Grading Ryan Sook’s New Legionnaire Designs Part 2


DC has dropped some more teaser artwork from Ryan Sook concerning the upcoming new Legion of Super-Heroes costume designs. The first set of teaser art from Sook gave us a mixed bag of costume designs. Let’s find out how Sook does with this new set of costume designs.

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First up is Superboy. I am definitely not a fan of this costume at all. It reminds me too much of a Jim Lee New 52 costume design. This costume is way too busy to the point that it collapses into a complete mess. I also prefer Superboy’s color scheme to stay a simple primary blue and primary red look with just a splash of yellow. Unfortunately, Sook gives us red, yellow, and two different shades of blue. We get a lighter blue and a darker blue. Just one shade of blue would have been preferable.

The high collar gives Superboy a far too regal and up-tight look that is not consistent with his simple Mid-West America roots. The costume has three different textures. We have smooth blue and red material. Then we have the ribbed mesh material. On top of that, we also have more armored metal looking blue material. And, again, we get the lines. Just too many lines all over the smooth blue material. To top it all off, we get the awful looking two-tone boots with the weird looking red bottoms to the boots. It makes Superboy look like he is wearing red slippers.

All in all, this entire look for Superboy’s costume is too chaotic and flat out ugly. It is a visual assault on the eyes.

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Next up is Dawnstar. Dawny has always been one of my favorite Legionnaires. She is such a great character. Dawstar was created by Paul Levitz and Mike Grell. She first appeared in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #226 back in 1977. Grell’s costume design for Dawnstar was iconic. It is also the look that Dawnstar retained for a majority of her time. Even when Dawnstar received a new costume it still mimicked the basic themes of Grell’s design.

Now, we all knew that in this Neo-Victorian Era where everyone has become so repressed and prudish that ere was zero chance that we would get anything at all like Dawnstar’s classic uniform. However, unfortunately, Sook completely ignores all of Dawny’s prior costume design themes and gives us one hideous looking costume. This costume is part boring and part ugly. That is definitely not a recipe for success.

Dawnstar’s primary colors have always been a light yellow or tan. Sook retains a tan color to Dawny’s new design. Sook then adds a heavy dose of black with touches of turquoise, red, orange, and white. That is just too many colors clashing on this outfit. I hate the addition of black to Dawnstar’s costume. It makes her outfit look too dull and does not compliment the other colors at all. I also do not like the addition of the red and the orange. They do not mesh well with the yellow and black majority color scheme. The touches of turquoise are rather nice. This is a good addition. A far more pleasant look would have been to give Dawnstar a primarily light yellow or tan costume with dashes of turquoise for some pop.

Sook obviously went to great pains to use lots of Native America design cues. Sadly, the completed design lacks a pleasing look. The costume overs nearly every inch of Dawny’s skin including her neck and nearly all of her hands. This looks like the most uncomfortable costume possible.

Sadly, Dawnstar loses her iconic tassels on her costume. And instead, Sook gives Dawny those Jim Lee New 52 lines all over her costume. It just makes for a busy and crappy look. These lines also make the uniform look like it is sagging off of Dawny’s body. Dawnstar’s boots look more like she is wearing yellow house slippers with turquoise buckles it is just terrible looking.

The logo design on Dawnstar’s chest is way too large and looks as if it was designed using clip art. It is an ugly and uncreative logo. The earrings are way too over the top. I love that artists think that super-heroines wearing heels would not be realistic, but massive earrings that would get in your way or make for easy targets to pull in a fight are perfectly fine.

The warpaint on Dawnstar’s face is just the worst. Dawnstar’s defining character trait is that she is an introvert. That is what makes her so special. Comic books are full of extraverted super-heroes. It was also refreshing and unique to get an introverted super-hero with Dawnstar. Also, Dawnstar was an intelligent character who did not look to fight first when engaging a situation. Again, this made her unique. The warpaint look gives Dawnstar a way too aggressive and violent look that is inconsistent with her core personality traits. Plus, it just looks ugly.

Lastly, we get to Dawnstar’s wings. Unfortunately, gone are Dawnstar’s splendid looking giant feathered wings. In their place, we get “spirit” wings which only appear when she is using them for flight and/or tracking. The design of the wings is fine enough. There is nothing particularly unique or interesting about them. I do not like that this design now makes Dawnstar just a regular looking human rather than a human-looking alien. Again, it just makes Dawnstar more common and less special and unique.

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Next up is Blok. Blok was created by Gerry Conway and Joe Staton. He first appeared in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #253 back in 1979. Blok has had several different variations of his rocky body. Sook gives us yet another different version of Blok. Unfortunately, this new look for Blok is rather bland and elementary.

Blok has worn a surprising variety of costumes during his history. This is one character that never could develop an iconic color scheme or costume. Having said that, Blok’s color scheme normally included blue and red or blue and yellow. Here, Sook went for…nothing. Blok’s naked.

I am not particularly fond of this new look for Blok. Sook’s design makes Block looks naked which is rather disturbing. On top of that, Sook’s design gives Blok a simplistic face with tiny eyes and little in the way of a real face. The result is that Blok looks more like a mindless elemental rather than the deeply contemplative and intelligent character that he has always been presented in the past. Sook’s Blok simply looks like a rocky version of Baymax. This design robs Blok of much of his intelligence and sentience that made him such a compelling character.

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All right, let’s hope things get better with the next character design. Here we have Dream Girl. Nura was created by Edmond Hamilton and John Forte. Dreamy first appeared in Adventure Comics #317 back in 1964. Now, we all knew that Nura was going to get a massive character redesign. Again, in this era of sexual repression and prudishness, there was absolutely no way we were going to get the silver bathing suit wearing beauty queen that we all know and love.

Nura’s trademark color scheme has always been silver. That’s it. You don’t need to mess with perfection. So, what does Sook give us? We get a Dream Girl that looks like a slice of the universe that has taken a humanoid shape. It is a massive divergence from Nura’s character design over the past fifty-five years. Sook’s design is definitely inferior to Nura’s other costume designs in her fifty-five history.

Having said that, judging Sook’s design on its own I will admit that it is not bad. I love that Sook gave Nura some serious Crystal Gale style hair. That is a great touch and adds to her mysterious and magical design. The starry look to her body does look really neat. Sook’s design is a great cosmic design. In fact, Nura looks just like a character you would expect to see in Marvel’s collection of cosmic characters. However, the downside to this design is that it makes Nura seem more like a cosmic entity than an actual flesh and blood person.

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Last new character design is Matter-Eater Lad. Tenzil was created by Jerry Siegel and John Forte. Matter-Eater Lad first appeared in Adventure Comics #303 in 1962.

It appears that M-E Lad will be racially retconned. Tenzil was always a white guy. Sook’s M-E Lad appears to be Hispanic. Now, I am a traditionalist. And I usually dislike when any long-time established character gets retconned in any manner. However, I absolutely love this new version of Tenzil! Honestly, Tenzil was always a bit boring until we got to the 1990s. And, there is no one who has been advocating for more Hispanic characters in comics than me. Despite being the largest minority group in America, Hispanics continue to lag behind other ethnic groups in terms of representation in comics.

I mean, just look at Sook’s M-E Lad!! What is there not to love! Just gaze at Tenzil’s glorious facial hair. Seriously. That is absolutely fucking legendary. Deadshot has some competition for the sweetest facial hair in the DCU. I also dig that Sook gives Tenzil a bad-ass widow’s peak for his hairline.

I absolutely love that Sook made Tenzil massively jacked. The dude is beast. This is a perfect body type for a character that can literally eat anything in the universe. Plus, by giving Tenzil a rakish facial hair and a huge muscular body Sook takes a character that has always been seen as a punchline and makes him looks imposing and badass. Bravo.

Tenzil’s color scheme has always been a combination of yellow and green. Here, Sook finally gets it right and sticks to the character’s established color scheme. Sook gives Tenzil a fantastic looking yellow and green costume that immediately lets you know that you are looking at Matter-Eater Lad. I love this base yellow and green costume. I also love that Sook eschews littering this clean and gorgeous costume with unnecessary Jim Lee 52 lines all over the place.

Sadly, Sook did not stop there and went ahead and completely junked up this wonderful character design with some Rob Liefeld inspired 1990’s armor all over Tenzil’s body. The result is that poor Tenzil looks like an awful action figure from the 1990s. If Sook would just junk the ridiculous Liefeldian armor bits from this costume then Matter-Eater Lad’s design would be absolute perfection.

All right, to recap the latest five new character designs. I give Matter-Eater Lad’s new design a thumbs up. I give Dream Girl and Superboy’s new designs a thumbs in the middle. I give Blok and Dawnstar’s new character designs a thumbs down. All in all, these designs are not terrible. They simply are not as good as the designs that these characters have had before.

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Okay, now let’s talk about the cool teaser shot of Superboy being offered a Legion flight ring with a bunch of Legionnaires all-around behind him. It is difficult to pick out who these various Legionnaires are supposed to be. Many of them have such completely different designs. But, let’s have some fun and try and make some guesses about the various Legionnaires that we see in the background of this picture.

We do see Saturn Girl in the reflection of the Legion flight ring being presented to Superboy. The one thing that immediately caught my eye is that one of my all-time favorite Legionnaires got racially retconned. Cosmic Boy has been white all throughout his 61-year history in the DCU. However, it appears that Bendis has made Cosmic Boy Asian. Again, I am a traditionalist. And I really do not like major retcons to long-established characters. So, I would obviously have preferred that Cosmic Boy not be racially retconned.

Having said that, I knew this was coming. I do not know why. I just had a feeling that Bendis was going to racially retcon Rokk. So, I am definitely not surprised. Also, since so many Legionnaires are white, I think that nearly everyone with half a brain in their head knew that Bendis was going to racially retcon a large number of Legionnaires. It is what it is and there is really no point in further discussing the matter. I am just going to move forward.

We see a blonde woman wearing a pink and white costume and a Cyclops-style visor. I have no clue who this character is supposed to be. The only Legionnaire with blond hair in that short style haircut is Light Lass. Of course, her color scheme has always been blue and white. And she has never worn a visor.

Then we see a bald Asian guy in a yellow and black costume. Again, I do not know of any Legionnaire who looks like this. Based on the color scheme of the outfit I am going to guess that Karate Kid got racially retconned and that this is Val Armorr.

To the right of who I think is Karate Kid, we see a black guy with white hair. That has to be Jacques Foccart who is the second Invisible Kid. I kind of figured that there was zero chance that we would get Lyle Norg, the original Invisible Kid.

Then there is a gold guy right behind Superboy. He appears to be in a white and black costume. There have never been any gold-skinned Legionnaires. Star Boy’s colors are traditionally black and white. Perhaps Thom got racially retconned into a gold-skinned alien?

Then we get a woman with hair like Storm from the 1980s. Just awful. Does she also appear to be gap-toothed? Lord. She has a glowing purple design on her forehead. She appears to be wearing a green costume. My guess is that this is a redesigned Infectious Lass.

We then see to the right of Cosmic Boy, a green guy with blond hair. He is wearing a costume that appears to have an “E” on it. This must be Element Lad. So, this would mean that Element Lad has been racially retconned into some type of green alien race.

We then get a woman with really short hair and in a green costume. This character looks like XS to me. However, XS never had a green costume. Kinetix did wear a green outfit. However, she was white and had long red hair. So, I am not sure who we are getting here.

To the left of who I think is XS and behind Lightning Lad we see Dream Girl. Then to the left of Superboy’s head, we see a character with a red helmet and black visor. That absolutely has to be Wildfire! Yeah! Drake has always been one of my all-time favorite Legionnaires.

To the left of Wildfire is Dawnstar. Then we get a guy with black hair and a blue costume behind Dawnstar. My guess is that this is Bouncing Boy. There is no way Bendis passes on writing a character like Bouncing Boy. Chuck Taine is absolutely one of the most Bendis type Legionnaires.

Above and to the left of Bouncing Boy is a person who appears to have a gold skull for a face. Again, no established Legionnaire has ever had a gold skull for a face so I have no idea who this might be.

To the right of the gold skull character, we see Brainiac 5. To the right of the upper part of the Legion flight ring, we see Chameleon Boy. To the right of Cham, we see Shadow Lass. To the right of Shadow Lass, we see Blok.

If we go back to the left of the picture we see a pink woman with red, white, and blue hair. Again, no established Legionnaire looks like this character. But, based on her white costume I am afraid that this might be Phantom Girl. Tinya is one of my all-time favorite female Legionnaires. She has always been a white female with black hair in her 58-year history. Hopefully, I am wrong and this is not Tinya. This is a goofy looking character design.

To the right of what may be Phantom Girl, we see a white male character in a tan and brown outfit. That has to be Timber Wolf. He has kind of a wild look to him. Of course, if the female character next to him is Phantom Girl then this may be Ultra Boy since the two characters have always been a couple. But, Ultra Boy has always had a green, red, and black colored costume.

Next to Timber Wolf is a woman with pink skin and white hair. She appears to be wearing a tiara. Maybe Princess Projectra has been racially retconned into a pink-skinned alien and this is her?

Going back to the upper left of the picture we see a pale white character with red eyes and what appears to be possibly a crown. Lord, this is getting hard! Maybe this is White Witch?

To the right of the white female character and just behind Timber Wolf we see a guy with sunglasses on. There appear to be flames next to this character. I am guessing that this is Sun Boy?

Then in the middle of the very top, we see one large male towering over everyone else. This must be Colossal Boy.

Whew! That was a lot of fun, but definitely not easy! Regardless, this is a fantastic teaser shot. This picture gets me all pumped up and excited for the new Legion of Super-Heroes title! I cannot wait for even more preview pictures of the various Legionnaires. Long Live the Legion!

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