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Sunday Slugfest: Legion of 3 Worlds #1

Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2008
By: Thom Young

Geoff Johns
George Perez (p) and Scott Koblish (i)
DC Comics
Dave Wallace: 3.5 Bullets
Thom Young: 4 Bullets
Dave Dykema: 5 Bullets
Kyle Garret: 4.5 Bullets
Kevin Powers: 4 Bullets




Dave Wallace:

As someone who doesn't have much knowledge of the Legion of Super-Heroes, I approached Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds expecting to be confused by the storyline and overwhelmed by appearances from numerous C-list DC characters whose names and costumes meant nothing to me. Happily, Geoff Johns seems aware of the fact that his enthusiasm for the Legion might not be shared by all of his readers, and so he set out to make this opening issue as accessible and self-explanatory as possible.

Johns packs quite a lot of exposition into this issue, especially during the first half, but manages to incorporate it into his story fairly smoothly. A brisk opening shows a sinister purple-clad villain from "the end of time" drag Superboy-Prime through time to the 31st century--having him land in Smallville in 3008 (with echoes of the recent "Legion of Super-Heroes" arc from Johns' own run on Action Comics) only to discover that his previous villainous actions in the present amount to a mere historical footnote for the Superman of the future.

As a result, Superboy-Prime goes on a rampage and hooks up with the Legion of Super-Villains--apparently in order to make more of a name for himself as a villain. It's hardly the most complex plot in the world, and the logic of having a villain whose motivation amounts to the desire to be villainous seems somewhat circular. However, it provides a workable plot that enables Johns's story to bring together the three different Legions of Super-Heroes--as well as the modern-day Superman--with a reasonable justification and a minimum of fuss.

The writing isn't flawless. There are several passages of dialogue that feel more than a little corny and clunky ("I'm in the stupid future." – "It's not fair! It's never been fair!"), but there are just as many enjoyable sections (such as the relentlessly upbeat nature of the Jimmy Olsen hologram that acts as a tour guide for the Superman museum).

The only place that the story really began to drag for me was during that repetitive and slightly dull scene set in the United Planets council chamber that began to remind me of the Star Wars prequels--and not in a good way. However, for the most part, this is an enjoyable story that creates an effective sense of jeopardy and provides a pretty decent reason for the three different Legion teams to be brought together--even if it's not the most elegant or beautifully written book that I've ever read.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the artwork of this issue. George Perez is a much-celebrated name in the industry, but I've managed to (unintentionally) avoid the vast majority of his output for most of the years that I've been reading comics--so it's nice to stumble across his work and realise that the high praise of other readers was well deserved.

Perez packs a lot of information into every image, working from a script that frequently demands more than 10 panels per page. He manages to pull it off without the storytelling seeming choppy or indistinct, or the individual panels feeling tiny and claustrophobic.

Much of the appeal of seeing Perez illustrate the three different Legions is completely lost on me, but there seems to be a fair amount of attention to detail as far as the various characters and their costumes are concerned. I'm still expecting to find things fairly confusing once all of these characters start mixing with one another, but I imagine that I'll still be able to enjoy the clear storytelling and iconic imagery that Perez provides--especially if Johns continues to feed him scenes that allow him plenty of fan-pleasing cameos (such as the ones set in the Superman museum this issue).

I also love the cover concept of featuring three different versions of the same character, an idea that Perez pulls off well here.

One visual problem that I did have with the issue was the use of sound effects. More than once, during some of the more explosive sequences, a gigantic sound effect fills the panel. Although we can still see some of the artwork behind the lettering of these sound effects, they have the effect of obscuring much of Perez's linework--making it difficult to see exactly what's happening in the panels themselves.

The intrusion of these sound effects is clumsy and detracts from the artwork considerably, which seems a particular shame when you consider that the book has been marketed on the strength of the artwork as much as anything else. However, it wasn't such a common problem that it provided a constant distraction.

One element that isn't yet clear about this book is the nature of the link between this story and Final Crisis. Unusually for a tie-in miniseries, this first issue isn't tipping its hand yet with regard to its connection with Grant Morrison's "event" series--leaving fans to wonder exactly how it fits in to the bigger picture of the DCU.

I'm sure that this lack of obvious connection will irritate some readers, but I'd advise them to wait and see what future issues bring before deriding the book for having no link to DC's current big "event" comic. I'm sure that Johns will make the connection clear before the series is over.

Finally, the closing panels of the issue provide an unexpected twist, with Superman's approach to the threat of Superboy-Prime making a refreshing change from the kind of mindless violence and conflict that accompanies many "epic" crossover stories like this one. The idea of redemption for one of the most disliked characters in recent DC history might sound like a pretty tall order. However, if Johns can pull it off, this could turn out to be quite an enjoyable story that functions above the level of a mere nostalgia-fest for Legion fans.




Thom Young:

Beginning with the cover, George Pérez’s work on the issue is the best I’ve seen from him in quite a while. He’s never been a slouch, of course, but his work on Infinite Crisis a few years ago was uninspired. His recent stint on The Brave and the Bold was very good, but his work on Legion of Three Worlds #1 is even better.

Inker Scott Koblish deserves credit too, no doubt. However, based on the style of the finished illustrations, Pérez’s pencils must have been very tight to begin with. It also appears that the principal covers are being produced from Pérez’s un-inked pencils and colored by someone whose name I can’t make out.

The covers for the second and third issue have appeared on the Internet--and I love the way that Pérez is able to evoke a 1950s style in his designs for Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy without doing a direct takeoff of the Populuxe futurism style of the 1950s. For those two characters, Pérez has created a 1950s retro science fiction look while simultaneously making the costumes work as contemporary superhero uniforms set one thousand years in the future. It’s quite an achievement.

To go with Pérez’s fantastic pencils is a story by Geoff Johns that isn’t quite as fantastic, but is still very good for the most part.

The first page has one of the Legion of Super-Heroes’ major villains melodramatically seething over his past failures to destroy the team. His soliloquy is pure melodrama, but it’s not overplayed by Johns--and that’s something I’ve noticed and appreciate about his most recent work; John’s no longer seems to push the dialog beyond the needs of the story.

In the past, his dialog had been overstated in any and every way that it could be. Stylish characters had dialog that was too hep. Scenes intended to show warmth and sentiment had schmaltzy dialog. Angry characters came across as shrill and frenzied. All of those tendencies seem to have been toned down lately--though Superboy-Prime in this story does still border on hysterical in a couple of places (“It's not fair! It's never been fair!”).

There is, though, the unfortunate instance in which Brainiac Five suddenly adopts the syntax of Yoda from Star Wars as he says, “The modifications on the projector I did. . . .” (page 19, panel 4).

As with Pérez’s designs for Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy, Johns also evokes the past in a few places while making the story work as a contemporary story set a millennium from now. The opening scene would not seem out of place in either a 1970s Legion story featuring the Time Trapper nor in a 1930s Flash Gordon story by Alex Raymond featuring Ming the Merciless.

Pulpish melodramatic villains are one of the conventions for these types of stories, and Johns (together with Pérez) adheres to the convention without making the scene seem overwrought and kitschy. In that opening scene, Johns has the Time Trapper decide upon a new plot to destroy the Legion--a plan that calls for him to pull “Superboy-Prime” through the time stream and into the 31st century.

The Legion of Super-Heroes got their start 50 years ago when they appeared in the Superboy story in Adventure Comics #247. Of course, the current villain known as “Superboy-Prime” is essentially a parallel universe version of the character whom Cosmic Boy, Lightning Boy (sic), and Saturn Girl traveled back in time to meet in that 1958 first appearance.

In this way, Johns has created a nice sense of symmetry between this opening scene and the Legion’s first appearance as the Time Trapper brings Superboy-Prime to the 31st century in the same way that the Legions three founding members brought Superboy to the 30th century 50 years ago. Additionally, just as Superboy was the historic inspiration for the Legion of Super-Heroes, we discover in this current issue that Superboy-Prime was the historic inspiration for the Legion of Super-Villains.

Johns adds to this symmetrical structure between this issue and the Legion’s first appearance by creating a second point of symmetry. The double-page scene at the end of the issue is a mirror image of the scene on the first page--which is to say that it is a similar-but-reversed scene.

As a reflection of the Time Trapper’s scheme to use Superboy-Prime to bring about the Legion’s downfall, Superman tells the Legion that they need to “do something drastic” to stop Superboy-Prime. However, it’s not his downfall that Superman is pondering. He says that they “need to redeem Superboy-Prime.” In this way, John contrasts the Time Trapper’s melodramatic plan against Superman’s role as a savior who seeks redemption for villains rather than their damnation and destruction.

Additionally, that double-page spread on the final two pages has yet a third point of symmetry as Brainiac Five decides to bring two parallel versions of the Legion into his universe to aid in the attempt to redeem Superboy-Prime and recapture the criminals that were released from the prison planet Takron-Galtos. Pérez composed the double-page spread symmetrically, with the 1993-2000 (post-Zero Hour) version of the Legion on the left and the current version of the Legion on the right--with the Brainiac Five of the “original version” of the Legion centered between them.

Within that impressive three-point symmetrical structure they created, Johns and Pérez then deliver an engaging story. In contrast to their lackluster work on Infinite Crisis, both seem to be devoted to their respective crafts here. As I mentioned earlier, Pérez’s pencils are very precise (tight) and Johns seems to have abandoned the over-the-top dialog he used to write in the past.

Johns should also be complimented on his clever way to insert exposition into the story without making it awkward and/or obvious. After arriving in the 31st century, Superboy-Prime happens upon the Superman Museum in Smallville where an interactive hologram of Jimmy Olsen provides informative tours of the museum to arriving visitors. As part of his programmed tour, the Olsen hologram provides a great deal of exposition for any readers who might be new to the Legion of Super-Heroes (or a refresher course for readers who haven’t read a Legion story for a while).

About the only story point that Johns didn’t have the Olsen hologram explain (and that he probably should have addressed) is a brief re-cap of who the Time Trapper is. I recognized the Time Trapper on the opening page--as I’m certain most longtime Legion readers did--but nowhere in the story is the Time Trapper actually mentioned by name.

To new readers, the story simply opens with a mysterious figure in a purple robe who pulls Superboy-Prime into the 31st century. As far as new readers are concerned, that character in the purple robes could be Destiny--another purple-robed character of the DC universe. Destiny knows the past, present, and of every character in the DC universe save for the members of the Challengers of the Unknown.

In fact, since Pérez’s most recent work in The Brave and the Bold involved Destiny, some readers might legitimately mistake the Time Trapper for Destiny. Additionally, as I looked through DC’s promotional copy for all the series that supposedly tie into Final Crisis, I noticed that Greg Rucka’s Final Crisis: Revelations has a plot that involves Vandal Savage attempting to take possession of the Spear of Destiny.

Coincidence?

Probabably.

But it could it be used as a connecting point between Legion of Three Worlds and Final Crisis--though I doubt it will be.

If it is a connecting point, then perhaps Johns intentionally left out exposition from the Jimmy Olsen hologram that would explain who the Time Trapper is. Perhaps Johns is planning to reveal that there is a hitherto unknown connection between the two purple-robed characters whose faces are always covered.

Regardless, there are a lot of intriguing possibilities in this story, and I sincerely hope that Johns is able to see us through to a satisfactory conclusion (which is one area in which he has unfortunately not improved nearly as much in his writing). However, even though it is mostly good, there are a few places where Legion of Three Worlds stumbles.

For one thing, while I appreciate the intent of having Superboy-Prime land in a farm field in Smallville, Johns overplays it by having the field belong to a husband and wife who are xenophobic analogs to John and Martha Kent. Here they’re named “Jun and Mara.” Had Johns included a last name for the couple, it probably would have been something like “Ket.” Yes, I get the joke. After all, Johns hits us over the head with it to make sure we get it.

The payoff here is too obvious. Superboy-Prime murders the xenophobic 31st-century analogs of John and Martha Kent who discover him after he crashed into their field. I would have preferred having Superboy-Prime crash into the field of a more plausible 31st-century farm--a fully automated, corporation-owned farm. Perhaps he could have landed next to a historic marker that would have set up the parallel that Johns wanted without pushing the scene into kitsch with the Jun and Mara characters.

Another problem is the forced inclusion of the two parallel universe versions of the Legion that are brought in at the end of this issue. Obviously, the concept of the story requires that three parallel universe Legions be included. However, the reason for bringing the three together is too contrived.

I expected the Time Trapper’s scheme to take place across multiple universes (which it still might), so that the three Legions are brought together through happenstance rather than through Brainiac Five’s arbitrary decision of, “Hey, let’s bring in two parallel versions of ourselves to help out!”

Additionally, one minor error in regards to the 1958-1985 Legion of Super-Heroes (the primary Legion in this story) is the indication that the name “Brainiac” is a title bestowed upon a citizen of the planet Colu. Johns indicates here that the Coluans promoted one of their citizens to the title of “Brainiac Six” to replace Brainiac Five after he was “stripped of his title.”

I don’t have a problem with newer versions of the Legion incorporating the notion that “Brainiac” is a Coluan title, but it would have been better to have the original version that Johns is using here follow the traditional concept of Brainiac Five being the fifth generation descendent of Superman’s 20th-century nemesis.

Initially, Brainiac Five was described as a descendent of Brainiac, who was actually introduced in 1958 as well (the same year that the Legion first appeared). However, it was revealed in Superman #167 (February 1964) that Brainiac was actually an android and that Brainiac Five was actually the descendent of a boy, Vril Dox, whom the Computer Tyrants of Colu had chosen to pose as the android’s son. That boy became known as “Brainiac Two” and led the Coluans in a revolt to overthrow the Computer Tyrants (artificially intelligent computers that ruled Colu during Earth’s 20th century.

In fact, now that Johns has seemingly gone back to the original concept of Brainiac being a villainous Coluan rather than an android, it might have been an even better celebration of the 50th anniversaries of both Brainiac and the Legion to have Brainiac Five once again be a direct biological descendent of Brainiac (indicating, of course, that Coluans would have a life expectancy of over 250 years).

A fourth point of minor contention that I have with the story is the trite element of “all the convicts housed at the maximum security prison being set free.” This concept for either bringing heroes together or ratcheting up the supposed danger of the plot is overused in comics.

In fact, it’s as overused as the notion of the supernatural villain who promises secular villains “their hearts’ desire”--which, of course, is the trite notion that Morrison included in his otherwise excellent Final Crisis. (Although Morrison is just using that cliché to bring in the secular villains who will then be enslaved to Darkseid and the Anti-Life Equation.)

Finally, no Geoff Johns story would be complete without some sort of error in either science in general or astronomy in particular. In Infinite Crisis, he elevated the Polaris star system to the status of “galaxy” (which he then strategically located at the “center of the universe”). He doesn’t do anything so grandiose in this issue.

Here he merely elevates Saturn Girl’s home world Titan to the status of “planet” (page 25, panel 9)--or, rather, the Jimmy Olsen hologram does. Of course, Titan is not a planet; it’s one of Saturn’s moons.

Despite these five “flaws,” this first issue is well worth buying. It’s excellently illustrated by Pérez (particularly the covers) and, despite the contrived way in which he forces two parallel Legions into the story at the end, Johns does an impressive job in structuring the tale along different points of symmetry. I’m definitely interested in seeing how this series plays out and what, if any, connection it has to Final Crisis.

One final note: This still isn’t the “Legion of Three Worlds” case that Superman mentioned in Justice Society of America #6 during “The Lightning Saga.” He again alludes to that case in this issue when he says to Mon-El that the other two Legions are “From two parallel worlds, Mon-El. I’ve met them both. We all did a long time ago.”

Mon-El replies, “I barely remember it . . .” (page 35, panel 2).

So, there’s a past “Legion of Three Worlds” case, and I’m hoping that it will be revealed here as the Time Trapper sends the three Legions into the past to meet up with their Destiny.




Dave Dykema

When I left my comic shop--JC's Comic Stop in Toledo--JC called out, "That Legion of 3 Worlds is really, really good!" Normally, I don't like to be biased when I read or watch something I'm going to review. The less I know, the better. That way, whatever surprises lie in store might actually surprise me (wow, what a concept in today's Internet-fueled, spoiler-filled world).

In this case, I already had high hopes. I feel I needed to come clean with that. Geoff Johns rarely disappoints; I've always been a fan of George Perez's clean, detailed artwork; and the Legion of Super-Heroes is my favorite comic and always has been. I own all the Legion Archives, I have a complete run from Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #197 on, along with all the various spin-offs and one-shots (I even procured That Damn Tabloid!) and have had several--rather lame--missives printed in the letter columns.

Legion of 3 Worlds #1 doesn't disappoint.

The first issue is mostly setup, but it’s done in a very helpful way for newbies. The Time Trapper wants vengeance for all the times he's lost to the Legion. He says, "I tried to rip their soul out. I tried to make them forget Superman. But they won't. So I need to use that. I need to use this boy."

"This boy" is Superboy-Prime, whom DC readers have been exposed to a lot recently through Infinite Crisis and Sinestro Corps War. He is a twisted version of Superman, making him a fitting instrument for the Trapper's wrath.

After the Trapper sends the boy to the 31st century, Prime is at a loss as to where and when he is, so he seeks out answers at the Smallville Superman Museum.

There, a hologram of Jimmy Olsen gives him a tour--filling in both Prime and the reader as to what's going on. It goes on for pages, but is really refreshing in modern comics. The reader doesn't have to guess or have a vast collection of Archives to understand and follow along. Pretty much everything we need to know is spelled out here in a very interesting, comical, and entertaining way.

The actual Legion doesn't show up until nearly halfway through the issue. Members are introduced gradually, which is probably a blessing to those not in the know. We don't even see the other two Legions until the issue's end.

The events of the story spin out of the recent Superman/Legion team-up in Action Comics, but it's hard to say whether it would help to have read that story arc. I think it would make things a little easier, but I read those Action Comics issues just once, all those months ago, and the recap in Legion of 3 Worlds gave me enough to go on. I do find it odd that an Earth that so hates aliens would have the United Planets Council headquarters in Metropolis. Maybe that's just nitpicking though.

The main Legionnaires in this story seem to be the ones from the "Lightning Saga" story that ran last year in Justice League of America and Justice Society of America, which makes them the same Legion that appeared in the Levitz/Giffen run. Since they interact with Superman, this Legion seems to be the main DC Universe one. While this is fine with me, since they're the version I like most, I find it confusing that the monthly title written by Jim Shooter stars another version.

This point is where theories and speculation set in. If one of the main goals of Final Crisis is to once again get rid of the multiverse, then it seems likely that when Legion of 3 Worlds is done, it will be comprised of an amalgam of characters from each version--the best rendition of Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, et cetera.

I don't favor that notion though. It seems silly to wipe out what DC's spent so much time setting up. I hope we'll have all versions intact, operating on separate worlds in the 52-verse, able to interact with each other as necessary. That's probably a pipedream. Instead, we'll most likely have lots of death as Legionnaires get killed off, thinning the numbers. While that isn't my favorite option, it's kind of what I expect.

Now some of this sounds like a downer for an issue I gave five bullets to. The reason I gave this issue such a high rating is that I haven't been this excited about a comic in a long time. It felt completely epic--unlike the main crossover event, Final Crisis. The story was dense--literally. It took me over twenty minutes to read it.

Rather than six splash pages with dialogue like "H-Help!" and "Ahhhh!" each page in this issue is packed with story. Time well spent. You really get your money's worth. Perez's artwork is amazing, almost on par with his original Crisis on Infinite Earths. I'm not going to count, but he's drawn at least eighty or ninety different characters here.

That high rating doesn't mean that disappointment isn't looming in the future. I'm not saying that will happen either, but the possibility exists. I love the canvas this story is laid out on. I just hope no one defaces it by splashing a bucket of harsh paint over it. What the final conclusion will be is what has me excited about this series because I'm uncertain and feeling the tension.




Kyle Garret

Full disclosure: I love the Legion of Superheroes. It was very, very hard for me to give up on this franchise. However, after the first few issues of the "Threeboot" (the latest version of the team that bares the Legion name), I couldn't take it any more. This wasn't a team I wanted to read about. It wasn't the Legion to me.

So, of course, I was thrilled when the original Legion (with some curious changes) popped up in the pages of Justice League of America over a year ago. And it only got better as that team moved from one title to another, before finally ending up with its own limited series here--joined by Superman and the other two versions of the Legion.

All of which should lead pretty much everyone to a simple conclusion: Geoff Johns is crazy. So is George "Everything I Draw Is Awesome" Perez, for that matter. Because not only does Johns take on this epic story featuring a giant cast, he actually does everything he can to make the story accessible to new readers! Even crazier, he actually succeeds!

There's a lot to love here. Johns does a great job of not only establishing the tension but also managing to nail a few character moments. Those unfamiliar with the Legion will get a feel for the founders (Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad) almost immediately. While that's pretty necessary to fully appreciate the Legion, Johns doesn't rest on that. He also gives great moments to Brainiac 5, Sun Boy, and Polar Boy--hinting at the depth and complexity that new readers can find on this team.

And of course, George Perez is awesome. I could go into detail, but that would be belaboring the obvious. He's just awesome.

Sure, the first 15 pages are more or less exposition, but it explains what any new reader would need to know going into this series. Hey, it's even a nice recap for those of us who own all of the stories leading up to this series. Truth be told, I'm actually a little envious of those who are unfamiliar with the Legion. All of these colorful, complex characters are brand new to them.

If I have any complaints at all about this book, they're minor.

The 15 pages of exposition IS a bit much, and could easily have been mixed in with other scenes, although I'm willing accept the idea that Johns wanted to maintain the interest of new readers. I also miss the "future slang" that Legion fans know so well, obvious in its absence when Lightning Lad uses bleeped "symbol swearing." And I'm still not sold on a lot of the new looks the team is sporting.

Still, this first issue had all the makings of a classic series, and if it brings in new fans that allow for a new monthly Legion title, all the better.




Kevin Powers:

Final Crisis: The Legion of Three Worlds has no direct connections to Final Crisis itself that I was able to pick out. Maybe they are subtle, but they certainly aren't obvious.

So why slap "Final Crisis" on the title of this book? For two reasons: One, to nab an extra $3.99 from the common reader; Two, because maybe, as it plays out, this series will end up having something to do with Final Crisis.

This "not-so-connected story" follows two other Final Crisis tie-ins--Requim and Revelations--both of which were decent, just branching off the mediocrity of Final Crisis itself. However, with Geoff Johns and George Perez handling the duties on this series, whether or not Legion of Three Worlds actually has anything to do with Final Crisis doesn't necessarily concern me. I'm looking for a decent story involving Superman, Superman-Prime, and the Legion.

With that in mind, let me just add the fact that before the Johns/Gary Frank Legion story-arc on Action Comics, I knew next to nothing about the Legion. I used to avoid the Legion like the plague, fearing that I would be lost in a coma-inducing time mess, and that trying to figure out the history and players involved would just confuse me.

Johns changed that, and his story-arc in Action brought a sense of understanding to what I used to consider a mess. Even Jim Shooter's current series has me scratching my head, and not because I'm totally confused. With this series, though, I trust Johns to provide a compelling story while giving me a Legion I can follow and understand.

Now, before people read this first issue of Legion of 3 Worlds, I would recommend they first read the Action Comics Legion arc just to get the basis of the Legion's world that we are dealing with. It's not totally required because Johns does a decent job of filling in the blanks in the early-goings of this issue as he introduces each character, but it wouldn’t hurt to give it a read.

This story centers on Superman-Prime, who has been transported from the abyss to the year 3008 by the Legion’s arch-nemesis the Time Trapper. The last time we saw Prime was during the "Sinestro Corps War" and, to be honest, ever since Infinite Crisis, I have kind of enjoyed the bratty, violent, and evil version of Prime that Johns has created. Sure, the character is whiny and annoying, but that's the point--and I don’t think anyone else but Johns could write him as successfully.

While he uses the character as the catalyst for, and antagonist of, the story, Johns tries to introduce the major players of the Legion, including Superman, while also explaining the history of the group for those readers not familiar with the Legion. This is a very bold task, especially since Johns spends a great deal of time explaining the history in a nutshell while furthering the plots involving Prime and the Legion--all while explaining the current state of each Legionnaire.

There's an upside and a downside to this style of storytelling. On the one hand, the read is rather smooth. Johns dispenses all the information in a clear and distinct way, and you don't need to know the entire history of the Legion in order to understand this book. That's a huge advantage for readers who pick this book up merely because it's labeled "Final Crisis."

The downside to this type of storytelling is that there is a butt-load of information to absorb. However, the extraordinary thing about this issue is that Johns does what he can to manage all of the information and use it to the story's advantage and not require the reader to have an advanced degree in Legion 101.

Again, it's just a lot to take in, and it can be a bit exhausting. However, as far as the writing and the story go, that's really the extent of my criticism. I found the way Johns used the Superman Museum and the holographic Jimmy Olsen as the guide to be rather genius.

While there was an upside and a downside to the storytelling, the other problem with the issue is just the sheer amount of stuff happening and the fact that two Legions from alternate universes are going to be brought in to combat Prime. It's not necessarily a bad thing, especially this early on, but there’s a lot to follow due to the way that Johns:
  • Provides an almost encyclopedic run-down of the main Legion and their current situation, including the focus on certain characters like Mon-El and Sun Boy,

  • Elaborates on Prime's motivations,

  • Introduces the Prime-inspired evil Legion,

  • Presents the Time Trapper's angle,

  • Continues to explore future Earth's intolerance of aliens,

  • Brings in Superman, and

  • Ends the issue by bringing in two alternate Legions after finally wrapping my head around the main one.
Thankfully, Johns is the type of writer who can handle a story with this much going on because, as confusing as it sounds and could potentially become, I felt like I had a strong grasp on the story at issue's end.

The issue is actually put together nicely. My favorite aspect is how simple and trite Prime's motivation is, but it also reminds us once again who he is: a self-centered being now obsessed with the destruction of everything, specifically Superman.

He's obsessive, and Johns portrays him as a raving lunatic in this issue. I notice that with every featured appearance of this character, he seems to evolve while maintaining the bratty exterior. I love his desire to destroy the Legion and the future society for no other reason than because they were inspired by Superman.

I've always been a fan of George Perez's artwork. He has a way of taking extreme amounts of information and story, and clearly squeezing them onto page after page. He's definitely what you could call an "old school" artist who uses his art and use of multiple panels to tell the story in striking detail. He's perfect for this series because of the sheer amount of stuff happening, and it feels right that a now-classic artist is providing the art on a classic DC property.

Whether or not this series directly links to Final Crisis remains to be seen. In the meantime, I will simultaneously say, “Shame on DC” for slapping “Final Crisis” on this title while applaud them for doing so because, hopefully, more people will pick it up and find themselves pleasantly surprised like I was. Sure, this issue has a lot going on, but Johns handles it well and has a solid first outing with this series.



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