Legion of Super-Heroes #9 (2005)

The essence of the Legion of Super-Heroes has always been that the group is a very large, extended family. So I have to wonder what Mark Waid is doing by breaking up the team in his very first story arc. It seems to be that it’s best to establish your characters, give readers a feel for their personalities and styles, and give readers a sense of the team before showing deep conflicts between the memebers. Otherwise the conflicts don’t have much emotional impact. Readers see the conflicts but don’t feel the impact or stress of them. They’re actors acting instead of characters behaving.

For instance, there’s a scene in this issue where Chameleon takes the shape of Ultra Boy. Ultra Boy explodes in anger over the impression, throwing a termper tantrum over the impersonation. Since readers don’t know either character well, or have any idea of the personal or cultural attitudes that each character brings to the story, the scene falls flat. It’s interesting, but nothing more. It has no impact.

That said, waid does a nice job showing a world falling apart. Legion of sort of the Battlestar Galactica of comics. Like the revived Galactica, LSH takes old characters and recasts them in different lights. Everyone is similar to who they used to be, but they’re also different in key ways. Like Galactica, too, the main plot seems to be all about crisis management, as problem after problem falls in the way of our characters. There’s hope and excitement, but at this point, everything seems a little bleak. Waid does a good job of conveying that unique bleak energy, to the point that by the end of the issue there’s a chance for some hope.

Georges Jeanty and Art Thibert do a decent job on the artwork, though the Barry Kitson art on the letter’s page just serves to remind readers of his absence. Jeanty and Thibert do a fine job of conveying the bizarre alien world of the future, and have a nice eye for the characters, but it’s easy to miss Kitson’s flash and energy.

This is a nice issue, but I look forward to more team-building in the future.


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