Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #4 Review

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by George Pérez and Scott Koblish

A little warning before continuing with this review - I do not share the more common and positive sentiments towards this issue. In fact, I'm sure most will vehemently disagree with me in regards to many of my complaints about this issue, but I just can't bring myself to praise it like many of the forum goers or other reviewers seem to be doing.

That said, my first complaint, which seems to lead to every other problem, is that this reads like fan fiction. It's pure wish fulfillment and mary sue writing with Johns' favourite characters and is riddled with contrived and ridiculous retcons throughout the issue. I felt like I was reading every random forum post about how someone would bring back so and so character and was shocked seeing such writing make it to print.

For starters, let's deal with Bart Allen/Kid Flash's return. It is a long winded, exposition filled explaination that didn't make a lick of sense in regards to how it explains his return, why he's younger or how he retrained his memories of being an adult. It amounts to Johns simply wanting a character he enjoyed back and doing it with no real plan or thought behind it.

The next resurrection for this issue was the much speculated return of Conner Kent, better known as Superboy, who died fighting Superboy Prime back in Infinite Crisis. How did he come back? Starman dug up Conner's body, stuck it in Superman's regeneration tank (the same one he used when he "died" fighting Doomsday) and left him in there for a 1000 years. Another Legion team went back in time and grabbed some Lex Luthor hair and used that to regenerate the human part of Conner's half-human, half-Kryptonian DNA.

While there's no major problem with this manner of resurrection (Although, we could say Superman wasn't technically dead, so was able to regenerate. Conner was dead dead and it shouldn't be possible), it does raise the question as to what the hell was the point of Starman's addled brain, the months of buildup and his job digging up graves or any other question regarding his trip to the past. Why didn't they just use the same team getting Luthor's hair to grab Conner's body and bury it at the Fortress of Solitude? What was so dangerous about the mission that Starman was required to be insane in order to accomplish? While I don't care about the science behind Conner's return, the events used to execute it should make some kind of sense and it comes off poorly written when you look beyond the results.

And this isn't me not wanting these characters revived. I actually love that both Superboy and Kid Flash are back. However, being happy they are back does not vindicate One More Day level of writing (okay, it's never that bad) nor does it give Johns a free pass to just write whatever the heck he wants in order to get his favourite characters back.

The manner in which these characters were resurrected doesn't even touch on the manner in which the various Legions are treated. The two non-Silver Age Legions seem to exist in this story for the sole purpose of a) making the Silver Age Legion look good and b) to serve as cannonfodder for the Legion of Supervillains and die ignominious deaths. They don't celebrate these other Legions so much as massacre them in throw away panels or grind them up against the fanboy mentality and analogue, Superboy Prime. It's really disconcerting seeing someone writing a book about these characters when it appears he obviously hates 2/3rds of the cast and only wants to write his versions, further adding to the fan fiction-like feeling of the writing.

This all culminates with the Time Trapper identity reveal at the end of the issue, which I pray is a joke or some fake out, as it reveals the infinitely patient and calculating Time Trapper as none other than Superboy "I'll kill you dead" Prime. It's a shock ending, alright, but it also makes no sense, much like the Cosmic Boy Time Trapper reveal from Zero Hour.

Verdict - Avoid It. Clearly, this issue and series is not aimed at me anymore. I love that Johns has revived Superboy and Kid Flash, but with so many time travel options available to them, they didn't have to be so hamfisted about these resurrections. It's like handwaving of details away so he can have his cake and eat it, too.

I'm sure people will disagree with me and I know I'll be in the minority in regards to this issue and fully accept that, but I just can't, in good faith, give this issue a passing grade nor get past my hang ups. Maybe someone can explain to me what I'm missing here that everyone else is gushing over?

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