01/01/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: DC Comics. Legion Of Super-Heroes: Enemy Manifest by Jim Shooter, Francis Manapul & Livesay. 122 page graphic novel softcover. Price: $14.99 (US), $17.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-4012-2305-2.
check out website: www.dccomics.com
I have to say from the start that Legion of the five comics under the collective title ‘Enemy Manifest’ isn’t the other two incarnations that I’m familiar with but those from the Earth-Prime 30th century. They were pussycats compared to the bickering team in this book. Saying that, as a manifestation of the LSH for the present day, they are still just as interesting and lessons learnt from the earlier versions have been used to dimensionalise the characters. Immediate observations are that everyone feels inadequate around Brainiac 5, who also has a tendency to be a little happy with a knife. Phantom Girl has a need to learn to knock on doors before drifting in. Projectra is deservedly a lot more regal and haughty which makes for some interesting moments considering she has no servants since her world was destroyed. Sizzle has to be a hairy name for either sex. Nudity amongst themselves isn’t an issue in the medical bay. Flight rings now do more than just allow them to fly and there’s even a merchandise arm to buy them there. With 30th century swear words, some of them are getting a little potty-mouthed. There are also far too many Legionnaires with red in their costumes but as costumes never stay the same forever...
This Legion has several problems from the start. Getting their legal rights to represent the United Planets being the easiest. Getting some of their incarcerated members out of jail not so. Sorting out a riot caused by super-beings wanting to be part of a new Legion. Oh and a giant new planet enters the Solar System and Brainiac 5 has to juggle anti-gravity fields to stop its presence upsetting the other planets. It’s only much later that the revelation as to just what the inhabitants of this new planet are up to let alone the means to sort it out which is definitely spoiler land.
The interplay of the Legion with people outside and their normal activities and duties certainly makes for an interesting time. I never had any doubts that Jim Shooter could write the LSH, after all, he did write it in the 60s when I was learning what it mean to being a fan of something. The artwork by Francis Manapul and Livesay flows from one to the other but whether this is because of them or the inkers and colourists is hard to say. Certainly, I’m beginning to understand why the hair is so gelled. If there is going to be any improvement in graphics software then it has to be with allowing hair to be coloured without it seeping into the rest of the picture.
For newer LSH readers, there’s less back history to be aware of. For us older generation, apart from remembering a few name and appearances changes, it isn’t difficult to get into the flow of things and me wishing I saw the stories leading up to this edition. An energetic read and make sure you have a couple hours to read in one sitting or you’ll be chewing your elbows waiting to find time.
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