Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Ryan Sook, Travis Moore & Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: ALW’s Troy Peteri
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Jon Kent learns that he’s made a grave mistake in bringing Damian to the 31st century, while the Legionnaires who’ve gone to Rimbor make a mistake of their own (Mon-El!). And, Saturn Girl learns that Mordru is not a good dance parnter.
After the dumpster fire that was issue #1, last issue saw this title shift gears and show a distinct improvement. Legion of Super-Heroes #3 is yet another step in the right direction. First off, there are a couple of Easter Eggs/ homages that fans should enjoy, the first coming on page one as Dawnstar reveals her last name. There’s at least one more in the issue as well. The storlines themselves move along a bit with a bit more revealed about each one. Imagine a layer of onion being peeled back.
Perhaps, it’s still moving slowly, but at least what was under that first layer was interesting. Additionally, Bendis finds a tone that appears to be channeling a ’60’s Legion feel. There is a youthful naivete that is reminiscent of that era. And, at times it seems like they are in way over their heads. Can’t quite decide if this is supposed to be funny or not, but it does come across in a humorous vein.
While Damian’s appearance in the issue is befuddling on one level, enough is revealed to show that the Legion are concerned about what he may become. I need only point you to Batman #666 for what Bendis is referencing. While the whole exercise of bringing Damian to the future for 5 minutes feels like a lot of wasted space on one hand, it plays well for Jon and Damian’s relationship and it allows a tease that part of the Legion’s mission is to help avoid the timeline seen in Batman #666. This is a truly interesting plot element. Hopefully, it won’t get lost in the shuffle.
I’m not sure if it’s really a positive or not, but there is definitely a tease of how Mon-El and Jon are related. In the original Legion, they shared the “El,” because Superboy thought he was a relative and Kryptonian. Legion of Super-Heroes #3 suggests though some clever dialogue (yes, I said clever dialogue) that Mon-El might be one of Jon’s descendants. I guess in a way you could say Bendis has gender swapped Laurel Kent! While everyone may not like this concept, it is rendered effectively. Just like there’s a lot more to be told of Dawnstar’s origins, there’s certainly a bigger story at hand for Mon-El and Superboy’s relationship.
While filling in this issue, Travis Moore’s art seems to add a bit more life to the book. There is a surprisingly subtle but, recognizable difference between Sook and Moore’s work. Dare I say, Moore’s work on the issue is stronger and makes a good case for becoming the regular penciller.
A final onion layer reveals a little more about Mordru. On Planet Gotham, he is revealed to be a “Master Daemon.” This seems to indicate he far more than the street level gangster he was called in issue #1. It’s nice to see his stock rising, but it isn’t entirely understandable why the Legion had that perception of him to begin with.
Bendis’s penchant for drawing things out is going to hurt this series in the long run. It’s already playing havoc with his ability to tell a coherent story in his Superman titles. After building up Rose Forrest, she doesn’t appear at all in Legion of Super-Heroes #3 after having received the off panel promotion to official UP liaison off panel in the un-published, Legion of Super-Heroes #1.5.
There’s not a whole lot of deep character work yet, outside of Jon Kent. Jo (Ultra-Boy) Nah has gotten a start, but there are so many concepts at play it’s unclear if he will get a true arc out of this.
Legion of Super-Heroes #3 is the best issue so far. The reveals under the layers of onion are interesting and have the potential for interesting developments. However, there is a real concern that this will plod along as Bendis tries to put too many plot threads on the table at a time, thus diluting the good ideas he has injected into the series. Things could easily go the other way next issue.