The Time Trapper, in his latest scheme against the Legion, pulls Superboy Prime to the 31st century. There, the super-powered psycho destroys Smallville, visits the Superman Museum and frees the Legion of Super-Villains from prison planet Takron Galtos.
And that’s the basics of this five-part Final Crisis tie-in. But God is in the detail when Geoff Johns and George Perez get together and the detail here is stunning. There’s Johns’ sharp characterisation of the Legion, their enemies and various United Planets diplomats; and Perez’s legendary appetite for drawing casts of thousands – it’s obvious he’s relishing every panel here.
This is the Legion as used by Johns recently in Action Comics and we join them immediately after that adventure ends. The UP are pressurising the team to disband during one of their regular stupid periods and the Legion is resisting. Well, most of them are, but one or two members – notably Sun Boy and Brainiac 5 – are wondering if the UP is right. Heck, the anti-Legion diplomats even include one of their own, Myg, formerly Karate Kid 2. Bah! No one ever liked him anyway.
And that’s the attitude displayed here by Superman Prime. He’s still in a cosmic snit about losing his chance to be Superman to his Earth (rather than at the loss of its billions of people) and so is killing wherever he goes. While his rants are undeniably entertaining, it’s difficult to believe this guy is a version of Kal-El and Kal-L. Not just the capacity for bitterness, but the sheer stupidity; the only way I can reconcile things is to assume his mind snapped after all the years of isolation from a regular universe. Stuck in a netherworld with a ginger-permed Alex Luthor he lost it . . . wouldn’t you?
Anyway, kudos to Superman, summoned through time by the LSH to help out, for recognising that while a vile killer, Prime is also a victim – he needs help, and that’s what he hopes to do with the aid of the reinforcements brought in by Brainiac 5 – the post-Zero Hour and current Legion.
If the quality keeps up, this is going to be the highlight of my comics year, and given that Johns and Perez don’t tend to jump off in the middle of a project, I’ve no reason to believe the book won’t stay great. Kudos also to inker Scott Koblish, who puts a pleasing sheen on Perez’s pencils, Hi-Fi for not making any obvious colour errors and Nick Napolitano for a nice lettering job.
Highlights in a book full of nothing but? The spread showing the Superman Museum; the first shot of the older founders – Lightning Lad, rough-edged, burning with rage, Saturn Girl, serene and thoughtful, Cosmic Boy, still looking like a Fifties astronaut, believing all will be well; and the arrival of the Legions of Reinforcement Heroes. Even something as simple as Metropolis at night, as rendered by the artistic team, looked stupendous.
There was only one thing I didn’t like, and it was tiny – the display showing the arrival of out current Superman on Earth, in the daft-looking crystal capsule from Superman 1. Honestly, I want my red and blue baby rocket!