Or – “The Lightning Rods Are Important… They MEAN Something.”

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The return of the annual JLA/JSA team-up is an interesting card to have played this early in the run of the two books, for several reasons. Primarily, neither team has really established their status quo at this point, making it obvious that certain important moments have to have taken place off-screen. Secondly, they’ve resurrected the old Len Wein/Cary Bates tradition of adding a THIRD team to the proceedings, which takess the focus off the two teams who JUST GOT TOGETHER. And most confusingly, that third team is the Legion of Super-Heroes, but a different version of the Legion than is currently being printed in EITHER of the two extant Legion comics (though, honestly, those books feature two entirely different Legions as well.) By all accounts, this crossover shouldn’t make a lick of sense…

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…and yet, somehow, it’s working for me. Probably it’s just the appearance of what I think of as MY Legion, but the issues so far have been clearer in tone and intent than Brad Meltzer’s initial 7-issue run of JLA without lowering the bar for Geoff Johns’ JSA. It’s a nice trick, and one that I hope will bring JLA up to par with it’s sister book. Previously, in “The Lightning Saga:” Old-school Teen Titans villain Trident (preferred by four out of five heroes who chew gum!) is revealed to actually be Karate Kid, a man 1000 years out of time, and member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. His presence (as well as that of Starman, former LSHer Star Boy) sends the JLA and JSA on a search for seven time-lost soldiers. Wildfire is recovered from the Fortress of Solitude, while Dream Girl is found in Arkham Asylum. Timber Wolf is discovered in Gorilla City, while Dawnstar’s ring is found on the far-flung planet Thanagar… but Dawny herself has split. That makes six Legionnaires, enough to start their secret mission, which involves mysterious lightning rods, mind-blocks, and also easily outsmarting the combined forces of Justice League and Society. After escaping custody, the contemporary heroes are left with a quandary, and a strange belt only Superman can identify. He pulls one of the remaining lightning rods off the belt (and name-checks an untold tale called “The Legion of Three Worlds.” Given the W/KRP version, this Pre-Crisis version, and the animated Legion, that puts 3 versions of the team in print at the same time, no? Food for thought…) and explains what fanboy geeks like me knew last time around…

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Which means that the Legionnaires may be in the past to resurrect somebody… Hmmm. The team is a bit astonished that a bunch of kids would be willing to die to bring back their friend, but Superman points out that their devotion was “unexplainable.” “You were KIDS,” says Batman (with a lot of gall for a man who has routinely put 8-year-olds in green panties in front of hails of gangster bullets.) “No. We were LEGION,” replies Superman, as we see that he’s wearing his flight ring again. It’s a goosebump moment, as we check in on the Legionnaires. Notably, they discuss how Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad don’t know they’re in the past, which helps to narrow down the lost seventh member somewhat. That only leaves 20 possible candidates. Dawnstar leads them to their last member with her tracking powers, and Karate Kid says that this is the best way, as the Legion can survive without one of the members present. Strangely, though, Star Boy is still incoherent, even though the rest of the team is back to what passes for normal, and we finally find out why.

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“Before he came to this time period,” explains Dawny, “he was accidentally shunted to a parallel Earth.” Star Boy replies, “Earth 22? Meh. No one liked each other there very much.” An apt way of summarizing Kingdom Come, (which was revolutionary at the time, and is a well-done tale, but hasn’t aged well AT ALL.) A joint League/Society team of Wonder Woman, Black Lighting, Liberty Belle, Hourman, and Damage has tracked the last flight ring signal as well, but instead of flying like the Legion, stomps through the swamp after them. Hourman thanks Lightning for the wedding gift, and he mentions that one of his students is a brilliant artist. He then asks Grant (Damage) if he’s in school…

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Remember, Black Lightning is a teacher, and former secretary of education, and it’s probably natural for him to take an interest in Damage’s schooling. I will say that, having bought his series off the racks back in the day, Damage’s alienation saddens me greatly. But in the DC Universe, it’s better to be alienated than forever trapped in limbo, so I’ll deal. The team comes across a former Secret Society headquarters (the cartoon ‘Hall of Doom’) and inside they find three young girls babbling incoherently. The girls chatter before one of them yells for the others to calm down… and absorbs them. “My name’s Luornu Durgo… Codename: Triplicate Girl.” As Lu talks, we see a hand, clad in a white glove but wearing a flight ring, crouching in the background, indicating that everything is NOT as it seems. As an old Legion hand, it’s immediately obvious to me what’s going on, but the Justice Friends don’t have that luxury…

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Before anyone can “Lightning Lad” her, the computer bank comes to life. It’s Computo! (Remember: A comic book alias ending in ‘-O’ comes from the sixties. An alias ending in ‘-IX’ comes from the 90’s, and an comic book alias ending in cancellation and lawsuits comes from Rob Liefeld.) As Computo goes nuts, the cavalry arrives in the form of JLA, JSA, and LSH, and everybody starts a’crackin’ skulls. Green Lantern’s ring can’t analyze the A.I., and he remarks that something has shut down his rings voice communicator, keeping the ring from telling him… something.

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And it all clicks into place. The Legionnaires once again have an ulterior motive, and they’ve got sufficient know-how to block transmissions from a Green Lantern ring! It’s really good to see the LSH portrayed as this fiercely competent and together. All three teams continue to fight valiantly against Computo, as Dawnstar calms the mystery Legionnaire. Cyclone and the Red Tornado have another moment where he mentions that her “wind programming” is syncing up with his. Once again, she doesn’t quite get it, but obviously, she’s got some sort of nanomachines (ugh) that replicate Reddy’s powers. At least she’s not a mutant. As the battle rages, one of Triplicate Girl’s selves gets caught up in a Computo tentacle… Both Clark Kent and I have the same moment of deja vu, as the creature powers up.

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A quick scan with x-ray vision indicates that there’s NOTHING at all here. No Computo, no base, no tentacles… and no Legion. It was all an illusion… but an illusion of such depth and complexity that even Mirror Master and Trickster would stand back and acknowledge a master. But, this does beg the question, since the powers of the Legionnaires we have (Tracking, Anti-Matter, Super-Agility, Super-Karate, Precognition, Weight Control and Self-Duplication) don’t seem to be able to generate an illusion like that, then WHO DID?

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“It was a Legionnaire called Sensor Girl.” OKAY, TIME OUT! While it makes sense that the woman IN the Sensor Girl suit (Projectra of Orando, a.k.a. Princess Projectra) is in the past, (she’s MARRIED to Karate Kid, after all) the presence of Sensor Girl creates a quandary. After all, Sensor Girl first appeared in Legion V3 #15 or so, partly as a response to Karate Kid’s DEATH in issue #4 of the same volume. Either we’re dealing with an alternate universe, or the Legionnaires come from different time periods (which is possible, but seems inordinately convoluted) or Geoff & Steve @*$@ed up. Still, it’s a minor glitch, and I’m sure it doesn’t mar your reading if you don’t realize it’s there. The LSHer’s have pulled off their escape, and they set off for their final, mysterious destination…

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It’s interesting to see Dawnstar taking a leadership role in the group… Tune in this weekend for more on her in our latest Hero History. So… we have seven Legionnaires, picked to live in a house, and find out what happens when people stop being polite sent into the timestream on what (on the surface) bears a striking resemblance to a mission that led to a resurrection. We have a DCU in turmoil (with, apparently, another crisis on the horizon), and we have hints and allegations that certain somebodies are coming back from the dead. Assuming that it’s not Lightning Lad, (since the team indicates that LL doesn’t KNOW they came back in time, presuming him being alive in the 30th century and also, coming back to modern times to resurrect him makes NO sense) who could it be? I’ve mentioned Kal-L before (and suspect him to be the likely candidate) but there’s another possible answer. Riddle me this: Which hero is dead, has strong ties to the original Crisis on Infinite Earths (which this Legion team seems contemporary to) and might make sense in context of the title “The Lightning Saga?”

Could we be looking at the return of Barry Allen?

Hell, I dunno. But I’ll tell you this much, something big is up, and I don’t want to see one of these Legionnaires die. Not even Star Boy/Starman who is somewhat grating on the nerves. It’s another strong outing for the JLA/JSA crossover, with well-done art (though the Alex Ross cover is minimalist and kinda boring) a compelling story, and some nice character bits. An overabundance of plot, a lack of focus on the ACTUAL JSA, and another reference to the Superfriends (I’m aware that it’s some people’s introduction to the JLA, and I accept that, but Alex Ross is OBSESSED with the frickin’ Superfriends, and it, frankly, gets old) take us down a little bit, but we’re still looking at a strong 3.5 flight rings out of 5 rating. The Triplicate Girl bait-and-switch was nicely done, and I love Superman’s memories of the Legion… It reminds me of the way some of us remember our glory days in high school or college, and really humanizes him and sells us on the importance of these “kids from the future.”

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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16 Comments

  1. Brent F.
    June 1, 2007 at 4:14 pm — Reply

    I suspect that Karate Kid was pulled out of time right before he died in order to help them. They did determine who would be on the time traveling team based on who was expendable.

    Starman’s mental health being natural is interesting.

    I disagree with you about Kingdom Come. It’s aging rather well and may even become more important as DC moves towards a new Silver/Bronze Age and Marvel reboots the Dark Age of anti-heroes. That’s what the story was all about, the Classic Ages of Heroes vs. The Dark Ages of Anti-Heroes.

  2. Cory G.
    June 1, 2007 at 6:08 pm — Reply

    I agree that Kingdom come is aging horribly, I think it stems from the fact that ( other than being over rated) alex ross thinks that things that he loves from his past were great due to his nostalgia glasses. Heck I loved transformers and the original TMNT but I am able to see what crap they are compared to the new TMNT 2k3 and how justice friends falls to the wayside to justice league and justice league unlimited. And his art is ok for pin ups and maybe movie posters but comics deserve to be more dynamic.

    I would love to hear if you agree with me or not.

  3. Maximus Rift
    June 1, 2007 at 8:31 pm — Reply

    I still like Kingdom Come, but if it is aging badly it’s because better stuff is taking its place. “Noble Causes” anyone?

    I am SO looking towards Dawnstar’s HH.

  4. Maximus Rift
    June 1, 2007 at 8:32 pm — Reply

    Also, What if these Legionaries get stuck in this era?

  5. June 2, 2007 at 12:09 am — Reply

    I agree that Kingdom come is aging horribly, I think it stems from the fact that ( other than being over rated) alex ross thinks that things that he loves from his past were great due to his nostalgia glasses. Heck I loved transformers and the original TMNT but I am able to see what crap they are compared to the new TMNT 2k3 and how justice friends falls to the wayside to justice league and justice league unlimited. And his art is ok for pin ups and maybe movie posters but comics deserve to be more dynamic.

    I very much agree on Alex’s art. It’s striking the first few times you see it, and breathtaking in a way, and also completely static on the page. Every artist and writer has their influences (witness my own love of Blok) but nearly every Alex story I’ve ever read has drawn not upon the JLA comics, but the Superfriends cartoon for influence. It’s fine when it’s an Elseworlds, as in Justice, not so much fine for my taste when it’s in continuity.

    The problem with Kingdom Come was that it spent so much time with a long-range game of “It’s That Guy!” that the theme was supplanted. I re-read it now, and I don’t see the superiority of the traditional view. I see a Green Lantern who reminds me of the old paintings of Hitler as a Teutonic Knight, I see a Superman who triumphs through the worst acts of violence we see in the entire series, and most of all, I see a narrative that skews all over the place, creating a situation where we root for the old-school heroes not because they’re morally superior, but because they’re the only people we can pick out of the enormous crowd scenes. It’s still a stunning piece of work, visually, and I enjoy a lot of character bits, but for a book that’s only ten years old, it really feels like a work of centuries past. Your mileage, as always, may vary.

    I still like Kingdom Come, but if it is aging badly it’s because better stuff is taking its place. “Noble Causes” anyone?

    Seconded, and I also would also submit Justice Society of America, Dynamo 5, and nextwave…

    Also, What if these Legionaries get stuck in this era?

    That would be awesome, save only for DC then having multiple versions of the same character. And does anybody know when the holy hell the “Karate Kid in jail” segments of Countdown take place?

  6. June 2, 2007 at 12:18 am — Reply

    I disagree with you about Kingdom Come. It’s aging rather well and may even become more important as DC moves towards a new Silver/Bronze Age and Marvel reboots the Dark Age of anti-heroes. That’s what the story was all about, the Classic Ages of Heroes vs. The Dark Ages of Anti-Heroes.

    I appreciate that, but felt that the theme was secondary to the “Where’s Waldo?” effect. Now that other books have taken up that same banner and done it better, the failings of the Kingdom Come narrative (lack of focus, incessant in-jokes and art cameos, the fact that you need a scorecard, an abacus and a fifty page annotation to even name more than two people on the page, the whole “these heroes have become too violent, let’s beat the $#!+ out of them” dichotomy) become more pronounced. In some ways, it seems as though the lesson of Kingdom Come is “Might Makes Right.” Certainly, there are still large enjoyable parts of the series, and it’s head and shoulders above a lot of its contemporaries… It’s just that, in retrospect, it feels less The Beatles, and more Peter Frampton: it seemed a hell of a lot more important in the moment than it does looking back.

  7. June 2, 2007 at 10:58 am — Reply

    Matthew: I think the Karate Kid in Jail stuff takes pace between the time Black Lighting knocked him out, and the time they discover the other leaguers.

  8. pedantic peasant
    June 2, 2007 at 7:10 pm — Reply

    Matthew:

    New to Major Spoilers, found it solely because (as you so aptly put it) this is MY Legion, and I wanted to hear what everyone else was saying.

    Yeah, it is a great storyline, I’d love it if they ultimately made this the new Legion line, and ended the “Young rebellion” “Supergirl and the Legion” run.

    Given the way that Geoff and Steve keep trying to surprise the reader, I wouldn’t necessarily read so much into the “Lightning Saga” name tying into the Flash: Lightning Lad is their code word, tying into the title — its the saga of their “Resurrection Mission, Codename: Lightning Lad.” They are certainly dropping all sorts of clues that the current Countdown series is leading to the third major Crisis: Infinite Earths, Identity/Infinite Crisis, and the new one that will give birth to the megaverse. There are all sorts of tie-ins to various out of time and place characters, of which this Legion is just one example (Ion, Jason Todd, Donna Troy, and etc.) and so another interpretation might be:

    What other character in the DC Universe has died, has major ties to both the Legion (if only through the backstory journals of Ross’s Kingdom Come) — and BTW I agree that as a one-shot KC stands okay as a symbol of its time, but it does not hang well with the whole DCU and ties in to the everyday DCU only poorly — and the Identity/Infinite Crisis [the Middle crisis, and has had several storylines and many mentions in multiple DC titles over the past year? Could this old/new Legion be here to resurrect Connor Kent as the major important hero to keep the next crisis from going poorly?

    Your opinions gleefully awaited …

    … And thanks to you and Major Spoilers for a great job!

    -pp

  9. June 2, 2007 at 11:27 pm — Reply

    Glad to hear that we’ve entertained you. Here at Stately Spoilers Manor, we live for the feedback of our readers. Well, that and the groupies…

    What other character in the DC Universe has died, has major ties to both the Legion (if only through the backstory journals of Ross’s Kingdom Come) — and BTW I agree that as a one-shot KC stands okay as a symbol of its time, but it does not hang well with the whole DCU and ties in to the everyday DCU only poorly — and the Identity/Infinite Crisis [the Middle crisis, and has had several storylines and many mentions in multiple DC titles over the past year? Could this old/new Legion be here to resurrect Connor Kent as the major important hero to keep the next crisis from going poorly?

    Connor would certainly make sense in terms of importance. I don’t know what DC might do with him, should they bring him back, though. There’s some ambiguity as to whether they can even use the name “Superboy” anymore, and it just wouldn’t be the same if they called him something else. Though “Kon-El The Kid” sounds pretty awesome, if a bit like a singing cowboy.

    My ruminations on “Lightning Lad” come mostly from people who read this story literally, and presume that these seven heroes have come back to resurrect Lightning Lad. That doesn’t make any sense from a story perspective. My honest guess (given the somewhat-less-than-subtle last panel of JSA #1) is that they’ve come back to raise Kal-L, the Earth 2 Superman, but I feel that resurrecting Barry might also be a likelihood, as we’ve been given the heads up on his precipitous return.

    Honestly, I don’t care if they’re back to resurrect Rufus T. Firefly, I’m just glad to see that the Legion I grew up reading is still out there, someplace, on some Earth, putting the smackdown on the LSV and thwarting the machinations of the Fatal Five. I hadn’t realized that I missed some of the characters until I realized how long they’d been gone…

  10. Tom Grice
    June 3, 2007 at 10:24 am — Reply

    { I see a Green Lantern who reminds me of the old paintings of Hitler as a Teutonic Knight, I see a Superman who triumphs through the worst acts of violence we see in the entire series, and most of all, I see a narrative that skews all over the place, creating a situation where we root for the old-school heroes not because they’re morally superior, but because they’re the only people we can pick out of the enormous crowd scenes.}

    and here is the fundamental problem with your interpretation of Kingdom Come. (Well, first the Green Lantern thing I don’t understand except maybe when he is being attacked his hair drapes across his forehead in a vaguely Hitler moment otherwise it is Allen compensating for being Old and using Armor to support his body ala Batman two pages over.)

    We are not supposed to root for the old school heroes over the new in KC. We root for Norman McKay, a regular man of faith. This is made very clear in the first issue when superman arrives to save the day and everyone around him is cheering and Norman realizes the bad times have just begun because Superman has arrived. Both the new and old have the same problem in KC, they live above humanity like modern gods judging ordinary humans. Superman does not triumph by using violence. He fails. Repeatedly. It is only when they take off the costumes and walk among humanity as Humans that they succed, as they do at the end and in the epilogue seen in the trade. This is the message of Kingdom Come, that violence is not the answer nor is living above the masses and simply handing down justice. You must get your hands dirty and be HUMAN before you can be Superhuman.

  11. Sean Curley
    June 3, 2007 at 10:24 am — Reply

    the whole “these heroes have become too violent, let’s beat the $#!+ out of them” dichotomy

    Isn’t that the point? Superman is trying to bring the heroes to heel the only way he can think of, but it ultimately isn’t the right way, anymore than Batman’s is. Captain Marvel is supposed to be the one who has the right idea. The whole “attempting to use might to bring about right” theme is right out of “The Once and Future King.”

    I see a Green Lantern who reminds me of the old paintings of Hitler as a Teutonic Knight,

    First, GL discards the armour by the end. I would also say that the Green Knight armour is by far my favourite GL costume.

    I see a Superman who triumphs through the worst acts of violence we see in the entire series

    Huh? He subdues the other heroes, but he also restrains Wonder Woman and others; and, in the end, he only “triumps” after an epiphany that came at the cost of almost the entire meta-human population. And, again, one of the main points of the story is that he attempts to resolve the situation through strong hand and terms compulsatory.

  12. pedantic peasant
    June 3, 2007 at 7:48 pm — Reply

    Connor would certainly make sense in terms of importance. I don’t know what DC might do with him, should they bring him back, though. There’s some ambiguity as to whether they can even use the name “Superboy” anymore, and it just wouldn’t be the same if they called him something else. Though “Kon-El The Kid” sounds pretty awesome, if a bit like a singing cowboy.

    I’ve read about the “Superboy” block in a couple posts, but haven’t heard where the original comment started. I’m guessing it ties into the new law extending copyright. But while that makes sense, it certaainly doesn’t have to keep him out of play. [Remember why Marvel first introduced that cool black Spidey costume?] And off hand, they could call him Kon-El, Connor, Kid Superman, or put him into some new Superman-related costume. Heck, if he saves countdown and returns to the future with the Legion, he could be called Superman. Although the point is, even left around he can evolve his own name. Look at John Henry Irons’ transformation from “Superman” to “Steel.”

    My ruminations on “Lightning Lad” come mostly from people who read this story literally, and presume that these seven heroes have come back to resurrect Lightning Lad. That doesn’t make any sense from a story perspective. My honest guess (given the somewhat-less-than-subtle last panel of JSA #1) is that they’ve come back to raise Kal-L, the Earth 2 Superman, but I feel that resurrecting Barry might also be a likelihood, as we’ve been given the heads up on his precipitous return.

    Star Boy
    Karate Kid
    Dream Girl
    Wildfire
    Timber Wolf
    Dream Girl
    Sensor Girl

    can’t be:

    Lightning Lad
    Saturn Girl
    Cosmic Boy
    Colossal Boy or
    Brainiac Five

    They have shown they’re working “old school” with the original legion. How many other “original” dead could they pick from, and who’d be important enough to sacrifice a life for?
    It’d be funny if this turned out to be a huge red herring and they were going to “resurrect” the Infinite Man to save the Megaverse.

    It wold be cool if they resurrected Kal-L, but really, only fannishly. Didn’t they show a re-corporated earth-2 at the end of 52, with Kal-L included (maybe I’m confused), but bottom line is with the megaverse re-setting, they don’t need to. They’ve been doing a bunch of “life is too hard without Connor” comments, which is what led to that speculation. Here’s another: the preview ads have shown many versions of the Jimmy Olsen legion reserve character. What if they’re back to resurrect the real Jimmy, and the one running around in Countdown is a parallel version?

    In any event, as they say, “It’ll be fun to find out …”

    “It was a Legionnaire called Sensor Girl.” OKAY, TIME OUT! While it makes sense that the woman IN the Sensor Girl suit (Projectra of Orando, a.k.a. Princess Projectra) is in the past, (she’s MARRIED to Karate Kid, after all) the presence of Sensor Girl creates a quandary. After all, Sensor Girl first appeared in Legion V3 #15 or so, partly as a response to Karate Kid’s DEATH in issue #4 of the same volume. Either we’re dealing with an alternate universe, or the Legionnaires come from different time periods (which is possible, but seems inordinately convoluted) or Geoff & Steve @*$@ed up. Still, it’s a minor glitch

    If this is an error, then so is the presence of the deceased Karate Kid. They have “saved” the majority of Pre-Crisis chronology by having the post-Crisis no-Superboy Superman join the Legion on the cusp of donning the costume, but before revealing hmself here. This isn’t exactly our version, only mostly. I mean grife they re-booted the multi/mega-verse, but deliberately left the heroes of Earth-1 and Earth-2 intermingled — too many people have come to like originally earth-2 characters to chuck them back into the of the closet now. So somehow, in the intermingling of those two alternate todays, Princess Projectra becomes Sensor Girl earlier and not as a result of Karate Kid’s death. [Because, by corollary, if Superman did somehow know about Sensor Girl, he’d also know she changed identites as a result of killing Nemesis Kid. Perhaps that’s another reason for Thom’s repetition of the code against killing — a nod to the long-term continuity readers that this is A Sensor Girl, but not that Sensor Girl.

    Geoff and Steve have said they picked their favorites, and I remember that the original variation of Sensor Girl had an extra power: the ability to see the truth. I recall they were chasing Dr. Regulus, and SG suddenly gives the distance to and temperature of the planet because distance is the giggest illusion of all. I hope this is that interpretation of the character …

  13. June 3, 2007 at 9:30 pm — Reply

    We are not supposed to root for the old school heroes over the new in KC. We root for Norman McKay, a regular man of faith. This is made very clear in the first issue when superman arrives to save the day and everyone around him is cheering and Norman realizes the bad times have just begun because Superman has arrived. Both the new and old have the same problem in KC, they live above humanity like modern gods judging ordinary humans. Superman does not triumph by using violence. He fails. Repeatedly. It is only when they take off the costumes and walk among humanity as Humans that they succed, as they do at the end and in the epilogue seen in the trade. This is the message of Kingdom Come, that violence is not the answer nor is living above the masses and simply handing down justice. You must get your hands dirty and be HUMAN before you can be Superhuman.

    Indeed, this is a very good point… It would seem that I may need to reread (and maybe even Retro Review?) Kingdom Come in the near future so that I can better enunciate what I mean… When the series was “in its moment” it felt like a response to the dark and angry Image Comics vibe, and now that we’re so far removed from that time and place, it feels less immediate. But you have a valid point, here.

  14. June 3, 2007 at 9:35 pm — Reply

    I’ve read about the “Superboy” block in a couple posts, but haven’t heard where the original comment started. I’m guessing it ties into the new law extending copyright. But while that makes sense, it certaainly doesn’t have to keep him out of play. [Remember why Marvel first introduced that cool black Spidey costume?] And off hand, they could call him Kon-El, Connor, Kid Superman, or put him into some new Superman-related costume. Heck, if he saves countdown and returns to the future with the Legion, he could be called Superman. Although the point is, even left around he can evolve his own name. Look at John Henry Irons’ transformation from “Superman” to “Steel.”

    The basic gist of it is that the courts have decided that what Siegel and Shuster sold the rights to SuperMAN back to DC, they didn’t sell the rights to SuperBOY, and thus the name of Superboy is now their intellectual property. Whether it’s a copyright issue or a trademark one is a bit beyond me, but essentially, it’s why the Legion cartoon uses Superman, and it’s rumored to be why Connor bit it in the first place… Either way, I wouldn’t cry if they resurrected him either.

  15. Mark I.
    June 4, 2007 at 2:25 pm — Reply

    2 things:

    1. The use of the name “Kon-El” both gets around the “Superboy” name and is a nice inside tribute to Mon-El. (Or they could call him Superduperboy!)

    2. At its core, Kingdom Come is nothing more than Mark Waid doing a “Mary Sue” Justice League story, where his new “Mary Sue” Norman McCay takes over for an existing character (Sandman,) becomes the moral compass of the most powerful being in the universe (Spectre,) and saves the world when he not only shames the Spectre into taking him to the UN, but then appears magically to remind Thuperman what made him tho Thuper. Subconsciously or consciously, the astute and regular reader of fiction recognizes this and knocks the story down a notch in his head. Not only that, Norman McCay became a DOUBLE “Mary Sue” when Alex Ross decided the character should be “played” by his own father. I like the book (bought the trade) and I can still flip through it and enjoy it, but it has lost a little of its lustre.

  16. June 4, 2007 at 2:48 pm — Reply

    At its core, Kingdom Come is nothing more than Mark Waid doing a “Mary Sue” Justice League story, where his new “Mary Sue” Norman McCay takes over for an existing character (Sandman,) becomes the moral compass of the most powerful being in the universe (Spectre,) and saves the world when he not only shames the Spectre into taking him to the UN, but then appears magically to remind Thuperman what made him tho Thuper. Subconsciously or consciously, the astute and regular reader of fiction recognizes this and knocks the story down a notch in his head. Not only that, Norman McCay became a DOUBLE “Mary Sue” when Alex Ross decided the character should be “played” by his own father. I like the book (bought the trade) and I can still flip through it and enjoy it, but it has lost a little of its lustre.

    I definitely agree with parts of what you’ve said here. The additional materials in the collected hardcover definitely took a lot of the bloom off the rose for me with the constant “Here’s a character I drew when I was 9,” and “This is what I think a character who does this should REALLY look like.” Alex is a very opinionated creator, and that makes his work passionate. Unfortunately, it can also make the stories feel very unwelcoming and inflexible if you DON’T share his particular worldview (like the assertion that Martian Manhunter isn’t as valid a Justice Leaguer because he wasn’t in “Super Friends.”) Having the pivotal character look like his father bothered me when I initially read it, but Waid’s exemplary writing did wonders for the book.

    That said, I AM going to drag the thing out and put together a retro review, presuming I can scan the books without tearing them apart. Squarebound DC’s are hell to even open enough to READ…

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