LEGION OF SUPER-VILLAINS #1 (2011/05)
"When Evil Calls"
Saturn Queen manipulates Warden Marwat into releasing her from containment on Takron-Galtos. In the ensuing riot, Marwat is killed and Saturn Queen escapes with a new, hand-picked Legion of Super-Villains: Old-timers Hunter, Lightning Lord, Micro Lad, and Zymyr; Sun Killer; and three brand-new villains -- Akka (a Sklarian), Immortus (an inertron cyborg whose true identity is unknown), and Questor (a renegade Coluan). One of her other helpers, "Obedient One," is present on Takron-Galtos but never seen again. Poor Micro Lad doesn't survive long; Akka kills him for sassing the Queen.
Saturn Queen has come unglued; she is now a disciple of a powerful blue flame -- gotta be related to the mysterious blue baby from a few issues back. The blue flame seems to be a servant of anarchy (or Chaos), and Saturn Queen's mission is to destroy civilization and allow anarchy to reign.
Apparently, three worlds of immortals have watched over the sentient races. One is Oa, home of the Guardians and powered by will. Another is the Rock of Eternity, home of the Wizard Shazam and powered by faith. The third, whereabouts and inhabitants currently unknown, is powered by wisdom.
Saturn Queen wants to destroy Oa, but a blue voice tells her to wait; the other two places must go first. (Apparently Arnachy must be achieved in an ordered, regimented series of steps. Go figure.) So the LSV hies off to the Rock of Eternity, which they destroy by the time-honored method of smashing it between two runaway planets (shades of E.E. "Doc" Smith!) But a Mysterious Arm emerges from the debris, so perhaps no immortals were harmed in the making of this comic.
Leaving Lighting Lord and Akka on Rimbor to gather
In the midst of all this fun, Ultra Boy and Wildfire accompany Admiral Allon to Takron-Galtos to clean up after the riot/jailbreak. Meanwhile, on the Sorcerer's World, the Black Witch knows that something is up -- a flame that's always been yellow has turned blue, and she's struggling to contain the evil of Mordru that she absorbed in L3W.
The story ends with a promise that it will be continued in Legion of Super-Heroes #11.
On the whole, a great beginning to what promises to be an epic story, told in inimitable Paul Levitz fashion. Saturn Queen and her new Legion are just plain creepy-bad, and the whole blue-flame/three-immortal-homes thing is intriguing. Dollars to donuts Harmonia Li is up to her neck in this stuff.
The art is very dynamic and on the whole quite good...although I do miss Yildiray Cinar's clean lines and uncluttered backgrounds. And surely there have to be more sound effects than "Krakooom!" On one hand there are two colliding planets, on the other is an exploding starship -- and you're telling me they both make the same sound? I mean, the identical sound...down to the exact same letters. This strains my suspension of disbelief.
Obviously this whole mess involves the Green Lanterns somehow, but thank goodness it doesn't seem to tie in with the Blackest Night/Brightest Day/Endless Crossover multi-hued scheme of colors and emotions -- at least, blue doesn't seem to represent hope here. To which all I can say is "good," because if the Legion goes all Green Lantern on me I swear, I will flush this white plastic Power Ring right down the toilet. Don't think I won't.
In any case, I'll be counting the hours until LSH #11 comes out.
BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:
Akka's name recalls AKKA, the super-weapon in Jack Williamson's The Legion of Space. Yet another classic science fiction allusion from Paul Levitz.
This whole good/evil/anarchy, faith/will/wisdom thing smells vaguely of the Lords of Order and Chaos. Especially since Mordru is somehow involved; he is/was a notorious Lord of Chaos.
Gim's father, Admiral Wynn Allon, is alive and well in the U.P. military, right where he belongs. Hooray! I've been worried about him ever since he was conspicuously absent from dinner with Marte and the kids.
What's with Takron-Galtos? After several riot/jailbreak cycles, it was destroyed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths and replaced by Labyrinth. Then it came back, only to be destroyed the last time the Legion of Super-Villains escaped (in L3W). Now it's up and running again, only to have another jailbreak/riot. Me, I'd spread the prisoners out all around the planet, rather than keeping them in one central (and very vulnerable) location. Or maybe even set up a bunch of prison planets, each one with a particular big baddie. At the very least, you'd think they'd have learned by now not to keep Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen within walking distance of one another. (At least the Fatal
Speaking of which...did anybody else wonder where Cosmic King is? I know there are theories floating around that it might be his brain in Immortus's body...but really, I don't see it. Wouldn't his brain retain transmutation powers? (When you think about it, we don't really know that much of C.K.'s back-story other than his oft-told origin. We know tons about Mekt, and we've learned more about Eve Aries...but Cosmic King hasn't really faced the teen Legion very often, and his past is largely a mystery. I'd like to see Paul Levitz turn his attention to Cosmic King's story sometime.)