Tuesday, October 6, 2020



[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

SCRIPT: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS: Ryan Sook
INKS: Ryan Sook and Wade von Grawbadger
COLORS: Jordie Bellaire
LETTERS: Dave Sharpe
EDITOR: Brian Cunningham
COVER: Ryan Sook
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Ryan Sook; Jim Cheung with Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (January 2020)

Rated “T+” for “Teen Plus”

Legion of Super-Heroes created by  writer Otto Binder and artist Al Plastino; Superboy created by Jerry Siegel

The Legion of Super-Heroes is a DC Comics superhero team created by writer Otto Binder and artist Al Plastino.  First appearing in Adventure Comics #247 (cover dated: April 1958), the Legion is a group of super-powered beings living in the 30th and 31st centuries of the DC Comics Universe.

Initially, the Legion of Super-Heroes was portrayed as a group of time travelers and was closely associated with the original version of Superboy.  [Created by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, the original Superboy was depicted as Superman/Clark Kent being a superhero when he was a teenager.]  It was in Adventure Comics #247 that Superboy met three teenagers from the 30th century:  Lightning Boy, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy.  They were members of a “super-hero club,” called the “Legion of Super-Heroes,” that had been formed with Superboy as its inspiration.

Lightning Boy, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy had time traveled to the past to recruit Superboy as a member of their club.  After a series of tests, Superboy was awarded membership and returned to his own time.  Strangely, this adventure was intended as a one-off story focusing on Superboy, but the Legion of Super-Heroes proved so popular that the team returned for an encore in Adventure Comics #267 (December 1959), on their way to being a stable of the DC Comics.

The Legion's origin story has been rebooted a few times, and Superboy's part in the Legion's origin story has been omitted or altered.  Legion of Super-Heroes comic book series have come and gone, but the popular team has returned in a new series, entitled Legion of Super-Heroes, of course.  It is written by Brian Michael Bendis; drawn by Ryan Sook (pencils) and Wade von Grawbadger (inks); colored by Jordie Bellaire; and lettered by Dave Sharpe.  The new series focuses on a Legion that has banded together to stop the galaxy from repeating its past mistakes.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1 finds Ultra Boy chasing a murderous group of aliens belonging to the race known as “the Horraz.”  In these alien's possession is a canister that contains an ancient and powerful device, and they were apparently delivering it to “Mordru” the demon gangster.  Luckily, Legionnaires Karate Kid, Wildfire, and Star Boy arrive to help Ultra Boy.

Meanwhile, the Legion of Super-Heroes has pulled Superboy/Jon Kent from the time stream with the intent of making him the newest Legionnaire.  By doing this, however, the Legion may have done something terribly wrong.

I recently came across an interview of writer Brian Michael Bendis in which he said that he wanted to do upbeat stories set in the future.  In this new Legion of Super-Heroes #1, Bendis has written his best first issue for DC Comics since his tenure began in 2018.  It is indeed exciting and spiffy and full of bubbly Legionnaires, to say nothing of their awesome headquarters.  I am not a devoted Legion of Super-Heroes fan, so I am happy with this first issue, although I don't know if it will satisfy the biggest Legion fans.  I would like to see future issues really delve into the characters.

Ryan Sook's art recalls DC Comics' space age and early Silver Age comic book art.  The storytelling is clear, and Wade von Grawbadger's inks give Sook's pencils weight and heft.  Grawbadger's inks also make Sook's pencils look like the pencil art of Stuart Immonen, with whom Grawbadger has formed one of the best art teams of the last several years.

As usual Jordie Bellaire's colors are a delight.  Here, she gives some of the pages candy-colored hints. Dave Sharpe's sharp lettering completes the futuristic vibe of the story.  And Ryan Sook's cover art for this first issue will make it stand out on comic book shelves.

So, yeah, this is only the first issue, but I'm excited for a Legion of Super-Heroes comic book series in a way that I have not been in decades.  I don't know if it will make me a devoted Legionnaire, but I really like the start for Legion of Super-Heroes 2020.

8 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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