Monday, September 2, 2019

Review: Superman #14

Superman #14 finally came out last week, delayed a short period of time by DC editorial to make some changes.

But for someone who has been waiting years ...YEARS ... for the Legion of Super-Heroes to show up again in the DCU, a couple more week's wait was fine. Because ... BOOM ... we have the Legion again. And it is a Legion that seems dripping with the optimism of the future and willing to reward the heroes of their past for inspiring them.

And while I bemoan the loss of Super-Sons, having Superboy be the guiding light of this Legion is a wonderful nod to the past.

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the other things that happen in this book. An odd-Zod truce of a sorts. A revelation about Rogol Zaar. The end(?) of the Mr. Oz story. And some wonderful Supergirl moments. This truly was a great ending chapter to The Unity Saga, my guess being that Unity refers to the United Planets. Amazing.

And I love this Krypto-centric Adam Hughes variant cover. Always good to see a Hughes Kara. But how awesome that there is a 'no Streaky' sign present!

On to the details!

The issue starts with the El family and the Zods standing in a Thanagarian court before the amassed powers of the galaxy.

Take a good look in their. Oans. Thanagarians. Vril Dox and the L.E.G.I.O.N.! It's a smorgasbord! Go ahead! Take your time and peruse.

Cut back in time to the end of last issue.

Jor-El has brought his ship with Kal to the site of Krypton. Rogol Zaar and General Zod follow to bring the fight.

But then ... chicanery! Zod has only been pretending to team with Zaar. Once again (despite having been pounded by Zaar a few issues back) he resumes the fight. I suppose the hope is the remaining riffraff from the Phantom Zone will join Zod in the fight.

I wondered if the deadly K-radiation that we had seen a few months back when Kara visited the site would be mentioned but it is in continuity. Any Kryptonian out there will die in seconds.

I do love how cold-blooded Jor-El is here. He won't let Kal join the fight. He wants Zod to kill Zaar and he knows Kal will step in.

But there is no stopping Kal. He dons a field generator which will buy him a few seconds.

And then the big reveal ... Zaar is effected by the Kryptonite too. He is Kryptonian!

Now how can he scream about Krypton killing 'his planet' and also be Kryptonian and also have destroyed Krypton. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma!

Latest insane idea? Zaar is Jor-El from the future, warped by his own hard life and going back in time to try and stop his timeline. I know, that makes no sense.

And when it looks like once again Zaar might win, or at least be in a stalemate with Kal and Zod, the rest of the House of El shows up.

Kara pulls Zaar's axe towards her (I guess she is the Mistress of the Axe, if it is more beholden to her than Zaar). And then it is on. Between the Els and Zod, it looks like Zaar will be defeated (even if everyone is dying from K-exposure).

Love this panel of Kara zooming in with determination. So different than Jon's shocked look. He hasn't dashed into battle enough. Shame we didn't see too much interaction between these two before.

But before the fight can end, a Thanagarian death squad shows up and arrests everyone. I guess in their weakened K-state, no one can shrug off the hawk police.

Sop we are back on Thanagar and that assembled group needs some answers. They need a fall guy. They need peace in the galaxy. Between Gandelo's death resulting in the Trillium empire being in disarray and all the Mr. Oz/Rogol Zaar shenanigans, the whole galaxy is in turmoil. Everyone is attacking everyone. And the Els seemingly are to blame.

More importantly, both Zaar and Jor-El have been arrested and placed in custody.

Hmmm ... that is a big thing to happen off screen. And how do you hold those two in a prison cell? I wish we had seen more.

Leave it to Jon to come up with the answer.

If the galaxy is having a hard time policing itself with individual forces, why not form some type of organization? Something like the United Nations?

Sometimes the simplest answers are the best ones.

But so much else to love in these panels.

Look at the actual love on Ursa and Zod when reunited. I guess Superman will just have to be okay with Zod taking over a planet.

More importantly, I love how Zod defers to Superman here. This isn't a brawl that Zod can punch his way out of. This needs diplomacy and Zod is no diplomat. One line in one panel. But so powerful.

So the Els, as a family, each discussing the idea, propose the United Planets. A peace-keeping group designed to keep everyone in check. A public forum for change.

It certainly is different that the secret cabal which led to this destruction. So of course, the reps of the Circle are dumbstruck. Great little panel. Sardath looks downright sheepish.

Seriously, I do love how Superman, Supergirl, and Superboy each say a bit about the UP idea. Shows they are united as a family.

And then ... BOOM ... in comes the Legion to celebrate the day the UP was founded.

You thought the first splash was awesome, let your eyes roll over this!


The Legion!!!!


And since it was Jon's idea, they invite him to join the team in the future.


I was gobsmacked.

As great as that moment was, I love the other El responses. You're right Kara, this is a weird day. And I love that Superman assumes they are talking about him. Step off, Kal!!!

Okay. There is so much to love here. The unity of the Els. Zod deferring to Kal. Jon coming up with the idea of the UP. And the Legion.

The art by Ivan Reis is sumptuous, per usual. I love his Supergirl. And everything works here, from the diplomatic scenes to the knockdown space brawl to the grandeur of the Legion.

There are two things which I hope we get more information about that lower my grade here a smidge. Jor-El and Zaar being carted away off-panel seems wrong. These two were the straws that stirred the drink for over a year now. Let me see that!

And the Zaar reveal as a Kryptonian is too cryptic and confusing. We better learn more.

But consider those pebbles in the shoe. The Legion is back!!

Overall grade: B+


John (somewhere in England) said...

Like ANJ, I'm thrilled by the Legion's return. The artwork in this comic is top quality and both Supergirl and the Legion look superb. Roll on Wednesday for the next Legion comic!

Whilst writing, I'd also like to say how much I'm enjoying the Lois Lane series. Both the artwork and the story have been excellent.

Martin Gray said...

What a thrilling issue!

I assumed the Supers went with the Hawks to get things sorted rather than because they had to... it could be a bit of both, mind.

Jor-El becomes Zaar? Please don't!

That Hughes cover is lovely. To think DC actually tried to make cute Krypto a lizard thing!

Anonymous said...

Ivan Reis is fantastic as always, and he does draw a great Supergirl. Even the costume and colors are right, which hasn't been happening much lately.

I too wish we understood more about Zaar. Probably Bendis will revisit this in a year or two.

Hey, I spotted something interesting. After reading Batman/Superman #1 this week and observing that the Superman depicted in the first scene is not in red trunks, I realized that the Superman on the cover of Supergirl #36 is also -- Not Our Superman!

So, just maybe, the infected Supergirl of the Secret Six is not our Supergirl? Maybe she's an infected survivor of the The Batman Who Laugh's universe - in which case she fared better than all those Justice Leaguers TBWL finished off. And now she's here, like him, to cause mischief. In which case, our Supergirl will have to grapple with her just as our Batman has dealt with his evil doppelganger.

I wish we didn't have to deal with TBWL at all, but it is what it is. My theory would be better than the horrible alternative

This time - I'm right! (Heh.)


SimB said...

I thought the Rogol Zaar reveal was saying he was from a former more primitive species who were eclipsed by the Kryptonian race we know. Or maybe like the people of Easter island. I don't. Just not a a single mangled up standard Kryptonian in RZ but a whole genetically different people

DanielT said...

Since this Superman is the pre-Flashpoint Superman, why isn't he saying "Hey, I already AM a member of the LSH--and you guys look different than I remember."

Martin Gray said...

Daniel, don't destroy the story with sense and logic! :)

Anj said...

Thanks for the great comments!

Long Live the Legion!!!