Sunday, November 11, 2018

Legion: Secret Origin series- a review?

So as I was sorting some back issues, I came across this series and realized I have forgotten what it was about.  Legion Secret Origins ran concurrently with volume 7, starting one month after.  I'm not 100% why it came about unless Paul Levitz was under some type of contract for 2 series and this somehow fulfilled the contract.  We've been told the Legion's history countless times so I may have glossed over this, but still picked it up. The art is by Chris Batista, one of the best artists from the Reboot IMO.

Issue 1 shows the Brande incident with the founders being monitored by 3 other people, an Earthling, a Coluan and a Naltorian called the security directorate.  I'm not sure what role this people really serve to the story; they are new characters. What this also sets up that Phantom Girl met Brainiac 5 prior to the Legion while he was working as a contractor for the UP.  Admiral Allon also makes an appearance.

Issue 2 starts up with new member Triplicate Girl and the introduction of the Headquarters. Phantom Girl is set up as having a rare gift among her people.  We also see Gim Allon express and interest in the Legion as well. We get a small cameo from Marla Latham. The mysterious security directorate know something is coming.

Issue 3 has Brainy investigating a world for the UP and interacting with Admiral Allon.  Phantom Girl meets the security directorate. They note she does not disrupt electrical functions but she says she probably could if she tried.  The one thing I'm noticing here is there is a lot of youthfulness in the new and prospective Legionnaires.  Levitz primarily had them as adults so interesting to see his writing it here.  Brande appear to try to get Chameleon Boy in and we find that Brande has Invisible Kid in his employ. The thing I don't understand about this issue is the lack of diplomacy attempts to a perceived hostile enemy. Sure they just killed a world but one would think that they wouldn't just shoot first, knowing that they may have more advanced tech.

A side note here the costumes depicted are interesting with Rokk, Imra and Garth also sporting versions of their more modern costumes, with Phantom Girl and Colossal Boy in costumes more like their originals, and Lyle in his Legionnaires/Reboot costume and Triplicate Girl's looks nothing like any of her costumes.

Issue 4 introduces Circadia Senius.  Seems like Levitz is trying to introduce all of the Legion's cast of supporting characters.  There seems to be some sort of mutual attraction here between Phantom Girl and Brainy. We see new members formally introduced and Tinya clearly has the ability to disrupt electrical systems if she tries.  I still am not sure why Levitz is doing this now as he always wanted to keep Tinya separate from Shadowcat.  This series does seem to be focused on her and Brainy a lot but they are usually Levitz favorites.

Issue 5 we see Shrinking Violet and Ultra Boy on the cover but Vi does not appear in this issue.  The founders try to go to Superboy but some some shadowy creature sends them back. More alien menace from a wormhole that the Legionnaires assist with.

Issue 6 does hint that Bgztl is something more than may have been previously we thought of in the past. Phantom Girl is pretty useful here.  Her intangibility is treated like invulnerability.  Why can't Levitz write her like this all the time?  We see Chameleon Boy with one of the security counsel members who tried to assassinate Brande.  We see more of the shadowy figure which starts to assume a form similar to the Time Trapper.  Meanwhile, the Legion closes this wormhole and at the same instant this figure disappears, sucked through a portal.  The security counsel Naltorian confirms that is exactly who it is.  The visuals here remind me of JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time. Nevertheless, the Trapper does not appear to be the seemingly omnipotent creature we had seen in many Legion adventures.

So I wonder what purpose does this series actually serve? It doesn't set up any new continuity in the post-Flashpoint DCU or make it clear up continuity that Kal El was a member. To retcon in the security directorate and then do nothing with them in vol 7 is wasted. The attacking alien race could have been used as a new villain but we learn nothing about them, who or why they are. Maybe we could have returned to Bgtzl and explored that society again for the modern comic reader. The 0 issue that appears in volume 7 plays into some of this retold origin but nothing really that would have been earth-shattering if this limited series wasn't published. Just a lot of missed opportunity to add something new but that would have continuity. Instead, we got a lackluster volume 7 that never materialized anything new and great, sort of like this mini series.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Should have been a contender, issue 7

Visi-Lad (Rhent Ustin) is one of those characters that seemed to be created as someone to fill a page.  He appears to be a human with some strange eyes, 4 total, and he was found on a doorstep outside an orphanage.  OK, how depressing is it that they still have orphanages in the 30th century?  Also, this origin would not fly today as many places now have surveillance.  Moving on.  Of course the only place for this poor child was to join the Legion Academy.  He has a few scenes over the years but nothing significant.  It appears that he joined during the 5 Year Gap but we never saw it.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A case of Shadow Lass

I know I have a lot of posts about female characters.  It's not that I hate female characters; I love female characters!  However, most of the Legion females are terribly written. Few are allowed to grow in power.  Often times, they are simply the "girlfriend-of" which brings me to my next character: Shadow Lass.  This is going to be a long one.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Universe Building: the Kents

So I'm not really thinking of the elder Jonathan and Martha.  I'm thinking of those two possible descendents of Kal-El.  Namely,  (Richard) Kent Shakespeare and Laurel (Elna) Kent and

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Should have been a contender, issue 6

Today I will be considering another long-term Academy member.  This one never saw too much action or development.  He was another fan creation and sometimes, the fans can make some pretty good designs.  This would be Bobb Kohan, aka Crystal Kid.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

How a woman dresses.

I know these days that women should be able to dress how they want without fear of being judged or being sexually assaulted.  And I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but when I was at Comic Con, artist Luciano Vecchio was there.  He is known for doing some LGBT art but he had drawn a piece that had all the LGBT characters from the Legion of Superheroes in it.  I stopped by his table and purchased this: 

Pretty much, it has all the current X-Ladies in their current costumes.  The one thing I notice about these characters though, is that they are covered up.  Only Storm and Psylocke have lower necklines and Husk and Emma are the only ones that show any type of midriff.  The costumes here are not redesigns, this is basically what they are wearing in the current comics.  So why is it that the X-Ladies, in our "enlightened day and age" are more covered up than ever before? 

One of my criticisms of the Legion has been that the females are often there for eye-candy for horny boys.  They are there to be "girlfriend of" a strong male character.  They don't often do anything because most of them have defensive or sensory powers. Yet characters like Dawnstar and Projectra must spend a fortune on intimate waxing.  Meanwhile, most males are covered except for their head and hands.  When people say that in 1000 years, we will be even more enlightened, I say BS.  The fact that the Legion has transuits wouldn't mean that women would dress with more exposed skin.  Why doesn't that also apply to the males?  And yes, Cosmic Boy, Star Boy and Tyroc have all had costumes that look like they come from an International Male Catalog but that was an exception, not the norm.  In last volumes of the Legion, they were all covered up fully but Sensor Girl is now sexy Sensor Girl.  *sigh*

It's a shame when even artists like Jiminez support these types of costumes instead of favoring more practical designs.  Dream Girl literally wears a silver one-piece bathing suit with boots and gloves/gauntlets.  Some have tried to clothe her more but we always end up back to her same basic uniform.

I believe that comics have the ability to subconciously influence readers. Granted, I think there should always be a spectrum of characters, but showing female characters as capable, smart, even powerful at times, but equal to male characters, then comics does it part to help women. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Baltimore Comic Con 2018

So today I attended Baltimore Comic Con.  I was excited because I hadn't been to a Con in 18 years (due to laziness mostly).  Baltimore is mostly a comic oriented event so a fair amount of creators and studios. Both Paul Levitz and Mark Waid were going to be there, probably 2 of the most well known Legion of Superheroes writers and they were both going to be a panel discussion on Team Building.  Bascially, how to build a superteam.  The panel was being moderated by Bob Greenberger with Denny O'Neill and Ron Marz.  Denny was there for his JLA contributions and I totally had forgotten that Ron worked on Stormwatch pre-Wildstorm.  Well, I found out a couple of days ago that Levitz had cancelled.  Bummer!  He must have known I would be there so he cancelled.  Instead, they had John Ostrander on the panel, known for Suicide Squad, so they really had a good mix of team books represented.  It was  a pretty interesting panel, though Denny could get off topic a lot.  Mark noted that he was a big fan of the Legion.