Review: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: Dominator War trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, January 14, 2008

The fifth volume of the newest Legion reboot, Dominator War, feels obviously rushed, as writer Mark Waid hurries to finish the long-running storyline before his run on the book comes to an end. I actually didn't mind the rush altogether much--one quirk of Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes has been what a slow, detail-oriented book it's been, and this rush at the end of the story at times feels like the boost this story needed.

I've mentioned before that I read Mark Waid's Legion arc as a story about the growth of the Legion from revolutionary group to mainstream organization. This is completed in the fifth book, I think, when Cosmic Boy has to make the decision to both commit genocide against the Dominators and send a Legionnaire to their death; this kind of weighty and unpopular decision, falling to Cosmic Boy alone and so reminiscent of the difficulties of current politics, cements Cos as a government figure, just before the Legion holds their first elections.

Waid, however, offers a twist. Not only does Cos figure out how not to kill the Dominators in the end, Waid also sends Cos off with three Legion look-alikes from even farther into the future. In this way, it's as if Waid shows that even though this current incarnation of the Legion may have "grown-up" a bit, the innocence and youthfulness of the Legion still prevails in time.

One thing that makes the hurried end of Legion sit better with me is that Waid, in my opinion, caught all the dangling plotlines before he finished. Mon-El, the hero known as Valor, returns to status quo, for another writer to pick up later. We learn the final fate of Dream Girl, whose power now to appear in dreams literally lives up to her power. And I was skeptical about how Legion would tie into 52 (though I love the Dominators running around shouting, "Remember the Fifdee-Tu!"), but guest-writer Tony Bedard explains it and makes it all make sense, so I'm satisfied (Booster Gold fans, look for a cameo here, too).

One drawback of the so-called Dominator War is that it's really more of an invasion than a war, and an invasion markedly similar to Lemnos's invasion back in Legion of Super-Heroes: Death of a Dream (big scary guys coming through portals and such). What might be interesting (and what Legion titles may well have done before) would be an actual war between the planets, where the Legionnaires, with loyalties to their various home planets, are caught in the middle. I imagine it's difficult for Legion writers to find larger and larger cosmic menaces for the team to fight, and I'll be curious to see how upcoming writers Tony Bedard and Jim Shooter build on the groundwork Mark Waid created.

[Contains full covers.]

Well, I'm a Legion fan. Mark Waid has finally sold me on a Legion team, and I intend to keep reading about this incarnation, as well as those appearing in JLA and Superman. And what if this Legion gets rebooted? Well ... I guess we'd have to see what happens from there, but if you've been on the fence about the Legion before, I highly recommend these new Legion trades. One more trivia quiz tomorrow; thanks for reading!
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