On trial for being more proactive in United Planets affairs than President RJ Brande would like, members of the Legion of Super-Heroes defend themselves. At the forefront of the legal battle is Shadow Lass. Tasmia Mallor tells the delegates from member worlds that “… the Legion is a brilliant idea well executed by its members’. MadamHonour President notes that ‘The Legion are accused of breaking the Space Time Continuum and unlawfully kidnapping a member of the elite Council of the United Planets.”
Who will win the day? Not the Legion if this piece of evidence footage is anything to go by.
The recruitment of Dawnstar makes it look like the Legion plans to work against the UP from within.
Then there’s the conversation as Bouncing Boy is recruited.
Monster Boy delights Legion founders Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy with his girth and tongue.
Balance comes as Blok reminds Brande of his loyalty.
Then Wildfire’s story is heard…
… and Timber Wolf’s testimony is even more powerful.
Continued from last issue, the Trial of the Legion sees writer Brian Michael Bendis revealing more about the members of this new version of the classic team, while a gaggle of Substitute Heroes join regular artists Ryan Sook and Wade Von Grawbadger. As the vignettes move the overarching story forward – Dream Girl names a classic threat, Warlord Krav’s intentions are unveiled and Brande’s motivations get ever muddier – Bendis drops nods aplenty to classic continuity. These include the White Witch’s civilian name, the throwback outfits worn for the Starhaven visit and that ruddy great space whale. And classic film fans will likely get a big kick out of the newly expanded version of Bouncing Boy’s given name.
It’s not just Bouncing Boy’s name that impresses, Bendis ups what he can do with his abilities in a nicely logical way. Another reimagined Legionnaire, Invisible Kid, seems to be more Glaucoma Guy, given his viewpoint.
I wonder if this is a nod to the classic Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #203, Mike Grell’s first issue as penciller, in which original Invisible Kid Lyle Norg joined the Choir Invisible.
Other observations: Dr Fate is a natural politician; Mon-El remains appalling; and there seems to be a thing between Ultra Boy and White Witch.
The only plot point I don’t like comes on the final page, but at least it’s beautifully illustrated by Mitch Gerads, who even does his own colours.
The rest of the issue is coloured by Jordie Bellaire, who does a wonderful job of balancing the multitude of colourful 31st-century types, her choices ranging from eye-searingly bright to delicate depending on her artistic partner. And Dave Sharpe employs an impressive variety of fonts, balloon shapes and even colours – in Triplicate Girl’s case – to aid the storytelling.
The art ranges from gorgeous to John Romita & Klaus Janson, with my favourite pages being that cheeky Mike Grell business, Arthur Adams’ scary-as-heck scene with Ultra Dad, and Jenny Frison’s White Witch a la Joan of Arc. The nature of Bendis’ story ensures the game of artistic musical chairs work, with the only bump in the road being the transition between story pages 11 and 12, as time-jumping captions attempt to disguise whatever went wrong.
That’s one creative cover by Ryan Sook, Waid Von Grawbadger, Mikel Janín, Travis Moore, Jordie Bellaire and the DC Production Department – oh, to have these comics in the real world. And an extra pint of kono juice to whoever dug up that splendid Cosmic Boy logo from the Eighties!
While these last two issues didn’t quite deliver on the promise of giving us a look at every member of the latest Legion, most get a moment, and I had a ball with Bendis’s script and the ever-changing art. Plus, some story points were clarified, others underlined and a coming menace set up. Even that final page – it’s really icky – doesn’t take away from a first-rate read. Recommended.