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Review Date: 05/23/2008

The Legion Of Super-Heroes #41
Mike Marts: Editor
Jeanine Schaefer: Editor
Jim Shooter: Writer
Aaron Lopresti: Artist, Penciller
John Livesay: Inker
Matt Ryan: Inker
Francis Manapul: Cover Artist, Penciller
J.D. Smith: Colorist
Steve Wands: Letterer

The Legion Of Super-Heroes is another current DC series with strong roots in the Silver Age. This was always one incredibly weird-ass comic book back in the day. The basic premise itself was o.k. and even very popular among silver age readers: Set in the 31st century, the Legion was a group of teenage superheroes who adventured in a similar vein like the Justice League, Justice Society, etc. Every once in awhile Superboy would pop-in, then head back to the boring old 20th century.

Most likely unintentionally, it was also one of the campiest and cheesiest comics around back then, with some of the most amazingly wooden dialogue ever put to print. If anyone ever publishes a coffee table book on the history of comic book cheese, a solid inventory of silver age Legion covers and inside pages would be included (a typically wooden silver age thought balloon from a Legion story: "Oh, there is Lightening Lad standing over that way. I think I will walk by him and see if he will greet me." I kid you not.)

The present-day Legion series run is up to issue #41, with highly respected veteran Jim Shooter writing and Aaron Lopresti pencilling and Matt Ryan inking. Frankly, it's not bad, a quantum leap improvement from the Silver Age version that I vented on above. The art is extremely high quality; I love it when really skilled comic artists can portry very subtle facial expressions on characters, and the Lopresti/Ryan team prove to be among the best at this delicate skill, if issue #41 is a typical example of what they bring to a comic book.

Without belaboring the story details, Shooter manages a typical group/ensemble superhero comic book plot with his expected skill, mixing in action, futuristic details and wonders, and adding a really nice touch of slightly dark humor/comments that are really a take on our current, 21st century media frenzy/celebrity/paparazzi world.

One constructive criticism, however. While dropping the hackneyed old legion dialogue, he's gone a little weirdly into the world of the old Melrose Place t.v. series, of all things. Its one thing to modernize the series to have the Legion members dating each other, but its a little creepy to show them running around their clubhouse in spandex underwear, saying stuff like (and I quote) "Be strict with me...take me...own me...do something shocking..." Like I said, it might work on Melrose Place, but in a comic book which still implies to me, at least, a bunch of high school kids with super powers hanging-out in their clubhouse, its just a 2008 jaded version of updated cheesiness and it falls flat.

That said, for some upscale artwork and interesting futuristic plotting and setting, this series is worth checking-out. It ain't classic DC, but its a light dessert of fun and worth the read in that vein.

 
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