By: Paul Levitz (writer), Geraldo Borges & Ransom Getty (pencillers), Marlo Alquiza & Rob Hunter (inkers), Hi-Fi (colorist)
The Story: Now would be the time to sing the Legion Academy school song, but no one has kazoos on hand, do they?
The Review: Back when Jim Shooter took over the Legion “Three-boot,” the estimable comic book blogger Rokk Krin compared the move to getting a famed football coach out of retirement to rework the magic with a failing team. I think that analogy works very well to summarize the situation we have with Levitz on the current Legion. No one can deny his now legendary run with the team back in the day, but that’s where the brilliance has stayed: back in the day.
The formulaic writing which drove me away from Legion of Super-Heroes has undeniably reared its ugly head in the sibling title, as this entire issue reads much the same as almost every issue prior. Developments, both in terms of plot or character, come minimally, if at all. Mostly Levitz just recycles the same talking points that have long since failed to illicit anything approaching excitement, or even interest to see what will happen next.
Take the Legion Academy graduates. Their final exam back in Adventure Comics #525 should’ve been the last we ever saw of these guys, especially since they offered virtually no worth or substance to this title to begin with. But once again, we have to devote ourselves to far too many pages listening to them bemoan their fates about not getting into the Legion (because whining is such a cherished virtue among Legionnaires).
Honestly, why they even care that much to be part of Legion in the first place is questionable, considering the team hasn’t been all that impressive lately. The Legion has really relied on the grandeur of its past exploits to give it credit. Just look at Bouncing Boy, Night Girl, and Duplicate Girl (all fully-fledged, veteran Legionnaires) getting chump-smacked by Chemical King. For all the talk about who does and doesn’t deserve a flight ring, it seems pretty obvious the power sets of the recent grads would’ve stood a far better chance against the villain.
We also get yet another training exercise used as a vehicle for chatter among the current set of Academy kids. You’d think by now Levitz would come up with a different pretense for their dialogue, or at least make the exercises more interesting, but both the setting for these talks and the substance of the talks themselves all come off uninspired. We only have so much patience for such preachy lines like, “Sometimes in life you need to go with what the fates provide…” or, “I want my fate, my way.”
And I don’t know about you, but I’m just about fed up with characters giving exposition as they go along. It not only sounds awkward and overly wordy, it’s just a drag to read: “Light path should have come up automatically, reacting to our signals being in the building. Not a good sign.” In context, these kinds of details should already be obvious to the characters. If Levitz wants to communicate them to us, he should find a better crafted way to do so.
Multiple artists are a hazard of the business, but with two such drastically different styles, between Borges’ sparse, light, cleaner style and Getty’s heavy, textured, organic look, the issue looks noticeably rushed and sloppy. There are moments when you simply don’t know what the kids are doing with their powers. I mean, what the heck did Variable Lad turn into there? How is that supposed to be helpful, in any way?
Conclusion: The enormous lack of originality and imagination has finally sent this title to the Dropped List, officially and unfortunately ending my attachment to the Legion for the time being. Maybe I’ll see all you Legion-heads again when Legion Lost #1 (written and drawn by the always dependable Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods) comes out.
– Minhquan Nguyen