Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #12

Legion of Super-Heroes #12 came out last week, the finale of the Dominator Super-clone storyline. I have to say the title has somewhat rallied for me over this arc, bringing back some older characters, highlighting the personalities of the members, and always falling back on the Legion being more like a family than a group of super-powered individuals. Those elements have often overshadowed the main plot of the Dominators trying to clone a sort of Amazo-like army of Legion/Daxam/Dominator soldiers. But overshadow in a good way.

Add to that the stunning internal art of Francis Portela and the throwback slick Steve Lightle covers and it has been more of a win for this book recently.

And this issue had more of the same. We see the resilience of Dream Girl, the leadership and strength of Mon-El, the grit of Star Boy. And they all have their parts to play in a victory. Thanks goodness for all this great characterization because some of the plot points are a little iffy.

Still, overall this book has moved steadily upwards in my mind over the last half year or so and this issue continued that momentum, even if it was a smaller step forward than the prior ones.

The trapped Legionnaires of Brainy and Dream Girl as well as the rescue squad of Duplicate Damsel, Bouncing Boy, Star Boy, and some recruits have been betrayed by Comet Queen. Surprisingly, rather than gather the genomes of these new Legionnaires, the Dominators decide to eat them instead.

Seems a little off for the Dominion. Heck, grabbing Duplicate Damsel alone would make sense. Then, in essence, you only need to make one clone that can copy itself. So I thought that seemed off.

Still, it is great to see Dream Girl continue to be more than a seer and a pretty face. Here she escapes from her shackles and frees the other prisoners. Levitz has really made her tough and a leader under that shiny exterior.

And, as I said last issue, I have loved the way he has treated Duplicate Damsel in the book as well. She has been fierce and unyielding, unwilling to leave anyone behind. In this mission on the Dominion homeworld she has impressed me the most.

This panel, in particular, struck home the point. She is an army of one, willing to fight the whole Dominion military if need be.

While skirmishing with the 'red shirts' of the Dominator infantry, the Legion realizes that things have gotten much worse. The one of the long teased at super-powered clones emerges from his birthing matrix. Funny, it seems only to have Daxamite powers. For some reason I thought other DNA had been collected.

I did think it was a nice touch to have it look like the Daxamite Dominator sympathizer Res-Vir who started this whole thing back in the Panoptes story in LSH #1. Nice continuity there.

But being fresh from the 'womb', the clone isn't fully juiced yet. Brainy quickly realizes that Star Boy can overcome the clone's powers with tremendous mass. Remember Thom isn't really whole himself and is unsure if he can do it until Dreamy inspires him.

Again, a nice touch of characterization. Thom loved Nura enough to go after her. She loves him so much that her love can spur him to new heights.

Of course, this goes against my 'I am dumping you for Brainy' anticipated Dream Girl plot.

As for the other Legionnaires, they are trying to figure out how to convince the UP to let them go into Dominator space to help. Mon-El has a brainstorm and has Sensor Girl use her powers to show the council the battle raging.

Of course, the UP rightly states that part of Sensor Girl's powers are illusions. How can they know this is true. Mon-El tells them that is enough evidence even if they don't believe it and takes off with Ultra Boy.

So, it is a nice use of Sensor Girl who has been a bit missing from the book. And a great move by Mon-El.  I liked that. But if Mon-El was going to go in regardless of what the UP thought about it ... why not just go in before this? I just think the whole UP holding up the rescue has felt off given the Dominators wormholing their starfleet into Panoptes space. What more proof do you need that you are indeed at war?

While the big guns are on their way, the Legion rescue squad continues to mop up the foot soldiers. Realizing that more super-clones could hatch, Bouncing Boy slams into the techno-organic tree they are in, knocking it down.

This is another one of those moments I have to roll with. I like Bouncing Boy. And seeing him pinball of Dominator troops, knocking them down, was great. And giving him a nice moment is also great. But, he doesn't have super-strength or speed. I don't know if I would think he could level this thing. So great characterization and a nice moment ... but maybe overboard?

In what I thought was the weakest moment of the book, the chief Dominator basically pulls the plug on the whole 'super-clone' idea, literally eating the head scientist and deciding to rely on the old ways, the warrior caste.

Seriously, if the Dominion had good handcuffs, this plan would have worked! They were 2 minutes away from having a Daxamite cadre. And because a million things had to fall the Legion way, they aren't going to pursue this? I don't know ... this all seemed too fast.

But the book ends on a nice high note. Mon-El and Jo show up and basically mop the floor with the Dominators, breaking everything up, knocking out the super-clone, and raising hell.

I love the awe on Otako's face as she sees these two in action for the first time. It must be something to behold your heroes up close. It is this sort of feeling that makes the Legion the Legion. It was good to see this low-powered squad basically save the day, letting the powerhouses just do the property damage.

Of course, there is still the sour note of why Comet Queen went rogue. Any ideas out there?

So overall, a winner of an issue for showing the Legion at it's best, rallying around each other, using their unique powers in winning combinations, and striving for justice. And that's really what I want out of this book. These things were enough to gloss over the rough spots of the plot.

We know the Fatal Five are right around the corner too!

Overall grade: B+/B


collectededitions said...

I felt the first trade of Levitz's New 52 Legion series, Hostile World, was kind of a disappointment after the great When Evil Calls (Hostile Worlds was too short, more action than character, I thought). In skimming your review of Legion #12, I'm glad to see some suggestion the book might get back on track with the next collection.

valerie21601 said...

My guess for Grava is Titan Queen planted a telepathic "time bomb" in Comet Queen's mind set to go off and hurt Brainy when the moment was right.

T.Q. seems to especially despise Brainy, as I recall in the last series. T.Q. was really, really angry he kept fighting her to the bitter end to the point and she physically abused him for it.

Martin Gray said...

Yeah, I'm with Valerie, Saturn Queen seems the most likely candidate for Comet Queen brain mangler.

Great spot on Res-Vir, I miss that one.

And top review, as ever! I'm good with Chuck bounching the clone cocoon tree to heck ... I'm rubbish at science, but wouldn't every new bounce up his mass?

Anonymous said...

I too would have liked seeing the clone with more Legionnaires DNA and powers embedded in him. What happened to Brainey and Dream Girl's samples? The final fight scene seemed rushed and I was really surprised Mon-El and Ultra Boy didn't bring in a bigger rescue team. I expected a bigger climatic battle. I think the issue #0 mandate may have gotten in the way and Levitz couldn't drag this out for one more issue.

Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

Saturn Queen planting something in Comet Queen's brain is a great thought and has to be true. I do hope that Comet Queen remains innocent and fun and doesn't go all Speedball/Penance or villain on us.

And the thought that this was rushed for the zero issue is also a great thought and probably true.

As for Bouncing Boy, I guess if I can buy that a guy can indeed inflate himself and bounce, I shouldn't quibble about him knocking something down.

Thanks again!

valerie21601 said...

Actually BB power can be powerful in its own way.

Remember decades ago, where one little bird hit a train and totally derailed it?

Or that scene in the Christopher Reeve Superman movie No#3. Where Superman was on a drinking binge and was flicking peanuts and turned them into deadly projectiles?

With the right speed, timing, the right amount of force just about the force it can be destructive force.

Darn, I wish my brother was here. He knows the physics on it and he is a real scientist too. He pointed this out to me. When we saw the Superman shooting peanuts scene on cable tv years ago

BTW if you ever played volleyball or haven't in a long while play it again. If you survive being hit full force by that ball multiply it to the size of BB and you got a force to be reckoned with.

valerie21601 said...

With right speed, timing, the right amount of force. It can be a destructive force.

Sorry forgot to correct my grammar before I hit the submit button.