Monday, May 30, 2011

Week of 25 May 2011

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

However, I did go to Balticon, where our Green Lantern presentation won "Most Humorous" in the Masquerade. Here's my costume -- you might recognize the inspiration:


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week of 18 May 2011

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

"False Hopes"


Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Earth-Man, Element Lad, Gates, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lad, Mon-El, Polar Boy, Quislet, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Star Boy, Tellus, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, Wildfire, Dyogene, Dr. Harmonia Li, Akka, Blue Entity, Hunter (Adam Orion), Immortus, Questor, Saturn Queen, Sun Killer, Zymyr

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Brek, Brin, Garth, Jacques, Jan, Jo, Mon, Rokk

The battle on Colu continues, as many Legionnaires fight members of the LSV. Saturn Queen summons the blue flame, which is embodied as an older version of the unknown blue critter. This being says "...When your work is done, my dreams over the endless centuries of exile shall be fulfilled and the galactic civilization shall fall!"

Gates and Tellus show up to release Brainy from Saturn Queen's spell. Gates makes reference to legends of a world of the wise: "My ancestors knew their wisest would be taken away to become immortals beyond our star." Tellus adds that he glimpsed a picture in Gates's mind: a picture he has also seen in the mind of Harmonia Li.

At Legion HQ, Mon-El tries to coordinate various teams and individuals. He also has a brief, tender chat with Dream Girl. Dreamy returns to the lab and tells Dr. Li "I foresaw you and Thom, holding hands in space with incredible energies around you." Dr. Li announces that Thom must join her in sacrifice, but first they must stop draining the multiversal energy from him.

There's something off about the art in this issue. Not everywhere, but particularly in the pages with Brainy, Earth-Man, Gates, and Tellus...and maybe a little bit with the encounter between Hunter and Earth-Man. The art just doesn't look as...clean? Tight?

The art is credited to Yildiray Cinar and Jonathan Glapion, instead of Cinar & Faucher. (This was also true about last issue.) I assume that Glapion is doing inks, and maybe he has a bit of a heavier hand than Faucher. Anyway, it's a great example of how the penciller and inker are a team, both contributing to the final look of the comic.


Lots of great Quislet action tis time around. Gotta love his cry of "Upsi!" as he animates the ground to engulf Sun-Killer.

Brainy set up codes to call in reinforcements, but didn't share those codes with anyone else. That seems a bad choice, strategically. Is it Brainy's natural egotism ("no team with me present can need help") or an indication of the pressure Brainy's under?

The blue critter has been exiled for "endless centuries." Saturn Queen calls it "Bringer of Chaos." This makes it sound like the blue critter/blue flame is a Lord of Chaos, about whom I really don't know enough to guess. Anyone?

The chat between Mon-El and Dream Girl is exquisite, and shows the kind of easy friendship that many Legionnaires share. Mon's concern for Thom, in the middle of everything else that he's dealing with, is touching.

The enigma of Professor Li continues. It's pretty obvious that she's one of the immortal wise ones. More than that, I can't guess.

Gates speaks of legends of the world of the immortal wise ones -- but Gates is from a different universe. Whatever's going on, it covers the whole multiverse -- which explains Dr. Li's interest in Thom's multiversal energy.


HOUSEKEEPING: I finally obtained a copy of Action #900. I've updated my entry for Week of 27 April 2011.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Farewell, L.E.G.I.O.N.

Our R.E.B.E.L.S. are now ended. These our L.E.G.I.O.N.naires,
As Brainy foretold you, were all Legion knockoffs and
Are melted into limbo, comic book limbo:
And, like the pointless plots of this vision,
The towers of Rann, the Tamaranean palaces, 
The Psion laboratories, the Vegan system itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this Baxter paper faded,
Leave an empty rack behind. They are such stuff
As graphic novels are made on, and their little lives
Are rounded with bright covers.

(apologies to Will Shakespeare)


Friday, May 13, 2011

Week of 11 May 2011

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

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)
"Starstruck: Conclusion"


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.


"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)

  1. The Legion's future is too bright and optimistic. Let's make it darker and more depressing.
  2. Let's join the story after all the great changes have already taken place.
  3. Some Legionnaires should turn traitor to the human race, that's totally in character.
  4. More despair.
  5. A great evil power should turn Lar Gand into a puppet, why not?
  6. Let's make everyone in the universe look grotesque. Who wants attractive art?
  7. Oh, yeah, corruption should be everywhere.
  8. The art is too bright. Put in more dark shadows.
  9. Do everything you can to obscure people's faces. Masks, dirt, shadows, it's all good.
  10. Have a few flashbacks, but don't identify them as flashbacks. Readers like being confused.
  11. It still looks too attractive. Can you get a three-year-old to scribble all over the pages?
  12. Put in lots of white letters on black backgrounds. Who needs to read words?
  13. 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!


Week of 4 May 2011

Once again, sorry for the delay on this post. My bout with Infectious Lass is almost over.

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

ADVENTURE #526 (2011/07)
"First Hints"


Bouncing Boy, Chemical King (memorial statue), Cosmic Boy, Duplicate Girl, Night Girl, Chemical Kid, Dragonwing, Glorith, Gravity Kid, Variable Lad (cover only), Alchemical Girl, Black Mace, Shagrek

CUTE BOYS: Chemical Kid, Chuck, Gravity Kid, Rokk

Chemical Kid leads Dragonwing and Gravity Kid to a memorial for Chemical King, and liberate some of Condo's genes. Using them, Glorith performs a magical ritual that draws Condo's gene-modification out of Alchemical Girl, removing Condo's powers from her. They turn the powerless Alchemical Girl over to the Science Police.

Returning to Earth, the other cadets ask Glorith where she got the extra power to defeat Alchemical Girl. She says that she believes she got the power from Mysa, but " what cost I cannot imagine."

Meanwhile Chuck, Lydda, and a handful of Luornus discuss Power Boy's failure to enter the Legion. Chuck says, "Standards change...they'd never let me in these days." The only standards that appear to have changed are the ones that give the entire Legion a vote on applicants -- if you remember, last issue Power Boy (and Lamprey) were summarily rejected by Cosmic Boy alone. (And much as I love Rokk, he isn't even Leader now.)

Back at HDQ, Rokk reviews the mission report of the cadets, and tells Lydda that the new kids are showing potential. He says that their rule-breaking and disrespect for authority remind him of Garth in the early days of the Legion.

Finally, at the Academy Glorith sends a message to Harlak, then falls asleep on the floor. Luornu finds her and tucks her in, calling her "Sweetie."


Bouncing Boy was rejected in his first try at Legion membership. He was later accepted when he saved the Legionnaires' lives. Maybe Power Boy should hang around waiting for the Legionnaires to get in trouble so he can save their lives and get in that way.

Chuck's statement that he wouldn't be accepted in the Legion these days is fairly accurate. Look at the two younger (i.e. more modern) versions of the Legion. In the Earth-247 Legion, Chuck Taine was permitted to be the Legion's all-around fix-it guy, but he never gained bouncing powers and was never an official Legionnaire. In the (even newer) Earth-Prime Legion, Chuck didn't even exist.

Cosmic Boy has become something of a bastard (more on this in the next story). What is his problem with Power Boy? Is Rokk prejudiced against purple people? Does he fear that Jed's bare muscled chest is going to make people forget his own magnetic bustier of the 1980s? Is he jealous because Lydda seems to like Jed? Or is Rokk still smarting from the time Jed kicked him out of bed in favor of the Westerner?


The cadets want to remove Alchemical Girl's gene-mod so that Chemical Kid's father won't be exposed as giving the gene-mod to the Taurus Gang. To keep this secret, they break into the repository of Phlon's greatest treasures and despoil the tomb of Phlon's greatest hero. Uh...I think it's possible that someone might notice. (Of course, at the end of the story Rokk says he will get the S.P.'s to clean up the records; maybe cleaning up the mess on Phlon is part of that.)


ADVENTURE #526 (2011/07)


Night Girl, XS, Dawn Allen, Don Allen, Impulse, Blue Critter

CUTE BOYS: Bart, Don Allen

Night Girl visits XS in Africa. Jenni has been working (slowly and deliberately) on a mosaic mural filled with Flash-type images. Lydda offers her a place with the Academy, but Jenni gets insulted and refuses.

Jenni then runs off to find a stone for her mosaic. She end up in Olduvai, at the spot where the unknown blue critter emerged from the ground a while ago. She finds a blue rock, but when she touches it she is hit by a visual mosaic that shows (among other things) some cavefolk around a fire; Jenni running with a Flash, Impulse, Jay Darrick, and Dawn & Don Allen; Jenni running on the cosmic treadmill; the blue critter bursting forth and ascending into space, and a giant hand in the middle of a whirlpool of light (the standard DC symbol for the beginning of time).

Jenni comments that "That tasted of the speed force...and the time barrier...and the ugliest soul I could ever imagine." (One hopes she isn't talking about Bart.) She goes back to her mosaic, musing that she will "let the Legion worry about whatever came out of that crack that felt like it led straight down to hell."

I don't exactly know what to make of this story. It feels like part of something bigger -- I hope it isn't all going to tie in with Flashpoint or some Green Lantern nonsense.

I suspect that the "mosaic" metaphor is meant to apply to this story, in a kind of meta-commentary way. This story is like one stone in a mosaic, something that exists by itself, but is also part of a larger pattern. And in that larger pattern, the story has a meaning that is totally different from the meaning it has as an individual story. It's like Paul Levitz is saying, "Don't worry, once this project is complete and you step back, you'll see the whole design and it will all mean something you don't expect."

Jenni is feeling lost, which isn't surprising -- the universe she grew up in was destroyed, the friends she knew and loved (except for Gates) are wandering the waste spaces of the multiverse without her, and she found out that she was really born in this other, familiar-yet-different universe. So she's trying to find her place, I get that.

And I don't blame her for refusing Lydda's offer to come to the Academy. (It was probably Rokk who told Lydda to do that -- it would be just like the new Rokk to decide that XS needed training in how to be a "real" Legionnaire.)

Still, raise your hand if you think Jenni might be better off right now spending some time in the past with Bart, Wally, and the rest. She has a family and a place in the universe, and I just don't see that making a mosaic is going to help her.

You know what would help Jenni Ognats? Going on a mission. Being useful, helping teammates, saving the world. IMHO, that's what Jenni needs.

Ah, well. Perhaps that blue stone will be the missing piece that's needed to defeat the blue critter and whatever else is going on. Maybe Jenni will save the day in the end.


We learn a little of the split between Lydda and Rokk. Lydda says, "He dumped me so he could concentrate totally on the Legion...and I guess I was still distracting." In other words...Rokk is behaving like a bastard. He needs a good whop upside the head, and it seems to me that Jed Rikane is just the one to do it. A violent fight would clear the air between the two, then they could have great make-up sex. Then Jed could join the Legion while Rokk and Lydda went off together to heal their relationship.


Sunday, May 08, 2011

Week of 27 April 2011

(edited 21 May 2011)

ACTION #900 (2011/06)
"Friday Night in the 21st Century"


Blok, Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Night Girl, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Superman, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, Wildfire

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Brek, Brin (with his mouth full, ooo baby!), Clark, Garth, Gim, Jo, Rokk

This is a cute 4-page story for the big Action Comics #900, which I originally missed thanks to Infectious Lass and every comic store in the world selling out. Thanks to Brainy Pirate for alerting me, and thanks to Lone Star Comics where I finally got a copy.

Lois Lane is digging under her desk at the Daily Planet while Clark nags her about the mess (shut up, Clark!) She produces a Legion flight ring (she says Saturn Girl gave it to her in case of an emergency), and Clark asks what she wants with it. Turns out Lois just wants to invite Clark's childhood friends to dinner. The subsequent two-page spread is set in the Kent apartment while various Legionnaires hang around with Clark and Lois.


Lois's guest list seems odd, if only for some curious omissions. It seems to be heavy on couples, which fits well enough for the young-married Kents. So we have Garth and Imra, of course, and Rokk and Lydda (Rokk's probably ashamed to let Clark know that he jilted her), Jo and Tinya.

Blok is there but not Mysa -- she probably wouldn't have come, but why did he? Oh well, at least he looks miserable without her.

Gim is there but not Yera. That's really odd...certainly Lois would've invited them both. I assume that Yera has an acting job that she can't get out of -- which certainly makes sense until you realize that they have a bloody time machine, and could return her to the exact instant they left. We are left with four possibilities:

  1. Yera refused to come because she can't stand Clark
  2. Yera refused to come because she can't stand Lois
  3. Yera is there but was in the bathroom when this picture was taken
  4. Yera is there and playing hide-and-seek with Gim; she's actually that head of lettuce in the fridge but Gim just doesn't recognize her
Ayla and Brin, another odd choice. Together, I mean. It also seems like Brin is hiding from Ayla, who's pissed at him. I can certainly believe that (and it fits in well with the theory of a hide-and-seek game going on), but...they aren't a couple any more, are they?

And if Ayla's here, and so are Garth and Imra, then who's taking care of the kids? Aunt Imra? 

And speaking of Ayla...where's Vi? Okay, yes, she could be anywhere in the picture, hiding behind that soda bottle or between the floorboards. (If Vi came along, that would help explain Yera's absence.)

Brek is there, but that's not difficult to understand. Brek has had a crush on Clark since he first applied for Legion membership, maybe even before -- he's certainly not going to turn down an invitation to a mad orgy that includes Clark along with the other Legion boys.

Which leaves Shady. Oh, it's not difficult to understand why she's here: Shady has obviously shared a lot of bed time with Clark and Lar, so she'd certainly want to be involved in the orgy. However, I'm surprised she would show her face, since she's been sleeping with Earth-Man -- I can't imagine Clark would be too happy about that, and you don't want to get a Kryptonian mad at you. Heat vision, freeze breath, could be bad.

But where is Mon-El? Busy with his Green Lantern stuff, maybe? Can't be bothered to take off a night and visit his best friend, little brother, and frequent bedmate Kal-El? Doesn't want to be in the same room as Shady? It's a mystery.

Saturn Girl is laughing at Lois -- it's nice to see Imra enjoyng herself, she's been so grim lately.

Cosmic Boy is juggling silverware and smiling -- also good to see him happy.

Lighting Lad seems totally engrossed in the football game. Either that, or he's supplying electricity to the big-screen TV.

Is Polar Boy trying to make bunny ears over Cosmic Boy's head?

And what is Clark looking at? If you follow his eyes, it's not the's not might be Brin (X-ray vision, remember?)...but it seems to be something out of picture, something off behind Saturn Girl. I know...he's staring into the bedroom, where a naked Lar Gand is in a suggestive pose on the bed, awaiting his best friend, little brother, and frequent bedmate. And if you doubt that, look at where Clark has his left hand....


Week of 20 April 2011

Sorry for the delay posting this. Get-a-Life Boy had a run-in with Infectious Lass, and temporarily changed his name to "Sick-as-a-Dog Lad."

He's feeling better now, and ready to tackle the backlog of Legion-related comics from the past few weeks.

-8 May 2011

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

"False Trails"


Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Dream Girl, Earth-Man, Element Lad, Gates, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Star Boy, Star Boy (Earth-247 Legion), Star Boy (Earth-Prime Legion), Tellus, Timber Wolf, Dyogene, Harmonia Li, Atta/Akka, Hunter (Adam Orion), Immortus, Lightning Lord, Questor, Saturn Queen, Stegus, Sun Killer, Zymyr

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Brin, Gim, Jacques, Jan, Jo, Mon, Thom, Thom, Thom, Okinawa Scientist

On Rimbor, a Legion team (Colossal Boy Phantom Girl, & Ultra Boy) interrupts Lightning Lord and Akka in their attempt to recruit new LSV members. Despite the appearance of Lightning Lass, the villains escape when Zymyr teleports them away.

On Earth, Brainy hooks Thom up to a machine that will draw the multiversal energy out of his uniform (thus curing him). He leaves Dream Girl in control of the process, tells Dr. Li he will get back to her, and then leaves to assemble a team to deal with the situation on Colu.

On Colu, Saturn Queen and the LSV are after the location of the mysterious third world of immortals. The Legion team arrives (Brainy, Earth-Man, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, and Timber Wolf). The LSV keeps them busy until Questor finds the data he's after, then most of the LSV departs, leaving Akka and Lightning Lord behind to deal with the Legion.

At the same time, Dyogene and Mon-El examine the wreckage of the Rock of Eternity. Dyogene despairs that there are only two Green Lanterns left to deal with this threat -- Mon-El tells him not to underestimate the Legion.

The art in this story is so dynamic, it's incredible. Notice particularly the use of energy (in many different forms) and the way it alters the light in each scene. And the way the panels are structured, so the the art seems to overflow boundaries and almost leap off the page.

It's not often that I notice good comic art -- I tend to read for story, and usually notice the art only when it detracts from the story -- but even I am very impressed by what Cinar is doing with the Legion.


Five alternate Star Boys are visible in the multiversal energy being pulled out of Thom. Clockwise from upper right: Star Boy of Earth-247 Legion, Star Man of Earth-22, Star Boy of Earth-Prime Legion, the original Star Boy, and a red-hooded Star Boy of Yildiray Cinar's own design. I, for one, would love to see an entire alternate Legion in Cinar-designed costumes.

Brainy comments that Thom has had worse luck than most of the Leigonnaires. Again, Garth is traditionally the unluckiest Legionnaire -- but Thom has also had his share of bad luck, so I guess Brainy's more or less right.


Last issue her name was Akka; this issue it's Atta. Actually, either is correct: the Sklarian letter "ktay" can be pronounced either as "k" or "t."



This beautiful volume collects the first six issues of the new Legion of Super-Heroes title. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it, as I've covered the stories already.

BONUSES: While there aren't any text pages, there's a lot of additional art in this book. First, there's Cinar's cover, which is not only another dramatic and dynamic group shot, but also shows attention to detail in the faces of the individual Legionnaires -- he's done a fantastic job of capturing the personalities of some members. Check out Brainy, Brin, Garth, Imra, Rokk, and even Shady in particular.

The stories are separated by full-page drawings of various Legionnaires: Saturn Girl, Dawnstar (and her boobs), Lightning Lad, Ultra Boy, Earth-Man, Chameleon Boy, and Timber Wolf (with two S.P. boobs in tow).

The Jim Lee alternate covers are included (in publication order), along with the complete image of all six in graphic order. Which raises a question -- hey, DC, how about producing that image as a poster? You can charge us an unconscionable amount for it, you know we'll pay.

As an extra bonus there are also 11 pages of Cinar sketches, including four try-out pages he did for the Legion assignment. Hey, DC, let's see the whole story that these pages illustrate! You can charge us an unconscionable amount, you know we'll pay.

The back cover also has an image that looks new, one with a sulky-looking Sun Boy who is just begging to be comforted by one of his buddies. While Cinar makes all the Legionnaires look as hot as possible, his Sun Boy is incredibly's hard to believe that Earth-Man slept with Shadow Lass instead of Sun Boy.

PROOFREADER'S ERROR?: The blurb on the front cover flap states that "An accident at the Time Incident leads to the destruction of Saturn Girl's homeworld..." Uh, it's the Time Institute, not Time Incident.



By now everyone knows about this: it reprints the "Legion of the Damned" storyline, and the comic was recalled because the stories were printed out of order. (Proofreader's Error, anyone?). Some comic shops went ahead and sold copies -- my comic shop guy didn't even find out about the recall until he was sold out. Fortunately, I got my copy. It's an interesting oddity for insane completists to have in a Legion collection.

This is supposed to be reprinted with a different colored logo (white instead of yellow) and presumably a different date on the cover. I had all sorts of snide and snippy things to say about this storyline, but I'll save it until the reprint comes out.