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Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #1

Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2007
By: Ray Tate



"Yesterday's Hero"

Writer: J. Torres
Artists: Chynna Clugston, Guy Major(c)
Publisher: DC

I've never seen an episode of the CW's latest foray into super-hero cartoons. It's not that I don't like the Legion of Super-Heroes. Quite the contrary, I am a huge fan of the Legion. I haven't any issues with the animation or the look of the show. Unlike the aesthetic eyesore known as The Batman, the glimpses I've seen of Legion of Super-Heroes look decent enough. I'm simply waiting for the DVD set. I've become spoiled. I realize that. Crystal clear DVD sets, lacking blaring commercials, and hopefully preserving the widescreen image, have essentially become my trade paperback. The comic book spin-off of the Legion of Super-Heroes is my first exposure to a Legion similar to that featured on the series, and the premiere has left me with a good impression.

The plot takes the form of a surprisingly complex narrative pattern, but still boils it down to a done-in-one story. An unnamed interviewer queries the Legion about their first thoughts about Clark Kent, the young Superman, brought to the future. The interviewer questions each member of the Legion, including Lightning Lad, Brainiac 5, Phantom Girl, Triplicate Girl, Bouncing Boy and Saturn Girl.

The characterization is the first thing I noticed about the writing in Legion of Super-Heroes. J. Torres transposes to the pages a Legion that's entertaining and enjoyable. If the series is half as good as Torres' handling of the characters, I will be very pleased when I finally see the Legion animated series. I want to spend time with these guys. You may recall that one of my original caveats regarding the Waid/Kitson Legion was that I didn't particularly like any of them except Supergirl. They all were written as arrogant snots. This Legion varies in personality, tripley so in the case of Lournu Durgo, and all those personality facets are welcoming.

Chynna Clugston, from Blue Mondays, rematerializes in the thirty-first century. As regular readers know I loathe manga, and this is the style of art in which Clugston has made a name for herself. There are no real manga red lights to watch out for in Legion of Super-Heroes. Clugston subsumes her influences in a look that, having not seen the television series, resembles Hanna-Barbera's The Impossibles more than anything. Clugston bestows to the group a long, lank look that mostly mimics the stills I've seen of the show. That's how it should be.

Clugston adds to the mix a strong sense of emotion. The entire recollection has been colored by Lightning Lad's pranking of the Legion. For instance, on page three, Phantom Lady in the forefront seems less than pleased by Clark's less than graceful entrance to the future. Lightning Lad however has manipulated the interviewer's curiosity into bias to suggest none of the Legion cheerfully ushered Clark into their ranks. Torres and Clugston contrast this scene with three panels depicting Phantom Girl's initial embarrassment, her indignation and finally her anger toward Lightning Lad. It's a nice transition piece, and not the only one.

Lightning Lad is the team leader of the Legion. Throughout he doesn't act that way. He acts like the group jackass, but he redeems himself in the end, and you can see that Lightning Lad is merely yanking your chain, possibly because he's so impressed by Superman that he sees him as a threat to his position in the Legion.

This is a good quiet start to the Legion of Super-Heroes, and for once, it's not a reboot.



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