Legion of Super-Heroes #11 review

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Legion…

Earlier this week I was chatting on Twitter to other longtime Legion fans, saying that while I’m enjoying the latest Legion of Super-Heroes series, the team has rebooted so many times that I no longer think of any Legion beyond the original and Zero Hour versions as The Legion.

With this issue, though, that’s changed. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Ryan Sook have really got into their groove. Sure, they’d been delivering fun stories using classic LSH names and concepts, but it was all feeling a bit Elseworlds. This issue, though, it’s as if the White Witch and Doctor Fate have cast a spell on me, because suddenly it does feel like I’m reading The Legion.

Maybe it’s to do with getting to know the characters better. The issue starts with a recap that’s basically one big, fascinating infodump as to why Mon-El has been so unfriendly towards new Legion member Jon Kent, the 21st century’s Superboy.

Perhaps it’s the sweep of the series, with this issue and last seeing team members split across several planets, including Rimbor, where Ultra Boy’s first act as new chieftain proves unpopular with the already restless natives.

It could be the spotlight on the new version of the Legion’s old foe Mordru, who proves immediately formidable when he drops in on a sub-team visiting Daxam (which, we learn, is ‘only six planets over’ from Krypton).

Possibly it’s to do with the balance of intriguing subplots and mysteries bubbling away from the main action, including the longevity of Rose Forrest, the origins of Mon-El’s kids and Triplicate Girl’s doom-filled dreams.

The humour can’t be discounted, with several great lines, the best one of all going to Colossal Boy Gim Allon.

And the gorgeously dynamic art of penciller Sook, inker Wade Von Grawbadger and colourist Jordie Bellaire is definitely a big part of this book’s appeal. The imaginative environments, the humanity in even the most alien of aliens, the massive action moments… this series is among the best looking in comics.

It’s all of the above, isn’t it? Bendis, Sook and their collaborators – let’s not forget talented letterer Dave Sharpe and editors Brittany Holzherr and Brian Cunningham – are gifting us a vision of the future different enough to excite, but familiar enough to draw in this old fan.

The only thing I’m not thrilled with this issue is the inclusion of Rogol Zaar, the creature who apparently killed Krypton, but even he makes a surprisingly big impression. Specifically, he makes it on Mon-El’s Grandpa Zod who, it turns out, isn’t the Zod I’d assumed he was.

Misleading/random copy aside – there’s no particular heartbreak on New Krypton so far as we know – Ryan Sook’s self-coloured cover is all-win. Sad Shady, sleeping Cosmic Boy, those moody blues… maybe one day we’ll get a story to go with the image.

For now we have this issue of The Legion of Super-Heroes and it had me grinning from beginning to end, even when things aren’t looking great for the good guys.

What can I say but, Long Live This Legion!

8 thoughts on “Legion of Super-Heroes #11 review

    1. Hello Ron, thanks for drooping by. I never did understand the big attraction of leading the Legion, it never seems to be anything but a massive headache. Surely only the team egotists would go for it.

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  1. Beautiful issue, loved it. Though I found some of the action on the Daxam Low Levels to be confusing, overall I’m very impressed by Sook’s imaginative and complex art.

    My big question is why does the last page say “To be concluded….”? One sees that with named arcs, but this one has no story title. And – conclude what? There are like a dozen storylines of equal weight percolating. This makes me nervous – DC has cancelled so many titles this year, it seems more likely that books will be cancelled, than not.

    With Dr. Fate disintegrated, Blok teleported into space, Wildfire’s suit leaking and everyone else on New Krypton lying around looking rather dead, maybe this Legion is closing up shop.

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    1. That made me nervous, too. But I suspect it’s a way of just tying things up for the two months Future’s End is upon us. Then we’ll either be back to normal (I suspect) or we’ll be following THAT Legion from now on. But I bet (and certainly hope) we’ll be back with this one, because it really IS finding its stride.

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  2. Reading the free book “DC Nation Presents DC Future State”… got it at my local comic shop, but it’s also up on Comixology for free, a 32-page – well, 36 page because the front and back covers are also used – backgrounder on Future State. Some of it has already been presented in solicitations, but much is new. And there’s a 2-page interview with Bendis and Riley Rossmo, who are doing the 2-issue Future State Legion book. In it, Bendis says “Also, we may not go back to the ‘present day’ after this. We may keep going from here.”

    Obviously when he said this he knew one way or the other; and when he wrote “To be concluded” in thi week’s Legion he knew he was writing that. The two taken together are either a giant fakeout, or mean Legion as it exists is done.

    If so, one just has to pray Rossmo doesn’t become the regular artist. I don’t care for his work.

    Most of the main covers for Future State are quite good, often better than the variants, which is rare these days. But Rossmo’s two covers are literally bad. They are the only thoroughly awful ones in the whole 2-month event.

    (OK, I admit that’s opinion, not objective fact.)

    i agree Legion is hiting its stride, but it’s sales that matter. Pre-pandemic it looks like was selling just under 40,000 copies, which I think is a healthy number, but how well has it done since? The information out there is spotty at best.

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  3. I’m not the biggest Rossmo fan, I like the energy but dislike the distortions. On the right project, such as a recent Batman/Deadman team- up, the work sings… I’m good with seeing what he comes up with, he does sound like a Legion fan.

    I read that interview, with the ‘we may stay there’ bit, as Bendis just vamping, I can’t see him dumping everything he’s established this past year – why should the readers stay if he asks us to be patient while another bunch of familiar-but-different Legionnaires are rolled on over the course of a year?

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    1. True, he’d lose the built-in Legion fandom and nostalgia factor, starting over completely. What a dumb gamble that would be, after the year of work.

      While Bendis added newcomers to Young Justice in addition to the core team, except for Naomi they were previously established characters (the Wonder Twins, the Dial H duo). I don’t remember if Spoiler was ever an actual member or just Young Justice (or Teen Titans?) adjacent – there may have been some romantic drama.

      I was really taken by Rossmo’s work on Martian Manhunter (which, he says, grabbed Bendis, too), though I didn’t read it past the 3rd issue. Since then I’ve found his work easier to take in small bits, like when he’s drawn a few pages in anthologies or specials. These two Future State covers look like scratchy sketches to me, but somewhere it might have said “not final art.”

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