Wednesday, October 03, 2007

S/LSH #34 review roundup

Hey, I've actually got another of these done, and it's out before the next week's comics are in! I've been lazy doing these reviews and holding on to articles: earlier tonight I got rid of over 100 links to reviews and news that have been sitting there since March. And I've still got tons more to get rid of, if only in a linkdump post.

Anyway, on to S/LSH #34, aka "the one that's just two issues away from Jim Shooter's debut". Did you notice that the cover was not the one that was solicited? You can even see it on the DC Nation page as the promo image.

What was solicited (even though the contents are mixed up):

What appeared:

Also, did you notice that Wildfire's "original" costume here was the post-Zero Hour version, while the costume he changed to was the classic Cockrum-designed outfit?

Not sure if Violet and Shady were being bloodthirsty. I'm hoping their body count referred to those that they knocked out (like with a boot to the head) rather than killed.

  • From the Comic Book Revolution:
    Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #34 was another great read. Bedard continues to impress me with his job as the interim writer on this title until Jim Shooter’s arrival with issue #37. Being the temporary writer is usually a thankless job and you rarely get much credit when shunted into that role. However, Bedard has made the most of his temporary status on this title and is delivering a well crafted story that displays a surprisingly good feel for the various characters in the Legion.

    Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #34 was well plotted and paced. Bedard gives the reader an excellent balance of dialogue heavy scenes and fast paced action scenes. Bedard has constructed a tight story arc that is unfolding in a pleasant fashion.

    And it is a breath of fresh air to see characters outside of Supergirl kicking ass. Waid let Supergirl completely dominate and overshadow all of the Legionnaires. Superbarbie hogged all the action and made the rest of the Legionnaires look totally and completely irrelevant. Bedard doesn’t make that mistake.

  • Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and Awards:
    Calero's art just got even farther from what I'd consider either good or
    appropriate to the feel of the story. Bedard does some jumping around with non-linear storytelling, plus some flashbacks to bring an old fan favorite back into the new timeline (well, a favorite of this fan), and seems to be striking a decent balance between respecting the old and putting a new spin on the character. Mostly a series of running fights, but an entertaining one. Recommended.

  • The Legion Abstract:
    The cover is a surprise substitution that features a depiction of Timber Wolf so unsettlingly feral that I can't support it at all. Calero's art is so choppy in places that, after seeing the first page, I actually flipped back to the cover to make sure he was the listed artist for the comic.

    What does put me off is all this villainy among the good guys. We've got Wildfire as an assassin, the White Witch, Polar Boy, Inferno and Chlorophyll Kid in a new Legion of Super-Villains, and the Legion offering membership to Lightning Lord, Jeyra Entinn and the destroyers of Orando. Let's not forget that these are supposed to be superheroes.

    Which brings me to Bedard's characterization of Atom Girl. As written by Mark Waid, she had an undue amount of attitude, but was portrayed fairly realistically with it. Bedard is making her quite bloodthirsty and I can't say I like it at all.

  • Silver Bullet Comic Books:
    I liked this issue slightly better than last time, but not a whole lot. I think I’m treading water waiting for Jim Shooter to take over with issue 37.

    While there was nothing blatantly offensive in this issue, its dark tone was a turn-off. The art once again seemed drenched in darkness. At least Calero is his own inker. I’d feel sorry for someone else if they had to add so many dark lines and blotches. For a Legion that’s fun for children, I’d point people towards Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #6. I agree with Ray Tate’s review. That issue kicked ass. It told a tale of a Legion of Super-Heroes that was enjoyable and distinct, unlike this muddled mess we’re treading through now.

  • Spot's World:
    Some of the most godawful ugly-ass art I've ever seen in comics is paired with a story with actual forward momentum. The only problem is, the art is so unbelievably atrocious, you hardly notice that there's even a plot.

    The search for Cos' continues, but we get a two-parter here starring the All-New, All-Different Wildfire. It's kind of interesting. I'm just not sure that I care any more.

  • Superman Homepage:
    The story itself was okay, but not spectacular. The main problem is that I don't believe ERG's motivation at all. His own narration of his tryout mission with the Legion tells us that he understood that Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl thought he died... yet his very next sentence accuses them of abandoning him. If you know they thought you were dead, how can you possibly feel they abandoned you? There's no real logic there.

    And even if that were the case, this suddenly makes you go from "trying to do something positive with your condition" to being an assassin for hire? Yeah, put it back on the shelf, because I'm not buying it.

  • Major Spoilers:
    Make that THREE returns to form, with feral Timber Wolf back in the house as well [plus last issue's Tenzil and this issue's Wildfire]. After the care taken in the relaunch to make it clear that this is NOT the Legion we knew before, it seems like a lot of our LSHers are returning to a state much closer to their original pre-Crisis existences (which, honestly, suits me just fine.)

    This was another nice outing for the Legion, and Tony Bedard is getting really good at throwing in real bad mofo moments for characters old and new. The art, as I mentioned, isn’t working for me nearly as well as it did last time around, seeming a lot more haphazard and scratchy in the application of the inks, but still nice work. The pacing problems I noticed last issue are working themselves out, and all in all, it’s a well-done piece, with nice character from all four of the Legionnaires in the issue (and, yes, I’m counting Wildfire.) I’m still hoping beyond hope that Tenzil and Drake are welcomed back into the League again, and that we get to see more touches like these before we hit the upcoming Shooter epic. Supergirl & The Legion of Super-Heroes #34 earns a nicely done 3.5 out of 5 stars, with one full half-star going entirely to the return of Wildfire...

  • Radio Free Metropolis:
    Not even my bias for the Legion could make me like this. [Dennis] Calero ruins the book with his over rendered and muddy artwork and Tony Bedard ruins The Legion by first making Timber Wolf, Shrinking Violet and Shadow Lass into essentially one-note characters obsessed with body counts and then he ruins Wildfire by making him into a villain - seemingly for the sake of change and being different - which wouldn’t even be that bad, but the issue itself is such a hack job that nothing could save it despite the flawed characterization and the bad dialogue. Sadly....CRAP! I can’t freaking wait for Jim Shooter to start his run on this book.

  • Blake at ComiXtreme:
    Longtime fans of the Legion will appreciate this little nod to the past, as E.R.G.-1 was, of course, the original name of the popular and long-missed Wildfire. If this is the storyline that brings him back as a full-time member, it just got 150 percent cooler than it already was, and I already liked it quite a lot. Denis Calero is doing something a little different with the art this issue. While his style is usually very clean, very polished, he's taking a rougher approach here, with more detail lines and fewer smooth edges, fitting the harsher tone of the issue. It doesn't look quite as good as it did before, but it's still pretty good and very much fits the story. Bedard may just be filling in until Jim Shooter takes over the book, but he's doing a spectacular job.
    Rating: 4/5


E. Catto said...

seems like a lot of fanboy comments who want the cartoon not a comic book.

Jim Drew said...

Please tell me that at least one of the people griping about bloodthirsty and body counts saw The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

These three are the Legion's fighters, so they are naturally going to take a violent spin on things, but they are also clearly still Legionnaires and I don't think for a second that they have ditched the Code Against Killing.

That and "the Legion" don't belong in the same though; completely foreign. It didn't even come into my had that this was anything other than opponents disabled done as a riff on the Gimli/Legolas "body count" from the movies.

David B. said...

I've got to chime in, these guys are mostly hater assholes. The douche from SilverBullets also slammed CA: the Chosen. Legion is a great book that looks great and the only people who don't think so should buy themselves a coloring book and be done.