DC’s Legion of Superheroes #6 continues to be a fun, unique take on the 31st-century superhero team! Writer Brian Michael Bendis, Penciler Ryan Sook, Inker Wade von Grawbadger, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, and Letterer Dave Sharpe all contribute to what is, overall, a beautiful sci-fi adventure that is full of heart.
Even as he introduced a number of revelations about the history of the DC universe and its timeline in the previous issue as well as Jon Kent’s importance for the 31 century, Bendis ups the ante again, this issue ties off Jon Kent’s orientation into the Legion of Superheroes, introduces the Gold Lantern, and finishes out the Aquaman trident arc, bringing it to a hopeful conclusion, all while setting up future conflicts. Bendis does, however, leave some things unanswered, like why President Brande tried to confine the Legion to their headquarters. Bendis has been accused of being dialogue-heavy in the past, and while there is plenty of dialogue, it is well-balanced by the action in this issue.
Sook continues to impress in this series, along with Grawbadger. Legion of Superheroes, probably more than any other version of the characters in DC’s history, portrays a very future-looking world (beyond the only difference being the use of flying cars). Sook’s 31st century truly convinces me that if the Earth survives for another thousand years, it could really end up looking like this. It is beautiful. It is unique. And it is extremely alien to someone from the 21st century. It would be easy to allow the diversity of alien life to becomes a blurry background piece to the story, but Sook makes the diversity of the future really pop on the page.
Adding to the look of this fantastic future, Bellaire’s colors can only be described as “kaleidoscopically beautiful.” Exhibit A:
There is a lot happening on this page. Aside from the dialogue boxes surrounding the central image, the portrayal of Gold Lantern’s energy pushing back against the water from Aquaman’s Trident complete with explosions and the powers of other Legionnaires on display is a daunting task, but Bellaire is able to make all the colors pop while maintaining the uniqueness of each Legionnaire’s display of power.
In a book with this many characters and this much action going on (and Bendis’s dialogue-heavy writing), it would be easy to lose track of who is talking. Thankfully, Sharpe does a decent job of keeping all of the voices distinct. Nowhere is this more clear than the spread on pages 2-3:
Not only are characters like Monster Boy and White Witch given unique lettering, but Brainiac 5’s evacuation message is shown in three distinct languages, each given its own unique lettering and shading to set it apart from the others.
There was one confusing moment for me. It was a little hard for me to follow the dialogue direction on the final splash page, which ends on the last page with the word “hope.” I’m a little unclear which part of the preceding dialogue anticipates “hope.” A few extra indicator words in the dialogue might’ve helped to make the direction the dialogue was supposed to be moving more clear.
There’s a lot happening in this book. Bendis has seemingly brought certain threads to a close while planting a lot of seeds for the future. Legion of Superheroes continues to be a fun title, and I can’t wait to see more of this new 31st century!