Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #8
[This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: See Image Below
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
As the Legion is summoned to trial by Crav of Rimbor, President Brande has some questions for her son, Chameleon Boy about his teammates.
Page 1 starts out with a big positive as Jon Kent’s summary of the inaugural Legion of Super-Heroes story arc sounds exciting and engaging, and at the same time fits this contemporary take on the Legion and explains, more or less, how it’s going to be different from the original concept of the “bright, hopeful future.” At least that’s what Jon explains he’s experiencing.
As Chameleon Boy shares some of the files about the Legionnaires with his mom, it’s a great opportunity for readers to get a primer on them as well. These individual pages recount the Legion tryouts as administered by Garth, Imra and Rokk. They often present different aspects of the characters so that they don’t come off as one note. These are easily the best aspect of Legion of Super-Heroes #8 as they fill in background and personality for the featured Legionnaires. It seems clear that next issue will do the same thing.
The main threat of the trial is adequately built up through the issue. Even though the characters are the focus of the issue, the plot thread is woven through the conversation between Cham and President Brande. This fleshes out the conflict as they both see it through their distinct points of view.
The huge selection of artists works well for the most part. It would’ve been more effective if each page was purely a spotlight instead of just a page in a longer narrative. There’s no storytelling drawback to the event, however. It’s nice to see so many different styles present, although, one wonders if page assignments were random or artists were chosen for a particular character.
With all that said, there will be readers that don’t like personality changes to characters they love. It’s important to remember that these are new versions of characters with the same names, these are not retcons. It’s difficult because there is a familiarity. That being said, Mon-El finally describes his relationship to Jon. It’s doesn’t sound as interesting as it could be. There are certainly more beloved descendants of the Man of Steel to show up in the Legion who don’t come across as confrontational as Mon-El does in Legion of Super-Heroes #8, Laurel Kent I’m looking at you! Previously, Mon-El had his own story and now genetically tying him into the Superman family takes away his uniqueness. Time will only tell if Bendis can make readers love his version of Mon-El. So far, it’s not quite working.
As good as the first page is, again it is a reminder, just like last issue, that the recap does a better job of creating excitement for the previous issues than the issues themselves. The comics almost seem to have been printed out of sequence. The character moments have been the best part. However, they haven’t been integrated effectively. Bendis is all over the place, and consequently there’s no real character to find likable and there’s not a cohesive plot line to follow with interest. It all feels jumbled, as if the first 8 issues of the comic were written, the scenes cut out and tossed in a hat and then selected in random order for publication. It’s frustrating, because Bendis shows he can write some good stuff, but he can’t seem to get out of his own way when it comes to trying to be clever.
The roller coaster ride continues for fans of this venerable franchise! Despite an incredibly poorly planned overall plotline, Legion of Super-Heroes #8 stands out as one of the best issues of the series. Inside, readers might find a character that is really intriguing, no matter how different from previous incarnations. Dream Girl and Projectra both stand out in this issue for me. They may not be who I remember, but Bendis does a nice job of creating character with them both. One can only hope that Bendis figures out how to balance the issues and tell a cohesive story.