Learning to Love the Legion: LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #9
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
This issue features art by David Marquez, Ryan Sook, Wade Von Grawbadger, Joe Quinones, Mike Grell, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Nick Derington, James Harren, John Romita, Jr., Klaus Janson, Nicola Scott, Arthur Adams, Jim Cheung, Gary Frank, Tula Lotay, Riley Rossmo, Gene Luen Yang, Kevin Nowlan, Michel Fiffe, Jenny Frison, Emanuela Lupacchino, Mitch Gerads, Jordie Bellaire, and Dave Sharpe.
In Part II of the Big Legion Art Jam, we resolve the Crav Nah and “Trident of Aquaman” storylines, set up the next big threat (or at least, A big threat), and (hopefully!) put an end to the Legion’s various trials in front of the United Planets assembly.
The big draw for this issue is another sampler platter of different artists on the Legion, along with some more one-page origins and perspectives. It’s interesting, and nice to see where the new Legion differs from past ones and give us little insights into certain Legionnaires and their thought processes. Triplicate Girl and Wildfire, in particular, seem to have some interesting groundwork being laid for them going forward.
On the other hand…
I just don’t know what to do with this series. It sometimes feels like it’s all climax without the necessary build-up to give that climax meaning. On the one hand, it’s nice to get spotlights on how certain Legionnaires joined, that’s some necessary backstory and characterization. But on the other hand, so much of this issue felt like it was telling us about the good work the Legion’s done without really showing it to us. I kind of wish this book would slow down, step back, and tell us a smaller story, with just a subset of the Legion, and build from there.
This issue has some huge revelations, but they honestly don’t feel earned. Like, for example, we learn something huge about White Witch, and I can’t help feeling it’d have more impact if… She had had any lines of dialogue in any of the past eight issues.
I’m definitely still on board, but I can’t help feeling I’d be more engaged if it slow down and let me get to know the characters a little better, if it set up the big clashes a little bit longer before resolving them in big fights or Perry Mason-style courtroom confrontations.
On the plus side, this issue provides another fantastic art showcase. A few artists I’d love to see more of on Legion, if they’re available: Mitch Gerads, Jenny Frison, Michel Fiffe, Riley Rossmo, and Gary Frank. Nobody does a bad job in this issue, of course, those are just the ones that stood out to me.
And a special mention has to go out to longtime Legion artist Mike Grell, who does a page here featuring a character he co-created, Dawnstar, where he gets to draw Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy in the 70s-era costumes he designed.
In sum: Another packed issue, perhaps a little too packed, that resolves a lot of plotlines without feeling incredibly satisfying, and sets up some more big picture plots that will hopefully have some space to grow.
Bits of Legion Business
Just want to take a minute to appreciate this Mike Grell art and these classic costumes.
This feels like a nod to that one story where Bouncing Boy was proclaimed the most powerful Legionnaire…
“He’s nigh-invulnerable when he’s bouncing!”
And THIS is definitely a reference to that one issue where Lightning Lad took a turn as an ersatz Captain Ahab after losing his arm to a space whale!
So we’ve got Invisible Kid, Jacques Foccart (technically Invisible Kid II), with a new origin, this time from a planet that references Legion artist Barry Kitson. Not Jacques’ creator, but an important figure in Legion history nonetheless.
Heh. Just thought I’d highlight this clever bit of non-linear storytelling.
Bam. And here’s our segue into the next big plot thing.
So this is pretty big: White Witch as daughter of Mordru, using the name, Xola Aq, from her original appearance rather than her letter retcon as Dream Girl’s sister. Again, feels like this revelation would have more weight if she’d been more of a character heretofore, but she’ll be one to watch moving forward.
Finally, Superboy and Saturn Girl’s big kiss (possibly Jon’s first?). Another thing to watch going forward!
Bonus Feature: Learn Interlac!
The trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes is being broadcast live to the entire Galactic. It is being translated into 97 different base languages and 700 different dialects. The only planetary system not running the trial live is Rimbor, who has accused the Legion and the gathered United Planets of egregious criminal behavior.
It is unclear whether Rimbor leader Crav, the general Nah or his son and newly elected Legion leader Jo Nah, Ultra Boy, will appear before this court.
Rimbor very publicly denounced their seat at the United Planets after the Legion of Super-Heroes intercepted what they believed to be an illegal interaction between Rimbor and the Horraz.
As stated in the United Planets bylaws, the president acts as prosecutor for any case brought forth to the body.
RJ Brande is a skilled litigator who successfully negotiated peace between New Krypton and Thanagar. Her approval rating across the galactic is 66%
The Legion’s approval rating is 87%
She checks constantly.