Legion of Super-Heroes #12 review

FIGHT!

That sums up this conclusion to the first year’s worth of the new Legion of Super-Heroes – most of the extra-entertaining issue is a big fight as the United Planets’ teen team defends New Krypton from Mordru and Rogol Zaar. After a gorgeous cover executed in colour by Ryan Sook, the issue opens with a recap of recent events by Saturn Girl, who blames herself for the team’s troubles – it was her idea to bring Superboy Jon Kent to the 31st century, attracting the ire of Krypton killer Zaar. And once we’re all caught up… action!

That’s quite the fight scene, beautifully composed by Sook, with Zaar punched into the foreground, Mordru conducting proceedings below, and hordes of heroes and robotic lackeys having at it. The issue’s not all big moments, though, as several heroes get spotlight panels.

If Phantom Girl has previously used, er, the Hula Hoops of Hoggoth, I missed it – either way, I like that she can send opponents away with a twirl of her wrist. It’s also good to see Element Lad’s colourful combat techniques. And Lightning Lass finally finding her Legion groove.

And who knew White Witch was Mordru’s little princess? Well, Brainiac, who continues to be a delight, courtesy of writer Brian Michael Bendis.

Something else that’s new is the combined form of Triplicate Girl – another excellent design, nicely inked by Wade Von Grawbadger.

Something old is the one-two punch delivered by Mon-El and Superboy, as the previously bad atmosphere between them finally thaws. As my pal Matthew pointed out on Twitter, this has to be a tribute to Legion tales of earlier eras, when the original Superboy and Mon-El would tag team to take down a villain.

And it wasn’t just a boys’ deal…

This is a fresh Legion, with new members and relationships, but some things never change – the sheer visual joy of Super-folk letting loose.

By issue’s end the bad guys are purged, via two different, but equally satisfying, banishments. Mysteries remain, though, one mundane – where did Mon-El get all those babies, is he running a Krypton Kreche – and potentially deadly – if Gold Lantern doesn’t get his power ring energy from the Guardians, who are his mentors? As shades go, gold isn’t very far from yellow…

Speaking of colours, Jordie Bellaire once again gives us a galaxy of stunning hues, picking out each Legionnaire with her paintbox. It’s remarkable that there are background tones that won’t clash with the massed membership, but she creates them.

Dave Sharpe adds to the art with his sympathetic fonts, emphasising the dramatic moments and sprinkling cute little logos everywhere. And for once Brian Bendis spares him the hassle of laying down Interlac, with only the tiniest of uses, on the splash page.

The next two Legion stories are Future State entries, but thankfully they’re written by Bendis, so are bound to be more fun than the average tie-in. I think, though, that this is Sook’s final issue for now, so I wish him bon voyage, and thank him for fuelling the Legion cruisers for, as they say, a bold new era. I’ll miss the dynamic way he has figures bust borders, his sensitive touch with emotions, and his never less than bombastic explosions, but perhaps he’ll be back one day.

Until then… Long Live the Legion!

12 thoughts on “Legion of Super-Heroes #12 review

  1. You managed to pick out some really nice highlights I missed with all the action happening all around.

    I didn’t know who the white-haired black-clad woman was, but I should have and it’s obvious, now that you point it out, that it’s a merged triplicate girl. Another cool panel with “them” is a few pages later, where I guess they are splitting back into three, depicted as a kind of blurry phenomenon. I single her/them out because they are both adorable and funny.

    Sook has hinted that the Legion will return in some form, and so has Bendis, a little. In what form, who knows. People were thinking Mark Waid would be doing more work for DC (he wrote one short story recently), so maybe he’ll be returning to the Legion.

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  2. I’d be happy to see someone who’s never had a run, such as Jeff Parker. Mind, Gail Simone was asking recently on Twitter who everyone’s favourite members were. She’s written a couple of stories but I’d love to see what she could do over a run.

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    1. Great review, Martin. I have started reading DC books again after losing interest with The New 52 years ago. I started with this version of the Legion, based upon your excellent and well-balanced reviews. While I will always love the Levitz Legion of the 1980s the best, the Bendis run has been a close second. As you mentioned, the colors are particularly lovely. Thank you, Jordie Bellaire. My only concern is that there is no Legion book solicited after Future State. I am hopeful that DC will do the right thing and keep this book going for years to come. Oh, and also, if anyone at DC reads this, please bring Supergirl back into the Legion. Keep up the great work!

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      1. Hi Aaron, it’s brilliant to have you back reading comics, and thank you so much for the kind words. I’m also a wee bit worried about the lack of solicitation post-Future State. Fingers crossed, though. And I’m with you on Supergirl too – it was lovely to see her at the party on the final page of this issue!

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  3. That could be Supergirl at the party – my first thought, too, despite the oddly drawn face, the blue boots, bare midriff (or miscolored belt) and no family crest. Then I thought maybe it’s the Kara-like/Steel hybrid resident of New Krypton with the hammer and blue boots drawn in #10. But no – now I see that other person dancing with Wildfire. Anyway, with no background it’s hard to say if this is Kara Zor-El. If it is meant to be Kara, perhaps Bendis tried to hint at an unfulfilled plan by asking Sook to compress it into a single unexplained moment.

    She looks so odd, maybe the got the the 31st century 1 year at a time rather than through time travel. Sook can draw beautiful young women, and the page is filled with them, but Kara isn’t one of them.

    Anyone, a panel like this seems like the kind of heartwarming scene you often see in stories.

    So many threads left unaddressed! So many secrets unrevealed. This book needed a run of 48 to get to them all and handle the large Legion properly. And that was likely the plan. Probably the book was delayed a month because of last minute rewrites to try to tie up the most recent conflict faster than planned.

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    1. Well, i tweets to Brian Bendis that I was delighted by the unexpected party guest and he liked it, what more does a man need? Hee. What about if she’d been dancing with Brainy, would that have made you sure?

      It just look so obviously like Kara, slight miscolouring and all.

      Anj?

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      1. I wrote something incoherent. Where I wrote “Anyone, a panel like this seems like the kind of heartwarming scene you often see in stories” I meant “Anyway, a panel like this… you often see as final scenes in stories” – i.e. endings.

        There’s always something at the end of a book – if it was a planned ending – to either tie things up neatly, or suggest in an inspiring way that things will go on in the same vein, fighting the never-ending battle… either way, there’s usually something inspiring or satisfying.

        I often pick up final stories or arcs of titles I am not otherwise buying, just to see if I get a nice emotional blast at the end. Like the final few issues of Hawkman, which I did think were awesome.

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  4. I’ve enjoyed certain aspects of the Bendis run but he’s made some changes that I just can’t accept as I think they fundamentally change the core of the character- for instance I DESPISE Mon-El being a kryptonian and a descendant of SUPERMAN. Presumably this removes him from being the only innocent ever sent into the Phantom Zone…and that really sucks. I love the character redesigns and have enjoyed the Bendis Brainiac 5 though, but I can’t say it’s evened out the negative.

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    1. Hi Beniac, thanks for the comments. Bendis decisions I don’t like: ageing Jon; revealing the secret ID; Rogol Zaar. The Mon-El business is also unfortunate, but perhaps he’s part Daxamite and had the lead weakness.

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