For every equal there’s an opposite, so the idea of the Legion of Super-Villains always made sense to me. After all, with all those heroes working together, why not band together in equal (or even greater) numbers to try and stop them? What makes this “Legion of Super-Villains” special fun, though, isn’t so much that there are villains together, but rather how Paul Levitz is making them go after some of the cornerstones of the DC Universe.
Being set in the 31st century, Levitz has the ability to go after some of the sacred cows and wipe them out. So while if an issue of “Shazam!” damages the Rock of Eternity, it’s a good guess that sooner or later it will be restored. A thousand years in the future? Well, anything can happen now. So when Saturn Queen assembles her new Legion of Super-Villains here, and we start to see the scope of their plans, it’s good stuff.
Levitz uses a mixture of old and new characters, but don’t worry if you’ve never encountered, say, Zymyr. Levitz tells us what we need to know but at the same time doesn’t bother to linger too long. There’s too much other stuff going on here to waste time; you know that he’s a villain, he can create space warps, and that’s enough for now. The focus here is primarily on Saturn Queen, who recently touched a massive and ancient power, one which she’s now using to great effect. Considering she’s primarily a telepath, Levitz is doing a good job of making her a dangerous and almost chilling foe.
With the over-sized issues of “Legion of Super-Heroes” gone with the “Drawing the line at $2.99” initiative at DC Comics, Francis Portela is no longer needed to pitch in on “Legion of Super-Heroes” so he ably steps in to draw this one-shot. I’d forgotten how much I missed his slightly-bubbled figures; Portela’s art has a lot of energy to it, and he’s able to handle the big double-page spreads of a prison break at Takron-Galtos with great ease. And as for the quieter moments, like when Saturn Queen smiles, well… watch out. Portela draws a sufficiently evil grin, here.
“Legion of Super-Villains” is a fun one-shot, and while it would’ve been nice to see all of this unfold in the pages of “Legion of Super-Heroes,” I have to say that so much happens here that I’m not complaining. (We’re getting two issues worth of material in one fell swoop, after all.) With the promise to keep reading this story in “Legion of Super-Heroes” #11, well, my attention has been grabbed. This is a good opening chapter, as well as a nice primer for new readers. All in all, good stuff.