Legion: Secret Origin by Paul Levitz, Chris Batista and Marc Deering (graphic novel review).a

I picked up this copy of ‘Legion: Secret Origin’ to confirm some research for any article on the Legion Of Super-Heroes that will go on-line end of the month. The material from this graphic novel was taken from Legion: Secret Origin # 1-6 in 2011-12. Unlike the other origins from the other 30th centuries, this version shows how quickly the LSH grew from the original three visiting colonists saving billionaire R.J. Brande from assassination. Here, they keep acting as his bodyguards as he builds up their unit, against the objections of the military and Science Police. Throughout all of this, there is a hidden council watching everything.

Writer Paul Levitz knows the Legion as he wrote many stories about the first version in the 1980s and you can see he resolves some odd questions along the way, like why isn’t Brainiac 5’s force field belt not a more general piece of equipment, which is because its power source is unique and one of a kind. However, he does tend to short-hand a lot of the information and you can stay ahead of him if you’re familiar with the mythology.

The story flow is such that you find yourself reading rapidly to see what happens next. If anything, the lightness of dialogue makes the mini-series like fast food and goes by far too fast so you’re not given time to ponder on who is watching them. Everyone wants to join the LSH and some of the characters are just there. About the only reluctant recruit is Brainiac 5 himself and both he and Phantom Girl end up taking centre stage. If there is something that I wish had been different is how they can be so competent with their powers and as a team without any training time. It’s also a bit odd identifying the legionnaires in boxes by their code-names before they are given them.

The art by Chris Bastista and inked by Marc Deering is a bit variable. The LSH is one of the hardest comicbooks to draw because of the various characters with costumes and powers and getting personalised body languages. The depthy art at the beginning gets a little thinner towards the end but that could be put down to keeping to the deadlines of the original 2012 mini-series.

The important lesson for me from this story is that the nexus for the Legion’s creation is always the saving of R.J. Brande’s life and no one has dared to tamper with that although here we do get an inkling as to who wanted it and presents a common theme for meddling.

GF Willmetts

December 2016

(pub: DC Comics, 2012. 144 page graphic novel softcover. Price: varies. I pulled my copy for £ 5.60 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-40123-730-1)

check out website: www.dccomics.com


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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