Legion Of Super-Heroes Volume 2: The Dominators by Paul Levitz, Francis Portela and Scott Kolins (graphic novel review).
Having only recently heard that DC Comics had cancelled ‘The New 52’ version of ‘The Legion Of Super-Heroes’ last year through lack of sales, I thought I ought to have a look at their last two of three collected volumes before these, too, vanished into the winds of time. It seems today’s younger audience never developed a taste for the LSH with its multitude of characters which were effectively a super-powered platoon and us older readers were a dying breed, assuming any of us were here to read it. They could, of course, be like me, and waited for these collected volumes. This one spans Legion Of Super-Heroes # 8-14 and # 0 which covers how this version of Brainiac 5 was recruited.
A large chuck of this book covers the kidnapping of Brainiac 5 and Dream Girl by the Dominators and without proof, the United Planets won’t sanction the LSH to go into their territory and rescue them because it would infringe a peace treaty. However, considering that Dream Girl is the injured Star Boy’s girl-friend, he quits and quickly recruits his own team to go to the rescue. It’s rather odd seeing the most powerful legionnaire and current leader, the Daxamite Mon-el, literally having his arms tied from doing anything and having to find evidence before they can act. The Dominators plan was to steal only Brainiac 5’s DNA to add to their own genetic pool and I wondered why they didn’t stop there. Writer Paul Levitz must have realised this as he extended this to Mon-el, although I do wonder why they simply didn’t just visit the planet of Daxam and grab any of them from there for samples or any of the other planets where Legionnaire abilities were natural. The only thing I would draw issue with on this is how did they get around the lead poisoning the Daxamites suffer from as they didn’t give their creation they temporary cure.
After that, there is a story combining Element Lad and LSH cadet Chemical Kid, who catalyses chemical reactions, against three members of the ‘Legion Of Super-Villains’ and the latter earning his stripes. In the background to all of this is seeing the resurgence of the Fatal Five, but that’s for volume 3 which I’ll review shortly.
In many respects, this reads like the 80s LSH which is hardly surprising as Paul Levitz was its chief writer then as well. There might not be as much downtime as then but there is more opportunity for all the characters to shine. As a sub-set of the DC Universe with no connection to the past, now that Superboy and Supergirl was taken out of the equation, you would have thought it would have been the ideal super-hero book for those who wanted something different. The art by Francis Portela and Scott Kolins was certainly strong enough and despite the size of the membership, all had strong characters. Future history isn’t quite over yet.
(pub: DC Comics. 192 page graphic novel softcover. Price: about £ 5.00 (UK) if you know where to look. ISBN: 978-1-40124-097-4)
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