When Sequential Art Stories Eschew Both Sequence and Story: Legion of Super-Heroes #6

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Legion of Super-Heroes 6 2020

The Legion of Super-Heroes. A group of teens with powers, one thousand years in the future, inspired by the legend of Superman and brought together to show teamwork and unity among the citizens of different planets. Over the years, I've been there for the classics. The death and resurrection of Lightning Lad. The sacrifice of Ferro Lad. Reflecto. The Great Darkness. The Cockrum era. The Grell issues.

You might say I'm a bit of a fan.

I picked up LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #6 because of the painted Alex Garner cover -- overlooking the ghost fingers of Wildfire and the Keanu Reeves "You Can't #MeToo Me" airhug of Superboy to a pair of Triplicate Girl replicants. Plus, there was the promise on the standard Ryan Sook cover that there were going to be new Legionnaires introduced in this issue. Now, when new Legionnaires are introduced, they're not inducted into the Legion -- they're already members, and we are just now getting to see them. Gold Lantern. Monster Boy. And, one of several someones I've always said should be represented in the 30th century, Doctor Fate.

Gold Lantern is a new color on the Lantern spectrum. We're told that this color represents unbridled joy. We don't know when these Lanterns will chronologically appear in the DCU, or what their strength levels are, but what the hey, it's a color in the crayon box they hadn't used yet, so why not. Personally, I can't wait for Burnt Umber Lantern.

Monster Boy declares the ability to -- in an emergency -- transmute into the form of some monster. But what does that mean, particularly in a time when there are literally countless alien species milling about on Earth. And yet, sentients scream around Monster Boy, which sets us up for some subtle modern-day reflection. When told he should select another form, he replies:

Monster Boy: I don't get to pick which monster form I transform into in times of emergency! So you Earth people are going to have to get over your prejudices!

Random Legionnaire: Let me know how that works out for you!

See, even in the enlightened and optimistic future, rotten old Earth people are still full of hate and fear. Don't we all feel depressed now?

And then there's Doctor Fate -- a legacy of over a thousand years, with audience recognition, ready to jump into LSH and see the character in action. You'll likely find Waldo before finding Doctor Fate, but you can find the back of the helmet in a broadcast scene of the Legion in one panel. That's it, that's all.

Now, there's a story in all of this, purportedly, but it's harder to find than the Doctor Fate cameo. Brainiac 5 has ordered the evacuation of Earth, because an incoming spaceship has Aquaman's trident. Yes, it's apparently that powerful. Now, apparently Brainiac 5 has an ulterior plan, but he certainly doesn't let it show, even to the rest of the Legion. But apparently all of this was to restore something the Earth needed -- which, given how it was delivered, should have pretty much wiped out the entirety of all land masses in a deluge greater than the story of Noah, and in a scene cut more jarring than slamming on the brakes backing out of your driveway at the sight of a child on a bicycle. Granted, comics are all about the reader filling in the spaces between the panels -- that's what makes the medium unique. Just ask Scott McCloud. But having to fill in a full story with guesses and conjecture is just grandmaster-level laziness on the part of the writer, Brian Michael Bendis.

Fortunately, Ryan Sook's pencils elevate this book from being a bad comic to just being a badly told story. The pencil lines are neat and clean, and you get some nice heroic poses of many of the characters. Sook has always delivered great interiors, and his artwork is the only reason to even think about picking this one up. (Well, that and the wild speculation market that thrives on first appearances of new characters.) 

2.5 / 5.0