The debate over whether to take action is curtailed as the Science Police summon the Legion to tackle a 'timestorm' in, you guessed it, Barcelona. Mon-El and Ultra Boy take point, arriving in Spain's largest city to find dinosaurs fighting cavemen. They're soon saving the citizenry, aided by later arrivals Brainiac 5, Harmonia, Dragonwing and Chemical Kid. Glorith, meanwhile, is about to be burned at the stake, and with no suitable spell ready to save herself, is in big trouble ...
If you're not a Legion fan, the parade of personages I mention will likely mean nothing. If you're a first-timer actually reading the comic, there's no problem. Writer Paul Levitz introduces each new arrival with a short caption giving name, homeworld and powers. The personalities, he reveals via their words.
If there's a weakness in Levitz's current Legion run, it's that he takes a little too much time getting to the big threats. The good character work he does could be contained within big splashy storylines. This month's one-shot tale looks to be signalling the return of an old Legion foe, and it's an entertaining entry in the Legion canon (a phrase to make longtime fans laugh and cry alike). But the last several issues have been building towards the debut of a new Fatal Five villain team. There's one page this issue showing Levitz hasn't forgotten this, as Legion Espionage Squad head Chameleon Boy summons Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass to a meeting, but I'd rather we got to that main event than spend an issue building up the mystery of Glorith.
There's my quibble. One thing this issue isn't is boring, with some entertaining uses of powers and the aforementioned strong characterisation. There's even a 'hurrah' moment as a powerless Glorith does exactly what I was telling her to do in order to save herself.
And the story looks glorious. Artist Francis Portela is back after a few issues away and perhaps as a reward, Levitz sets the story in his home town, one thousand years from today. Portela grabs the baton and runs with it, showing a city that while evolved, is recognisable to 21st-century eyes. The key is the inclusion of Gaudi's magnificent Sagrad Familia, and the conceit that the cathedral has continued growing for ten centuries. The futuristic structure, grown to the size of a city, looks magnificent, and it's the perfect backdrop for this tale of superheroes vs cavemen and dinosaurs.
The Legion members are majestic, sleek and powerful. Even the odder-looking members, such as Dragonwing and her magical pakamac, ooze nobility and heroism. The dinosaurs, meanwhile, would delight any ten-year-old child reading. And is that a Barcelona FC player I see vanishing into the timestorm? Page after page, Portela gifts us with great storytelling and fantastic-looking participants, enhanced by the bold colours of Javier Mena.
And isn't that a terrific T-Rex on Steve Lightle's cover? What big teeth, and all that.
It's a plea I've made previously, but again, if you've never tried the Legion and like smart, great-lookng superhero action soaps, give the Legion of Super-Heroes a try.