Legion of Super-Heroes #6 review

In which all heck breaks loose. Seriously, this issue starts with the evacuation of New Earth and only gets bigger. The inciting incident is the nearness of unfriendly extraterrestrials the Horraz. Active Legionnaires are split between helping the people get to safety via teleport rigs, and defending against the oncoming aliens.

The big fight sees Ultra Boy, one of the most powerful members, blasted into unconsciousness, but Saturn Girl has a mind to wake him. The big moment is when we get our first look at one very shiny superhero.

Well, I want to hear his ‘amazing story’ but an all-action issue probably isn’t the best place. Cathartic as seeing the Legionnaires let loose was, this chapter did disappoint me slightly after the cover’s promise of a close look at four members. Gold Lantern is immediately impressive. Monster Boy looks amazing, like a refugee from Mars Attacks, and shows signs of a fun personality. But both barely appear. As for Dr Fate, I see her in precisely one image, blasting silently at something. Superboy is likely there for marquee value, as he’s hardly an unknown quantity.

Was the story changed after artist Ryan Sook’s gorgeous opening image was commissioned? I grew up with the misleading covers of the Bronze and Silver Age, so don’t mind the odd cheat, but when something as specific as spotlights are teased, that’s what I want, by cracky!

Ah well, writer Brian Michael Bendis ends the Horraz business exactly as I hoped he would, along the way showing that sometimes it pays not to listen to Brainiac Five. RJ Brande continues to be madly mercurial. Jon Kent channels his dad for an inspirational moment. And a cute little red bird appears.

It’s an owl… go on, I challenge you to un-see it

Oh all right, it’s actually the head of the Horraz. It just goes to show that even for an artist as talented as Sook, sometimes you aim for awesome and wind up with owlsome.

Overall, though, the issue looks awfully good, as pencilled by Sook, inked by Legion veteran Wade Von Grawbadger and coloured by Jordie Bellaire. All three artists are working their socks off to provide the most glorious art for a thousand years. Letterer Dave Sharpe deserves a bonus for handling the scads of Interlac on display… how I hate Interlac. The odd bit of signage as background detail, fine, but all over the art? At best, it makes me wonder what I’m missing. At worst, I am missing something. I’m not going to stop mid-story to decode it all, I want a comic, not an activity book!

Further kudos to Sharpe if he’s behind the Saturn Girl logo I don’t recall seeing previously, it’s great.

Back to Bendis! He’s doing a pretty good job of verbally differentiating the team members, the only thing that needs ironing out is the overuse of ‘I got this’ and variations. I truly love that Monster Boy has picked up on super-sweet Jon’s use of Fifties Superman’s ‘Great Scott’ exclamation.

The big bonus of Bendis is that every page of this book bursts with joy and possibility. There’s real love for the Legion and I can’t wait to see more of this new 31st century and its inhabitants. Brian Bendis, Ryan Sook and friends have more than earned their flight rings.

Long Live the Legion!

8 thoughts on “Legion of Super-Heroes #6 review

  1. You say ‘potato’, I say ‘what a waste of space’. There was zero character work, no world building, and a nearly all double page spreads with at most six panels. This issue robbed us of all forward movement with the series, answered no burning questions, and posed no new enigmas. If drawn like a normal comic this would been a half issue at best. With the upcoming issue with every page by a different artist that’ll make two wasted issues(and I bet you can’t show me an issue done by a different artist per page where there was forward motion for the series) at a time when a new series can’t afford that!

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    1. Certainly this was my least favourite issue, but I did enjoy the spectacle. If the character work doesn’t come, though, I’ll be un-thrilled. I’ve been rereading the Abnett/Lanning run, and I’d like work of that level.

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  2. Oh, man, it’s so good to have the Legion back! Absolutely gorgeous work by Ryan Sook. Those spreads of the Legion in action were breathtaking!

    I find it really interesting that Monster Boy can’t choose the forms he takes. I was wondering what really differentiates him from Chameleon Boy, and that’s one thing.Looking forward to finding out more.

    And what a turnaround from RJ Brande! Can’t figure that lady out — except that she’s a politician, and knows which way the wind is blowing. So maybe it’s not too complicated after all.

    I love Sharpe’s Saturn Girl logo, too — it’s a new one for me. One quibble, though, is that it looks like the word balloon in the spread before the final page — where everyone’s looking at New Earth — might be mis-ordered, or have been meant to split into two balloons, with different tails. Because it looks like it’s the middle bubble that leads directly into the page turn (with the thought completed on the next page), and there’s simply no way to read it that way the way the balloon shakes out. A shame, really, but maybe it’ll be fixed by the trade.

    I just went out and got my physical copy, and when I bring it into the house sometime tomorrow — it’s currently sitting in CAR-entine — I’ll take a crack at decyphering the Interlac. I’m not gonna be lazy and look for a translation this time, because puzzling it out myself is the only way I’ll ever get back to sight-reading it, like I used to be able to do. Nice of Bendis and Sharpe to give us a key to start us out: EVACUATE EARTH IMMEDIATELY in three languages.

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    1. Thanks for the promise of a translation! I wish I had the kind of brain that found such things fun, but I’m impatient… well, you can likely tell, given I write these things off the top of my head.

      Thank you! I should have mentioned that confusing bubble… I came to that bit about the word’ and kept expecting to be told it, then it shows up a few balloons later. You must be right about the confusion.

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  3. Nothing gets proofread to an inch of its life like a list of cryptograms before you hit the “encode” key. Once it’s encoded, you’ve just gotta hope there were no typos, because you’ll never find them again.

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  4. I translated the Interlac a few issues back, but have since given up the job. Oh, perhaps there is an hourly fee I would charge to throw myself back into it. The more they throw on the page, the less likely I am to get involved.

    I don’t know, I like the Bendis shtick. I just like his sense of humor, and so I get what I expect – some spectacle, a lot of humor, unearned abrupt resolutions to things (maybe he’d say the real fun is in the journey), and the never-ending introduction or addition of new characters. It’s what half the readers don’t like about his writing. But he’s not going to change, and at least I have fun with it.

    As for the awkward balloons on the last 2 pages, I think it’s what Bendis intended. What the world got back, besides its oceans, and thanks to the Legion, is hope. It reads like a tortured Shakespearean sonnet where the payoff comes at the very end. So there’s a mention of the “word” but the word “hope” comes later.

    Or, the explanation might be even simpler. It’s possible that the “word” referred to is not “hope” but is simply “new” of “new earth,” since Bendis had that word bolded.

    It’s hard to know, with Bendis. He writes a lot of awkward phrasing with unexpected words accented. Awkward to read – but works better if you imagine how it would actually sound when spoken aloud. But also, he’s posted some of his scripts on Instagram, and he actually doesn’t spell or punctuate well (and readily admits it). I wonder what the letterers do with his scripts – take their best guess and things get corrected (or not corrected) during proofreading? Or, maybe the editors make corrections before handing off his scripts to them. The result is not perfect.

    My question is, what did Tortur (the cute red owl) mean when he said “death to the earth and death to the Legion of Superiors for even attempting to stop us from our path!” That looks like an error a speech-to-text dictation system would easily make. I can’t even get Siri to tell when I say “a” vs. when I say “the.” Or is there a Legion of Superiors? Maybe the question is, did Bendis use a recognition system that misheard him, or is he writing a joke – that the system translating Tortur’s speech made the mistake? If the latter, that’s not an easy joke to pull off on the page! Actors would make a face and we’d get the joke.

    Maybe another part of the joke is Tortur is certainly making a ridiculous, over-the-top, “tortured” speech. With the exploding sound effects around him, he’s like a Wizard of Oz, making a lot of noise.

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