Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Week of 26 May 2010

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

"Out of Time Part One of Two"


Cosmic Boy, Lightning Ld, Saturn Girl

CUTE BOYS: Garth, Rokk with his shirt off, ooo baby!

When Earth is destroyed by a black hole, the founding Legionnaires go into the past to enlist the help of the early Doom Patrol. The team returns to the future before Earth is destroyed and, working together with lots of witty banter, eliminate the black hole in time to change the future and spare Earth.

Competent art, nice story, good characterization, plenty of appropriate humor: this one was fun. (And did I mention that Rokk strides around with his shirt off?) All in all, this is an excellent example of a Silver Age story, just written by one of the best of today's writers.

Plus, this is just Part One: Part Two comes next month, teams the Subs and the Inferior Five, and dovetails with this issue to tell the flip side of the story. It should be a real hoot.


The original Legion clubhouse, classic costumes, and apparent age of the Legionnaires sets this story sometime in the early years of the Silver Age Legion. I'm not up on my Doom Patrol history, but I think this is early in that group's history as well -- Negative Man is there, and there are only four members.

The Legion's time machine is called a "Time Bubble," not the more recent "Time Sphere." We also see some previously-unshown TARDIS-like features of the Time Bubble, including a basement crammed with machinery. Saturn Girl, in a nice nod to her early science background (she did invent Serum XY-4, after all) says, "The power source and control systems exist in their own quantum space alongside the bubble, connected by a fourth-dimensional portal."

I recall at least one Legion story where Brainiac 5 had a lab aboard a time bubble; now we know where he was hiding it.

This story recalls many of the early Silver Age Legion crossovers: the Legionnaires (usually Cos, Garth, and Imra) bop back and forth to the Silver Age present at will, they are familiar with heroes of the present day, and everyone cooperates in a technobabble solution to a world-destroying problem. Imra even says, of time travel, "We do it all the time. We've got it down to a science."

This is the first story I've seen in a long, long time in which two disparate groups of super-heroes meet without immediately fighting with one another. It's refreshing.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Week of 19 May 2010

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

"The Scream Heard 'Cross the Universe"


Brianiac 5, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Earth-Man, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Sun Boy, Ultra Boy

ROLL CALL (Cameos):

Blok, Bouncing Boy, Duplicate Damsel, Lightning Lad, Polar Boy, White Witch

ROLL CALL (Supporting Cast):

Aven, Garridan Ranzz, Gigi Cusimano, Graym Ranzz, Lighting Lord, Sodam Yat

CUTE BOYS: Blond Science Police Officer, Dirk, Gim, Rokk, some Titanian cannon fodder

Two covers this time, and it goes without saying that Legion fans will want both.

After 21 years the Legion is back, with Paul Levitz at the helm and the incomparable Yildiray Cinar and Wayne Fancher doing the art. And this old-timer couldn't be happier.

Buy this issue. Buy two copies. Buy the one with the alternate cover. Buy several copies for friends. We want this comic to sell well.

On to the story. There are two major stories, and in true Levitz style they are told in various threads that entwine through the issue.

Story one: Earth-Man (last seen in L3W) is being de-powered by the S.P.s. But wait -- Earthgov, which still has a powerful minority of xenophobes -- insists that the Legion take him on as a member. Brainy, being no fool, makes him a special flight ring with extra security features built in.

Story two: At the Time Institute, which has been relocated to Titan, scientists are testing their new super-duper time-viewer. The head scientist (not Circadia Senius) decides to turn it on the beginning of the universe. Uh-oh...the last guy who tried that was Krona, and it did not turn out well. And it doesn't this time, fact, Titan gets destroyed.

Meanwhile, Saturn Girl has been visiting Titan with the twins. (Lightning Lad is off chasing after Mekt's supposed missing twin.) She gets caught up in the disaster, as does the rest of the Legion. In the confusion, Garridan and Graym vanish, as if teleported away. Imra heads off after them in the Institute's one remaining time sphere.

On Oa, Sodam Yat witnesses the Institute's transgression and is surprised when an entity named Dyogene bursts from the ground and demands a power ring. With Mogo gone, Dyogene appears to be the new buy in charge of handing out power rings. He appears on Earth and names Earth-Man the new Green Lantern of Sector 2814.


This is storytelling. This is characterization. This is a good Legion comic.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: Notice the orbs floating in Titan's sky. They are reminiscent of Wayne Boring's classic style in Superman, where odd moons and planets were always floating about. I don't know if this was an intentional homage, but it was cool nonetheless.

Yes, Cinar can draw female boobs to please the fanboys -- both Phantom Girl and Dawnstar are on display -- but don't worry, he is equally adept at drawing cute boys. Dirk in particular is gorgeous in this issue.

I was wondering where the Ranzz twins were. Very nice to see them. Of course, by the end of the issue I'm wondering where they are again. Poor Imra.

Good to see Gigi, too, and she's been promoted to Chief. She and Colossal Boy have quite a history with one another. Watch for some of it to come out in future issues.

Saturn Girl turns her ring insignia upside down to summon the other Legionnaires when Titan is falling apart. That's an emergency signal that dates back to the original Adventure days.

Titan's environment is maintained by high-tech shields. That's a nice touch, and also recalls a similar shield around Ganymede in Robert A. Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky.


On page 4, the Interlac letters on the right read "Time Institute." On the left, they read "Acacdemy," which isn't really an's how people spelled "Academy" in ancient Titanian dialect.

The story starts off identifying the date as A.D. 3010. Yeah, don't believe it. You think they'd learn by now to stop putting exact dates in Legion comics unless they have a well-planned scheme to back them up. The Ranzz twins are obviously less than 10 years old, and we know they weren't born in the 31st century.

OTOH, Paul Levitz has a great text page in the back in which he says, "Be warned that the phenomenon of 'chronicler's error' lurks in all Legion tales." Truer words were never spoken.


TINY TITANS #28 (7/10)
"Presenting the Super-Pets"


Brianiac 5, Beppo, Krypto, Comet, Streaky, Ace, B'Dg, Proty

CUTE BOYS: Everyone is terribly cute and enormously pre-pubescent. Tiny Conner, though, should definitely come back when he's older.

Tiny Titans is aimed at the same audience as Jack & Jill or Highlights, and it's just delightful. It exists entirely outside continuity, or course.

There are several stories of various super-pets, ranging from one to six pages. From the cover it's obvious that the Super-Pets are onboard, but I wasn't expecting Brainiac 5. A pleasant surprise.

I'm just surprised that Super-Turtle wasn't along for the fun.

(Who is B'Dg, you ask? He's a squirrel who seems to be the pet of the Green Lantern Corps.)

If you have kid in your life, get them a subscription to Tiny Titans. Expose them to comics early, so they can grow up to be Legion fans.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Week of 12 May 2010

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

ADVENTURE #514/#11 (7/10)
"Last Stand of New Krypton: The Epilogue is the Future"

ROLL CALL (Major):
Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El, Sensor Girl, Starman/Star Boy, Tellus; also Vril Dox

ROLL CALL (Cameos):
Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Girl, Colosal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Duplicate Damsel, Gates, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lass, Night Girl, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, Wildfire, XS

MYSTERIOUSLY ABSENT: Element Lad, Lightning Lad, Quislet

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Dirk, Gim, Jo, Mon, Rokk, Tenzil, Vril Dox (but Brainy's cuter!)

This issue has two covers, and Legion fans are going to want both. The variant one departs from the usual Adventure #300 style, and instead divides up space into polygons and circles, recalling Flash Comics #1; you don't suppose someone read my post The Tale of a Classic Cover, do you?

In this one issue, all the Legion-related dangling threads from the Superman books are tied up, almost as an afterthought. If James Robinson wrote as concisely as Sterling Gates does in this first story, Last Stand of New Krypton would've been one single oversize issue...and vastly improved for it.

Anyway, the story: Cham and some of the Espionage Squad (Quislet and Element Lad are mysteriously absent) follow the instructions of R.J. Brande's will, repairing the broken strands of time that have fractured the continuum and sealed off the future. They enlarge one of Brainiac's bottled cities, filled with Durlans, to become New Durla. This city contains Queltop Daggle, ancestor of Ren Daggle (R.J. Brande) and Reep Daggle (Chameleon Boy). Thus, one broken strand of time has been repaired.

Next, Brainy is in a ship taking his ancestor, Brainiac, back to Colu for imprisonment. Brainiac almost escapes, but is stopped by Vril Dox of L.E.G.I.O.N. (another ancestor of Brainy's). Vril takes Brainiac to Colu to collect the ransom. Brainy reflects that the Legion stopped Brainiac from killing Superman, and saved the bottled cities that would have been destroyed. The space-time continuum is healed, and Brainy takes a time sphere back to the 31st century, where he is welcomed by almost all the active Legionnaires. (Blok and Mysa are presumably on Xerox, but Lightning Lad is mysteriously absent. Montior duty, maybe?)

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: Over the thousand years between our time and the Legion's, New Durla has become simply "Durla." Brainy mentions that in the 21st century, the Durlans are nomadic, and "there are thousands of tribes hidden in pockets across the universe." The ones Brianiac captured ("centuries ago") were called the Kel'par.

Brainy's log entry is numbered 20100512, which is the date that this comic hit the stands: year 2010, month 05, day 12.

Time bubbles are now known as "time spheres." The one Brainy uses is Time Sphere 426. Does this imply that there have been at least 425 others?


ADVENTURE #514/#11 (7/10)
"Man of Valor Finale"

ROLL CALL (Major):
Cosmic Boy, Mon-El; also Superboy (Conner), R.J. Brande (recorded voice)

ROLL CALL (Cameos):
Brainiac 5, Chemical King, Cosmic Boy, Duplicate Damsel, Element Lad, Invisible Kid (Lyle), Lightning Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Quislet, Saturn Girl, Sensor Girl, Shrinking Violet, Starman/Star Boy, Sun Boy, Superboy (Kal), Tellus, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Conner, Dirk, Garth, Jan, Jimmy Olsen, Jo, Mon, Rokk, Tenzil

Well, it all played out pretty much the way I expected. Mon planted the bottled cities all over the galaxy; their original planets and/or suns were destroyed, but he found empty ones. In doing this, Mon became a legend...not "Valor," but "Mon-El"...who seeded many of the important worlds of the galaxy. In previous continuity, Valor seeded the worlds with Earth humans who had been experimented upon by the Dominators; this time around, Mon-El seeds the worlds with aliens from Brianiac's bottled cities. The other way, it explained why so many "alien" races looked human and could interbreed; this way, it begs the looks and interbreeding questions, but allows the other worlds to be populated by true "aliens." This fits into the Geoff Johns notion of Earth hostility toward aliens.

So why, in the Leigon's time, do so many alien races look human and have the ability to interbreed with humans? Perhaps there was some earlier common ancestor: the Kryptonians were shown spewing colonies across the universe, so it's conceivable that Rimborians and Xanthusians and all the others are degenerate Kryptonian stock. Or, perhaps convergent evolution leads to the humanoid form, and interbreeding is possible through advanced 31st century science.

Anyway, Mon takes the last city (the telepathic Lanothians) to Titan. He spends four...whole...pages fighting with Jemm, Son of Saturn, for no apparent reason, then the Lanothians charm Jemm and take on the name "Titanians."

Back to Metropolis, where Jimmy Olsen laments the fact that he never had hot boy-boy Daxamite sex with Mon. We are told that Mon is ill and looks awful, but honestly I don't see it -- he looks fine, except for the occasional discreet cough (and a poignant panel where he pretends to be weak just to get a hug out of Conner). Jimmy, who seems remarkably understanding about that whole leave-me-to-get-shot-and-float-face-down-in-Metropolis-harbor-for-two-months-until-the-giant-slug-resuces-me thing, gives Mon the location of a hidden Atlantic Ocean base where the General Lane's gorilla scientist (yes, there's a gorilla) is hiding out. Incidentally, the gorilla's name is Calomar. We learn the secret that the writer has been keeping from us for no good reason, that Calomar's also been studying a Daxamite woman.

Who is Calomar and where did he get a Daxamite woman? A footnote refers us to Human Defense Corps #2 (2003). Guess I have to visit the back-issue bins.

Anyway, Mon rescues the Daxamite (whom he has left to be tortured by Calomar this whole time had other things on his mind? He was trying to emulate Superman, and figured behaving like an asshole was the best way? Because the writer wanted to save this surprise until the end of the interminable series?) (I mean, seriously, couldn't he have rescued the woman before heading out to seed the universe? The rescue took him all of 23 seconds.) We are left to figure out that the reason Calomar was so interested in Daxamite boy-parts is because he'd already had an eyeful of Daxamite girl-parts, and he wanted to compare. Seems to me, based on Billi Harper and the numerous Human boys Mon-El has fooled around with, that there can't be that much of a difference between Human boy-parts and Daxamite boy-parts -- and that both are probably similar to gorilla boy-parts -- so Calomar's curiosity looks awfully prurient.

Anyway. Mon puts the Daxamite woman aboard his repaired rocketship (which Conner repaired for him). She tells Mon that "Lar Gand, the Wanderer" is a hero and a legend on Daxam, well-known among those, like her, who "seek the stars." She came to Earth to find him. Mon answers, "Well, chippie, you found me, now get out of here and leave me alone with my boy-toy Conner, we've only got a few minutes for a few dozen super-speed quickies before lead poisoning kills me."

Suprise, in pops Chameleon Boy -- grown-up Chameleon Boy, fulfilling the last task in Brande's will. Cham explains that the Phantom Zone has "been recreated, but it's locked off from the 21st century. That's how it has to be." How come? Because that's what the writer says, that's how come. Because we already know that Mon has to spend 900-odd years in the Zone, and why not torment him further by rubbing in the fact that it's going to be at least the 22nd century before he can get out?

Does Cham say, "Hey, buddy, step into this time sphere, I'll zap you to the 29th century and then we'll pop you in the Phantom Zone for a few years, just long enough to satisfy history, I promise it won't be long"? Does Cham say, "I am a caring and compassionate hero in my own right, and there's no way I'm going to leave you to suffer for nearly a thousand years because my dead father said so"? Does Cham say, "I represent the Legion of Super-Heroes, a group powerful enough to defeat gods, rewrite history, and bring deliverance to all who suffer, and I am not going to allow you to spend a thousand years in torment no matter what"? No. Cham says, "Hey, sorry about the suffering and torment, wish I could give you some concrete hope, but wotthehell, it'll all be over sometime in the future. Now get in the Torment Zone and leave me alone with my boy-toy Conner, we've only got a few hours for some hot Durlan sex."

Mon goes into the Zone and whiles away the centuries clinging to hope. Finally, after six panels (each one lasting about 160 years), a hand reaches in and pulls him out -- it's Superboy (Kal) and the teenage Legion.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: Isn't it nice to see Lyle and Condo, if only for a moment? Good to see that the deceased Legionnaires aren't being forgotten.

It is not stated exactly when Mon was released from the Zone. It should have been the 30th century, but saying that would've been too confusing for readers, I guess.

The teen Legionnaires who welcome Mon to the future are Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid (Lyle), Lightning Lad, Sun Boy, and Triplicate Girl.  In Classic continuity, there were a few others who were already members when Mon-El was first released from the Zone in Adventure #300: Bouncing Boy, Colossal Boy, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Supergirl, and Ultra Boy. When Mon joined permanently, in Adventure #305, Lightning Lad was dead.


BOOSTER GOLD #32 (7/10)
"Tense Future!"


Emerald Empress

CUTE BOYS: Booster's kinda cute. As is Rip Hunter.

Booster goes to to the future -- specifically, to Daxam during the heart of the Great Darkness Saga, when Darkseid has given super-powers to the entire Daxamite populations, and they're all using their heat vision to reshape the planet into the form of Darkseid's head. While he's there, he runs into the Emerald Empress and brings back Doctor Fate's helmet (to keep it out of Darkseid's hands) and a little girl he rescued.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: According to Rip Hunter, Darkseid conquered Daxam on Thursday, April 8, 3082. This is so wrong. First, April 8, 3082 is going to be a Saturday...look at any calendar. Second, 3082 is deep, deep in the 31st century. The Great Darkness took place in the 30th century. He means 2982. Except, of course, he means 2984, which is when the Great Darkness took place in Classic and 5-Year-Gap continuity.


R.E.B.E.L.S. #16 (7/10)
"What Happens in Vega... Part 2"

ROLL CALL (Major):

Adam Strange, Amon Hakk, Bounder, Captain Comet, Ciji, Starfire, Vril Dox, Wildstar, Xylon

ROLL CALL (Cameos):

Garryn Bek (flashback cameo), Lobo (flashback cameo), Lyrissa Mallor (flashback cameo), Stealth (flashback cameo), Strata (flashback cameo)

CUTE BOYS: Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Vril Dox

Dox and L.E.G.I.O.N. are settling in on Rann, which is now located where Tamaran used to be. In the process, he's making lots of enemies within and without the Vega system.

BITS OF L.E.G.I.O.N.NAIRE BUSINESS: Dox establishes that he was cloned from the original Brainiac, "solely to assist his quest for knowledge." That clinches it: this time around, the original Brainiac is flesh-and-blood, not a robot/android/whatever.

Dox also recounts the origin of L.E.G.I.O.N. from the Starlag prison to the founding of the group. It's nice to see the original crew, if only in one flashback panel, but I miss Telepath. And wasn't there a Durlan intimately involved? One who, once upon a time, moved to the 30th century and became R.J. Brande? I'm assuming that didn't happen in this continuity (please, gods, don't let that have happened in this continuity), but surely the Durlan was there? (OTOH, he's a Durlan, so he could be in the picture. How would we know?)

Blackfire's identification bubble got mixed up with Wildstar's. It's Wildstar has powers of flight, energy projection,  and interstellar tracking; Blackfire's powers are flight, strength, and energy projection. Wildstar's homeworld of Starhaven is given correctly, but Blackfire hails from Tamaran, not Starhaven.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Week of 5 May 2010

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

I did not see any Legion content in DC Comics this week. The silver lining is that the Legion has managed to avoid participating in War of the Supermen. Dodged that bullet, eh?

THE BOYS #42 (5/10)
"The Innocents Part Three"
ROLL CALL: Auntie Sis, Bobby Badoing (not-Bouncing-Boy), Kid Camo (not-Chameleon-Boy), Klanker (not-Ferro-Lad), Ladyfold, Malchemical (not-Metamorpho), Stool Shadow (not-Phantom-Girl)
CUTE BOYS: Kid Camo, Malchemical, two superheroes in a compromising position with Starlight, and Hamish is starting to grow on me

I can't say that I am at all ready to start reading The Boys, but the whole meta-commentary is fascinating. (The Boys is a meta- type of comic, with all kinds of commentary on the concept of super-heroes and the super-hero universe.) I wonder if Superduper (their Legion analog) was inspired by overhearing some know-it-all comic fan say "The Legion? They're so retarded." Is part of the meta-commentary that this is how the Legion is viewed in the wider fan community?

If so, I hope Superduper manages to kick everyone's ass.


Saturday, May 01, 2010

Free Comic Book Day 1 May 2010

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

"Fillng in the Blanks"

ROLL CALL: Mon-El, also Superboy (Conner), Supergirl
CUTE BOYS: Chris (looking real grown-up), Conner, Jimmy Olsen (all dripping wet & tuff-looking), Mon

Basically a catch-up story that gives a basic recap of Brainiac, World of New Krypton, and Last Stand of New Krypton (minus any Legion involvement, which would certainly have made the story better). If these 9 pages had appeared two years ago, they would have spared a whole lot of misery. Now if only they would publish an additional page or two summarizing War of the Supermen, we wouldn't have to slog thought that almost certain train wreck.

If you want to see Kal-El fighting Zod and a bunch of Kryptonians, Smallville does it a lot better. And with more cute boys.

Astonishingly, there are two stories in this issue, and neither one of them includes a gorilla or any other sort of ape.