- Adventure Comics #0, by Otto Binder & Al Plastino, and Geoff Johns & Francis Manapul (DC)
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3 of 5, by Geoff Johns, George PÃ©rez & Scott Koblish (DC)
- The Incredible Hercules #118-124, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Rafa Sandoval, Clayton Henry, Roger Bonet & Salva Espin (Marvel)
- The Boys #27, by Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson (Dynamite)
There’s not much I can say about Legion of 3 Worlds #3 that wasn’t said in much more detail over at Rokk’s Comic Book Revolution. Okay, I think he’s a little harsh on Geoff Johns’ like or dislike of the Legion, seeing animosity where I see more indifference and the limitations of Johns’ writing skills. But I agree that it feels like the Legion is little more than a backdrop in their own series.
I think an interesting comparison to this issue is the excellent Batman/Legion issue of The Brave and the Bold. Admittedly that features a smaller cast, but Mark Waid handles the characters deftly and gives a whole host of them a chance to shine in a single issue. Johns not only has to deal with three Legions, but throws in a Green Lantern, a Flash, and of course Superman and Superboy Prime. There’s so much going on here that not only does the Legion feel like it’s getting squeezed out, but everyone gets squeezed out, there’s just too much going on and the emotional center of the story (Superman’s notion of redeeming Prime) has gotten buried.
(As a pet peeve, I’m really frustrated by the cold and brusque character of Brainiac 5, one of many developments in the 80s Legion I didn’t care for, as someone who grew up reading the 70s Legion and back issues of the 60s Legion, where he was a more nuanced character. In Mark Waid’s reboot of the team I found it easier to swallow – he was a new character – but in the ‘classic’ Brainiac 5 it rankles. On the other hand, I do find the bickering between the other two Brainiacs amusing.)
The issue holds together to the extent it does thanks to the ever-wonderful artwork of George PÃ©rez, who may be the only artist in comics who can both draw such a huge cast of characters and compose panels and pages to keep everything moving along. And his covers are gorgeous and clever.
Hopefully this is just “middle issue plot development hell” and the last two issues will be better (the first two issues were). And that Johns will return the focus to the Legion. Although the last page – bringing back a character who seems to scare Prime for reasons I honestly cannot fathom – doesn’t inspire a lot of hope. But, we’ll see.
(Incidentally, this week’s Adventure Comics #0 – cover price only $1.00! – reprints the Legion’s first appearance from the 1950s, and has a short back-up which I guess will lead into the Legion’s next re-launch. Not essential reading, but for a buck, how bad can it be?)
I caught up on The Incredible Hercules this week (well, nearly; somehow I missed #125, which apparently just came out), but unfortunately it was a little disappointing. Hercules is still an interesting character, but Amadeus Cho was portrayed as more hormonal teenager than as flawed super-genius, which made him more of a cliche and a lot less interesting. His flirtations with the Amazonian villains in the latest story arc, “Love and War”, felt particularly out of character.
Consequently Hercules is turning into more of a traditional superhero comic- albeit with a variety of gods running around – when it feels like it could have been something different and more interesting. I liked the notion of it being Cho and Hercules against, well, everyone, and maybe with the ambiguity that it wasn’t clear whether they were doing the right thing.
Still, the writing is witty and the art is good. I think if they could turn Cho back into a serious character, it’d be a much better book all around.