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Zero Hour Revisited – Legion of Super-Heroes #61

90srevisited_zerohour

legionof_superheroes_0061End of an Era Finale: Borrowed Time!

By: Waid, McCraw, Immonen, Boyd, Pinaha, McAvennie, Carlson
Special Thanks to: Kurt Busiek
Dedicated with Respect and Admiration to: Binder, Siegel, Shooter, Levitz, Giffen and The Bierbaums
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.95

OK…now THAT is the sort of thing I was expecting!

This issue sees the remaining LoSH members and Legionnaires united, and learn the truth of the Time-Trapper. It’s not just their "now" and such being threatened by the time issues…it’s all of Time itself! And it’s revealed that there’s nothing that can be done here/now to STOP entropy from engulfing everything…but for there to be ANY chance of Time being put right, a duality, the existence of both the older and younger Legion folks–must be resolved. This is by having the young doppelgangers "merged" with their older, original selves…even as the older selves are also about to fade out. And so it ends…lives given, a heroic sacrifice, for even the CHANCE of an eventual positive outcome.

The story is rightly called End of an Era, and this felt enormous.

Unlike the other Legion tie-ins to Zero Hour that were also chapters of End of an Era–this one I felt the enormity, the significance, that sense of this being a pivotal moment–not just for what it has to do with Zero Hour (not much, directly) but also for what it is to the history of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Legion is a definite blind-spot for me…but I’ve often been "aware of" their presence with occasional interactions with other stuff I’m reading. And I know there have been a number of "reboots" and such, just as I recall the "5 Years Later" and the younger Legionnaires…because even though I didn’t follow the series, I DO recall getting that first issue–Legionnaires #1–because hey, it was the ’90s, it was polybagged with a card, and most importantly–it was a #1 (then still a rare thing compared to modern comics).

I actually enjoyed this issue. I don’t know all the names–but most were "familiar," both in general and from earlier chapters read recently. And I recognize Thom as a character who was involved in JSA stuff during Geoff Johns‘ run–at least around the time of Thy Kingdom Come, a few years back. Though this was read in a vacuum (if somewhat LESS of a vacuum for reading the Legionnaires and Valor chapters already, plus stuff in Zero Hour itself), it was enjoyable and worth reading. I’m genuinely interested in at least "looking into" more Legion stuff (if only via Wikipedia), and curious about how long both this version of the Legion title and Legionnaires actually ran…but not quite enough to look it up while typing.

I’m a bit mixed in feelings on the visuals…I’m not entirely thrilled with them, but the art worked well here. Particularly seeing Immonen‘s name, I feel like I should enjoy the art, and there’s that part of me that wants to say something proactively positive about it, but flipping back through the issue, I’m not really struck by anything overly stand-out about it. It is not bad, but it’s–as with most comics–not one that blows me away with some sense of singular awesomeness. The story is definitely gotten across, and here perhaps more than on other related issues, the fade-to-white is extremely effective both visually and in serving the LoSH story while also tying it concretely to Zero Hour.

Though this does not directly move the plot of Zero Hour forward, it is certainly a worthy tie-in, and one of (continually, surprisingly) few to carry the crossover banner that seems to have been justified in doing so.

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time [Review]

jlaadventurestrappedintimedvd_0129While I’m not thrilled at the idea of the “classic” (for me, this means 1986-2011) DC stories being scrapped in favor of New-52-centric stories being adapted for DC‘s line of direct-to-home-media release, I’ve been looking forward to Justice League: War for awhile, if only just to see how they adapt the story to the screen, given it seemed like basically a lengthy fight scene to me when I read it.

There was no Fall 2013 new release (instead, we got a “special edition” that combined Dark Knight Returns parts 1 & 2 into a single feature)…so I’ve been looking forward to the next NEW film for quite awhile.

Imagine, then, my surprise when I came across JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time while browsing a Target Sunday evening. At first I mistook it for another Superfriends release, yet it had the “classic” JLA logo I’m familiar with from the ’90s/early-2000s, so it got my curiosity up. Target‘s had that “exclusive” line of DC figures under the Justice League branding; so I may have partially wondered if this was a new line of “re-presenting” Superfriends episodes through Target.

But according to the box, it was an original animated movie, albeit Target-exclusive. I wrestled with leaving it–after all, I’d NOT been looking forward to THIS one, and I’ve never been a fan of the Superfriends stuff, so I put it back. Then I picked it up again. And ultimately bought it along with my groceries and such.

In broad strokes, this reminded me of those mini comics that came in boxes of cereal several years back…fun enough, familiar-looking characters, passable stuff that’s fun as something different, but by no means anything special.

I liked the animation well enough…it wasn’t anything phenomenal, but it wasn’t terrible. My primary “issue” with the animation has to do with the character designs themselves–what fault I may have found with the animation probably comes more from this aspect.

The costumes are a blend of preNew 52 and current…Superman’s lacks the ugly collar-and-armor look BUT has the red belt in place of the trunks. Truthfully–I have no issue here as I don’t know if I would have noticed if I’d not been looking for it.

Bizarro and Cheetah looked “off” a bit, while Black Manta, Grodd, and others looked ok enough. Luthor looks like a sleeker, higher quality rendition of something pre-1986 to me, or at least what I unconsciously associate with that earlier period.

Story-wise, this is fairly typical fare for superhero shenanigans. Heroes beat the villains, villains use time-travel to change a key moment in history and thus undo the heroes; “b-list” heroes not affected by the time change (um…wibbly-wobbly, time-wimey stuff) must emerge and put things right.

The use of the Time Trapper here is probably the most accessible version I’ve encountered of the character. Rather than being a known villain of the Legion of Super-Heroes or such, he’s just an entity released from an artifact in the LoS’ museum a la a genie from a bottle. Granted, this makes him/it more of a plot point than any sort of character with any depth, it works for the story. I’m sure my own lack of experience with the Legion–they’re a definite blind spot in my experiential DC knowledge–lends itself to my ready acceptance of this interpretation of the character, where those far more familiar with Legion stuff may well take issue with it.

I didn’t recognize any of the voice actors offhand…but this honestly doesn’t bother me at all. Perhaps largely for not even expecting this movie and having no vested interest in its particular version of the characters (it’s not based on/adapting anything I’m familiar with specifically nor is it a continuation of the ’90s Batman, Superman, or Justice League/Justice League Unlimited animated series or previous direct-to-home-media film).

Since I’m not expecting the “traditional” voice actors for Superman, Batman, or Luthor and had no expectations for any of the other characters, I took stuff at “face value,” wherein all voices fit if only for the fact that none of them particularly DIDN’T fit; no one “sounded weird” to me or had odd voices coming from an otherwise familiar appearance.

In the end, this is–to me–a rather mediocre thing, though. It’s not bad, but it’s not wonderful. Ultimately it’s rather forgettable. JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time is enjoyable in the moment, having watched it…but on the whole it doesn’t strike me as anything worth rushing out to buy. A rental would be an adequate way of scratching any “curiosity itch” one has regarding this for now.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5
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