52 Pick-Up: Aliens!
by Michael Green & Mike Johnson (W); Mahmud Asrar (A)
Legion of Super-Heroes #1
by Paul Levitz (W); Francis Portela (A)
There’s nothing too unlikeable about either of these comics. They both deal with their subject matter in almost exactly the way the reader would expect them to, and they both have enough going on to warrant interest in the second issue. They also are both kind of unnecessary.
At some point in the last couple years, Paul Levitz went from being the former DC writer who explained the history of all things to DC on DVD featurettes to once again being a DC writer. My only problem with his style is it tends to favour a large amount of detail over pacing. It’s a silver-age style with a bit of 21st-century dialogue thrown in for good measure. There are something like 5 separate plot lines in this first 20-page issues, and as a result, none of them get the lip-service needed to be understood by anyone but the ardent long-time Legion fan. New readers are given a text-book amount of characters, powers and homeworlds to try and remember for next time (there WILL be a test, it seems), not to mention the amount of references to the last volume of Levitz’s Legion, which concluded last month. The biggest fly in my ointment for this issue, however, is the references to how the Legion can no longer travel back in time to the 21st century because of the Flashpoint event. I understand this is a fictional universe, and the folks at DC can do whatever they want, but to somehow argue that events in the past that had already happened in the past (because that’s how time works), somehow hadn’t happened in the past before they happened… in the past. I don’t require a lengthy explanation, but it seems rather convenient.
If Legion of Super-Heroes suffers from too much detail, Supergirl suffers from having not enough. In this first issue, capably drawn by Mahmud Asrar, Supergirl lands on Earth from somewhere, big mechs show up, she fights them (accidentally discovering her powers in the process) and then Superman shows up. It’s a 20-page scene that could’ve been confined to 5 or 6 pages, but it’s obvious the Mikes on this book (Green and Johnson) are writing for the trade. The fact that it took 2 people to write this book is enough to make the most illiterate people have renewed faith in themselves as a writer. Once again, nothing particularly WRONG with this book, but if I want to read that Superman/Batman story by Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner where Supergirl shows up on Earth confused and is then taken in by her cousin Superman, I’ll read that.