Tuesday, May 01, 2007

S/LSH #29 review roundup

Haven't had much time to work on this one this week, but I wanted to get it out before the next wave of books comes in. Ugh, and I've still got about 60 reviews to try to consolidate a post about the last two JLA/JSA issues!

Onward and upward, to Supergirl and the Legion #29. As I mentioned, this wasn't what was solicited. It was supposed to be a Waid/Kitson production, but it wasn't. Nobody has said anything about it officially - did Waid and Kitson leave the book earlier than expected, earlier than they said? I have no idea, but I'd be eager to learn what happened. Based on similar fill-ins in the past year, I'd suspect that it was because of 52.

This issue, as will be reflected in the comments below, seemed like a fill-in. Instead of the big issue leading to the conclusion of their 2-1/2 year saga, we come to a screeching halt in the action while we listen to a Dominator tell his side of the story. I'm not sure what to think of the Booster Gold/52 connection, I keep thinking either "Wow!" or "What!?" But it didn't seem like the payoff I was expecting, even if it was one of the first confirmations of the multiverse (other than Dan DiDio's stunning spoiler weeks ago - as Jim Doom put it, "DiDio’s completely unnecessary revelation ruined what should have been one of the most significant weeks in DC comics history since the multiverse was eliminated two decades ago.").

My first set of quotes is from Tony Bedard. Asked about it in his CBR forum, he said "As for issue 29, we pinch-hit for Waid and Kitson and ended up with an issue I'm very pleased with." In a later post, he writes:

Mark and I have a very comfortable collaborative relationship, so much so that I forgot who did what. I know I wrote that whole issue myself, but it is certainly informed by what Mark was doing and where his storyline was going. The whole idea was to insert an issue that kept the Dominator War storyline moving forward. Due to a variety of reasons, they needed help, and I was happy to provide it. So while it wasn't as clean-cut as Mark plotted and I scripted (in which case it would've been credited that way), Mark did suggest an issue from the Dominator viewpoint, and after checking out what he was doing, I incorporated a bunch of his ideas, so in a way Waid's all through that thing. Does that make sense?

Let's hear about what the rest of the comicsblogoverse had to say. I'm going to try to cover the issue itself as well as the Booster Gold crossover. Some highlights:

  • Matthew at the Legion Abstract:
    I'm starting to get the notion that the themes of this series are a) changing society and b) that the ends do not justify the means. ... The Legion wants to change society too. It's what they're all about. But the Legion is the one group that has scruples, the one group who won't kill to force change. They wouldn't even trash the Public Service when they had the chance! That's why they're superheroes and the rest aren't. If this is the key idea of the series, then by rights it ought to be the centre of next issue.

    On Booster Gold:
    Who else would screw up a centuries-old treaty between the two great powers of the galaxy? Typical Booster Gold. Win the battle, win the war, mess everything up anyway. And the reveal that he was involved was timed perfectly to fit into the rhythm of 52. It's extremely deft storytelling and it ties the Legion to the present-day DCU with yet another strand.

  • Rokk's Comic Book Revolution:
    Wow. I can’t believe what a pedestrian read Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #29 was. I found the truth behind the Dominator’s connection to the 52 to be a total joke. It was such a bad job that I busted out laughing. It was unintentionally funny. Kind of like a cheesy movie that takes itself seriously.

    On Waid possibly leaving with this issue, he addresses the series as a whole:
    Waid completely and totally failed to live up to the hype. Waid never seemed to take his job on the Legion seriously. During his entire run, he either gave half-hearted efforts on very pedestrian story arcs or he had to get guest writers to carry his load while he concentrated on other titles like 52. It is a real shame that Waid failed to live up to the high expectations. I truly expected more out of a big name talent like Waid.

  • Dave van Domelin's Unspoilt Capsules:
    On the one hand, the resolution of the whole "fifdee tuu" thing was a bit lame, and it made a guy we've really never seen before out to be the prime mover of the plot... a trick Waid already played with Mr. You-Can't-Remember-Me. On the other hand, unlike a lot of the "making it up as we're going along" lameness around 52, at least it feels like this was his plan all along. Sharpe's art is okay, but feels flat in a lot of places where it should pop. Mildly recommended.

  • Jim Doom, at the Legion of Doom:
    Mark Waid’s run on this book was largely panned by LOSH loyalists, but I always enjoyed it. Even when I didn’t know what was going on or if the drama wasn’t quite hitting me how I thought it was supposed to, I liked the book because it felt so different from any other comic book I was reading. It also felt different than other Mark Waid books. And for a book set in such a different world, I really liked that. This issue, now written by Tony Bedard, just felt like any other comic book. I wish that I could put this in more tangible terms, but I can’t. The issue read faster, it seemed more shallow, and it just didn’t feel as unique.

    On top of that, we finally get the explanation for the 52 references. Bravo to DC for managing to tie in 52 with their other books - even those set a thousand years in the future - and managing to time the release of this book with the shutdown of 52 - but that was the tie-in? The Dominators misunderstood Booster Gold’s utterance when he popped in and out of their timeline thousands of years ago? On top of being let down, I felt downright insulted as a reader. That might work as a plot setup for an episode of Perfect Strangers, but as the reason for an intergalactic war that cost the lives of billions (if not more)? What a crock.

  • Chris Sims at the Invincible Super-Blog:
    ...[T]his is the first issue of Legion of Super-Heroes that I've read in two years that I consider to be completely skippable, and that includes the entire twelve-volume set of Archives.

    I'm not even saying it's Bedard's fault; from all appearances it looks like he was handed the bum job of scripting the issue that "explains" everything--including the relatively limited and generally pretty pointless return of the multiverse--and ties into 52, and to his credit, he handles it better than most. The problem, I think, is that I just re-read the shockingly underrated INVASION! mini-series a couple of months ago where the same themes with the Dominators were done in the mildly magnificent Mantlo manner, and when coupled with the fact that this issue ends with virtually the same shot as the last, it all feels warmed-over and repetitive. Here's hoping this won't be the issue that sets the tone for the rest of Bedard's run.

  • Alan's Academia and Comics:
    You know, I think the old Earthwar saga lasted this long, too, but no matter how much I like this current LSH, I have to say, I think I liked Earthwar a lot better.

  • Graeme McMillan at The Savage Critic(s):
    ...[I]t kind of gives away a reveal for 52 #52 tomorrow (Only kind of, however; this week's 52 also gives the same thing away, when Morrow says "52 worlds... 52 Morrows...And it all comes down to me..." Legion is just more explicit about it, is all) and reveals that this entire plot that's been running in one form or another for the last year is the result of a 52 plot that we still haven't had explained to us properly yet. Fine, congratulations to the creators for tying the book into current DC continuity, but why did you tie a book set 1000 years in the future to current DC continuity especially when current DC continuity seems to want to deal with a 30-year-old version of your characters?

    (I know the answer, and so do you: Sales. But still. It's incredibly frustrating to see this book that has the perfect excuse to be complete in and of itself suddenly become another chapter in the ongoing saga of continuity porn.)

    ...So it's not exactly filler, but it's not entirely essential either; it just feels like an afterthought, a tired attempt to get an issue out and make it barely worthwhile... which, considering that Waid and Kitson had managed to make the book feel like it was regaining momentum and building to a big finish, is somehow all the more offensive in its weakness. Crap, sadly, and unless next issue is somehow jawdroppingly wonderful, enough to pretty much kill interest in the storyline completely dead.

    Depressing, ain't it?

  • Interestingly, FilmFodder had a completely different reaction to the issue:
    Mark Waid appears to have taken a powder and handed this book over to writer Tony Bedard (also responsible for this month’s JLA: Classified). Immediately, the book has a new level of energy that Waid (God bless the man) could never really summon for his pet project.

    Perhaps because Waid tried so very hard not to write the Legion reboot as a copy-of-a-copy of previous Legion volumes, he never felt comfortable enough simply putting forth the Legion the way it was meant to be. Bedard immediately brings back those 30th/31st century colloquialisms, and inserts a heck of a subplot featuring a one-man conspiracy within the Dominator hierarchy.


Scipio said...

I'm totally with FilmFodder on this one.

Loved the issue; loved the Invasion connection. And the use of Booster Gold was nothing short of brilliant. Booster tries to "protect the future" but winds up endangering, just because that's the way he is; beautiful. It works doubly well because the Dominators, who have always been paranoid are reacting to, essentially, nothing.

Jonathan Miller said...

I'm with FilmFodder too. If this is the way Bedard's (short?) run is going to go, I'll be happy to read it.

And I can't be the only one tired of the phrase "continuity porn," can I?