Future State #2: Legion of Super-Heroes Review: Hamstrung

The galaxy is in tatters as the United Planets has fallen, and the Legion is no more, thanks to Element Lad leading the people of his homeworld Trom to attack the rest of the galaxy. There's a very clever bit that connects the work here, showing that things might not be what everyone anticipates, but Future State #2: Legion of Super-Heroes is hamstrung by some visual challenges and somewhat indifferent characterization.

Future State Legion Of Super-Heroes #2 Review: Hamstrung
Future State #2: Legion of Super-Heroes Cover. Credit: DC Comics

The issue jumps off with the Legion having tracked Element Lad back to Trom (it doesn't seem like much of a hiding place, honestly) and attacking him en masse. The challenges here start with the somewhat cluttered visuals, led off by Riley Rossmo's idiosyncratic, "visionary" style and somewhat forced by Brian Michael Bendis' chatty, overwrought script. For example, it's not clear who said, "Wait … are you reading Jan Arrah's mind," and it doesn't matter. It could have been literally any of the more than a dozen characters engaged, and it wouldn't make a difference. It's a line to push along the plot in a heavy-handed way because the art doesn't give so much room to follow.

It's clear everyone here has the basics on how this should work. Rossmo's showing of Rokk Krinn helping clean up on the planet Daxam is well constructed even as it fudges the details a bit (is that green stuff in the lower right of the panel vegetation or wreckage?). It's crystal clear the zest, and passion Bendis has for the Legion. What's not connecting is the "kitchen sink" method of operating here, with a Legion that follows their worst impulses more than their best. Likewise, if you remember the complaints people had about Keith Giffen's rough-hewn approach with the so-called Five Years Later Legion, these pages make it look like Alex Ross, Jen Bartel, or Jamie McKelvie by comparison.

The ultimate conclusion brings up some worrying concerns about the carceral state a thousand years in the future. Still, it is a clever idea in and of itself, following in a way the wisdom of Douglas Adams in dealing with problematic populations. There are a number of good ideas here that may have been hampered by enthusiasm or lack of oversight but end up with something that doesn't follow the inspirational energy of the Legion. Instead, in the words of Chuck Taine, "We messed it all up, just like they did. We didn't learn anything in a thousand years." That's the greatest tragedy of all. RATING: MEH.

Future State #2: Legion of Super-Heroes
By Brian Michael Bendis, Riley Rossmo
The unthinkable has happened: one of the Legionnaires has betrayed the entire galaxy! The United Planets is in ruins, the team has been scattered across the cosmos, and madness reigns on multiple worlds! Now the surviving Legionnaires are just discovering the real truth behind what has happened to their dream of a new age of heroes. Donât miss this shocking twist 1,000 years in the making from the team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and visionary artist Riley Rossmo.

About Hannibal Tabu

Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com. Plus, get free weekly web comics on the Operative Network at http://bit.ly/combatshaman.