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Legion of Super-Heroes #5 Review

4 min read
It’s just a book that feels like unending dialogue with no room to breathe

The scale of the problem revealed.

Creative Staff:
Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Ryan Sook, Scott Godlewski, Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

What They Say:
DC’s far-flung future is happening right now! With the secret of Jon Kent revealed, the Legion of Super-Heroes is united to save New Earth from those who would destroy it. Will Aquaman’s lost trident be the key to New Earth’s demise? Plus, Mon-El comes clean about his connection to Jon, and Cosmic Boy and Ferro Lad find out they both have a crush on the same Legionnaire.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While I’m enjoying the Legion series overall there are plenty of things going on that frustrate me, which I’m sure are familiar to both fans and non-fans of Brian Michael Bendis. There is a lot going on here and done in a kind of order that makes sense but makes things needlessly complicated and complex when it really doesn’t need to be. When you go back and re-read classic Legion books and how clean and linear they are, even at their most complex, you appreciate what they accomplished. Bendis just frustrates in that we’re taking so long to get to the opening point of the series five issues in. Thankfully, there’s a lot to love with Ryan Sook’s artwork and the help that he’s getting with all the detail and design work. I’m intrigued by the designs for many characters and approaches taken but am left hoping that things settle down soon and we spend more time with just a few characters at a time to really let them become characters.

With a lot of general chaos going on between characters and a lot of banter that gets lost in the background, there are two main things going on here. First, we get to see how the President is feeling threatened by Jon’s arrival and has sent the Science Police to deal with the Legion by putting them in lockdown. That has Brainy smartly dealing with the situation since he was key to their working together to begin with and it works well. This allows the various Legionnaires to get some assignments and move on to new things but it also has Brainy making it clear to Cham that he knows his lineage with the President being his mother. That’s some nice little fun there but I’m not sure it works well for newer readers in how it unfolds or what it means to them. But just watching the way the two of them interact is definitely nicely done.

For Jon, he’s sent back to study as that’s the key to everything but he changes the POV for the orientation to be from the President’s. This allows him to see the initial attack that set in motion the creation of the Legion with our core three (plus Blok!) that saved her. That and the inspiration of heroes of the past gets the trio on board and we follow their story, as every Legion origin inevitably does. It’s not badly done as it unfolds, though my general complaint of too much going on in the five issues still stands as this should have come already, but it’s their time in trying to bring Brainy on board that works best. With him highlighting his new level that he’s ascended to, it’s unlocked a new truth to him in how their very existence is tied to events in the 21st century and they critically need superheroes in the present to deal with the real threat that they’re facing. Elements from that past are at the edges of the known universe and are a threat, other realities or somesuch, and they need to be able to deal with that. And he agrees that they need someone like Jon – who coined Unity Day that brought the formation of the UP into line – as someone to work with to teach them what heroes are like from a more innocent point of view.

In Summary:
I still feel like I’m able to enjoy this series because I have thirty+ years of familiarity with it all. I’m not sure how well it reads to someone new at all. At the same time, having read a number of writers tackle the team, there are I things I like from the relaunch and things that frustrate me and nothing seems to be improving overall as it moves along, which I had hoped after it got some familiarity under its belt. The challenge of a big team is one thing, a sprawling team is another, and the Legion is more than sprawling. Bendis doesn’t really have a central point of view here and there aren’t core mini-groups moving about even though they easily fall into that. It’s just a book that feels like unending dialogue with no room to breathe as it progresses with each issue. I can grasp the big picture ideas it’s going with but the presentation for it is just not working. It’s at least very, very, pretty to look at.

Grade: B

Age Rating: 15+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: March 25th, 2020
MSRP: $3.99

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