In Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #21
The cover: Three members of the Fatal Five confront three legionnaires: the Emerald Empress, Tharok and the Persuader look down upon Brainiac Five, Lightning Lass and Ultra Boy. I love that we’re looking between the Persuader’s arms as he’s about to bring down his power axe. And I really love that they’re standing on a destroyed Legion symbol. Great job by Francis Portela with Javier Mena. Overall grade: A+
The story: Talk about beginning right in the action! Cosmic Boy, Brainiac Five and Element Lad are watching a live hologram of the Persuader standing over the dead body of Duplicate Damsel as Ultra Boy and Chameleon Boy are in shock. What’s Chuck going to do?! Part One of “Endings” by Paul Levitz is non-stop warp speed insanity as the Fatal Five battle the legionnaires. But it’s not just a slugfest, on Pages 7 and 8 a female legionnaire finally speaks up on a peer’s welfare and I’ve been waiting years for these two to be reunited! It’s not official, but at least there’s a glimmer of a chance. Something major is being hinted at on Pages 9 and 10, though what it is I can’t tell. The final page, which is nothing but a teaser for a continuation of the battle next issue had me jumping for joy. Wow! Overall grade: A+
The art: When an artist, like Jeff Johnson, gets assigned to do the Legion they’ve got a major job in front of them. They’ve got to be able to draw a myriad of characters of different races, let alone costumes (my favorite likeness was Tharok who is visually twisted, let alone mentally). They’ve got to be able to create futuristic tech that looks plausible. Page 2 shows Johnson on able footing. They’ve got to be able to draw futuristic cities and alien settings. Pages 13 and 14 have that covered. And they’ve got to be able to draw action. Yee Gods, does Johnson fit that bill! Mr. Johnson, you’re rocking this book! Overall grade: A+
The colors: Javier Mena is my favorite working colorist in the industry. In the last year he’s worked with several artists on this title and he always does an exemplary job, which is no different with this issue. His colors bring holograms to life, make explosions and energy blasts real, and he makes green a deadly shade. Mena is a class act and he needs to be reminded of this so he never stops working. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Terrific sound effects and dialogue from Dezi Sienty. He’s very adept and inserting effects into elaborate action sequences without interfering with the art. Plus, any letterer that can add a PLOINK that would do Don Martin proud deserves praise. Overall grade: A+
The final line: The greatest heroes of the 31st century are in the greatest comic. Highest possible recommendation! Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comics Buyers Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” but had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years, and only recently has been teaching 9th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.