After months of build-up, the Legion of Super-Heroes are officially back with their own ongoing series. With Brian Michael Bendis at the helm, the new series spins directly out of the events of his run on Superman and the recent two-part prologue Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium, without being beholden to either. Joined by artist Ryan Sook, Bendis wastes no time establishing this bold, new future and the young super-team's sprawing cast while quickly getting into a story that has massive implications for the history of the DC Universe.
Picking up from the "Unity" storyline in the pages of Superman and the ending of Millennium, Jon Kent has indeed accepted the offer to join the Legion. With a roster of nearly three dozen active members, Jon quickly finds himself overwhelmed by what has become of the universe more than a thousand years into the future. Meanwhile, several Legionnaires stumble across an ancient artifact from the DCU's relative present that may put them in the cross hairs of some intimidating villains.
Bendis' excitement at finally getting to craft a full-on Legion story is there from the opening pages. He immediately puts the focus on the team, including fan-favorite members Karate Kid and Wildfire, with the book hitting the ground running, quite literally. That may be overwhelming for some readers who are unfamiliar with the 61-year-old property, but Bendis quickly reintroduces Jon as the point-of-view character for this new vision of the 31st century.
Despite having the largest cast the has assembled in a single issue, Bendis balances the voices of the Legionnaires without the comic coming off as unwieldy. That isn't to say every Legionnaire gets something to do in this limited space, but they do all show up.
The comic is gorgeously rendered by Ryan Sook, joined by inker Wade Von Grawbadger and colorist Jordie Bellaire. Just as Bendis is covering a lot of ground, populated by an extensive cast of characters, Sook and the rest of the art team bring them each to life.
From a cyberpunk, Gotham City-inspired planet to the Legion's headquarters, the art team crafts several immersive, futuristic worlds, while the redesigned Legionnaires are immediately recognizable. And just as Jon is awestruck by the sights he sees, so are audiences by some of the art rendered by Sook.
Legion of Super-Heroes moves at a breathless pace and quickly establishes the diverse team, while capturing the wonder of the 31st century as viewed through the eyes of Jon Kent. The debut issue doesn't require readers to have followed the setup in Superman or Millennium, or to be immersed in decades of Legion continuity, to understand the characters or the setting. All newcomers need to know is that Superman and Lois Lane's teenage son traveled into the DCU's far-flung future to join a team of young superheroes.
However, readers may want to pace themselves as they dive into Legion, as a lot of the elements are introduced at a breakneck speed.