"Dream Crime Part Five"
Writers: Abnett and Lanning
Artists: Chris Batista (p), Mark Farmer (i)
The battle with Universo continues, as help comes from an unexpected quarter and earlier players in the story get a second chance to act.
In X-statix this week, I thought poor art hurt a good story. Here a good story has been greatly improved by a winning art team. Batista is more at home on this title with every issue, drawing a clean and stylish (but not childish) Legion that is a pleasure to see. Even better, Mark Farmer's rock-solid inks (including a consistent and effective use of black, especially in silhouettes) are simply amazing. He creates a wonderfully designed page, and allows Batista to shine as he never has before.
The issue begins with a clever twist worthy of the Levitz era: the crushing defeat that the team seemingly suffered last issue (despite a valiant but recognizably foolish effort by a nostalgic grouping) wasn't so crushing after all. Turn's out it was all anů. illusion. Yep, Sensor, naturally immune to Universo's mind control, tricked him in order to achieve the real goal, freeing his two biggest threats, Dreamer and Saturn Girl.
This devious behaviour fits in wonderfully with the former ruler of feudal planet Orando; the woman who executed Nemesis Kid when he over-stepped his bounds; the woman who fooled everyone for months as Sensor Girl in order to rejoin the team she'd been disqualified from, executing the Emerald Empress along the way. What, all that happened to someone from a previous timeline, not our own favorite snake from a planet with mongoose servants? Don't think so, mate. DnA are busily re-asserting the relationships and dynamics from the old days, and it's about time.
It seems that after destroying systematically almost everything the Reboot stood for (with the Blight, the Rift and the desolate Legion Lost), the long-term writing team is now rebuilding the Legion and the UP back to v. 3 strength. The focus has again evolved to one on a more adult team than those precocious teens. These are young adults with children, lovers and responsible positions in society. Inexperience is not a problem for these seasoned warriors anymore.
Batista especially draws an exciting Sensor, and choreographs exciting conflicts with the newly assertive Dreamer, while Imra takes on Universo on his own terms. She bristles with psychic energy as she takes on Universo. Credit must also go to colorist Jason Wright, who's orange/purple/white scheme is a large part of the success of Sensor's newly humanoid look.
Universo's final fate is ironic and just desserts for him. It makes for a humorous coda that homages the Legion's rich history. While some of this issue (after the welcome surprise beginning) was predictable (including that conventional sci-fi fate and the final conflict coming down to a battle of wills and flashy lights), there were several interesting bumps along the way. Just what is going on with Jo and Tinya's kid? This was the most conventional and solidly planned story of DnA's run thus far, and I say they and we have earned it.
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