Action Comics Vol 1 #1027

Here's another recent read of the Legion of Super-Heroes. This time out, Brainiac 5 helps the Superman Family one last time before heading back to the 31st Century. Enjoy! :)






Action Comics Vol 1 #1027
January, 2021
"The House of Kent Epilogue"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colourist: Brad Anderson
Cover: John Romita, Jr. (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Brad Anderson (colours)
Variant Cover: Gary Frank (art) and Brad Anderson (colours)
Assistant Editor: Bixie Mathieu
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: James S. Rich

Featuring:
Superman

Mission Monitor Board:
Superboy (Jon Kent), Brainiac 5

Guest Stars:
Superboy (Conner Kent), Supergirl

Supporting Cast:
Lois Lane; Perry White; Jimmy Olsen

Opposition:
The Red Cloud; Marisol Leone (cameo)


Synopsis:
The story continues from the previous issue. The issue starts with Agent Chase sending an e-mail to her boss that Lois Lane has assaulted Marisol Leone, the alleged head of the Invisible Mafia. The notes and photos beind the e-mail give the reader a good look at Agent Chase's investigation. It is clear she doesn't know who Brainiac 5 and the extra-dimensional Parasite are.

The story proper begins with Agent Chase interrogating Lois Lane in a room in the FBI's Metropolis base of operations about the claims that Lois is from another dimension. Lois looks somewhat haggard, but doesn't say anything to Chase. Before Agent Chase can pursue matters further, Kate Spencer, Lois's lawyer enters the room and manages to hustle Lois out of there since the charges aren't sticking too well as Marisa Leone isn't anywhere to be found.

The scene jumps back to Metropolis some two hours earlier, when the hubbub at the Daily Planet is going on and the Superman Family is battling it out with the Red Cloud. Supergirl says she'll save the plunging to the ground Man of Steel, while Superboys Connor and Jon Kent along with Brainiac 5 have to deal with red Cloud without getting near her. Supergirl saves Superman, while the two Superboys move toward Red Cloud.

At the Daily Planet, Agent Chase arrests Lois Lane, but their attention is diverted as Jimmy Olsen calls attention to what's going on outside.

Carrying the Man of Steel, it is pretty obvious to Supergirl that he is completely out of it and in bad shape. Meanwhile, the two Superboys circle the Red Cloud at super-speed, Brainiac 5 having devised a plan. Supergirl attempts to revive Superman, but doesn't seem to be having any luck with that.

Perry White orders everyone out of the Daily Planet building, but wants to get the story. Jimmy says he's getting the photos, and Lois says she's on the story. Marisol Leone slinks out of the Daily Planet building.

Outside, there are flashes of what appear to be red air escaping, and the Red Cloud loses consciousness.

The next thing the reader sees is the entire Superman Family, Brainiac 5, and Red Cloud in what is clearly the Phantom Zone. Superman is miraculously back to his normal self, and Brainiac 5 is holding a Phantom Zone projector while Connor Kent is holding the containment field holding the extra-dimensional Parasite. Superman tells Red Cloud that she can stay in the Phantom Zone for all eternity or that she can return to Earth and be imprisoned there. It's her choice.

Back in the present, Kate Spencer gets Lois Lane out of the FBI interrogation room. Agent Chase is still ticked off and still wondering if Lois is from another dimension, but Lois knows that Chase can figure it out. In the time it takes for the elevator to reach the ground floor, Chase realizes that it isn't Lois who's from another world - it's Leone.

The sequence moves to Stryker's Island prison, where the House of Kent and Brainiac 5 drop off the Red Cloud, she obviously having made her choice. This is followed by a scene where a prison guard is given a bribe to drop off a letter to Robinson Goode from Marisol Leone. Leone blames the Red Cloud gunning for Superman as the act that brought down the Invisible Mafia operation. The one rule of the Invisible Mafia was to never engage Superman directly. The Red Cloud's insistence brought down ruin upon them all. So now, the letter informs her, Leone hopes she goes straight to hell. Leone has left this planet to go to another Earth.

The Superman Family and Brainiac 5 discuss the recent events, and realizes that S.T.A.R. Labs has been behind all the recent woes. In a fit of anger, the reader watches as Superman demolishes the S.T.A.R. Labs building using his various super-powers, much to the shock and consternation of the others. However, we then see the same scene again, and realize the destruction was all in Superman's imagination. He wanted, wants to do that...but he won't.

In the aftermath of the events that have occurred, Brainiac 5 announces that it's time for him to return to the 31st Century and the Legion of Super-Heroes. He tells them that this has been a life-changing experience for him, and that he's grateful to them for so many things. Superman tells him that he was an enormous help to them in the struggle with the Invisible Mafia, and Jon Kent tells Brainiac 5 that he'll see him in the future tomorrow, as he's going to stay behind for a bit and hang out with his father. Supergirl tells Brainiac 5 that she would love an invitation to visit the 31st Century and the Legion of Super-Heroes; Brainiac 5 tells her that that's going to happen, actually. Supergirl then asks Brainiac 5 for some hopeful, but not too spoilery, news about the future, as she need some hope this day. Brainiac 5 whispers something in her ear, and she's very pleased. "I'll see you there, then," she tells him. Brainiac 5 departs into the timestream (via a time bubble?) saying,

"My honour. Thank you for showing me why the Age of Heroes was so apppropriately named. Thank you, Superman. Thank you, House of Kent."

As Brainiac 5 departs, Jon Kent asks him to tell Wildfire not to touch his stuff until he gets back.

Superman, Supergirl and the two Superboys are drawn back to the Daily Planet when Superman's super-hearing catches Lois's emergency word. The four heroes head for the Planet. They arrive there and learn that the emergency is a Clark thing, but Superman-level emergency. It turns out the Daily Planet has been bought by...Jimmy Olsen.


Commentary:
Once again, I will state here that I have no comments to make about the House of Kent storyline and what is going on in the tales running through the Action family of comics, except as it relates to the Legion of Super-Heroes. I don’t read the comics, other than the Legion appearances, and have no idea of what's been going on in the Superman (and Action Comics) titles. So, with that out of the way...

This story is the sixth and final part, the epilogue, of the "The House of Kent" storyline. While it is not a Legion of Super-Heroes story, it does have one Legionnaire (Brainiac 5) in it, and once again he plays a pivotal part in the story, using a Phantom Zone projector to deal with the Red Cloud. The story is mostly about wrapping up the odds and ends of the Invisible Mafia plot that's been going on for some time in the comic now, apparently since Brian Bendis first took over the comic actually, but I will say that I felt things wrapped up here a bit too quickly and a bit too easily. I suspect that this has to do with the impending Future State/5G/DC Bloodbath business that's going on behind the scenes, and Bendis is also said to be leaving the Superman Family of titles. That includes the Legion of Super-Heroes book as well, so I am wondering if he'll be leaving that title as well, and whether his storyline(s) there will be wrapping up.

As for Brainiac 5, his best scenes this issue come at the end, just before he returns to the 31st Century. There seems to be a set-up for a Brainiac 5/Supergirl...something, perhaps a romance, perhaps something else, but it makes me think that perhaps Supergirl will be paying a visit to the 31st Century and the Legion of Super-Heroes before too long. And I have to say I was intrigued by what Brainy whispered to Supergirl in that one panel, though I have to wonder whether the super-hearing of Superman and the two Superboys caught whatever it was.

In terms of the artwork this issue, John Romita, Jr. is at it once again, and to be honest, the artwork this issue was pretty...rough. There was a lot here in terms of scene shifting from huge action sequences and quiet interrogation scenes. I'm not crazy about his work this issue once more, but I will say that his layouts in the story worked quite well. There are two pages that are 9-panel grid pages. The story being told on those pages turns on the centre panel, almost like it is the axle the sequence rotates and focuses on, and I appreciated the cleverness of these.

I don't know whether I'm reading too much between the lines, but... The issue ends with the same "To be concluded..." blurb that this month's issue of Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #11 ends with, in a pretty similar font by Dave Sharpe. Since next month's issue is Bendis's last on the Superman titles, what this means for the Legion title remains to be seen.


Final Notes:
The story continues in the next issue...but since it doesn't concern the Legion of Super-Heroes, I won't be writing an entry here concerning it!





Next Issue: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #11

Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #10

And here's today's second current Legion of Super-Heroes read. This time out, the lead-up to the storyline that will seemingly end this current run of the title. Enjoy! :)






Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #10
December, 2020
"Untitled"
Script: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Ryan Sook
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colourist: Jordie Bellaire
Cover: Ryan Sook
Variant Cover: Darko LaFuente (pencils) & German Garcia (inks)
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Brian Cunningham


Mission Monitor Board:
Karate Kid, Saturn Girl, Superboy, Brainiac 5, Blok, Gold Lantern, Chameleon Boy, Shadow Lass, Phantom Girl, Wildfire, Colossal Boy, Ultra Boy, Lightning Lass, Doctor Fate, Timber Wolf, Lightning Lad, Dawnstar, Bouncing Boy, Monster Boy, Computo (cameo)

Guest Star:
Mon-El

Supporting Characters:
Dini City Commissioner December Sevenbergen; The Guardians of the Universe; General Crav Nah; General Zod and his New Krypton Welcoming Committee

Opposition:
The Parliament of Rimbor (elite guard); Mordru, Rogol Zaar (cameos)


Synopsis:
The issue begins with a splash page close-up on The Karate Kid. He explains his name is Val Armorr, talks about the martial arts and how they are still one of the purest forms of galactic cultural connection, that he is a master of all the martial arts, and that the karate aspect seems to excite his teammates the most. he explains that after General Crav Nah's attack on Legion HQ he was so upset that he excused himself to go on a meditation retreat, and thus ended up missing most of the trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes. He then goes on to recap the events of the last little while, that the trial of the Legion is over, Crav Nah has been arrested for conspiring against the United Planets, and that the Legion have split up across the galaxy in order to clean up and restore any damage from the Aquaman Trident incident. Oh, and he mentions that Superboy and Saturn Girl are now "coupled."

On Planet Gotham, Saturn Girl and Superboy are on a date. She explains to him that she's happy, but that they don't do "this" on her planet. On Titan, physical intimacy like kissing doesn't happen. Instead, they commune telepathically. Imra takes Jon into her mind, and he comments that it's so "clean". She tells him that it's actually not, which is a point of contention with her parents. He asks her not to show him what inside his own head, and she says she won't...and that their food has arrived. Imra tells him that Gotham's cuisine is tourist trash, but that it's excellent. However, their date is interrupted by the arrival of Inspector Sevenbergen, who says that as a cultural ambassador Saturn Girl shouldn't be dissing their classic onion rings. Saturn Girl thanks her for the call about Mordru, saying the Legion wanted to follow up on Mordru the Mad's escape but caught up in the trial. Sevenbergen says they have a lead on Mordru's whereabouts, but thinks the Legion needs to know what they've found. Magic. Superboy comments on "the other Kryptonite."

On the planet Oa, Gold Lantern, along with Brainiac 5 and Blok, has brought General Crav Nah to the Guardians of the Universe to face justice in light of his actions. When the Guardians inquire as to whether the General has anything to say, Crav says nothing, but before the Guardians can bestow the light of eternal justice upon him, Crav breaks free of his bonds, vowing revenge on the Legion. He is silenced by a punch from Blok, and then re-imprisoned in a fresh containment cell and removed from the premises. Gold Lantern admits to the Guardians that he feels overwhelmed and wants reassurance that he is doing his job well. The Guardians aver their faith in him, using his proper name of Kala Lour. The Guardians then ask Gold Lantern what he knows of the Great Darkness. Gold Lantern tells them of what the Legion knows to this point, and when Brainiac 5 asks the Guardians what they know of the Great Darkness, they are evasive. Blok senses that the Guardians are holding back information about the Great Darkness; he says as a Dryad, he can tell. The Guardians admit that the Great Darkness has been foreseen. However, they tell Brainiac 5 that they have kept it from him and the Legionnaires as they aren't sure if the Legion saves everything from the Great Darkness or is the cause of it.

On New Krypton, Chameleon Boy, Shadow Lass, Karate Kid, Phantom Girl, Wildfire and Colossal Boy have arrived to track down Mon-El, who quit the team in a huff. Chameleon Boy asks Shadow Lass, who now appears to be coupling with Mon-El, why he's so emotional and Shadow Lass replies that he lacks confidence. Wildfire belittles Mon-El, saying that he might have the powers of Superman, but he isn't the hero that Superman was. Chameleon Boy says they should have brought Jon Kent with them, but Phantom Girl says they voted not to. Shadow Lass says that Jon Kent is just another reminder to Mon-El of how not a Superboy he is. The Legionnaires are then met by General Zod, Mon-El's great-grandfather, who has survived these 1,000 years, as well as other inhabitants of New Krypton. They tell Zod they did not bring Jon Kent with them, as they're on New Krypton to find Mon-El. Zod says that he and Mon-El's grandmother thought that joining the Leg‭ion would be good for him, but... He tells them to follow him.

On the planet Rimbor, Jo Nah, surrounded by the bodies of several who challenged him, delivers the new that his father is gone, and says he is there as leader of the Legion to determine how the Legion can help and to open a discussion about how Rimbor can move forward. He is attacked by one of the female Parliament of Rimbor (Crav's elite guard) members with a sword, but Jo quickly deals with her. He tries to continue to get a response from the Rimborians on how the Legion can help them achieve a better future.

Back on Earth, Ayla Ranzz seeks out Brainiac 5 in his laboratory. The Coluan is studying records from the Age of Heroes, specifically on the Green Lantern Corps. Ayla tells Brainiac 5 that she wonders if she should be in the Legion. It took all of her willpower not to lash out at President Brande during the trial. She tells him that she's a justice warrior, that perhaps she doesn't fit in with the systemically entrenched Legion. Brainiac 5 tells her that the fact that she didn't strike out at the President tells him that she does understand and can be diplomatic, but that she has passion. She may not need the Legion, but they need that her for the progressiveness and pro-active nature of hers, for the fire that she has. Computo chimes in with, "Diplomacy will break your heart, kid" - a line attributed to OMAC. She also tells him that she knows about the Age of Heroes and the Green Lantern Corps, having studied up on the Age of Heroes when she was invited with her brother to join the Legion.

On Planet Gotham, Inspector Sevenberger tells Saturn Girl and Superboy that Mordru the Terrible escaped their custody, that his physical body disappeared but left a faint energy signature. They were able to cross-reference the energy signature and it appeared two planets away then another two planets away. They can't seem to figure out anything about it or how to follow it. Saturn Girl realizes that Mordru is using magic, and summons Doctor Fate to aid them. Fate was meditating and seems put out by having to answer the call. When he learns that it is Mordru they are seeking, Doctor Fate says they should have called him sooner. Using spells, Doctor Fate tells them that Mordru is on Xanthu, and that they need to go there now.

On Rimbor, Ultra Boy is not overly talkative to his fellow Legionnaires, Timber Wolf, Bouncing Boy, Lightning Lad, Dawnstar and Monster Boy. To his chagrin, he has been named planetary leader. He tells the others that he's trying to escape the influence and the sphere of his father, not become his father. However, Lightning Lad sees a silver lining: Rimbor has always been a problem, but now that it's ruled and governed by a Legionnaire, there's no problem. However, Ultra Boy points out that he cannot be the leader of the Legion and the leader of Rimbor. Lightning Lad and Monster Boy wonder why he can't, but aren't sure if that's "written somewhere."

On New Krypton, Zod leads Chameleon Boy, Shadow Lass, Karate Kid, Phantom Girl, Wildfire and Colossal Boy to the home of Mon-El. There, they learn that Mon-El has three daughters, Laraz, Conner and Lane. He is insistent on quitting the Legion. They tell him the Legion was acquitted during the trial and Crav is in Oan custody. When he asks if Jon Kent is still a member of the Legion and in the 31st Century, and learns that he is, Mon-El immediately flies off, leaving the three children in Zod's care.

And finally, on Xanthu, Mordru enters a dark cave system, using magic to shed a bit of light. He finds the person he is looking for, and informs him that Jon Kent from the 21st Century is living here in the right now. The person he finds is Rogol Zaar, enemy of all Krypton.


Commentary:
This issue of the Legion of Super-Heroes is a pretty decent one for the most part, as it is a stand-alone issue almost. The business with Aquaman's Trident is done. The Legion trial is done. But the story does give us the Legion trying to deal with several plots that need to be wrapped up, and it starts a whole new major plot, one that I'm not all that happy about (more on that later). The Superboy/Saturn Girl romance that seems to have been percolating for a bit is explored some more here, but that's an aside as they search for the missing Mordru. The current state of Rimborian politics, left a shambles by the conviction and sentencing of General Crav Nah is dealt with here, and the reader also get to see what Oa is like during this time. More is revealed about the Great Darkness. And the reader finally gets to see a bit more about Mon-El's home life and the world of New Krypton. What makes the story fascinating is that each of the storylines presented this issue offers hints and clues as to the future.

When it comes to the sequence on Oa with Gold Lantern, I have to say that I enjoyed the scene itself, though it seemed to be more about the Great Darkness that is coming rather than the sentencing and imprisonment of Ultra Boy's father. It was interesting to find out that he is "the chosen Gold Lantern" of *this* (my emphasis) dimension, seeming to confirm that this was a position of appointment and there are other Gold Lanterns in the Multiverse. It was also quite interesting, and not coincidental I think, that Brainiac 5 was studying ancient Green Lantern history. This makes me think there will be more Lantern backstory revealed in the (near) future.

Insofar as the ongoing story of Mon-El is concerned, I was surprised to learn that Zod is still alive after 1,000 years, but perhaps I shouldn't be. From what I recall of the Zod family history, Zod had at least one child, Lor-Zod, who used to be Chris Kent (Clark and Lois's adopted son in the pre-Flashpoint universe). I got the impression that Zod here is meant to be the original Zod from Superman's time, but am not clear if this was meant to be Lor-Zod (which would make more sense). And if he is Mon-El's grandfather, does that mean Jon married or had sex with Lor's potential daughter? In which case, that would technically make her Jon's niece. But, here's the thing... I thought the Legionnaires were supposed to be teenagers (at least from the age references we've seen in the series so far), so does this mean that Mon-El was just a regular teenager living a life at home with three daughters that he had at the start of puberty, and then suddenly the Legion recruited him? I am just so seriously confused with the whole Mon-El story and his (current) origin to be honest, and really don't like this version of the character.

My favourite scene in the entire issue had to be the one with Lightning Lass, or rather Ayla Ranzz, and Brainiac 5 in his lab. Ayla has come across in the series as feisty, very action-oriented, quick to use her lightning powers when the need arises, but here the reader learns about how doubts about being a Legionnaire. It's a lovely scene, and offers us an interesting pespective and something of a good twist on the Ayla/Brainy relationship in this Legion.

Once more, continuity rears its ugly head, or at least lack of continuity. On page 9, there is a throwaway line where Chameleon Boy refers to Shadow Lass coupling with Mon-El, when he asks her why he's so emotional. Except, in Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #9, the reader learned that it was Phantom Girl who was coupling with him; Shadow Lass has been involved with Cosmic Boy. Where is Brian Cunningham, and why isn't he doing his job as editor on the series? This is just...seriously annoying to me, and I'm sure it also bothers other readers.

My feelings insofar as the final page of the issue, revealing Rogol Zaar to still be alive in the 31st Century, are to be honest...not good. Brian Bendis is no Jim Shooter, Paul Levitz, Gerry Conway, Grant Morrison or Scott Snyder when it comes to writing with an internal consistency and bringing back his own villains to the story. The fact that Bendis felt that he needed to bring back his own villain for this, the Legion's second story arc, feels just like an egocentric move and one where the author is liking ideas for original villains and big baddies. And let's be honest, Mordru, a villain without equal who needs zero help or allies, certainly doesn't need Rogol Zaar at all.

Ryan Sook continues to provide the artwork on the comic, and his work is stellar. His artwork is, to be perfectly honest, the best part of the series all told. This issue is somewhat odd in that regard, however, as there are plenty of pages without any backgrounds and there are some questionable layout choices here. That said, I did enjoy the breathy, ethereal landscape of the mind's eye of Imra's telepathy on page 3. Monster Boy's minotaur on page 17 is also quite good. And Chameleon Boy's pretending to be Krypto and Streaky when on New Krypton on page 20 was delightful. That said, the sequence on Rimbor was somewhat annoying to be honest, as it's not clear several times what emotion Ultra Boy is supposed to be feeling. If the writer isn't going to have any thought balloons, then it behooves the art to be crystal clear on what message is being conveyed.


Final Notes:
This is the eighth issue out of ten so far that does not have a title for the story...

The Interlac at the bottom of the first page reads,
"Martial arts are a highly organized set of systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons. They were first developed in ancient times for self-defense and law enforcement and then later, competition. Most use them for physical, mental, and spiritual development. For many parts of the Galactic, it is a cornerstone of the preservation of intangible cultural heritage. They have become a large part of a variety of galactic cultures including New Krypton, parts of Planet Gotham, Winath, and, of course, the Japanese outpost on Jupiter which is about to start its millennium celebrations at the end of the year."...

Karate Kid's real name is Val Armorr. Based on the Interlac text (see above), it's possible that he comes from the Japanese outpost on Jupiter...

Inspector Sevenbergen on Planet Gotham is a homage to either Karen Berger or Kurt Schaffenberger, or perhaps both...

Gold Lantern's real name is Kala Lour, and he is a former teacher who was offered the power ring by the Guardians of Oa. The character's name seems to be a pun of sorts on the word "colour"...

General Zod is Mon-El's great-grandfather. It is unclear whether he is the original Zod or Lor-Zod, however...

Mon-El has three daughters. Their names are Laraz, Conner, and Lane. There's no indication in the series so far who their mother(s) is(are).





Next Issue: Action Comics Vol 1 #1027

Action Comics Vol 1 #1026

Time for another current read of the Legion of Super-Heroes comics run. Once more, Brainiac 5's adventures with the Superman Family. Enjoy! :)






Action Comics Vol 1 #1026
December, 2020
"The House of Kent Part Five"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colourist: Brad Anderson
Cover: John Romita, Jr. (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Brad Anderson (colours)
Variant Cover: Lucio Parillo
Assistant Editor: Bixie Mathieu
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: James S. Rich


Featuring:
Superman

Mission Monitor Board:
Superboy (Jon Kent), Brainiac 5

Guest Stars:
Superboy (Conner Kent), Supergirl

Supporting Cast:
Lois Lane; Perry White; Jimmy Olsen

Opposition:
Invisible Mafia (Marisol Leone, Red Cloud); Extra-dimensional ("Uber-")Parasite


Synopsis:
The story continues from the previous issue. The issue opens up with a splash page similar to those found in the current run of Legion of Super-Heroes comics, in which Brainiac 5 summarizes for the reader what he's been up to, why he came to the 21st Century, and a recap of what's been happening to the House of Kent in terms of the Invisible Mafia. He also marvels about having seen a toilet.

Brainiac 5 stands on the roof of the building on which Connor Kent's Superboy lies, the body of Superman's protege having been drained by the extra-dimensional Parasite. The extra-dimensional Parasite continues to fight Superman, Supergirl and Jon Kent, unfazed by the presence of the four, well currently three Kryptonians. It turns out that Connor Kent isn't dead, either due to his unique physiology or that the extra-dimensional Parasite's powers are only a temporary effect. Superman tells Jon to get Connor and "your friend from the future" (i.e., Brainiac 5) to safe place, the Hall of Justice, perhaps, but Jon replies that Brainiac 5 can handle that himself and besides, Superman and Supergirl need him there.

As the fight continues to rage, Brainiac 5 flies close by, scanning and trying to analyze the extra-dimensional Parasite. Meanwhile, the Red Cloud is observing from the roof of the S.T.A.R. Labs building. Brainiac 5 seems to be aware of her presence there. Needless to say, this is a form of Parasite, and getting in close and dusting knuckles plays to the villain's powers. Heat vision, punches and close combat aren't going to work...and they don't. The Superman Family's attacks prove fruitless, and a massive blast from the extra-dimensional Parasite sends the heroes flying, Brainiac 5 crashing back onto the roof.

In the meantime, inside the Daily Planet building, Marisol Leone continues to say that Lois Lane is behind all the evidence implicating her in crime, and still maintains that she's not the Lois Lane of this Earth. As the battle continues to rage outside the building, shaking it a couple of times, Agent Chase tells Perry White to implement the evacuation protocols. Leone resists this, and fires Perry and continues to blame Lois for what's going on.

Back outside, Supergirl realizes that the heroes need a different strategy, and tells the Superman Family to stand down and regroup. Jon says that he thinks they should listen to Aunt Kara. The battle slows for the moment, and the extra-dimensional Parasite answers Supergirl's question about what he wants. He tells them that on his Earth he is/was the original Parasite, Raymond Maxwell Jenson. On his Earth, he killed all the Kryptonians of his world, permanently absorbing their powers. He didn't know there were other Earths until he was invited here, but now that he does, he plans to eat the heroes of this world. When he reveals he is from another Earth, Superman takes a peak at S.T.A.R. Labs, and sees that the Red Cloud is standing there. Other-Earth Parasite tells the Kents that he doesn't need to touch them to drain their abilities, just that it's faster. Before he can drain the Man of Steel, Supergirl clubs the "Uber-Parasite" with a massive girder. Superman tells Jon to back up Supergirl's play, but that he's to keep his distance from the Other Earth Parasite, and he flies off.

Back at the Daily Planet, Marisol Leone continues to claim that she can prove Lois Lane is not from this Earth, and that Lane used Leone's own information and papers to cast the blame the other way. Agent Chase tells everyone to sit down.

Meanwhile, Supergirl continues to be smart in her fight against the extra-dimensional Parasite, using girders to keep her distance and push him away from the others. At least, until the moment when there is a large flash of light - and he disappears! Supergirl asks the others where he went, and it turns out that with Brainiac 5's help, the somewhat recovered Connor Kent was able to shrink him with Brainiac's shrinking ray. He's been "Kandored." Supergirl thinks that he's now so cute, and says she wants to keep the extra-dimensional Parasite, but cooler heads prevail. Jon Kent uses is super-cold breath on him; realizing that this being is still a massive threat, even if he's diminutive, puts him in a standard Legion containment field. They debate what to do with the villain, and come to the decision that they have to send him back to where he came from, trapping him there forever. They look around to see where Superman has gotten to.

The angry Superman has gone to confront the Red Cloud. Calling her a murderer and still seething over the death of Melody Moore, Superman battles the Red Cloud, who seems almost upset that no one thought she would have the nerve to kill anyone. As the fight goes on, Superman appears to be losing battle. However, Supergirl, Jon, Connor and Brainiac 5 come charging towards the confrontation. Supergirl says she has a plan, and tells them to wait until she signals them. The Red Cloud looks like she's willing to take on all of the Kryptonians.

Back inside the Daily Planet building, the confrontation between Marisol Leone and Lois Lane continues, Agent Chase seeming unable or unwilling to stop it. Things become more violent when Leone brings Lois's dead father, Sam Lane, into the conversation. Agent Chase then arrests Lois Lane. The story continues in the next issue.


Commentary:
Once again, I will state here that I have no comments to make about the House of Kent storyline and what is going on in the tales running through the Action family of comics, except as it relates to the Legion of Super-Heroes. I don’t read the comics, other than the Legion appearances, and have no idea of what's been going on in the Superman (and Action Comics) titles. So, with that out of the way...

This story is the fifth part of the "The House of Kent" storyline. While it is not a Legion of Super-Heroes story, it does have one Legionnaire (Brainiac 5) in it, and he does play a pivotal role in this issue. To start with, all of the additional text this issue is from Brainiac 5's point of view. This includes the splash page, which is done in the same style as the splash pages in the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 series, with Brainiac 5. I find that there are complaints that I have about the text heavy splash pages in the Legion book, but to be honest, I liked this one. Not only was this a good recap of the House of Kent storyline to this point, but it also gave us some insight into Brainiac 5's coming back to the 21st Century with Superboy Jon Kent. The Interlac on this page was funny, but shed a bit of light on Brainy as well. See the translation of the Interlac in the Final Notes, below.

Brainiac 5 is quite useful in this story, as he manages to scan the extra-dimensional Parasite and learns something about it that makes him think of using the Kandorian shrink ray on it. It seems that it's actually Connor Kent who uses the shrink ray on the villain, but I'm not positive about that, as to be honest the fourth panel on page 18 of who's holding the weapon is a bit out of kilter for me, though it definitely looks like Connor is holding the weapon. That said, Brainiac 5 imprisoning the now tiny, but still dangerous, Parasite villain in a Legion containment field is a good move, though it isn't clear what they intend to do with the creature (despite how the text reads). And in good news, at least John Romita, Jr. has got Brainiac 5 flying around in a normal fashion, rather than these weird ways from the previous two issues.

Speaking of the artwork, John Romita Jr.'s art remains a blocky, scratch-filled batch of panels for my taste. That said, I did like the layout of this pages artwork and panels. Most of this issue is basically the knock-down,drago-out fight between the Superman Family and the "Uber-Parasite" (Kara's term for him). With such a gigantic, epic scale combat, the reader needs to feel the chaos and the action (no pun intended) that should ensue. The issue unfolds with pages tumbling, with vertical two-page spreads that literally have the reader flipping the book over in their hands. It was like the equivalent of a frenetic hand-held camera series of shots in a(n action) movie, and worked really well here. So Romita, Jr. is to be commended for that.

I will also comment on Supergirl here. I haven't read or kept track of the tales of Supergirl over the last few years, but it seems that she's been...terribly mishandled by the folks at DC Comics in the past decade or so. One of the things I enjoyed this issue and the last was the fact that Kara comes across as mature, young woman bright and optimistic, with smarts and strategic sense, and a natural leadership ability, From last issue's bit about being insulted about not being invited to join the Legion to this issue's taking charge of matters in the fight against the extra-dimensional Parasite when she realized they were going about it the wrong way, to her turn to the Super"girl" who found the shrunken creature cute and wanting to keep it, the writing of her character in this story has been delightful to read. I'm not really fond of Brian Bendis's work on Legion of Super-Heroes, his writing there is atrocious at times, but here he seems to have an understanding of Supergirl. I can only hope that since Kara's own book has been cancelled, perhaps she might find her way into Legion of Super-Heroes, where I can only hope that Bendis will continue to write her the way he's done during this House of Kent storyline.


Final Notes:
The story continues in the next issue...

On the opening page, the Interlac reads,
"A space-time continuum permissions visa is not a real thing. Brainiac 5 created it to give himself permission to visit his ancient heroes. I mean, we get it, it's exciting but, let's be honest, he made it up. Time travel!"...





Next Issue: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #10

Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #9

Here's another read of the current Legion of Super-Heroes comics. This time out, the second part of the Trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Enjoy! :)






Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #9
November, 2020
"The Trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes - Part 2"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: See the Credits in the Commentary, below
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colourist: Jordie Bellaire
Cover: Ryan Sook, Wade Von Grawbadger, Mikel Janin, Travis Moore & Jordie Bellaire
Variant Cover: Andre Lima Araujo (pencils) & Chris O'Halloran (inks)
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Brian Cunningham


Mission Monitor Board:
Shadow Lass, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Dawnstar, Bouncing Boy, Monster Boy, Blok, Wildfire, Timber Wolf, Invisible Kid, Dream Girl, Mon-El, Triplicate Girl, Lightning Lass, Lightning Lad, Gold Lantern, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Doctor Fate, White Witch, Ultra Boy, Superboy; Star Boy, Ferro Lad, Phantom Girl, Princess Projectra, Matter-Eater Lad, Sun Boy, Brainiac 5, Shrinking Violet

Guest Star:
U.P. President R.J. Brande

Supporting Cast:
Legion-U.P. Liasion Rose Forrest (cameo)

Opposition:
General Crav


Synopsis:
The story continues from the previous issue. The issue begins with a one-page close-up of Tasmia Mallor, aka Shadow Lass, telling us about her basic origins and giving the reader a recap of the events leading up to the Legion being put on trial. She speaks of the Legion being born from the ideas of the Great Heroes unifying their worlds to bring peace. Shadow Lass stands behind the ideas of the United Planets, but most importantly, she drops the fact that the people of Talok VIII have a "pure view" of what is just.

The reader then gets a second sort of recap page, where R.J. Brande, the President of the United Planets, declares her position. She talks about how the Legion was her idea. That their mission statement was to emulate the choices of the 20th Century's original Age of Heroes, but not the hubris and the mistakes. However, they have broken the rules and not followed the tenets of the United Planets. Accusing the Legion of breaking one of the cardinal rules of the space-time continuum by bringing Superboy Jon Kent here as part of "so-called training" and unlawfully kidnapping a a member of the Elite Council of the United Planets, she has to put the Legion on trial, possibly to disband them. And one way to figure out the motives of the Legion is to look back at who they recruited.

Once more, President Brande shows the U.P. Council selected excerpts from the audition memexes of various Legion members. She begins with the audition memexe of Dawnstar, from her homeworld of Starhaven. Dawnstar is intrigued to meet people from Titan or Braal, and even more so meeting one from each world. Imra and Rokk are impressed by her actions of taking on the Red Horraz and beating them, and want her to join the Legion. Dawnstar doesn't want to join until she hears that the Legion has complete autonomy over their actions. They work with, not for, the UP.

The next audition memexe shows us how Charles Foster Taine got into the Legion. Not wanting the name "The Bullet," he wants to be called Bouncing Boy. He tells them it's all about his invulnerability and the velocity, and that he can't be hurt at all. However, he's not one to celebrate the United Planets, having even written his doctoral in regards of the matter. It turns out Charles is a doctor meta-physical gateway science. Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl tell him that not everyone in the room likes the United Planets, and that they are together specifically to try and help fix it.

The next audition memexe deals with Arune Singh from the planet Tor-etto, aka Monster Boy. He tells Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad that he's not the same kind of "changemorph", as it's a completely different kind of transformation, not actually a change. He can turn into any monster, though on Tor-etto the term "monster" is an earned title of respect and not a perjorative. When asked what the biggest monster he's turned into is, Arune changes into what Lightning Lad calls a "Moby Dick of Space" (!!), though the others don't get the reference. Cosmic Boy says he'd like to see the President or the United Planets force them to do anything they don't want to.

The President then claims the Legionnaires were speaking words of rebellion and revolt even before they were a Legion. Shadow Lass is shocked by the low quality of the argument and the use of selected bits, but the President says she has many more files she can show them. Shadow Lass claims she has plenty that she can show the U.P. Council, starting with Dream Girl's audition, but before they can continue, Blok interrupts the proceedings. He says that he served on her personal security team, swore an oath to her and her office, and doesn't understand how she could do this after everything he gave to her. Shadow Lass says that perhaps they should play Blok's audition, but Wildfire interrupts her, and demands that they look at his audition.

Watching the three founders interview and audition Drake Burroughs, aka Wildfire, they learn that his powers aren't "fire"-related, but that he's an anti-energy generator with no body in the (containment) suit. Drake says he's not there to audition, he's there to see if they're for real. he thinks the United Planets is the greatest thing ever, and would proudly lay his energies on the line for the President and this amazing partnership (i.e., the U.P. and the Legion), but it has to be the real thing. He'll only join the team if they are truly do the real thing in defending the galaxy and maintaining peace. The three founders welcome Drake into the Legion.

The next audition memexe shows us Brin Londo, aka Timber Wolf. He has taken the three Legion founders to Zuun, or at least the remains of the scorched world. Nothing grows on Zuun, not any longer. He was made to defend the planet, but by the time he returned to do so, it was too late. Brin tells them that this is what happens when there is no one there to help the creatures who need it. He brought them to Zuun so they could experience the planet and understand how important the United Planets is and what they're fighting for. The crying Imra Ardeen welcomes him to the Legion of Supr-Heroes.

Back in the present, Invisible Kid addresses the U.P. Council. He says he was shocked to hear the President of the United Planets pain the Legion as the opposition, and thought they were in complete alliance with her. He tells them he gave up everything to join the Legion, saying his name is Jacques Foccart, the Invisible Kid, from the planet Kit-son. He joined the Legion because his homeworld exists in a different part of the visual spectrum than Earth does. He says he understands that it's hard for people to remember them because they can't see his people. Rose Forrest told him the old expression "Out of sight, out of mind" when they first met, and he says that the expression makes so much sense when it comes to his people and others, as well as the Legion and the United Planets. The U.P., the Legion, these are perfect ways to connect planets to the rest of the galaxy. To say that the Legion is opposed to the United Planets is insane; they are an extension of it. He adds that this doesn't mean all these Legionnaires don't have room to grow and evolve, and says, "To be quite frank, I am not a fan of *all* these Legionnaires." But that every one of them is a dedicated warrior to the their mutual cause. Invisible Kid says the Legion caught General Crav Nah doing a criminal act, and that the Legion should not be having to defend themselves for doing what they were expected to do. And that General Crav Nah should be standing there on trial.

At that moment, General Crav Nah suddenly returns, with Jo Nah, Ultra Boy, in chains! He tells the Council that Jo Nah betrayed Rimbor's ways, so has been cast out and be dealt with as a criminal by Rimborian law. And that each planet should deal with this Legion of criminals according to their own customs for the crimes they've committed. President Brande acknowleges Crav's return, but says he has no longer got any say on the United Planets Council . Crav says that she let "these children" destroy the United Planets, and Rimbor will return to its seat when justice has been served.

Mon-El has had enough, however, and he violently attacks General Crav, beating him up and freeing Ultra Boy in the process, but annoying everyone else. many of the Legionnaires follow Mon-El out of the meeting into the skies above. They try to reason with Mon-El, but he flies off in a huff after screaming, "I am Kryptonian Prime!" Monster Boy asks if Mon-El just quit, and Colossal Boy says that he hopes so, as Mon-El's "exhausting."

Shortly after, back inside the Council Hall, while everyone calms down, Dream Girl then steps up and tells the President and all assembled that she has been dreaming about this, all that has occurred to this point, for years, but that it's nothing but a prelude of what's to come. She tells them, "A Great Darkness is coming."

Some time later, the three Triplicate Girls have a debate or an argument, depending on how you view it, about whether they should stay part of the Legion or whether they should return to Cargg. They don't want to be arrested if the trial of the Legion goes badly, and Yellow Luornu says that it feels as if they're being used by the President. The three decide to talk to some of the other Legionnaires. Lightning Lass says she feels as if they're stuck in a theatre, and why she has problems with the Legion being involved with the U.P. in the first place. Lightning Lad says someone has to stand up to them, otherwise none of the other fights matter. Gold Lantern feels the President is punishing the Legion for doing what they were told to do. Chameleon Boy says what he told Brainiac 5, that his mother is an unconscionable coward, and that she won't even show her true face to the galactic. That distracts Blue Luornu for a moment, and she's told to focus by Yellow Luornu. Shadow Lass is trying to contact Saturn Girl about returning to the face the Council. Colossal Boy says they should go back in to the Council and apologize for Mon-El, then get the hell out of there. Doctor Fate says that's a terrible idea, and says that he's been summoned to the Great Hall. And Saturn Girl wants too know why Fate has been summoned to the Council Hall.

In the Council Hall, Doctor Fate tells the President that he has been taught not to ignore precognitive dreams, but that it's more about interpretation than anything else. He says that chaos in the Galactic has been growing for cycles, and there was almost no balance. But from the moment the Legion was announced, the balance has shifted. Regardless, the concerns brought on by Dream Girl's statement are very real, and that he has felt the reverberations of the Great Darkness but isn't certain that it is going to happen. If the Great Darkness does not come, it will be because the Legion was actively working to avoid it. And if the Great Darkness does come, the Legion will be ready and present to deal with it.

Xola Aq, aka the White Witch, has been watching what is going on as Doctor Fate talks, and is surprised that she knows more about the Great Darkness than the Lords of Order. She is the daughter of Mordru, though she hides that fact from everyone including Saturn Girl, and while she hates Mordru and she hates the President who personally recruited her, she feels that she must speak up. She says that the true reason General Crav was seeking powers such as the Trident and other artefacts including magical ones is because Rimbor already knows that the Great Darkness is coming. He is attacking and betraying the United Planets using the Legion so that he can eventually take it over himself! When Crav confesses to this, Gold Lantern encases the Rimborian king in a containment field. The President tells Gold Lantern to get him out of there and take him for ultimate justice. She then tells the Legion the trial is over, and they have exonerated themselves. Long Live the Legion!

As the Legionnaires depart Daxam for Earth, Superboy and Saturn Girl stay behind for a bit and talk. He tells her that he's grateful for having brought him to the future, Great Darkness and all aside, but has to keep remembering that she can read his mind. Saturn Girl tells him that he hasn't offended her with the constant romantic thoughts he's had towards her since the moment they met. Saturn Girl and Superboy share a kiss.


Commentary:
This issue continues the story from Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #8, and actually has the trial of the Legion that was promised to us last issue. Bendis uses the backdrop of the trial to once more show us some audition vids (aka memexes) of several Legionnaires (Dawnstar, Boouncing Boy, Monster Boy, Wildfire, and Timber Wolf) to highlight seditious intent on the part of the Legion, but also the nobler cause for which some Legionnaires joined the team. The reader not only gets background information on the team members (also establishing new origins for some of the characters) but also demonstrates very clearly that the Legion has never wanted to be the lapdog of the United Planets. The issue has the added bonus of dropping the hint about the next big plot that is to come, and finally gives the reader the motivation behind the actions of General Crav Nah of Rimbor that were unclear for the first six issues or so. Finally!

This means that it essentially took two issues and dozens of artists to tell the reader that the leader of Rimbor was plotting against the United Planets, and that the President of the United Planets was setting up the Legion in order to trick the leader of Rimbor into admitting that he was plotting. To be honest, I have to admit to wondering if that's all there was to this. To be honest, it sounds like a throw-away mini-plot in a set-up to a classic Jim Shooter or Paul Levitz tale, not the story itself... Or perhaps this is all about setting up the Great Darkness story. But, and correct me if I'm wrong, didn't Crav Nah already admit to this a few issues ago when the United Planets challenged him about Aquaman's Trident?

There is plenty of characterization in this issue, moreso than we've seen in the first seven or so issues of the new title, some of it good and some of it pretty bad. I mentioned in the discussion of the first part of this story that Shadow Lass wasn't fighting General Crav Nah and his Rimborian forces and posited that she might be a traitor or some such. However, the mention here on the first page that Talokians see all things in stark terms and that it gives them a very pure view of what is just made me wonder whether Tasmia actually thinks that General Crav Nah has a just cause. If that's the case, intriguing things could be ahead. Wildfire provides the reader with an interesting perspective, one that is somewhat different than his earlier incarnations, in that he's very pro-active, and joined the Legion on the condition that they do the "real thing" and truly defend the galaxy and maintain peace. It's a refreshing twist to the character, yet it still sounds like the Wildfire who often wanted to jump in on the action and had something of a hot temper. Then there's Timber Wolf. Timber Wolf's original origin story was fitting for the Silver Age of comics, but here he is portrayed as having been created too late to "defend" a now scorched homeworld of Zuun (notice the difference in spelling here, too). His stating that it's all about helping "the creatures" that need it is a wonderful statement and sheds some new light on Brin Londo. This makes me wonder if he is going to be the Legion's ecological warrior and defend nature and all that good stuff. By far, my favourite characterization this issue was the page on Xola Aq, aka White Witch. The revelations that she was personally chosen to join the Legion by the President of Earth, that she is Mordru's daughter, a fact that she is concealing from all the others (especially Saturn Girl), and how much she hates Mordru, the President, and a third something (perhaps the Legion?) spoke volumes about the character, and adds a good deal of personality to the character. The fact that she revealed the truth of what the Rimborians were up to was nice and made a lot of sense here. Just great stuff.

The page featuring Jacques Foccart's Invisible Kid was, interesting in terms of the monologue by the hero, shedding some light on him and his people, but was graphically almost like a joke pulled by the artist - and it should be noted there's no credit for the artist of this page! That said, I thought that this page had two well-made points to it: All of the Legionnaires have a lot of room to grow and evolve, and to quote the second point, "I am *not* a fan of *all* these Legionnaires." That said, it's still really annoying that the readers don't get to actually see Jacques for the most part, though it's explained here. But, if that's the case, why bring in Jacques as Invisible Kid at all?

On the negative side, the dialogue at times seems to be an absolute ramble, making me feel like Bendis is only using the dialogue and monologues from the Legionnaires to take up space. I am beginning to find it seriously grating that Triplicate Girl, her unique design this time out aside, only ever seems to argue with herself all the time. And I'm starting to wonder about the character because we haven't seen a single issue yet where Luornu has merged back into a single person. Makes me wonder if she really has the power to split into three girls, or is she actually three girls who share a mind? And then there's Mon-El... I was disappointed to learn earlier in the series that he's now a Kryptonian, rather than a Daxamite, but am seriously annoyed that he's rather grating, something of a whiner, and very impulsive. It's pretty clear that this is not the level-headed Mon-El who spent a thousand years in the Phantom Zone, and I really don't like this version of him. And I seem to be not alone in that sentiment, as the other Legionnaires aren't that fond of Mon-El that much either.

In terms of characterization, the biggest problem I have with this issue, and with the first part of this story as well, was that I assumed that each Legionnaire would be getting one page devoted to them in the two issues. The Legionnaires that haven't been focused on at all are Shrinking Violet (who doesn't even appear in the comics all that much), Karate Kid (who seems to be a racial stereotype to this point), Sun Boy, Star Boy, Matter-Eater Lad, and the green skeletal person I'm assuming is Chemical King. In some ways, that feels like a waste of artists and their abilities on depicting Legionnaires, and that's a shame.

And then there's the matter of Saturn Girl and Jon Kent's relationship that seems to be starting out for real here. While I understand that one can't expect the same couplings of Legionnaires in every continuity, and while I know that Imra has been attracted to other men in previous incarnations of the Legion (the almost wedding with Rokk and the affair with Jo Nah are two that come to mind), I have to ask: why? Imra knows of Jon's attraction to her, but hasn't given any indication of being attracted to him. I have to wonder if Imra has been manipulating Jon Kent throughout the series to this point, and whether this is just another way of her keeping him under...close observation. I'm also somewhat bothered by the fact that there's been no evidence there's anything at all between Garth and Imra. Not even a hint as to whether they're friends. But Jon and Imra? To be honest, I'm not fond of this development at all.

I also have to say something here about continuity this issue, though it has been a complaint over the series as a whole. On the Dawnstar page (page 4), Mike Grell draws her with her classic costume and the true feather wings. Even though Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy have the current hairstyles, they are both wearing classic costumes, Imra her bikini and Rokk his black corset look. Either the editors just let Mike Grell get away with this, perhaps as an homage to the classic Legion, or the editors are just not doing their job very well here. Another continity glitch occurs in the story when Ultra Boy is clearly shown in the Great Hall just to the left of and slightly behind Shadow Lass on page 3, yet supposedly on page 13 shows up in chains when General Crav Nah arrives to confront the Council. Obviously no one was paying attention here either, eh editor? And how does Triplicate Girl go from being in the Great Hall to being in Metropolis again (page 17) and then being back in the Great Hall again? Just baffling the editorial discontinuities that are happening in this series.

Needless to say, I can't end the discussion of this issue without mentioning the art once more. First off, here's the listing of artists this issue.





The artwork this issue, as with the previous issue, features one artist or pair of artists per page of the issue, and once again is a bit of a mixed bag, though there's some tremendous stuff this time out. Here are some of my thoughts about the issue's artwork. Right off the bat, what can you say about Mike Grell's art on page 4? It's absolutely delightful as a bit of Legion lore, makes one question why they went with the electronic or holographic or whatever they are wings the current Dawnstar has. Just a priceless piece of art, that makes it clear Grell could easily come back to the Legion again and wouldn't have missed a beat. Ivan Reis and Joe Prado do a good job on page 5's Bouncing Boy bit. There's a sense of innocence and youthfulness to the page, and Bouncing Boy looks truly "inflatable" in this set of panels. as a bit of Legion lore, almost like giving a finger to Bendis and editor Cunningham, in that he draws Dawnstar in her old, original costume with the real, feather wings and Imra in her bikini outfit and Cosmic Boy in his black corset. Sure, he gave them the new hairstyles, but still, this is just priceless...and I loved it. I have to mention Nick Derington's page 6 simply for the Monster Boy as the Moby Dick of Space bit and the homage to the classic Legion tale. Lots of fun. I'm not crazy about James Harren's page 7, as the whole page comes across as a bit cartoonish, reminding me of Dan Hipp's work in the previous issue. Blok comes across very blocky once again, and there's no room for expression on the poor Dryadian's face the way he's drawn here, despite the emotional sequence that is happening. Nicola Scott's page 9, taking place on the world of Zuun and giving up a Timber Wolf insight, is quite superb. The feel of desolation in the first panel is just eerie and creepy, and the tears on Imra's face in the bottom panel just makes everything more emotion fraught to the reader. I've got nothing to add to what I said earlier about the Invisible Kid material on page 10. The artwork by Jim Cheung is quite slick and has a good feel to it. But, man that is a *lot* of punches thrown by Mon-El! Gary Frank and Tula Lotay bring an interesting perspective to Dream Girl on pages 13 and 14, and she is quite aetherial in both, but Tula Lotay's piece of art is just...stunning. And is that a Boom Tube that the reader sees there? Hmm... I am not thrilled about Riley Rossmo's art on page 15 and Gene Luen Yang's work on page 16. Both seem very manga and cartoonish to me, and are probably my two least favourite pieces in the two issues overall. The Doctor Fate artwork by Kevin Nolan on page 17 and Michael Fiffe on page 18 are both pretty good in different ways, but I had thought this Doctor Fate was female based on earlier issues. Another continuity glitch, perhaps? And then the White Witch... Jenny Frison does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the character on page 19, and it's a marvellous piece that would look good as a poster.

In the final reading, the second part of the Trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes isn't really a trial per se, but more an attempt by author Bendis to bring to a conclusion the entire Aquaman's Trident plot and set up the Great Darkness plot (whatever that will be in this incarnation of the Legion), but also explain the motivation for Rimbor's actions in the first six or so issues. In essence, the trial is a set-up for catching General Crav Nah in his web of lies and betrayal, but it also offers a few new revelations and some insights to a few of the Legionnaires. The issue, like the first part, was a mixed bag in terms of both the story and the artwork.


Final Notes:
This issue marks only the second in the current Legion series to actually have a title...

The Mission Monitor listing above is based on the image of the characters on page 3, and all those who appear (or not, as is the case with Invisible Kid on page 10) in the story itself. Notably absent is Computo, who is only depicted this issue on the cover, and the once more absent Chemical King (?). On page 3, I don't recognize the character standing next to Gold Lantern and below Bouncing Boy, but it looks like a Green Lantern!...

The Interlac on page 1, above the image of General Crav Nah reads, "Headlines"...

The Interlac on page 1, in the upper right hand side, reads,
"The trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes is being broadcast live to the entire Galactic. It is being translated into 97 different base languages and 700 different dialects. The only planetary system not running the trial live is Rimbor, who has accused the Legion and the gathered United Planets of egregious criminal behavior."...

The Interlac text on the bottom of the first page reads,
"It is unknown whether Rimbor Leader Crav, the General Nah or his son and newly elected Legion leader Jo Nah, Ultra Boy, will appear before this court."

and

"Rimbor very publically denounced their seat at the United Planets after the Legion of Super-Heroes intercepted what they believed to be an illegal interaction between Rimbor and the Horraz."...

The Interac text at the bottom of page 2 reads,
"As stated in the United Planet Bylaws, the President acts as prosecutor for any case brought forth to the body."

"RJ Brande is a skilled litigator who successfully negotiated peace between New Krypton and Thanagar. Her approval rating across the galactic is 66%."

"The Legion's approval rating is 87%."

and

"She is constantly checking."...

Monster Boy is actually given a full name here, Arune Singh, of the planet Tor-etto. When the Legionnaires tell him they already have a "changemorph," the reader learns his powers are a completely different kind of transformation. However, the reader never finds out why the Legion is allowing two "changemorphs" on the team...

The reference on page 6 to the "Moby Dick of Space" is a homage to the Super-Moby Dick of Space that the original Legion first encountered in Adventure Comics Vol 1 #332, in which Lightning Lad lost his arm (though it was restored later). It is ironic that Lightning Lad mentions it, and the other two Legionnaires don't get the reference...

Timber Wolf's homeworld of Zuun is an ecological wasteland. In a new origin, he was taken from Zuun and experimented on, giving him powers, to make him a soldier and warrior to defend the place, but by then it was too late...

Jacques Foccart is Invisible Kid here, but he now comes from the planet Kit-Son. This is an homage to former Legion artist Barry Kitson. It is a world that exists in a different part of the visual spectrum than that of Earth...

On page 14, when Dream Girl says, "A Great Darkness is coming," one can see what might be a Boom Tube in the background...

White Witch is Xola Aq, though in this version of Legion continuity, she is the daughter of Mordru and was brought into the Legion by President Brande herself. Her name is the homage to the original story in which White Witch appeared as The Hag in Adventure Comics Vol 1 #351-352. In that story, she was enchanted to become evil. She was revealed to be Mysa Nal, Nura (Dream Girl) Nal's sister, who had pursued a different (magical) path. Whether she is still really Mysa Nal in the current series remains to be seen...





Next Issue: Action Comics Vol 1 #1026

Action Comics Vol 1 #1025

Here's another read of the current Legion of Super-Heroes run of comics. Back to Brainiac 5's time in the modern day. Enjoy! :)






Action Comics Vol 1 #1025
November, 2020
"The House of Kent Part Four"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colourist: Brad Anderson
Cover: John Romita, Jr. (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Brad Anderson (colours)
Variant Cover: Lucio Parillo
Assistant Editor: Bixie Mathieu
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: James S. Rich


Featuring:
Superman

Mission Monitor Board:
Superboy (Jon Kent), Brainiac 5

Guest Stars:
Superboy (Conner Kent), Supergirl

Supporting Cast:
Lois Lane; Perry White; Jimmy Olsen

Opposition:
Invisible Mafia (Dr. Glory, Marisol Leone, Red Cloud); Extra-dimensional Parasite


Synopsis:
The story continues from the previous issue. Years ago, and in another place, a very young Dr. Glory meets with a much younger Marisol Leone in a shabby diner. Dr. Glory says she can get Marisol Leone out of the place. This will be the seventh time Dr. Glory has done this, with no customer complaints, and it will be the last time, as she's going to be going with Leone on this trip. The destination is a plum one, and Glory tells her that they both need to start over. The two are interrupted by a battle that occurs outside as the Crime Syndicate of America becomes involved outside the diner in an attack. Leone says she has to get off this Earth, which is clearly Earth-3.

In the present day, Clark is sending a story to Lois (Lane, his wife) to print about Marisol Leone, the Red Cloud, the murder of Melody Moore and the Invisible Mafia. He tells that he's got the entire Super=Family with him - Superboy Connor Kent, Superboy Jon Kent and Supergirl, along with Legion of Super-Heroes member Brainiac 5 - out looking for them. The Invisible Mafia has to end tonight.

They arrive at the Invisible Mafia's former base, and after Brainiac 5 confirms using his technology that there are no traps or things "rigged" in place, Superman rips the walls to the place apart, allowing the egress. They find the place has been totally abandoned, but do find a wrecked, busted car. Superman is still reeling somewhat from the death of Melody Moore, blaming himself for not saving her. The family is supportive of him, with both Jon and Kara reminding him that he isn't to blame, as he can't be everywhere.

Meanwhile, Dr. Glory arrives at S.T.A.R. Labs to find that Red Cloud has taken out everyone who was still at the torn apart facility, and enact the plan set up by Marisol Leone. They open a door that leads to a portal, and telling Red Cloud to power down to her Robinson Goode self, open the door. The portal opens, and a humanoid, purple blob-like creature (perhaps composed to energy?) comes through the portal. In his dimension, he was the Parasite who killed Superman, absorbed all his powers, and then went on to use that power to absorb more. Dr. Glory cuts him loose and sends him after Superman, and his super-powered family.

The creature goes after Superman, making a beeline for him, but is momentarily confused by the fact there are four Super-Family members there. However, Superman tells them to hang back and charges at the creature. Brainiac 5 tells the Super-Family there is no such creature in his database, but he starts to scan the creature as best he can. Before Superman can attack the extra-dimensional Parasite, however, Superboy Connor Kent sneaks in the first attack.

Meanwhile, at the Daily Planet, Lois tries to get Perry to print the story that Clark sent her at the beginning of the issue. She knows the law, so she can try to get it out to the public even while the FBI is investigating. Agent Chase debates the matter, and while this is going on, Jimmy Olsen asks about whether one has to buy the entire building or whether one can just buy the paper. (As I understand it, he bought the Daily Planet in the last issue of his own mini-series.)

Marisol Leone shows up at the Planet at that point with her lawyer, saying that she has been libeled by Lois Lane, who made up facts and printed them without authorization. Se claims that not only can she prove that, but she also says she can prove that Lois Lane is from another Earth in the Multiverse! Before anything else can be discussed, Superboy Jon Kent comes crashing through the roof, and tells Lois to get everyone out of the building and to hide!

Outside, Superman and Supergirl are attacking the extra-dimensional Parasite with their vision powers, even as it retains Superboy Connor Kent in its blobby tentacled grasp. Superman tells Kara they have to get Brainiac 5 as far away from the creature as possible, because of its parasitic powers. The watching Red Cloud is impressed and surprised at the fact that Dr. Glory and Leone's plan is actually working. The extra-dimensional Parasite finishes draining Connor Kent's super-powers and perhaps life energy, and throws him aside where he crashes onto the nearby roof. The shocked and horrified Superman, Supergirl and Brainiac 5 look on.

Inside the Daily Planet, Lois Lane and the other Planet staffers look on in disbelief. Marisol Leone grabs Lois by the blouse, and tells her, "My house." The story continues in the next issue.


Commentary:
Once again, I will state here that I have no comments to make about the House of Kent storyline and what is going on in the tales running through the Action family of comics, except as it relates to the Legion of Super-Heroes. I don’t read the comics, other than the Legion appearances, and have no idea of what's been going on in the Superman (and Action Comics) titles. So, with that out of the way...

This story is the fourth part of the "The House of Kent" storyline, and is not a Legion tale, though it does have one Legionnaire (Brainiac 5) in it. I do have a better idea of what the Invisible Mafia is that's been plaguing the family of Superman the last few issues, though I'm not sure about certain aspects of the story. I will say that I'm intrigued by some aspects of the story, and was intrigued by the fact that Marisol Leone is actually native to Earth-3, the home of the Crime Syndicate of America, as is Dr. Glory. I have two comments to make about the overall issue itself. First off, Superman is the most powerful of the super-heroes in the DC universe, and being accompanied in this story by his cousin, Supergirl, his son, Jon Kent, and the Superman/Lex Luthor clone Connor Kent, that is a tough team to take on. So writer Brian Bendis introduces a new, ultra-powerful foe in the story, the extra-dimensional Parasite, which is all fine and dandy, but to be honest, when looking at his work on the Legion of Super-Heroes title and this one so far, "the next great threat" is becoming something of a cliche with Bendis. And to be honest, that worries me when it comes to the actual Legion title. That said, I was glad to see that Superman was cognizant enough of the threat that the extra-dimensional Parasite represented to Brainiac 5 that he told Supergirl that they had to keep the creature away from Brainy.

But the real detractor to me this issue was the artwork of John Romita, Jr.. To be blunt, it's just sloppy and quite ugly. The opening three-page sequence with the young Marisol Leone and Dr. Glory was quite lovely, with sharp lines, and good backgrounding, but the double-page spread with the Crime Syndicate of America is just...muddy, ill-defined, and doesn't have a sharpness to it makes things pop off the page. It was bland. The big bad villain of the piece, extra-dimensional Parasite, is just a purple, heavy-looking bag of colours with eyes. And I won't talk about the fight scenes between the extra-dimensional Parasite and Superman and his family members. Just a blur of reds and blues, meant to simulate speed, and to be honest, it was never completely clear to me what was going on and who was involved; the only way I knew that Connor was the one who'd been taken out was because of the accompanying text and Superman shouting "Connor!" right near the end.

As for Brainiac 5, well... Brainy doesn't have a lot to do in this issue, other than trying to stay out of the way of the villainous creature here, and try to do some scans. In the two-page shot on pages 6 and 7, the artwork by Romita Jr. isn't great, but I do have to question why Brainiac 5 is shown flying upside down (!) as if he's sitting in a car or at a computer desk, though. It seems like when he not in the 31st Century Brainiac 5 doesn't fly with the flight ring in a conventional manner. And it's just...weird. Oh, did I mention that brainiac 5 does scans? Two of them... one at the abandoned Invisible Mafia base, and a very long scan it seems during the encounter with the extra-dimensional Parasite. The story this issue could have omitted Brainiac 5, and it wouldn't have made a difference to the story.

Nothing else to add to this.


Final Notes:
The story continues in the next issue...

The opening sequence of the story becomes clearly set on an alternate Earth, the home of the Crime Syndicate of America. This clearly makes it Earth-3...

On page 8, the smashed green car in the abandoned Invisible Mafia base is a homage, and reminiscent of the green car on the cover of i>Action Comics</i> Vol 1 #1.





Next Issue: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #9

Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #8

Time for another read from the current Legion of Super-Heroes series, this time out the start of the trial of the Legion. Enjoy! :)






Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #8
October, 2020
"The Trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes - Part 1"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: See the Credits in the Commentary, below
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colourist: Jordie Bellaire
Cover: Ryan Sook
Variant Cover: Dustin Nguyen
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Brian Cunningham


Mission Monitor Board:
Superboy, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Chameleon Boy, Ultra Boy, Mon-El, Element Lad, Dream Girl, Princess Projectra, Phantom Girl, Shadow Lass, Gold Lantern, Karate Kid, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Bouncing Boy, Blok, Brainiac 5, Timber Wolf, Wildfire, Matter-Eater Lad, White Witch, Monster Boy, Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, Cosmic Boy, Triplicate Girl, Sun Boy, Lightning Lass, Ferro Lad

Guest Star:
United Planets President R.J. Brande

Supporting Characters:
U.P.-Legion Liaison Rose Forrest

Opposition:
General Crav Nah and elite guard (Parliament of Rimbor)


Synopsis:
The story continues from the previous issue, sort of. The first page begins with a close-up on Superboy, who says that he knows his being in the 31st Century and part of the Legion of Super-Heroes is a controversial matter. The idea was that he shares his knowledge of the Age of Heroes from which he comes and in return gets to see and experience a much brighter, hopeful future. That isn't the way things worked out however, and Superboy goes on to summarize the events of the business with Aquaman's Trident and last issue's events in which General Crav Nah of Rimbor arrested the Legion en masse for their actions against the Rimborians.

United Planets President R.J. Brande says she doesn't care about this, and wants to see the orientation file on (Jan) Arrah. Chameleon Boy asks her what she's looking for. She replies she wants to see the Legion audition files for herself.

In the audition file on Jan Arrah, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, and Lightning Lad learn that Jan Arrah is the lone survivor of Trom. The Horraz had been trying to use his people's abilities to change elemental properties for their benefit, but the Trom natives resisted. The Horraz destroyed the planet and the people of Trom, saying that if they couldn't use their powers for profit, no one could. Demonstrating his powers on a desk, Jan explains that he can't reassemble the desk as it was. The three Legionnaires give him the name Element Lad.

The next audition file is on Nura Nal of Naltor. She is thrilled to meet Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy, having dreamed about them for years, and is glad that this precognitive thread has come to a conclusion. She explains that almost everyone on Naltor is a pre-cog, one of the reasons she couldn't wait to leave Naltor. She tells them that she's seen their near future and that it is "glorious chaos." She shows them an astral projection of their dream future, and says that she can't show them everything that's coming, but promises to reveal to them when she sees something "upsetting." The three Legionnaires decide to call her Dream Girl. Nura reacts by saying, "Girl? Sure."

The next audition file is on Princess Wilimena Morgana Daergina Annaxandra Projectra Velorya Vauxhall of Orando. Cosmic Boy tells her that they want to make her a unique offer, bu that she already knows about the Legion of Super-Heroes and wants to fund the team. She says that she has a doctorate in Ancient Earth Studies, as well as those of Mars and Thanagar, and that they will be a "Justice League for all times." However, Saturn Girl and the others tell her that the Legion doesn't need her money or her haughty attitude. Saturn Girl says that she knows her power is that of illusion, and that she can see through the illusions that the Princess is creating at that moment. The lavishly decorated, massive chamber reverts to a very simple, relatively bare room. The Princess tells them that perhaps this new environment where she is treated as an equal might not be just the thing she needs.

On Daxam, the home of the United Planets, President Brande asks for the audition files for Brainiac 5 and Bouncing Boy, changing her mind in quick succession. She asks Chameleon Boy, her son, where the idea of the Legion went wrong. Chameleon Boy tells her that it didn't, that the galaxy they've sworn to protect is "cracked". She demands to know what happened, telling him that he comes when she calls, and then he tells her his perspective on what happened after General Crav Nah showed up to arrest the Legion.

In the flashback to the events of earlier, the scene at Legion Headquarters in New Metropolis becomes one of chaos. Ultra Boy, who definitely has issues with his Father-One, gives the order to attack, and the Legionnaire take the fight to General Crav and his five associates, the Parliament of Rimbor (Crav's personal elite guard). Lightning Lass launches several devastating attacks on the General and his associates, seemingly taking him down but Lightning Lad and Wildfire watch in horror as he reflects her massive attack back at her, bringing her down. In narrative, the President comments on how impressed she is with how powerful Wildfire is, even on a team with two Kryptonians and a Dryadian. Wildfire launches his attack on General Crav, during which all the other Legionnaires are simply blown back. However, Crav manages to suck the Legionnaire into an energy containment pod, from which Dawnstar struggles to attempt to free him. Mon-El moves in to the attack, but this time General Crav is prepared for him, and tosses the Legionnaire aside, sending him hurtling away. He is caught by Superboy. Elsewhere, Blok is fighting one of Rimbor's two-sword wielding fighters, and managing to hold his own, though he does appear to be wounded somehow at one point. He catches both of her swords, and then slugs her, presumably taking her down. Saturn Girl telepathically contacts the Legionnaires, telling them that they have to back away from the fight. She can't get into Ultra Boy's father's head to calm him down, seeing nothing there but darkness, and that he's there with some sort of a plan. She says the smart move is to surrender, and let the United Planets handle the matter. Timber Wolf is beyond reason , and attacks one of the Parliament of Rimbor, unleashing his powers, and seriously wounds the man. Meanwhile, Dawnstar has managed to free Wildfire, and joins Colossal Boy, who is trying to deal with the Rimborian ship, while Element Lad gives him cover dealing with more of the Parliament of Rimbor. Wildfire arrives, but wonder where the other Legion powerhouses are, notably Cosmic Boy.

Elsewhere, high above New Metropolis, Cosmic Boy is off talking to his father after being voted out as Legion Leader. He feels sorry for himself and wants to return to Braal, but his father tells him he can't run away from the first time he has faced adversity. Before they can continue, Brainiac 5 interrupts the call, telling Rokk of the attack, and Cosmic Boy returns to his friends.

Back at Brainiac 5's laboratory in Legion Headquarters, Brainiac 5 talks with Computo while watching Cosmic Boy head back to his teammates, saying that he can't fathom how he fouled everything up. He tells Computo that he doesn't understand how brazen General Crav and Rimbor was going to be towards the Legion, despite his superior intelligence, and that he has to be more prepared. Computo says that he's too obsessed with life and death. Before he can pursue that thought, however, Brainiac 5's monitors show that one of the Legionnaires has just died.

It turns out it's the recently arrived Ferro Lad, whose vitals disappear when he powers up. Brainiac 5 tells him via flight ring comm or whatever that Crav Nah is absorbing energy off the other Legionnaires' attacks and using it against them. The best way to beat him is to strike him with a blow that he cannot absorb, and that's just what Ferro Lad does, hitting General Crav with so much power that he can't absorb it, expelling it outward in a massive blast. The Parliament of Rimbor manage to grab their defeated King and retreat.

However, United Planets President Brande insists that the Legion surrender to her. Legion Liason Rose Forrest tells her that she doesn't see that happening, saying that they need to send someone to Rimbor to place General Crav under arrest. President Brande says that Ms. Forrest needs to remember who is in charge, and then learns that Rose is from Earth, 1,000 years in the past. The President tells Rose to convey to the Legion...

...which she does through Phantom Girl that the Legionnaires are under arrest and are going to trial. The Legionnaire react appropriately, and Phantom Girl tells the recovering Mon-El that he's partially to blame. Mon-El tells her that they are no longer coupling, and donning his costume flies off. Wildfire is surprised to learn that Tinya and Mon-El were together, but she says "Not anymore."

Up above New Metropolis, Mon-El chides himself for not handling the situation better than he did. Superboy finds Mon-El, having finally heard his name, and wonders who Mon-El is to him. Mon-El tells Superboy that he's his great-to-the-5th grandchild from New Krypton. Mon-El says it would be lovely if Superboy weren't there. Before the surly Mon-El can say more, they are summoned telepathically by Saturn Girl to the Mooney Teleport immediately. The trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes is about to begin. The story continues in the next issue...


Commentary:
After the very nice previous issue that was Legion of Super-Heroes V8 #7, I wasn't sure what direction this issue was going to take, let alone how it was going to come out. It turns out that this issue is a mixed bag of stuff. The issue is the first in the series to have an actual title to the story, "The Trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes - Part One", but is essentially a conversation between U.P. President R.J. Brande and her son, Legionnaire Chameleon Boy, about where the idea of the Legion went wrong. The story offers the reader several "audition" files of Legion try-outs that are interesting, giving readers somewhat unique viewpoints of four Legionnaires (Element Lad, Dream Girl and Princess Projectra), and then switches to the events of what occurred after last issue's final page where General Crav Nah arrived to place the Legion under arrest.

The Legion is going on trial, except - why? What are they being charged with? The dialogue from the last page of Issue #7 is repeated word for word on page 6 of this issue, where General Crav says they broke Rimborian law, but so what? What's the trial about, and what laws specifically have they broken? For that matter, even if they did break Rimborian law, why isn't the trial being conducted under the auspices of the United Planets, rather than one of its member worlds? And if the trial is so important, why do we then have the three pages of Legion "auditions", two pages of Brande sitting around with her son, and a page about who's coupling with whom. This leads me to believe the story *isn't* about the trial itself, and that there's something bigger at stake. But I can't for the life of me figure out what, and writer Bendis isn't giving any clues that hint at things here.

Then there is also the mystery of Mon-El... The story reveals here that he the great-to-the-5th grandson of Superboy, but so what? Why does that make him angry with the Teen of Steel? What irked me here was that in the scenes with Superboy and with Phantom Girl, Mon-El comes across as a real idiot. Speaking of Phantom Girl, I'm not a big fan of Bendis' characterizations (as I've mentioned in earlier issue thougts), especially when all we learn about the women is who they are sleeping with. First it was Shadow Lass and Cosmic Boy, and now Phantom Girl and Mon-El. I would really like some more dynamic scenes with the female Legionnaires. Something that bothered me was the scene where Wildfire's energy had been siphoned by General Crav into an energy containment pod or some such. Dawnstar tries to rescue him. All well and good. But then he is freed by Dawnstar somewhere between page 9 and page 14, completely off-panel??!! That is completely unacceptable, to be honest, and belittles the female Legionnaire. And this is pretty much typical of Bendis's writing on the series to this point; too many seemingly important little bits occur off-panel, not deemed worthy of the readers' seeing how they occurred.

There are also some intriguing plot threads in this issue as well. Ferro Lad punches General Crav so hard that all of his built-up energy is expelled. So, since when do Rimborians absorb energy and then expel it back at them? Unless this has something to do with Ultra Boy's powers as well in this iteration of the Legion? And perhaps that also accounts for what happened with Lightning Lass on page 8 in her attack on Crav. Two intriguing things this issue are hinted at perhaps by the Interlac text on page 11 that features Blok. First off, there's the fact that Blok is keeping an eye on which Legionnaires are actively fighting and which ones are pretending to. What's that about, though a better question might be why is watching for this? But the second bit of Interlac, where he notices that Shadow Lass isn't doing anything, might be a sinister hint of things to come. Is Shadow Lass an agent of Rimbor, a mole for someone much larger? Or is she just not interested in fighting here for some reason? Perhaps this one is the most intriguing panel of the entire issue. That said, I can't help but think that there are plenty of readers of the comic who don't read or aren't familiar with Interlac, and are missing out on things like this.

However, I can't finish talking about this issue without mentioning the art. First of all, here's the list of the artists this issue...





Needless to say, what makes the issue of the comic truly unique is that each page is drawn by a different artist pair or artist, and while the line-up of artists is impressive and each brings a unique perspective to their given page, the story has an odd feel to it, with some of the artwork truly gorgeous and some of it just plain...bad. Here are the thoughts about the issue's artwork that I have. Jeff Lemire's art on the Element Lad on page 2 is just terrible, making the three Legion founders and Jan look very old. The page is pretty bland as well, with no backgrounds to give any indication of where the Legionnaires are meeting Jan. By contrast, the Dream Girl stuff on page 3 by Dustin Nguyen is just stunning, with an aetherial look and feel to it that I really liked. The Princess Projectra page on page 4 by Joelle Jones is very well drawn, and gives the reader some lush detail in the backgrounds of the room, though it turns out to be all illusion. On page 5, in the final panel of the page drawn by Michael Avon Deming, what is with those Andorian-like antennae of Cham's, which seem to also be constantly changing in the earlier panels on the page? Sanford Greene's work on page 8 literally crackles with energy, electrical energy, during Lightning Lass's attack on General Crav. At the same time, the facial appearance of Lightning Lad in the bottom-most panel is just...not right. The less said about Dan Hipp's manga-like Blok vs. the Rimborian on page 11, the better. This page is like looking at pieces of art obscured by cellophane with Blok coming across as rather...well, blocky. It comes across as very cute-sy, to be honest, especially given the scene on the page, and I had some trouble understanding what Blok was doing there at the end. Darick Robertson's artwork on page 13, with Timber Wolf fighting the Rimborian, is solid, very reminiscent of the early work by Mike Grell, notably with the realistic violence, the use of shadow, and the focus on the combat. But in one panel, Timber Wolf bloodily rips open the side of a Rimborian; in the very next panel, the Rimborian is fine and there is no blood on Timber Wolf's hand. Still, Robertson's work is bloody and brutal. The work on page 14 by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund is probably my second favourite page of the issue, as the artists draw Colossal Boy, Element Lad and Wildfire in a highly natural manner. They can't make the new uniforms look good, however, but I'd be happy seeing these two take on the artwork in the Legion title on a permanent basis when Sook and company decide to leave eventually. Bilquis Evely did a marvellous job on page 15, in which Cosmic Boy is upset with losing the Legion election, feeling sorry for himself and calling home. That page just looks really good. The explosive scene on pages 18-19 by Ryan Sook and Wade Von Grawbadger prove that the two can draw blow-ups and explosions really nicely, but I was actually hoping for a bit more actual fight scenes here, rather than this scene of nothing but an explosion with bodies hurled every which way. My favourite art in the book on page 21 by John Timms is remarkable in that it shows the reader multiple views of Phantom Girl, and makes clear that she does go intangible (and does not teleport) as not only the art shows but the Frichtman tag does as well. Phantom Girl looks really good, but I'm still not sure about the purple skin and the halo over her head.

When it comes down to it, the first part of the Trial of the Legion of Super-Heroes didn't actually have a trial at all, but presented a few new things, added some to the new Legion lore, and gave the reader a story that was a mixed bag of both the story itself and the artwork in the book. Here's hoping the second part of the story doesn't let the readers down.


Final Notes:
This issue marks the first in the current Legion series to actually have a title...

The story continues in the next issue...

The Interlac on the first page... Above the image of Superman and Lois, the Interlac reads, "Headlines"...

On page 1, the Interlac at the bottom of the page reads,
"Interlac on the side: Jon Kent is the creator and founder of the United Planets. Named and designed after ancient earth’s United Nations, Jon Kent was the one to convince the first order of the United Planets to come together.
Conner Kent did none of these things." (It must be that the "The Interlac on the side:" bit is a note to the letterer.)...

Element Lad's real name is Jan Arrah. His people on Trom were killed by the Horraz, and the Legion was not involved in getting justice for them. There is no indication whether this means Roxxas exists in this continuity...

Dream Girl's real name is Nura Nal. She seems to be made of sand, and retains her abilities from previous versions. In addition to having precognitive visions, she is able to share them with others...

Princess Projectra's real name is Wilimena Morgana Daergina Annaxandra Projectra Velorya Vauxhall...

The Mission Monitor listing above is mostly taken from page 7, supposedly showing the entire Legion membership. However, Ferro Lad only shows up on page 17, Invisible Kid is also a member, and there's the mysterious green skeletal member that I believe is Chemical King...

On page 11, Blok's page, the Interlac at the top of the page reads,
""The Interlac narration will be something like: Blok comes from Dryad where they believe justice is proportional. So to Blok, this attack on the Legion feels like a full-scale war."

The Interlac at the bottom of page 11 reads,
"Blok is mentally noting which Legionnaires are actively fighting and which ones are pretending to.
It wasn't until this moment that Blok noticed that Shadow Lass doesn't seem to do anything."
(The bit about "The Interlac narration will be something like:" is once more along the notes to the letterer.)...

Colossal Boy is actually his normal height when he is giant-sized. He has to shrink himself to be proportionate to most of the other Legionnaires. This makes him more akin to Micro Lad from the Threeboot (Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 6) version of the team...

Ferro Lad says that he can change his entire body to "the hardest substance known to the galaxy". That's a different take on the character from previous incarnations where he turned to iron...





Next Issue: Action Comics Vol 1 #1025

Action Comics Vol 1 #1024

Time for another Legion of Super-Heroes read of the current stuff. This time out, part of the adventure with Brainiac 5 in the 21st Century. Enjoy! :)






Action Comics Vol 1 #1024
October, 2020
"The House of Kent Part Three"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Jansen
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colourist: Brad Anderson
Cover: John Romita, Jr. (pencils), Klaus Jansen (inks), Brad Anderson (colours)
Variant Cover: Lucio Parillo
Assistant Editor: Bixie Mathieu
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: James S. Rich

Featuring:
Superman

Mission Monitor Board:
Superboy (Jon Kent), Brainiac 5

Guest Stars:
Superboy (Conner Kent), Supergirl

Supporting Cast:
Lois Lane; Jimmy Olsen (cameo)

Opposition:
Invisible Mafia (Dr. Glory, Marisol Leone, The Red Cloud, Whisper)


Synopsis:
This story continues from the previous issue. The issue begins with a member of the Invisible Mafia, Whisper, keeping track of Superman, as he has for the Mafia since the beginning. However, he sees that Superman is not alone. He has Superboys Connor Kent and Jon Kent and Brainiac 5 with him. Interestingly enough, he has no files on the Superboy (Connor Kent) or Brainiac 5. He tells Lady L that perhaps it is time for the Mafia to go into lockdown and have the trail go dark. Superman doesn't seem to have the other major issues which were distracting from him, but the Man of Steel and his allies are all heading for the Daily Planet.

Meanwhile, Melody Moore, a former fire fighter and now the Deputy Mayor of Metropolis, is killed by the Red Cloud.

Superman, Superboy/Jon, Superboy/Connor and Brainiac 5 arrive at the Planet, where Agent Chase and the FBI are trying to gut the newspaper and the building. They know Ms. Leone own the Planet and they want all the files. In fact, the FBI seems irate that they weren't notified about this before the Planet ran their own damning story. Stacy Q is live streaming and wants out. Jimmy Olsen points out to Perry that the Planet's lawyers are Leone's lawyers and thus might not be the right folks to bring in. Perry is staunch in defending his paper. Brainiac 5, flying in a weird orientation, is overwhelmed with fanboy nerdiness at all the keyboards in the Planet's offices. Superman tells the two Superboys and Brainiac 5 to go outside, where they can show the latter the "big gold ball on top of the building." Outside, the two Superboys watch in mixed amusement and horror as Brainiac 5 has a lovefest with the Daily Planet Globe.

Back inside, before the conversation can go any further, Superman picks up something with his senses and flies off. The Superboys don't know whether they should follow him or not, but Jon says that he'll go ask his mom (Lois), but decides not to. The three follow Superman. Meanwhile, Superman arrives at his destination and he is horrified to find the body of Melody Moore. The police arrive on the scene, and Superman rockets into the sky in both grief and rage...

...Only to find Kara Zor-El, Supergirl, there! Supergirl is pleased to see him, as is Kal-El, and when he tells her that his friend, whom she doesn't know, has been killed, immediately gives him a hug. The Superboys and Brainiac 5 are spotted by Supergirl, and she greets Jon warmly but gives Connor a rather cool reception, saying they aren't related when he explains he's a clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. Kara then meets Brainiac 5 for the first time, who tell him he is a member of the 31st Century Legion of Super-Heroes. Supergirl tells him that she's insulted because, even though she's also a legend in their time, she wasn't invited to join the Legion.

The House of El and Brainiac 5 begin scanning for the Mafia. They search for lead-lined locations that obscure their vision.

However, Marisa Leone isn't slowing down any, as she thinks she is safely hidden and is planning a final counter. However, Dr. Glory (who recently looted S.T.A.R. Labs) arrives, asking for money so that she can flee and disappear from both the law and the Kent family.

While Superman and his family can't find the Invisible Mafia or Leone, Brainiac 5 uses his technology and mind to track down part of the Mafia, specifically Whisper. The Superman family land in Whisper's location, and surround him.

Leone removes her ear device with which she's been communicating with Whisper, and says to the Red Cloud and Dr. Glory that it's time for the huge counter-punch to put an end to this. The story continues in the next issue.


Commentary:
Right off the bat I will state here that I have no comments to make about the House of Kent storyline here and what is going on in the tales running through the Action family of comics, except as it relates to the Legion of Super-Heroes. I don’t read the comics, other than the Legion appearances, and have no idea of what's been going on in the Superman (and Action Comics) titles. So, with that out of the way...

I will start here by saying that this story is not a Legion tale, though it does have one Legionnaire in it. As I understand it, this issue marks the third chapter in the House of El/Kent story arc that is pitting the Superman family against something called the Invisible Mafia, but I'm not sure what they're all about. Furthermore, after doing a bit of research, Brainiac 5 arrived in the 21st Century with Jon Kent back in Action Comics Vol 1 #1022, as the former offered to show the latter the Fortress of Solitude. Something has obviously happened to keep Brainiac 5 in the 21st Century for the moment, and I think there's a hint of it this issue. Brainiac 5 literally is fanboyish about the (computer) keyboards in the sequence where Superman, the two Superboys, and he arrive at the Daily Planet. Furthermore, the is literally geeking out and *HUGGING* the Daily Planet Globe on the top of the building in another sequence. This tells me that Brainy is here on a history vacation, learning what he can and seeing what he can of famous and archaeological items of the past. Or perhaps he's just a geek when it comes to the history of the 21st Century and the Superman Family (notice the use of capitals there). That said, he is also obviously getting involved in the matter of the Invisible Mafia here, as noted that he was involved in the Black Label club incident (presumably in the previous issue) as he's actively helping the Superman Family to search for them at one point, and actually locates Whisper using his technology. It was also interesting to see that the Whisper doesn't have any information about Brainiac 5 in his database. Not surprising, given that Querl and the Legionnaires come from the 30th Century, though Whisper's algorithms flag him as a Brainiac.

The best thing for me in this issue was not just the re-union of Superman and Supergirl, showing the very much human, fragile side of Superman, but for the encounter between Brainiac 5 and Supergirl. There's a bit of banter between them that's interrupted by focusing more on the plot with finding the Invisible Mafia in the aftermath of Melody Moore's murder, but it's a fun bit. Kara seems to be put out that she didn't receive an invite to the Legion, but the dialogue between the two is left in favour of other matters. I have to wonder whether this is leading to a possible Supergirl/Brainiac 5 relationship down the line at some point, with perhaps Supergirl joining the Legion. (And for the record, I would have preferred Kara getting membership in the Legion, rather than Jon Kent.) I was just disappointed the scene between the two didn't go longer than it did.

I can't say that I'm a fan of John Romita, Jr.'s artwork, but it seems to work fine in this issue. The facial expressions he gives his characters in this story are quite good, very fitting, and definitely increase the feel and the humanity of the story. Brainiac 5 is drawn much older than the 15-year-old he is meant to be (which was revealed in Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #7), but I have no problem with that. I liked the scene where Superman found the body of Melody Moore. The reader doesn't get to see the body at all, not even a vague outline, so it is left to the imagination of the reader, but the expression on Superman's face says it all. The sequence of panels, his slumped posture, the look of sheer shock, the deflation of the Man of Steel, is made clear here, and actually feels a lot like a classic Kirby panel would.

Nothing else to add here, other than to say I'll be interested to see if Bendis does something with the Kara/Brainy relationship as the story goes on.


Final Notes:
The story continues in the next issue...





Next Issue: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #8

DC Cybernetic Summer 80-Page Giant Vol 1 #1

Another read of a current Legion of Super-Heroes story. This tme out, a tale of cybernetic romance. Enjoy! :)






DC Cybernetic Summer 80-Page Giant Vol 1 #1
September, 2020
"Summer Lovin'"
Writer: Liz Erickson
Artist: Nik Virella
Letterer: Ferran Delgado
Colourist: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Cover: Dan Mora (pencils) & Tamra Bonvillain (inks)
Editor: Katie Kubert


Mission Monitor Board:
Saturn Girl, Superboy, Lightning Lad, Brainiac 5

Supporting Cast:
Lana Lang (cameo)

Opposition:
A Moravecan


Synopsis:
The story begins with Superboy and three Legionnaires (Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Brainiac 5) fighting a large-eyed, tentacled menace on the Kent Farm. Saturn Girl warns Superboy as the creature swats him with a massive tentacle, and the Boy of Steel is swatted right back into the kent house, crashing into his bedroom. Momentarily stunned by the attack, Superboy is almost snatched up by the creature before he gives it a taste of its own medicine, and hoists the creature up by its appendages and throws it through the roof and into the air. Caught in a shower of purple goo, the Legionnaires are stunned when te creature seemingly disappears. Brainiac 5 explains that they are dealing with a Moravecan, a creature capable of moving faster than the speed of light when threatened, but only briefly. This means there is a chance they can still catch him, if Brainiac 5 can track him.

Superboy decides that since he might be away on Legion business for a while searching for the Moravecan, he needs to take care of some business. He goes back to his bedroom and activates one of his robot doubles to stand in for him as Clark Kent. Superboy chooses R217 for the job, instructing it to act like its Clark on summer vacation, and also to clean up his room. The reader sees things through R217's point of view for just a moment, with four possible responses (1. Yes, master! 2. Of course, master! 3. Happy to be of service, master! 4. Regret to inform maintenance is required.). Before R217 can reply, Superboy is called back to the Legionnaires to continue the search for the Moravecan.

The next morning, acting as Clark Kent, R217 heads to the local soda shop. He's greeted by Lana Lang and several other kids, but clumsily bumps into a blonde, bespectacled young woman named Mae. For a moment, R217 goes through four different options on how to respond to the flustered young woman. (1. Gee willikers! How clumsy of me! 2. I’m so sorry, my fault entirely! 3. May I help you up? 4. Regret to inform maintenance is required.) Mae blushes, and R217 begins to stammer over what to say (its face equally red). Noticing Mae's books, R217 asks if she's studying robotics. Mae mentions it's for a project she’s doing on her own time, but nervously thinks "Clark" would find it boring. On the contrary, R217 coaxes Mae into a conversation about robots and mimicking human tasks. At that point, Mae works up the courage to blurt out an invitation for "Clark" to see a movie with her. R217 agrees to do so.

Later that night at the drive-in, Mae continues her discussion on robotics with R217. Mae worries that she's merely rambling, but R217 assures her that he loves hearing her thoughts. He tells her that he is certain she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to. Mae admits that "Clark" is quieter than she believed he would be. R217 explains he's trying to pay attention, because everything feels new and he wants to remember it all. Mae says she wasn't sure he would accept her invitation. After all, he's Clark Kent and she' just...Mae. R217 replies that he couldn't think of doing anything better than what he's doing right now. Mae and R217 kiss.

Superboy enters the scene at that moment, and informs everyone that there's a "dangerous element" loose in the vicinity and that he needs everyone to vacate the area immediately. Brainiac 5 and Saturn Girl discuss the fact that they saw the Moravecan release its spores, but they can't figure out who, other than themselves, was exposed to the spores.

R217 tells Mae that she needs to run immediately, and follow the crowd to safety. Before she leaves, R217 tells he that she's an extraordinary person.

Superboy confronts R217, gently explaining that the robot hasn't answered any of Superboy's calls because of a bug in his programming. They just have to remove the foreign matter, and restore him to his factory settings. R217's pleas for understanding fall on deaf ears, so he fights back. He is quickly taken down by a bolt of electricity from Lightning Lad. Superboy opens R217's chest compartment to reveal that the Moravecan's spores did indeed take root inside him. As Superboy pulls the spores out of R217's chest, Brainiac 5 says it's lucky they found him in time. Once the Moravecan spores infect the native population, they can enslave whole planets. As R217 powers down, Superboy says that it's a good thing no one got hurt.

Two months later, after summer vacation is over and school begins again, Mae finds (the real) Clark and says she hasn't seen him since the drive-in. Mae tries to talk about her newest experiment, but Clark's got no idea who she is and states he has to get to class. Quietly heartbroken and confused, Mae can only say goodbye.


Commentary:
One thing for sure: It's been a very strange time for Legion fans. The release of the Bendis series has gotten, to say the least, mixed reactions from veteran Legion fans, who have complained about yet another continuity reboot starting everything over. DC Comics seems to have recognized this, which would explain why they featured a Bronze Age-styled Legion tale in the From Beyond The Unknown 100-Page Giant Vol 1, and now this Silver Age style Legion story in DC Cybernetic Summer Vol 1 #1.

This story is seemingly set during the period of the Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 run of the comic, as the masthead on the story's first page would seem to indicate, and as noted above, is a Silver Age story in both art style and feel of the writing. The Legion roster consists of Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Brainiac 5, along with Superboy naturally, but... The Legionnaires don't really play all that large a role in the tale (Saturn Girl doesn't really do anything in the story), as this is more a romance story about "Clark Kent" (actually Superboy robot R217 and the young woman, Mae. With only eight pages of story, writer Liz Erickson (who I believe is also an editor at DC Comics these days) does a pretty good job of giving us a story that has some deeper meaning to it and that fits the theme of this issue of the comic overall. That didn't make the story any less enjoyable to me, however.

The idea of a Superboy robot gaining sentience and falling in love feels very much like a Silver Age Legion story. However, if this story had actually come from the early 1960s, the larger implications of shutting R217 off would have been glossed over or ignored in the story itself. It would have been one of those uncomfortable elements the readers only consider by looking at the subtext. In this case, however, R217's emotions and eventual shutdown are treated as tragic because while the reader has seen things from his point of view, the Legionnaires have not.

If the story made me feel anything at the end, it was sadness. Mae (whose last name we never learn) is left heartbroken and saddened, left wondering at the end why Clark is now ignoring her after they shared such a tender moment at the drive-in two months before. Not to mention the role poor Mae had in this drama. She now has to wonder why Clark is supposedly ignoring her after they shared such a tender moment. At the same time, the coincidence of her interest in robotics in the story makes it doubly ironic that she became involved with a Superboy robot. I have to wonder whether Mae will show up in some form in other DC Comics' continuity as a robotics specialist or expert. However, there is something else that struck me in the story. Given that the Moravecan's spores were inside R217, did some of the spores manage to enter Mae when she kissed "Clark"? And if so, will we ever see a sequel story featuring Mae or the Moravecan spores' attempts to enslave others and conquer Earth? Probably not, since the story appears to be a one-shot set in the Silver Age Smallville, but still it would be interesting...

As mentioned, the story is a mere 8 pages long, but writer Liz Erickson did a marvellous job in terms of the story beats and pacing. It is sure and deft in its feel, knows where it's going and who its focus is on, and doesn't waver from those parameters. The dialogue is very Silver Age with a modern sensibility to to it that I rather enjoyed. I'm not familiar with Nik (Nicole) Virella's art or style, other from this story, though I did look up the artist's work and saw that she did what appears to be some good work on Marvel's "Hyperion" stuff. I really like her work here, as she perfectly captures the Silver Age aesthetic here with her own style. The Moravecan alien here has a very Silver Age feel, with the modern aesthetic of the disgusting purple goo going for it (which I believe are where the spores come from). Her facial expressions on the characters are superb in the story too, giving R217 a very human appearance and feel and making Mae's emotions clearly visible on her face. The artwork in this story really captured the essence of what the writer was doing here, and gave the reader 8 pages of pure entertainment and Silver Age Legion storytelling. Just lovely.


Final Notes:
This story is seemingly set during the period of the Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 tales, as the masthead at the top of the first page of the story would seem to indicate...

In addition to the new Legion story by Liz Erickson and Nik Virella, there's a Batman story by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, a Wonder Woman and Platinum (of the Metal Men) story by Andrew Constant and Nicola Scott, a Red Tornado story by Stephanie Phillips and Leila del Duca, a Booster Gold and Blue Beetle story by Heath Corson and Scott Koblish, a Flash story by Joshua Williamson and David Lafuente, a Midnighter and Apollo story by Steve Orlando and Paul Pelletier, a Harley Quinn and Sy Borgman story by Che Grayson and Marguerite Sauvage, a Robotman story by Max Bemis and Greg Smallwood, and a Cyborg, Superman and Cyborg Superman story by Stuart Moore and Cully Hammer.





Next Issue: Action Comics Vol 1 #1024

Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #7

Here's another read of the current series of the Legion of Super-Heroes. This time out, a story that I actually liked for the most part.






Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #7
September, 2020
"Untitled"
Script: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencillers: Ryan Sook (page 1) and Stephen Byrne (pages 2-22)
Inkers: Wade Von Grawbadger (page 1) and Stephen Byrne (pages 2-22)
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colourist: Jordie Bellaire
Cover: Ryan Sook
Variant Cover: Alex Garner
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Brian Cunningham


Mission Monitor Board:
Cosmic Boy, Superboy, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, Triplicate Girl, Monster Boy, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Chameleon Boy, White Witch, Colossal Boy, Ultra Boy, Dream Girl, Shadow Lass, Mon-El; Wildfire, Timber Wolf, Dawnstar, Star Boy, Matter-Eater Lad, Element Lad, Bouncing Boy, Gold Lantern, Dr. Fate, Blok, Shrinking Violet, Phantom Girl, Chemical King (?), Karate Kid, Princess Projectra

Guest Star:
Unite Planets President R.J. Brande

Supporting Characters:
Legion-U.P. Liasion Rose Forrest; General Crav Nah

Opposition:
None really, just the Legionnaires themselves


Synopsis:
The issue begins with a one-page close-up of Wildfire, who explains that he is Drake Burroughs, originally an Earthman, although "no one is really *from* Earth any more." He says that he was rejected for Legion membership originally, because the Legionnaires thought his powers just duplicated those of several others, but he is actually an energy release generator and was holding back a power that he had because he didn't want to kill everyone. Wildfire follows this up with a summation of what occurred in the previous issue, i.e., Aquaman's Trident rewatering New Earth, and because of the questions surrounding the Trident, Rimbor, the Horraz and Superboy, the Legion has decided to approach things...differently.

The Legion of Super-Heroes goes en masse to the United Planets Great Hall (presumably on Daxam) to address the United Planets Council. In a long-winded manner, Cosmic Boy addresses the Council and the absent (but he hopes listening) General Crav Nah of Rimbor and apologizes for the Legion's actions and for attacking General Crav Nah. President Brande is not pleased or impressed with the Legion's intrusion, and says that the U.P. has just voted in favour of interplanetary sanctions against Rimbor, and asks Cosmic Boy if he would like to rescind his apology to a newly minted war criminal. President Brande is also not happy about the Legion recruiting Superboy (Jon Kent) into their midst, but Brainiac 5 points out that his induction into the Legion is a matter of Legion business, as set out in the guidelines and bylaws of the Legion as set up with the United Planets. However, the President states the Council will vote on the matter as it was an egregious abuse of the space-time continuum. In a noble moment, Superboy shows his upbringing in the House of Kent, saying how the United Planets needs to exist to smooth over hostilities and stop catastrophes like the destruction of Krypton. He apologizes if he has made things worse for the Legion, and says that if they really feel that way, he will resign and return to the 21st Century. R.J. Brande realizes that going against this legendary hero who is being reasonable and contrite won't win her any popularity contests. She tries to get on Superboy's good side, even with a "let's do lunch sometime" request, and tells Cosmic Boy, Brainiac 5, and the rest of the Legionnaires that they have autonomy, and then praises their actions in the last little while. The Legionnaires leave, but not before Brande tells them to make an appointment next time. The Legionnaires return to their home base.

Later, in New Metropolis at Legion Headquarters, on Luornu Durgo/Triplicate Girl's floor of the residence complex, Triplicate Girl and Monster Boy are sort of discussing the mess with President Brande and the humour, or lack thereof, in the situation. Luornu Purple tells him it's a matter of how well the Legionnaires cope with the situation. The talk then turns to brownies of all things, which on Cargg are called Brownie Cakeys Delicious, whereas on Monster Boy's homeworld of Tor-Etto are just called brownies. Purple Luornu then points out that Saturn Girl is giving Cosmic Boy "the talk" outside.

Outside, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl are having a very public argument about how Cosmic Boy is failing as their leader. She tells him that his speech before the U.P. Council was too whiny. While he denies this, she tells him that she knows how the U.P. Council found it, because she could read their minds. Saturn Girl tells him that what he did was not leadership, it was a Braalian athlete putting on a show. Cosmic Boy says that is what he is or at least was, and that as long as he's the elected Legion leader, that's how it's going to work. She reminds him that he wasn't "elected" by the Legion, it was a case of the three Legion founders deciding that he should be their leader. She tells him that if he really wants to have an election, now that there's a full Legion, they can do that. Cosmic Boy reacts angrily, saying that Brainiac 5 acts like the Legion leader. Saturn Girl doesn't mind his attitude, because she (and the other Legionnaires) know(s) that Brainiac 5 is the smartest Legionnaire; that's why he's *in* the Legion. Brainiac 5, who has been listening in to the conversation, says they should have an election. Rokk is also tired that Imra keeps reading his mind, and while she offers him some sound advice, he tells her that on Braal it is offensive that she read his mind. Brainiac 5 suggests that the group have a team meeting.

Elsewhere, in the new residence of Lightning Lad and his family, his two mothers, one human and one electrical, thank him for setting the new house up for them and the other three siblings, but his human mother wonders if there's more. When she comments that it looks exactly like their old home, she says that they didn't like the old place so much it was all they could afford on Winath. He has Computo scan his mother's "galgo" (whatever that is) and give them whatever they want. Computo reconfigures and redesigns the home, making Lightning Lad's mothers happy, but Ayla, who is not wearing her flight ring or her uniform, comments that now she can't even go home when she wants to. Ayla tells Garth that while she hated it on Winath, she now knows that she hated being embarrassed in front of the whole United Planets of Hypocrites, telling Garth that she wishes it had gone as well as he thinks it did, and that the Legion should not be speaking to those war mongers. Their discussion is interrupted by a Legion signal from Lightning Lad's flight ring. Brainiac 5 has called a meeting.

At the Legion of Super-Heroes meeting of the entire roster, Brainiac 5 tries to suggest the Legion hold an official election for the leadership position. Cosmic Boy feels that as Legion leader, he should be the one to call for the election, but Lightning Lad says that it would be inappropriate for the Legion leader to call for a vote on his own leadership. With various Legionnaires weighing in with an opinion, Brainiac 5's motion passes, and the Legion decides to vote for a new leader. Colossal Boy nominates Superboy, but he refuses to serve given his unfamiliarity with so much of Legion business and day-to-day matters. Superboy then proceeds to get into another argument with Mon-El, but Ultra Boy interrupts them. Ultra Boy enters himself into the leadership debate and vote, stating the Legion needs a plan moving forward and that he's the one to give it to them, not Cosmic Boy. He also doesn't like the way Brainiac 5 has been doing certain things, and wants to check and balance that. Cosmic Boy wants to run again, but feels that he shouldn't have to defend himself and his actions; he becomes tongue-tied and frustrated, and flies off in a huff. The Legionnaires cast their votes, and in a landslide Ultra Boy wins the election and becomes the Legion's new leader.

However, a new arrival teleports in and spoils the moment. Ultra Boy asks if his tenure starts now, according to the Legion bylaws, and Brainiac 5 confirms that it does. He orders the other Legionnaires to get behind him. His father, General Crav, leader of the planet Rimbor, has arrived. He demands the Legion of Super-Heroes surrender to him, or they will all die. The story continues in the next issue.


Commentary:
This issue is probably the first in the current series of the Legion of Super-Heroes that I liked for the most part. The reasons for that stem primarily from the fact that this issue is about the Legionnaires and also gives us the first Legion leader election in the new series. Throw in the artwork this issue by Stephen Byrne, and I thought it was a very enjoyable issue with a good ride, leading up to events that don't bode well for the Legion.

It was nice to get a look at the Legionnaires in little, personal moments this issue. In order of appearance here, somewhat... The opening splash page features Wildfire this time out. We learn how he was rejected for duplicating other Legionnaire powers, gained membership for one power that he can only use once it appears, calls himself Energy Release Generator, and talks about how he's something of a hot-head and that one can't contain his voice. It's an interesting set of observations about the character from his own perspective, and sheds some light on the character that owes a lot to Wildfire's classic Legion history. The scene with Triplicate Girl and Monster Boy was quite a bit of fun, though it had the serious note about the earlier meeting between the Legion and the United Planets Council, but the whole business with the brownies was a lot of fun and reminded me of the Babylon 5 and other tv series and books and the like about how Swedish meatballs are found on the homeworlds of every race in the galaxy. That said, Luornu's three personalities are becoming clearer, and I also noticed here that Monster Boy (whose name appears to be Arune?) keeps changing his facial structure throughout. Whether this is a choice on his part or whether his powers work that way on a constant basis I can't really say at this point. The scene with Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass and their family was an interesting one, but I'm not sure what the dynamic is in the family let alone the names of the parents and the three siblings. Are Lightning Lad and Lightning/Light Lass's powers natural (their mom is what, living lightning?)? Why are there only five children, as aren't twins the norm on this version of Winath? It did show us how Garth appears to want to please his mothers, though he was annoyed that they didn't want to live in the same home as they had on Winath. And what exactly is a "galgo"? The scene also continued to show the reader (or should that be hammer over the head?) that Ayla is a progressive, rebellious, very political young woman, even when it comes to the Legion. And what about that bit about the privacy not afforded by the flight ring? That's something that's alluded to by the fact that Brainiac 5 seems to be keeping tabs on all the Legionnaires through their flight rings.

The argument between Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Brainiac 5 is not so much painful to read, as it is a complete step away from the Legion characters and the lore that I know about this team. The reader has Brainiac 5 admitting to listening in to all of his teammates' conversations, and perhaps being able to observe them through the flight ring technology. The reader has Saturn Girl admitting to using her mental powers for the same thing, and more besides. It's no wonder that Cosmic Boy comes across feeling targeted. Now, I'm not sure if Cosmic Boy was supposed to come off as the sympathetic character here, but he certainly did for me. While Brainiac 5 was never a character I warmed up to because of how he's been portrayed over the years, Saturn Girl saying that he is allowed to do whatever he wants because he's so smart is just...ickk. Perhaps Computo needs to go bad...soon. That said, the story does give us the first actual Legion election in which Ultra Boy becomes the new leader, but the series so far has portrayed Cosmic Boy in a poor light and this doesn't augur well for him at this point. And with Ultra Boy's father being General Crav Nah, that just promises more trouble for the Legion ahead.

That said, the scene at the United Planets Council Hall came across as badly handled and choreographed, but Cosmic Boy's speech was inspired and to be honest, fit the character that we've seen of Rokk Krinn in the past as a leader and the voice of reason. Saturn Girl's comment that it was "a Braalian athletic putting on a show" was quite disrespectful and made it seem as if Imra didn't get what he was doing. President Brande is still someone that I don't trust, and the scene at the U.P. Council Hall reinforced that. It seems like President Brande is angry when Cosmic Boy and Brainiac 5 tell her that the Legion is autonomous from the U.P., but when Superboy says the same things, she is okay with it. Something's wrong there, and I get the feeling that the Legion and the U.P. are going to clash at some point over other, major issues.

This issue marks a first, as the story features the first Legion leadership election in the current series run. This leadership election is unlike any that we've seen in the past, as it comes across almost as a non-confidence vote against Cosmic Boy, who really has done the best that he can under the given circumstances. I was somewhat shocked that it was Saturn Girl who instigated the possibility of the election, but it is Brainiac 5 who pushes the election into motion. For the most part, Imra and Rokk do not come across as friends the way they did in earlier versions of the Legion, and it is obvious that Rokk feels betrayed by her. Lightning Lad doesn't help matters by pointing out that Rokk can't call the meeting about an election for Legion leader since he is the Legion leader, which doesn't make a lot of sense. While I was surprised that Cosmic Boy wanted to be nominated for leader again, I didn't expect that Colossal Boy would nominate Superboy, though I will say that I'm glad he refused the nomination. Ultra Boy's self-nomination was an interesting twist, since the character has come across as a bit impulsive and hot-headed for most of this series' run. His reasons for wanting to be Legion leader, however, are quite insightful and makes me wonder whether there's more to Ultra Boy under the brain hood than I thought. There's a bit of humour to the Legion election as well, with Chameleon Boy asking if there are assigned seats for the voting and White Witch asking if it's a paying job. Ultra Boy's explaining his reasons for becoming Leader, coupled with Cosmic Boy's feelings of betrayal and quick departure, lend a seriousness to the scene that I appreciated. The final voting, to be honest, shocked me no end. It seems that only 3 Legionnaires (Shadow Lass, Superboy and Lightning Lad) voted for Cosmic Boy, the rest of the team voting for Ultra Boy in an absolute landslide win. Personally, I was very curious to see how Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5 voted, but I guess the assumption can be made they voted for Ultra Boy. Needless to say, with the Rimborian situation at hand, it will make things interesting to say the least with a more "action" oriented Legion leader in place, and I can't help but wonder how the Legion-United Planets relationship will play out with Ultra Boy now at the helm. Like I said, interesting times ahead.

I don't know who Stephen Byrne is, but I liked the artwork that he did for this issue. While not as solid or realistic as the artwork by Ryan Sook on his own, the pencils and inks of Byrne bring a lovely polish of sorts to the future, the work being expressive here. Given that this issue is one of lots of talking, very little fighting, one needs that expressive look in a story such as this. Mind you, there's a bit of a cartoonish feel to some of the characters here, but for the most part Byrne is following Ryan Sook's model sheets (or whatever they are called) for the various characters.


Final Notes:
The story continues in the next issue...

This is the seventh issue in a row that does not have a title for the story...

This issue features the first Legion election in the current run of the series...

The listing of the Legion membership is taken primarily from the image on pages 2 and 3, and depicts 27 members of the Legion. This does not include Karate Kid (he appears later in one panel), Princess Projectra, Invisible Kid (Jacques Foccart) and Ferro Lad (who was mentioned in a previous issue). I am assuming that the figure on the far left of the greenish skeletal person is Chemical King, but I could be wrong on this. The Legionnaires listed before the semi-colon have speaking parts in this story...

The Interlac on the splash page with Wildfire reads,
"ENERGY RELEASE GENERATOR IS NOT A THING."...

We learn that Monster's Boy name is Arune, and that he comes from the planet Tor-Etto...

The Interlac on page 10 reads,
"Each member of the Legion has a section of the residential complex tailored to their specific needs. Within reason."...

The Interlac on page 14 reads,
"SIX BROTHERS AND SISTERS. SIX! ONLY ONE OTHER, HIS TWIN, SHARES HIS POWER."...

The Interlac on page 16 reads,
"HEAVEN

THE CREATION OF THE UNITED PLANETS BROUGHT TOGETHER CUISINE FROM AROUND THE GALAXY IN SUCH SURPRISING AND DELIGHTFUL WAYS. PLEASE AVOID THE THANAGARIAN JERKY UNLESS YOU'VE BEEN PREVIOUSLY VACCINATED."...

Ultra Boy is elected Legion Leader in this issue, by a landslide vote.





Next Issue: DC Cybernetic Summer 80-Page Giant Vol 1 #1