Or – “Shvaughn?  Is That You?”

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My new manager Deon (who is wrong only half as often as Tom Grice, but only about 1/3 as pretty) and I got to talking the other day about the work of Jim Shooter, a writer whose work bounces all over the spectrum.  For every Harbinger, Rai, or ‘Adventure Comics’-era Legion, there is a ‘Hank Pym punches Janet’ moment, a ‘Shadow State,’ or “MORE GORE FOR THE ORG!!!”  Whichever Jim Shooter you get writes tightly plotted yarns with nice character bits, but the overall effect of the writing varies wildly, as anyone who ever read ‘Plasm’ can attest.  Which Jim is onboard for this new run of Legion?

LSH1.jpgPreviously, on Legion of Super-Heroes:  With the departure of Legion leader Supergirl back to the 20th century, (and a run of what I have to call some of the most gawdawful comics in recent memory) and Cosmic Boy still gallivanting in the 41st century, the big chair of the LSH fell to Garth Ranzz, known to his friends as Lightning Lad.  Garth has had some very rough spots, but is finally settling into a real leadership role.  After a hard mission on Triton, he was forced to mediate a dispute between Saturn Girl and Timber Wolf, which led to Imra agreeing not to meddle in the minds of her teammates, and Timber Wolf admitting that his behavior was beyond the pale.  As for T-Wolf’s ladyfriend Princess Projectra, she is dealing with no longer being royalty, no longer being rich, and no longer having the shield of the aristocracy to protect her.  Her possessions are being auctioned to pay Orando’s debt to the United Planets, and Jeckie herself is riding a razor’s edge of rage.  When accosted by tourists in downtown Metropolis, the Princess beats the holy hell out of an innocent alien…

This issue starts seconds later, with Timber Wolf trying to stop his big blonde beau from walloping a second blue-skinned creature, only to find himself (rather embarassingly easily) taken down by Projectra’s fists of fury.  Saturn Girl flies down from above and intercedes, only to find that the alien is completely unhurt.  “We are from Planet Doopa!  We are very… not-breakable people.  Sturdy!”  Heh.  The tourists are placated with a quick photo, while Saturn Girl asks T-Wolf why he called her.  “Were you hoping I’d just telepathically mindwipe all the witness and get her out of trouble?  Like I did for you on Triton?”  Brin quietly admits yes, and the two Legionnaires seem to tacitly make peace. 

Back at Legion headquarters, Brainiac 5, Invisible Kid, and Lightning Lad try to find out a: why they’re being charged for cleaning up a Venusian stinkwart plague decontamination, b: why a giant creature attacked Brainy and Shadow Lass last time ’round, and what to do about the Legion’s budget.  Suddenly, a vaguely familiar red-haired Science Policewoman bursts in holding a gun on them all.  “Stay where you are!  Take your pants off and lie face down on the floor!”  Heh.  Brainiac 5 immediately realizes that Chameleon is toying with them, explaining where the alien monster is being dissected.  Invisible Kid realizes that the only people that the U.P. could be protecting their discovery against is the Legion themselves, and immediately uses his abilities to sneak into the operating theatre undetected.  Saturn Girl broadcasts what he sees directly into Brainy’s mind, and they suddenly realize that all the superhumans rejected from the recent Legion tryouts are in costume and watching the procedure!

Brainiac warns I.K. to keep himself under control, but is distracted by the realization that the monster isn’t quite dead yet.  As the creature leaps back to life, Invisible Kid kills it with a power saw (Hee.)  “Zorkies!” cries one of the idiot pseudo-Legionnaires, “That was Invisible Kid.  Invisible Kid did that!”  No crap, there, Skolnick…  And could the fake cursing get any more annoying?  Yeesh…  The team suddenly tries to regroup, realizing that they’re all busted, barely gets to think before the President calls.  Invisible Kid is being prosecuted, and the entire Legion is grounded, pending a full inquiry.  Worse than that, of course, is the realization that more cyborg destroyers may be on their way, and if Brainiac’s theory is correct, they’re going to be even more powerful than the ones they’ve already faced.  We get a somewhat sexy little scene with Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl decompressing from a rough day (with implications of something a little naughty, to boot) before the United Planets interrupts them with a cry for help.  Saturn Girl agrees to lead a mission to Rimbor, with Ultra Boy as her first recruit…

This issue is interesting, but passes by quickly, and the events, while noteworthy, don’t really give the impression of a full chapter, instead seeming more like a few pages in a larger continuing story.  It’s not a satisfying chunk of action, even with the nice character developments for Saturn Girl, Ultra Boy, Timber Wolf and Princess Projectra.  Shooter’s story is nicely plotted, but I’m not feeling the urgency of “What will happen next?”  The art, by Aaron Lopresti, is more reminiscent of Barry Kitson’s work than Francis Manapul’s reworking of the team from recent issues, but it’s solid nonetheless.  Overall, this issue, while good, doesn’t quite get past the 2.5 out of 5 star mark, well-crafted but not overwhelming, and while I am interested in where the story is going, I’m just not getting the world-shattering changes that DC’s hype seemed to be promising for the LSH.  Still, at least we don’t have women with breasts twice the size of their head screaming “I’m dripping with gore for my lust-mate!” so it’s an overall win…

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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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2 Comments

  1. May 13, 2008 at 2:56 pm — Reply

    Speaking of Deon, I think I may’ve inadvertantly called him Frank last week …

  2. Katzedecimal
    May 13, 2008 at 7:18 pm — Reply

    “Zorkies”…arrrrgh. Thanks for comin’ out, Shaggy, now get back in the Mystery Machine and take that annoying puppy with you. *facepalm*

    Chameleon was really the high point of this issue. From the “pants off” to the finger puppets to the “my nest or yours,” Cham is just… just….. Dammit, Cham just keeps getting weirder with every reboot. You almost want them to reboot it again just to see how much weirder Chameleon can get! For me, Cham’s been the only saving grace of the Threeboot. I’d be happy if 3Boot!Cham survived Legion of Three Worlds.

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