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Legion of Super-Heroes #1

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Legion of Super-Heroes #1

Credits

  • Words: Paul Levitz
  • Art: Francis Portela
  • Colors: Javier Mena
  • Story Title: "Renegade World"
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 21, 2011

How many times is too many times to reboot the Legion?

I’m having a bit of déjà vu. It seems like only yesterday I reviewed Legion of Super-Heroes #1. Actually, months have passed but in the modern age of comic book revamps, relaunches, and reboots, it might as well have never happened. While I gave that particular fresh start a favorable review based on the strength of Paul Levitz’s return to a property he helped define, this time around, there’s just too much of the same old-same old for me to jump on the Legion bandwagon.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Legion’s sprawling ensemble cast and intergalactic setting. There is a true mythology, separate and distinct from the rest of the DC Universe (new or old, I don’t care which). Despite several misguided attempts to inextricably tie the futuristic “superhero club” to the present day DCU, the Legion has always stood somewhat apart from the rest of the publisher’s stable of heroes. I always felt the original links to present-day continuity through Superboy better served the Legion as something to build away from and rather than towards. There are more than enough interesting characters, places, and history to explore in the 30th century, without having to constantly bind the Legion to the present through forced “events” and crossovers. Was it cool to see the original Legion founders in Geoff Johns’ Action Comics run? Hell, yeah. But let’s not forget where the Legion comes from – the future. Surely, there are scads of exciting sci-fi superheroics to chronicle in the 30th century, right?

Levitz and DC editorial would seem to agree – to a certain extent. Apparently, the Flashpoint event has cut off the Legion’s access to the present, though not before stranding a team of lost Legionnaires in the 21st century. While Dawnstar, Wildfire, and the rest of the so-called Legion Lost, struggle to survive in the present, Levitz has the daunting task of once again establishing the remaining members as the premier superhero team of their era. Unfortunately, it’s a challenge perhaps better suited to a writer with a fresh perspective.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this most recent iteration of LOSH but there’s also nothing new and exciting about it either. Levitz’s plot feels formulaic and retread; the characters wooden and typical. Once again, the Legion finds itself in a rebuilding phase, much like the last relaunch, with nothing much different aside from the return of Star Boy and a minor reshuffling of the ranks. The artwork by Francis Portela, while serviceable, does nothing to set this incarnation of the Legion apart from those that came before. There’s not even a Greg Laroque or Steve Lightle to at least lend the book a distinct visual tone. All in all, it’s pretty much (yawn…) business as usual.

Neither good nor bad but somewhat indifferent, the New 52’s LOSH adds little to the franchise’s expansive mythology and instead languishes under the weight of far too many previous reboots. A book with the potential to chronicle the epic future of the DCnU, this incarnation of Legion of Super-Heroes instead feels like a missed opportunity that will surely go down as one of the weakest entries of the New 52.

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