Monday, August 3, 2020

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #7

Legion of Super-Heroes #7, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Stephen Byrne, came out last week and continued this series interesting new take on my beloved Legion.

As I have said before in my reviews, this title is an interesting mix of all that has come before it. The Legion is a tricky property. It is considered too dense or complicated for new readers. It has an aging fanbase tied to its continuity. It has undergone reboots. It has needed some vision which captures both the history of the main continuity but freshened up so new readers can enjoy the ride.

And somehow this new title seems to be doing just that.

This issue takes on one of the best parts of Legion's fandom ... the Legion Leader Election. As someone who once mailed in a vote for Wildfire, I can tell you, I love the election. So to see that brought back here made me smile.

The idea of a Superboy, a 21st century superheroic legend, joining the team to guide and learn, is old and new.

And the idea that the government that formed the Legion might be a little worried about them is also old (I see you Threeboot) and new as well.

Add to that Stephen Byrne's clean art, bringing a beautiful polish to the future, and you have another great installment in this title. His expressive work is stellar here. You need that sort of ability in a book where there are so many scenes of people talking. You need to help intuit their feelings.

Long Live the Legion! On to the book!

As always, we start with a page which is an introduction to a Legionnaire and a recap page.

And this issue's Legionnaire is my favorite, Wildfire.

The 'intro' side talks about Wildfire being rejected for duplicating Legion powers. He calls himself Energy Release Generator. And he talks about being something of a hothead. You can't contain his voice. All of that is very much reminiscent of the classic Legion history. For me, that means I can have the original Wildfire origin 'count' in this continuity. For new fans, it probably is an interesting mystery.


But my favorite part of the page is the Interlac blurb.


That is because Wildfire demands to be treated as a person, as something alive. It is probably his biggest fear or hang-up.

Is the Legion an entity unto themselves? Or a tactical group at the command of the United Planets?

With a recent battle for the trident of Aquaman led to a standoff with General Crav of Rimbor, the Legion may have overstepped their boundaries in the eyes of the President of the UP.

I liked how here the Legion decides to step up.

The team heads to the UP headquarters and addresses the representatives and the people of Rimbor. It is very classic for Cosmic Boy to be the leader and voice of reason. And I love his speech here.

People are different. People communicate differently. People need to listen to other's perspectives. Heck, we need more of this sentiment in the real world.

But when Cosmic Boy asks for Rimbor to forgiveness, the President shudders. She has declared Crav an enemy of the state. A rift is forming.

Meanwhile, the President is also upset that the Legion, without permission, brought Superboy to the future.

In another noble moment, Superboy shows his upbringing in the house of Kent. He says how the UP needs to exist to smooth over hostilities and stop catastrophes like the destruction of Krypton. He apologizes if he has made things worse for the Legion.

He is rather charming. And heroic. He is just what Superboy should be.

And, by the way, he is a legend in the 31st century. The president side-eyes him and realizes that maybe going against a legendary hero who is being reasonable and contrite won't win her popularity points. She says the Legion has autonomy and praises their acts.

I don't trust her.

Love Jon's look here, exuding a sort of plea for forgiveness.

With that confrontation done, we head to the Legion Headquarters. We learn everyone has their own residential area fit to conform to that member's needs.

We see Triplicate Girl talking to Monster Boy about snacks, a little side conversation showing how the Legion shares their cultures respectfully. They walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Plus, this sort of personality piece is very old school Legion.

But the bulk of the scene is Saturn Girl talking to Cosmic Boy.

Imra complains to Rokk about his speech to the UP saying it was too whiny. And she knows that is how the UP delegates perceived it ... you know, telepathy. Love her eyeroll!

Rokk is the Legion Leader. But in a nice turn, we see he wasn't elected to the position as much as have it thrust upon him. After all his service, Rokk is a bit ticked that people are questioning him. He is upset that Brainy is acting like Leader already.

I also find it interesting that Imra is basically always scanning nearby minds. She is reading Rokk's mind as she is talking to him. He has every right to find it offensive.

Hmmm ... I wonder if others also find it creepy that Imra is always inside their head.

We also get a quick look in at the other original member.

The Ranzz larger family has come to Earth to live with the twins. The family is thrilled that they got 'off Winath' and can live a more comfortable life. You can see how proud Garth is to be able to do that for his family.

But as we learned in their origin story, Ayla is much more of a progressive thinker. She is a protester, a social justice warrior. She can't believe the Legion even listens to the UP, which she describes as war mongers.

I can imagine a story in the future where Ayla rocks the boat so much that the UP threatens to send her family back to Winath. Good conflict there ... how much do you bend your ideals?

Meanwhile, the Legion is called together.

In a historic moment for the team, the decision is made to have a proper vote for Legion Leader.

Ultra Boy throws his hat into the ring.

And Cos initially seems to say he wants to still be leader. But then, frustrated, he takes off.

I get you Cosmic Boy! I get you! It makes sense that he would be ticked off after all he has done.

And then ....

Well ...

Be careful what you wish for Legion. Ultra Boy is voted as leader in a landslide.

Let's see what the team does when a hothead kid from Rimbor is put in charge. (Or am I putting the persona of the classic Jo onto this new guy?)

I do love Imra in the background. You can tell what she thinks of this.

In case you can't tell, I love this book.

I am thrilled that Brian Michael Bendis is melding all the Legion's and keeping this train moving. And a Legion election! It makes this old school fan thrilled.

Hoping all old Legion fans are giving this a shot!

Overall grade: A


Daxam1978 said...

Great review(as usual😊)
I'm absolutely loving this new series,my favourite issue was so far is no.6
The interstellar battle scenes reminded me of the EARTHWAR epic from the bronze age~Ryan Sooks art was amazing!
Not familiar with Stephen Byrne but i really like his art on this ish.

Martin Gray said...

Top review Anj, as you likely know, we’re in agreement about how much fun this is... I like your interpretation of ‘energy release is not a thing’ better than mine, I thought it was Bendis being saracastic, meaning the powers are daft. Yours makes more sense for the DCU.

Daxam, Byrne drew most of the recent Wonder Twins series written by Mark Russell, a fantastic read... his art there is a tiny bit more cartoony, presumably to evoke the old Super Friends, while here he’s following the Sook model sheets.

Steve said...

If they go by classic, Levitz, and 5YL Jo Nah, the Legion is safe. Remember that Glorith especially feared him because he hid his innate leadership and sharp mind behind a jock bro act...