For “Legion of Super-Heroes” #8, Paul Levitz is teamed up with two past collaborators from the series past; Steve Lightle from the “Baxter Series” run back in the ’80s, and Yildiray Cinar from the pre-“Flashpoint” series a year ago. It’s a great idea (and we rarely get new Lightle comics work these days), but at the same time it also is a strong reminder of how much more fun those earlier series were.
The issue is divided into two stories, the first one launching the new big plot line as super-villains break into a medical center to steal technology to recreate an old Legion villain. It’s not a bad story, but it’s lacking a certain punch present in those “Legion of Super-Heroes” issues that Lightle drew back in the day. The interesting portion of the story isn’t the fact that this is kicking off a gathering of all sorts of classic villains (or at least new versions of them), but Lightle’s character designs. The muscular yet smoky form of Sitka looks great with curls and arcs, a beautiful match for the dark skin. Even the regulars benefit; the profile of Mon-El on page 8 as Ultra Boy rips open the ship looks marvelous with individual strands of hair highlighted by the glow from the craft, and shadows crossing his face.
While not quite as exciting (since Cinar’s currently drawing “Firestorm: The Nuclear Men”), Cinar’s pages with inker Dan Green also look good. The character designs are crisp and classic and the storytelling works. It’s a backup story focusing on the core three Legion members and their love lives. It’s a nice sign that one subplot looks to be resolving for the better, and it’s pleasant enough. But once again, there’s an energy missing that was present in earlier series, and I’m not sure where it’s gone.
“Legion of Super-Heroes” has been a long-time favorite and Levitz’s original return was a good thing. Lately, though, this book has turned into a commitment rather than something to look forward to; the spark of exciting new ideas is curiously absent. Without it, the title’s not going to succeed. I’m not sure if we need new creators or just a jumpstarted idea added in, but whatever it is, I hope it happens soon. “Legion of Super-Heroes” #8 looks great, but the story doesn’t live up to how it’s drawn.