Thursday, June 17, 2010

Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes Hardcover Review

Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes
DC Comics
168 pages
ISBN 9781401218195

Contributors: Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Jon Sibal, and introduction by Keith Giffen

Reprints: Action Comics #858-863

Synopsis: Superman battles a Brainiac-style robot in present-day Metropolis which reveals itself to be sent from the 31st century by Brainiac 5 of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Brainiac unlocks Superman's memories of having adventures with the Legion starting when he was a teenager.  He then catapults Kal-El into the future to help save the Legion.

On future Earth the Legion and all aliens are being hunted as outlaws.  Superman joins up with them, but the sun has been turned red and his powers are negated.  A powerless Superman must now face the new Justice League of Earth headed by the xenophobic Earth-Man (formerly Absorbency Boy).  He and the rest of the new League are all rejected candidates from past Legion tryouts. 

Earth-Man has hunted down many of the Legionnaires, stolen their powers, and begun indoctrinating the children of Earth to become xenophobes by perverting Superman's legend.  The intolerance has started a brewing conflict with the entire universe preparing to fight back against the Earth.  Only Superman and the remnants of the once-proud Legion (and their substitutes?) have any chance to stand up to Earth-Man's corrupt Justice League. 

Pros: Gary Frank's art and costume design is top notch as usual, Geoff Johns' story and characterization is spot on, extra design sketches and variant covers, future women wear a lot of skimpy outfits :)

Cons: The Legion reintroduced in this story has nothing to do with the current Legion (vol. 5) starring in their own series

Mike Tells It Straight: Originally a teen super-hero club the Legion of Super-Heroes was a silver age sensation, but has struggled to transition into the modern comics' world.  Going on its fifth (sixth if you count the team introduced here) incarnation the team gets a facelift by two of the best creators working today.  Johns walks the fine line between upbeat teen heroes and experienced veterans with this Legion, while Frank's futuristic costume designs are a breath of fresh air.  Johns manages to include the Legion of Substitute Heroes and rejects from the Legion.  This story fixes one of the major Crisis on Infinite Earths retcons when Superboy's (and his time with the Legion) adventures were written out of existence.  Long-time Legion fans may not fully embrace this new version, but the uninitiated get a perfect introduction. 

TO BUY and Recommendations: