Comic Book Review: Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds #1

The Revolution is hoping for the best but expecting the worst when it comes to Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1. I love the Legion more than any other comic book group from either Marvel or DC. And it has been tough to be a Legion fan as DC has proceeded to decimate the Legion’s continuity over and over again.

At this point, with Shooter delivering an entertaining read on the Legion of Super Heroes monthly title, I would much rather see DC just focus on the future with this Shooter’s current Legion rather than once again compulsively digging up the past. Nothing good can come from tearing open old wounds and digging up the graves of characters long since buried.

I loved the Levitz Legion prior to the original Crisis. But, those days are long gone. That Legion will never come back. And you can never go home again. DC can only further ruin my fond memories of the pre-Crisis Legion by this exercise of digging up the past.

The Legion is a prime example of DC’s need to simply focus on the present and try and deliver a healthy Legion for the future that will appeal to a new generation of Legion fans. Having said all that, hopefully, Johns will exceed my expectations with Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds.

I have a bad feeling that Johns is simply going to bring together the Pre-Crisis Legion, Post Zero Hour Legion and the current Legion just so he can have a large roster of character to slaughter off. And please believe that Johns is going to deliver a slaughter-fest with this title.

But, on the positive side we are going to get treated to plenty of gorgeous artwork from my all-time favorite artist: George Perez. The Legion plus George Perez is a winning combination for me no matter what Johns does with the story. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds #1.

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: George Perez
Inks: Scott Koblish

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin at the end of time with the Time Trapper ranting about how no matter what he does to the Legion that the Legion always somehow survives. That the Legion is like cockroaches. (Which, by the way, are the only things living at the end of time. So I guess the big bad villain in this story is the King of cockroaches. That certainly explains Time Trapper’s nasty attitude. Who would enjoy living in a place full of nothing but cockroaches?)

The Time Trapper rants that he tried taking Superman’s memory from the Legion but that it did not work to destroy the Legion. The Time Trapper then spies Superboy-Prime floating in the time stream. Time Trapper plucks Superboy-Prime out of the time stream and says that he will use Superboy-Prime to destroy the Legion.

We cut to the Time Trapper tossing Superboy-Prime to the Legion’s time period. We see an elderly couple in Smallville watching the news report about Earth-Man being sentenced to jail. Johns presents us with a Martha and Jonathan Kent couple who instead of loving extra-terrestrials, actually hate and despise them. (We saw them in the Action Comics story arc.) Their names are Jun and Mara. Jun goes on a xenophobic rant. (I see that Johns is going to continue to beat this xenophobic theme to death on this title as well. Meh, personally, I enjoyed the younger generation versus the older generation theme much more.)

Superboy-Prime crash lands at Mara and Jun’s farm. Jun grabs his gun to kill the “alien” like he has to every alien that has arrived at his farm. Jun is stunned when he sees Superboy-Prime standing in front of him. Jun calls him “Superboy.” Predictably Superboy-Prime kills both Mara and Jun. (Oh, the first of many deaths that we are going to get I can assure you of that.) Superboy-Prime then states that he is not Superboy. That he is Superman.

Superman-Prime then realizes he is in “the stupid future.” (Ah, you just can never get enough of that quality Superman-Prime dialogue, can you?”) Superman-Prime flies over to the huge Superman museum. (Mind you that Superman-Prime is wearing nothing but some torn shorts. He is practically naked and yet he attracts no attention at all.)

Superman-Prime enters the Superman museum and is disgusted that an entire museum has been created for “that lame Superman.” Superman-Prime then activates the museum tour guide which arrives in the form of a hologram of Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy shows Prime the various super hero forms that Jimmy assumed over the years. (Including Jimmy in his old Elastic Lad costume.)

Jimmy takes Prime on a tour of the museum. We see the Bottled City of Kandor and various other exhibits. Prime yells “Shut your hole, Olsen!” and punches Olsen. Of course, Jimmy is just a hologram so Prime’s fist passes harmlessly though it. (Ah, that Superman-Prime dialogue just keeps coming. And what a smart character, too!)

Jimmy then re-tells Superman’s origin. Jimmy talks about how Superman inspired the creation of the United Planets which was built upon Superman’s beliefs. (Really? Silly me. I always thought that the United Planets was inspired by the United Nations.) Jimmy then states that Superman also inspired the creation of the Legion of Super Heroes. We then see statutes of the aged Pre-Crisis Legion from the recent Action Comics story arc.

Jimmy then re-tells the origin of the Legion and how Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl all saved RJ Brande. And that Brande then formed the Legion of Super Heroes with his three saviors as the three original members. Jimmy mentions how Brande was one of the richest businessmen who even rivaled Leland McCauley whose corrupt business plans were later exposed by the Legion. (That was awkwardly shoe-horned into the Legion’s origin story which means McCauley must be making an appearance in this issue. That way new readers will not get confused when he does show up.)

Jimmy then states that Brande has disappeared as well as many of the Legionnaires in the wake of the recent wave of xenophobia that has run rampant across Earth. (Way to go Johns. Keep beating that horse until it turns into glue.)

Suddenly, Superman-Prime spies something with his x-ray vision and flies off to another part of the museum. We then see a guard in a room full of video screens spying Superman-Prime flying across the museum. The guard then alerts the Smallville police that a half-naked boy is flying around the museum. (Oh, now the guard notices Prime. What was he doing before? Just admiring Prime’s fine abs? I mean, a half-naked boy in a museum is perfectly acceptable. But a flying one? No way. You simply have to draw the line somewhere.)

Prime arrives in a storage room where we see a statute of Superman-Prime in a cheesy suit of armor. Jimmy tells Prime that Superman-Prime was nothing more than a minor annoyance to Superman. That he was last seen at the end of the Sinestro War in the 21st century. Jimmy comments that the museum will put the Prime statute in storage once the Neuron statute comes back from getting its new paint job.

Superman-Prime snaps and goes on a rampage. (No way! Prime on a rampage while ranting and raving? Shocking.) Prime destroys all the statutes of all the villains in the museum and claims that he was the greatest rival Superman ever faced. Prime then spots Conner Kent’s statue and proceeds to destroy it while ranting that he killed Conner.

Superman-Prime rants that the fake Superboy (Conner) gets a statute while the real one gets forgotten. Superman-Prime yells that this will not happen again. That he will not be thrown away and forgotten once again.

The Smallville Police arrive on the scene. Superman-Prime quickly kills all of the Smallville Policemen. Superman-Prime yells that he will make them remember him. Prime rants that it is not fair.

Prime proceeds to destroy all the statutes of the Legionnaires. Prime rants that he is going to destroy the U.P. and the Legion. At this point, the holographic Jimmy Olsen mentions the Legion of Super Villains which immediately gets Prime’s attention.

We shift to Rokk, Garth and Imra in front of the United Planets Council. The U.P states that there is no need for the Legion of Super Heroes anymore. That the Legion failed. (Huhbutwhat? Didn’t the Legion just totally save the Earth?) The UP representatives berate Earth for its xenophobic hate crimes. The Earth UP representative states that they have instituted aggressive plans to curb hate crimes. The Earth UP representative follows up that humans are targeted on other planets and that maybe the Earth should withdraw from the UP.

Cosmic Boy tries to reason with the Council while Lightning Lad is restrained by Saturn Girl. The Coluan representative, Brainiac 6, states that the Legion is a naïve and outdated concept of a unified universe working in harmony. That they are a child’s dream and that is why the Legionnaires still use the words “boy” and “girl” in their codenames even though they are no longer children. That the Legion still cling to the impossible eradication of xenophobia. (Wow, Johns is really going to make this the central theme of his version of the Pre-Crisis Legion and totally batter us over the head with it.)

We cut to the Phantom Zone where we see Shadow Lass (Still looking as fine as ever.) and Phantom Girl rescuing Mon-El from various Kryptonian villains like Zod, Ursa and Non. We learn that Earth-Man had Mon-El captured and placed back into the Phantom Zone. Tinya and Shady pull Mon-El out of the Phantom Zone and back into the Legion headquarters via the Phantom Zone projector. General Zod begins to come through the projector after our heroes. Lightning Lass quickly blasts the projector and destroys it thereby trapping Zod back in the Phantom Zone.

Brainiac 5 quickly administers the anti-lead serum to Mon-El since his time in the Phantom Zone evidently re-set his physiology. Lightning Lass suggest using Sun Boy’s powers to help give Mon-El enough yellow sun rays to help him recover faster. Brainy responds that Sun Boy is in no condition to help.

We shift to Sun Boy sitting in his apartment in the dark. Polar Boy enters the room and asks Dirk when he is coming back to the Legion Headquarters. Polar Boy tells Sun Boy that he knows what it is like to be violated. Polar Boy says that the Legion needs Sun Boy.

Dirk responds that the universe does not want the Legion anymore. And that Dirk does not want them anymore. Dirk hands his ring to Polar Boy and says that he no longer wants his Legion ring. Dirk says that he used the Legion ring to get girls and it worked really well. That Dirk was white hot. But his passion is now gone and his powers are gone. That he is burnt out.

We cut back to the UP Council meeting where the UP members all condemn the Legion and that it has outlived its usefulness. Suddenly, RJ Brande appears on the scene. Brande proceeds to give an “eloquent” speech about how the Legion is a wonderful thing and absolutely necessary for the universe.

We slide back to Jimmy Olsen telling Superman-Prime about Takron-Galtos, the infamous prison planet. On that prison planet are the three most dangerous members of the Legion of Super Villains: Lightning Lord, Cosmic King and Saturn Queen.

Prime blasts off for Takron-Galtos. We see Prime mowing down all the guards at Takron-Galtos. Prime then frees Lightning Lord, Cosmic King and Saturn Queen. Lightning Lord immediately recognizes Prime and says “You are Superboy-Prime.”

Cosmic King tells Prime that he is their inspiration and their guide. (Wait a minute. The guy that the museum tour guide just states was a complete nobody and practically a forgotten figure is the person that the original members of the LOSV has been waiting for this entire time? Okay.) That they hoped this day would come. That he would lead their Legion to their final victory. Prime asks who is in “their” Legion. Cosmic King responds “Every prisoner on Takron-Galtos.”

We hop back to the UP Council meeting where Brande is still giving his eloquent speech in support of the Legion. We then see a hooded figure with a golden shield over his face. The shield slides open. Saturn Girl suddenly exclaims that she suddenly feels a mind out there that she couldn’t feel before that is full of bad intent.

We see the hooded figure shoot Brande several times. Cosmic Boy cannot stop the bullets because they were not metallic. Saturn Girl states that Brande is telling her “Don’t quit. Don’t you dare ever quit. Long Live The…”
Brande then dies and reverts back to his natural Durlan form. We see that the killer is none other than Leland McCauley. Leland rants that Brande was never human. That he was a fraud. An alien invader. That Brande was not the most successful human industrialist to ever live. That Leland was.

The SP arrive on the scene and tell the Legion that they will take custody of Leland McCauley and that the Legionnaires need to hand over their flight rings. (And the SP look an awful lot like Cobra Commander.)

Cosmic Boy growls that he has tried to be diplomatic and has taken hours of being berated, but he will be damned if they are handing over their flight rings. Rokk then blasts all the SP officers. (That’s my boy.)

Suddenly, Leland begins to grow old and then decays into nothing. As he is dying Leland cries that he was supposed to be young again. We pan back and see the Time Trapper watching the entire scene through one of his magic screens.

We cut to a news report that Durla is rioting and that in the wake of RJ Brande’s assassination, that Earth is accusing Durla of espionage and has several all ties with the United Planets. And that rumors of Brande being the father of Chameleon Boy have begun circulating.

We slide back to the Legion clubhouse and see that Element Lad, Block, Dawnstar and Wildfire are all still MIA. We see Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Shadow Lass and Polar Boy standing around RJ Brande’s coffin.

We zip to the Legionnaires arguing about if the Legion should call it quits or not. Cosmic Boy argues that they need to honor Brande’s dying wishes and keep the Legion going. Brainy quips that this is all a waste of time. That the United Planets said as much. That they do not want the Legion.

Ayla then remarks that what if they prove the UP wrong. What if Brainy proves everyone, including Colu, wrong? Brainy is intrigued and says “That is an idea.”

Suddenly, the Legion alert goes off. The Legionnaires are stunned at what they see and agree that they have to call Superman. We cut to Superman in our present day flying around. Superman’s Legion flight ring activates and Brainy tells Superman that they need him and that the ring will act as a rip cord back to the 31st century. That Superman only needs to say “yes” in order to activate the ring. Superman says “Yes.”

We see Superman arriving at the Legion clubhouse. Superman asks what is going on. The Legionnaires show Superman video of Takron-Galtos with Superman’s symbol made from fire on the planet’s surface. Brainy says that Prime has murdered over twenty thousand guards and staff. Brainy says that every prisoner has been freed by Prime.

Evidently, a similar incident happened in Smallville a few hours ago. The entire city has been consumed in flames and it all started at the Superman museum. The Legionnaires then show Superman footage of Superman-Prime. Garth says that Brande was assassinated and the Legion of Super Villains are on the loose and that the Legion is down to about half their members. Gath says that the universe is screwed.

Brainy says that if they are going to prove everyone wrong then they need to get help to go up against the super powered brat from a parallel world. Brainy says the solution is obvious. Brainy says that they need to fight fire with fire. We see Brainy pulling up a picture of the Post Zero Hour Legion and a picture of the current version of the Legion.

Superman says that those two Legions are from two parallel worlds and that they all met them a long time ago. Superman says that they are going to have to do something drastic to stop Prime. That the Legion has never witnessed Prime’s rage. That Prime will not stop.

Garth asks Superman if he is suggesting that they kill Prime. Superman replies that he is not suggesting that they kill Prime. And that he is not even sure that killing Prime is even possible anymore. Superman states that they need to reach out to Prime. That they need to find the boy inside that helped him save the universe during the first Crisis. That they need to redeem Superboy-Prime.

Comments
The Good: Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 was actually a better read than I expected. Johns constructs a well plotted issue. Whether I personally enjoy the story or not is irrelevant. The fact is that Johns clearly has detailed master plan in mind when it comes to this story. Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 moves in a methodical and technically sound manner. Johns is able to quickly put into place numerous interesting plotlines in this issue. The various plotlines click together in a logical fashion as Johns keeps the story focused and moving with a purpose.

Johns does a fine job picking up exactly where the Action Comics story arc left off. Readers who are unfamiliar with the Legion but read the Action Comics story arc involving the Legion should have no problems understanding what is going on in this issue.

Of course, Johns keeps the new reader in mind with this issue as well. Johns understands perfectly the challenge that lies ahead in pulling off a five issue story centered on the Legion’s obscenely convoluted history. And the fact that many of the readers getting this title will not be long-time Legion fans and will have seriously limited knowledge of the Legion’s continuity.

Therefore, Johns dedicates seven pages at the Superman museum and then another five pages at the UP Council meeting in order to give all the necessary back-story for newer readers to get up to speed. Johns certainly gives the reader who is unfamiliar with the Legion tons of back-story concerning the origin of the Legion, a bit of their history and their role in Superman’s life.

Johns uses almost every single page of Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 for set-up in order to lay a sound foundation for this story. The set-up issue is generally the most boring issue in a mini-series, but it is a necessary evil. Hopefully, Johns got all of the set-up out of the way with this issue and we can focus on moving the story along with the remaining four issues.

Johns cranks out plenty solid dialogue in this issue. It is not anything amazing, but it is dependable and certainly better than average. Johns honestly does his best to give each character their own external voice. Johns also pulls off plenty of enjoyable character work. Johns manages in just one issue to give the reader a good feel for the different personalities of the various Legionnaires.

Yeah, Johns may present the Legionnaires as more caricatures than characters, but that might be the only way to give the reader a good impression of the various basic personality types that exist in the Legion when he is dealing with such a huge roster and only has five issues to work with.

I enjoyed how Johns wrote Sun Boy in his short scene. I liked how Johns played off the fact that Sun Boy was always a total player who constantly chased the girls. The reader gets a good feel for the fatigue, both physical and emotional, that has drained Dirk of his passion for the Legion. This was a nice continuation of when we last saw Dirk over in Action Comics when he was being used by Earth-Man to power the machine that kept the Earth’s sun red.

Now, I have to admit that I do not like Superboy-Prime. I completely enjoyed Superboy-Prime as the monster villain in Infinite Crisis. However, since Infinite Crisis ended, Superboy-Prime has overstayed his visit. His act has gotten old, boring and rather irritating. Superboy-Prime is definitely a villain that needs to either get killed off or just go away for a very long time.

Still, Johns did a great job with Prime’s motivation to wage his war on the UP and the Legion. Prime being upset about being forgotten once again made perfect sense. Johns was smart to build off of the essence of Prime’s rage that stems from the ending of the original Crisis.

Prime sacrificed his world and his own very existence at the end of the original Crisis in order to save New Earth. I was pleasantly surprised that Johns came up with some intriguing motivation for Prime in this story. I expected just another random rampage by Superboy-Prime like what we got on Countdown and the Sinestro War.

It was pretty cool seeing the big three from the Legion of Super Villains one again. I have always been a big fan of the original LOSV and I will enjoy seeing them in action once again. I liked the little twist that the members of this version of the LOSV is comprised of ever single inmate from Takron-Galtos. That is one big army!

I enjoyed the final five pages a Johns unfolds the Legion’s plan of attack. I liked how Johns used Ayla to challenge Brainy to prove to the UP and Colu wrong. This was a smart way to get Brainy to agree that the Legion must go on. Johns knows that Brainy is motivated by his massive ego most of the time.

Johns ends Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds #1 with a good hook ending. Ever since the appearance of the Pre-Crisis Legion over in the JLA/JSA crossover, Legion fans have been debating how Johns was going to explain the existence of three different Legion. And Johns’ explanation exactly what we thought it would be. I think that most Legion fans figured Johns would simply reveal that each version of the Legion is simply from a different multiple Earth.

By doing this, Johns is able to give each version of the Legion equal weight and, more importantly, Johns makes the Pre-Crisis Legion stories, the Post Zero Hour Legion stories and the current Legion’s stories all a part of DC’s continuity. It is fantastic to see that in one issue Johns restores the glorious 50 year history back into DC’s continuity. The only question that remains is which Legion is the Legion of New Earth’s future?

This use of the Multiverse by Johns to clean up the Legion’s fractured and messy continuity emphasizes what a wonderful literary device the Multiverse is. Instead of creating continuity problems, the Multiverse is by far the most convenient tool that a writer has in order to clean up much of DC’s continuity problems.

Superman states that they have met the other two versions of the Legion before. This was a nice move by Johns to explain away the certain cross-over events that paired Superman up with whatever was the current version of the Legion at that time.

This issue ends with a dramatic double page splash shot as we see each three versions of the Legion on the same page. I will admit that I was never a huge fan of the Post Zero Hour Legion, but it was neat to see them once again. And as I stared at John’s version of the Pre-Crisis Legion, the Post Zero Hour Legion and the current Legion, I was surprised at what I realized. The current version of the Legion is actually my favorite version between the three Legions that Johns presents to us at this ending.

Johns stunned me with something that I have to admit that I did not expect to get in this ending. Johns has Superman display compassion for Superboy-Prime. That Superman wants to reach out to him and find the boy that helped Superman save the universe during the first Crisis. That they need to redeem Superboy-Prime. That is a pretty cool approach to take with this story. I am thrilled that Johns is taking this approach to Prime’s character rather than the typical tact of the heroes simply wanting to destroy the monster villain.

Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds #1 sported plenty of gorgeous artwork by Perez. The Legion of Super Heroes never looked so good.

The Bad: Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds #1 certainly had its fair amount of warts. Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds #1 was a typical set-up issue which means that it is a bit boring and dry. I am sure that long-time Legion fans and continuity buffs will drool all over the gobs of Easter eggs that Johns and Perez stuff into this issue. A reader could go nuts trying to deliver annotations to this issue.

There is no doubt that if you love DC continuity then you will have a blast trying to pick out all the little references that populate this issue. However, I am not too sure if this will appeal to anyone outside of longtime Legion fans. I have a feeling that your average comic book reader might find this issue just a bit too dull and dry.

One of Johns’ greatest weaknesses is that he is in love with the decompression style of storytelling. And this usually means that Johns’ monthly titles suffer from poor pacing. There is no doubt that Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds #1 was a slow and plodding issue. Many readers will be turned off by the slow pacing as it appeared that Johns was doing his best to stretch out the story.

I found large portions of Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 to be rather boring. The scene with Mara and Jun was largely unnecessary and uninteresting as it merely re-stated the same themes that we already got drilled into our heads during the Action Comics story arc. This was another example of Johns just layering more fat into the story in order to burn more panel time.

The Phantom Zone scene was another good example of Johns simply wasting time and burning panel space in this issue. This was largely a useless scene that ate up three pages. This could have easily been trimmed from the issue and the reader would not have missed anything of substance at all. This is one of several scenes where the reader gets the impression that Johns is simply layering this issue with fluff in order to stretch the story out.

I know that the scenes at the Superman museum and at the UP Council meeting were necessary evils in order to give enough back-story to bring non-Legion fans and newer readers up to speed concerning the Legion’s continuity. But, I feel that Johns spent too much time giving back-story. We also got way too much re-hashing of the story arc over on Action Comics that just recently took place.

The scenes at the Superman museum and the UP Council bored me to tears. These scenes were incredibly dry and read more like a history book than a comic book. And Johns rehashed current events way too much. The Action Comics story arc was painfully simplistic and shallow. Johns did not need to spend so much panel time in this issue rehashing the simple and unoriginal themes concerning xenophobia from the Action Comics story arc. Johns really beat a dead horse with this xenophobia theme in this issue.

I have never liked Johns’ xenophobia theme that he has lead with heavy handed fashion. The xenophobia theme just makes no sense to me. Johns totally failed to get me to buy into it. The Legion’s history has always been one that was basically bright and positive and how the Earth in the future is a place where xenophobia is a thing of the past. The X-Men represented the current struggle with xenophobia and racism while the Legion always represented the positive end result of that struggle. It just lacked internal logic for Earth to grossly regress back into such a xenophobic state.

Another one of Johns’ weaknesses is his struggle to create villains with depth and complexity. More often than not, Johns gives the reader very standard issue and shallow villains. Superboy-Prime is certainly one of those types of villains. Prime is as one-dimensional as villains come. Prime’s gimmick and his dialogue have become extremely tired and boring. And Johns does nothing with Prime in this issue to give him more depth or make him more of an intriguing villain.

The Sun Boy scene felt a bit too predictable. It certainly seems obvious that Johns is setting up Dirk to make some heroic sacrifice at some point in this story in order to prove his true heroic nature and his loyalty to the Legion and the Legion’s cause.

I definitely do not like Johns artificially elevating Polar Boy’s status in the Legion’s hierarchy. I know that Polar Boy is one of Johns’ pet characters, but it is incumbent upon the writer to be faithful to the core essence of the title and the characters that he is writing. Yes, Polar Boy is a great Legionnaire, but Johns has stated that he considers Polar Boy as the most important Legionnaire right up there with the original three. That is an asinine statement to make.

Polar Boy had a nice run with the Legion in the period between the original Crisis and Zero Hour. However, in the Legion’s long history, Polar Boy has never been one of the consistent major players. And Polar Boy has never been a member of the Legion in any versions of the Legion that we have gotten since Zero Hour. And that was 14 years ago.

There are numerous Legionnaires that I would place higher up on the Legion hierarchy before I would ever get to Polar Boy. Johns elevating Polar Boy’s status so much over other more storied Legionnaires is just another reason that makes me question if Johns really understands the core essence of the Legion.

And this leads me to my next issue with Johns and his handling of the Legion. It is clear that Johns is not a big Legion fan. It is obvious that any fondness that Johns has for the Legion stems from Johns’ being a massive Superman. To Johns, the Legion is nothing more than an offshoot of Superman. That the Legion is a large supporting cast to the Superman mythos and nothing else. And that is evident in how Johns subordinated the Legion to Superman in the story arc on Action Comics.

The reader gets the clear sense in Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds that the real star of this story is Superman and that the Legion is simply providing a bit of window dressing and a large roster of characters for Johns to use as cannon fodder. At no point do I get the impression that Johns views the Legion as its own separate entity with a diverse and rich history of their own independent from Superman.

I also cannot get with Johns’ concept that the three original Legionnaires taught Superman about Truth, Justice and the American Way. It is just way too cheesy. And Johns does a terrible job of trying to explain how each of the three Legionnaires represents the concepts of Truth, Justice and the American Way. It simply feels way to forced and contrived.

I found Brande’s speech to be rather boring and predictable. There was nothing original or interesting at all about Brande’s long winded speech. We have read this type of speech before in numerous different comic books.

I also found the insertion of Leland McCauley into this issue to be forced. It read rather oddly when Johns randomly inserted Leland McCauley into Jimmy Olsen’s speech about the Legion’s history rather than when Jimmy was talking about the Legion’s villains.

Of course, we know that Johns had to someone cue newer readers into who McCauley was because Johns was planning to use McCauley as the plot device to have Brande get killed. And I certainly found Brande’s death to be unimpressive.

Brande’s death was incredibly predictable and was simply Johns taking a convenient and easy path to create some artificial drama. Brande’s death gave Johns a convenient martyr for the Legion to rally around and to inspire them to keep the Legion together no matter what. It was not an original move and it hardly got me excited.

It is a shame that Johns brought back R.J. Brande from the Pre-Crisis Legion just to slaughter him off. Of course, this is something that I should get used to because I have a feeling that Johns is bringing back many Pre-Crisis and Post Zero Hour Legionnaires just to slaughter them off in this story.

And for me personally, this is one of my biggest reservations of this title. I would much rather DC just let these great characters from the past rest peacefully in comic book limbo instead of letting Johns bring them back just to butcher them.

My only minor complaint about the artwork in this issue is that I wish that Perez also did the inks. If that had been the case then this issue would have scored a perfect 10 for art. Scott Koblish was not horrible, but he is no George Perez. Perez’s art always looks much better when he inks his own pencils.

Overall: Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds #1 was a solid, but certainly not spectacular, debut issue. Johns spends most of this issue trying to lay a strong foundation for the rest of this story. Unfortunately, that means that the majority of this issue is rather dry and unexciting. Still, I think that Final Crisis: Legions of Three Worlds has the potential to be a great read if Johns can keep his penchant for blood soaked slaughter-fest big events under tight control.

If you are interested in learning more about the tons of DC continuity Easter eggs that were crammed into this issue or if you simply are a new reader and desire more explanation concerning what is going on then check out these three annotations to this issue. First there is the annotation over on Final Crisis Annotations which is a great blog covering Final Crisis and all the various tie-in issues. You can check it out here.

Then you have the very well done annotation for this issue over on Timothy Callahan’s blog that you can check out here.

And last, but most certainly not least, is the annotation provide to us by Michael at the Legion Omnicom. Michael is the Dean of all things Legion related and his incredibly detailed annotations for this issue can be read right here.

Thom’s Take: Loved the Perez art. I do agree that Koblish is not the best inker for Perez(my favorite inkers for him are Perez, Jerry Ordway, and Joe Rubenstein(I have a Mountain Dew for the person who knows when Joe inked Perez on a major title in the past)). In my opinion, George Perez is one(if not the best) artist in comics. The first page shot of the Time Trapper looking at the abyss while floating on the piece of his home is worth the price of admission.

I do not care for the plotline about the xenophobia is not plausible in this series. The Legion has saved the Earth and the entire United Planets so many times that I cannot believe that anyone would be turned against them. Unless Johns goes back and shows what brought about this change in attitude, it is an arbitrary plot device to set up conflict. I could understand non-UP worlds fearing the Legion due to their enemies spreading propaganda.

It was nice to see that the other versions of the Legion were not rebooted out of existence. As long as they are the Legions of other Earths, we could see future stories about them. Rumors keep saying that Levitz is going to do another story. His version was one of my favorites.

I enjoyed the look at the Hall of 1,000 Olsens. I grew up reading many of these stories.

Another highlight of this issue was the rescue of Mon-El from the Phantom Zone. This was a classic Legion rescue with Brainy coordinating the others.

Johns did a good job with working into the story various Legion characters. The second Karate Kid, Dr. Gym’ll, the Nullport gang, R.J. Brande and Yera Allon.

How does this story hold up compared to classic Legion stories? I will wait until all of the issues are published before I decide. Maybe(if Rokk will let me), I will do an overview of it when the series is complete.

LLL.

9 Comments

  1. “Redeem Superboy?” Oh boy. Superman sure knows how to tackle the mother of all P.R. challenges, huh?

  2. “Which, by the way, are the only things living at the end of time.”

    Also twinkys and spam.

    “Mind you that Superman-Prime is wearing nothing but some torn shorts. He is practically naked and yet he attracts no attention at all.”

    You’ve never been to Portland, have you?

    “I mean, a half-naked boy in a museum is perfectly acceptable.”

    Seriously, you need to visit Portland.

    “Superman states that they need to reach out to Prime. That they need to find the boy inside that helped him save the universe during the first Crisis. That they need to redeem Superboy-Prime.”

    During IC, Prime killed some folks, which can still be redeemed. But durring countdown he wiped out several earths, which I assume had billions of people on each one. Plus, with that last one, he wiped out the rest of the universe, which is a lot more. Kind of hard to fix that.

  3. so, where does that leave Superboy Primes adventures with the Monarch ? Did that not happen or just not known to Superman ?

  4. I still like the character of Superboy/man Prime. He is basically just a fanboy (I think Geoff Johns said this himself). Add in the fact that his whole goddamn Universe was wiped from existence in the first Crisis, of COURSE he’d be angry. He’s just the “They changed it now it sucks” fanboy given the powers of Superman. I imagine that if he fell into the Marvel Universe he’d scream at Captain America/Bucky that he’s supposed to be dead (since Superboy would have missed those awesome Brubaker stories given the fact that Earth-Prime didn’t make it past the mid-1980s in history). That said, I don’t like how he’s treated as just an engine of destruction. Godzilla is an engine of destruction, the Hulk when he is very, very, angry is an engine of destruction, but I refuse to believe that every person that Superboy Prime meets should die. It just shouldn’t work that way.

    Given the images in the Superman Museum, the Legion Universe seems to be spawned from the Just-before-the-crisis Superman.

  5. For all that he’s clearly meant as a smackdown of fans from writers who don’t like people who complain about their work, the better fit for him is actually a Silver Age-nostalgic writer determined to make everything the way he was in his childhood. Really, then, he’s a lot like Johns himself; or Alex Ross; Alex Ross with superpowers basically would be Superboy Prime. (and we apparently can call him Superboy again?)

  6. of course prime can still be redeemed. we were basically told by that awful final crisis garbage that countdown didnt happen so prime only killed a few and not a universe. of course that “few” would probably beg to differ 🙂

    oh and did i mention that legion of 3 worlds would probably have been much better as a standalobne series instead of having final crisis in its title?

  7. I don’t think Prime should be considered redeemable, but Superman, who has to see this as an alternate version of himself, is the last guy who would ever be able to accept that this case is hopeless. Of course, it looks like the story is going to force a redemption on us anyway.

    At least we got to see Conner with his “S” visible again. I’d be delighted if he came back somewhere in this series, but I don’t think it will happen here. Others are starting to wonder.

    “I mean, a half-naked boy in a museum is perfectly acceptable.”

    Seriously, I need to visit Portland.

  8. I guess I’m in the minority here in regards to liking Prime. I think he suffers from the same problem Jason Todd suffers from, though, which is being overused by one creator without much to show for it.
    I get the fact that Prime is a threat, but to use him so soon after both the Sinestro Corps war, and Countdown just lessens any kind of impact his appearance will have in any subsequent storyline, this one included. It’s almost as if the formula is to pit our heroes against an insurmountable force, and then throw in Prime to sort of underline the threat. Of course, because he’s typically beaten in the span of an issue and a half, he appears to become less and less of a threat, like Doomsday’s appearances since Death of Superman.
    As it pertains to the Legion, I’m really looking forward to this series to hopefully get me more acclimated to these characters. I actually enjoyed the animated series (don’t laugh), but following them in the books is a little tougher, as not only do I have to commit their hero names and abilities to memory, but also their real names, as that’s the way they seem to always refer to each other. A little daunting to say the least, but worth it.
    Here’s hoping this series delivers as much as we want it to.

  9. Alright… ignoring Mr. Krinn’s usual rants of “predictable” and “forced”, which are really necessary evils in Geoff John’s big mission to quasi-reboot the whole DC universe… (I do agree with you btw)

    Will this ‘rebirth’ of his be as successfully fundamental as Green Lantern? Tying them to Super-duper-man doesn’t help at all. It’s like bringing back the past (which DC accomplished with the ‘killing/returning’ process that mostly sank them to Comic Industry Leader Number Two).

    And a LOT must have happened between the Legion “during” the first Crisis and LS… or between LS and Action. Or both. Who knows? But to have Polar Boy rank up all the way, when his prior appearance was his belated induction to the LSH, and before that, the dysfunctional comic relief tales of the Subs? But since favoritism is a key ingredient in a comic book writer’s fuel, I’d say that’s another necessary evil.

    Two more notes:
    Superman has met a “fourth” Legion… in Zero Hour, the Legion founders that arrived in the 21st (thanks to the floating timeline of DC) century was the SW6 batch, after a time-travelling gaff.

    And come to think of it… Superboy-Prime IS the biggest fanboy there is. He was just like the rest of us, an avid comic book reader in a “real-life” world. So, naturally… just think of his unreasonably-leveled killer angst as your own angst of the DCU.

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