COMIC REVIEW: LEGION OF SUPERHEROES #14

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The majority of this month’s issue of Legion of Super Heroes focuses on wrapping up the Braalian pirates who put Cosmic Boy in the hospital last time. Cos is being treated by long-time Legion medical specialist Dr. Gym’ll, who remarks that Cos has “No ambient magnetism reading… very unlike him.” I wonder if we’re being set up for “Legionnaire loses their powers” as a future story. Night Girl, Cos’ former love interest, looks on, her tears suggesting that his decision to break things off with her wasn’t something she agreed with.

Element Lad and Chemical Kid continue their hunt, and eventually find the pirates. After losing another brief clash with them, Element Lad comes close to losing his temper, which you about never see him do. It’s a bad plan to anger someone who can pretty much turn anything to anything, especially if you’re wearing a suit to survive in space. He converts their oxygen reserves to nitrogen, and they all pass out. Chemical Kid provided some help, but most of this fight just showed how powerful the usually soft spoken Element Lad is. Night Girl, along with Lightning Lass and Shadow Lass, show up at the end to help take down the rest of the non-powered pirates.

The minor subplots here show Sun Boy and Phantom Girl checking on Persuader’s Atomic Axe, trying to make sure it’s secure amid rumors of someone trying to recreate the Fatal Five. To no one’s great surprise, it’s gone, replaced by an illusion. Elsewhere, Brainy continues his examination of Comet Queen, and shows I was half-right. I was saying I thought her odd betrayal of the team was from their recent mentalist using her powers. That part was wrong; apparently Comet Queen was given a combination mental time bomb and post-hypnotic suggestion to betray Brainiac 5. So, I had the right cause and the wrong psionic.

There were two small things that popped up in here that struck me as odd. They may not be anything important, but they came out of the blue, especially to a long time Legion fan like me. The first was, while on their mission, Sun Boy put his hand on Phantom Girl’s shoulder and she phased out from under it, saying “No touching, Dirk, you know that… unless I ask.” She’s never said something like that before, and never seemed to have an issue with the casual touch of a teammate before. I don’t know if this is a new plot building about her in general, or just because Sun Boy is very much a lady’s man on this team.

The other was a strange categorization of the people with powers. I don’t recall this ever popping up before, but suddenly, they were drawing distinctions between “planetary adapted” and “uniques.” Planetary adapted seems to be those whose entire race share their abilities, like Cosmic Boy, Polar Boy, or Phantom Girl. Uniques seem to be those who gained their powers in an accident, like Sun Boy, Chemical Kid, or Ultra Boy. I’m not sure where this is going, but it was mentioned more than once this issue, which makes me feel like something is going to come of it.

Paul Levitz has proven time and again that he can juggle the huge cast and multiple plots of the Legion. Nothing really major happened in this issue, but lots of small things did that may pop up in the future. As usual, we don’t get to see everyone, but really, the cast is too big for that to work. If you’re a Legion fan, if you’re patient, eventually your hero will rotate around into the main plot. This is going to get a bit worse, I suspect, with the cancellation of Legion Lost, which more than likely will mean those heroes will return to the 31st century. I’m less than impressed with Scott Kolins’ art. His faces all look fairly bland, with large expanses of just colored in flesh. I think the only panel that really worked for me artistically was when Night Girl, Shadow Lass, and Lightning Lass showed up at the end, and even then the faces looked odd. Yes, I’m a male comic fan and I do look at the ladies’ faces.

Overall I’m continuing to enjoy the good solid storytelling of the Legion. The book remains a favorite of mine, with lots of possibilities for the future, no pun intended. As I’ve noted before, most of the books I seem to be enjoying are the ones that are mostly untouched by the DC Reboot. There seems to be a pattern there…

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Wayland Smith

WAYLAND SMITH is the pen name for a native Texan who has lived in Massachusetts, New York, Washington DC, and presently makes his home in Virginia.His rather unlikely list of jobs includes private investigator, comic book shop owner, ring crew for a circus (then he ran away from the circus and joined home), deputy sheriff, and freelance stagehand.Wayland is a four time participant in, and survivor of, NaNoWriMo, having made the 50,000 word goal each time.A black belt in shao lin kung fu, he is also a fan of comic books, reading, writing, and various computer games (I”ll shut Civ down in one more turn.Really).He lives with a beautiful woman who was crazy enough to marry him, and the memory of a much loved, if somewhat goofy, dog named Jamie.

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