Monday, November 30, 2009

Week of 25 November 2009

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

SUEPRMAN #694 (1/10)
"Man of Valor Part One"
ROLL CALL: Chameleon Boy [Control], Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El, Quislet [Hovercam MTSP02], Sensor Girl
CUTE BOYS: Conner, Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El

Mon-El is back, and he's learning to use contractions. He spends some tme on the Kent farm with Conner, Ma, and Krypto. Ma makes Mon a snazzy new tight costume. Mon sends Conner to the Fortress of Solitude on a mysterious mission. Then Mon flies off to Metropolis to rescue Sensor Girl and the Science Police from Bizarro. Mitch turns out to be Matter-Eater Lad, and eats a car to rescue a little girl. Then the Parasite takes way Mon's powers.

So Mitch was Matter-Eater Lad all along. And Wilcox is Sensor Girl. Element Lad is Superboy's chemistry teacher. Tellus is living in the swamp near Smallville. And now I'm doubly-suspicious of everyone in the 21st century.

Look at page 7. Three panels, each showing the woman the Guardian calls "Control." She might be moving around the room as she speaks...but it sure looks like there are three of her. And when the Guardian tells her that Mon-El is not dead, she responds "Mon-El? Of course he isn't." Is she Luornu?

The woman who left her daughter napping in the car...sounds like criminal negligence -- is she a supervillain in disguise?

What about that tractor on the Kent farm? Chameleon Boy in disguise?

According to L3W, the "missing" Legionnaires are Chameleon Boy, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Quislet, Sensor Girl, Tellus, and Tyroc. Are they all in the 21st century on this Espionage Squad mission?

Chameleon Boy: Still unknown, but could be anyone or anything.
Dream Girl: Could be the girl Lori in Conner's school in Smallville.
Element Lad: Conner's chemistry teacher in Smallville.
Matter-Eater Lad: "Mitch" in Metropolis.
Quislet: Still unknown, although Thom seemed to indicate to the birds that he was part of the mission.
Sensor Girl: "Wilcox" in the Science Police, Metropolis. (Incidentally, the way to spot her in armor is that her hair sticks out from under her helmet.)
Tellus: In the swamp in Smallville.
Tyroc: Still unknown.

In addition, we know that Starman is still in the 21st century, and "Control" might be three of Duplicate Damsel's bodies. Historically, Luornu has always been part of the Espionage Squad.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: IMHO, Matter-Eater Lad completely blows his cover as soon as he calls Mon-El "buddy." Mitch is Jonathan Kent's buddy, not Mon-El's.


WORLD'S FINEST #2 (1/10)
"Book Two: Guardian and Robin"
ROLL CALL: Mon-El mentioned in dialog.
CUTE BOYS: Damian Wayne is still too young, but he can come back in a few years. The two S.P.s he beats up are not un-cute.

Mr. Freeze and the Parasite are trying to out Mon-El in a freeze chamber so Parasite can feed off him. Freeze says, "Once I've finished and you've caught him, Parasite, Mon-El will stay frozen in time, forever young." An interesting parallel to Mon's time in the Phantom Zone.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week of 18 November 2009

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

ADVENTURE #4/#507 (1/10)
"He Primed Me Part One: Spoiler Alert"
ROLL CALL (EARTH-PRIME LEGION): Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Element Lad (zombie), Light Lass, Lightning Lad, Sun Boy (zombie), Triplicate Girl, Ultra Boy
CUTE BOYS: Superboy-Prime is not unattractive,

Zombie Alex Luthor travels to Earth-Prime to take on Superboy-Prime, accompanied by zombie Element Lad and zombie Sun Boy, as well as other zombies of people Prime has killed. Meanwhile(?) in the 31st century, the Earth-Prime Legion gets an alarm that Prime, who is under house arrest, has left the building.

First of all, it's good to see the Earth-Prime Legion again. I hope Adventure Comics continues to show the different versions of the Legion, and not just the Big Three: I miss Devlin O'Ryan and Kent Shakespeare, Danielle Foccart's Computo and Dragonmage. Come on, DC, there are 52 universes: let's see a Legion form each one!

Second, although I never thought it would be possible, Superboy-Prime almost comes off as sympathetic in this story. It's hard not to sympathize with someone who thinks he's going to die. Or a kid who finds out that his parents fear him. The moment that crystallized it all was when Prime threw himself in front of his parents to save them. It's the most unselfish thing I've seen him do since Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Is it possible that Superboy-Prime has begun his journey to rehabilitation?

If so, what would it take for the rest of the DC Universe to accept that he's rehabilitated? If we take a lesson from Hal Jordan, a big enough self-sacrifice can reclaim the reputation of a hero-turned-villain. Final Night ended with Hal Jordan giving up his life and reclaiming his reputation. If Blackest Night ends with Superboy-Prime giving up his life to save the world, would that be enough to reclaim his reputation?

(if that's what happens, you heard it here first.)

It would be interesting to see a rehabilitated Superboy-Prime as part of the Earth-Prime Legion. Some of the others would never trust him, some would accept him, some would have mixed feelings.


ADVENTURE #507/#4 (1/10)
"Long Live the Legion Part Four: Star Crossed"
ROLL CALL: Black Witch, Blok, Brainiac 5, Dawnstar, Phantom Girl, Wildfire
CUTE BOYS: It's a sad day when Brainy is the cutest boy in the story.

Blok, crumbling as an effect of his fight with Mordru, heads off to the Sorcerer's World to find Mysa. Dawnstar and Wildfire accompany him. Mysa states that she is, now and forever, the Black Witch. She is fighting to keep Mordru's evil magic inside and turn it to good. She removes Mordru's poison from Blok, making him whole again. He elects to stay on the Sorcerer's World with Mysa. Dawny and Wildfire leave, expressing their own love-across-enormous-gulfs.

A very sweet and powerful story of two couples whose love transcends the differences between them.

Thematically, this story fits in with the two previous ones in showing love transcending differences. First there was Garth and Mekt, brothers who still love one another despite the gulf between good and evil. Then Sun Boy and Polar Boy, comrades whose love crosses not only the gulf between hot and cold, but that between Legionnaire and Sub, experienced oldster and newbie. And now we have Mysa & Blok, Dawny & Drake with love that bridges gulfs of species and physical form.

And isn't that one of the important messages of the Legion? Love/respect/affection that bridges the gulfs separating people?

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: On the Sorcerer's World there are statues of Evillo and Glorith. Did Mordru put them there? Mysa?

I'm able to identify five of the six stone faces surrounding Mysa's throne: Zatanna, Green Lantern Alan Scott, Raven, Blue Devil, and his son. I'm missing the one in the upper left: he's obviously a Green Lantern of some kind, but he also looks like the Spectre. Anyone?

Mysa's transformation is obvious: she went form White to Black. Whatever changes happened to Blok are less obvious: he went form being a craggy rock to being a smooth rock. I guess I was expecting more. Strata turned into crystal, after all.

ADDED LATER: My husband Thomas points out that Mysa's struggle to contain and tame Mordru's dark energy is a parallel to Wildfire's situation: Drake is all about containing and taming wild energy. I have a very perceptive husband.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week of 11 November 2009

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

R.E.B.E.L.S. #10 (1/10)
"The Son & The Stars Part One"
ROLL CALL: Adam Strange, Amon Hakk, Bounder, Captain Comet, Ciji, Garryn Bek, Garv, Lobo, Lydea Mallor, Lyrissa Mallor, Lyrl Dox, Rocky, Strata, Stealth, Tribulus, Vril Dox, Wildstar, Xylon
CUTE BOYS: Lyrl Dox, of course. continues to run around without a shirt. Captain Comet lloks cute in some shots, less so in others.

I was very dubious about a Blackest Night crossover, but this one worked. They used the zombies theme very effectively, to bring back Stealth...and she's after Dox.

BITS OF L.E.G.I.O.N.NAIRE BUSINESS: You just know that ever since Dox heard of the Yellow Lanterns, he's been planning what his outfit would look like....

ACTION #883 (1/10)
"Divine Spark Part 1"
CUTE BOYS: Chris Kent, of course, in a new tight outfit.

Mon-El is mentioned, but there are no actual Legion appearances.

At last, someone has noticed that Jimmy Olsen hasn't shown up for work in more than a month. His girlfriend goes to his boss, Perry White -- to whom the fact that Jimmy's missing comes as a complete surprise. I mean, wouldn't you think the Daily Planet would have a timeclock or sign-in sheet or some method of making sure that its employees actually show up for work?

Anyway, Chris blows up another apartment and is suddenly a decrepit oldster.

You know, Brainiac 5 could have this whole tedious storyline solved in about an hour, including a break for lunch. I'm just sayin'



REALM OF KINGS: IMPERIAL GUARD #1 of 5 (1/10) (Marvel)
(No Title)
ROLL CALL: not-Brainiac-5, not-Colossal-Boy, not-Cosmic-Boy, not-Dawnstar, not-Ferro-Lad, not-Lightning-Lad, not-Phantom-Girl, not-Star-Boy, not-Sun-Boy, not-Superboy, not-Timber-Wolf, not-Tyr, not-Ultra-Boy

Marvel's Imperial Guard is their version of the Legion; call it the Legion of Earth-Marvel. This miniseries is written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, who were Legion writers a while ago.

The art is awful, the story doesn't make a lot of sense, the Imperial Guard is bloodthirsty, and their members don't get along together very well. In short, it's a lot like the Giffbaum Legion, without the nine-panel grid.

The Imperial Guard doesn't show up very often, but they're back in this five-issue miniseries. Is this Marvel's way of capitalizing on the excitement that the Legion is generating in DC circles? Dunno.

Should Legion fans buy this series? I'm a fanatical completist, but even I don't have a complete set of comics featuring the Imperial Guard. I must admit that I've picked up some from back-issue ins, but I haven't been deliberately seeking them out. To me, the Imperial Guard falls into a category similar to Booster Gold's flight ring: I just don't feel the compulsion to own every single issue.

Still, as long as I'm spending good money on Blackest Night and the whole pointless New Krypton thing, it can't hurt to pick up five Imperial Guard comics. Your Mileage May Vary.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Week of 4 November 2009

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

In a rather pointless story in SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #9 (1/09), we learn that the whole universe is watching what's happening on New Krypton. One can only wonder why: are there their lives that boring? Because frankly, with no Legionnaires and very little of consequence going on, there's really not a lot of point in watching what happens on New Krypton.

At least Tyr-Van, Superman's cute ex-boyfriend from the Labor Guild, is still around. Apparently, members of the Labor Guild are supposed to do whatever their supervisors command. That leads to interesting naughty speculations, and would certainly provide the rest of the universe something more worth watching....

Meanwhile, it's been nearly two months and Jimmy Olsen is still floating dead in Metropolis harbor. Just thought I'd mention that.


Week of 28 October 2009

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

SUPERMAN #693 (12/09)
ROLL CALL: Mon-El, Sensor Girl (maybe)
CUTE BOYS: Mon-El spends most of this issue with his teeth gritted and his brow furrowed. Ir's not flattering.

Mon-El is tormented as Major Lane's prisoner. With the Parasite, he plots an escape through the Stargate. Luthor & Brainiac attack Lane's base, and Lane decides to let Mon-El go. Two days later Bizarro shows up in Metropolis.

Jeckie might be in with the SPs on the penultimate page, but with them all in their suits, who can tell?


"Secret Origin Book Two: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes"
ROLL CALL: Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy (voice only), Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Superboy, Triplicate Girl
CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Cos, Garth, Kal

This issue has two covers, and Lgion fanatics will want both. The standard cover features Brainy, Saturn Girl, Superboy, Lightning Lad, and Cosmic Boy in front of the Legion Clubhouse; the variant cover features Triplicate Girl's and Phantom Girl's breasts, and has Cosmic Boy, Superboy, Brainy, Lightning Lad, and a surprisingly flat-chested Saturn Girl in the background. Hey DC, how about some parity here? If we're going to see Tinya and Luornu's well-endowed boobs, why can't the boys have similarly-exaggerated packages?

Parts of this story are a revisit of scenes in the Superman & the Legion of Super-Heroes series.

Clark is doing super-feats in his super-suit, but he's keeping out of sight and still hates the costume. There's a nice discussion about Clark's underwear. Then Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl show up and take him to the 30th century. In a fight against human supremacists, Superboy coins the phrase "Long Live the Legion." Legion relations with the SPs are strained -- the Legion does not yet have official UP sanction. Superboy meets Phantom Girl and Triplicate Girl, who both flirt with him (nice echo of Luornu's eventual unrequited crush on Kal). Brainy berates the founders for bringing Kal to the future, but Garth dares him to figure out a way to involve Kal without endangering the timestream.

The founders return Kal to 20th century Smallville, where he is a changed boy: he loves the Legion, loves his super-suit, and the look on his face clearly shows that he's stopped wearing underwear.

Then a rocket shows up over Smallville, Kal catches it, and then comes the single greatest panel in the entire issue: Superboy's delighted face reflected in the rocket's metal as he hears an "ARRF!" from inside.

Meanwhile, Lex Luthor has killed his father (making it look like an accident) and he's off to Metropolis to start a life of crime.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: Chameleon Boy summons the Legionnaires to the anti-alien riot in downtown Smallville, but we never see him. I assume he's back at the Clubhouse on monitor duty.

We never see the Clubhouse, either.

Rokk says that the Legion chose to base the team in Smallville. This is a direct echo of the first Legion story. I don't know that his has ever been explicitly established, but the implication is that the Legion remained based in Smallville until the Fatal Five wrecked the Clubhouse and they built their new Headquarters in Metropolis. Comments, anyone?

There's a cute statue of a cartoon-style Krypto in Smallville.


Also out this week: LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: ENEMY RISING Trade Paperback, which collects issues LSH #37 (2/08) - #44 (9/08). The cover also features Phantom Girl's boobs.