There’s not an awful lot I want to say about the first story this month – it’s an equally fine continuation of (hover that cursor after these parentheses, too-subtle link ahoy!) last issue’s look at the Crisis on Infinite Earths epic, seen from the perspective of man on the street Paul Lincoln. It takes events forward to the Legends crossover which saw the birth of the second Suicide Squad and formation of a new Justice League and ends with the reported crippling of Barbara Gordon from The Killing Joke. Paul gets promoted from cop to detective, his brother-in-law is crippled.
It’s a lot more entertaining than your average story cobbled together from old comic books, with Len Wein’s script getting stronger by the month. The two-page framing sequence is again illustrated by Scott Kolins and coloured by Mike Atiyeh and looks somewhat murkier than previously – perhaps a deliberate choice to reflect the darkening of the DC Universe. For the rest of ‘Aftermath’, last issue’s penciller, George Perez, is back, but here he’s on blacks, adding an attractive sheen to the excellent layouts of Jerry Ordway for the first half of the story. Scott Koblish, the inker on #5, picks up the baton and keeps the work looking solid and bright. Series colourist Allen Passalaqua continues to turn in superb work, always spotlighting the most relevant elements on the character-packed pages.
The cover continues last month’s massive Crisis conflict and is another Perez/Passalaqua production; they do DC proud.
What really made me sit up and take notice this time was the back-up strip starring Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Wein teams with longtime LSH artist and writer Keith Giffen to give us a thoroughly likeable take on the first meeting of 30th-century heroes and 20th-century inspiration. After a hard day in Pa Kent’s fields, Clark just wants his supper, but who should pop up in a time bubble than Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy, emphasising his great destiny and inviting him to join their private superhero club?
Clark’s thrilled to bits … until another trio shows up, from further down the time stream. They’re followed by multiple Legion sub-teams from various comics continuities, with the TV cartoon Brainiac 5 even putting in an appearance. The interaction between the competing members, and exasperation of Clark, makes for a tremendous little tale.
I can’t recall whether I’ve ever read a Wein Legion script, but he captures the flavour of their various iterations here – cocky teenagers, professional heroes, war veterans … ‘Snapshot: Revision’ is a well-titled tale, reminding us of the Legion of Legions DC has presented.
And it’s all beautifully drawn by Giffen and fellow veteran Al Milgrom, one of those guys who couldn’t turn in bad work if his life depended on it. Giffen has changed his approach several times during his various Legion stints, but he comes up with a style here that works for every teamlet. And I love the gangly Clark we’re given – so what if it’s not a version we’ve ever seen in the comics, this story isn’t canon, it’s a love letter to Legion fans. And I’m proud to be one.