Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Colors: Ryan Cody
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed By: Matthew Lloyd, Derek McNeil
Justice League Vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes #1: One thousand years in the future, a Legion of Super-Heroes comes together to dedicate their lives to recapturing the great age of heroes of the 21st century. When the heroes discover that reality is falling to a great darkness in both times simultaneously, the Justice League and the Legion of Super-Heroes must team up to stop it all. But what is the connection between the secrets of the new Gold Lanterns and the coming of the Great Darkness? Justice League Vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes #1 begins a monumental DC epic event miniseries!
For this review of Justice League Vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes #1, DCN has brought together our regular reviewer of Legion of Super-Heroes, Matthew Lloyd and our Justice League reviewer, Derek McNeil. Both are well acquainted with Brian Michael Bendis’ work for DC – Matthew having reviewed his run on Action Comics and Derek having reviewed his run on Superman, as well as his Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes.
Matthew: The group scenes of the Legion in the opening sequence feel very much like classic legion in a battle moment- even Gold Lantern planting the seeds of a separate plotline work.
Derek: I definitely got that feeling too. I feel that Bendis’ Legion has elements that could make this one of the great eras of the Legion. But he has difficulty realizing that potential. While not all of his ideas are good, there are some good ones in this story, but will he be able to make them pay off? The Gold Lantern plot is intriguing and I hope he fleshes it out better in the upcoming issues.
Matthew: The actual mystery is interesting, what’s happened to one of Luornu’s bodies? While it at first appears that Bendis is going to retell how Triplicate Girl became Duo Damsel, the story goes in a different direction. No matter, it’s the basis for a good mystery.
Derek: I had the same thought that Bendis was doing his own version of that classic story. And Luornu’s situation does raise some interesting questions. If one’s self doesn’t want to remerge, should the others force her to? If they need to do so to survive, does that give them the right to force the merging? With one of the selves now significantly older than the others, what age would their merged self be – perhaps the average age of the three? So, when they split again would they all be that average age?
I also would like to add, that although I’m still not used to some of the visualizations of Bendis’ Legion, they are beautifully rendered by Scott Godlewski – as is the Justice League.
Matthew: While Bendis’ use of dialogue can be effective, it just goes on too long. He doesn’t know when to stop. Every character seems compelled to speak in every panel. When it moves the plot along it works. But, characters say things that are not only non-sequiturs but completely unnecessary. Furthermore, there’s no distinction between voices. It works a bit with the Legionnaires” overtalking” during the opening battle sequence because it’s a bit nostalgic, but afterward, when they are trying to figure out what happened with Luornu, the unnecessary dialogue detracts from the gravitas of the situation.
Derek: Yes, Bendis seems way too impressed with his snappy dialogue. It can be effective in small doses, but it wears thin after a while. And it uses up a lot of the page count that would be better used telling the story. There were a number of points in the story where I was thinking “Get on with it!”.
Matthew: It’s no better with the Justice League. It’s actually worse, because not only do the Justice League “overtalk,” they sound EXACTLY like the teenage Legion from 1000 years in the future… and, it’s the exact same dialogue at times. It’s as if he’s made no attempt at differentiating characterization or presenting accurate characterizations.
Derek: I noticed that too. I also noticed that the lineup of Bendis’ League has changed a bit from their regular title with no explanation. Diana is back, but Hippolyta has disappeared. And why is Clark the Superman featured on the covers when Jon is the only Superman in the actual story?
Matthew: The basic ideas presented in this issue have some merit. It feels like there’s potential for the story, but Bendis’s track record at DC falls somewhere between very bad and mediocre.
Derek: Justice League Vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes #1 has me feeling somewhat ambivalent. This title has a lot of potential, but I don’t know if Bendis’ story is going to realize it. He has done some good writing in the past, but his recent work doesn’t give me a lot of faith that he will again. On the other hand, at least it looks nice, thanks to Godlewski’s art.