19 September 2017

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Volume 4 by Edmond Hamilton, John Forte, et al.

Comic hardcover, 222 pages
Published 1994 (contents: 1965)
Acquired December 2014
Read June 2017
Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Volume 4

Writers: Jerry Siegel, Edmond Hamilton, Otto Binder
Artists: Jim Mooney, John Forte, George Klein, Sheldon Moldoff, George Papp
Letterers: David Huffine, Milton Snapinn, Vivian Berg

The beginning of this volume actually sets up three ongoing mysteries for the Legion:
In the introduction, KC Carlson (who edited the Legion in the 1990s) calls the flight rings "bane of Legion artists and editors," but I don't know why. Surely it beats the flying belt anyday! Interesting to note that the flight ring does not yet incorporate the Legion symbol; I wonder when that comes about.
from Adventure Comics vol. 1 #329 (script by Jerry Siegel, art by Jim Mooney)

As far as I know, this is the first mention of the "vanishing world" and the "hardened space criminals reforming," but the Time Trapper bedeviled the Legion multiple times in volume 3. The Time Trapper ends up being the only one of these elements to come up again; if multiple recurring plots were being set up, they didn't pay off within the next year despite Saturn Girl's intentions.

Not that intentions count for much. The Legion doesn't finally defeat the Time Trapper because of anything they do here (or any of the preparations they undertook in the previous volume), but because he decides to attack them by sending a minion with a de-aging weapon, from which they are saved by the most contrived of circumstances:

18 September 2017

Review: Doctor Who: Talkback, Volume Two: The Seventies edited by Stephen James Walker

Trade paperback, 225 pages
Published 2006 (contents: 1977-2006)

Acquired August 2008
Read November 2016
Talkback: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Doctor Who Interview Book, Volume Two: The Seventies
edited by Stephen James Walker

There are definitely interviews here with some old standbys: Terrance Dicks (script editor, 1968-74), Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who, 1970-74), Barry Letts (producer, 1970-74), Tom Baker (Doctor Who, 1974-81), and Philip Hinchcliffe (producer, 1974-77). Each interview, however, manages to be informative and interesting: I enjoyed reading about Pertwee's appearance on This Is Your Life, for example, and the Tom Baker one is somehow able to have anecdotes I hadn't heard before.

But it's also good to hear from folks who weren't/aren't often interviewed, especially the trio of late 1970s script editors: Robert Holmes (1974-78), Anthony Read (1978-79), and Douglas Adams (1979-80). Holmes has gone on to be quite lauded as both a script editor and a writer, but he died in 1986, meaning few interviews with him exist. Anthony Read I can't recall ever reading anything about at all before. And obviously Douglas Adams is quite famous, but this interview was done back in 1978, before any story he'd script-edited had even gone out, and before Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy had gone further than a few episodes on the radio. All three provide great insight into the day-to-day script-writing of their era, which tended to lurch from crisis to crisis but produce excellence regardless. (Holmes, especially, was always rewriting failed scripts and producing greatness as a result.)

I was also surprisingly interested by the interviews with Pennant Roberts (who directed several serials from 1977 to 1985) and Peter Logan (visual effects on various serials from 1977 to 1982). Roberts's provides a detailed look into the making of The Sun Makers and The Pirate Planet in particular, explaining how he makes the production choices he makes, while Logan's is a detailed dissection of the effects of Destiny of the Daleks. One learns where to find a Plutonian dystopia in Bristol, why the flying spanner in Pirate Planet looks rubbish but couldn't look otherwise, and how Dalek props were loaned out to basically anyone between episodes and ended up in terrible shape as a result. The Roberts interview, especially, is a candid look into the decisions that result in what you see on screen. I don't rate Roberts very highly as a director, but he was clearly a thoughtful guy.

A solid collection of interesting anecdotes. Who knew that Jon Pertwee encouraged the creation of a rival Doctor Who fan club because he felt the official one too focused on Patrick Troughton? Or that Tom Baker personally paid for the postage of the Doctor Who Fan Club when the BBC refused to do so anymore!

15 September 2017

How Do You Batten Down the Hatches When You Don't Have Any Hatches? (and what does "batten" mean anyway?)

When you move, people always ask you how the old place is versus the new place, and so you find yourself (or at least I do) developing some consistent responses. "I won't miss Connecticut winters but I will miss Connecticut fall" is something I've found myself saying far too often. Sometimes a follow-up will engender that I will miss snow days, and then me fumbling into the idea that Florida might have "hurricane days," haha.

Well, it turns out it does. My first hurricane turned out to be (Wikipedia informs me) the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since 2005, and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since 2005. Well, whoops.

Initial projections had Hurricane Irma going up the east coast of Florida, whereas we're on the gulf coast, so we decided to hunker down. I first really started taking its intensity seriously last Wednesday, when the University of Tampa cancelled classes for Thursday through Monday. Less, I think, because they were convinced UT was going to be a disaster zone, and more because the students were already bailing. Each of my three sections (of 17-22 students) was already missing four or so students on Wednesday, as worried parents pulled their children out of the state and back home to Chicago or wherever, and conversations with my students indicated the rest of them were on their way out soon. (At least three-quarters of my students are not from Florida.) By Friday there probably wouldn't be enough people left to make viable class sessions.

I attempted to busy myself with hurricane prep, but mostly I just ended up busying myself with reading articles on Reddit and elsewhere about my imminent demise. We tried to keep our ears to the ground and figure out what locals were doing, though, and most didn't seem to be freaking out, so we figured out where our local pet-friendly shelter was, and bought some canned goods (all that was left was canned French onion soup and canned lobster chowder... I'm sure they're great) and bottled water (I know we could just bottle our tap water... but we actually don't have any large bottles!). Hillsborough County has five pre-set evacuation zones based on flood risk, and our house wasn't in any of them, so wind was the primary thing we had to worry about. We moved stuff way from windows (easy because much of our possessions are still boxed), cleared our backyard of loose objects, but we couldn't board up our windows-- all the plywood was sold out at all the stores!

We had confirmed early on with our friends Jared and Angela in Columbia, South Carolina, that we could head up there if we needed refuge, and as the projected track of Irma shifted west we began considering it more and more. Finally, on Saturday morning (about 36 hours pre-Irma), with the eye track now running right through our town, we decided to get out. Sheltering in an interior room seemed a lot less fun if our windows had a good chance of being blown out! All our out-of-state friends and family seemed quite relieved at the decision. Our cats, though, were less than thrilled. (One poops about an hour into any extended car trip... it's great. Especially when you forgot to pack plastic bags.)

Whenever some said "Irmageddon," I thought
of the superhero of that name from Top 10.
We weren't the only people to book it out on Saturday; the interstates were pretty busy, though not really the gridlock that some media reports had made them sound. Taking I-4 east out of Tampa towards Orlando, we noted that signs had been activated that allowed driving on the median... but no one actually was, so we held off.

Eventually we ended up in a standstill, and then a few cars zipped by us on the shoulder, we decided we'd follow them, zooming past the stopped cars. This made a few of the drivers of parked cars very, very angry-- one gave us the finger, another did the thing where you pull halfway into the shoulder, though he backed off eventually. I saw his face as we passed him, and man he was just pissed beyond all belief. Little did they know, we said, that what we were doing was actually legal!

Only I started to realize that I hadn't seen one of those you-can-drive-on-the-median signs for quite some time... certainly not since I started driving on the median. So, uh, I slipped into the left lane at the next available opening. Whoops.

Our other big road adventure was stopping for food and gas in the town of Pooler outside Savannah. Hayley had insisted we get Chick-fil-A, which took about forty minutes of driving. But on arriving, we discovered the Chick-fil-A was closed... and so was the McDonald's, and the Arby's, and the Five Guys, and basically every fast food restaurant at the whole exit except for a Sonic. The Sonic was drive-thru only, and the drive-thru line wrapped around the whole building! My Google Timeline tells me we spent forty minutes in Pooler between driving up to a bunch of closed restaurants, and waiting in line at the Sonic. (It was, I believe, my first time ever getting anything other than a shake at a Sonic.)

We made it to Columbia without further incident. We ended up mostly just hanging out with Jared and Angela: though Irma was by this point projected to go up through Georgia, there was enough wind and rain heading for Columbia that basically everything was closed. (Our friend Angela works at Publix, and she reported that everyone bought bread and ice cream in preparation for the storm. Like, ice cream? Do you get how storms work?) So we just watched a lot of tv: four episodes of Futurama, three of Rick and Morty (my first-ever episodes, fact fans), and all three Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg action comedies. and pored over the livestreams. Hayley watched the local news; I just kept looking at a webcam pointed at the UT campus.

Irma made landfall in Florida Sunday night, but wasn't supposed to hit Tampa until 1am, and neither of us could stay up that late. Even by the time we went to bed, though, it was clear Irma was a lot weaker and less close to Tampa than predicted. My glimpses of the UT webcam were just not terribly interesting. Monday, there was lots of wind and rain in Columbia, though nothing too bad where we were.

So, on Tuesday with no information about our home (would it have windows still? a roof? power? would the pool have flooded into my living room? would a looter have stolen all my Doctor Who audio dramas?), we headed back to Florida (via Augusta, Georgia, where another friend of ours resides). The drive home was much less smooth: for the last forty miles of I-95 S in Georgia, every exit was barricaded by the state highway patrol, sometimes supplemented by the armed forces! As far as I could tell, there was no advance warning of this. Thankfully we'd gassed up in Augusta despite having over half a tank, or we might have been in some trouble. We later found out that the entire county was basically without power, so they just kept all the returning refugees on the interstates. (As was the first rest stop in Florida, meaning we had to use port-a-potties.) It was a little creepy at first, like something out of a post-apocalyptic television programme.

Getting off the interstate in our town was a little worrisome, as there were clearly a lot of power outages. But when we arrived in our subdivision, all the lights were on-- and when we got inside our home, everything was fine. No windows broken, the roof was still on, the power had recently come back up, and no one had stolen my copies of Zagreus and Renaissance of the Daleks. The only damage is that some of the screen segments on our pool enclosure were torn (several already were).

Things are slowly returning to normal here, though I'm excited for every extra day where they don't charge on the toll highways. UT reopened yesterday, though I anticipate a significant fraction of my students will still be missing from class today, as they work their ways back to Tampa as the transportation infrastructure revitalizes. (A guy I talked to in the faculty lounge yesterday said only half his students were in class.) My wife ended up with the whole week off; she won't go back until Monday. Some of my colleagues are still without power, though I haven't talked to anyone who's suffered major damage yet, thankfully.

We were definitely lucky. We've got to get some plywood and prep window boards ahead of time once supplies come back. Anyone know the best way to board up your windows when your exterior is made of stucco?

14 September 2017

Review: The Sorceress of the Strand and Other Stories by L. T. Meade

Trade paperback, 311 pages
Published 2015 (contents: 1895-1903)
Acquired April 2016

Read August 2016
The Sorceress of the Strand and Other Stories by L. T. Meade
"There is no doubt that she is very clever. She knows a little bit of everything, and has wonderful recipes with regard to medicines, surgery, and dentistry. She is a most lovely woman herself, very fair, with blue eyes, an innocent, childlike manner, and quantities of rippling gold hair. [...] This woman deals in all sorts of curious, secrets, but principally in cosmetics. Her shop in the Strand could, I fancy, tell many a strange history. Her clients go there, and she does what is necessary for them." (120)
L. T. Meade was a force to be reckoned with in the British magazines of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She wrote many recurring features, kind of like Sherlock Holmes. This Broadview edition collects single installments from Stories from the Diary of a Doctor (1893-95), The Brotherhood of the Seven Kings (1898), and The Heart of a Mystery (1901), as well as all six installments of The Sorceress of the Strand (1902-03). There's a lot of medicine and/por science in the stories collected here: Stories from the Diary of a Doctor is about the weird crimes a doctor discovers in the course of his medical duties, while the villain of The Brotherhood of the Seven Kings is an evil, female Italian chemist who works for a secret society, while The Sorceress of the Strand is about an amateur chemist who works doing insurance investigations who ends up repeatedly encountering one Madame Sara, an evil surgeon/physician/dentist (described in the above quotation). Ostensibly these stories are about science, but science in the world of L. T. Meade has a very occult register: there's a lot of hypnotism and gothic overtones in these stories.

They're fun enough, but not terribly amazing. A little repetitive in that Madame Sara always has some incredibly convoluted plot-- in one, she makes a woman metal teeth so she can attack someone but people will think it was a wolf-- for which there often seems to be a supernatural explanation, but the dogged investigations of Dixon (the insurance investigator) and his friend Vandeleur (a police surgeon) always make it clear it's Madame Sara's tricks at the root of it all. Sara has scientific powers, but is no scientist, I would say-- the title "sorceress" given to her by the serial's title is much more appropriate. I couldn't help but feel, though, that The Brotherhood of the Seven Kings sounded more interesting than The Sorceress of the Strand, and wished we'd got the former in its entirety and just an excerpt of the latter. Still, thank goodness that Broadview opted to reprint even just a limited selection of these long-forgotten tales.

13 September 2017

Reading Roundup Year in Review, 2016/17

Another September, another year in reading for me to evaluate. (I first logged my month's reading in September 2003 as a fresh-faced college freshman, so my reading year runs September through August.)


Last year I observed, "The past three years have been remarkably consistent. Apparently a book every 2.5 days is the pace I will always have no matter what." Little did I know I would set a new record for books read the next year! One every 1.8 days! My previous high of 195 was set during the year I read for exams, where I read a book every two days essentially for work. I would not have guessed that I would surpass it! Obviously the Hugos are partially to be credited here (I read 25 in May and 26 in June), but that alone wouldn't push me to these heights.

Here's what I've been reading this year: (I broke out series/authors only if I read more than one book of that series/author)

SERIES/GENRE/AUTHOR # OF BOOKS BOOKS/ MONTH % OF ALL BOOKS
Doctor Who 21 1.8 10.5%
Star Trek 6.5 0.5 3.3%
Other Tie-Ins 2 0.2 1.0%
Media Tie-In Subtotal 29.5 2.5 14.8%




L. Frank Baum / Oz 13 1.1 6.5%
H. G. Wells1 3 0.3 1.5%
Hyperion Cantos 3 0.3 1.5%
M. T. Anderson 2 0.2 1.0%
Other SF&F 30 2.5 15.0%
General SF&F Subtotal 51 4.3 25.5%




The Transformers 22.5 1.9 11.3%
DC Crisis Crossovers 9 0.8 4.5%
Manhunter 5 0.4 2.5%
Blue Beetle 3 0.3 1.5%
The Atom 3 0.3 1.5%
Legion of Super-Heroes 3 0.3 1.5%
Other DCU Comics 19 1.6 9.5%
Thor 2 0.2 1.0%
Spider-Man2 2 0.2 1.0%
Other Marvel Comics 3 0.3 1.5%
Top Ten 3 0.3 1.5%
Calvin and Hobbes 2 0.2 1.0%
Saga 2 0.2 1.0%
Other Comics3 7 0.6 3.5%
Comics Subtotal 85.5 7.1 42.8%




Victorian Literature 5 0.4 2.5%
James Bond by Ian Fleming 2 0.2 1.0%
Other Literature 14 1.2 7.0%
General Literature Subtotal 21 1.8 10.5%




Other Nonfiction4 13 1.1 6.5%

1. This actually includes both science fiction and literature by Wells, but I can't be bothered to separate them back out for the purposes of this report.
2. This also include novels about these comics-originated characters/premises.
3. Comics based on a particular series (e.g., Star Trek or Oz) are included with that series's count.
4. Nonfiction connected to a particular series or author (e.g., Doctor Who or H. G. Wells) is included in that series or author's count.


Comic books went up slightly over last year in absolute terms (from 73 to 85.5), but their proportion of my overall reading fell somewhat (from 49.0% to 42.8%). General science fiction and fantasy saw the biggest shift year-to-year, from 11.4% to 25.5%. Certainly that can be blamed on the Hugos.

As usual, I picked a book every month as the "Pick of the Month." Often I complain it would be impossible to rank the Picks themselves, but this year I used Preference Revealer to do it. Here they are, from twelfth-best to best:

12. Star Trek: The Rings of Time by Greg Cox
11. The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, Volume 1 by James Roberts, Nick Roche, Alex Milne, et al.
10. The Transformers: More then Meets the Eye, Volume 3 by James Roberts, Alex Milne, et al.
9. Doctor Who: Exodus by Terrance Dicks
8. The Lost Embassy by Adam Fergusson
7. The Marvelous Land of Oz by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young
6. Blue Beetle: Shellshocked by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, Cully Hamner, et al.
5. This Census-Taker by China Miéville
4. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
3. The Vision: Little Worse than a Man by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta
2. The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, Volume 4 by James Roberts, Alex Milne, et al.

and, the Pick of the Year:
1. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Note that isn't the twelve best books of the year because I could have read a book that was the second-best of one month that would have been the best with different competition. The full list of "Picks" going back seven years is here.

Finally, here's my usual graph of my reading trends over time:

Will 2017/18 be as productive? Now that I don't ride the bus any more, it seems doubtful, but driving every day means more podcasts, I guess.

You can compare this to previous years if you're interested: 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2014/15, 2015/16. (I didn't do ones for 2010/11 and 2013/14.)

12 September 2017

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Volume 3 by Edmond Hamilton, Jerry Siegel, John Forte, et al.

Having reached the most recent unread Legion of Super-Heroes collection in my possession, it's time to loop back around to the earliest:

Comic hardcover, 222 pages
Published 1993 (contents: 1964-65)
Acquired December 2014
Read November 2016
Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Volume 3

Writers: Edmond Hamilton, Jerry Siegel
Artists: John Forte, George Papp, Al Plastino, Sheldon Moldoff, George Klein, Curt Swan, Jim Mooney
Letterers: Milton Snapinn, Joe Letterese, Vivian Berg, David Huffine

Whenever I dip back into the pre-Great Darkness Saga adventures of the Legion of Super-Heroes, I'm like, this is what people look back on so fondly? Even by the standards of 1960s superhero comics, I would argue, most of these stories are dismal and dull and daft.

A subtle critique of 30th-century gender roles.
from Adventure Comics vol. 1 #326 (script by Jerry Siegel, art by John Forte & George Klein)

The dominant writers of the period, Edmond Hamilton and Jerry Siegel, are obsessed with plots where it seems like the Legionnaires have turned against one another: the stories collected in this volume include leader Sun Boy* going nuts from space fatigue and the Legion having to take him down, the Legion imprisoning Lightning Lad for revealing their secrets to their enemies, the female Legionnaires seducing and eliminating the men under the influence of evil women from the planet (I shit you not) Femnaz, five Legionnaires traveling back in time solely to screw over Superboy by revealing his secret identity, and short-lived member Command Kid turning the Legionnaires against each other. Each plot is more contrived than the previous, and the Femnaz one is ridiculously awful: the women of Femnaz destroy their planet's men because the men try to clamp down on violent arena games and won't let them shoot rockets at the moon. They see the error of their ways when they crack their moon in half with some of their rockets, and the male Legionnaires put it back together for them. Uh huh.

11 September 2017

Review: Doctor Who: Talkback, Volume One: The Sixties edited by Stephen James Walker

Trade paperback, 197 pages
Published 2006 (contents: 1978-2006)

Acquired September 2016
Read October 2016
Talkback: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Doctor Who Interview Book, Volume One: The Sixties
edited by Stephen James Walker

I've been reading Doctor Who Magazine's six "In Their Own Words" specials, which interweave quotes from DWM interviews to create a history of Doctor Who from 1963 to 2009. I've been supplementing them with Talkback, which prints interviews in their entirety, mostly sourced from fanzines (though some are from DWM, making for some redundancies). The interviews focus on production personnel, with only a couple performers getting looks in. If you like reading about the minutiae of producing a television programme, especially the very "primitive" ways it was done in the 1960s, then this book is for you.

Highlights include the interviews with the two set designers of the first couple seasons, Raymond Cusick (who designed the Daleks) and Barry Newberry (who designed most of the historicals, including the lush Marco Polo and the excellent The Aztecs), make-up designer Sylvia James, Anneke Wills (who played Polly and lived a fascinating post-Who life), director Morris Barry (who did The Dominators but knew it was crap except for the bitchy Dominators themselves), and Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin (the script editors and producers who got rid of the time/space travel element of the show in 1969, and whose reasons for doing so make for interesting reading). Sometimes it can be a bit dry and hard going (Walker and the various other interviewers are no Benjamin Cook when it comes to writing up interviews in a lively fashion), but it's packed with facts and anecdotes you'll struggle to find anywhere else.

08 September 2017

The End of R.E.B.E.L.S. (2009-11): To Be a R.E.B.E.L. and Starstruck

It ought to be a crime that DC stopped collecting Tony Bedard's 2009-11 revival of R.E.B.E.L.S. with only eight issues to go. One more trade paperback would have sufficed to get the whole series in book form. It's a particular shame because this was probably the best DC space-based ongoing since L.E.G.I.O.N.-- it has its flaws (mostly too many characters that didn't get enough focus), but it certainly outdid both The Darkstars and the original R.E.B.E.L.S.

There is a sense here that the book is on its way out, though. Issues #21-23 are To Be a R.E.B.E.L., a story bringing Vril Dox's reestablished L.E.G.I.O.N. into conflict with the Green Lantern Corps. With Green Lanterns featuring prominently in the stories and on the covers, it feels like an attempt to cash in on how popular the Green Lantern Corps was at the time under Geoff Johns-- which surely wouldn't be needed if R.E.B.E.L.S. had been doing fine on its own. But Tony Bedard and Claude St. Aubin make the most of this mandate (if mandate this was): the two Green Lanterns are a Psion and an Okaaran, both Vegan species from the old Omega Men series, and using them allows for some new perspectives on the Vega system (L.E.G.I.O.N.'s new home base), and a decent role for Starfire.

The last five issues constitute Starstruck (numbered "Part 1," "Part 2," "Part 3," "Part 3," and "Conclusion"), which brings back series nemesis Starro the Conqueror for one last confrontation. Compared to the previous Dox/Starro clashes we've seen, this one feels much less epic, as Starro never controls more than the Psion homeworld and Ranagar, and it also seems rushed. One assumes Bedard knew his time was up and brought back the series's big bad for a finale (it was indicated when Starro was originally defeated that he would indeed be back), but didn't have enough issues to make it as exciting as he wanted. (It also hurts that with #24, the issues go from 22 pages to 20.)

It's not without its moments, however. Lobo using a clothespin to stop himself from being seduced via scent is great, as is how Lobo eventually defeats Starro's sub-boss, Smite. The Psion plan is a pretty incredible one, though there's something seeded with it that will never be followed up on, given that shortly after this was published, the DC universe was rebooted in Flashpoint. It's always fun to see Dox be Dox, but he probably gets the fewest good moments of the whole series in this storyline. Previously, Bedard and company balanced action and character well, but this climax tilts a little bit too much to action, and the solution to the Starro menace is surprisingly simple. Though I obviously wish it had been collected, this is only an adequate end to R.E.B.E.L.S.

07 September 2017

Review: Gloriana; or, The Revolution of 1900 by Lady Florence Dixie

PDF eBook, 350 pages
Published 1890
Read October 2013
Gloriana; or, The Revolution of 1900
by Lady Florence Dixie

I have to admit that my memory of this novel is vague at the point I write this, over three years after I read it. Published in 1890, it comes at the point where what I call "revolutionary science fiction" was really taking off-- after scattered instances in the 1880s, in 1890-93 there's just this huge outpouring of the stuff, of which Gloriana is one example. In this instance, it's a feminist revolution, starting with suffrage, but ending with all sorts of rights for women that culminate in a 1999 feminist utopia. I remember parts of it being fun, but at 350 pages, there's not enough fun parts compared to the length of the book. Still, there's interesting stuff: a woman who disguises herself as a man to become a Member of Parliament (did this book inspire Una Silberrad?), the customary early feminist tie to eugenics, an army of women marching. I've read better works of proto-science fiction from this time period, but I've read much worse.

05 September 2017

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes: Hostile World by Paul Levitz, Francis Portela, Walter Simonson, et al.

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2012 (contents: 2011-12) 

Acquired August 2015
Read May 2016
Legion of Super-Heroes, Volume 1: Hostile World

Writer: Paul Levitz
Co-Plotter: Walter Simonson
Artist: Francis Portela
Penciller: Walter Simonson
Inkers: Dan Green, Sean Parsons
Colorist: Javier Mena
Letterers: Pat Brosseau, Travis Lanham

This is the first proper volume of the "deboot" Legion I've read-- by "proper," I mean stories that don't cross the Legion over with present-day DC characters, like in Superman and the Legion or Legion of 3 Worlds. It's confusing. It's dull. It's terrible. Levitz throws tons of characters at you, but gives you no reason to care about any of them. I've been reading the Legion for years now, and I don't give a shit about these people. How on Earth is a new reader supposed to? The extent to which the deboot Legion deviates from the core premise of the Legion is staggeringly misguided. Like, it's supposed to br about teenagers in the future, yet in this version they're all adults. What's going on? Who thought this was a good idea? I don't care for Francis Portela's stiff and posed artwork, but not even an issue drawn by Walt Simonson can get me involved. Is the deboot Legion a lost cause from its very inception?

Next Week: We warp back around to the beginning... or pretty close to it, anyway, with Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Volume 3!