Legion Of Super-Heroes: The More Things Change by Paul Levitz, Steve Lightle, Ernie Colôn and Keith Giffin (graphic novel review)

January 16, 2017 | By | Reply More

Having looked at all the other softcover reprints of the Legion Of Super-Heroes in the last month, the only one I missed was this one, ‘Legion Of Super-Heroes: The More Things Change’ which was in 1985, when DC Comics decided for some titles to print both newsprint and Baxter paper quality to sell in the comic shops. However, this wasn’t straight forward because they decided have them both released simultaneously, so there was a year gap between the events happening in both versions. Of course, any true fan would be buying both.

I wasn’t sure if I had all of these issues, Legion Of Super-Heroes # 7-13 and curious which paper quality they were using. If you want to be really confused, this is a reprint of the newsprint version, although there are covers from the Baxter paper version at the back of this softcover.

Writing the LSH has always been problematic. Outside of Marvel’s X-Men, it has one of the biggest active cast lists and it has always been tough to write the characters in a distinctive manner. This version of the LSH is the original one, although the cast has grown and changed over the years and was in the process of changing once again with some truly alien legionnaires, but that comes after this volume. Writer Paul Levitz is well tuned into LSH mythology and at home with the characters and broke them into smaller groups to achieve their aims.

A small team are trapped in limbo from a previous book and discover a sun-eater being grown. Considering that the last one the Legion faced back in the 1960s resulted in the death of Ferro Lad, not to mention many star systems along the way, they had to ensure it was never released, even if it meant they couldn’t get home. I do have to wonder at Levitz deciding to have Element Lad turn deadly machines into mercury all the time. If he knew his chemistry, that’s the last choice you would have because gaseous mercury poisoning is fatal. Mind you, as the legionnaires have micro-thin transparent spacesuits that come on in a vacuum, one would hope that they had some protection. Then again, no one has really used Element Lad’s power that effectively or the amount of latent heat generated as one element changes into another.

Back in our own space, when everyone is back together, there are two elections going on. With the LSH, they select who is going to lead. For the Earth President, the computers select the most suitable from candidates it selects and I bet you’ll read this and wonder why such a technique isn’t done in our reality. What gets in the way of this is a team of Khunds spread across the globe out to assassinate them all and various legionnaires getting in their way. On a leave of absence, Timber Wolf finds himself the recipient of the deceased Karate Kid’s legacy but has to fulfil a request to get a billions of credits which he intends to use to help teenagers. Somewhere into this mix, is the legion recruitment program to keep everything busy.

Penciller Steve Lightle and inker Ernie Colôn do a sterling art job and Keith Giffin is there to do a short Bouncing Boy and Comet Queen story showing how she got her powers.

Something that did make me think after reading this graphic novel, as with the later alternative versions is that outside of a few basic powers, there are no equivalents from the 20th-21st century. There’s no one like the Doom Patrol’s Negative Man/Negative Woman for instance. Likewise, you do have to wonder what happened to Thanagar’s hawkmen police force. You would have thought a flying team amongst the Science Police would have been an asset. Anyway, I’m side-tracking.

The LSH as a Baxter paper edition only lasted 63 issues and I haven’t spotted any beyond this edition. I suspect that might be because most fans have these issues. For those who are new to the LSH and want to see their 80s adventures, then this will give a sampling. Unlike the earlier decades where team changes rarely happened, this is where things were getting ready to change.

GF Willmetts

December 2016

(pub: DC Comics, 2008. 176 page softcover graphic novel. Price: £ 7.89 (UK) but you can get cheaper. ISBN-13: 978-1-40121-944-4)

check out website: www.dccomics.com

Category: Books, Comics, Superheroes

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 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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