Monday, October 3, 2022

Justice League vs The Legion of Super-Heroes 6

Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes #6 (November, 2022)
title: The Gold Lantern Saga Part Six
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: Vandal Savage is remaking TOMBSTONE, the Legion is remaking INCEPTION, and the JLA is remaking BILL &  TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE. 

Mission Monitor Board: 
Who cares? Can YOU identify all the characters on the cover without referencing any earlier issue? I doubt it. 
Here are the ones who had anything at all to say this time out: Chameleon Boy, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, White Witch, Timber Wolf, Bouncing Boy, Dr. Fate, Ultra Boy, Gold Lantern, Cosmic Boy, Superboy (was he there before?), Computo, and Dawnstar

Supporting Characters:
The Justice League: Black Canary, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Black Adam, and some chick named Queen Naomi; Jonah Hex (yes, you read that right)

Opponents:
bad writer, worse editor, Vandal Savage (sort of)

Summary:
Vandal Savage is a Sheriff Doctor Mayor in an Old West town. 
He has Batman chained up in his jail, but there is no sign of any other antagonist. His posse brings in Jonah Hex, who Vandal promptly beats. Vandal gloats over Batman, then realizes that it's not really Batman at all. 
Does that look like Batman to you? Are you smarter than Vandal Savage?

The wall explodes and we get a two-page spread of the Legion of Super-Heroes (TM) and the Justice League of America (TM).

Shrunk to fit, but this is TWO PAGES.

Suddenly Vandal Savage is shown to be imprisoned in Gold Lantern's ring. The previous ten pages (!) were all a "sting" to get Vandal to admit to his wrong-doings in psychic, metaphysical, and verbal forms. 
Way to SHOW and not TELL, Bendis. Sheesh.

Suddenly, everyone is on OA facing the Elders (not the Guardians?). They confront Vandal and sentence him to "non-existence."  He attacks, still armed with his Great Darkness Ring (patent pending) but is disarmed by Gold Lantern. The Elders are very impressed with him (real name Kala Lour) and tells him to organize a new Gold Lantern Corps. 

After three pages of good-byes, the Justice League returns to its present day. I get drunk, trying to reclaim the time and money I wasted on this piece of crap. 

Russell's Review: 
This is probably the WORST written comic-book story/series I've read in a long, long time. 

Look, the point of any story is to establish a conflict, and then resolve said conflict. That's, literally, Creative Writing 101. So the point of this 6-issue mini-series was that there was a Great Darkness threatening all of existence. For 4 1/2 issues Our Heroes gathered and tried to solve this "crisis." 

And in this story, the whole thing is solved OFF PANEL with ONE WORD BALLOON. 

That should be sufficient to convince you that this story is crap. But I have a lot of anger at having wasted my time and money on this crap that I want to get out. So humor me, if you will for a few more paragraphs....

There are five full-page illustrations and atleast five half-page panels in this book. To me, that's a lot of wasted space. One is a simple portrait of Vandal, to carry-on the wasteful one-page head-shot tradition Bendis did with every Legion issue he wrote. 

Seriously? Does this add ANYTHING to this story?!?! 

Another is a butt-shot of Gold Lantern *about* to attack Vandal Savage. I'm not kidding.  


Did I mention that there are ELEVEN pages of Old West scenes in this book ABOUT THE FUTURE? 

Jonah Hex is brought in by two dandies. Sorry, there is NO WAY IN Hell these dweebs could have beaten him. I think in his history Jonah lost to a cavalry unit and to an Indian tribe. That's about it. 

Is that Chameleon Boy playing Batman? How? When? Why? Oh, to get the confessions. By the way, what the Hell is a "metaphysical confession," White Witch? 

Why would Dr. Fate not know what "non-existence" means? Of course, we have no idea who this Dr. Fate is; maybe it's Hector Hall again and he doesn't know anything about non-existence. 

What is Vandal's Great Darkness Ring (patent pending)? Are we supposed to know what this is? It appears with no explanation, and then disappears with no explanation. Because Bendis. 


Queen Naomi isn't in the group shot at the end. Most of the Legionnaires aren't, either. 


At this point, WTF cares, right? 

On the very last page (of a JLA-LSH story!!!) Jonah Hex is shown rescuing Vandal Savage. Huh? Doesn't Vandal no longer exist?!?! And Jonah rides with somebody else? (never!) And does something nice for a stranger?! Geez, DC, way to not understand one of your greatest Western characters. 


So, to sum up: this issue is awful. This series is awful. Can we start an email writing campaign to DC to ask for a NEW old Legion now? 

Status: 
This issue is scheduled to be reprinted in the collection Justice League vs The Legion of Super-Heroes, which will go on sale in December. Tell your comic-book shop NOT to order it. It's garbage, from start to finish. 

7 comments:

  1. I've been following your series of reviews of this crossover title with interest. Following the final instalment I just read the whole thing online and I really can't see that it's very much worse than umpteen other comics I've read. The plot is gibberish, the ending is very rushed and there are many panels that only exist for the sake of a smart remark or a gag but that seems to me to be superhero comics in a nutshell.

    I liked the art, mostly. The panel-to-panel flow is decent. Unlike you, apparently, I generally appreciate single and double page spreads and full-page single illustrations, so a lot of the things you pulled out as problematic I thought worked reasonably well. I also can't see what the problem with a dozen pages set in the old west would be in a time-travel story.

    As for the writing, it's nicely elliptical. I like Bendis's clipped tone. I liked some of the jokes, too. With a ridiculously large cast like this you can't expect any real characterisation but the main players seemed to be recognizeable, at least. I've seen very, very much worse.

    Some of the specific moments you pick out for attention as problematic seem to me to be misreadings. The panel where Dr. Fate says "Non-existence?", for example, isn't Fate asking what non-existence means; it's expressing surprise at the severity of the sentence. That's made unmistakably clear by Naomi's comment in response.

    Whether the series is awful or just average is mostly a matter of taste. It's certainly not great. Then again, most superhero comics aren't so I'm not sure why this one needs to meet a higher bar. Thanks for taking the trouble to review the six issues, anyway. Very amusing and much appreciated, plus I wouldn't even have known the series existed if you hadn't covered it!

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    Replies
    1. ....You're welcome? LOL. Yeah, my bar was pretty high, glad you enjoyed it more than I did.

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  2. I read this online without paying for a single issue. I saw the first page, then "turned" the page and put the tablet down is disgust. The first page does not connect to the next. We don't even know who says that line on the first page. I guess Bendis thinks he is being clever.

    And besides, shouldn't this have been Projectra casting some type of illusion?

    We have no explanation on the Great Darkness ring, how Vandal got it or anything. We have absolutely no clue what a Gold Lantern's shtick is. Nothing here provides any satisfaction for the plot, narrative, or character exploration. What's the new status quo on Luornu who, when she merged last issue, didn't take on the black and white costume. The LSH series ended with Gold Lantern being dubious to his connection to the Elders/Guardians. Are we to assume that they weren't being truthful about Savage's fate?

    Bendis leaves us to fill in too much on our own. Instead of creating intrigue, it's just fatigue. That's laziness on his part. I am so ready for this decompressed, "wide-screen " storytelling to be over.

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  3. Dear DC/Warner Bros. Discovery honchos,

    Please bury this version of the LSH immediately & ban Bendis from wreaking his lazy, sloppy writing upon any more of your IPs (including the animated series said hack has been puffing his chest up about of late).

    Also, please send Russell a case of the adult beverage of his choice for suffering through this crap so that the rest of us didn't have to.

    Finally, send Godlewski a few good reference images so that he can hopefully come to grasp that chins aren't supposed to be that pointy. (And that Wonder Woman isn't built like a linebacker.)

    Respectfully,
    -A Legion of Longtime Fans

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  4. What else could we expect from the same writer who made people waste $10 total on both issues of Millennium, just to see pointless character Thorn running pointlessly and talking pointlessly, and then have the LOSH not show up until the very last pages.

    BMB must have taken writing tips from the same guys that wrote the Frieza episodes of Dragon Ball Z, where it took 6 episodes for the planet Namek to blow up in 30 seconds.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for commenting, you made me laugh. :-)

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