This Legion's Not Lost, But It Tells You to Get Lost
Apparently not caring that there is a big relaunch going on, Paul Levitz continues his Legion of Super-Heroes run with no acknowledgement of the purpose of these new #1s. It's good news for regular readers, but for anyone else, you are apparently not invited to join in.
Why exactly does the Legion of Super-Heroes get to escape the revamp? I can understand DC being reluctant to leave Green Lantern and Batman untouched, but the Legion? It was only a modest success for DC in the months leading up to this. It sold well enough to sustain itself, but that was about it. That is far from justifying the hands-off approach it has gotten here, making it this weird anomaly like Hawk & Dove.
This really does read nothing like a first issue. There are so many references to the previous run that they are hard to keep track of, much less actually understand. Mon-El is still leader of the team and was a Green Lantern just a little while ago. Earth Man has died. The team just finished some big conflict with Saturn Queen. Cadets from the Legion's academy have graduated. And there are even references to whatever has gone on over in Legion Lost. Are new readers seriously expected to follow along with all this? I barely did, and that is thanks to the fact that I happened to read a few issues of the previous series.
Not being a regular reader, it is hard for me to judge how well this book's plot and characters hold up. The story focuses mainly on an espionage mission to investigate what is happening at a station near the edge of Dominator space. It's handled in a weird way, though. Two members of the team purposely get themselves arrested so that they can be brought in to the base. Why? I have no idea. Usually, a ploy like that would be to get someone on the inside. But the rest of the team easily infiltrates the place while the other's wait to be noticed and arrested. Their whole plan seems like it accomplishes nothing.
Besides Mon-El and Brainiac 5, you aren't really given a good feel for any of the characters featured in this issue. There are no introductions to speak of besides the usual blurbs that denote power and planet of origin. It's almost impossible to get an idea of what the team dynamic as a whole is supposed to be since we mainly focus on just the few Legionnaires participating in the espionage mission. Seriously, this should not be anyone's first issue.
Legion of Super-Heroes likely holds up well for its existing readership but makes no attempt whatsoever to win anyone else over. It treats this more like #20 than #1 and doesn't even try to pretend otherwise. Given the timeline changes coming out of Flashpoint, you would think changes to the Legion of Super-Heroes' future was unavoidable. Apparently not, and there is really no good excuse for why not. DC must be banking on the idea that the existing fanbase will stick around indefinitely. They better be right, because this issue isn't going to get them many more fans.