In Review: Superman #15

This whets my appetite for more Legion in the DC Universe.

The covers: A pair to pick up on this formal introduction to the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Regular cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair has Superman and Superboy in the lower right corner. The younger hero is stunned that the mass of heroes that are spilling out of the left side are there to recruit him into the Legion. I love seeing all the rebooted characters of this mega team on the left. The only reason I’m picking up this book is because the Legion is in it. The Variant cover is by Adam Hughes and it’s a really different one from him. Usually he’s got a gorgeous gal on it, and this one does, but not in the way I would have suspected. Lois Lane is in the lower right, tied to a chair. She’s surrounded by three thugs: one in a suit, another behind her in a suit, but with a gun to her head, and a shirtless man who looks like he’s going to slug her. In the foreground on the left, Superman’s hand comes through the wall, creating a lot of debris. Lois smiles brightly, while the criminals are shocked. Neat idea, if one is into hands and debris. I’m glad to see Hughes doing something else, but this composition just isn’t thrilling. Overall grades: Regular A- and Variant C-

The story: Brian Michael Bendis has split this issue into two parts. The first concerns Adam Strange speaking with Superman about the captured Rogol Zaar and what the fate of his father Jor-El is to be. Having not read any issues lately, this took a few pages to make sense of. I liked how Superman was emotional at Strange’s arrival and how that hero takes the Kryptonian’s response. What happened to Jor-El reminded me of scene from the Christopher Reeve films and his punishment seemed to be a little convenient. Much more interesting was the flashback that focused on the arrival of the Legion of Super-Heroes who are there to witness something monumental. I liked seeing the team, trying to discern who is who, and the characters that spoke had the young personalities I wanted them to have, such as Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5. They don’t stick around too long, but they do invite Superboy to join them in the future. After their exit, Superman speaks with a villain, who appears once again to have turned the other cheek, for now. This character was very entertaining to read and has me thinking about purchasing back issues of this series to see what trouble he and his family created for the title character. The book ends as if it’s closing up several plot lines, that I didn’t read, but has me incredibly eager to see the Legion in action. This was okay, but not the Legion fest I wanted, while the Superman story wrapped up stuff I was indifferent to. Overall grade: B- 

The art: This book’s pencils are by Ivan Reis with inks by Joe Prado & Oclair Albert, while Brandon Peterson does pencils and inks on Page 17, and Evan “Doc” Shaner pencils and inks on 18. Because the latter two artists only do one page each, I didn’t notice any change in the art. This book looks good. The book begins with a full-paged splash of the monster that’s been giving Superman problems. He looks like the gray Hulk because only his body is visible and not his face. The second page shows Superman looking incredibly solemn and it’s got a strong impact, even with me not knowing the backstory on this villain. Adam Strange’s look has been slightly changed since I’d last seen him, yet he’s still instantly recognizable as Adam. I like his reaction to what Superman does to him. Pages 4 and 5 is a double-paged splash showing the Legion introducing themselves to the father and son. It’s a great shot of the team, has made the rounds on the Internet for some time, and is neat to see to try to identify who is who. I really like how on 6 Superman and son are slightly floating off the ground and in the foreground the Legionnaires are doing the same thing. Brainiac 5’s first close-up has him looking young and consumed by the technology before him — exactly as he should be! The alien races that are present witnessing this meeting of heroes is good and they look great. One of the reasons I like science fiction comics is to see alien races and this book is definitely delivering the goods. The full-paged splash on 11 looks good, but doesn’t have too much of an emotional impact on me since I didn’t read the previous issues. The art takes a somber turn after this due to story demands, but it still remains strong. I like the look of the now-not-the-villain that appears and his scenes with Superman are cool. There’s a neat tip of the hat to Superman films in the first panel on 16. 17 has some major destruction on it, with the debris flying about awesome. The ultimate form of destruction occurs on 18, which is an iconic image. The streak that’s making its way clear of the devastation makes me smile. The last two pages are a double-paged spread and it didn’t really need to be. It comes across as space filler, no pun intended. Still, the rest of the book looks good. Overall grade: A

The colors: Alex Sinclair gave me a cornucopia of colors for all the characters. Rogol Zaar is surrounded by oranges and reds when he first appears, which gives him a negative connotation. This is reinforced by the dark colors on Superman when he first appears. Notice when Adam enters the room, Superman’s colors lighten — his mood improved by his friend’s arrival. The Legion is a spectacular collection of colors. Having their appearance on the double-paged splash sit atop a warm yellow and orange gave them an inviting personality. The title character is often shown without a panel or background, making him stand out upon white. There’s a neat sunshine effect on 11 and this is followed with an excellent reflection effect on 12. The not-the-villain-anymore character is given dark colors when he appears, instantly making him sinister and a visual opposite to the colors of Superman. Page 18 has some outstanding greens and a brilliant streak of hope in orange. I’m not sure why the red streaks would be that color on the final two pages, but it is what it is. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, the story’s title and book’s credits (the same font), thoughts, the proclamation for Unity Day, transmissions, and the tease for next issue are created by Dave Sharpe. There are no sounds in this issue, as this is wrapping up issues of battles. Every bit of text is easy to read, with the story’s title and credits looking just futuristic enough to qualify for a sci-fi feel. The transmissions done at someone’s sentencing communicates that their voices are being projected from a device. The thoughts from Saturn Girl are done in italics so the reader can tell from their design that they’re not a part of normal speech. Easy to read text, but nothing showy. Overall grade: B+

The final line: The previous issues’ storylines are wrapped up and the Legion makes an extended cameo. I picked this up solely for the Legion, but there were enough breadcrumbs in this book for me to be curious about what led up to this team’s inclusion. There’s some solid emotion in this issue, with the visuals particularly strong. This whets my appetite for more Legion in the DC Universe. Overall grade: B+

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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