The journey leading up to the standalone Legion of Super Heroes series is going to take exactly a millennium as experienced by the delightfully unstable—and apparently immortal—Rose Thorn. With the epic scope of Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1, writer Brian Michael Bendis and a cadre of all-star artists set the stage for the year’s most anticipated new series.
A character jumping into different futures is not a new storyline, and Bendis isn’t trying to re-invent that wheel here. At DC Comics along, Rip Hunter: Time Master dropped its protagonist into perilous situations throughout the development of humanity on Earth for 29 issues in the '60s. On television, both Quantum Leap and the short-lived Voyagers! featured heroes setting past events back into alignment to prevent the future from going askew.
But a character linearly traversing the multiple future storylines in the DC Universe is something special, and it’s a situation we might have only expected from an immortal villain like Vandal Savage. And while the Legion does not make an appearance, it’s not a detriment to Millennium #1 serving as an entertaining setup of the conflicts that Rose’s long journey will likely bring her to the team. When taken as a building block, the issue is a workable and enjoyable walk toward the future.
Bendis moves Rose through four different futures, which is the perfect excuse for using a different artistic team for each. In the first tale, the unstable Rose has a revelatory conversation with President Supergirl where we learn the details of her unique background that will shape her future actions. Jim Lee handles the pencils for this tale, and his take on this older and wiser Supergirl is worth picking up the book. She’s interesting enough to warrant her own miniseries. Scott Williams’ inks are impeccable, and Alex Sinclair’s colors represent a future that still possesses and abundance of hope.
In the second tale, Dustin Nguyen elevates Bendis’ haunting script to reveal the more heartbreaking reality of longevity. Nguyen’s fluid lines are ideal for the stylized Batman Beyond future, and colorist John Kalisz sets the tone of a much darker world than the first tale. Rose is still following the path of a vigilante, but she’s lost hope that there’s anyone left to appreciate her desperate situation.
The third tale is set after “The Great Disaster” in the world of Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth where Superman’s suit is a religious relic that Rose kills to possess. Andrea Sorrentino’s compelling art portrays a bleak post-apocalypse accentuated by Dave Stewart’s earthy and unforgiving colors.
The fourth tale will have you looking up Tommy Tomorrow and the Planeteers. Andre Lima Araujo’s art gives us the bright future of flying cars and space police that comics in the 1950s promised. But Jordie Bellaire’s stark color contrasts indicate that while Rose has fully embraced her long life, the clean perfection of the future is boring.
As foundation issues go, Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 is a solid start with stellar art that’s unapologetically best suited for longtime DCU readers looking to whet their appetite for the upcoming Legion series.