I find myself slightly perplexed in writing this, but two issues in, I’m a tiny bit bored with Paul Levitz’s new “Legion of Super-Heroes” title. Any Legion fan will be the first to admit that Levitz’s long association with the group of characters is worthy of its reputation. Despite having bought all the issues ages ago, I’ve cheerfully purchased the two recent Levitz collections of “Legion of Super-Heroes” and would buy more in a heartbeat. (Are you listening, DC?) But so far? The spark just isn’t quite there.
It’s not that I’ve grown bored with the characters. The brief glimpses of the Legion in the first few issues of “Adventure Comics” last year were great, and the “Legion of 3 Worlds” and “Action Comics” stories that had led the way were also a lot of fun. But this time? I think part of the problem might be that Levitz is taking a little too much time to try and focus on just about all of the characters.
Now it is nice to see so many familiar faces back. Levitz quietly added back into the mix this issue the two characters that were originally slated to also resurface in the 21st century (Tyroc and Dream Girl), but they’re hardly the only Legionnaires to make an appearance this month. By my count there are no less than 19 members of the team showing up in this issue alone, and even more being referenced. I think that’s part of the problem with “Legion of Super-Heroes” right now; Levitz is trying to make everyone happy by having as many characters as possible make appearances. So as a result, the stories are feeling slightly scattered and all over the place, with most characters appearing for only a page or two. After Saturn Girl’s children were lost in the explosion of Titan last month, it’s a little surprising to see her barely get any pages in this issue, while other characters (Dream Girl, Dawnstar, Gates) seem to solely appear for the sake of appearing.
The one story that gets at least some slight movement forward is Earth-Man’s induction into the Legion, and I don’t think it’s any small coincidence that this month it’s what held my interest the most. It’s still moving at a snail’s pace, but at least for this one it feels like there will be some sort of consequences just around the corner. Levitz was normally better about focusing on a smaller number of characters in any given issue so that there would be a bit of traction, and I’m a little worried that it’s a Legion-related skill that’s atrophied over the years.
Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela pencil this month’s issue, and while I understand that “Legion of Super-Heroes” is running oversized issues, it’s a little disappointing to already see guest artists step in for part of an issue. On the bright side, Portela’s style is close to Cinar’s, and I suspect some readers might not even notice the handful of pages from Portela. Both artists draw in a relatively clean, open style, although Portela’s characters are a little more rounded and seem to almost be built out of a series of spheres, with the sheer number of curves. The art’s mostly unremarkable, although there are a few small touches here and there that stand out, like how Shadow Lass’s hair trails behind her as she flies out of the infirmary.
It’s not a bad issue, but “Legion of Super-Heroes” #2 is lacking a bit of punch. Hopefully we’ll see stories moving forward a bit more next month; it’s nice to see so many familiar faces back, but I’m all right with some of them showing up a little less often if we can have faster moving plot lines. If this book moves too slow, I worry for how it’s going to hang onto its readership. “Legion of Super-Heroes” fans are patient, but we shall see.