A dead Triplicate Girl.
A traitor within the Legion.
The disbanded team getting back together.
Brian Michael Bendis and Riley Rossmo’s contribution to the Future State stunt is pretty much a greatest hits of the Legion. Even the roll call of characters is classic. Shadow Lass. Bouncing Boy. Duo Damsel. Superboy. Blok. Saturn Girl. Lightning Lad and Lass. Colossal Boy. Ultra Boy. Brainiac… 7?
OK, Monster Boy does look to be on the final spread, along with a couple of characters I can’t identify…
…. hey, give me a break, we’ve barely seen some of the new Legionnaires created by Bendis and artistic partner Ryan Sook in the year or so since they relaunched the Legion, and here’s Rossmo redesigning them. Were it not for Bendis identifying them in his fast-moving, fun script, I’d be utterly lost.
Not reunited in the team, but in the story are several other former members – Timber Wolf, Kid Quantum, Mon-El, Wildfire and Your Guess Is As Good As Mine Kid. Rossmo has really gone to town here, meaning that some looks I hate, others I love. Like a Shrinking Violet who looks like she’s Straight Outta Oz.
And Cosmic Boy, in the tightest, shortest shorts ever seen on a superhero.
The weirdest redesigns are reserved for Saturn Girl, who gets a bulbous spacesuit with a creepy skull on the helmet; and Brainiac 7, who, well, take a look…
Poor Querl Dox, that’s not a look that’s going to get him a date with Supergirl.
So what’s the story? Hints and mysteries, my friend, hints and mysteries.
But mainly hints. The United Planets is gone. President RJ Brande is dead. Element Lad went mad and destroyed the galaxy (these things happen).
How they relate to the most recent Legion series isn’t explained, but I’m delighted to see this is the same team – at one point it seemed this side story would be set in the 41st century. I doubt I’d give a stuff about a bunch of strangers adopting the Legion name, but these do seem to be the Bendis/Sook bunch. I’d guess we’re about a decade further on than usual, the Legion were disbanded or fell apart, but now the gang has to get back together to save, well, whatever’s left after whatever rampage Element Lad went on. There’s been a Rapture event that has given some people super powers and – most intriguing of all – theres a reference to the Legion we’ve been reading having lasted just 100 days!
I doubt we’ll learn the ins and outs next issue, I suspect this is all about Bendis, a kind fellow, writing scenes that play to Rossmo’s strengths.
Weird character designs – Duo Damsel looks like a bean-headed cartoon strip kid, while Brainy’s robot body morphs madly across the page, and Bouncing Boy is a scowling Humpty Dumpty.
Dreamlike, fluid movement – Duo Damsel’s fight against a very uppity Legion of Substitute Heroes is pure comics fun to look at.
And personality. Rossmo gets an amazing amount of expressiveness into Cham’s ‘mirror mirror’ moment.
For the most part, Bendis lets the visuals speak for themselves, but there’s a spread with Bouncing Boy that’s obviously intended to show what a formidable force he is, but it’s so covered in dialogue that the essential flow of the scene is killed. Mind, Rossmo gets in his own way by repeating and repeating and repeating the same headshot.
Ivan Plascencia adds extra vibrancy with his colours – I rather wish he’d handled Rossmo’s cover image, which succeeds as a tribute to pulp paperbacks, but doesn’t leap off the shelves. The logo is great, though, well done DC Production Department’s Darran Robinson. Dave Sharpe’s letters are clear and unobtrusive and likeable. Well, apart from when he’s doing Interlac. I freaking hate Interlac.
Still, I enjoyed this issue loads more than most other Future State books I’ve tried – it’s not full of characters taking on others’ names, it’s not replete with killer drones… it’s just a bonkers tale that may or may not ever happen. I can’t wait for part two.
Long Live Some Legion or Other!