writer/pencils: John Byrne
inks: Karl Kesel
colors: Tom Ziuko
letters: John Costanza
editors: Michael Carlin & Andrew Helfer
dedicated to the memory of Edmund Hamilton
A pretty fun issue in which Byrne seems intent on accomplishing three things:
1. Giving new readers an introduction to the classic Legion
2. Clearing up some mysteries about how the Crisis has impacted post-Crisis continuity
3. Establishing interest in Cosmic Boy and the Legion in the post-Crisis continuity
Most importantly, with so much information to cover in 21 pages, we get a nice break from D-list villains, Superman being an idiot, getting his butt kicked, and/or getting uncomfortably interested in other women, and just about everything else Byrne usually does wrong. Even without having read Cosmic Boy, the Legion story this continues from, nor really ANY Legion story after Jim Shooter's time, this was a fun story that was pretty easy to follow, and it left us with questions that truly make me want to read the next Superman installment.
- This story continues in this month's Action Comics, but skips over this month's Adventures of Superman issue. Wolfman and Byrne really are working totally independent of each other at this point, aren't they? Feels a bit like mom and dad sleeping in separate beds. Anyone know if there was a story behind this? I can infer from all that we've seen that Byrne had near total control of the franchise (including its handling of Luther and Lois, neither of which are ever featured in Wolfman's stories even though Wolfman was responsible for the post-Crisis Luther's characterization), and that there is tension or at least an "agree to disagree" energy between the two, causing them to work entirely independently whereas they initially seemed to be collaborating extensively.
- Superman doesn't get hungry.
- Superman's super hearing extends at least to the size of Smallville, as he's able to hear something (though we're not quite sure what he heard the Legion doing) all the way "on the other side of Smallville."
- Confirmed that the Superman of this universe is de-powered when compared to the Pre-Crisis Earth One version. Thus, Superboy is much stronger than him.
- Confirmed that Ma and Pa Kent were significantly older in Pre-Crisis Earth One.
- Confirmed that Superman recalls the Crisis, the red skies, and meeting Superboy Prime. Of course, this still poses the problem that he didn't appear to remember being friends with Wonder Woman in the numerous instances in which he thought about her in previous issues.
- As if Byrne didn't have Clark chasing enough tail and being enough of an idiot, this issue opens with him positively teasing Lana Lang, doing gruntwork for her with his shirt off (actually clutching a giant tree trunk between his legs in that opening panel) when he should know how lovesick she is for him after Man of Steel #6. And let's be clear -- Clark has no reason to take his shirt off. Pulling a tree out of the ground shouldn't take much effort for him.
- Clark claims his glasses are a hand-me-down from Pa Kent, and implies he's been wearing the same pair all along, but we've seen him lose his glasses or get them destroyed at least twice already (most recently in Superman #5). And, if the glasses he's wearing are someone's prescription glasses, wouldn't he have to change the lenses, or is he just constantly using his X-Ray vision through the prescription lenses? Once again, Byrne tries to explain an aspect of Superman and just makes it more complicated.
- It's a little disturbing when Byrne has Superman refer to the Invisible Kid as "The black kid." Yikes.
Plot synopsis in one ridiculously long sentence:
Clark is in Smallvile, helping Lana fix up her house and picnicking with his parents when the Earth One Legion of Superheroes show up in Smallville, Superman loses control over his heat vision and accidentally fires on them, they fight back, they ultimately decide they are on the same side, the Legion explains who they are and that they are from a different reality with a different Superman/boy, we get a recap of how Superboy met the Legion, as well as a brief recap of what's been happening in the Cosmic Boy and Legion titles, both Superman and the Legion appear to recall elements of the Crisis, and Superboy shows up, explaining that he must reluctantly kill the Legion members.