"Foundations Part Two"
Writers: Abnett and Lanning
Artists: Chris Batista (p), Chip Wallace (i)
Superboy (the clone Kon-El) is having a blast with his new friends in the future, though Cosmic Boy is non-plussed to find his hero all-too-human. Strangely familiar emissaries from Apokolips are interfering with the old Brande Stargates that the Legion is charged with shutting down. One shadowy dude seems especially affronted by Kon's Super-logo. The anomaly of Garth trapped in a crystalline version of Jan has made Imra grow distant, even as Jazmin and Coz grow closer. However, Jazmin's time-based powers seem to be altering her perceptions.
As you can tell, DnA have finally gotten the hang of the subplot-heavy storytelling that defines this title at its best. Despite last issue's special anniversary status, this issue is a much stronger example of the team they've now formed. In a generally positive world (obviously not the state of their story arcs up till now), the problems of the team become more personal. When they can handle their missions without catastrophe, we start to learn more about the characters and their strengths and weaknesses.
It looks like the JLA doppelgangers are trying yet again to revive Darkseid, this time by the willing sacrifice of the Catastrophists (cultists who believe the world is due for God-like change, unworried whether the God who does it is good or evil). We seem to have Barda, Orion, Martian Manhunter, Superman, Green Lantern, Firestorm and (maybe?) Lobo analogues. Clearly, DnA are going for the long-expected homage/sequel to the Great Darkness Saga. While I didn't at first think that was wise, they seem to have their own ideas about where the story's going and with this issue I'm cautiously optimistic it might indeed be somewhere new. They're certainly making clever and consistent use of current DC continuity.
There's no sign of the Smallville-native Clark from last issue, but using Conner is a good move. One imagines it's part of the continued strategy of separating him from the Project Cadmus/Clone nature of his origin and strengthening his burgeoning Kryptonian ties and powers. In fact, the new costume Ferro makes for him on the final page makes it clear: Superboy is back in the Legion.
Batista's art, while prone to his own stylistic mannerisms (the Legion these days have rather large heads on rather thin and elongated bodies), is clear and consistent. His designs for the Apokoliptian enemies are ornate and fascinating, as is his look at the Catastrophists quirky symbolism.
What he and DnA seem to be doing with this and the last arc is taking aspects of the rich history of the Legion and reconfiguring them to tell a new, if nostalgic, adventure. It's the first time since the early days of the Reboot that the Legion has enjoyed this approach (which is also, if you think about it, what made the Levitz/Giffen era so appealing). It's long overdue.
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