By Geoff Johns, Gary Frank & Jon Sibal. 168 pages, collecting Action Comics #858-863.
I’m usually not a big Superman reader but as I read some old Legion of Super-Heroes comics when I was a kid I bought this hardcover to see what a modern take on them would be like. It did not disappoint.
The plot has Superman travelling to the 31st Century to help out his old friends, The Legion of Super-Heroes. When he arrives he realizes the future has changed and Earth is now a dangerous place where the twisted symbol of Superman himself is used to condone xenophobic behavior that threatens to put Earth at war with the rest of the universe.
The story talks about the danger of rewriting history to suit your agenda, and the importance of friendship. How characters react differently to rejection and loneliness plays a big part. Most of all, the tale illustrates the ideals Superman fights for and shows, rather than tells us, why he is THE hero.
Geoff Johns does what he does best, reintroducing old concepts and makes them accessible for all in an entertaining way. Here he takes certain silly elements of comics that are ultimately from the 60s and makes them interesting. There have been many (confusing) versions of the Legion over the years and I’m no expert but that doesn’t matter when you read this. It’s all laid out in an easy way to read and establishes characters while hinting at things for older readers. Superman is represented in his truest form. Even when he’s seemingly powerless, he stands up for those in need. It’s not his powers that make him a hero, it’s his morals and conviction.
Gary Frank’s art is mostly good as is the inking of Jon Sibal. Superman looks like Christopher Reeve which adds a sense of nobility and heart to the story. Frank has however a problem with faces. A lot of the time the characters have crazy facial expressions, and often scary eyes. This can be disturbing at first glance but when reading the whole thing you get used to it. A special shout-out to the colorists as there are a lot of bizarre colors represented in the cast of the Legion and Dave McCaig and Hi-Fi do a good job.
The HC has an introduction by Keith Giffen and two pages of character designs in the back.
It’s a good collection and in my opinion well worth getting either as a hardcover or trade paperback.
Legion of Super heroes on Amazon