Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #5
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Ryan Sook, Scott Godlewski & Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Jon gets more information on the origin of the Legion of Super-Heroes as the Legion tries to figure out why United Planets President R.J. Brande has turned against them.
In the first couple pages, Bendis really captures a classic Legion vibe. The Legion at odds with the United Planets is nothing new, nor is teenagers slightly at odds with adults. This should be a familiar theme to longtime Legion readers as well as teenagers and parents.
Bendis is also laying some interesting continuity seeds that tie into multiple Earths and realities in this issue as well. Watchmen is mentioned…. It feels like this issue should’ve come out the same week as Doomsday Clock #12. There is some real synergy with Doomsday Clock #12. While it is not reliant on the issue, reading DC #12 then LSH #5 produces some interesting interplay. This ties in to this issue using Grant Morrison’s JLA #1 cover and the Marv Wolfman/ George Perez New Teen Titans #1 cover as reference points. It’s almost as if this particular future is not reliant on one past, but all potential pasts. I suppose this was also teased in Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1. Part of this sequence even points towards 5G, perhaps as Jon is called the “true Superman.” Surprisingly, this all comes across really well.
There’s another idea, here, that seems to indicate that Jon is tied directly to this Legion and that if anything happens to him, this Legion and “this” future won’t exist. Maybe the original and retro-boot Legion is still out there, somewhere…???
Can’t forget to mention Brainy! Brainiac 5 really seems like himself in this issue, but with a bit of a modern flair. That’s what Bendis is going for, and it’s these character moments that finally draw the reader in to this version of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Unbelievably, there’s no obvious negative in this issue. It’s arguable that Bendis has completely screwed up the sequence of his first five issues, as it is, Legion of Super-Heroes #5 is darn good. (Don’t tell anyone I said that!)
If there is a negative, it’s that Bendis takes so long to make a point that you almost have to have the memory of an elephant, otherwise, the subtle references that popped up in the Millennium issues would go unnoticed here. So, clearly pacing is an problem, overall.
On the whole, Bendis has some classic Legion themes in this issue that are presented in new ways. And, there’s more I haven’t mentioned because it will be more fun not to spoil Reep Daggele’s lineage! While the first three issues of Legion of Super-Heroes were uneven and even bad at points, this issue as well as #4 are great starting points. They are much better comics than the first three issues hands down. They are good enough to interest a new reader through characterization and a universally relatable conflict- teenagers and adults. Bendis finally show that he really is the Legion fan he’s claimed to be, even if it’s masked in characters that aren’t always visually recognizable. This may not be your grandfather’s Legion, but, perhaps, it could be YOUR Legion!