Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes

December 6, 2009

Gary Frank draws the best-looking Superman. I am not even going to qualify that statement. This isn’t a cheap attempt to slight every artist that has ever drawn the Man of Steel; it’s my simple honest-to-God admission that Frank is that good. Some Supermen look bulky, and others old, tired, or brutish. Yet other Supermen look rather inhuman, disdainful, or too fanciful. To get him right, you need to work to the character in all his uncompromising qualities, and Frank does just that. His is a statuesque all-powerful hero who isn’t god-like, vulnerable enough, protective enough, full of recognisable emotion because he is goodness unclouded. Frank shows it all emanating from Superman’s eyes out.

And it’s a Geoff Johns story, so it must be good punchy plot-driven fun. But Johns has also raised his own standard for storytelling here, delivering an adventure with non-stop revelations of beauty and smarts, his 31st century a thing of credibility and excitement. With Frank, the Johns touch gets that extra regality often missing in quick-action drawing. This may be a tale about Superman among his old childhood chums from the future (again), but both Johns and Frank do something right together. They portray not the usual teenage-looking and -thinking versions of these figures but them as young adults, fully embodying the commitment to Superman’s cause at the heart of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Yet their years of friendship — paradoxically spent circumventing time — resonate here: you do feel the years.

It’s a brilliant gripping combination: this may well be the Legion story even if it’s really a Superman story. Johns certainly aims for no less since his adventure begins and ends with a nod to the Legion’s own first DC outing with one-time Superboy. As if that isn’t enough, it also opens with an alternative version of the birth of Superman, told via the arrival of another planet’s Last Son. Only this time, the baby is greeted not with love but with good old human fear, distrust, and blind civil obedience. The stage is then set to spin a tale that is at once a parable about the fear of the Other and a warning against historical revisionism, which has elements of a critique of both liberal Christian theology and Holocaust denial. I kid you not, but I hold no obligation to reveal any more here.

Suffice it to say that this is about the Man of Tomorrow going back to the future to help fight against earth-based totalitarianism that has retold his own life story as a means of control. Johns pulls out an endless stream of future superheroes that will, if DC runs out of ideas, keep creators busy inventing stories well up to the 31st century! This is a trip that will thrill any reader from its first page to the last, and you’ll come away loving some thing or idea you didn’t think could entertain as much before. For me, it has got to be my new-found favourite superhero of a few more hours, Stone-boy. His power? To turn into stone — imagine the possibilities for fun.

Gweek is wearing 10 Legion rings on his fingers.


9 Responses to “Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes”

  1. Immamshix Says:

    Lots of guys talk about this issue but you wrote down some true words!

  2. Gweek Says:

    Thanks, but the Johns-Frank Brainiac one sucks big. 😦

  3. Mike Says:

    Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

  4. Mark Says:

    Great stuff as usual…

  5. I appreciate your website greatly. Will read more. Keep up to marvelous work on it. Gracias

  6. john Says:

    good post i enjoy reading this site

  7. Oralia Lomza Says:

    It’s super page, I was looking for something like this

  8. Alveo Says:

    You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material.

  9. sueniliaics Says:

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