Written by Geoff Johns
Art by George Pérez and Scott Koblish
While this is a much better outing than the Legion of Three Worlds history lesson that was issue one, this issue, in comparison, felt a lot more rushed. It was as if Johns, after having caught everyone up on the Legion characters, who they are and who all the major players are, forgot he had to setup the plot for the rest of the series and rushed everything into this issue so he could start moving next on. It felt like he crammed the first two issues of most storylines into this one after wasting the first issue.
Now, don't misunderstand me. This was still a great issue, by any standard. It has a lot of great moments and the meeting of the Brainiacs was exactly as I would have imagined it, but I think the rushed nature of this setup issue robs this issue of a lot of the impact it should have had, especiallyw ith some of the things that happened here.
To start off, we were quickly introduced to Random Legion Member #1032 (Mysa), who is being rescued by several Legion members introduced last issue, and Random Legion Bad Guy #2930 (Mordru), who has captured her. We're not told how or why she was captured, but I don't think it matters.
The Legion free Mysa and, as expected, Mordru shows up to stop them. This is all precursor to the introduction of the last Green Lantern in the universe, Rand Vidar. The small band of Legionnaires looked to be holding their own against Mordru until the entire Legion of Super Villains showed up. This should end badly for all involved, right? Not exactly...
Instead of the massacre we were all expecting, Mysa teleports the team back to Earth. Well, all except Green Lantern, who stayed behind to ensure their escape as he protected them during her spell. This leads to a nice introduction to the all the villains and Superboy Prime's past deeds as the ring recaps everything in brief sitreps for the last Green Lantern and the reader.
As expected, Prime hasn't forgotten his hatred of the GL's and, after several panels of what I consider filler / introductions for all the villains as we get shots of several of them using their powers one at a time on the GL, before Prime finally gets a hold of him and promptly kills the last Green Lantern.
After this, we get pages of the Legion attempting to contact the other two Legions using the lightning rod from the JSA/JLA/Legion team-up and the old crystal ball the JLA and JSA used to use to converse between Earth-1 and -2.
Meanwhile, Brainiac has several plans in motion as he sends one team off to retrieve the dead Rand Vidar's body and take it to Oa to meet a mysterious Daxamite (more on this later), another team to go back to the 21st century for some reason and yet another group to go intercept the Legion of Super Villains, who are on their way to Earth.
While all this is going on, Brainiac and the remaining Legion manage to contact and bring the other two Legions to this Earth, much to their confusion and my delight, as the various Brainiacs inevitably started bickering with each other.
Finally, we skip the retrieving of the dead body and pick up with the team tasked to going to Oa. After we see the ring of the deceased GL trying to find a suitable host and failing before returning to Oa (Mogo was destroyed, so no more ring guidance system), we catch up with this team as they confront the mystery Daxamite. As I'm sure everyone figured out by now, it turns out to be none other than our very own resident Daxamite, Sodam Yat, aka, Ion, who is now sporting a mohawk and a more Alan Moore GL Annual-like appearance and claiming to be the last Guardian of the Universe.
As you can see, a lot happened in this issue, almost all setup, and I even glossed over a lot of details and backstory parts to keep this brief (well, brief for me). I think the rushed feeling I get from this issue comes from the sudden shifts in focus with little buildup, like the sudden 'go get the dead body' scene to 'oh, we're at Oa now' with nothing in between, which many of the scene changes and plot developments experienced.
Further adding to this feeling is the artwork. Perez is often heralded for his ability to draw so many characters on panel without losing any of the detail, but this issue is far from his best in that regard. While they still have lots of characters on panel, the layouts seem to be designed solely for that purpose - to have lots of people on every page - with little rhyme or reason. The sudden shifts to single character fights, like when the Green Lantern takes down several of the villains one at a time, when you have dozens of people in the previous panel further compounds this problem with the art for me.
It's hard to describe in words, as many will see single pages with all this stuff happening on it and looking fine and wonder why I'm being so hard on it, but I think many of these "lots of people on panel" scenes hurt the story more than help it. The Legion vs Super Villains fight really suffers as we get this huge clash of the titans with the heroes severly outnumbered and the pages make it look like it's all one on one fights when Prime could tear everyone apart on his own. Add all these heavy hitters to the mix and it should have been a massacre, but Perez does his job of showing off everyone's powers individually and it hurts the epic scope of this threat and the fights come off as a generic super-heroes vs super villains brawl.
Verdict - Must Read. This has been a lengthy review as it is, but I just have to end this on a positive note, as this comes off as one big hate-on for this issue when that couldn't be any further from the truth. This is an excellent, yet flawed, issue. Thankfully, the good outweighs the bad by a large margin, but this review is for those that aren't buying this issue, for whatever reason, and I think they've read more than enough of the glowing reviews on other sites and are interested in knowing the flaws as well. For the rest of us that bought it, we just get to enjoy it and shake our heads at why they didn't.