Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Legion of Super-Heroes #16 review

It's Shrinking Violet and Chameleon Boy vs Validus as the search for the new Fatal Five continues. The pair visit prison planet Takron Galtos with colleague Lightning Lass to see if the giant with mental lightning really is still imprisoned in impregnable inertron, or if there's been a bait and switch.

Back on Earth, the rest of the team are tied up with the annual election for Legion leader. No one seems to be actively campaigning, but in a future that sees the Earth President drafted by computer, maybe personal desire isn't important. Certainly the winner - and may I just say, hurrah - didn't ask for the job. I reckon they'll do well, given their intelligence and experience.

While I'm still hoping this comic gets a 'main event' feel soon, this is a satisfying issue; the trip to Takron-Galtos shines a spotlight on the Legionnaires Three and reintroduces us to former Legion Academy member Gravity Kid. And the election allows a 'day in the life' feel, catching us up on such things as Star Boy's health, Chemical Kid's hero worshipping and the state of the Shadow Lass/Mon-El relationship. Plus, the mystery of rookie Legion witch Glorith looks to be moving centre stage, and Cosmic Boy gives a rousing pep talk to outgoing leader Mon-El.

Writer Paul Levitz shows his familiarity with the cast, keeping them in character while still able to toss out the odd logical surprise, as he does here with Star Boy's attitude to his return to full-time superheroing. And even when someone displays a less-than-admirable attitude, as with Shrinking Violet's alarming comments about the monstrous Validus, we don't lose sight of the heroism. The tussle with Validus is well choreographed, with some big moments that allow artist Scott Kolins to strut his stuff. Although I'm not keen on Kolins' interpretation of Cham's face, I love the life and energy he puts into every page. He deserves special credit for packing the book not just with dozens of Legionnaires, but with background aliens and 31st-century architecture and technology. Javier Mena's DayGlo palette works well with the cheerier scenes, darkening appropriately for the Validus pages. There's more than decent lettering, too, from Carlos M Mangual, and the issue is topped off by a fantastic cover from classic Legion artist Steve Lightle and colourist Guy Major.

So, rich characterisation, action aplenty, ongoing mysteries and terrific artwork - I vote the election issue a hit.

15 comments:

  1. And that winner. Yikes. Didn't even see it coming despite obvious foreshadowing...

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    1. I guessed on page one. Makes a change ...

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  2. This is the best DC book on the market. It has everything in the right amount, all the perfect Legion elements for every fan.
    A class act.

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    1. Tell the world! And next issue, the return of Keith Giffen.

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  3. I wonder if the improvement on Legion was due to Giffen talking to Levitz on a regular basis lately? Levitz and Giffen had said in interviews they were talking to each other on regular basis these about the Legion.

    I'm hoping when Giffen takes over the art for the Fatal Five arc things will be a greater deal better in a long time.

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    1. Me too. It'll be especially interesting to see how he tweaks his art as he goes on - you know how bored he gets!

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  4. I'm guessing the book will shift into high gear next issue, with Giffen's arrival and the Fatal Five story coming to the forefront. And as for the Legion's new leader -- at last!!!

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  5. Because I don't have a car and it's a looong way to the comic book store on the bus, I pick up my comics every other week.

    It's usually not a problem.

    But now, I'm going to be wondering all week who the new Legion leader is.

    You swine.

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    1. Email or Twitter and I will reveal all

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    2. I'm just going to tough ot out, I think.

      But thanks for the offer.

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  6. My review is written and scheduled for Tuesday.
    I loved this issue and agree with everything you say. Unlike some of the other 'rest' issues or side stories, this one let us check in on the characters and move the plot ahead.

    So many nice moments for long time Legion fans. And the election winner - I think it is a great choice!

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    1. It is! Today's been wicked busy so I shall check out your LSH (and Superboy Annual) reviews at Supergirl Comic Box Commentary tomorrow. Roll on!

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  7. One year terms make no sense. That has to stop, but Legion has been good, yet at the same time floundering.

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    1. Hi Hector, I can't see a one-year term meaning an in-story year in today's books - but we'll see, I hope.

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