Legion Of Super-Heroes: Enemy Rising by Jim Shooter, Francois Manapul and Livesay (graphic novel review).

The reason why I’m keeping the ‘Legion Of Super-Heroes’ alive in reviews here despite DC Comics abandoning them last year by dwindling sales is because their parent company, Warner Bros, is eyeing them up for a cosmic film equivalent of ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ and the LSH fits their bill. If I can influence sales so they take notice, then so much the better.


As I understand it, writer Jim Shooter was a bit hesitant in returning to DC Comics to write the ‘Legion Of Super-Heroes’ again but more to do with people working there who were alienated by his interference during his time as editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics back in the 1980s. Apparently, some older ones there did according to the Net did do minor changes but when you consider that with a large character base, the LSH is one of the toughest books to write and draw, they might have been better to have let Shooter sink or swim on his own. As it turns out, ‘Enemy Manifest’, the first of two volumes is actually a fun read and he swam well.

As it turns out, the reprint of Legion Of Super-Heroes # 46-50 from 2009 stands up well. Lightning Lad is now the head of the Legion and isn’t the best one they could have, occasionally messing up royally by sending the wrong teams into battle and pissing off the United Planet council members who would dearly love to shut them down by any means possible. Members there saw there as expensive, arrogant and mostly out of control. Don’t forget, this isn’t the 1960s team but one of the New 52 variants so there is a different chemistry and they don’t all get on together.

So the LSH ends up being attacked by not only a new monstrous enemy that can adapt to their powers but also by the people who should be supporting them. These same people who also have a young team of ‘heroes’ who would make the original Legion Of Substitute Heroes weep for their lame abilities. Well, except for one of them who is extremely powerful but hates the LSH with a vengeance and a dose of spite. I’m being careful not to give too much away because it would spoil some of the surprises and comedy from time to time.

In many respects, juggling any team book is an order of showing distinct personalities as well as powers. By Shooter deliberately going the hardest route by not using appropriate characters and still showing their various problems, Ultra Boy is still a wanted fugitive on his home planet for instance, you get a real taste of life in the 31st century for super-heroes. In our own century, the likes of the Justice League have it easy in comparison.

The clean up at the end is something that no one has ever thought of before, a self-elected administrator expert who is also a better negotiator but things are never perfect, especially at the arrival of a nomadic planet stopping near Saturn creating havoc to the other planets and yet at the same time giving out messages of peace. I’m glad I bought the second book at the same time. Less waiting between reads.

GF Willmetts

December 2014

(pub: DC Comics. 192 page graphic novel hardback. Price: $24.99 (US), $ 27.99 (CAN), about £ 8.00 (UK) if you know whwere to look. ISBN: 978-1-4012-1993-2)

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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