Legion of Super-Heroes (1980) #261

The Legion of Super Heroes  261

Ric Estrada takes over on pencils—John Calnan still inking—and I guess I hope he takes over from Joe Staton. Estrada’s not great on distance or action shots, but his close-ups are okay. And his not-great stuff fits with writer Gerry Conway’s Silver Age-y Legion. For example, this issue has the Legionaries hitching a ride on a warp trail. One of them just grabs it. And not Star Boy. Timber Wolf can do it.

Though based on Conway’s occasionally insipid narration, Timber Wolf can do anything. Except keep his mouth shut. He barks a bunch of orders before chasing a bad guy, with the narration talking about how he never talks.

He just talked–more than anyone else.

The story has the Legion stopping the Space Circus Assassin, who is apparently trying to start an intergalactic war between Earth and one of its former colonies. The only thing to unite the two peoples was the Space Circus, but if meanies are going to try to incite violence, what’s even the point? The silliness gets the comic through quite a bit.

It also helps they’re trying to uncover the assassin, so it’s a mystery with various reveals. Brainiac 5 is around to tell people when they’re right or wrong; whether they listen to him is another story, sometimes leading to trouble. Based on the conclusion, not only should they have really listened to him, Conway should’ve written it better. It’s a decent espionage thriller at its core, but the Space Circus stuff is just too goofy.

Except then again, Estrada does better with the goofy. The finale’s weird and enthusiastic.

I’m not sure Conway Legion is ever going to be “good,” but it’s certainly better than usual.

I really hope Estrada sticks around.

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