Another week, another Legion of Superheroes issue, and this one concludes the two issue story-arc of “The Trial of the Legion of Superheroes!”
As with all books, before we dive into the details of the interior dialogue and drama, we must contend with the cover! And the main cover of this issue is truly a unique one. There are five cover artists, if you can believe it, and if you’ve seen the main cover, i’m sure you CAN believe it!
Our main cover is actually a collage of sixteen individual covers of individual Legionaires on the covers of their own non-existent comic book series, complete with official logos! The covers feature art by Ryan Sook, Wade Von Graw-Badger (perhaps one of the greatest sounding names ever), Mikel Janin, Travis Moore, and Jordie Bellaire. The covers are all for the first issues of these legionaries respective series. The heroes included are: Monster Boy, Gold Lantern, Karate Kid, Ultra Boy, The Lightning Twins, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Triplicate Girl, Dawnstar, White Witch, Saturn Girl, Computo, Timber Wolf, Superboy, Mon-El, and Chameleon Boy. I’d look up the textless version of this cover for yourself, as some of the covers are sadly obscured by The Legion logo. Personally, I’d be adding Superboy and Triplicate Girl titles to my pull-box.
Now, I have one more thing to say about this cover and it hints at a possible problem we’ve been seeing in the last few issues. Much of the art featured on these covers are simply art that has been copy and pasted from somewhere else, either interior art, or other variant covers. It’s possible that some of the art is original for this cover, but it’s hard to tell. Brainiac and Computo’s covers are clearly the recap pages from the beginning of each book. Is something amiss with the scheduling? Did they run out of time for a proper cover to be drawn? I don’t know, but we’ll continue to see some uh… “shortcuts,” taken in assembling the art for this issue once we get inside.
Our variant cover by André Lima Araujo and Chris O’Halloran is cool too, showing five legionaries hovering in the sky. Seeing them there in those poses evokes a mixed feeling of intimidation, curiosity, and mystery. It’s a cool quiet cover. I will admit though, I had to surprise a shudder of dread at seeing Superboy’s altered costume on this cover. It looks a little too similar to the New 52 Superman costume for my taste.
Okay so, on to the actual content of the issue. Once again we are greeted with a different interior artist on almost every page! (I’ll list the artists towards the end of the review because, wow, there are a bunch.) Again, this has me wondering about a time crunch etc, where the art was concerned. I mean, I’m pretty sure page 2 was supposed to be art for page 1 of a future issue, but they bumped it up to this one so they could have a filler page. There’s literally one page where they simply copy and paste the same background image 6 times, and that’s the whole page. Now, this had a purpose (a clever one too,) but still it had me raising my eyebrows. I was happy to see though that the crazy multiple artist structure they’re doing here wasn’t confined to last issue, but continues through the whole arc, making it feel more of a piece.
Our story picks up where we left off last time, the trial continues. We get to see even more Legionnaires recruited, this time most of them are head-hunted instead of auditioned. Nearly every page in the issue focuses on a different legionnaire. We get to spend some time with Bouncing Boy, which is always nice, and we see the way his code-name is established, which is pretty funny. We get a very fun page focusing on Triplicate girl (I love that page’s art as well), and I just think it highlights what a fascinating character she is.
We spend a few pages with Dream Girl, whose new costume design hasn’t been featured much in the books, but is on full display here, which in my opinion, isn’t necessarily a good thing. Her new costume is a little much though, for me it just seems like she’s just naked. I mean, a pencil-stroke or two more and this book would be rated for adults only. I know, it’s comics, but as a book about teens, which has a great potential to be read BY teens, I don’t know if that’s the healthiest choice in my opinion.
I won’t get into the details but by the end of the issue, the trial is finished, and our heroes’ legal troubles are solved! Which brings us to the last page, which focuses on our very own Superboy! And it is ADORABLE. I won’t spoil it, but I was smiling ear to ear. Bendis nailed the dialogue for this moment and it could possibly be my favorite page of the whole series. Not only that but it has ramifications for the future of our favorite Legionnaire that could now possibly spill into the other Superman titles.
Speaking of Bendis, there’s more great writing in this issue, even if half the book is a very thinly veiled commentary about the current political climate. Still, it’s balanced with the fun comic-book-y stuff, which he nails spot on.
Okay, now a list of the artists who contributed to this book. On pencils: David Marquez, Ryan Sook, Joe Quinones, Mike Grell, Ivan Reis, Nick Derington, James Harren, John Romita, Jr., Nicola Scott, Art Adams, Jim Cheung, Gary Frank, Tula Lotay, Riley Rossmo, Gene Luen Yang, Kevin Nowlan, Michel Fiffe, Jenny Frison, Emanuela Lupacchino, and Mitch Gerads. With colors by Jordie Bellaire, Mitch Gerads. I told you there were a bunch and they each brought their unique style and artistic personalities to the issue.
Legion Of Superheroes #9 was another great issue! It seems that the next issue hints that the next arc will be very Superboy-centric, which I am very excited to read!