Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #14




Legion of Super-Heroes #14 came out last week, another issue by the creative team of writer Paul Levitz and artist Scott Kolins. It also felt like another meaningless issue in this book in which few moments have stood out.

As usual, Paul Levitz is able to sprinkle in some crumbs of good characterization and some seeds for future storylines that are inticing. In particular, the upcoming Fatal Five story continues to simmer on the back burner nicely.
But the main story here, this mission where Element Lad and Chemical King fight Braalian pirates seems like a waste of time and space. These are nameless villains who are little more than junk metal thieves. This doesn't seem to have any bearing on any major storylines. So nothing of consequence there. And from the Legion end, Chemical King struggling in his role as a Legionnaire has been seen before, with no new wrinkles were added this time.
Blog friend Dave Mullen says it best and I am going to quote him here. These current Legion stories simply aren't memorable. Indeed, this issue is utterly forgettable.
And Scott Kolin's rough art doesn't help matters. One thing that was memorable from the early issues here was the beautiful art by Francis Portela.


Now Levitz has always shown that he was a master at juggling the large roster of the Legion, making sure we catch sight of each character now and then. But it is clear that he has his favorites and Brainiac 5 is one of them.
Brainy has been central to the last several arcs and even the focus of the zero issue. Here, he is even around to help Element Lad. creating a device that can hone in on unusual magnetic patterns for the Legion to track, presumably leading them to the Braalian base.

Meanwhile, Cosmic Boy, injured last issue, is about to go under the knife for life-saving surgery.
So one of the interesting nuggets in this issue is the discovery that Cos has no ambient magnetism emanating from his body. Hmmm ...
We have seen Rokk lose his powers in the 5YL Legion. Could it be happening again?

And Brainy finally gets to the bottom of Comet Queen's betrayal. Comet Queen was, as many have figured out here, acting under a post-hypnotic suggestion placed by Saturn Queen. Congratulations to all who cracked that mystery!

What is interesting is that the suggestion was specifically to kill Brainy, not undermine the Legion.  Why would Saturn Queen do that? And weren't there easier times for Comet Queen to act on that compulsion? Let's say ... shooting him in the Legion HQ?

 
Meanwhile, Element Lad and Chemical King struggle against 3 Braalian robbers. Really?
I have seen Element Lad take down a whole planet of raging Daxamites. I have seen him cage Validus. Three petty thieves with magnetic powers take him out? By tossing rubble on him?
Was this brief elimination of Element Lad from the story forced in there to show how nervous Chemical King still is when in combat? I get it ... Chemical King has few skills right now. With Element lad unconscious, the best he can do is hide and hit the distress signal.


The other subplot bubbling away is the reformation of the Fatal Five. Sun Boy and Phantom Girl are sent to a sort of super-villain armory to check on the Persuader's Atomic Axe only to discover the axe is gone. It has been replaced by a hologram.
 Okay, that isn't surprising.
What is surprising is this odd exchange between Tinya and Dirk. He had just touched her on the shoulder to warn her about something when she goes ghost on him. And then says 'no touching unless I ask?'

What the heck does that mean? Is Dirk touching her too much? Does she not like personal contact? Does she, at times, ask Sun Boy to touch her? Is she just being kind of flirty ... strange for someone so devoted to her beau Ultra Boy. It was odd to read ... I hope we hear more about what that means?

After nursing his head wound and before reinforcements arrive, Element Lad dispatches the villains by turning their oxygen feed into nitrogen. It is done quickly, neatly, easily. Shouldn't this takedown have happened an issue ago? How did these guys last this long against Element Lad and Cosmic Boy? At least we get a brief peek at the rescue team which includes Shadow Lass and Lightning Lass, two characters I haven't seen enough of here.

Anyways, this was 2 issues of watching Brainy examine Comet Queen and Element Lad and Chemical King struggle to stop some pirates. Yes, the small moments are nice but that is like complimenting the garnish after eating a mediocre meal. There was little memorable here. And the Legion deserves bigger and better stories.

And I have never been a big fan of Scott Kolins art. Here it just seems too crude for a futuristic book.

Overall grade: C-

5 comments:

Martin Gray said...

It does feel like we're playing a waiting game, I'd like to see Paul Levitz bring on the villain big guns, and fast. I was intrigued by Tinya's comment too - it's a bit late in the day for us to discover she has a thing about being touched.

Loved Ayla's comment about Vi telling her to tone up (she did look ruddy awful).

And is this the first time we've seen the term 'uniques' bandied about?

Dave Mullen said...

I'm not one to bash creators but ever increasing criticism for Paul Levitz' Legion book is unavoidable for me by now. The lack of ideas from him is now blatantly clear for all to see and I am absolutely amazed this is being allowed to continue.
I really do feel it was a great mistake not to take the opportunity last September to reset the book with its issue #1, fresh start with a full strength and active roll call for the group - bring in all the old faces and a few new as well. Look to the future instead of mulling over the past as is happening right now in the book.

We know the Legion always gets shafted in DCs houseclearing excercises and I can see the the Legion Lost book may have damaged LSH's integrity as well by taking away key players, but why not then have a major recruitment drive? The team as it stands right now is very reminiscent of the Bierbaum Legion once Giffen had left, there's still decent characterisation but there's an immense fatigue to it all as well. As if it was a struggle to come up with ideas and a direction...

The art isn't all that bad from Kolins, I accept this is a fill in stint from him and his current modified stlye is not as good as his old style in my opinion, But it's perfectly servicable.
Regrettably though you can sum up everything that's wrong about Legion of Super-Heroes by reading this issue and last - there is absolutely nothing here to see here. I'd forgotten it as soon as I'd read it because there's virtually nothing worth remembering about it...

Anj said...

I was intrigued by Tinya's comment too - it's a bit late in the day for us to discover she has a thing about being touched.

Loved Ayla's comment about Vi telling her to tone up (she did look ruddy awful).

And is this the first time we've seen the term 'uniques' bandied about?


The Tinya thing just read so weird. I wonder if I am making more out of it than I should be.

And it is the first time I heard of Uniques.

Lastly, how about Ayla and Vi actually being in a story!

Anj said...

Regrettably though you can sum up everything that's wrong about Legion of Super-Heroes by reading this issue and last - there is absolutely nothing here to see here. I'd forgotten it as soon as I'd read it because there's virtually nothing worth remembering about it...

Agreed.

Hopefully Giffen can add some juice to the mix!

Anonymous said...

This issue was a total loser for me. I didn't like the cover tag line, the story (as already mentioned) was like a repeat of the previous issue and I didn't like the art either. I buy LSH and Legion Lost because I like the Legion but I find these books boring to read. There are rare glimmers of hope but overall I don't get excited about having this book in my hands.