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Legion of Super-Heroes #42

Posted: Monday, June 2, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Jim Shooter
Francis Manapul, Livesay (i), Jo Smith (c)
DC Comics
This is a strong issue of Legion of Super-Heroes. Its strength comes from the Legion just being the Legion.

The plug-ugly beasts that the Legion has been fighting invaded Rimbor. Their leader Lightning Lad sends an away-team to meet this latest challenge. Brainiac Five continues to ponder the technology behind the beasts. The beasts are brutal killing machines, but he deduces the technology that sent them into the Legion's neck of the woods is more advanced than that of the United Planets. So why depend on the smash and grab method when more definitive means of slaughter are available? The chapter offers up no new clues to the mystery.

The Legion scores some new threads that echo past fashions of the team. Invisible Kid, arrested for espionage last issue, gets sprung from the pokey, and Shooter adds to the sociology of this new future. It seems that a Caves of Steel type of earth has been forged. The inhabitants stay inside and only interact through computer. The generation represented by the Legion have begun to buck tradition.

The Asimovian flourish adds an interesting nuance, but the Legion's energetic and entertaining battle against the beasties who have invaded Rimbor is the prime focus to the story. Star Boy makes use of his powers in an inventive and unexpected way. Shrinking Violet and Saturn Girl use blasters built by Brainiac Five, and their deadly accuracy benefits the team, but Shooter also differs their use in the plot. Violet can use her pistols while miniaturized, and Saturn Girl adds her devastating intelligence to the mix.

Due to the adaptive nature of the creatures, Ultra-Boy with his power-switching gets an impressive showcase, but the whole team start to catch on to the way to defeat the monsters. While Francis Manapul, Livesay and Jo Smith make the battle attractive and strategically sensible, Shooter furthermore laces the dialogue with humorous interactions between teammates. This helps distinguish the Legion roster as well as give them a little personality, too often subsumed if not careful, during big battle scenes.



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