Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #5 Review

With my general dissatisfaction with the series, coupled with the huge delays, I wasn't even sure if I was going to review Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 this week, yet here I am writing an image and spoiler filled review, similar to the new format I tried with Blackest Night #1 last week. Why am I writing a special review for a book I didn't even care for to begin with? Was it so good that it just blew me away and changed my opinion of the title? Well, uh, let's go for some diplomacy and say it's ending has to be seen to believed. Oh yes, spoilers this way be. Full review after the jump.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by George PĂ©rez and Scott Koblish

No, you're eyes do not deceive you. This is, indeed, a Final Crisis tie-in. Yes, the same Final Crisis that ended back in January and recently released its hardcover. As you can probably guess, Legion of 3 Worlds has been delayed quite a bit, so I'm going to do a quick recap. Superboy-Prime went to the future (you don't want or need to know how he got there, but it was something to do with Countdown, punching stuff and 'killing people to death'), formed his own Legion of Super Villains and started trashing the future.

The current Legion summoned Superman to fix things for them. When it wasn't enough to stop Prime, they called in two other iterations of Legions from the various reboots and retcons throughout the years, who are now available due to the Multiverse.

Everyone fought, there were shock deaths, Superboy Prime dared someone's dare and Kid Flash and Superboy were brought back to life through unexplained time travel. Oh, and Superboy-Prime was revealed to be the calculating, intelligent and longtime Legion villain, the Time Trapper. Don't worry, no one else understood how that works and it's retconned away by the end of this anyways.

With that all said, let's dive right in to this issue.

"-- like make a Wildfire/Wildfart joke."

This issue continued with the fight in the Arctic between Superboy-Prime and the recently revived Superboy, along with some random canonfodder, like Yellow Eyebeamboy and Green Mouthwash Lad above. Prime had some of his trademark "wit" and some decent lines, like the following:

"See? That was way cooler."

Of note, Fire-in-a-Bottle Lad didn't die from that, despite nuking half the North Pole when his suit ruptured. A quick bandaid and it was all better. The fight sequences throughout most of the start of this issue were much like this with one shocking death or non-death after another, random Superboy-Prime one-liners and flip-flopping between Prime and his Time Trapper future self. If you like Perez's art, this is all done with the Secret Invasion widescreen, zoomed out macro view of the fights where we're given the odd zoom in to a random fight, but no real resolution or context for how the battle goes between the dozens of different characters.

"Mordru will not be confined to stupid speech bubbles!"

Which brings me to a major problem this issue, and series, has - the Legions, who make up the entire subtitle for the series, have no reason to be here other than to die or invoke nostolgia from longtime Legion fans (assuming they agree with how Johns props up his version of the team at the expense of the other incarnations).

Sure, the Legionnaires show up in almost every panel of the comic, but, outside of the odd Brainiac scene, they are completely inconsequential to the story or its outcome. Even the "epic" battle taking place away from the two Superboy-Primes gets resolved in a handful of panels (not pages, panels) with some random Legionnaire draining Mordru's power and then taking out half of the super villains, which we were told through narration and not even shown. Why even bother with the huge cast of characters and having Superboy-Prime recruit the villains if they serve no purpose and Prime is the only actual threat worth showing on screen?

"No one knows nor cares who any of these people are."

Just look at the above splashpage for an example of what I mean. These Multiverse helpers "beat up" Time Trapper Superboy Prime in the span of a few panels, yet the three other Legions have been getting their asses handed to them for five issues straight and barely do anything, but, aside from the above splashpage, most of them are never seen again. Only a few do anything to the Time Trapper and I can only assume the inclusion of them was some nod to fans of the Legion and served no actual story purpose that could not be accomplished with Superman or the million other Legionnaires.

"You are still that stupid."

The end to Superboy-Prime's threat is, of course, due to his own stupidity. After temporarily disabling the Time Trapper version, Brainiac has the Legion teleport him to the location of the younger Superboy-Prime in the Arctic, which results in the above panel. This is funny in the Prime is a retarded manchild sort of way, but we are talking about the same Prime that just recently teamed up with and tolerated the being that destroyed his universe (Anti-Monitor) and space Hitler (Sinestro) to further his goals in the Sinestro Corps War without acting like this and it was written by Johns. Yet, here, he can't even go a panel without calling someone stupid or punching things to solve his problems. It's also the same Prime that, at the start of this series, formed his own team of super villains and was at least acting like he had two brain cells to rub together.

"This would have been a pretty cool ending..."

The meeting with his future self, as mentally stimulating as it was, ended with the younger Prime punching his older self, resulting in the above meta ending where Prime is literally erased from the page of the comic, which I thought was a great and fitting end to a character that had been, up until now, the representation of the common overzealous internet fanboy. Sadly, this isn't quite the end, which I'll get to in a moment.

"Oh, uh, Conner, um, no one's mentioned anything about cults or anything to you have they?"

Conner's back and he's Chinese! Wait, no, just rushed art. Actually, what I wanted to ask is if we'll ever see any kind of mention of Cassie's pyscho dead boyfriend cult running days from 52. I'm pretty sure the minute Conner goes online, he's going to find out about it and that is going to be one awkward conversation with Wonder Girl...

"Ma!!! Get me my grilled sammiches!!!"

Getting back to Superboy-Prime, Geoff Johns pulls his best (or worst, depending on your viewpoint) impression of Grant Morrison by imitating an Animal Man issue with a fourth wall breaking conclusion to Superboy-Prime's story. No, this isn't some fan made conclusion you see above. This was actually published in a comic. There's more, but, first, a brief intermission.

"This scene has nothing to do with this comic or review. I just find it funny seeing Starman buying McDonalds."

This is the only panel Starman appears in. He bought some fast food. Mmm, orange drink. Now, back to the Prime discussion!

"Your troll-fu is weak Superboy-Prime! You need to work on that two-finger typing if you want to contend with Sephiroth1337_xXx."

Oh, yes, Superboy-Prime, the comic book representation of internet fandom, is back on the new Earth-Prime and is living in his parents' basement, collecting comic books and posting on the DCU messageboards. And, yes, the thread he's posting in is real. You can view it in all its glory here.

I'm not sure what to think of all this. It's either the greatest thing ever in an insane, Frank Miller All Star Batman sort of way with the perfect put down to comic fans everywhere from subtle-as-a-bag-of-hammers Geoff Johns or it's the worst ending to a book I've ever read and something I can't believe saw print. I read it one time and I laugh and shake my head, unable to comprehend the enormity of what I just bought and read while another time I'm hollaring to my mother to make me a grilled cheese sandwich before I start writing a snarky review (ohhh, I'm getting meta here, must think of ways to insult my readers before continuing, will include random Legion jokes for images and not properly name characters before posting).

However, indecision over whether to like or hate this ending aside, I really, really, can't see how this was green lit from the start as the actual conclusion to any comic, Geoff Johns writing it or not. You can't just write a comic, have it delayed as much as this was and featuring an obvious, but humourous, jab at the people buying the comic and then go beyond all references to pure mockery of said fans. While I'm not going to lose sleep over this outright insult to fans and critics alike, I've lost a bit of respect for Johns, as a writer, for doing something as shallow as this. The ending, whether you enjoyed it or not, is Johns's interpretation of you, the fan, reading the comic and had no bearing on the actual Legion of 3 Worlds story or miniseries. The only conclusion I can come to, as Prime was written out of the story prior to it, is that it is there for no other purpose than a blatant last attempt at driving home his contempt for whomever was reading the issue at the time.

Verdict - Avoid It. Whether Johns actually meant the Superboy-Prime conclusion to come off this way or not, this is about the least professional thing I've ever seen and I honestly thought I was being pranked by some fake copy my LCS spliced together before finally letting it sink in that I just spent more than $20 and about a year's worth of time on a series only to be treated as the butt of a joke by the writer and DC. This isn't a "I'm never buying DC or Geoff Johns comics again!", but there's a definite lack of respect for both after reading this and I can't, in good faith, recommend something like that to anyone.

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Eric Rupe said...

I love the ending. I think it is one logical conclusion to Prime's story. Remove the metaphor and just make him a stereotypical fanboy. And Prime doesn't represent all comic book readers by any means, just the stereotypical angry fanboy for who DC, or Marvel, could never please since "their" comics are always the "best" and the only "enjoyment" they get out of their comics is apparently bitter resentment.

Andrenn said...

This certainly sounds like a mediocre and dumb read. the final moments have me shaking my head at the idea that this somehow made it past the editors. then again it's DC, their editing staff...then again it's DC.

I can't see why anyone would really like this, it seems like a dumb waste of paper to me. Only cementing Superboy-prime as one of the worst villains ever.

Kevin said...

Kirk you were right man those pages were funny in a sad way. Is there any mention to Braniac 5 showing Superman that Miracle Machine, or whatever it was called, that Superman used to get back in Final Crisis #6?

Also with Connor back I wonder who will tell Connor first that Tim and Cassie kissed and went out for a short time while he was "dead": Tim, Cassie, or someone else.

btownlegend said...

Where in 3 worlds does this make sense? This was a Legion comic once...

Kirk Warren said...

@Kevin - There is no mention of the Miracle Machine. It's just Time Trapper/Prime being erased, the showing off of Conner and Bart to the Titans in the present and back to Prime ending. I was kind of surprised, with how much time they had to just add in an ending to sync it up, that they didn't, but lost track of mentioning it with how this actually ended.

Daringd said...

I only liked the first issue. My shop didn't get any copies of Legion in this week. I might just pass on it when they have it next week.

Jeff said...

I'm going to echo the sentiment that this was the perfect ending for Prime, both in-character and from the meta perspective that he's been given. Prime's motivation for much of Infinite Crisis and beyond has been to get his earth back.

Sebastian said...

Pissing in the wind here, guys, but I loved it. I even laughed at the Prime ending, which to me was obviously a joke. Sure, I had no idea who most of the filler background kids were and yes the book took forever to come out, but the hooks were all batsh*t insane and enough to keep me waiting almost a year. I'd hate it, love it, hate, and then another issue came out and the cycle would start, weeks (or months) of contention and questions and struggling to pin down the ending. To me, this was a huge inside joke, referencing practically everything Johns has written. I loved picking apart those tiny hints and teases scattered about the series. Of course, the book was just one big continuity sweep, but I love Johns-continuity. Even with all the retcons, it came off as a huge Thank You to everybody following Johns' work. He seemed to have fun with it, peppering it with continuity nods and gags. It wasn't a very serious, or mature, book but I had a blast reading it. Any book that I had that much fun with deserves a Must Read from me.

Still, trying not to think about how Kon-El and Bart fit into Final Crisis continuity. This book's strucutre is headache enough. :P

continuityblog said...

Whoa you are way overreacting. Superboy-Prime represents the angry bitter comic book fan, not all comic book fans. I thought the ending was hilarious. This was a fun read!

Simon DelMonte said...

I really don't know what to make of the Superboy Prime stuff, but I loved the rest of it and thought it was a great Legion story. While at some level I don't like that the old old Legion has supplanted the newer versions, I find that I am in love with the Legion again. Johns does a good job with them, in all their incarnations. And I found that despite the usual levels of violence, there is an optimism to the tale that is often missing from DC's books these days.

Anonymous said...

I kinda like the ending. I didn't get that Prime is representing all of fandom in the last panels, just the whiny little b!tches that complain on message boards all the time. Who likes those guys anyway? They degrade us all.

(I'm not saying everyone who posts online is whiny b!itch, but let's be honest, there are more than a few.)

TomO. said...

The ending was pitch perfect and the only logical conclusion for the fate of Superboy-Prime.

I loved it!

barryreese said...

I thought it was a very fitting ending -- the series had a paper-thin plot and oddly managed to feel both rushed and stretched-out at the same time... but the ending was a perfect conclusion for Prime.

kwaku said...

I think the ending and Prime represent a very specific minority of fanatics. Anyone who has spent any amount of time on the Newsarama can guess the type of fans I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

loved the ending. really did.

Michael Edwards said...

This sounds like absolute garbage. Why does Johns even bother? He's not Quentin Tarantino. He's not funny. He's sad really.

Anonymous said...

Johns' on the ending

Anonymous said...

he essentially said that this isn't meant to be any sort of blanket fanboy put down or anything. simply Prime now in his own personal hell, powerless and unable to get back to the DCU, resorting to just posting on the internet

Anonymous said...

Honestly. I loved it.

I thought it was a perfect ending. Very apt and fitting for PRIME.

Not to mention the huge fight they had before his final fate is revealed. Lots of awesome moments and splash pages. This was the anti-final crisis in my opinion. The fights were savage. they was epic and they has a decent resolution.

I like to think in this day and age a comic book can still surprize me. In a good way as well.

This ending was very left field. Sure johns was not the first to do this type of meta commentary but he done a smack bang job of it. I love the critique on all the fanboys on the DC message boards.

Those guys can be pretty negative sometimes. to the point where creators don;'t want to talk with them.

Liked the DC editor Adam shalgman cameo serving STARMAN his food. Props to johns for giving that editor his due. As I belive adam has been doing some good work at dc these days.

And Starman's new mission. I seen a clue in that txt. Interesting.

And the white witch as the black witch now?! There is a plot point that johns will pick up in adventure soon.

I am not a legion buff by any means but all the cameos where pretty cool. I will have to re read this story a few more times before I can name and identify everybody. I like that little creature guy who wants to be mates with XS at the end.

And Kal el bringing Kon el and bart back to the titans together to meet their loving buddies. I loved the expression on their faces. Very emotional and well drawn.

Kudos to perez and johns for this epic, grand magnificient storyline. This story has left me with a feeling of wanting more more more more and a little bit more.


GregVersion2 said...

Personally I thought Prime's end should have just been that last panel of him literally being erased from a comic, but I guess it is fitting to trap him in the "real world".

But as far as any of the fights go, they pretty much defined the term cluster****. A bunch of people on each side get taken down by one or two hits. Not that I'm saying people like Timberwolf should be standing up to SMP or Mordu, but why bring in all these characters if about 98% of them are just pure cannon fodder?

cheetahmaster said...

Wow, now I know to avoid this in the trade. If I got through all five issues and had that insult as an ending, I'd want my money back.

ADC said...

Perfect ending for Prime.
The punismente did fit the crime.

Sebastian said...



EDP said...

Prime's end made me laugh out loud, even though it's totally messed up.

Kelson said...

I don't see that the miracle machine needed to be mentioned here in order to sync things up. It has no bearing on this story, after all.

Other than that, though...this series didn't really do much for me. Except for a couple pages of Bart Allen being back, and knowing that XS has survived the re-re-reboot of the LSH.

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