Monday, January 25, 2010

Back Issue Box: Legion Of Super-Heroes #301


I know I said I would pace myself when it came to reviewing the Supergirl/Brainy moments of the Levitz era Legion of Super-Heroes, but frankly I have been having such a good time rereading these, I figured I could review the next issue sooner than anticipated.

Legion of Super-Heroes #301 continued Supergirl's brief revisit to the 30th century. Kara actually took part in a Legion mission which was led by (no big surprise) Brainiac 5. As usual, Paul Levitz does a great job with Supergirl making her strong and confident. But the fun here is the Supergirl/Brainy relationship ... coy 'are they together or just being flirty' interactions ... that showcase just how uneasy Brainiac 5 is with his emotions.

Levitz and Giffen were in such a groove at this point with LSH. The Great Darkness Saga was half a year prior and the creative team was just clicking. In particular, I have always been impressed with how Levitz handled the huge cast of the book. Everyone seemed to have a unique voice; no one was lost or ignored for too long a time. And he not only juggled the 20-plus Legionnaires but also a vast number of supporting characters like Shvaughn Erin, Dr. Gym'll, Proty, RJ Brande, Gigi Cusimano, etc. Giffen had a clear view of the future - a world without windows, with rounded architecture that gave the book a distinct look. This was a great time to be a Legion fan ... maybe the best time?


The cover of this issue was an homage cover to Adventure Comics #300. This was just another reminder that the creators here were aware of the Legion's history, acknowledged it, and understood that continuity was a big part of being a Legion fan.

But onto the issue.

The bulk of this issue is dedicated to Chameleon Boy attempting to regain his lost shape-shifting powers on his home world Durla, a trip he makes with his father RJ Brande.

Dream Girl, the current Legion leader leaves Earth with the team's heavy hitters (Mon-El, Wildfire, Ultra Boy, Star Boy) to help with the terra-forming the devastated Daxam.

When Chameleon Boy's flight ring stops functioning, Brainy forms a team to fly to Durla to investigate. He asks Supergirl to join him on the mission.



Supergirl is more than happy to be part of the team especially since it means spending more time with Brainy. I like how Levitz comments on Supergirl's personal journey in her own book. In both Legion and Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, Kara is shown to be pretty confident in her skills and quite mature.

Brainy's response is perfect. First he stammers. Then he can't even look her in the eye, focusing on the ship's console and changing the subject.

Suddenly, the Legion ship is attacked and destroyed, forcing the Legionnaires out into space and on the attack.

As I mentioned before, I love Giffen's style of Supergirl. First, I love how she always holds the cape in her hands, as seen in the first panel. I also like how Giffen has Supergirl using her cape as a shield, holding it out wide and blocking enemy fire. And finally, she pulls no punches, destroying a ship with her heat vision.

Levitz always showed Supergirl as a powerful hero. I still love how she manhandled Darkseid in the The Great Darkness Saga.

Surprisingly, the attacking ships turn out to be Science Police under the command of Officer Ontiir. He apologizes, saying he was only defending the artificial political world of Weber's World. Just a bit suspicious about the attack, Brainy asks to head to the planet for further evaluation. Ontiir agrees.

Hmmm .... I don't know if I trust this Ontiir. Hee hee.


Again, the bulk of the issue is about Cham's trials to regain his powers, something which he eventually does. I had to include at least some panels of his final trial, a shape-shifting duel with a high-ranking Durlan. Giffen showed off his imagination here, as several pages of bizarre looking creatures fighting each other leap off the page.

I have to say, these issues have stood the test of time. I have enjoyed rereading them and maybe it is nostalgia, I really feel they are of high quality - both story and art.

And Supergirl is respected here as well.

8 comments:

Manu Mane said...

I always loved Keith Giffen's style. One of my best comic memory is the episode of The Defenders he did for Marvel. He was between Steranko and Kirby for them.... On your post, I guess his rectangular panels are quite modern ! The rectangle is very interesting for comic art, as Michael Turner showed us..... You can use it to accelerate a motion, to gain space and to give an original view.... and so on. I love Keith Giffen !

Anonymous said...

The other thing I love about Levitz's Supergirl is that she is clearly the romantic aggressor with Brainiac Five. She is taken with his immense intelligence, his leadership, his charisma, but for all the Kara has to push him a little bit into the realm of mutual attraction.
This is a sea-change from the normal state of affairs where she is being seduced by androids (twice!) or fighting off the unwanted advances of alien tyrants.
Nope, confidant, sexy, the Legion's "legacy muscle" and now she wants Brainiac Five!
Somewhere in an alternate universe, Supergirl went on to a long happy run with Paul Levitz as her key writer...
:D

John Feer

Anj said...

On your post, I guess his rectangular panels are quite modern ! The rectangle is very interesting for comic art, as Michael Turner showed us..... You can use it to accelerate a motion, to gain space and to give an original view.... and so on. I love Keith Giffen !

I agree that he is great. You know he is a great draftsman ... he thumbnailed all of 52!

Anj said...

Nope, confidant, sexy, the Legion's "legacy muscle" and now she wants Brainiac Five!
Somewhere in an alternate universe, Supergirl went on to a long happy run with Paul Levitz as her key writer...


I agree. She is confidant in both her powers and personality. Levitz just 'got' her.

TalOs said...

Anj said:

First, I love how she always holds the cape in her hands, as seen in the first panel. I also like how Giffen has Supergirl using her cape as a shield, holding it out wide and blocking enemy fire. And finally, she pulls no punches, destroying a ship with her heat vision.

I actually whooped the air upon reading that part as a kid, heh.

Levitz always showed Supergirl as a powerful hero. I still love how she manhandled Darkseid in the The Great Darkness Saga.

100% fully agreed with. ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree Supergirl blends so well with the Legion. I would love to get one of those Supergirl original art pages from Issues 300 to 304, the art, the dialogue between Kary and Brainy is so great.If you want to check out some original (sadly non Kara ) art from that era check out my gallery at comicartfans.com
Aidan Lacy

Anonymous said...

This is my favorite era for the Legion, and it has me absolutely salivating to see Levitz take over the book again. I love the characterization of Brainy--introspective, intelligent but not a prick. Wish we could have that Brainy back again.

viagra online said...

is good to do a review of this comic, the legion was always a excellent group of super heroes, in the command supergirl and the others protect the planet against any danger.