Wednesday Comments – Paul Levitz is Killing the Legion!

I think I’ve finally reached my breaking point with the Legion of Super-Heroes. I do believe I’m finally done.

Last year I wrote a piece about my gripes with the Legion and how DC could fix things. Well apparently no one at DC read my piece or at least paid it no mind because the Legion is still less than enjoyable.

It occurred me when I read the latest issue (#12) and opened to the first page to see Stegus from the planet Saurius.

Stegosaurs?

Really?

It wasn’t used in an ironic sense or as a sort of throwback to the Silver Age. It was genuine, which made it all the cornier. Just reading it made me feel dirty.

Paul Levitz did amazing things for the Legion. His tenure with the team is legendary. But his recent output leaves tons to be desired. The book isn’t engaging and the characters are leaving me flat.

Back in the day Levitz knew how to juggle the huge cast of the Legion. Every issue would have multiple storylines (A, B, C, D) with a different storyline taking the main focus of the issue. It was expert plotting and you could always feel the drama building.

But with the last year on the title, it felt less like plotting and more like plodding through uninspired stories. First we get through Earth Man joining the team, then we dealt with Durlans attacking Earth and now we have the Legion of Super-Villains attacking. Yawn.

And it’s not entirely Levitz’s fault; he was saddled with dangling plotlines from Geoff Johns meddling with the Legion. Levitz had to deal with a xenophobic Earth populace, Earth Man, Starman and his technicolor dream coat multiverse costume. Yeah, those are some anchors that will drag story down right there.

By the same token Levitz needs to take the blame for the whole search for the Green Lantern of the 31st Century subpot as well as the Shadow Lass shaking up with Earth Man. And who thought that making Mon-El the newest Green Lantern was a good idea. Clearly there’s enough blame to go around.

Part of the problem is that the Legion is suffering from the same Silver Age retcons the rest of the DCU is being hit with. So along with the return of Kara Zor-El, Barry Allen and Hal Jordan we’ve got the Silver Age Legion. Unfortunately unlike those other examples, which kept Kyle Rayner, Wally West, Bart Allen and other recent aspect, the Legion pretty much abandoned everything that happened after Levitz lef the title in the late 80’s.

Say what you will about Geoff Johns, but he generally acknowledges the totality of the continuity. Paul Levitz, not so much.

I really wish that Levitz would take the time to examine the 5YG Legion and take out some of the good elements that it contained. At the very least the 5YG had some awesome characterization and not just for the Legionnaires. During the alien worlds had character, instead of just being foreign planets.

Or take some of the stuff from the Threeboot Legion or even the DnA run on the title. But Levitz takes none of that stuff. Instead we’re left with characters as thin as the paper they’re printed on and stories that aren’t any better.

I keep hoping to see that spark that made me love the Legion or a hint that things are going to get better. But with each passing issue my optimism decreases a bit.

I used to say Long Live the Legion. But I haven’t felt that way in a long while. It makes me sad.

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