaires and Justice Leaguers approach the dark anomaly, and Black Adam....blasts it with lightning (or something). Gold Lantern sees or hears or recognizes this force, and suddenly he and Brainiac 5 can communicate over the time-span. Brainiac 5, in classic drama queen fashion, now predicts the end of all things. 
(I call "bullshit")

Russell's Review: 
"We read it so you don't have to." 
I said that in jest a few months back but boy! if I didn't love the Legion so much I would not be picking this garbage up. DC clearly doesn't care if Legion of Old-Time Fans like me enjoy their current stuff or not, because this issue is just SO bad on SO many levels. Shall I enunciate? Isn't that why you're here? ;-) 

Let me confess right up front that I don't mind being led astray or having certain pertinent information withheld from me as an audience member IF there is an entertaining pay-off. (It's an alien cookbook!) Here, however, I guess I just don't trust BM Bendis to have all that much up his sleeve. He strikes me as more of an Emperor-without-any-clothes type of guy, if you know what I mean. For example, that nifty Interlac that is sprinkled throughout the issue? It says exactly what the English says. So on page one? "Planetary Apploza...." etc is written once in English, and once in Interlac. Does the Interlac look cool? Sure. But it's absolutely pointless. 

Those yellow word balloons on page three, where Gdon speaks to Kala Lour and his sister? I initially guessed that they are supposed to show that he is speaking, or communicating telepathically, or something different from the plain white text balloons Kala and his sister are using. Only, hold on, the neighbor uses yellow text balloons, too. So.....yeah. What's the point, then? Dare it be that I'm putting in more effort to read the book than the creative men did to make it? 

Also, while I'm on the subject of Kala Lour, he doesn't have "visual sight" but he was able to rescue the children from the fire and he seems to operate fine without it. In fact, according to him over half of his planet doesn't have "visual sight." So...how DO they "see"? BM Bendis can't be bothered to explain this to us. 

One last note on this whole spotlight on Gold Lantern: I get that he's supposed to represent the audience, being confused and not knowing what is going on. But when NOBODY knows what is going on, it's not a great trait to give to your main protagonist. And the sci-fi babble is strong here: on page five he says that the great darkness anomaly is happening "simultaneously a thousand years ago." Uh, I've been reading comics for decades and I still don't understand how characters can just banter that type of line around. "Time" is not just another stage on a different set. This just doesn't make sense. 

But maybe it's just me and how I feel about Gold Lantern, because I don't know him and I don't like him. Ditto for Queen Naomi, by the way; if she's an anomaly or a mystery, too, then she should have sat this adventure out. She's a distraction; one that I am SURE will not be explained before this story ends. Mark my words. 

So then we get Wonder Woman watching Green Arrow sleep....naked? Not sure what that is about, but okay, the Legion's world is sterile and unemotional. Cut to Queen Naomi, who awakens with all her clothes on in....her room? No, it's a hologram that Computo created to ease her waking up. Of course, that begs the question as to why they didn't do the same for Green Arrow....? 
frivolous close-ups of.....nothingness

Then we get another few frivolous full-page spreads, and for this Aquaman fan the most annoying panel in the book, wherein BM Bendis appears to be playing Aquaman as an ass. Not amused, Bendis. (Also, as a side note: still NOTHING about Aquaman's trident? Bendis doesn't even care about his own continuity. Sheesh.) 
I LOATHE panel 2.
And...who or what is Pixel Lad in the last panel? 

Lastly, when Black Adam confronts (?) the dark anomaly, he....excuse me, what DOES he do? Black Adam can shoot lighting out of his hands now? Since when? 

Anyway, I think you get the picture. The dialogue is awful, the plot is terrible, and the characterizations are off. The good news is that there are four more issues of this. Hooray? At some point the two groups will fight; that should be nice for a change. 

Please, if you are reading this and disagree with ANYTHING I have written here, leave a comment. I'm sure I'm the equivalent of the grumpy old Rond Vidar yelling at the kids in his comic, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm wrong.

Status: 
This issue is sure to be reprinted in the collection Justice League vs The Legion of Super-Heroes, which will probably go on sale in December 2022. Reserve your copies now. ;-) 

13 comments:

  1. Thanks I’ll avoid this trash

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  2. I read these issues on bootleg sites because I don't want to encourage sales. I absolutely hope the sales are in the toilet so DC 86s Bendis. But given some of their upcoming decisions with Justice League, I don't have much faith in DC editorial staff.

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  3. I like your review and hatte this Legion since its inception. Another useless reboot so that BMB play with his new toys and DC can show 'diversity' (disclaimer: they did it better with Jon Kent).

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  4. I, too, will read this on bootleg sites. I felt guilty about using them so I've bought the two recent classic Legion collections (Before the Darkness Vol 1+2). If I still feel guilty, I may buy more.

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    1. Buy anything but Bendis Legion, please...

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  5. If the egion and the JL are gooing to fight, I thing is going to be on the last issue and for maybe two pages before abruptly ending tha story with a non ending Bendis style.

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  6. I think the glowing afro lad is meant to be Computo - maybe even Danielle Foccart.

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  7. While i dont tecnically disagree with you (the comic is all around bad, almost nothing happens in it and Bendis has been getting progresinly worse since he wrote his initial Legion volume), i do think you being ignorant of some modern stuff shouldnt be considered a fault of the story. Yes, the story does makes a poor job of presenting the characters to anyone who came to this after reading Bendis's Legion but no his JL (or viceversa), but is it really its responsability to present Naomi? The same way Bendis dosent introduce the Legion and assumes the reader must know this newer version from reading their last volume, he asumes the reader knows Naomi of reading her mini and her previous apearances in the JL book. Since there's no atempt of summarizing previous stories, one has to assume Bendis is giving the responsability of learning about said stories to the reader. So its tecnically not the story problem you dont know Naomi. Similarily, you not knowing current continuity Black Adam shots lighting isnt related to the story.
    That said, its interesting how you found questions about the world that the story clealy isnt intending to present. Like, why Computo uses a virtual room for Naomi but not for Ollie. And, while CΓ³mputo having a semi-phisical body has been presented before, she (they?) moving as a person would instead of staying in one place since to be a diference from the previous series. Though it could simply be a change made by the artist, one cant be enterely sure when it comes to Bendis. And i may be assuming a lot of stuff about the narrative. I assumed that the story stablishing that a number of the poblation of Gold Lantern's planet is blind implied he doing such feats as helping kids out of a fire isnt noteworthy cause of the way the blind are raised of its planet. So they dont have a diferent way of seeing, they're just a bunch of very capable blind people. But they still had limitations and Gold Lantern can move past them thanks to the help of his ring. This are all conclusions i made about the worldbulding, but maybe they're enterely my own and the narrative wasnt meant to give any answers.
    In true the narrative of this is specially bad, when compared to the previous series. And i not sure if that's because of the diferent artists or just Bendis getting worse as a writer. At the very least, in that series there was this constant felling of stuff happening that covered what was lacking in Bendis's writing. While in this his extremely dicompresed style is clearer that ever. The again, it may just be a purely personal vias, since i did thought that series was considerably more fun than this.

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  8. Naomi is Bendis' pet project - a character based around his adopted daughter. He tries to shoehorn her into everything that DC will let him, like Young Justice and JLA. She's not a terrible character, just bland. Bendis is attempting to do his own Kamala Khan and failing miserably

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  9. Thank you, Russell, for reviewing this issue. I am committed to never buying another LSH story written by Bendis, and your reviews of this miniseries satisfy my curiosity (and confirm my suspicions). Thank you for your sacrifice (reading these issues sounds painful) and for your dedicated service to the Legion.

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