Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interrèd with their bones.
Mark Antony from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
Friends, Legionnaires, UP residents, lend me your ears.
Because after 15 months of reviews, my look at that Threeboot Legion has come to a close.
It is hard for me to believe that I have come to the end. But in some ways I am happy it has as the last several months of reviewing the Shooter run hasn't been easy.
More than any run, it seems like this volume has both good and evil. I unlike Mark Antony, I don't want the bad portion of this run to live on. And I don't want to bury the good. I want to take a broad look at the Threeboot one last time. And really, what I want to hear most is from everyone out there. What did you think of this run of the Legion? Did you love it? Or hate it? Are there moments that stick out? What do you think?
And unlike many versions of the Legion, despite the Threeboots' short run, there are definitely discrete and distinct runs within the 50 issues. So let's dip our toes one more time.
The first 15 issues or so defined the vision that creators Mark Waid and Barry Kitson wanted for this version of the Legion. They were a brash, upstart, socially conscious, politically progressive, independent group. The UP bureaucracy didn't like them. The establishment didn't like them. The Legion was a movement, looking to shake things up, and looking to the youth of the universe to lead to a better place. Anyone could be a Legionnaire as long as you had the ethos.
Their enemy was a group which espoused the Legion desire for progress but as seen through a mirror darkly. Praetor Lemnos looked to destruction as the catalyst for change. And somehow he thought the Legion would jump on board.
Waid had the uneasy task of reintroducing us to these people. This was a new Legion, aimed at satisfying old readers while bringing in new fans. Kitson's work is brilliant throughout. Utterly lovely.
The book suffered a little from pacing. The Lemnos arc took too long.
And with that first arc done, the book entered its second phase.
The next 15 issues are the Supergirl issues.
Needing a little injection of adrenaline, and with the Lemnos arc finally complete, Waid and Kitson uses the 'One Year Later' breakpoint to add Kara to the proceedings.
For me, this chunk of the Threeboot is the best. While Supergirl was portrayed as a whiny, angry brat in her own title, Waid returned her to her roots. Gloriously optimistic, fierce in her desire for justice, and always ready to be a hero, Supergirl shined in this book. And Kitson drew the hell out of her.
Once again, this section dragged a bit. There was a long running plot of a robot rebellion spurred on by the Dominators. We met the Wanderers and learned of Mekt Ranzz. While it took a while to get there, the ending of this mega-arc with the Legion battering their way all over the Dominator homeworld was fantastic.
But that pacing may have dragged things a bit.
And I wonder if it wasn't impossible for Waid and Kitson to serve two masters. How could they make a new Legion for a fresh audience and satisfy the older fans?
With the Dominator plot over, Waid and Kitson left the book.
You know in sports when a coach gets fired in the middle of a season, an assistant coach steps in to finish the year. And everyone knows that person is keeping the seat warm until the 'real' next coach is found? That is what I call this section.
And God bless Tony Bedard and Dennis Calero for their work on their six issues. Without a doubt, based on these issues, you can tell that Bedard is a Legion fan. He threw so much updated Legion history at us all while honoring the past that it was the best of all worlds. You could just see that he knew this stuff and wanted to bring it back!
Wildfire! Validus! Evolvo Lad! Matter Eater Lad!
There was a lot of history there. But it also felt like Bedard was treading water. These issues seemed like self-contained stories which didn't necessarily look to the future. And did all these reintroductions keep the attention of those supposed new readers? Hard to know.
And the Dennis Calero was just a bit too rough for my tastes. It certainly was a far cry from the polished Kitson art.
But this was a place holder.
And then the final creative team came on board, Jim Shooter and Francis Manapul.
I am going to start out by saying that Manapul's art is brilliant. It is interesting to see his early art in comparison to the pencilly style he has now. I can forgive him the cheesecake he put into the book. He drew the script given to him.
As for Shooter, I don't know if bringing in the writer from the earliest Legion stories was supposed to be a draw for new readers. And Shooter's bawdy and nasty approach to the book felt a bit too much like an old guy trying to be cool.
His plots were all over the place. Some meandered and lingered. Others were introduced and never finished. Between the tecnno- constructs and Projectra's descent into evil, things limped along. Wedged into these stories was as gratuitous panty shots and icky sexual innuendo and trysts to make you want to shower.
And then the plug was pulled. Shooter didn't even have time to finish at least three plots he was brewing, including the Projectra one which dominated page space.
Of all the sections of this book, it is this section which is my least favorite.
And so ends Threeboot Fridays ...
But let's end with one last conversation. Tell me your thoughts on the book!