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“Legion of Super-Heroes” – The Levitz Era Part 7

By | October 28th, 2022
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

The Levitz Legion read-along continues with a wedding, a long running mystery is solved and a new Legion leader is elected.

The Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #2, #304-306
Written by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen
Illustrated by Keith Giffen, Larry Mahlstedt, Kurt Schaffenberger, Curt Swan, and Dave Gibbons
Colored by Carl Gafford
Lettered by John Costanza

After a relatively strong streak of issues following ‘The Great Darkness Saga,’ this week’s reading includes some of my least favorite chapters to date. In the second Legion Annual, we finally arrive at the wedding of Queen Projectra and Karate Kid. In the main series, we look in on the Legion Academy, Dawnstar leaves on an important journey, and the mystery of Shrinking Violet is finally resolved. We wrap things up with a Star Boy focused issue. Unfortunately, these chapters feature some exceptionally unlikable characterization and some fairly atrocious misogyny.

The crux of the Legion Annual involves a team of Legionnaires becoming accidentally stranded in the past, caught in the slipstream of Superboy’s jaunt through the time-stream. Stranded in the year 200 B.C., the Legionnaires find their attempts to return blocked by what appears to be the pantheon of Greek gods. These would-be deities are quickly revealed to be Durlans preparing for war. Dream Girl sees the impending doom of the Durlan homework, the aftermath of which we’ve seen in the recent Chameleon Boy issue. Levitz certainly seems to be quite fascinated by the Durlans. Once the Legionnaires return to the future, the wedding goes off without a hitch. It’s certainly not a bad issue, but a little underwhelming for an oversized annual, something even Dave Gibbon’s artwork doesn’t save.

Issue #304 focuses on the Legion Academy. Levitz introduces Bouncing Boy and Duplicate Girl as new instructors of the Academy, a great use for the retired Legionnaires. Levitz and Giffen also introduce Comet Queen, a character that Levitz would later revisit in his 2010 series. Unfortunately, this issue feels pretty bare and ends on the fairly grim pronouncement that the Legion would not fill the open spots in the Legion roster; “better no new Legionnaires than another dead one.” The best part of this issue sees a heartfelt moment from Wildfire, as he admits his feelings about Dawnstar in a great sequence by Giffen.

Issue #305 focuses on the mystery of Shrinking Violet, who we learn has been replaced by a Durlan actress in a plot to overthrow the United Planet’s hold on the world of Imsk. It’s quite convoluted, but the revelation of the state of the real Violet is quite horrifying. Giffen once again delivers a fantastic sequence involving Chameleon Boy’s shape changing abilities.

Finally, similar to the Wildfire retrospective at the start of Levitz’s run, we get an in-depth look at the life of Star Boy, facilitated by none other than Wildfire. Set against the backdrop of the Legion election, we learn a good deal about Star Boy’s unlucky life. I’m a big fan of Star Boy, or rather Starman, thanks to his resurgence in the mid-2000’s works of Geoff Johns. However, he’s wholly unlikeable under Levitz and Giffen’s pen. Spending the last few issues complaining about how Dream Girl’s tenure as Legion leader has interfered with their “cuddling,” he spends all of this issue begging for someone to beat her in the election. It’s honestly quite miserable to read. While we can often become too self-focused in a long-term relationship, it’s certainly hard to feel sympathy for Star Boy in this case. Whatever the case, he gets his wish, as Element Lad wins the election as a write-in.

And that’s really all I have to say about this batch of issues. The stinger at the end of issue #306 promises the start of a new four-part epic, so hopefully the upcoming issues will be a bit more interesting.

//TAGS | 2022 Summer Comics Binge

Zach Wilkerson

Zach Wilkerson, part of the DC3 trinity, still writes about comics sometimes. He would probably rather be reading manga or thinking about Kingdom Hearts. For more on those things, follow him on Twitter @TheWilkofZ


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