Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Legion of Super Heroes #2 - Breath of Fresh Air

I saw a little sign of it in #1, but it really came out in this appears that Mark Waid may be on his way to finding his old supehero writer self on this title, or so it seems with the release of the second issue of Legion of Super Heroes.

Remember when Mark Waid used to be FUNNY?

Remember when that was, like, his THING?

That he could write funny stuff? That his books generally had some jokes/humor in them?

I missed that aspect of his work (and I don't mean the unintentional humor of the FF rap song)...and it was in full display in Legion of Super Heroes #2.

Barry Kitson, meanwhile, obviously has a deep connection to these can tell by all the detail he pores into them (hell, look at the work he did for the cover of #5, where he drew faces into the background when he KNEW that he was going to later obscure them!).

However, in this issue, we also get a sense of warmth that I think was MISSING from his pencils in the first issue. The sharpness of his pencils is Barry Kitson's distinct style. Heck, I remember a story arc on Shadow of the Bat where they literally just colored his pencils (and not that computer graphic replacing the inker stuff, literally just colored his pencils), and they were still such distinct figures.

So that's his style...but said style can also lend a bit too much distance to the characters. When everything is drawn so sharp, then the characters do not feel as true to life.

Kitson improves this a great deal in #2, as the characters appear quite vibrant.

Of course, it certainly helps that Mark Waid's script allows for them to be vibrant.

Like the classic Legion stories of old, Waid picks a small team, and devotes a lot of time to their characterizations (a nice nod putting their faces on the cover next to the name of the book, but it is still silly to have people on the cover featured prominently who have nothing to do with the interiors).

Cosmic Boy is back in charge (I thought he stepped down in #1 for a bit?), and his conversations with Brainiac were funny. In addition, I think Waid came up with an interesting dichotomy between Brainy, who comes up with stuff by testing arduously, and Nura, who just takes a nap and comes up with the same stuff.

Meanwhile, he weaves in the personalities of the other Legionnaires (Karate Kid, Chameleon, Element Lad and Shadow Lass) well, without going overboard with it.

More than a few people had a problem with how over the top evil the adults seemed in the first issue. Well, Waid addresses this by playing with that idea (that adults are evil and cannot be trusted) with the adults of Nura's homeworld, and their attitude to the youth of Naltor.

And the ending was funny.

Meanwhile, all while sticking with the whole "a lot of story in each issue" and "done in one" themes...which is still, sad to say, a bit of an experimental format nowadays.

In any event, I thought this was a very good step up from last issue, and it is good to see different dimensions (some new and some that are returns of old favorites) in Waid and Kitson's work.

Agree? Disagree?


Blogger Michael said...

My full assessment will be on my reviews, of course, but I did want to touch on the "kids good, adults evil" argument.

Last issue, I saw how the argument could be made, but I didn't think it was what Waid was going for. This issue reinforced that. In #1, the Lallorians, for whatever reason, were basically pulling a Kent State. The Naltorians, however, are different in two important ways: 1, their actions are not at all related to the activities of the Legion, and 2, the Naltorians, while misguided, are acting in what they believe to be their children's best interest. It brings to mind an old Carlin line: "Try explaining Hitler to a kid." Knowledge may be power, but power can have a way of overloading circuits that can't handle it.

Which isn't to say Brainy doesn't have a point, too. Which is the nice thing here: Waid is definitely setting up a generational conflict here, but he's presenting both sides as having strengths and weaknesses to their points.

Bottom line, though, what we've got here is some very cool space opera, which is exactly what the Legion should be.

1/26/2005 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

How do people get by that dull-as-safety-scissors artwork? Even I can tell that this is better Waid stuff than we've seen in a while, but that ART! Ugh. Once I cut myself with a piece of paper that had Kitson artwork and I fell asleep for three years. True story.

1/26/2005 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Did you not think there was a difference between Kitson's art in the first issue and this one, Joe?

1/26/2005 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger alex said...

Jeezum Crow, Cronin!

The new Legion is shit! Whay are you wasting our precious space discussing it?

It sucks, and you suck for writing a review of it!

The art is lame and dull, the New Take is stupid, and so far, you have to be a total Legion nerd to give any shit whatsoever.

Aren't there more nerds at CBR that want to talk about sucky nerd books?

Give us more Simpsons Reviews!

That being said, I do love you dearly.


1/26/2005 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I think the return of the good Mark Waid is a big deal, don't think so?

Did you not like Waid's first run on Flash and/or Captain America?

I thought those were really good, fun comic books.

I haven't seen that from him in YEARS (even his second run on Flash and his second Cap run were not that impressive)...and I am pleased to see him back.

1/26/2005 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Regarding Kitson's "dull art," I get what you're saying, and I think he improved it in this issue, adding much more feeling to it, and not so much the sharp "statue-like" drawings of his past.

1/26/2005 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

I just read it . . .it's certainly better Waid. But I don't think I'd go so far as "good" Waid yet. And that art looks exactly as boring as it did before, except with more boobs. Boring boobs.

1/26/2005 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"The art is lame and dull, the New Take is stupid, and so far, you have to be a total Legion nerd to give any shit whatsoever."

Not true. Issue 1 was my first Legion comic ever, and I give quite the shit.

1/26/2005 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Chad said...

My experience with Waid is that he tends to start out strong and then gets bad pretty fast. And I don't think Legion started off very strongly at all. Especially not the generational conflict. It's like someone at the WB said "You know, I think we make comic books too. Why don't we make more comic books about misunderstood teens with vague ambitions?"

1/26/2005 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Zachary Harrison said...

Mark Waid is to comics what George Clooney is to being a charming screen presence

1/27/2005 03:17:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I thought Clooney was cool in Three Kings.

1/27/2005 03:38:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

Huh. Honestly, I tend to find Clooney pretty charming, especially next to most big stars. And if that IS your point, then I don't think Waid is up there at all.

1/27/2005 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I think he was insulting Clooney (and, by extension, Waid).

Care to clear that up, Zach?

1/27/2005 06:21:00 PM  

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