We are back at it again with Legion of Superheroes #8, the first installment in a story-line entitled “The Trial of the Legion of Superheroes!” It has a really classic ring to it and I’m a fan.
Looking at the covers, we have the standard cover by Ryan Sook, depicting the Legion going toe to toe against each other. For me it is a rather deceiving cover, but hey, what else is new? It’s comics. We get Superboy and Saturn Girl front and center, with some other Legionaires thrown in. It’s another great opportunity to look at the new costumes. Each and every time you look at a different area of the cover you see something new. This cover is full of detail, and that is really enhanced with the colours, and especially the bright yellow background which really makes it pop.
The variant cover by Dustin Nguyen is pretty neat. It has a watercolor feel, though I don’t know the actual medium he’s using. It features some Legion members emerging from an ethereal nebulous background. It’s safe to say that this is an epic cover, the characters looking very imposing and I especially like the pseudo space aesthetic. It really is a gorgeous piece.
As for the story, we pick up where we left off in the last issue where General Crav is attacking The Legion, but we are being told about it (as is the UP President) after the fact. We go from the present to the battle, to even further in the past several times in this issue and it’s a fun framing device.
In the furthest past featured in the issue we get to sit in on another classic Legion trope – the audition process! Senior members interview and test would-be initiates. In this sequence we get some fun and funny moments that were really enjoyable, especially the new Legionnaires reacting to their assigned code-names. In the majority of issues so far, the very first page is the recap of previous issues, which is done via a Legion member essentially doing a Facebook-live selfie video, talking to the reader (or fictional viewers). This is a really nice touch as sometimes it can be hard to keep up with the events of multiple comic series. I personally typically skip these because I’m up to date on the story, but I decided to read this one, because Superboy does the honors! It’s a whole lot of fun.
There’s also some team drama brewing. Cosmic Boy is ready to quit The Legion because he was voted out of leadership. As well as that Mon-El continues to show hostility toward Superboy. We get a partial answer for why Mon-El is acting the way he is and it involves a pretty major retcon for the characters history! In most continuity Mon-El is a Daxamite (Daxam was a sister planet to Krypton, so Mon has similar powers) who was trapped in The Phantom Zone as a measure to preserve his life from poisoning. But now, we learn that in this new continuity, Mon-El is Superboy’s (and therefore Superman’s) descendant! But why is that bad? Unexplained for now, but I’m sure the story will unfold. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this, (I struggle with change, particularly with my Superman characters) but I’m willing to give Bendis the benefit of the doubt and see where it goes.
Okay, now for the interior pages. GOOD GRAVY, there are a ton of artists featured in this book. I’m not sure why they chose to do this, but almost every page in this issue is penciled by a different artist, with styles fluctuating greatly.
Which artists I hear you ask? *INHALES DEEPLY* Evan Shaner, Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen, Joëlle Jones, Michael Avon Oeming, Liam Sharp, André Lima Araújo, Sanford Greene, Cully Hamner, Yanick Paquette, Dan Hipp, David Mack, Darick Robertson, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Bilquis Evely, Fábio Moon, Michael Allred, Ryan Sook, Wade Von Grawbadger, Alex Maleev, John Timms, aaaaaand Duncan Rouleau. With Jordie Bellaire doing most of the coloring.
All of the art is great. But I have mixed feelings about so many diverse art styles being crammed into one issue. It definitely takes you out of the story a little and that’s because some of the transitions between art styles are very jarring. Personally I think it’ll look really weird in the collected volume. However, if we’re just looking at the issue by itself, then, yeah, this was fun and like I said before each and every page is full of detail and great artwork.
This book is where Bendis’ talents are being put to their best use. While some of his comedic dialogue sometimes feels a tad out of place in the other DC books, it just shines through here. These teens are hilarious and I think Brian is doing an excellent job of making these characters relatable to new audiences, especially the younger audiences.
This issue was full of humour and fun, as well as that we got some answers regarding the internal drama of The Legion. This was a really great issue, and I look forward to finding out more about these fallouts!