Legion of Super-Heroes #5 review

The 31st century’s greatest super teens are in a proper pickle, their headquarters stormed by a Science Police squad. They’re there on the orders of United Planets President RJ Brande, which confuses Superboy Jon Kent, as he’s just learned that the Legion of Super-Heroes was her idea in the first place. Happily, Brainiac 5 manages to end the stand-off with a slew of wise words.

Still, there are questions to be answered. Superboy returns to the Computo program that’s being bringing him up to date on this future world he’s entered. Specifically, he’s learning how the Legion came to be. Jon’s already seen how three powered kids from three disparate planets saved Brande from a barbarous brood named the Horraz. Now he finds out the aftermath, as Brande tells her UP colleagues that it’s time to bring back the 21st-century notion of super-heroes… and she wants a legion of them. Her dream is for kids from all worlds who will inspire young people across the UP with their desire to work together for the common good.

Imra Ardeen, soon to be Saturn Girl, doesn’t doubt her would-be patron’s intentions, but she is worried about her nature.

And Superboy learns that he hasn’t just been brought to the future for kicks.

As Jon would say, increasingly often, Great Scott!

And great comic. There’s so much to enjoy here, from the casual recruitment of the first Legion member beyond the Founders to the surprise introduction of Invisible Kid – sorry, the Invisible Gentleman – to a delightfully awkward moment for Chameleon that’s followed by a sharing of insight.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis also gives us a close look at Brainy, with his insistence on ‘emotional facts’. The idea of our time as an age of unparalleled importance is a bit of a DC thing and it’s right that the Superman legacy should be at the heart of it. Mind, I’m not sure I like the idea of Jon, much as I like the kid, being considered ‘the one, true Superman. Shall we say ‘Chronicler’s error’?

Bendis skilfully blends melodrama with humour as he makes what is basically an issue’s worth of exposition utterly compelling. He’s helped in this by regular artist Ryan Sook, guest illustrator, Scott Godlewski, inker Wade Von Grawbadger, colourist Jordie Bellaire and letterer Dave Sharpe. The opening spread showing the Legion and SP face-off gives us our first good look at Monster Boy (rocking a very 21st century-style jacket) and Dr Fate (six arms). Other highlights include a moody view of the UP delegates, and that flashback fight.

Personalities are starting to shine through, such as Bouncing Boy with his gentle stoicism and Rokk with his love of history. As for the newly visible Invisible Kid, well, has there ever been a Legionnaire named Drama Queen?

The scene that intrigued me the most was the Brainy/Cham business, with the back and forth looks wrongfooting me that the Legionnaires have a ‘thing’ going. It’s actually Bendis showing us that his Brainy has more emotional intelligence than previous versions, being able to get past a person’s barriers simply by holding eye contact.

A meaty, great-looking read, from Ryan Sook’s sumptuous cover to an alarming ending, Legion of Super-Heroes #5 is, so far as I’m concerned, a gosh-darned delight. What say you?

16 thoughts on “Legion of Super-Heroes #5 review

  1. I enjoyed it quite a bit, though the ‘one true Superman’ bit sticks in my craw. That being said, the examples of heroes past were interesting, including the 90’s JLA with a long haired Kal-El and the Wolfman/PerezTitans. I think this issue basically ties into Doomsday Clock as well, considering Brainy’s words…

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    1. ‘Those poor Watchmen indeed!’ Hopefully once the next big event has been and gone the Legion can stay away from interacting with our present, Jon apart – I prefer the Legion to feel distant.

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  2. So far so great with this redo! I love how we’re getting the founders plus Brainy and Jo as regular leads while still having a new member pop every issue. I did love the Invisible Gentleman but would prefer Lyle to Jacques any day.

    And ‘chronichler’s error’ gives you so much Legion cred!

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  3. BTW, with the speed Bendis writes and Sook draws, we should have this series scripted to twenty-four by quarantine’s end and drawn through seven…

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  4. Weird, I’ve always preferred Jacques to Lyle — so I was doubly glad to see him appear this issue!

    I loved so much about this one — the informal induction of Blok. Brainy’s silent interrogation of Reep. (I thought it was flirting too!) Imra’s immediate wariness of the president. There’s so much good stuff here. I can’t wait to see what this all builds to.

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