Superboy’s Legion Volumes 1 and 2 by Mark Farmer and Alan Davis (graphic novels review).

April 25, 2018 | By | Reply More

Considering how DC Comics release massive volumes of their early material, I have to wonder why their ‘Otherworlds’ version of ‘Superboy’s Legion’ was released as 2 books. As it’s also a two-parter, I’m reluctant to review them apart with such a small page count. Even more surprising, it was never continued as it’s a rather neat take on how to solve the Superboy problem and still keep him with the Legion without conflicting with the past.

In this version of the 30th century, mega-industrialist RJ Brande and his employee, Marla, find a green meteorite, carrying a damaged rocket with a baby in suspended animation. 14 years later, Kal, sometimes called Superboy, has become a bit of a handful, flying around. The Science Police threaten Brande with a disconnection of all his power utilities unless he keeps his foster child under control. Superboy’s response is to fly off into deep space and gets lost because he wasn’t navigating. He encounters a Green Lantern in a fight against the Khunds and helps out.

The Green Lantern Corps doesn’t enter Science Police territory but they now lack numbers and sufficient power rings. It does give Superboy a thought for creating his own team, more so as he helps Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl stopping a space beast from snacking on the space-liner they are on. It is then a rapid recruitment drive but not with quite the same team as elsewhere, let alone the same powers. Keep an eye in the background to spot some familiar faces and villains, including Nardo and a Dominator, if you know your Legion history.

They get their baptism of fire stopping a meteorite crashing into Rimbor and even Superboy discovers his own limitations and immaturity, especially when he meets Ultra Boy. Things get worse when the Fatal Five arrive on the scene with fatal results before they capture Brainac 5 for their leader, but who he is spoiler. As Lightning Lad hadn’t joined the team yet, it is Cosmic Boy who loses his arm. While he and Saturn Girl return to Earth for treatment and inadvertently gather a few more recruits, the others with Invisible Kid as guide seek out Colu before the Fatal Five and their leader for their own ends. For the rest you’ll have to buy this pair of books yourselves. Get them both before reading because they are one complete story and still available.

Alan Davis’ art is more stylised than I remember of his earlier work and the teenage Legion Of Super-Heroes look more elfin than other versions over the years and its certainly an interesting take from 2001 that I’m surprised that it was never blown up into a full series. The costumes are a throwback somewhat to the 1960s version but with a modern polish. His facial expressions are strong, even if smiling they have wide grins.

The contrasts are more striking. Some of this Legion are more experienced than others. Some of the powers, specifically with Sensor, Shadow Lass and Light Lass, no longer gravity but colour, are drastically different. Some, like Element Lad and Chameleon have different motivations for their behaviour. It does make you wonder if Ferro Lad was rejected for never showing his face from under his mask as to what happened to Wildfire. Both Alan Davis and Mark Farmer’s attention to detail and Legion lore makes this a story that you love and pay attention to.

There are also glimpses of the 21st century and a reality where there was no Superman that could certainly have deserved being investigated in a separate story in more detail about the Justice League. Alas, this tale is now some 17 years old so unlikely to happen. However, it does, for me, proves that that there are ways to make the Legion Of Super-Heroes work and even away from the traditional origin plot elements that have been done to death.

GF Willmetts

Superboy’s Legion Volume 1 by Mark Farmer and Alan Davis

(pub: DC Comics, 2001. 48 page graphic novel. Price: I pulled a copy for about £ 6.00 (UK))

 

Superboy’s Legion Volume 2 by Mark Farmer and Alan Davis

(pub: DC Comics, 2001. 48 page graphic novel. Price: I pulled a copy for about £ 6.00 (UK))

check out website: www.dccomics.com

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Category: 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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