Current Reviews


Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #32

Posted: Monday, July 30, 2007
By: Thom Young

Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Dennis Calero

Publisher: DC Comics

Tony Bedard is continuing the story from where he and Mark Waid left off: Cosmic Boy ended the Dominator Invasion threat by apparently ordering the destruction of the Dominator home world. (It wasn’t really destroyed, Brainiac Five sent the entire planet into the Phantom Zone along with Mon-El).

Now, the United Planets want to bring Cosmic Boy up on war crime charges. However, Cos has disappeared (into a far distant century) and the Legion must track him down to defend him before the UP arrests him.

Yeah, the plot is a bit nonsensical since the Legion should just let him remain in hiding rather than trying to track him down. Bedard may have provided an explanation for why the Legion is trying to track down Cos, but I don’t recall what it is if he did.

For the most part, Bedard’s writing is very good. The tensions between characters seem natural, the suspected plot of Brainiac to take over leadership of the Legion seems plausible, and the dialog sounds conversational rather than stiff, formal, trite, and/or melodramatically silly.

My only complaint is with the new look of the series. While Dennis Calero is obviously a talented illustrator, there is a darkness to the book that differs from the bright look of the first 31 issues of this series. Colorist Nathan Eyring is responsible for the actual dark appearance that the series has taken—but he would be going along with what Calero, Bedard, and editor Mike Marts have decided.

Twenty-five years ago, I enjoyed the occasional book that used a dark palette with muted colors. However, that look has now become so prominent in the comic book field that it no longer has the effect on me that it once did.

I used to enjoy seeing a departure from the garish and bright primary colors that comic books had been using for the first 50 years of their existence. The books seemed more naturalistic and were appropriate for stories that had darker themes.

Now, however, these dark books with muted colors depress me. I feel an emotional burden as I read them—especially when there is no clear contextual reason for the dark formal approach. I experienced an emotional weight as I read this latest issue of Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes, and that’s not a feeling that I believe a book with that title should give me.

According to DC’s solicitations, this dark approach is going to continue for the foreseeable future, and I will continue to buy the series for a while since I am interested in the story being told.

However, there is a good chance that the claustrophobic and depressing feeling that the look of the book conveys will wear me down and eventually cause me to drop this series—perhaps in favor of the Legion Archives and the brighter future envisioned by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan. It’s too bad the proposed return of Shooter to these characters has apparently fallen through.

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