Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #16

It was bound to happen. With the DCU ending, and stories forced to wrap up in August, there was bound to be a clunker as creative teams rushed to finish things up.

Unfortunately, that clunker was the conclusion of the LSH vs. LSV arc in Legion of Super-Heroes #16. This story has been something of a slow burn, with slight progression each issue but few revelations. And, as feared, the story gets wrapped up in these 20 pages in a very rushed fashion. I was pretty underwhelmed by this issue. Not much seemed to work.

The Legion is relatively untouched by the new timeline of the DCnU so things will pick up right where this story left off. But I guess the whole 'jumping on' point of a number one issue forced writer Paul Levitz to finish things up.

Art is done by Daniel HDR and he has a smooth understated style that is works nicely. Here is hoping that DC finds some place for him to land.

The book opens with LSH battling the LSV on the World of Wisdom.

Earth Man has arrived and entered the fray, going right to the heart of the matter, challenging Saturn Queen and the Blue Entity.

So here is the first sort of misstep in the issue. We get a page of Sodam Yat on Oa. He can sense the battle that is happening and realizes he needs to lend his strength to Earth Man and 'fulfill his destiny'.

But you don't see Yat again in the issue. He neither shows up at the fight nor is shown lending his strength. Was the plan for him to have a bigger role?

One of the mysteries of this arc for me has been 'what is Dyogene?' Is it a living being? He looks like a chyrsalis. Is it a construct.

While we never quite learn what Dyogene is, I did find this line by the Blue Entity interesting. Is Dyogene truly Oan soil granted some form of life? Is it the ideals of the Guardians ... so concentrated that it gained some sentience? More on this a bit later. But it is hard to know if the soil comment is simply hyperbole.

And here is something else I thought was a misstep. One of the bigger mysteries of this arc is 'what is the Blue Entity?' Everything eventually seemed to point to it being the resurrection of Krona. But I wonder if that had to be scuttled when Krona became the big bad in the War of the Green Lanterns.

The Entity is not Krona. It is the 'evil loosed by Krona's crime'. So what exactly is this? The personification of evil? Of chaos? Is it the coalescence of the Guardians' hubris?

The problem is I don't know what he is. Or how he got freed. And that doesn't work for me.

Some of the Legion flocks to Earth Man to lend him their power. This bolstering of his psyche thwarts Saturn Queen's attempts to control his mind.

I have never been a big fan of the Earth Man character but this was a good moment for him as he tries to absorb the power of the Blue Entity and turn it back.

And then Mon-El shows up. Earth Man knows he is the best person to battle the Blue Entity and asks Mon-EL to use his ring to connect Earth Man to all the Legion fighting on the World of Wisdom. As a result Earth Man becomes a one man Legion, juiced to the max.

Is this what Sodam Yat was supposed to do?

And then, and don't ask me how, Earth Man defeats the Blue Entity by exploding? Firing all the energies of the Legion? Kneeling?

There is really no explanation. And it happens on one page. I had to go back to make sure I hadn't skipped any pages that explained things.

So I think I just needed more to work with here. I don't even really know what the entity was let alone how he is defeated. And how did Earth Man know what to do?

Anyways, the maneuver somehow kills Earth Man. I guessed this a while back. It is an easy out, not ticking off old time Legion fans, while removing a connection to the old DCU.

And then there is nothing left to do but wrap things up.

Brainy punches out Saturn Queen.

Mon-El gives Dyogene back the Green Lantern ring he accepted earlier this year. So that seemed quick without much explanation by Mon-El around that.

Shadow Lass scoops up Earth Man to mourn his passing.

The one interesting part of this was Dyogene hoping a new Mogo will evolve. If Dyogene is truly Oan soil, might he be a 'planet seed' from which a new Mogo might grow?

And Harmonia Li jokes about joining the Legion.

We never really learned who or what she is. So she was on the World of Wisdom at one point but left it. But she kept hinting about how she might be responsible for the Blue Entity. I never learned enough about her to care or to explain her role.

And she closes out the book with some pretty heavy prose about faith, wisdom, and will and how they will always help good defeat evil.

I am a Legion fan. I will check out the Legion titles in the DCnU. But I just think that this arc, this run of the Legion ended with a whimper and not a bang. I still have a lot of questions about pretty much everything. And that doesn't feel right.

Overall grade: C-


valerie21601 said...

Let's hope that with the DCnU Levitz will have all of the issues he needs to do a proper story without yet another "reboot that isn't a reboot" interfering with the Legion story lines.

Dave Mullen said...

Good review that summed up my own thoughts as well!
I've enjoyed this Legion run but the last three issues have shown a marked loss of direction and pace and like other titles this month it appears the news of the September relaunch and a lack of time has sucked the enthusiasm out of a lot of the writers.
There are *a lot* of parallels between this issue of the Legion and the final JSA which I've just read, JSA wins on points as at least I understood all the plot points and who was who but ultimatly both books left me dissapointed at the lack of energy put into them and leaving the book on a downbeat note with a ton of questions and loose ends unanswered.

I think if it shows anything it shows that the days of longterm plotting may well be a thing of the past, so many writers who plotted long running storylines have been caught short here and Legion is as good an example as any as Paul Levitz clearly had a roadmap layed out that covered years, not months.
I think on the basis of this experience he would be wise to plan more limited arcs and be prepared for a more transient marketplace....

taichara said...

My opinions, as a lifetime L* reader, of this entire story arc and issue #16 in particular aren't good for polite company. Suffice to say that I hope Levitz pulls himself up in the reboot.

On Sodam Yat: I dimly recall reading at some point (Legion of Three Worlds, I think) that Yat had contracted lead poisoning and the power of his ring was the only thing keeping him from dying. Once he sent his ring and its power away, he likely keeled over on the spot.

(why not be treated by the lead serum Mon-El uses? no clue ... possibly because Yat is such a whiny creature >.>)

Anonymous said...

I think that this was simply the result of Levitz attempting to undo some of the changes made by Legion of 3 Worlds. So far, all of Levitz run has seemed forced to me. Earth-Man in the Legion. Ignoring the restart of the GLC at the end of Lo3W. Shadowlass sleeping with Earth-Man (maybe to kill him in his sleep). I'm sorry, I think that maybe he's lost something in the years as editor. I mean, am I the only one who saw great story opportunities in all the imprisoned faces around the Black Witch's throne?