Tuesday, August 02, 2005

So, what about Waid's Legion?

Looks like I've dropped the post categories (First Response, etc.). I guess that's a good idea. I'll probably keep them for the reviews.

I think it's just 'cause I hate being reminded of "Bloodlines." Shudder.

So, yesterday I talked about Waid's Flash run, and Brian Cronin of Comics Should Be Good assured me that the early run is infinitely better than what happened later on, when I started reading. I had a feeling this was the case, and that's why I keep eyeing the Flash trades ("Dead Heat" is next).

Naturally, I would have known how awesome Waid's early Flash run may be, had I not looked at the subscription charts and said "you know, I think I'll get [John Byrne's] Wonder Woman, that's got to be better than Flash, right?"

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Anyway, on to the only Waid book I'm currently reading, "Legion of Super-Heroes." I've got a soft spot for the Legion...when I first started reading my mom's old comics that were, inexplicably, hidden under the bed in the guest room, the Legion was among the few that had multiple stories in the scores of brittle brown pages (others, for whom I also have a special place, include Adam Strange, Metamorpho, Johnny Quick, and naturally, Superman and Batman). Back when I first decided to supplement my Superman subscriptions with something else from DC, I picked the new Legionnaires book. I lapsed after that subscription, particulalrly after I heard that Zero Hour brought a new (and probably much less confusing) reboot. The next Legion comic I bought was the start of the Foundations arc a year or two ago, because it involved Superboy. I may have only been on-board with that series for the last two or three arcs it existed, but I got to really enjoy that take on the Legion. When I heard it was getting a reboot, from hit-or-miss Mark Waid no less, I wasn't thrilled. The Waid/Kitson backup feature in the Titans/Legion crossover didn't endear me to the title either. But, I put the title on my pull bag and decided to give it a shot.

It ain't the Legion I grew up with, that's for sure. But I don't hate it. I think I might like the goofy antics of Matter-Eater Lad and the like a little more, but Waid's Legion acts a little more like believable teenagers than demigod superheroes.

I guess that's a complaint. It's NOT a Legion of Super-Heroes. It's a Legion of angsty teenagers who hate their unhip parents and just happen to have superpowers. These are runaways, juvenile delinquents, and the occasional youthful rebel, not the JLA. The big problem with that is that there's no real likeable character. You might empathize with Cosmic Boy for trying to cope with the pressures of leadership, especially leading people that would prefer not to be together in the first place. Brainy's an arrogant prick, Timber Wolf and Ultra Boy are gang leaders, and Sun Boy's parents are hippies. It might be nice to see more of Invisible Kid, since he's the one who seems most down to Earth, in more ways than one.

So, what am I saying about LSH? I've been thinking since I first heard about Waid's Legion that there's no harm in having multiple different contradictory Legion books. The only reason you wouldn't have, say, Waid's Legion book alongside Abnett and Lanning's, since they're both just possible futures, is that the market may not be able to support two books with similar characters and wildly different feels and stories (although people buy JLA and Supreme Power, so...). I like Waid's Legion, but I'd like to read new stories about a classic, "fun" Legion too.

Waid's Legion is a different take on the group. Rather than being more or less pro-establishment nice kids from around the universe, they're outcasts and rebels and angsty teens who ran away from their parents. That's interesting, that's making for some good characterization, if not necessarily a good plotline, but it's a very different Legion. I like it enough to keep buying it, I like it more than, say, the current Firestorm book, but I would like a "classic" Legion to go with it. Maybe even a cheap reprint book? That would be fun.

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