Spoiler alert! This issue the Justice League and the Legion of Super-Heroes don’t have a big old battle.
But they do talk. A lot. I know. You are stunned. STUNNED.
Mind, the two teams are having a proper barney on Scott Godlewski’s bonkers busy cover. Here’s how it goes inside.
A heated debate after Batman asks Legionnaire Gold Lantern to let him examine his power ring, to see if it’s connected to the Great Darkness that has been playing time havoc with the two teams.
So there you go, after five issues, we get our ‘Vs’.
Gold Lantern takes flight, the heroes follow, and they come across something unexpected in the massive Great Darkness cloud floating over the city.
Now that’s unexpected. The Legion of Doom headquarters in a right old state, and not a villain in sight. The sight shocks Gold Lantern enough that when Dawnstar suggests he just gives Batman the ring, he agrees. Back at the Hall of Justice – we’re in the 21st century – Saturn Girl comes up with an idea.
Cue two pages of headshots as 20 heroes stop talking over one enough long enough to share snippets of information about their recent travels through time. And Legion liaison the Thorn comes up with a theory.
‘Someone’… but who? We do find out, and it’s a big name villain who makes sense in this context. Here’s their entry…
Hey, I’m not going to spoil all the fun. And anyway, maybe you recognise the voice!
Old-time Legion fans may recognise the white-out visual reference – the team has been wiped out by such nothingness at least twice before, so fingers crossed they survive this vengeance of an immortal villain.
Finally, an issue in which Stuff Happens! Sure, the first several pages are, as with the last couple of instalments, heroes wittering on to little effect. This time, though, we progress to a focused conversation as the heroes start using their brains, there’s the reveal of the Legion of Doom dome and the arrival of the mastermind behind the shenanigans. There’s also a great scene for Triplicate Girl and Saturn Girl who is, as has so often been the case, the LSH MVP.
So well done to writer Brian Michael Bendis for cutting down on the verbal vamping and remembering that crowd scenes do not a great comic make. He also remembers that he’s called this storyline The Gold Lantern Saga, putting said Legionnaire at the centre of things. As is often the case with Bendis team books, individual character voices are absent, and some players – Wonder Woman especially – are very off, but still, this issue is a definite improvement.
Scott Godlewski continues to provide lovely art, apparently staying sane as he draws more then 30 different characters – few artists on a Legion book have had to draw the entire team in a single story. He provides hints of characterisation we don’t get in the script and, with colourist Ryan Cody, makes the Great Darkness look suitably threatening. And the final pages, with the heroes enveloped by said black bubbly blob, look amazing. Other colour highlights included the way Gold Lantern’s ring is suspended in waves of light, and the Triplicate Girl/Saturn Girl scene.
Kudos, too, to Dave Sharpe for dealing with the words. So many words.
Next issue is the conclusion of this mini-series and after this chapter, I’m suddenly optimistic. Don’t let me down, comic!