REVIEW: Legion Of Super-Heroes #20

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Or – “The Countdown Has Begun…”

With the announcement on the cancellation of Legion of Super-Heroes, I’m wondering if they’re actually going to take this chance to shatter everything that we love about the 31st Century.  Of course, if the last few issues have been any indication, they planned to do that anyway.  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

 

LSH20CoverLEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #20
Writer: Paul Levitz (Keith Giffen, Consulting Destructionist)
Penciler: Francis Portela
Colorist: Javier Mena
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Editor: Rickey Purdin
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Legion Of Super-Heroes: A new Fatal Five has arisen, and somehow they have managed to disable nearly all the technology in the United Planets.  With the LSH separated, all seems dark, but there may be a bright spot on the horizon, as Glorith has been able to teleport herself home to the Sorcerer’s World…

OLD FRIENDS RETURN…

…but, as with the previous few issues, it’s best not to get your hopes up.  Glorith, Ultra Boy and Chameleon Boy arrive on Sorcerer’s World just in time to get into it with the F.F.’s Validus, as the fighty-fighty continues.  Portela’s art is pretty striking, even though Ultra Boy’s new uniform and haircut are still ridiculous, and the sequences on Planet Magic are quite striking.  The problem for me comes in that it feels pretty familiar, and halfway through this issue I realized why: This is the Magic Wars that ended Volume 3 all over again!  The issue gets a few points for me as Blok and the Black Witch join their partners in combating the unstoppable monster Validus.  Elsewhere in the universe, I continue getting angry with the writers, as Phantom Girl cries and cries about her fate and the disastrous events that have marked her term as Legion leader.  The whole reason people voted for her in the first place was that she was written as a strong and capable hero with a heart, and it’s a shame to see her reduced to a blubbering nitwit.

…OLD STORIES REVISITED.

Thankfully, the seeming death of Invisible Kid and Polar Boy turns out to be somewhat premature (thankfully), tying into one of Legion stories from the 80s, a story whose ending is no longer considered canon for the Legion.  That pretty much sums up my problems with this issue in a nutshell:  The best parts of it are seemingly bits and pieces of old stories that no longer “happened” to this iteration of the team, and everyone seems to be holding the idiot ball.  As the issue comes to a close, Glorith teleports Ultra Boy and Chameleon Boy back to Legion HQ, where we find the Persuader standing over what seems to be the impaled corpse of Duplicate Girl, leaving us with another depressing cliff-hanger and little to show for it.  With this title’s impending demise, I’m unsure whether DC is going to reboot/relaunch immediately, but more importantly, based on the last few years of the book, I’m not sure I’m interested any more.  The last relaunch was a showcase for the most unpleasant character I’ve read about since Rorschach was exploded in the Arctic, and the New 52 Legion has been an exercise in inertia for me.

THE BOTTOM LINE: BETTER THAN IT HAS BEEN, BUT STILL NOT PARTICULARLY GOOD…

There are rumors of a new Legion, based on/inspired by the new Justice League, which could be interesting, but also could be nothing but reversionist terribleness.  In any case, it’s long past time for some sort of meaningful action on the part of the ostensible heroes of the book, and perhaps one more sacrifice before we go…  Perhaps Harmonia, who is both useless and infuriating?  Legion of Super-Heroes #20 gets a couple of story-beats that I like, and at least a few characters get to be something other than victims, but overall it’s still only rating 2 out of 5 stars overall.  What’s next for the LSH?  Hopefully something a little less depressing…

Rating: ★★★★½

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