Review: FUTURE STATE: LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #2
[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 #2: The unthinkable has happened: one of the Legionnaires has betrayed the entire galaxy! The United Planets is in ruins, the team has been scattered across the cosmos, and madness reigns on multiple worlds! Now the surviving Legionnaires are just discovering the real truth behind what has happened to their dream of a new age of heroes. Don’t miss this shocking twist 1,000 years in the making.
After reading Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2, I initially had a favourable impression of Brian Michael Bendis’ story. However, I have seen a significant number of people in online forums expressing their dislike for it. This made me stop and consider why my reaction was that different than others.
First off, I have to admit that I am easier to please than a lot of reviewers. This is not to say that I give every book an easy pass. If I truly dislike a story or the art, I am not afraid to say so. But, I don’t hold the comics I review to extremely high standards, although I will praise them for it when they do so. But, generally I as long as I derived some enjoyment from the experience and there are no glaring flaws, I will give a book a decent rating.
Now, I have found Brian Michael Bendis’ work for DC to be rather hit-and-miss. Some of his stories have received the lowest ratings I’ve ever given out, while at other times, I have given a Bendis book 5/5. I never know from issue to issue whether his story will be mediocre or excellent. Thus, with Bendis’ books, I try to judge each issue on its own merits, apart from my feelings about the series in general.
The negative opinions that have seen for Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes mostly fall into two main camps. The first just plain hate Bendis’ reboot of Legion in general. I can somewhat sympathize with this, as I don’t agree with many of the changes Bendis has made, but he has still provided some decent stories. I can appreciate that this is an entertaining story, in spite of my misgivings about Bendis’ Legion overall.
The other camp is composed of those who like Bendis’ rebooted Legion, but hate the new direction Bendis has taken. His Legion of Super-Heroes title is only 12 issues in. Readers are still getting to know the characters and the world they live in. And suddenly, Bendis throws in a catastrophic event that changes nearly everything. They might be okay with this if it were only a possible future, and that things would return to normal in issue #13. However, Bendis has implied that this will be the title’s status quo going forward.
While they don’t like the wave of sweeping change Bendis has thrown in, I find I don’t mind it. And the simple reason is that I don’t really feel emotionally invested in Bendis’ Legion. So, I don’t really care that Bendis has irrevocably upset that title’s status quo.
Another thing I found is that Riley Rossmo’s artwork on the series is rather polarizing. While some are quite put off by his particular style. However, this is a rather subjective area. For my own part, I quite enjoy his unique style. I also feel that it has a abstract edge to it that fits the new messy reality the Legion now lives in. The United Planets is no longer the clean, shiny future but a battered, messy dystopia, which Rossmo captures perfectly.
Also, there are complaints about Rossmo’s redesigns of the Legion’s costumes. However, since I didn’t really care much for the character redesigns introduced with Bendis’ reboot, I can’t say that I’m particularly upset to see them go. And I have to admit, Rossmo’s designs are definitely bold and orginal.
While I can’t say that I was upset at the changes, I do agree that it probably would have been wiser for Bendis to wait a while longer than 12 issues before putting the Legion through such a major shakeup. It would have had much more impact if readers were allowed to get more familiar with his interpretation of the 31st Century.
Also, some have said that he’s ripping off the Keith Giffen’s “Five Years Later” storyline. There is some truth to that criticism. That storyline also featured gap in time between the previous story. And in both, major changes to the Legion’s world happened during that gap. And nearly everyone got redesigned costume. It really does look like Bendis was trying to make his own version of that story.
Not really caring much about Bendis’ regular title allowed me to appreciate Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes a lot more than I probably would have had I been a devout fan. Unfortunately, that doesn’t say much about the regular title. But taken on its own, it’s quite an enjoyable diversion. I think when the regular Legion of Super-Hero title resurfaces, it would be better off following the story started here or skipping ahead to the inevitable next reboot of Legion continuity.