Legion Of Super-Heroes: When Evil Calls by Paul Levitz, Geraldo Borges, Yildiray Cinar and Phil Jimenez (graphic novel review).
This is, I assume, the final volume of ‘Legion Of Super-Heroes: When Evil Calls’ before the ‘New 52’ consists of Adventure Comics # 523-529, Legion Of Super-Villains # 1 and Legion Of Super-Heroes # 11-16.
The initial section looks at candidates in the Legion Academy. Unlike previous LSH realities, those rejected for various reasons can even end up working in special units of the Science Police. Considering the flat refusal in recruitment days back in the 60s, this has to be the better way to go. Saying that, one set of wannabees in the Academy would have been kicked out long ago for some of the antics they do here. Likewise, Glorith in this LSH reality is not the danger she was elsewhere yet and Mysal Nel has a decidedly black turn here. If you’re not into the LSH mythology, then that last sentence will be pretty meaningless but it doesn’t make any difference to those new to this reality.
Although fine for several stories, you do start wondering when the Legion itself will make an appearance but, boy, when they do, all hell breaks loose. The imprisoned Saturn Queen on the prison planet Takron-Galtos has slowly been building her telepathic power and unleashes it with a powerful intensity, releasing the prisoners and selecting some to join her Legion Of Super-Villains, controlling her own people when they express free will. There are turns from the likes of Lightning Lord who says he can resist her but he’s still putty in her mind. Worse, she had an objective, to destroy three cornerstones of reality. Without being too spoiler, you do have to wonder why the 31st century doesn’t have a Captain Marvel. Then again, the same could be said of a Green Lantern Corps.
I was intending to read this graphic novel over several days but the ‘what happens next’ bug hit and I ended up finishing it in a long afternoon. Although all the Legionnaires get a mention, not all of them are put to good use. Mind you, it did make me wonder if the Legion Of Super-Villains bumped into the Fatal Five, would they share similar ambitions or fight each other? Certainly, the story shown here shows how formidable the LSV are, even if their membership is never likely to be particularly stable.
For a set of comicbooks that was originally released in 2011, I have to say that the art is the most impressive I’ve seen yet. With the number of characters contained in the LSH 31st century, it can be far too easy to not make them individual enough. Not here and the colouring is beautifully done to match the best of non-computer graphics. It really does look like a labour of love for the roll-call of those involved.
Over the decades, the LSH has always had some connection to different generations of comicbook fans. Whether it’s the more staid from the 60s, until spun over by writer Jim Shooter, to the 70s where Dave Cockrum gave them all new costumes and then influenced by artist Mike Grell to the 80s where writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffin raised the LSH again, this is DC Comics most SF-orientated comic run. With the recent abortive new reality, it’s said that DC is bringing the LSH back again. That being the case, it would be in your interest to read this volume and see what happened last.
(pub: DC Comics, 2012. 320 page softcover graphic novel. Price: about £10.00 (UK) if you know where to look. ISBN: 978-1-40123-367-9)
check out website: www.ddcomics.com