FLASHPOINT #1 (2011/07)
"Flashpoint Chapter One of Five"
CUTE BOYS: Barry Allen, Billy, Eugene, Freddy, Pedro, Shade
XS appears in a cameo of the Flash Family on page 3.
R.E.B.E.L.S. #28 (2011/07)
Adam Strange, Amon Hakk, Bounder, Captain Comet, Ciji, Lobo, Lyrl Dox, Starfire, Tribulus, Vril Dox, Widstar, Xylon, Smite, Starro
CUTE BOYS: Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Lyrl Dox, Vril Dox, assorted Rannian cannon fodder
This is the last issue of R.E.B.E.L.S. (this time around).
Tribulus, under the direction of the two Doxes, defeats Starro, who flees. Smite, having bonded with Lobo over drinks, unites with Lobo in taking down Starro. And...uh...well, that's it.
R.E.B.E.L.S. has been a problematic comic. There was a lot of potential here. The Legion connection, the other sf elements of the present-day DC universe, some really nice art...yet it never really managed to grab me. About the best story was the Annual, telling the origin of Starro.
I can't exactly say this comic was a failure -- after all, 28 issues is a respectable run. But it wasn't a huge success, either. Why?
I think there were some mistakes along the way. First, there was too much concentration on the Doxes and too little on other characters. Look at all the intriguing characters here -- Ciji the Durlan, Xylon the renegade Dominator, Wildstar, Bounder, and above all Tribulus. We didn't even get an origin story for Ciji, Bounder, or Tribulus. And we didn't get to know these characters any. One of the great things about the Legion is how even minor characters come alive, with detailed backstories and problems we care about. Except for Starfire and Comet, there was little of that in R.E.B.E.L.S.
I think the stories were too simple. Starro attacks, Starro is defeated. Brainiac attacks, Brainiac is defeated. Some nonsense with Green Lanterns. Starro attacks again, Starro is defeated again. I'm not saying that stories should have had the same multi-level complexity as Paul Levitz's best -- but a few strong continuing and interlocking subplots would have nice.
Finally, I think the creators were too ambitious in tying the series into the rest of the DC Universe. Crossovers with Blackest Day and the Brainiac/Last Days of New Krypton series were just distracting. Bringing in the Omega Men and the whole Vega system might have been a good idea, but the execution was lacking. For readers like me, who were not all that familiar with the Vega/Omega Men/Tamoran/Psion mythos, there should have been more explanation of the background. Bringing Rann and Adam Strange into the mix made it even more confusing.
There are ways to do this kind of thing well, ranging from in-story exposition to text boxes to back-of-the-comic "what's what" features. But here it was a case of too little, too late.
Ah, well. As Vril Dox says at the end, L.E.G.I.O.N. is here to stay. Eventually another storyteller will come along who can do justice to the group.
DC COMICS PRESENTS: LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 100-PAGE SPECTACULAR #1 (2011/06)
"Legion of the Damned"
It's back again. This time with a white logo on the cover, and the four chapters of the story in correct order. This comic reprints Legionnaires 79-80 and Legion of Super-Heroes 122-123.
Re-reading this story left me with the following thoughts:
How To Do a Legion Story That I Won't Like
(based on the Giffen/Bierbaum Method)
- The Legion's future is too bright and optimistic. Let's make it darker and more depressing.
- Let's join the story after all the great changes have already taken place.
- Some Legionnaires should turn traitor to the human race, that's totally in character.
- More despair.
- A great evil power should turn Lar Gand into a puppet, why not?
- Let's make everyone in the universe look grotesque. Who wants attractive art?
- Oh, yeah, corruption should be everywhere.
- The art is too bright. Put in more dark shadows.
- Do everything you can to obscure people's faces. Masks, dirt, shadows, it's all good.
- Have a few flashbacks, but don't identify them as flashbacks. Readers like being confused.
- It still looks too attractive. Can you get a three-year-old to scribble all over the pages?
- Put in lots of white letters on black backgrounds. Who needs to read words?
- More splotches. All over the place. Everything in the dark, depressing future should be splotchy.
Wow, I can't wait until Legion Lost comes out next month. Even darker, with more corruption, more splotches and scribbles, and even uglier art!