Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #13

Legion of Super-Heroes #13 came out last week and took a few baby steps forward in the Fatal Five storyline which has been percolating for a bit. After a quick closure to the Dominator arc and a decent if disconnected zero issue, I was hoping that the main title would come out guns blazing.

Sure there is some action and some reverberations from the last arc but this mostly felt like a table setter for writer Paul Levitz, an issue to put the characters where he wants them to be when the main story unfolds.

It also is another issue with Scott Kolins on pencils and his rough pencils don't necessarily work with the sort of shiny future I am used to seeing in the Legion. He certainly doesn't have the glossy look of prior artist Francis Portela. It seems as if Portela is off the book and he'll be missed.

I also think there was a bit of melancholia happening given the announced demise of Legion Lost.

The bulk of the book revolves around a mission where Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, and Chemical King are trying to stop pirates who are pillaging an asteroid mine. There has been a spate of mine raids recently and the Legion have been called in to help out. The pirates, while stopped from getting away with any ore, are able to escape when the team needs to basically rescue Chemical King from being crushed by falling debris. While doing that, Element Lad actually gets wounded.

The 'Chemical King is unprepared' plot has been going on for a while. And while the swagger he showed way back in the Adventure Comics run has dimmed, he is still more a liability than anything else. His actions make me think he should still be in the academy studying basic survival and mastering his abilities. Poor Lamprey! She got rejected over this guy.

Perhaps most surprising is that the veteran Legionnaires would still let him head into combat. They have seen their friends die. Do they want one more body?

In the Legion Headquarters, Brainy is trying to figure out just why Comet Queen would betray them. At least he realizes that this medical evaluation will most likely come up empty. That is especially true given empath Otaki felt it was a compulsion. I guess all the folks who guessed it was a Saturn Queen suggestion were right. Give yourself a high five.

I do think it is sweet that Bouncing Boy some extra feelings for Comet Queen.

My favorite moment in the book was a tense moment between Dream Girl and Duplicate Damsel. Luornu is steamed that Brainy is caring for Comet Queen rather than punishing/imprisoning her. As noted in the past, Duplicate Damsel has been a bit more rough around the edges these last couple of years, jumping into battle and acting somewhat hardened.

Here Dreamy calls her on this gruffness. I love that she points out that Luornu's feelings towards Brainy are 'complicated'. Brainy created Computo which killed one of her original three selves. Of course she'll hold a grudge. I don't know of any longstanding feud with Dreamy (even if Dreamy hints at one).

I kind of like the 'tough' Luornu.

Back on the trail of the pirates, Rokk chastises Chemical King for skipping classes and not being prepared. He doesn't even seem to have some regular utility reactions at the ready.

So I am going to say, the way this is going, one of two things is going to happen. One, Chemical King dies. I doubt it as he is so new. Two, he can't save a colleague who dies and either unravels or becomes militant. We'll see.

With the Tharok chip stolen, Mon-El worries that the Fatal Five is being reformed. He sends a team of Glorith, Chameleon Boy, and Ultra Boy to try to track it down.

Glorith is being held up as the model new Legionnaire in terms of preparation. Her reluctance or lack of confidence does remind me of the old White Witch. 

He also sends out a team of Sun Boy, Polar Boy, Phantom Girl, and Invisible Kid out to make sure that the Persuader's atomic axe is still locked up in an illegal weapon cache.

You would think that the UP would melt down the axe rather than store it somewhere. Seems like a recipe for disaster.

I do like this cloaked, chain mail look for the Persuader. It's new to me.

And I like that Mon-El is actually acting like a leader her, being proactive and sending out specific teams for specific tasks.

The primary team is able to track down the pirates and try to stop them from escaping again.

As much as I am a bit tired of the Chemical King character, I do like that Element Lad has sort of taken him under his wing. Together they could be unstoppable, Element Lad providing the fuel for Chemical King's revved up reactions. Here together, they simply dismantle the pirates' ship.

But despite this, the pirates are able to again escape after Cosmic Boy is badly wounded in a battle with three other Braalians. I am surprised that this fight was so lopsided. We have seen Cosmic Boy battle other Braalians in the past and wipe the floor with them, either by his own power or from battle experience.

So a couple of nice moments, some more Chemical King ineptitude, and a sort of prologue feeling to the Fatal Five arc. It's a good thing that the Duplicate Damsel scene was so powerful or I might not have anything very positive to say about this issue.

Overall grade: C


Dave Mullen said...

I felt it was too thin a read. LSH since its return has been a wandering and listless beast and this current volume has yet to show us some serious action or a sense of moving on, this latest issue epitomises the problems with Paul Levitz as let's be honest - there is no plot. A rudimentary book length chase after some faceless ore pirates such as this is not good enough, it's a B-plot that should be underpinning the major story of the issue.
Legion Lost which has just been cancelled juggled a number of plots simultaneously, every character in there had at least one plotline pegged to them which ran alongside the main story driving the issue. Modern team books are so prevailant now the action has to be fast, and it has to be for high stakes. With LSH we're getting a book that feels like it's from another era of comics altogether, the team still hasn't recovered from the dissolution instigated by Earth-Man and his 'Justice League' and that lack of strength and vitality to the team is another element hurting it.
I do think they missed the bus with the September relaunch as they could have addressed all of this and restored the membership to its full strength, with Legion of 3 Worlds and the Action Comics Johns/Frank runs no longer being canon it made no sense to make this book a continuation of those stories and their fallout...

Anj said...

I agree with everything you said.

I feel like this book just sort of spins its wheels at time.

Martin Gray said...

That Luornu/Nura scene was priceless - how may other books have characters reference 50-year-old bits of continuity as if it were last week?

Anj said...

Thanks for the post Mart.

That scene was great, building on a resurgence of Luornu as a formidable character.

But did only Legion-philes like us 'get it'. Or worse, are the only readers Legion-philes like us? Is there no new blood out there?