Legion of Super-Heroes #6
Meet the latest crop of Legionnaires: Gold Lantern! Monster Boy! Doctor Fate! Each a new face in the DC Universe, each with dark secrets, and each with a reason to be part of the Legion's goal to bring the values of the Age of Heroes to the 31st century. And one of them has a surprising connection to Jon Kent, a.k.a. Superboy. All of this and the tensions between the United Planets and the Legion of Super-Heroes have gone public! The future of the DC Universe continues to unfold!
LOSH #6 is a Bendis team book, in every sense of the phrase. It has all of his strengths: snappy, well-written dialogue, a good ear for how teenagers actually talk, and fun action moments. Like a lot of his work with great art, it reads smoothly and quickly.
Unfortunately, that also means it has all of his weaknesses: little differentiation in dialogue (especially in crowded team scenes), decompressed plot, and inconsistent pacing.
This issue, the two major plot threads—Superboy joining the Legion, and the fight for control of Aquaman’s trident—come to a head. The Horraz invade New Earth, the planet is evacuated, and there is a large battle in space. Gold Lantern shows up to help save the day. The trident is saved, the oceans are now being returned to Earth, and Rimbor leaves the United Planets.
There hasn’t been much lead-up to this point. The pacing problems are part of this. Up to this point, there have been too few scenes of consequence of the main players in the story, and most of the middle issues of this introductory arc have been cut short for long sequences of Superboy learning the history of the Legion itself, which feels secondary to actually moving the story along. If several crises were happening at once, which the book implies, wouldn’t Superboy be on the frontlines? Plot holes and strange character motivations are also a Bendis trademark.
But this review should be about the current issue of the series. That’s difficult, because aside from the wrap-up of the first story arc of this new series, nothing much else happens. The climax and its denouement play out over six double-page layouts, which, while feeling unnecessarily bloated, are gorgeous to look at, thanks to the art of Ryan Sook, Wade von Grawbadger, and Jordie Bellaire. That part of the book is undeniably good. Sook and von Grawbadger’s smooth, round shapes, and Bellaire’s bright and vivid colors help drive home the retro-futuristic nature of the setting. Simply looking at the issue is a treat, and that goes for the entire series so far.
Again, the writing brings it down. It’s not the worst, but it’s definitely not on the same level as the art. Snappy, realistic sounding teen banter is good, but it can’t save the bigger structural problems with the story. And when readers are being asked to hand over $4.00 for an issue in which not very much happens, these problems only become more glaring.
Bendis’ writing style hasn’t changed over the years, for better or worse. With smaller casts, his plotting and pacing problems vanish beneath great character writing and dialogue. With larger casts and proportionally larger stakes, things start to break down. It’s worth sticking with the book because this may just be growing pains, but given his historical problems with team books, it’s likely this will end up another underwritten book with absolutely fantastic art.
Despite great art and well-written and snappy dialog, Legion of Super-Heroes #6 is only a so-so book, brought down by Bendis historical problems with pacing and plotting.
Legion of Super-Heroes #6: That Could Be Considered an Ending
Writing - 5/105/10
Storyline - 5/105/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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