blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Legion of Super-Heroes (1980) #262

The Legion of Super Heroes  262James Sherman is back on art after an extended period, now going by “Jim.” His style’s simplified, with a lot less detail. He’s still got fantastic composition and his people—again, simplified—have a lot of personality in what he does give them. Last time he was on the series, he was doing these lush, expansive sci-fi action panels. Now, he’s still got the sci-fi action, just not the lushness (well, a few times). He’s not as good as before, but he’s still pretty dang good.

Leagues ahead of the norm on Legion, anyway.

Writer Gerry Conway opens with Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl on Earth talking about the Legionnaires off on their missions. They’re telling readers everything they need to know to jump on (including who’s married to who, who’s dating who, and so on; it’s a tedious exposition dump). Anyway, last issue, we read about the space circus mystery, this issue, we’re going to read about the Legion team trying to help R.J. Brande rebuild his fortune. He makes stars. Zaps space dust and turns it into a star, which he then moves around for performance art. Or something. It’s unclear. And they get distracted from their mission when they discover a destroyed star system.

It ends up being a pretty good issue. It reads like Conway’s trying out for the “Star Trek” license, with the Legionnaires encountering a strange, dangerous planet with a complicated secret. Conway even makes a “final frontier” reference, inviting the comparison. It’s okay, especially with Sherman’s art giving the characters chemistry on their detour.

There are a few times the script and the art don’t match. First, when Light Lass rescues some other Legionnaire, he wants to give her a thank you kiss, but they’re seeing other people. In the reflection on Wildfire’s helmet, we see them locking lips, but it’s not written as ominous just fun. Maybe everyone in the Legion can swing now Superboy’s gone with his Midwestern values.

Later, there’s a space travel moment made nonsensical by the art and writing being out of whack, which is far less interesting than illicit behavior.

It’s nice to have Sherman around. Conway works better with him—even taking the occasional disconnect into account—than anyone else on the book so far.

I’m sure he’s not staying. Can’t catch a break on this one.

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