by Paul Levitz (writer), Yildiray Cinar & Francis Portela (pencils), Wayne Faucher & Francis Portela (inks), Hi-Fi (colors), and Sal Cipriano (letters)

The Story: Earth-Man joins his first mission with the Legion as the Legionnaires deal with the fall of Titan.  Meanwhile, Saturn Queen returns to wreak havoc.

What’s Good: In his return to writing duties, it’s clear that no one gave Levitz the memo about decompression.  Thank goodness for that because the result is that the Legion reads like no other book on the stands right now.  This book is thick.  It’s a 30 page story, but that doesn’t do justice to how dense it is.  Levitz somehow manages to perfectly balance the Legion’s notoriously large cast with around four to five sub-plots.  Much like last month’s debut, it’s mind blowing how much actually happens this month as well as how many scene changes there are.  This issue is so ridiculously packed with content and story that were it $2.99, I’d feel like I was short-changing DC.

What’s particularly remarkable is that Levitz never loses control.  Things never feel scattered.  More remarkable still is that Levitz finds time for a good amount of characterization.  All of the many characters carry distinct voices.  Braniac 5 in particular remains a total blast under Levitz’s pen.

Much like Levitz wonderfully manages his multitude of characters, he also is able to make every single of his sub-plots engaging.  Every plot strand left me wanting to know more and left me wanting next month’s issue.  What the heck is going on with Saturn Girl’s kids?  What’s Saturn Queen up to?  What’s going to happen to Titan’s refugees?  Individually, each of these plots is standard fare, I suppose, but when weaved together, the result is overwhelming.  It’s really fun to find so many corners of interest in a single comic.

I also enjoyed Levitz’s use of Earth-Man even more than last month.  Indeed, Earth-Man, for me, is the most intriguing of Levitz’s many threads, if only because so many questions abound, particularly regarding his Green Lantern ring and what he’ll end up doing with it.  Levitz is quickly fashioning Earth-Man into a fully realized, three dimensional character who is showing the potential to be more than a simple, xenophobic asshole.

I have nothing negative to say about Cinar’s work on this book.  It’s clear that he was the right choice for the Legion and he manages the book deftly, with a good mix of modern sleekness and the old school vibe that’s a necessity for a sci fi book like the Legion.  It’s nothing overly fancy, but it also remains friendly throughout.

What’s Not So Good: I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Legion this month, much as I did last month.

Were this any other issue, there are a couple of short scenes that I’d criticize for not being all that necessary or going on a bit too long.  Did the Legionaries have to spend that long punching debris?  Was the scene with Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass leaving to help Saturn Girl really needed?  But considering how much story Levitz managed to pack in regardless, this would be a meaningless complaint.

It is worth mentioning though that I felt that this issue was a bit heavier on older Legion references than last month, which may go over the heads of newer readers like myself.  It’s nothing crucial to the story, however, and never goes past the odd remark here and there.

Conclusion: This is quickly becoming one of the best books that DC has to offer.  In fact, I’d put it in the top three.

Grade: A-

-Alex Evans