Friday, January 22, 2021

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #12

Legion of Super-Heroes #12 came out this week and it is a whirlwind of a story, wrapping up quite neatly all the plot lines which have been simmering in this title over this year.

One of the things that I struggle with on this site is reading a comic as a fan and reading a comic critically. Those are two very different experiences. And this issue encapsulates that conundrum quite well. 

As a fan I loved this. I have been waiting for us to see this Legion team as a whole fighting big bads. Writer Brian Michael Bendis gives us tiny moments for almost all the teammates, showcasing them a bit. He continues to build a couple of future plot lines. Ryan Sook does all the art on the book and it is just gorgeous. And we end with a party. For someone who has craved a good Legion book on the shelves, this was a wonderful capstone to a fantastic first year.

As a critic, there are some things that lingered in my mind again. For one, this book has been simmering. This issue basically boils over. Everything wrapping up so quickly is a little jarring. I wonder how much of this accelerated pace was driven by the need for Future State to happen when it does. Second, and perhaps more a corollary of the first point, the big bads are taken care of with a quick fix, something we have seen with many big bads in the super-books lately. 

But I come to praise this book, not bury it. This was too much fun. I can only hope that Future State doesn't derail this book. I want more and I hope we get it.

We start as all the issues have started with an recap page which also gives us a little background on the showcased Legionnaire. Here it is Saturn Girl. 

We learn here that her 'powers' include influencing people when she gets excited and telepathically communicates. So she has to be careful not to unduly influence people. Perhaps her convincing the Legion to get Superboy here was a result of this power. That is interesting and makes me wonder how much people can trust her.

I get the sense if this was 6 months ago the discussion of her powers would be in interlac at the bottom of the page. I'd prefer that to this balloon heavy splash.

On New Krypton, Rogol Zaar has pretty much mopped the floor with all the Legionnaires except Imra.

I do like this feint she is using. While her power can't overwhelm Zaar's mind, it can distract him while she wakes up her teammates telepathically at the same time.

Great art and coloring here. And I wonder if Imra is more gifted than most folks on Titan to pull something like this off.

That leads us to a great 'Long Live the Legion' panel showcasing the team and a brilliant double page spread of everyone in action.

But it isn't just Zaar the team is fighting. Mordru and the Horraz also show up.

Rao! I have been waiting for a Long Live the Legion panel for what feels like forever!

Love that Phantom Girl opens portals as a power. Love how Shady adopts a sort of warrior visage as she enters battle.

Love. Love. Love.

Bendis then focuses in a bit giving us multiple pages of multiple panels showcasing different Legionnaires.

Of course I am going to show the Wildfire one. He's my favorite.

I do think it is cool that Timber Wolf and Wildfire seem like good battle buddies. They are both proactive in their approach. And love they feel underappreciated. Awesome.

Of course I am going to show the Lightning Lass one. She's my other favorite.

Remember, Ayla has wondered if her social justice pursuits are hindered by being a Legionnaire. So I like that she is finally thankful to be a Legionnaire.

And always happy to see different colored lightning for the Ranzz's.

But I most liked this panel, showing strategy on the team's part. Saturn Girl, Dream Girl, and White Witch can do a combo to take out an entire 'multi-player' battle.

That is pretty cool. I do wonder, knowing what we have seen with Imra before, if it wipes out everyone including the Legionnaires. Or if they just take out the bad guys.

Unfortunately, it can only be done when the three concentrate. And Imra is distracted when it seems like Rogol Zaar is going to behead Jon.

Thankfully, Mon-El arrives (shouting out a battle cry for the House of El ... excellent!) and finally teams up with Superboy to start laying the smack down.

The art throughout these battle scenes are crisp and energetic. Just great.

But just like with Xanadoth, Mongul, Synmar Utopica, and others, the big bads are defeated quickly and in one panel.

Dr. Fate shows up in the fight. They weren't disintegrated by Mordru. They were biding their time. With one quick spell, Mordru is cast out.

Zod shows up with a Phantom Zone projector and sends Zaar back to the Phantom Zone.

Too easy?

I do very much like the communal decision of the Kryptonians about the fate of Zaar. Reminds me very much of the council handing judgment to Zod in Superman II.

Was this the Great Darkness? You know, the big threat hinted at a couple of issues ago? It is hard to know.

But this actually makes me worry about the title. Was the Darkness an upcoming arc that has been shelved by Future State? Will we not get the original story?

I hope we see it.

It turns out that Brainy has discovered that Gold Lantern's ring is not Oan based. The creatures he talks to are not the Guardians. (Thank goodness! I wondered how the Oans could end up like those monsters.) Perhaps those people are the villains of Future State Legion?

Given the success of the battle though, New Krypton throws a party. Check out this panel! A party!

I thought that might be Kara in the panel but I think it is just a Kryptonian citizen. But I love seeing the Legion be social. Dawny kissing Jo is mindblowing!

So overall a very fun, action-packed issue capping the first year of this book. I just hope that there will be future issues and that they will keep up this level of story-telling.

Overall grade: B+


Martin Gray said...

Nah, it’s Kara, look how sheepish and delighted she is at being there! Brainy summoned her for the party, and she has a new set of 31st century togs, like Jon! Brian Bendis liked my tweet saying I was thrilled to see a surprise guest, I choose to interpret it as Gospel.

Why wouldn’t it be Supergirl?

Anyway, great review. I agree about the lack of Interlac being a change, and thank goodness, I could actually appreciate the story as I read it.

I would be OK with the Great Darkness not being done again. We had it, it was epic, don’t try to catch that lightning in a bottle, give us something new.

I’ve stopped moaning about Bendis’s quick endings, it’s just not his forte. It’s a shame he doesn’t seem to get editors strong enough to work with him and make them stronger.

Still, great issue. I do hope the Future State thing doesn’t derail this direction long term.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

Another fun Legion issue. It wasn't a great climax for the first year's worth of issues, but it was solid. I also loved the vote on exiling Rogol Zaar to the Phantom Zone. It reminded me of the vote to send Luthor there at the end of the classic "Death of Superman" story minus Luthor's typically slimy attempt to bribe the Kandorians with a way to return them and their city to normal size. It was good to see Supergirl at a party and having fun instead of loaded down with tons of angst.