Well this was an unexpected surprise: a comic book featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes that left me satisfied and wanting more.
Action Comics #858, Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes Part One features yet another tale about the Superman worshiping youths of the future, the Legion of Super-Heroes. These kids are all over the DC Universe lately. In all honestly I don’t see the attraction. They are dull characters with dull story lines.
Back in 1958 I suppose audiences were amazed at the technology of the 31st century and Superboy’s adventures there. The Legion, like nearly all science fiction from the 50’s, lost some of it’s wonder throughout time and now feels and looks dated.
Strangely, Geoff Johns managed to overcome these problems. Although his Escape from Bizzaro World (Action Comics 855 – 857) series was fun and enjoyable, Action Comics #858 shows his true talent as a writer. He understands the characters he is dealing with and manages to bring them to life.
Rather than feeling dated, the Legion has a very nostalgic feel to it. I enjoyed this issue so much that I did not want to see it end.
Admittedly I was a little worried while reading the first page, and actually planned on breezing through the comic. The story begins with two alien humanoid characters sending their child to Earth. The male convinces his wife this is the right course of action since Earth made Superman in to the greatest hero to ever live.
I thought to myself, “Great, another retelling of Superman’s past”.
A few panels later and this alien child crashes to Earth in the 31st century and is found by an elderly man and woman while they drive across the countryside in their hover pickup truck.
“Wonderful,” I thought “A story paralleling Superman in an ultra-unrealistic way”.
Then the old man pulled out a futuristic shotgun and killed the alien child. I was instantly hooked.
The story only got better when it shifted to the modern age and in to the office of the Daily Planet where a conversation takes place between Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White. This is where Geoff Johns shines. His dialog is amazing.
The stark contrast between Superman and Clark Kent is something we don’t always see a lot of anymore. It seems that writers have a hard time separating the two personas. Not so with Johns. Clark Kent is back to his bumbling, awkward, absent-minded self. Throw in the art of Gary Frank and you get a suit that doesn’t quite fit, glasses that need constant adjusting and hair that doesn’t want to lay down. These little details help to restore the nerdy Clark Kent that we all know and love.
Contrast this with the confident Superman who jumps from a window while changing in to his “action” clothes, flies off and immediately attacks a gigantic menacing robot.
Later in the comic Superman makes his way back to the 31st century at the request of Brainiac 5. It seems he is needed for an important mission. However when he arrives he is attacked by the Science Police. He is then informed by some of the Legionnaires that Brainiac 5 has been missing for over six months. He’s also urged to leave immediately. Of course he can’t and soon learns that he has no powers because the sun has been changed from yellow to red.
The idea of Superman trapped in the future without his powers is fun. The dialogue between characters and excellent art make this an amazing comic book and a promising series.