Friday, March 11, 2022

Review: Justice League Vs. The Legion Of Super-Heroes #2

Justice League Vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes #2 came out this week and felt like a sort of set-up issue for the bigger events to happen in future issues. There is some plot advancement, some wonderful character moments, and a decent cliffhanger.

The biggest thrust of the issue is to give us some backstory of Gold Lantern. I get the sense that somehow the 'Elders' who are behind his powers aren't exactly good beings. Could they be behind the Great Darkness threat? Or welcoming it? I don't know. Maybe I am a jaded comic reader always looking for the hidden villains.

What I like is we finally do get to learn a little bit about Kala Lour, the secret identity of Gold Lantern. We learn he is blind, explaining his solid appearing mask. And we learn he is a teacher, more of a pacifist, and a definitely a hero even before he was granted a ring. 

We get some wonderful moments of the Legion meeting the League. I loved seeing the Legion meet their heroes. And I love the League gets a peek into the future, showing them that their efforts in the present are worth it.

We don't learn anything else about the Great Darkness outside of one tiny hint at the end. So truly the plot movement is more of a nudge.

As for the art, Scott Godlewski shines here. There is one of the best Chameleon Boy panels I have ever seen in this issue. There are nice shots of many characters in battle mode. And the quieter moments with Gold Lantern show great 'camera' movement and emotion.

I really liked this issue. I don't mind giving stories room to breathe if what I am given to read is meaty enough to bolster the plot or deepen the characterization. That's what we get here. No surprise from writer Brian Michael Bendis. 

On to the details.

Some time in the past, on the planet Apploza, a fire rages in a school.

Kala Lour, a teacher, rushes into the building to save as many of the children. Like half the population of the planet, he lacks 'visual sight', making this even more heroic.

It is enough to get him noticed by this alien, a representative of a 'very special group of elders'. 

I do wonder if lacking 'visual sight' means Kala has some other way of 'seeing', like Daredevil's echolocation. That doesn't detract from his heroism. I have never heard of Apploza before. I suppose if on Winath everyone is a twin that you can have a world where half the people lack vision.

The alien talks about how these elders want to create something akin to the ancient Green Lantern Corps, a new group of peace-keeping officials. 

It is interesting that the example of a Green Lantern is Guy Gardner. 

Potentially more interesting is the interlac below which reads 'Guy Gardner Trial. Administrative defense footage. Green Lantern Corps Archives'. I assume this means guy was on trial which is intriguing. But how do these elders have access to the trial footage from Oa. Unless they are, somehow, the 31st century form of Oans.  Is that a clue? Bendis is known to hide some clues in plain sight like the Shadow Lass reveal on the Dan Hipp page of Legion #8.

I include this page because I like that Bendis continues to give us these sort of intro splashes to the Legionnaires. 

Here, alone in the 21st century after the events of the first issue, Gold Lantern gives us a rundown of the Great Darkness Anomaly which is happening in two times at once. 

The interlac at the bottom reads 'All opinions expressed by the Gold Lantern are theirs and do not necessarily reflect those of the planetary Oa, United Planets, or the Legion of Super-Heroes'. 

The rest of the Legion and the Justice League are not around in the present. That leaves the Lantern to be left alone to face the Great Darkness Anomaly, a sort of black portal with Kirby Krackle.

Why was he left alone? Why were the rest of the teams shunted? Seems to specific to be by chance. And so that makes it a mystery. 

Given that the Gold Lantern is left alone, sort of separating him, it makes me think he is the focal point. That is why the elders are on my radar.

In the future, the Leaguers begin to wake up to be greeted by different Legionnaires to inform them that they are 1000 years in the future. To ease Green Arrow into understanding the situation, Cham initially appears as Wonder Woman. 

I love this panel of Reep shifting into his usual form away from Diana. Such a great panel. Seems like I would remember seeing something like this before but I thought this was exceptional work by Godlewski.

Meanwhile, Dawnstar is there when Naomi awakens. 

She is called Queen Naomi again. I suppose this is Bendis hinting at the eventual destination for the character. I love how Naomi still exudes that 'how did I get here' feel, surrounded by these legends. 

I will again point out that there is something similar between Naomi's armor and Gold Lantern's costume. Hmm ...

Naomi and the real Wonder Woman meet up and Diana is tickled at how the future turned out, making all their efforts seem worthwhile. I love that scene.

And then everyone meets up in the Legion's 'Heaven'. Batman is something of a pill, demanding his identity remain secret, that the League get home to the present immediately, and when the Darkness Anomaly arrives in the future, sending out teams. Who the heck does he think he is? Well, I know who he thinks he is ... but can't he be polite?

I applaud Godlewski for this high view showing how many of the characters are there but I would have loved something more up close so I could look around and get a better sense of who is talking to whom and what their expressions are, etc. Something that Keith Giffen and Steve Lightle excelled at were scenes of the Legionnaires in their game room or event hall. 

In another flashback, Kala initially declines becoming the Gold Lantern because the original Corps seemed to militaristic for someone with his beliefs. It is nice insight into who he is, something I have been waiting for in this Legion book, to learn more about the new members. 

The Elders look much more Guardian-like than they looked like in the main Legion book (I will have to try and dig up where we have seen them before). At least they recognized that the Corps was a good idea most of the time but the Gold Lanterns will be more evolved.

Could these be Controllers??? Hmmm ... not a bad theory given the connection between the Oans and that group. Could these be rogue Guardians? Is there something that happened to the Corps that made the Oans dismantle them? Hmmm ...

Lots of mysteries to mull over, things I hope are covered in this book.

Meanwhile the Anomaly does the simultaneous appearance in times.

The Legion and the League scramble into action. Black Adam shoots a bolt of lightning into it.

In the present, a bolt of lightning flies out of the Anomaly almost hitting the Gold Lantern. It's clear that this anomaly seems like a time portal? Maybe like a temporal worm hole? 

I need to know more. I need to know why Brainiac 5 seems so worried when Gold Lantern contacts him about seeing through the anomaly. I need to know why the League got blipped away. I need to know more about these Elders.

I suppose we have 4 more issues to learn all about this stuff. And more importantly, if I am this intrigued, the issue did it's job. Solid art and character moments with some plot movement and mysteries. Get me issue three!

Overall grade: B+

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

I was pleased with this one too. I think you should tweet your list of mysteries to be solved to Mr Bendis. We shouldn’t be having sentiments like ‘Lots of mysteries to mull over, things I hope are covered in this book.’ We should be confident they will not only be addressed, but resolved.

In the Gold Lantern origin flashback,I was intrigued by ‘Oh. A special greeting from my sister’, implying that there may be trouble between them, though she seems pretty nice. And on page four, what does ‘G’lor’ mean? Is it a person? An exclamation?