Legion of Super-Heroes #15 came out last week and like all the DC titles careening to the relaunch, this was the penultimate chapter in the current arc, here the LSV vs LSH story.
One of the things that I have felt in other books has been the feeling that these story arcs feel rushed, moving to the conclusion more quickly than I would like to meet the impending August deadline for the current DCU. While I think that this arc has always been expected to be this long, there have been times during this storyline that I have questioned the pacing. We have had some things teased (Captain Marvel being released from the Rock of Eternity). We have had some things unexplained- who is the blue flame entity, who is Harmonia Li, why the planets need to be destroyed to aid the villain. And we have had plenty of brawls between Legionnaires and super-villains.
Unfortunately, despite some nice small moments, this issue continues that path. We still don't know who Li is, who the entity is, why things are necessarily happening. But we do get a lot of brawling.
I will say that the smaller moments show why Paul Levitz is so great on this book. He is able to give each character their own personality and desires. And Yildiray Cinar really shines in this issue with great action sequences.
Last issue, Harmonia Li gave us some of her origin, that she is from the World of Wisdom. Using the multiverse energy in Star Boy, she forces open a portal to her home world so that the Legion can battle the villains there and save the world.
While most of the Legion flies to the planet, Li and Thom stay back to keep the passage open.
We know a Legionnaire dies next issue and it was hinted that it might be Thom (Dreamy having a vision of being at a funeral and talking about him). Even though he looks wiped out here, I doubt it is Star Boy who dies. My guess for the dying Legionnaire later. But I bet Thom has to close this portal from the inside next issue, putting him forever on the Wisdom world, keeping him from Dreamy and the rest of the Legion.
And yes, the Legion shows up in force and starts to battle Saturn Queen and her cronies.
I love that Ayla goes right for Mekt. It is that undercurrent of family bitterness that makes this such a great running storyline for the characters. We have seen Ayla defeat him in the past. But amped up on the Blue Flame power, Mekt gets the upper hand. The second panel is really powerful, Ayla's fear exploding off the page.
We do get more hints about the Blue Flame entity. I kept thinking it might be Dark Opal from Amethyst. But Diogene says he is 'the nemesis of Oa, the doom from our original sin'. Is it really going to be Krona?? We just had him as the big villain in the 'War of the Green Lanterns'.
Something else interesting here is Dawnstar's sheer anger at the evil she is sensing. Even though it is well known that Saturn Queen is more powerful than ever, Dawnstar flies off to skirmish with the telepath. I don't know if I am used to seeing Dawnstar be so impulsive as I have seen in this arc. She has flown off in the face of danger time and time again. And while that might be the sign of a hero - doing what needs to be done even if there is danger - Dawnstar could have paused and brought some back-up with her each time. At least Tellus realizes that he needs to follow and help out.
Good thing he does. Saturn Queen very quickly takes control of not only Dawnstar but also Tellus. It is subtle, but it lets me know just how powerful Saturn Queen has become. She overwhelms Tellus with ease.
Tellus has brought friends though. Gates shows up and blips all the Legionnaires away to safety. I think I would like to see Tellus and Gates form a friendship, the most 'alien' looking members of the team.
One character who has really benefited from this arc is new character Sun Killer. He has been in a lot of pages and showcased on a couple of covers. He again fights Timber Wolf (maybe a grudge is forming between these two) but this time is able to defeat Brin.
In comes Sun Boy who overloads Sun Killer with solar energy. I don't know if I exactly follow why this happened but with all the excess energy, Sun Killer shorts out, reverting to his real form.
Again, the small moments work best here. Here we get a nice scene showing some of the depth of Polar Boy. He not only helps heal Timber Wolf, he shields the injured Wolf when the battle spills over near them, and he also is willing to jump into the fray.
I still get the sense that Polar Boy still has a bit of an inferiority complex, as if he still hasn't shed the Substitute Legion tag.
Saturn Queen brings in more recruits to her LSV. With the portal open, I guess more of the Legion pours in. As a result we have an all out war going on. Big moments need big art. Cinar shines here. Radiation Roy! Spider Girl! Black Mace!
Finally, the Blue Flame shows up and chastises Saturn Queen for not finishing the job of destroying this planet. And then he tells her that she has the best weapon in her grasp, Earth Man. I am going to have to look back but somewhere along the way I guessed Earth Man was going to be the dead Legionnaire, sacrificing himself to save the Legion. I would bet money on it.
I thought this was an okay issue overall. The art is slick. The small moments of Legion characterization work very well. But I was still hoping to learn more about the plot here. There are still a lot of holes to fill next issue. Can it all be wrapped up? Legion is one of the few titles minimally effected by the reboot, so I suppose Levitz can wrap up any lingering questions in the new title.
I also will be a bit disappointed if the villain turns out the be Krona. Maybe it is because he was the big bad in Trinity and Green Lantern recently. But he seems a bit played out (even if this takes place 1000 years later).