A lot of people have been telling me good things about the Legends of Tomorrow mega-book that DC publishes. While I have some minor interest in a couple of the stars and creators, none of them had enough of a draw to rope me into the hefty $7.99 price point. So I figured I would wait and see if miraculously they ended up in the cheap bins.
However, when Legends of Tomorrow #6 came out last week, my social media feed lit up a bit. The Sugar and Spike story guest starred both Supergirl (in her Silver Age incarnation) and the Legion (in multiple incarnations). The sample panels by writer Keith Giffen and artist Bilquis Evely really seemed to hit the sweet spot of fun and nostalgia and so I couldn't resist.
I'll only review the Sugar and Spike tale given the focus of this blog but on reading the other entries, I have to say Firestorm and Metal Men (with a classic Tinny save at the end) read well and might be enough to entice me to grab them all should the books go on sale.
But the Sugar and Spike story is near perfection for me. As an old reader who has been through multiple versions of my favorite characters, it was great to see a writer have some fun with all the continuity bugaboos that now exist. I shouldn't be surprised that Giffen wrote this. For one, he has been a creator on any number of Legion incarnations. But also, his (and JM Dematteis') JLA 3001 as well as his Doom Patrol book showed that Giffen can both acknowledge that all the incarnations are viable (even when that simply cannot be so) so long as the reader sits back and enjoys the great stories. His Silver Age Supergirl in JLA 3001 was a high point for me and her character in this story echoes that no-nonsense, oddly mature Kara we saw there.
Bilquis Evely is also a huge star in this book. I loved Evely's work on DC Bombshells. But here she shows that she can handle all the ephemera and minutiae that Giffen can throw at her. Supergirl is stunning. But the Legion ... well they are the icing on the cake here.
On to the excellent story.
These are the types of panels that old school fans love to peruse, seeing how many of the exhibits they can identify. The Phantom Zone projector, Tusky, Kite-Man, Odd Man, the electric blue Superman suit, Brother Power the Geek, Aquaman's hook. I'm sure others will come to mind (or maybe will be told to me).
You just know, right from this panel, that all bets are off. Everything is in play; any continuity can be in this story.
But these are Adventure Comics #247 Legionnaires. From the bubble helmets, to the names on the shirts, to their youth, we are looking at the earliest incarnations of the team.
As someone who has read that story many times (in reprint), it was fun to see the yellow/black/green garbed Saturn Girl and the red-wearing Lightning Boy again.
But before Sugar and Spike can process that request, another version of the Legion shows up in their Time Bubble. This time, Silver Age Supergirl, Brainiac Five, and a robot-armed Lightning Lad show up to again ask the investigators to find the Transdimensional Modulator.
Due to this time paradox, the original Legionnaires concern doesn't occur but Brainy needs it to stop the creation of the Miracle Machine. He won't explain how it is needed because (as Sugar says) it is 'too complicated for a girl'. That riffs some early lines by Brainy one of which led to the creation of friend Mart Gray's excellent 'Too Dangerous for a Girl' blog!
But this is a Legion circa Adventure Comics #332, the issue where Garth loses his arm to the 'Super Moby Dick of Space'.
I'm a sucker for Brainy and Kara so I love this moment between Sugar and Supergirl where Kara calls Brainy a cutey. Just perfect.
While the two Legions talk and bicker, Supergirl does the obvious thing. She heads to STAR Labs where she and Sugar take the Transdimensional Modulator.
Have I said that Evely's Supergirl is perfect? Because it is.
And then the real ka-pow moment.
When Sugar and Kara return to the museum, it now looks like there are four Legions present.
The Adventure Comics #247 version.
The Silver Age Brainy Version.
A Dave Cockrum era version (given the costumes on that Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, and Timber Wolf).
And a Baxter era version, given the presence of Blok, White Witch, and Dream Girl.
For someone craving a Legion book on the racks, this is like a sudden smorgasbord.
There is so much is in this panel.
I love the older Garth consoling the younger one about the loss of limb. (The loss of life is about to happen.)
I love the startled younger Imra looking at the bikini get-up on the older version.
And boy oh boy, do I love that Cockrum Vi costume.
But I love the immediate sense that this scene is chaotic. This isn't a cozy chat. People are fired up.
Before he can run, Sugar tosses him the device which leads to an off screen brouhaha.
You can feel for Starfinger. I guess he was hoping to slink off once he saw just how outnumbered he was.
But all the fighting is off screen, albeit loud.
Sugar can't believe this is happening to her and the museum. Luckily Supergirl has removed all the exhibits so they won't be destroyed. Kara also decides to sit out the nonsense and simply view it with Sugar and Spike.
But there is one last needling of Sugar. Spike asks Supergirl out.
I'm an old time reader who loves continuity. I'm a Supergirl fan. I'm a Legion fan. I'm someone who loves good old-fashioned fun stories. For me, this was perfect. Kudos to Giffen for making me smile so widely.
And equal kudos to Evely for bring such a fine line to the art. Just fantastic.
So, are the rest of the Sugar and Spike stories this good?
Overall grade: A++