Friday, October 2, 2020

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #9

Legion of Super-Heroes #9 came out this week, the second part of the Trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes and another fantastic art jam piece written by Brian Michael Bendis.

There is so much to love about this particular issue that you should know it was incredibly difficult to pick which pieces of the book I wanted to post here. For a Legion fan, every page is a delight.

Bendis uses the backdrop of the Trial to once again show us audition vids for various members of the team. This technique not only gives us background information on the team members (establishing new origins for some established characters) but also shows that the Legion has never wanted to be the lapdog for the UP. I guess 'eat it Grampa' could be invoked. And then he drops a bomb hinting at an upcoming storyline. Boom!

The art is crazy good with a veritable Who's Who of artists each showcasing a different Legionnaire. Too many names to drop here. Just go buy the issue.

I have been enjoying this book a ton! And these last two issues have been electric.

On the book.

We start out with the standard recap page with Shadow Lass giving us the lowdown on the Legion being put on trial. 

She speaks of the Legion being born from the ideas of the Great Heroes unifying to bring peace. She stands behind the ideas of the UP. But most importantly, she drops the fact that her people have a 'pure view' of what is just. 

Hmmm, you may remember that last issue we saw that Shadow Lass wasn't fighting Crav and his Rimborian army. Perhaps she thinks Crav has a just cause? Intriguing.

Interlac translastion:
The trial of the Legion of Superheroes is being broadcast live to the entire galactic. It is being translated into 97 different base languages and 700 different dialects. The only planetary system not running the trial live is Rimbor, who has accussed the Legion and the gathered United Planets of egregious criminal behavior. 

It is unknown whether Rimbor Leader Crav the General Nah or his son and newly elected Legion leader Jo Nah Ultra Boy will appear before this court. 

 Rimbor very publically denounced their seat at the United Planets after the Legion of Super-Heroes intercepted what they believed to be an illegal interaction between Rimbor and the Horraz.

And then a second sort of recap page where now we hear from the President.

She talks about how the Legion was her idea. But they have broken the rules and not followed the tenets of the UP. She doesn't want her team to commit the same errors the heroes of prior generations did. And so she has to put the Legion on trial, possible to disband them. And one way to figure out the motives of the Legion is to look back at who they recruited.

Interlac translation:
As stated in the United Planet Bylaws, the President acts as prosecutor for any case brought forth to the body.RJ Brande is a skilled litigator who successfully negotiated peace between New Krypton and Thanagar. Her approval rating across the galactic is 66%. 

The Legion approval rating is 87%. 

She is constantly checking.

And so we get a number of flashbacks, many of which confirm the President's worries that the Legion had their own agenda. 

For example, Dawnstar doesn't want to join until she hears that the Legion has complete autonomy over their actions. They work with, not for, the UP.

Since this is in the past, I guess we just have to assume on that day and at that time, the people present were sporting the 1970's costumes.

Or we just assume that Mike Grell didn't care and wanted to draw the costumes he was used to.

But I don't think Dawnstar even has real wings in the current Legion. Were they ripped off in the interim? Or do I just move on.

The beat goes on as we see other recruitment tapes.

Monster Boy comes from Tor-etto (perhaps a nod to the Tor publishing company?). When he turns into the giant Moby Dick of Space, Cosmic Boy says that he'd like to see the UP try and force the team to do anything.

Hmmm ... so the independence idea exists all the way at the top.

Wildfire is my favorite Legionnaire so I have to say I was a little disappointed to see JRJR as artist.

But I do love Wildfire's very pro-active stance. He'll join the team. But only if they truly do the real thing in defending the galaxy and maintaining peace.

That'll work for me. Sounds like Wildfire who often wanted to jump into action.

And then we see Timber Wolf 'defending' a scorched Zoon.

He was made to defend his planet but it was too late. I like that he talks about 'the creatures' he is trying to help. I wonder if he will be the ecological warrior on the team, defending nature.

Of course, these looks back are broken up with peeks at the current trial proceedings.

When Crav arrives demanding that the Legion get disbanded, each member sent back to their planet to answer for their crimes, Mon-El decides to shut him up.

I have never been a big Mon-El fan but I might get behind this hothead version.  That's a lot of punches.

Slick art by Jim Cheung. 

But the trial takes a quick turn ...

Dream Girl gives her testimony saying that she has had visions of a great darkness coming.

(jaw drop)

First off, this is a stunning page by Tula Lotay.

But the Great Darkness?

I mean, that looks like a boom tube.

Dr. Fate is called into the President's chambers where he says that he has felt the reverberations of the Great Darkness but he isn't sure if it is going to happen. But if it does, the Legion is ready. And if it doesn't, it is because the team has prevented it.

But then the White Witch steps up. She knows more about the Great Darkness than anyone. She knows that Crav also knows it is happening and has been trying to gather weapons to fight it. When Crav confesses to this, the Legion is exonerated.

What a great page.

First off, just truly stunning work by Jenny Frison, a favorite of mine.

Second, we start out with her name being Xola Aq, a throwback. I wonder if she will ever be called Mysa.

And then the twist. She is Mordru's daughter. And no one else knows.

She hates Mordru. But she also hates the President.

Whoa ...

With Legion proving their worth to the President and the trial over, we get this moment!

Superboy and Saturn Girl kissing!!!!

Nice closing page. 

There is way more in this issue. Pages about Bouncing Boy, Invisible Boy, and Triplicate Girl are great peeks at those characters. Seeing the team interact about what their actions should be also is eye opening. Ayla continues to try to push the envelope. 

I feel like we needed to get these 9 issues behind us to move forward. We know the Legion and the members now. We have seen them in action. We have seen them save Earth. We have had our primer.

Now let's get some action!

It is so great to have a Legion book I can get behind back on the stands.

Overall grade: A


Daxam1978 said...

An ace review sir!🤓👍
I loved the page with Bouncing Boy,Chuck is one of my favourites.
And how visually awesome did Dr Fate look??!
This is my favourite title now.

Bostondreams said...

Not sure how I feel about that kiss. Or Bendis redoing one of the great LSH storylines. Will it be New Krypton instead of Daxam that is reshaped this time? But really enjoyed the issue.

Martin Gray said...

I didn’t like the kiss at all, it just feels like she’s a grown woman and he’s little more than a kid. Plus, it reminded me of Silver Age Superman snogging Saturn Woman.

So as a film fan, did you not love the Citizen Kane reference?

Gosh, I do get sick of Thanagar always being at war in the DCU these days.... and now in the future too.

Top review!

Anonymous said...

There are so many great pages of art, and I agree the page by Tula Lotay is superb.

Thanks for translating all of that Interlac for us! It's always interesting text.


Hal Shipman said...

"it just feels like she’s a grown woman and he’s little more than a kid."

I thought that at first, too, but Jon wasn't magically aged (a la Bart Allen). We found out in Superman that he grew up off-screen. Granted, a LOT of that time was in solitary confinement in a volcano, which has got to be HUGELY traumatic and emotionally scarring, but at least he's not actually 9 or 10 years old to Imra's upper teens.

Martin Gray said...

True Hal, but while Jon lived and aged on Earth 3 - a horrible idea! - to us he aged overnight.

But yeah, you’re right, I didn’t mean to give the wrong impression!