Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Comic musings for 23 May

It was a short list this last week. I guess I should have posted sooner, but it was a pretty crazy weekend--the visit to the emergency room with Mom Speculator, painting the living room and kitchen, a dinner on Sunday night, me and Mrs. Speculator celebrating the first anniversary on Monday... whew, some weekend.

At any rate, due to the short list, I'm only reviewing one book this week.

Spoilers ho!

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-heroes 30 -- Although the listing on DC's official web site says the Dominator War story-line ends with the next issue, I'm not entirely sure that's correct. This issue ends pretty resolutely, letting us say farewell to Mark Waid and Barry Kitson.

When last we saw our intrepid heroes, Earth was underattack by the Dominators and the Legion and Wanderers had decided to take the fight to the Dominator homeworld. Mon-el continues to suffer from his lead poisoning. And even though the Dominators are defeated, everyone knows it is only a matte of time until they come back again to attack the United Planets. But Cosmic Boy has a plan. The Legion's strongest hero will carry a bomb into the heart of the Dominator homeworld and destroy, removing any threat the Dominators might make. And sine Mon-el is dying anyway, he should be the one to carry the bomb to the core of the planet.

The reaction of the rest of the Legion to the plan is mixed. Some accuse him of plotting genocide and others congratulate him on his ingenuity. But ultimately he convinces them of the necessity of his decision. Bainiac builds the hypergrenade and Mon-el delivers it after a tearful farewell. Then the bomb goes off and Mon-el and the planet disappear from space.

Of course, not everything is as it seems. There aren't terribly many clues as to what really happens, but after the story divulges the truth, it's pretty obvious. It's a very fine comic book twist, one whose roots are found both in the Legion and in the best comic stories. And then comes the last surprise, when Cosmic Boy is invited to join the Knights Tempus, a group of teenagers from the 41st century that became super-heroes by following the model set by Cosmic Boy. It is a glowing tribute to the earliest Legion stories, and the final panel has the covers of some of those old stories in a montage. That those stories are now severely out of continuity is unfortunate, unless this is Mark Waid's last clue that even the universe of his last 30 issues is not as it may have seemed, more hints about "the middle crisis."

Waid and Kitson's run started off with some bumps, revamping the history as radically as they did. But they found their stride and put up some solid story-telling in the last year to year and a half. The bizarre emergence of Supergirl is a bit of a flaw, but I suspect that was mandated to them by TPTB and the ongoing effects of Infinite Crisis, 52, and Countdown. I only wish that they could have continued the fun letter pages that they had, with members of the Legion actually answering their mail, but I suppose the space was needed for the real stories.

It was a good run, and I am little dubious of Tony Bedard, the new Legion writer, but Waid and Kitson left the new creative team a solid foundation for more stories.

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