The Legion by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (graphic novel review).

April 1, 2018 | By | Reply More

Now for those who want to be confused, this version of the Legion Of Super-Heroes appears to be an advancement of the Mark Waid re-birth from 1994-2004, just in case you’re buying this one after the ‘Legionnaires’ book I reviewed a couple days ago. This version by writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning becomes much darker. The biggest surprise was seeing Projectra is now a giant snake with mechanical arms and I’m still not sure when that happened although looking it up, looks like I missed that ‘Zero Hour’ change.

Illusions to look humanoid is all very well, but how did anyone avoid falling over her tail? Granted, the original LSH had far too many humanoids way into the 1980s but this is the most drastic change. That and finally have a speeder like XS in the team, when before such an ability was part of the more powerful Legionnaires like Mon-el and Ultra Boy powers.

Mind you, there were some interesting additions. Thunder, a descendant of the Captain Marvel family makes sense, even if she comes from an even more distant future. Monstress, another super-human from Xanthu who have their own team called the Amazers, showing another planet could yield more than one person with super-powers when you include Kid Quantum (the sister of the original) and Star Boy.

It’s rather weird reading these books so close to each other, given that I haven’t read all the previous decade’s continuity yet but no doubt the other volumes of ‘Legionnaires’ will sort that out.

The main plot of this opening volume has the stargates that make travelling to other United Planets cut-off, with many Legionnaires off Earth and the Blight turned those who remained into mind-controlled zombies and effectively dead. As noted in the afterword by Michael McAvennie, things changed drastically with the Abnett/Lanning stories,

It won’t be a spoiler to say the Legion beats the Blight, but then a real problem of getting the stargate system back on line and the UP council, led by Apparition’s mother, deems them under-age, despite the age of adult is considered to be 14 on most worlds. This is something that has rarely been addressed in any of the LSH stories. Their constitution is membership have to start below the age of 18 but it also looks like this version stops at 21 although no information as to what happens after then.

As it is here, McCauley’s WorkForce is brought in and arrogantly get in over their heads. I love the fact that one of them as the original Dial H for Hero disc.

This volume is quite eventful and although things move along at a drastic pace, the complexities of running the LSH against world governments shows a less than kind but realistic future. Then again, conflict is what makes stories work.

I have to confess that I wasn’t always enamoured by the art. Brainiac 5.1 looks like he has acne on his cheeks, even though it is supposed to represent electronic circuitry. Does he really want to remind everyone of the 20th century villain he was named after? At least he isn’t being portrayed as an unstable genius. I’ve got generally used to the costume changes although wish it was established what they carried in the big pouches on their belts.

It might look decorative but considering that they are often left in places where food and water isn’t abundant, it would at least have established that they weren’t going in unprepared. Also would Chameleon be wearing a costume when, as a shaper-shifter, it could effectively be just him.

As the original comicbooks came out between 1999-2000 in Legion Of Super-Heroes # 122-125 and Legion Of Super-Heroes Secret Files # 2 and Legionnaires # 78-81, there’s little that will change things. However, buying these new releases might encourage DC Comics to believe that there is still life in the Legion Of Super-Heroes to give it another resurrection.

GF Willmetts

March 2018

(pub: DC Comics. 224 page softcover graphic novel. Price: I got my copy for about £13.50 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-40127-636-2)

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Category: Comics, Superheroes

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About UncleGeoff

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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