Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week of 26 August 2009

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

SUPERMAN #691 (10/09)
"Codename: Patriot Part 4"

Mirabai, disguised as Supergirl, leads Mon-El into the Metropolis sewers, where she ambushes him and he is, for some reason, knocked out by Reactron. (Does Gold Kryptonite affect Daxamites? It never did before...) Then the sewers explode, and Mon is presumed dead.

Why everyone assumes that a few punches from non-Super people and some run-of-the-mill explosions could kill a guy who goes sunbathing in the sun, I have no idea. Maybe because Mon-El is under the influence of a power greater than Daxamites, Kryptonians, or any other force in the DC Universe: the script. Script says "Mon-el is knocked out and everyone assumes he's dead," and that's what happens.

When you look up "good storytelling" in the dictionary, they do not have a picture of this story.


"The Death of Jimmy Olsen"

Jimmy is afraid that Codename: Assassin is coming after him. Mon-El assures him that he has nothing to fear; Mon will respond to his signal watch.

Then Codename: Assassin comes after Jimmy, and Mon-El doesn't respond to the signal watch. This is because Mon-El is presumed dead in the sewers of Metropolis. So Codename: Assassin shoots Jimmy, who falls into the water, bleeding profusely.

Okay, first of all, I doubt that Jimmy is dead...and even if he is, he'll be back. Death isn't the handicap it used to be. It doesn't slow down your career the way it did in the old days.

Second, before anyone accuses Mon-El of dereliction of duty, I think it only fair to point out that at the same time Jimmy was getting shot, Supes was ignoring both the signal watch and a terrorist attack on Metropolis, and instead was chasing his way off to New Krypton for a fabulous party with his aunt and his New Kryptonian posse. Mon-El at least had the excuse of being (somehow) beaten half-to-death by Mirabai and Reactron, and further inconvenienced by some explosions that had to seriously tickle....

...You know what? I can't go on. This whole General Lane/Who-is-Superwoman?/Codename: Stupidity storyline has been a disaster from page one, and I just can't even try to take it seriously any more. No more trying to piece together this sloppy narrative. I'm just going to look at the pretty pictures of Mon-El and cute Kryptonian boys, and drool quietly in the corner.


FLASH: REBIRTH #4 (9/09)
ROLL CALL: Not XS, certainly

The long-awaited FLASH: REBIRTH #4 arrived this week, and once again it features every important speedster in the DC Universe...with the exception of Jenni Ognats (aka XS). Well, okay, the Tornado Twins are also absent...which just makes the rampant anti-LSH bias in this comic even more obvious.

I mean, at the end of L3W #5, Jenni could've said, "Okay, Bart, I'll go back to the 21st century with you just long enough to participate in FLASH: REBIRTH, then my flight ring will catapult me forward to the exact time I left." But nooooo.

Mon-El knocked out & presumed dead, XS cruelly banished from the Flash Family Reunion...what is it with DC and Legionnaires?



Friday, August 21, 2009

Week of 19 August 2009

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

SUPERGIRL #44 (10/09)
"Codename: Patriot Part 3"
ROLL CALL: Chameleon Boy [Control], Mon-El, Sensor Girl [Wilcox]

Kryptonian cutie Ral-Dar escapes from Project 7734, but it's all part of General Lane's nefarious scheme.

Meanwhile, Mon-El and Supergirl go after Nightwing and Flamebird, and Mon-El is pleased to see how Chris has developed into a gorgeous young man. Only trouble is, it isn't really Chris, but only a magical simulation.


"The Secret Origin of Mon-El and His World"
ROLL CALL: Mon-El, Tellus (fingers only)

An issue that proves Mon-El came by his good looks honestly. First there's Dax-Am, the Kryptonian who discovered and settled Daxam (and who was apparently sent on his way by the Jedi Council). Then Lon-Am, who started interbreeding with Daxam's aborigines. Zax Vane and his boyfriend Van Toth were the first to leave Daxam to explore the galaxy. Mon-El's direct ancestor Bal Gand bore a child to a tall, hunky Earth Aztec named Juyu. And Lar left a cut boyfriend, Van, behind when he fled Daxam.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: Lar's great-great-etc-grandmother Bal Gand visited several planets besides Earth. One of them was Imsk, later to be the homeworld of Shrinking Violet. Other Daxamite explorers are shown making friends with inhabitants of Dryad, homeworld of Blok. Kryptonian invaders are visible on Imsk and Durla.

When Mon goes to the gay porno theater, he prefers comedies to action pix.

The Damamite vulnerability to lead was apparently due to genetic manipulation by the Kryptonian entity called the Eradicator.

It is strongly implied that Tellus was the source of the mysterious bottle of anti-lead serum that Supes found to save Mon-El after the Phantom Zone collapsed.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Week of August 12, 2009

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

This was a great week for LSH fans. Forget Blackest Night: the Legion is all over the Superman titles.

ACTION #880 (10/09)
"Codename: Patriot Part 2"
ROLL CALL: Mon-El, Sensor Girl [Wilcox]

Lots of cute super-beings in this issue. Mon-El, of course, who flies into action to rescue a pilot, and then creates a distraction so that Supes and Lois can sneak away for some off-panel canoodling. But there's also Ral-Dar, misguided but totally adorable Kryptonian. And then there's Nightwing/Chris Kent, about whom an onlooker has the final word: "--Oh, he is cute! Wouldn't mind seeing what's under that armor --"

As usual, Mon-El is the most sensible and heroic one around. Although Tellus foiled Mon's chance for hot Daxamite sex with Sodam Yat, perhaps we can hope Mon will step up to the plate and rehabilitate Ral-Dar with some hot hugs & kisses. Or when Flamebird goes crazy (you know she will) or gets killed (it could happen), Mon could comfort Chris and become a true member of the Superman Family as Clark and Lois's son-in-law.


ADVENTURE #1/#504 (10/09)
"Superboy The Boy of Steel Part One"
ROLL CALL: Brainiac 5 (cameo), Chameleon Boy (cameo), Cosmic Boy (cameo), Lightning Lad (cameo), Phantom Girl (cameo), Saturn Girl (cameo), Superboy (Kal-El) (cameo), Tellus, Triplicate Girl (cameo)

Tellus is hiding in Bruin Lake in Smallville, terrorizing a strange young boy named Simon Valentine. Everyone needs a hobby.

ADVENTURE #1/#504 (10/09)
"Long Live the Legion Part One" (second feature)
ROLL CALL (cameos): Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, R.J. Brande, Chameleon Girl, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Duplicate Damsel, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Night Girl, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Starman/Star Boy, Sun Boy, Superboy (Kal-El), Superman, Triplicate Girl, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, Wildfire
ROLL CALL (speaking roles): Blok, Brainiac 5, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Lightning Lad, Starman/Star Boy, Tellus, XS

There are two covers for this issue. The one Legion fans want is the variant cover (pictured here), which is done in the style of Adventure 300 and countless others, and shows Starman in one of the panels. (The non-variant cover has Superman, Superboy, and Luthor.) This issue is numbered both 1 and 504; the non-variant cover has a huge white 1 and a greyed-out 504, while the variant cover has a white 504 and a huge greyed-out 1.

A lot crammed into eight pages, most of it setup for future stories. The main story takes place in 21st century Smallville. Starman talks to some birds; in the course of the conversation he lets slip that he is part of an Espionage Squad mission ("The worlds still need to be saved.") He also mentions Quislet; it's hard to understand Thom all the time, but the implication seems to be that Quislet is one of the team in the 21st century.

Thom visits Tellus in Bruin Lake and makes reference to "R.J. Brande's Last Will and Testament, aka our battle plan. Legion operation: Spin the bottle." Tellus tries to cure Thom's insanity; Thom criesout "Arrggg! The war. The 31st century. Today. Tomorrow. Beware the Black Witch. Dream Girl!"

Then there are some intriguing preview images ("Coming up for the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 21st/31st century"). In the 21st century there's Element Lad; then Dream Girl, Superboy (Connor), and a mystery boy (who might or might not be Mon-El); and Morgan Edge and Despero. In the 31st century, the cameos show Brainy, Tinya, and Blok (whose wounds have healed with a complicaiton, but who is eager to be off to the Sorcerer's World); XS on the Cosmic Treadmill ("Gotta get back. Gotta warn --"); and a mysterious gloved hand bearing a Green Lantern ring and a Legion flight ring.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: In the double-page spread, the identifying labels for Night Girl and Shadow Lass are switched. Also, Jacques is invisible.

It appears that many of the missing Legionnaires are in the 21st century as part of an Espionage Squad operation: Dream Girl, Element Lad, Starman, Tellus, possibly Quislet...and if the Espionage Squad is involved, could Chameleon Boy be far? Especially since it has something to do with his father's Last Will and Testament? I'm willing to bet that Cham is masquerading as someone we've already seen, or will see soon.


R.E.B.E.L.S. #7 (10/09)
"No Way Out"
ROLL CALL: Amon Hakk, Bounder, Cece, Strata, Vril Dox, Wildstar

BITS OF L.E.G.I.O.N.NAIRE BUSINESS: Oddly enough, Despero shows up for the second time this week in a Legion-related comic, when he refuses Dox's plea for help.

For the first time, we get to see the Gil-Dishpan at home. Out of their containment bubbles, they look more anthropomorphic than you'd think.


"Mon-El" (text feature) & "Double Act" (story)
ROLL CALL: Mon-El, Sensor Girl [Wilcox]

Besides the text feature, Mon also appears in a seven-page story of the developing partnership between Jonathan Kent and Billi Harper.

When Billi suggests that Jon might have a boyfriend, he replies, "No. I like girls. It is just -- like I said, my life has been complicated." Hooray for complicated! (I think it's been clear, since Mon's first meeting with Kal-El, that Mon goes for boys as much as for girls.)


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Week of August 5, 2009

I did not see any Legion content in DC Comics this week.

So I went back and read LEGION OF 3 WORLDS over again. It helped.

Here are some more thins I'd like to see for the Legion in the future:

  • Some new threats/villains. The Universe-Prime Legion was good at this: We had Lemnos, Robotica, and the invaders who were digitizing everything. Oh, I don't mind bringing back bad guys from old continuity -- but let's not do it too often, okay?

  • New Legionnaires. Yeah, everybody complains that the Legion's cast is too large already. Tough. It's the "Legion" of Super-Heroes, not the "Dozen or So" Super-Heroes.

  • Some clarification of what's part of Retro Legion continuity. Sensor Girl, Tellus, Quislet, and Polar Boy are all members: what about Magnetic Kid? Did he die in the Magic Wars? (In "Superman & the LSH," Supes mentioned the Magic Wars; apparently they are still part of continuity.) I presume that the whole "Death of Superboy" thing is out (or is it? Was there a Pocket Universe?)

  • What has happened to the Legion in the years between the Magic Wars and now? Yera has a career as Chameleon Girl. Night Girl joined the Legion. Val came back from the dead. What happened with Night Girl and Comsic Boy? Last time we saw they were a couple, but in L3W Cos seemed devoted to the Legion to the exclusion of personal relationships. What about the Ranzz Family: how are the twins, have there been any other kids? Have Jo and Tinya tied the knot? What else have we missed?

  • How do we stand with Superboy? Apparently Kal-El had a career in the 30th century as Superboy, while in the 20th "the Super Boy" was a suburban legend. One assumes that most of the previous Legion stories are essentially unchanged, except those that brought the Legion back to 20th century Smallville. There must be some way to save the "Mordru the Merciless" story....

  • What about Supergirl?

    I guess the bottom line is that I want to see a nice balance between history/nostalgia and innovation, between old and new, between character and plot, between relationships and great events. That's not too much to ask, is it?

  • Sunday, August 02, 2009

    Week of 29 July 2009

    (SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comic.)

    SUPERMAN #690 (9/09)
    "The Setup"
    ROLL CALL: Mon-El, Sensor Girl [Wilcox], Tellus

    The title says it all: this issue is little more than four vignettes, each a setup for a later story.

    Eleven pages are wasted on a protracted fight scene between Steel and Atlas, in which the dialogue consists mostly of various grunts. Eleven pages which could easily have been spent showing us something interesting, like Mon-El undressing and taking a shower, or parading around in bathing trunks, or any of a number of other scenarios.

    A two-page Science Police setup (in which Mon-El appears, fully-clothed, in only two panels) has Officer Harper assigned to partner with Mon-El (Jon Kent) in the new plainclothes squad. Well, at least this bit has an openly gay S.P. officer, so that's cool. This story will be continued in Superman: Secret Files 2009.

    An extended teaser has the Parasite going after Zatara, who is assisted by Mark Merlin. (I should know who Mark Merlin is, but I'm too lazy to look it up.) Zatara, as always, is cute but rather insufferable. Somebody needs to shove something in his mouth to keep him from talking. This story will be continued in the pages of Superman and Justice League.

    The last setup sequence is the best. It shows a meeting between Tellus and Sodam Yat. Sodam is on his way to find Mon-El for some hot Daxamite boy-on-boy action, but Tellus stops him. Tellus announces that "If you meet Mon-El now, the future will be such that evil will win out over good." I am guessing that this is a tie-in to L3W, where Mon and Sodam apparently met for the first time...but perhaps it is some other kind of time paradox.

    Sodam wanted to show Mon his with information about Daxam. (Sodam is apparently under the impression that Mon doesn't know that much about Daxam, which is odd, because Daxam is where Mon grew up, eh?) So Tellus agrees to take the crystals to Mon. This story will be continued in Superman Annual #14. Somehow, it seems like Sodam is missing the point. I mean, he gets credit for the "seduce Mon by showing him pictures from home" plan, but not so much for the "send the hulking telepathic alien in my place to seduce Mon by showing him pictures from home" plan.

    Tellus, on the other hand, knows exactly what he's doing -- after all, now he gets to seduce Mon, and he's gotten rid of the competition. Just goes to show that a Legionnaire can out-think any 21st century hero, especially when it comes to hot mansex.