This was the issue for me where I think “Legion of Super-Heroes” finally clicked. I’ve enjoyed the series in years past, but up until now I was starting to worry that Paul Levitz’s return to the comic that made him famous (as a writer, anyway) wasn’t going to quite work out.
But this issue? I felt like I was reading old-school Levitz “Legion of Super-Heroes” again, and hurrah for that.
Part of it feels like the pacing has picked up and smoothed out; we’re dipping into dozens of characters and seeing what they’re up to, but it doesn’t feel like they’re getting short shrift. There’s still a couple of major plots that get juggled back and forth, and there’s also forward momentum on all of them. Knowing that “Legion of Super-Heroes” isn’t just going to figuratively tread water is a good thing, and seeing it in action is that much better.
But even better? The characters are all starting to come across like they did back in the ’80s. I don’t mean they sound dated, but rather, Levitz has found his voices for each of the characters. They’ve all got their own verbal tics and turns, and it’s feeling like a group of different and diverse characters, from Saturn Girl’s grace under fire to Sodam Yat’s dramatic histrionics.
Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela continue to share penciling duties, each handling different characters and scenes. It’s a nice division of labor, perhaps because both have style elements in common with one another. Cinar makes the temple on Avalon look particularly creepy (and Hi-Fi’s dark red colors punch it up), and I appreciated that Cinar understands how to draw a family resemblance without making people look like clones. Portela’s slightly more rounded, muscled look is fun too, especially in the Earth-Man scenes. It’s slightly exaggerated but in a good way (his facial expressions kill me), and I’d love to see Portela draw a full issue on his own one of these days.
Best of all? I feel like I have no idea where Levitz is going to take some of his stories. This is the “Legion of Super-Heroes” that I was waiting for, and I’m delighted that it’s back. Long live the Legion, indeed.