Saturday, June 26, 2010

Legion of Super-Heroes #2

On a book with a massive cast and a complex history like the Legion of Super-Heroes, the creative team has to walk a fine line between keeping the story accessible to new readers but complex enough to please the devoted fans.

I thought the first issue in this series did a good job of explaining the basics and laying out the basic facts and characters so new readers could follow along.

While I enjoyed this issue quite a bit, I think it steps over the line and takes us into that "cast of hundreds" feel that Legion fans love, though it might make the book a challenge for new readers.

Here we see the aftermath of the destruction of Titan, Saturn's moon (which is inhabited in the 31st century). Several Legionnaires are working clean-up duty, while others tend to the thousands of refugees. Then there's the challenge of dealing with a team member who was recently an enemy of the team - and who has a powerful secret. Then there's a riot to deal with, an attack from an old enemy and Saturn Girl's desperate search through time to try to save her children.

So obviously writer Paul Levitz is really starting to open the series up here, using no less than 18 members of the Legion in this issue (by my count). It can make it tough to keep up with what's going on, but the stories are building nicely, and the comic "feels" like the Legion so many of us enjoyed - with several stories running at the same time, from cosmic struggles to personal challenges.

Tackling such a huge cast would be a strain for any artist, and here we have three handling the chores - pencillers Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela (who also inks) and inker Wayne Faucher. There's a lot going on here, and they keep the story flowing with a clean, futuristic-looking style.

They're doing good work on a book that's as involved and cast-heavy as any other. But the beauty of the Legion is that it's loaded with great characters - some you'll love, some you'll be annoyed with, and some will fascinate you.

It might be some work for new readers to sort out, but the rewards of a fine story make it well worth the effort.

Grade: A-

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