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Thursday, September 17, 2020 

Nation Valley News fawns over Bendis' Legion destruction

Nation Valley News has quite a propaganda piece fluff-coating the hack job Brian Bendis did on the Legion of Super-Heroes, as though it weren't bad enough he was handed the keys to the Superman franchise, which decidedly set it on a recent path to ruin:
The first thing that should be said in a review of The Legion of Super-Heroes #6 by DC Comics is that the concept of the Legion of Super-Heroes should be as popular as Harry Potter, the X-Men or the Guardians of the Galaxy. How could the idea of a team of teen-aged super-heroes recruited from across the galaxy a thousand years from now even miss? It has the school-like cameraderie and rivalry of Hogwarts, it has the super-team-as-substitute-family theme of the X-Men, and its cosmic scope is easily a match for the rag-tag space opera of the Guardians of the Galaxy. But somehow pop culture super-stardom has evaded the Legion. That may be about to change with the re-boot of the concept headed by highly-acclaimed writer Brian Michael Bendis (think Jessica Jones) and stunning art talent Ryan Sook.
Has the columnist taken a closer look at sales receipts of late? Because, no matter how good they were at one time, even X-Men and GotG haven't been selling sky high for years, in any of their incarnations. The last time GotG was any good artistically was in its 1989-95 incarnation, originally developed by Jim Valentino, and he ideally gave it a more optimistic viewpoint, something missing in much of today's Batman-influenced writing and marketing. Whatever Bendis has been producing of recent in LoSH, it's been influenced by "wokeness" and Sook's art doesn't look very inspiring either.
A concept that can generate that kind of passion in kids — and I’m sure our little Legion club on a dead-end street in suburban Montreal was only one of many across North America — can’t be allowed to slip away; there must be a way to bring that passion across to the current generation. Clearly, Brian Michael Bendis feels the same way…and The Legion of Super-Heroes #6 is evidence of that. This is a great marriage of writing and art, like comics should be. Here Bendis has re-vamped a concept that should have been doomed to pop culture mega-stardom yet somehow, until today has not attained that status. Ryan Sook — and his able inker Wade von Grawbadger — is doing beautiful things with comic art that looks like a cross between a Madman underground aesthetic and Jim Steranko boldness.
As expected, no acknowledgement of Bendis' awful dialogue, or the mediocre-looking art, or the race-swapping that took place for social justice's sake. Not even any comment made on the execrable writing Bendis did in the past when he was helming Avengers at Marvel. And the artwork, I'm afraid, pales beside Steranko's past resume, because it's more muted, if you take the picture with Saturn Girl as an example.

As if that weren't bad enough, this column even emphasizes the forced propaganda narrative the Legion cannot survive without Superboy, and look which characters Bendis even made use of here:
The Legion concept this time around is anchored in the time period between that late 20th century and early 21st century — which might seem odd for a series set 1000 years from now in the 31st century. While the Legion had hit highpoints and milestones in the past, in the most recent years the Legion had seemed to finally succumb to its isolation from the rest of the DC universe. While time travel was firmly tied to the Legion from the first moment that Superboy encountered them in 1958, it became a necessary aspect of the series as Superboy carried the title Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Legion’s outgrowing of Superboy in the 80s and getting their own title was, on the one hand, inevitable, and on the other also a long slide into isolation from the bulk of the DC universe. While time travel stories were certainly not in short supply, the constant revisiting of the late 20th century and-or its characters just stretched the line of plausibility that a Legion fan could still believe. And in doing so, the Legion was doomed to asphyxiation.

One of the first decisions Bendis made had to do with Superboy. Despite the stigma of the Legion leaning crutch-like on Superboy, the truth is, there is no Legion without Superboy. It was with Superboy that the Legion started and it is only right that Superboy be here in this re-boot. While Bendis does employ Superboy, it is not the original Clark Kent as a teenager, but in this re-booted context Superboy is Jonathan Kent, son of Clark and Lois Lane. As with the early Legions, Bendis focusses the narrative around Superboy and we are introduced to the new Legion through his eyes. Bendis nicely captures the almost child-like wonder of a being as powerful as Superboy discovering life a thousand years in the future. Bendis perfectly portrays that combination of innocence and excitement throughout the 6 issues of the Legion that have appeared so far (and the two-issue introduction in the Millenium mini-series); that is particularly evident in issue #3 when an exuberant Superboy goes back to his time to bring his pal Robin (Damian Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne) back into the future with him. The logic, and youthful camaraderie of that move shows Bendis really capturing the personality of the series lead, Superboy. This is further in evidenced when Bendis makes sure to bring back the Mon-El – Superboy rivalry, and uses it to dramatic effect in issue #6’s dramatic climax.
Yeah, I get it. Without Superboy, the Legion is virtually impossible. Tell us another riddle, please. This kind of PC narrative has gotten old long ago, and is about as effective as claiming only one single actor could ever possible play James Bond, even though there've been several actors over the years to play Ian Fleming's famous British spy, with Sean Connery and Roger Moore proving equally successful with the material they were given. And now Bendis is making use of two protagonists whose creation was most mediocre to begin with, to serve as stars in the show, and apparently to make room in the present era of the DCU, so they won't have to make use of Connor Kent or Kara Zor-El traveling into a future era to team with the Legion. But it gets worse when you discover there's political metaphors in this:
Famed literary critic Fredric Jameson would look at Bendis’ choice to make Ultra Boy the carrier of the major plotline as a reflection of, and commentary on, the current violent political divide in the U.S. — which, in many real ways, threatens civil war. As the native of a planet in a perpetual state of civil war, Jo Nah of Rimbor (Ultra Boy) attempts to secure Aquaman’s trident and keep it out of his father’s (Krav the General Nah) hands. We see this conflict take centre-stage in the series so far: Ultra Boy’s perspective is to be ashamed of his heritage and his father, for Ultra Boy is a proponent of unity on Rimbor and not his father’s faction. With Ultra Boy’s arrest of his father in Legion #5 (with Legionnaire Mon-El unexpectedly made ruler of Rimbor for having delivered the blow that finally felled Krah the General Nah) the reader may have felt that that conflict had ended, but Ultra Boy’s father’s final words in the last panel of this issue promise even more war.
One no sane person should want to be part of, when a terrible dud of a writer like Bendis is at the helm.
Bendis has constructed a great introduction to the new Legion through Superboy’s eyes, with a plotline that resonates with our current realities and that successfully integrates all the tropes we expect with the Legion — the naming of characters, the mass battle scenes, and the focus on core groups of the team, especially on the trio of Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy, the original members of the Legion in that fateful 1958 Superboy tale.
Bendis' writing doesn't join with "realities" so much as it does join with sleaze and incredibly juvenile, unintelligent dialogue. And here's where the column begins to slide into political correctness on issues of sex, and body "positivity":
The attention to detail in the seris is an expression of that labour of love, and it is evident in the over-all design concept. After the original dowdy costumes from the late ‘50s were re-designed in the early ‘70s by Mike Grell to reflect those heady days — we see our current times reflected in the visual conception of this revamped Legion. The sexual revolution of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s was reflected in Grell’s designs: they were definitely cool, even if some didn’t seem like they would work anatomically on the girls. Similarly to how Grell expressed the sexual liberation of his time, Sook has emphasized the sexual diversity of our current day, and its positive valuing of all body images, by putting his Saturn Girl back into a full body costume reminiscent of her original one from the late ‘50s and making a point of having her be less buxom than her ‘70s version. Saturn Girl’s costume is just one example from a legion of costumes redesigned by Ryan Sook, there are other examples in the over-all design concept that reveal the labour of love behind this new Legion. [...]
Well if that isn't some of the most atrociously subtle excuses for sexism I've ever read! Notice there's no mention of Cosmic Boy wearing a costume during the Bronze Age that looked like a strapless bustier worn by women? I suppose that, by contrast, does work anatomically on men by contrast? Couple all that with the hints at glorifying obesity, and you have quite an insultingly Orwellian "opinion" in the works. Obviously, somebody doesn't think even Wonder Woman should be a sex symbol, seeing how he doesn't think Saturn Girl could make one for a future-era comic. And the paper's columnist doesn't stop there:
...Gorgeous work — but Sook out-does himself on the very next page with a double-page splash featuring the original four Legionnaires (counting Superboy) but particularly Saturn Girl. Her pose is like a dance move: the over-the-head confident motion of her arms give the effect of Sook adding a triumphant climax after so many scintillating pages in a row.
I posted a picture of the scene he describes above, and it looks very poor. Even if this was the fallout of editorial mandate, Sook's lost my respect over this. Unless maybe he makes a departure from DC in its current form, and takes up more of a career in independents like say, Stjepan Sejic, who left DC's employ recently, and IMO, wisely.

This is one of the most insulting fake fan articles I've ever seen, disrespectful to past generations, not to mention the very concepts of escapism and surrealism, written by somebody who decidedly either rejected the best of his childhood, or was never a fan of LoSH to begin with. I certainly don't believe he's a Saturn Girl fan, let alone a Princess Projectra fan, or a Dawnstar fan.

And since the Man of Steel came up, Games Radar/Newsarama just noted the end of Bendis' run has come about, and he made the following statement:
Responding on Twitter to a fan who asked what he's "picking up" now that his runs on Action and Superman conclude in December, the DC-exclusive creator responded, "Something big enough to get me to clear the deck. It's all super exciting but it's months away and we'll talk about it all when the world isn't literally on fire (I'm in portland)."
Very interesting. Does he recognize all the horrors taking place in Portland are the result of liberal policies taken to extremes, to say nothing of mayor Ted Wheeler's refusal to take a firm stance against the Antifa/BLM rioters? Oh, who knows what Bendis thinks. For now, he's leaving a comic franchise he never deserved to helm, one which he singlehandedly devastated within the past 2 years, and the worst part is that it's unlikely to improve no matter who gets to helm it next. On which note, it's been revealed Mark Waid's going to return to DC and possibly take up writing Superman for real, and maybe even return to the Flash. But with the way he's deteriorated over the past several years in terms of reputation, to say nothing of injecting more blatant politics into his writings, that's why this could turn into a serious embarrassment, and it would make little difference whether he brought Wally West and Linda Park back into the Flash spotlight; that too could be accompanied by politics far more shameless than anything seen in the 90s, which would ruin everything.

Political correctness has ruined the Man of Steel, and the Legion as well. If DC's lurching towards social justice politics and has no intention of changing that, then nothing will change for the above franchises either. One more reason why their closure as a publisher can't come soon enough.

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"Sook has emphasized the sexual diversity of our current day, and its positive valuing of all body images, by putting his Saturn Girl back into a full body costume reminiscent of her original one from the late ‘50s and making a point of having her be less buxom than her ‘70s version."

Saturn Girl was put back into a full body costume back in the 1980s, under Keith Giffen.

"Couple all that with the hints at glorifying obesity, and you have quite an insultingly Orwellian "opinion" in the works."

How does making someone less buxom add up to glorifying obesity?

And how does thinking Superboy needs to be part of the Legion constitute a PC narrative? Why do you call this a "forced propaganda narrative" when all it is is someone who doesn't agree with your opinions?

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