Friday, July 06, 2007

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: Stange Visitor from Another Century


I have read so many reprints of the early adventures of the Legion of Super-Heroes and their early meetings with Superboy, that it is hard to remember when I read one of their stories for the first time. I know it was after the group began their own series of adventures and the membership was expanding beyond the first half dozen, I’m sure. Over the years my interest in the LS-H has fluctuated, often depending on the writer or story arc. It’s probably been over ten years since I was actively buying the series. Since then there appear to have been at least three or four incarnations of the group with which I’m not familiar.

As usual of late, I’ve been doing a lot of reading in Wikipedia trying to catch up on what has been going on in the DCU for the past five years. I’m still not completely filled in on the 21st century heroes, so I haven’t gotten around to checking on what happened a thousand years later. It may be time to do so, since I think I like where the current LS-H is going.

SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: Strange Visitor from Another Century collects the issues of LS-H that brings the ‘original’ Girl of Steel to the 31st century. It’s unclear how she arrived there, following the events in Infinite Crisis, and in the early stories she doesn’t even know herself. In fact, she still believes that she’s back on Krypton and her current adventures are all part of a holographic dream. She has no memory of her arrival on Earth a thousand years before, nor what happened to her cousin Kal-El or the rest of her family. It may have something to do with a plot by the Dominators (probably the creepiest alien race found in the DCU, at least in physical appearance) to once again invade and conquer Earth.

Her appearance at this particular time causes a bit of a problem for the Legion, who have only recently settled their differences with the United Planets. Members are just learning that they may not be able to trust each other completely, especially Brainiac Five who has his own agenda (consistent with his incarnations the past decade). As somebody just getting back into the DCU I find it confusing to see several LS-H characters here, knowing that they somehow will end up in the 21st Century on the Justice League satellite during the events in COUNTDOWN.

Throw in a robot rebellion in the making, a ‘mysterious’ person recruiting non-Legion members with powers, the continuing tensions with the Science Police (another group who seem to be hiding something) and the series really has captured my interest. Not sure that I’ll be picking up every issue, but I will be on the look out for when further issues are collected in TPB format.

Mark Waid, has been in my Top Ten list of comics writers for over a decade. He hasn’t always been in the Top Five, but I’ve never been really disappointed in any title he’s written. I don’t recall coming across Tony Bedard until I picked up a few issues of COUNTDOWN, but I think he’s doing a pretty good job there, along with the other creative teams working on the series. The art on the Legion stories by Barry Kitson, Adam DeKraker, Mick Gray and others is almost consistently good, though there are some panels where faces just don’t work. However, given the large cast of characters and many crowd scenes they work with I can’t fault them a few panels here or there.

Overall I have to recommend this book, at least for those who like super-hero teams with a touch of humor and don’t need everything cleared up by the end of each issue.
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