Legion of Super-Heroes #3 review

When something great happens it’s natural to want to share it with your best pal. And Jon Kent is really enjoying his new gig as a member of the 31st century Legion of Super-Heroes, so why not bring Damian Wayne forward in time? Sure, he’s not been invited to join the team, but what harm could a short visit do?

On the Planet Rimbor, a squad of Legionnaires are meeting Ultra Boy’s father to talk about a historical artefact which he wanted, and they intercepted. While Crav Nah is the leader of Rimbor, diplomacy isn’t his strong suit. 

Meanwhile, on Planet Gotham, Saturn Girl tries to mentally interrogate the demon lord Mordru about the aforementioned trident.

And back on Earth, Superboy meets the Legionnaire Mon-El for the first time.

‘Which is funny because he’s actually your–‘ I’m very intrigued by Triplicate Girl’s unfinished sentence, it sounds as if she was going to say ‘descendant’ but of course, it could as easily have turned out to be ‘ — father’s big brother’. That’s more likely, given the original Mon-El’s history, which could well be back in continuity as of the recent Doomsday Clock #12. I’m just jealous of that perfectly coiffed hair.

We’ll see, probably next issue, which promises the origin of the Legion as Jon finally sits down for his 31st-century orientation. This issue had me grinning throughout – sure, the character visuals, personalities and relationships don’t always jibe with previous versions – I really hope Dawnstar grows proper wings – but the overall vibe is very Legion. There are colourful heroes by the dozen, good intentions, misunderstandings. There’s teen romance, Saturn Girl entering heads willy nilly, an empty Wildfire suit, locations named after Legion (and non-Legion) creators … heck, I’d not be surprised were there a Legion traitor somewhere in there (every good Legion run needs a traitor).

We meet a new Gotham police commissioner, see that Crav Nah has some very dodgy-looking friends, learn that Rimbor is in a state of civil war… writer Brian Michael Bendis packs a heck of a lot into 22 pages but things never feel crowded. Sure, we don’t yet know who everyone is, or what they can do (is Ultra Boy generating a green energy field at one point?) but we have all the time in the world – I’m feeling more patient than last time (though I would dearly love a feature in an annual giving names, worlds and showing their powers in action).

I’m delighted that Bendis hasn’t turned his back on the Super Sons, it would have been sad had Jon forgotten Damian after everything they’ve been through together. I’m equally glad our little Robin isn’t sticking around…despite Jon’s belief that ‘a complete lack of bat-themed people’ is something that needs to be rectified, I don’t want any in the Legion. A Bat-character – robins are not actually bats, Jon – in the Legion would feel as wrong as a Super-person in the Titans (yes, I know…). Fair play to Jon, though, he does come up with a good reason as to why Robin might be allowed at least a one-mission stay.

What we do get with Damian is delightful, particularly a conversation about the Legionnaires’ tendency to ‘pose up’.

Points, also, to Bendis for coming up with a nifty new bit of future slang.

What the sprock ‘qrot’ means, I have no idea, but I like it.

The Legion have been blessed with some brilliant artists over the years and in new series co-creator Ryan Sook they have another one. He’s not doing all the pages this time, though, the terrifically talented Travis Moore is helping out. Now, stop me if I’m all over the shop here, but I think Sook, with inker Wade Von Grawbadger – gave us the Earth sequences while Moore handled the rest of the book – the scenes on Rimbor and Planet Gotham.

Whatever the case, and please put me right as necessary, the art is attractive and dynamic throughout – the artists, and that includes colourist Jordie Bellaire – make me want to dive into the 31st century. Whether we’re on the shiny new Earth, gritty Rimbor or the surprisingly shiny Planet Gotham, the environments are enticing.

Favourite visuals include Mordru’s spooky jail, Jon introducing Damian to time travel and the reveal of Crav’s gang, one of whom looks like he could be Ultra Boy’s sibling – Bro Nah?

As with last issue, this instalment kicks off with a Legionnaire recapping events to date, a neat way to help readers while getting around Dan DiDio’s ruling against official recap pages. Bendis has similar pages in Action Comics and I appreciate it hugely. We get info, we get fun… here, as well as background on Dawnstar – now with a surname very familiar to longtime fans – we see an intriguing wee man.

I wonder if we’ll ever get a name to go with that visual.

Kudos to letterer Troy Peteri for not only the usual sterling job of putting words to paper, but also for persevering with the occasional bit of Interlac – I still can’t be bothered to learn the alphabet, though! Anyone?

How gorgeous is that cover? Ryan Sook’s design is eye-catching and his colouring choices gorgeous – I love that Brian Bendis gives us bright comics. And that’s the Legion of Super-Heroes all over, a book to brighten my day.

Long live the Legion!

16 thoughts on “Legion of Super-Heroes #3 review

  1. Even more than a good old fashioned traitor storyline (which could happily play out for months and months), I want to see Bendis do a try-out issue. You just know he’s gotta be dying to do one, and I suspect it’s an issue that would play to his strengths.

    Like

  2. Dawnstar tied with Lightning Lass as the most popular Legionnaire among children of the galactic. Dawnstar has been the most outspoken members of the Year of the Superboy of what the role of the United Planets should be.
    While President Brande has made a strong case for a firmer hand Dawnstar feels that power will only corrupt. “It is the only lesson history has taught over and over”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kryptonian is hard enough for me, and that Interlac lettering – well, if I stumble on someone else’s translations, I’d love to read them, but I’m not signing up for the task.

    Bendis does something even closer to a traditional recap page in Young Justice. In all of his books, there’s always art on these introductions, not the boring, wordy, even bombastic title pages Marvel books have. I appreciate his efforts greatly, and am glad DC is giving him the latitude. It seems like a compromise – “Fine, Brian, have a summary page if you must, but weave it in with finesse and make sure it looks great.”

    I really enjoyed your infectious enthusiasm about the book!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m still on the fence about this series after Doomsday Clock and seeing Superboy (Clark Kent) once more. I hope that bit isn’t wasted as I’d rather see Clark as Superboy than doing “Smallville” nonsense until he finally gets a clue.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this book more with every issue. It really rewards a careful read. For instance, another clue that one of Crav’s henchmen might be Jo’s brother (and man, “Bro Nah” is inspired!) is that at one point Crav calls Jo “my first son,” implying there are others. And Jo’s calling Crav “Father-One” sounds like he might be from a two- (or more!) -daddy family.

    The Cos/Shady pairing is an interesting deviation, too! Although the issue 5 solicitation say that both Cos and Ferro Lad (who, if we’ve seen, hasin’t been ID’d yet) have a crush on the same person! Would that be Shady, or someone else?

    And like you, I’m dying to find out Mon-El’s relationship to Jon.

    Legion hasn’t rewarded such close readings since the 5-Year Gap era, one of my all-time favorites. I want more, please, as fast as they can make ’em!

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  6. When I saw the “because he’s your…” panel, I just thought something silly like “he’s your number one fan”.
    I think the “Snallville silliness” was about him not having a custome or codename until adulthood.

    Liked by 1 person

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