Or – “Wrapping Things Up Here…”
The news that Legion of Super-Heroes was ending after something like four decades of continuous publishing was discouraging, and the previews of what may be replacing it just flat-out disturbing, but the actual series is still in progress. Will we get one last ‘Long Live The Legion’ moment? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Finally a cap on this interminable story…
Senseless, pointless and mean-spirited.
Many heroes still M.I.A.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #22
Writer: Paul Levitz
Penciler: Jeff Johnson
Inker: Andy Smith
Colorist: Javier Mena
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Editor: Rickey Purdin
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Legion Of Super-Heroes: Tharok has once again assembled the Fatal Five to menace the Legion and the Galaxy, and this time, they’ve been successful in their bid to destroy what the LSH stands for. With legion headquarters in ruins, their most powerful members down-and-out and their leader nowhere to be found, things look grim for the heroes of the 31st Century…
LEGION EMERGENCY PROCEDURE #2: CALL IN THE MARRIED FOLK!
The second Levitz era of the Legion has been, in my eyes, a terrible mistake on the part of DC editorial. After Geoff Johns reinvigorated the team by taking them back to basics, the LSH ongoing instead picked up with divisiveness among the team, dredged up 30-year-old character beats and focused heavily on redeeming a character whose only trait was utter sociopathic bastardry. So, now that we’re on the penultimate issue of the arc that was initially launched as a brand-new beginning, knowing that the Legion series is going to be cancelled next month, with things at their darkest. This issue opens with the trio of Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass and Saturn Girl facing down The Persuader and the Emerald Empress, standing tall against the villains who maimed Mon-El. On the one hand, I like the use of the older members as a last-ditch reserve team, but on the other, the defeat of the Persuader using telepathy and lightning after he literally cut a swath through the Legion for the last several issues feels unearned. A thirty-year old subplot involving Invisible Kid’s powers becomes important halfway through the issue, leading to a lovely heroic moment by the ever-awesome Polar Boy, before the real surprises kick in…
YOU CAN’T MIX CLIMAX AND ANTI-CLIMAX!
When Sensor Girl arrives with Karate Kid (interestingly, his caption box does NOT name him as Val Armorr) to sever Tharok’s control of the Promethean Giant, my annoyance reaches critical mass, as another seemingly unsurmountable obstacle is easily smacked down, leading to a second big damn heroes moment for one of the Legion’s most tenacious members, and things wrap up with a two-panel examination of Duplicate Damsel dealing with the loss of another body, adding yet another familiar note to an issue full of echoes of Legion epics past. The final team shot of a devastated Brainiac 5 and a few of the remaining Legionnaires is scarred by the fact that Levitz-created character Harmonia is still standing, meaning that, as deputy, she is now the leader of the Legion of Super-Heroes, even though three years after her debut there is no clear expectation of what her powers are or what her character is supposed to be and/or do.
THE BOTTOM LINE: SPUTTERING TO A CONCLUSION…
The initial expectation of this arc was the return of the Giffen/Levitz team to create an arc that would tear down the Legion and build them up stronger, but I suspect that the writing was on the wall for the LSH even before Giffen jumped ship. The ham-handed devastation of the Fatal Five’s attack was clearly designed to remodel the Legion and the 31st Century to tell new-and-different stories, but the defeats of the bad guys this issue seem a clear indicator that those arcs have been cut short, leading to a quick-and-easy defeat for the unstoppable foes. The message, it seems, is that new Legionnaires under the leadership of Phantom Girl are incapable of facing what the universe has to offer without Saturn Girl and company, a message that is not only disheartening, but certainly not worth paying 3 bucks a month to read about. Legion of Super-Heroes #22 scores by bringing familiar faces back, but falls short in both concept and execution, earning a very disappointed 1.5 out of 5 stars overall. I sure hope that next issue’s wrap-up at least gives us some closure on these heroes we’ve been reading about for decades…