2011’s “Legion: Secret Origin” mini-series was recent enough (and with Legion continuity largely unchanged save for the origin story, post-“Flashpoint”) that it’s unsurprising that Paul Levitz and Scott Kolins aren’t telling the origin of the Legion this month in “Legion of Super-Heroes” #0. Instead, Levitz has wisely served up a direct sequel to “Legion: Secret Origin” in which the Legion encounters Brainiac 5 again, and we finally learn how he joined the team.
The plot itself isn’t that hard to follow, with a cache of the original Brainiac’s technology somehow opened up on Colu and the Legion needing to come in to try and save the populous. There are a few little bits here and there that might interest readers, like the mention of the extended Coluan lifespan, or the accompanying slow birth rate resulting in Brainiac 5 being the second youngest Coluan on the planet. There’s also a small scene with Tharok of the Fatal Five that feels slightly grafted on, but I appreciate that Levitz is trying to work this story into the upcoming return of the Fatal Five in “Legion of Super-Heroes.” Levitz also keeps the cast small for “Legion of Super-Heroes” #0; with just Lighting Lad, Cosmic Lad, Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, and Brainiac 5, it’s a manageable group of characters that you can easily keep track of. The only part that feels a little flat is the last-page reveal; I get that Levitz is trying to add a small twist, but it feels simultaneously overly-dramatic and also hard to believe that the character would care about keeping the secret. It doesn’t quite fit in with what we’ve learned about the character and it’s a slightly rough finish as a result.
Kolins’ art has shifted in style a few times over the years, so I was surprised to see him switch over to the look that he popularized during his run on “The Flash” with Geoff Johns. It’s a good look, mind you; with hard edges and iconic looks, all of the characters come across as heroic and dashing without being over the top. It also serves as a good contrast for the Brainiac creations that Tharok encounters, for instance; they instantly (and deliberately) look off-putting and dangerous, with Kolins able to help speed up Levitz’s script by not requiring him to take the extra time to establish their power.
“Legion of Super-Heroes” #0 is a perfectly acceptable zero issue; it has some nice art, and a story that more or less works. As an added bonus, this issue actually having a direct connection to upcoming storylines means that the book didn’t have to come to a complete screeching halt, as did the fact that “Legion: Secret Origin” ended less than a year ago. I don’t think this issue will necessarily pull in any new fans, but it won’t alienate any existing ones either.