Review: FUTURE STATE: LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colours: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1: Whatever happened to the Legion of Super-Heroes? The team is no more, and the United Planets are in total chaos as one of the Legion’s own has turned on the entire galaxy! Everyone is affected…and not everyone survived! Ultra Boy tries to put the Legion back together to face the future head on! Find out the fates of all your favorite Legionnaires like Shadow Lass, Triplicate Girl, Brainiac Five, and Bouncing Boy. Plus, a shocking twist in the Legion mythology-and a long overdue appearance by the Legion of Substitute Heroes!
Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1 is set even further in the future than the regular Legion title. It’s unclear how much time has passed, but clearly a lot has happened in the interim, as the Legion’s future is now looking a lot more dystopian than it had before. While this is an interesting move and is rife with story potential, it isn’t exactly original. It seems to me that Bendis is doing his own take on Keith Giffen’s shakeup of Legion continuity known as “5 Years Later”.
The catalyst for all the changes seems to be an event called the “Elemental”. The nature of this event is unclear, but it appears to have ravaged the worlds of the United Planets. And it has led to the disbanding of the Legion. The worst part is that Element Lad seems to have turned traitor and is presumably the cause of the Elemental event.
There have been some interesting changes to a number of former Legionnaires. Brainiac 5 no longer has his original Coluan body, which he actually finds freeing. Also, he now calls himself Brainiac 7. This suggests that there was an interim form in his evolution, which is an intriguing idea in itself. And some changes are rather tragic, especially in the case of Luornu Durgo, formerly Triplicate Girl. As in the classic Legion history, one of her three selves has been killed.
And it nearly all characters have been visually reimagined by Riley Rossmo. While some of the visual changes seem bizarre, they are all fascinating. I hope that we get to see the rationale for the changes, especially Saturn Girl’s skull-faced armour.
I am also intrigued by the character sporting a red cape and Superman symbol. Is this Jon Kent? Or has Jon returned to the 21st Century and this is someone else stepping into his role? This is just a wild guess, but I think this might be a reimagining of Kent Shakespeare.
On the whole, I found this iteration of the Legion more enjoyable than the regular title. Bendis’ version of the team has been somewhat polarizing due to his having made some major changes to characters. However, by making even more drastic changes, this version of the title has become more of Bendis’ own thing as opposed than messing with the classic team. This title is more palatable to longtime Legion readers as it seems more like an Elseworlds story, while the main title seems more like Bendis is replacing the classic team with his own ersatz version. Bendis has hinted that the main title may actually just continue this Future State story, and I think that might actually be a good idea.
While the visual changes are quite stunning, there is a drawback to them as well. During Bendis’ tenure as Legion writer, many of the characters have already had their appearances drastically changed from their classic appearances. With two rather rapid sets of visual changes, it’s rather difficult to figure out who a lot of the characters are supposed to be.
Also, while I appreciated the nod to the Legion of Substitute Heroes in this issue, I found their role as random disposable villains disappointing. They really deserve a bit more respect than that.
Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1 completely exceeded my expectations. I wasn’t really a fan of Bendis’ reinterpretation of the Legion, but I am really enjoying this look ahead into a potential future for the team. If Bendis continues under Bendis’ direction, I hope he continues this story instead of picking up where he left off.