09 July 2019

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Volume 10 by Cary Bates, Dave Cockrum, et al.

Comic hardcover, 230 pages
Published 2000 (contents: 1971-74)
Acquired December 2015
Read February 2019
Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Volume 10

Writers: E. Nelson Bridwell, Cary Bates
Pencillers: Ross Andru, George Tuska, Dave Cockrum
Inkers: Mike Esposito, George Tuska, Vincent Colletta, Murphy Anderson, Dave Cockrum, Mike Grell
Letterers: Joe Letterese, Ben Oda

In my jumping back and forth across the history of the original Legion, I now come to this, one of its periods of revitalization and rebirth. It sets the stage for volume 11-13, which I've already read, and found enjoyable, if inconsistent. They were clearly trying to hook in some new readers, because the volume opens with stylish new costumes being floated, as well as a map of Legion HQ and a brief recap of the origins of the Legion.

I just love the 1960s-college-girl vibe of Saturn Girl's second outfit here.
from Adventure Comics vol. 1 #403 (script by E. Nelson Bridwell, art by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito)

The new costumes are mostly fun. Sent in by fans, some would end up actually being used in the stories, like Duo Damsel's. Actually, there's one story (see below) where all the characters are in their new clothes, but these don't last-- most revert to their old outfits or get new new ones when Dave Cockrum takes over as regular artist. Others I wish had been used; Saturn Girl's winter outfit is a delightful alternative to her usual one-piece swimsuit, and I dig Shrinking Violet's very 1960s one. (Cockrum also debuts the new, Star Trek-influenced design for the Legion cruiser that would stick for the rest of the classic Legion's run.)

These are both pretty bad. The point where Projectra's top cuts off is awkward looking, and is Shadow Lass's even a costume? Plus gratuitous upskirt, way to go guys.
from Superboy vol. 1 #183 (script by Cary Bates, art by George Tuska & Vincent Colletta)

Most of the rest of the stories here are pretty generic Legion pablum. You've read worse (they've gotten out of their be-assholes-to-each-other-for-no-reason-other-than-to-drive-the-story-forwards phase), but you've also read better (Cary Bates writes most of them, and I don't think he was as interested in delving into the mythology as Jim Shooter was or Paul Levitz would, though he does use a pleasing amount of old villains instead of coming up with new, forgettable ones like many Legion writers).

This shows off what became Projectra's permanent outfit. Its cohesion always seemed a little... improbable to me, especially in battle, but I guess her power is illusion-casting.
from Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #199 (script by Cary Bates, art by Dave Cockrum)

Next Week: Back to Doctor Who-- the Doctor tries to get in touch with his Human Nature!

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