Or – “In Which A Fave-Rave Makes A Somewhat Lukewarm Return…”
Everybody has their favorite Legionnaire, even if they don’t know it… Mine is Blok, but Matter-Eater Lad is in the top five, as is another much-maligned Legionnaire who makes his unheralded return this issue. In the wake of last issue’s tragedy, relationships have changed, families have been separated, and much unpleasantness has occurred. Isn’t this a perfect time to deal with a traitor in your midst AND an old enemy with a grudge?
Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 6) #2
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art and cover by YILDIRAY CINAR & WAYNE FAUCHER
1:10 Variant cover by JIM LEE
Colors by HI-FI
Letters by SAL CIPRIANO
Published by DC COMICS
Previously, on Legion of Super-Heroes: The events that took place on a small spacecraft “a few years ago” left three kids from various wrong sides of various tracks united as the greatest heroic peacekeeping force of the 30th Century. Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy have been joined by literally dozens of lads and lasses over the years, most of whom have had multiple retconnings but still remained mostly awesome. Last issue, Earthgov forced the LSH to take one of their most powerful foes into the team, a Green Lantern ring arrived in the future, the moon of Titan was destroyed, Saturn Girl’s children were spirited away, and Brainiac spent most of the issue stalking about in a state that could only be described as “peeved.” Not really an auspicious start for the future’s greatest super-team. Will the cleanup effort bring out the awesome that has been missing for our super-future friends? (Not THOSE Super Future Friends!)
We open in the rubble of Titan, as the Legion’s heavy-hitter squad has been engaged to destroy large fragments of the devastated moon to keep the spaceways clear. (This issue will also feature a tally of Legionnaires seen. Page 1: Brainiac 5, Mon-El, Ultra Boy = 3) Brainiac is a real jerk to Jo and Mon, but Ultra Boy is equally snarky with the perpetually crabby Coluan. “This is a job for our kind of powers, not that overgrown data monger.” I hope this doesn’t mean that ultra-dumb-jock Jo Nah is back in session, but I’m pretty sure from the cover that this train has sailed. Also in action with this team are Wildfire and a returning Tyroc, (Legionnaire Tally = 5) both of whom are using their powers to destroy planet chunks… Which raises the question of Tyroc’s sonic powers working in the airless vacuum of space. I can’t recall if they’ve ever been shown to do so before, but I suppose they ARE magical. Doesn’t make it any less annoying to consider, though. Tyroc is decked out in red with discs, and a shaved head, with a shaved head and only his disco bondage belt carrying over from his last costume. (It has been remarked that he resembles Synch from Generation X in this issue…) Mon-El is upset at being dumped by Shadow Lass,while Brainiac discusses Polar Boy in a very awkward bit of exposition. Before any of the team can do much, Saturn Queen (founding membefr of the Legion Of Super-Villains) arrives and takes control of Brainiac’s 12th level mind.
Far away, on planet Naltor, former Legion leader Dream Girl, winged wonder Dawnstar, and Archie Legion refugee Gates (Legionnaire Tally = 8) arrive on a mission of diplomatic intent, smoothing over recent issues with Earthgov, and seeking a home for Titanian survivors. Back in the inverted starship of love, Cosmic Boy and Earth-Man (Legionnaire Tally = 9, as I’m not counting Absorbancy Boy) argue about their newly created alliance, and E-M stalks away to play with his new Green Lantern ring. Colossal Boy and Chameleon Boy (Legionnaire Tally = 11) want to spearhead a mission to stop rioters on Earth, but Cos won’t send Cham out, fearing that the riots would explode into violence. Back in space, Saturn Queen drops Brainy and controls Ultra Boy, using him to take out Tyroc and Wildfire in seconds. (So much for Ty’s big re-debut…) Out in the timestream, Saturn Girl watches the moment where her babies disappeared, (Legionnaire Tally = 12) while Lighting Lad and Lightning Lass momentarily abandon the search for their lost brother (L.T. = 14). Colossal Boy, Earth-Man, Sun Boy, Invisible Kid and Phantom Girl (L.T. = 17, still not counting Doctor Sideburns) try to quell a riot, but make it worse. Their fat is pulled out of the fire by Shadow Lass (L.T. = 18) who evacs Phantom Girl to the Legion medilabs. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of a raging Ultra Boy, who is stopped by a few sweet nothings from Phantom Girl, while Earth-Man’s ring starts to show him how to be the worst Green Lantern since Driq, who was, by the way, DEAD.
Wow, this book was scattered. There are several seeds of interest going on here (the fate of Mekt, the missing Ranzz children, Tyroc’s return to duty, the LSHer’s response to the turd in their punchbowl) but it’s all going on at once, making this second issue fall prey to the worst problems that usually plague a FIRST issue. Yildiray Cinar’s art is excellent, especially on Shadow Lass and Phantom Girl, and Paul Levitz has managed to keep several key characterizations from his last run in place, but what does it all in for me is the shoehorning of night-on everybody into the book. It seems like Garth will be giving up on his search for big brother awful quickly, and several of the other plot hooks that this series was launched with (coming out of Legion of Three Worlds and the Adventure Comics strip) may not get fully fleshed out in the new Levitz era. It’s not as awkward as last issue, but there’s still a lot of ground to cover before I say that the Legion has once again regained it’s stride. It is, however, MUCH more successful that the last big Legion era (Shooter Mark IV was a clusterschmozz of things that made my poor little brain hurt) and it is very well rendered. Improving upon #1, Legion of Super-Heroes #2 earns a cautiously optimistic but realistic 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. If we can keep everything in balance, there’s a possibility of a return to old greatness… Fingers are crossed.
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Does the return to action of the two highest profile black Legionnaires (Tyroc and Invisible Kid II) in this series do anything to offset recent questions about DC Comics diversity and racial sensitivity for you?