DC Comics Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1

Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1

DC Comics Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1

All, right! Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 is finally here! Are you excited for the dramatic return of the Legion of Super-Heroes? You know that I am! Yeah, it is Brian Bendis. But, not even that can dampen my enthusiasm for the return of the Legion of Super-Heroes. It has been way too long since there has been a comic book on the market with the words “Legion of Super-Heroes” on the cover! I am hopeful that we get a fun and exciting read. This is only a two issue story so I would expect Bendis to cram Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 full of quality content and plot progression. Let’s go ahead and hit this review!

Words: Brain Bendis

Pencils: Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino, and André Lima Araúd

Inks: Scott Williams, Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino, and André Lima Araúd

Colors: Alex Sinclair, John Kalisz, Dave Stewart, and Jordie Bellaire

Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Rose Forrest meeting with Supergirl who is now the President of Earth. Rose babbles on like a schizophrenic. (Actually, she just babbles like a character written by Brian Bendis and given nothing but inane Bendis speak.) We learn that she has a split personality. That she takes a drug to keep her mind sane and to keep her from turning into Thorn.

However, with the advances of science people are no longer born with any physical or mental health issues. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies are largely out of business and do not make many drugs anymore. However, since Rose is immortal she was born way before these scientific advances and, therefore, she needs the drugs. Now that the drugs are no longer being made she is afraid that she will turn into Thorn. Rose says that Thorn is psychotic and murderous.

Rose also reveals that she is immortal and does not age. Rose says that something happened when she was Thorn. Rose says that if Thorn gets out then she is going to be mad. Supergirl promises that one way or another everything is going to be okay. (Now we are only three paragraphs in the review, but know that I saved you from having to slog through EIGHT pages of rambling and inane Bendis speak just to get the meager amount of information that I already told you. I suffer for your benefit. You guys are welcome.)

We cut to “and then.” We see Thorn killing some bad guys. Suddenly, Beyond Batman Terry McGinnis appears on the scene. Terry starts fighting the villains. Terry and Thorn finish off the villains. Terry then asks if Rose is the new underworld killer. Thorn then takes out Terry with gas. Maybe? (It is hard to tell what is going on here in these panels.)

We shift to Terry unconscious. He is in an undisclosed location. Thorn has him tied to a chair. Thorn wakes up Terry by “booping” his nose. (Lord. Poor, Terry. He is getting the full Bendis treatment. You know, when an established character is treated like a joke and a punchline for the benefit of Bendis’ story and/or his pet character. It’s the best. Never gets old.)

Thorn asks why Terry dresses up as Batman and does what he does. Terry asks Thorn why she kills criminals. Thorn yells that she is trying really hard not to kill Terry. (Jesus. Rose/Thorn has to be the most unsympathetic and boring one-note character I have read in a while. Does a large Acme anvil drop on her head at some point in this issue?)

Thorn just starts cursing nonstop. Terry says that her foul language is old school. Terry says that he does not even understand some of Thorn’s cursing. Thorn says that being a super-hero changes nothing. Everything stays the same.

Terry replies that things are better. But, things are not perfect. But, how does more bloodshed stop the bloodshed? Thorn says that there is a cycle to everything. That she cannot wrap her head around it. Gods, monsters, heroes, criminals, crisis, apocalypse, reset, reboot, and rebirth. (See? See what Bendis did there? SO SUBTLE. Why show readers when you can just tell them?) That it all happens over and over again.

Thorn asks if Terry is the “real” Batman. Terry says that of course, he is not. Thorn says that he does look too young to be the real Batman. Thorn says that she thought he might be immortal like her. Thorn says that she feels stuck here. Thorn then walks off. Terry is alone and tied in the chair and says, “Hello? Real nice, lady.” (Waka-Waka!! Terry the Clown Batman will be here all week, ladies and germs!)

We shift to “and then” and see that we are in Kamandi’s time period. We see Kamandi stealing Superman’s cape and outfit from someone. (We don’t know and it doesn’t matter. Bendis is just mindlessly moving forward his story. Details don’t matter.)

We see Kamandi and Ben Boxer handing over Superman’s costume and cape to an anthropomorphic ape. Kamandi and Ben then walk off. We see Thorn appearing from the shadows. She goes to touch the cape when the ape-man reappears and tells her to not touch it. The ape-man says that the costume is under his protection. Thorn then cuts off the ape-man’s head. (This entire scene has been so random and poorly written.)

Thorn then puts on the Superman costume. She comments that the suit does not give her superpowers. Thorn names the internet. (Which….doesn’t exist in Kamandi’s time.) Kamandi then reappears on the scene. Kamandi says that the costume does not belong to her.

Thorn says that it belonged to her father, Superman and that he is here right now. Thorn points behind Kamandi. Kamandi turns around to look where Thorn is pointing. Thorn then runs away with the costume. (Yup. Kamandi is such a dumbass that he would fall for someone saying that a dead hero from the past has suddenly reappeared. Damn, Kamandi, much like Terry, your ass just got Bendis-ed, too!)

Kamandi chases Thorn into the woods. Kamandi then comes across a clearing and sees a large building. Kamandi does not recognize the building. Kamandi calls for Thorn to come out of hiding and maybe they can work together. Kamandi says that Thorn did murder the elder and then steal, which wasn’t “cool” but he does not meet many human people. (This makes zero sense. Again, Bendis takes established characters and has them act like absolute morons just to fit his personal story. This scene is so stupid. And did I miss a scene? This moment just comes out of nowhere.)

We then cut to “and then” and see we are further into the future. (Sweet baby Jesus. Please tell me we are in the Legion’s time period and that we are going to finally see some Legionnaires.) We see Rose talking to a man in the lobby of the Planeteer’s building. Rose says that she is here to become a Planeteer. The man she talks to is over-the-top with his chipper attitude. His name is Tommy. (This would be Tommy Tomorrow. So, this means we are not in the Legion’s time period. Unless Bendis has moved Tommy Tomorrow out of the 21st century and into the 31st century.)

Rose acts like a total crazy person freaking out about how she wants to join right now so she can get off this planet immediately. Tommy calls Rose by her first name even though she has not introduced herself to him. Tommy says that she was identified by the computer system once she walked in. Tommy tells Rose that her files are incomplete and her psychological evaluation has proven inconclusive.

Tommy then says that the Science Police are on their way to get Rose since the computer has determined her to be a threat. However, Tommy finds Rose to be a “delight.” (Tommy comes across as a complete idiot. And there is nothing about Rose that would make anyone think she is a delight. We are just indulging Bendis in his little personal joke session where he starts to write for an audience of one: himself. The story no longer matters at this point.)

DC Comics Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1
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Rose tells Tommy if a woman named Thorn comes looking for him that he should run. Rose then runs off as the Science Police arrive on the scene. We get the Science Police chase Rose through the city’s streets. Rose knocks a janitor off his hover sled and then takes off as the Science Police start shooting at her. End of issue.

The Good: Good. Lord. Do I have to follow The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with this issue?! Errrr, okay, this won’t be easy, but I think I can do it. Well, it was neat to see Terry McGuinnis. Terry is a cool version of Batman that just does not get the love that he deserves. Yeah, Bendis did a crap job writing Terry. But, at least DC is utilizing Terry’s character in a mainstream DC comic book. That is good thing.

Well, I love Kamandi. He is a great Jack Kirby creation even if Bendis wrote him like an idiot and the scene had no point or purpose. It still is cool to see DC giving Kamandi some panel time.

We also got to see Ben Boxer! That was unexpected and incredibly cool! Ben is another neat Jack Kirby character from Kamandi’s comic in the 1970s. Ben is one of the Nuclear People. I always love seeing old classic Jack Kirby characters getting some panel time.

I also like Tommy Tomorrow. He is a great Golden Age Sci-Fi character. Again, Bendis did not have much for him to do other than stand around acting like Kenneth from 30 Rock. But, what are you going to do? At least he got some panel time in a DC comic!

As a long-time Legion of Super-Heroes fan, it was cool seeing the Science Police again. The Science Police originally appeared in Action Comics #303 back in 1962. They were only an organization that existed in the 30th century for decades. However, in Superman #654 back in 2006, DC revealed that the Science Police were also active and operating in the 21st century. At any rate, The Science Police is a great organization and it is fun to see them in a comic book once again.

DC Comics Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1
Click for full-page view

The artwork in Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 is solid, but nothing particularly spectacular. The best artwork would be Jim Lee’s art in the opening scene between Rose and Supergirl. This was by far the best looking scene in this issue.

The Bad: Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 was an awful read from start to finish. This issue suffered from all the usual Bendis defects that rear their ugly heads quite frequently in his comics. The biggest sin of Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 is that it has “Legion of Super-Heroes” in the title and, yet, there is no Legion anywhere to be found. It feels like a blatant bait and switch by DC. The reader feels like this issue is nothing more than an uncreative cash grab that offers very little of value or substance in return.

Bendis struggles with the plotting and pacing in Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1. This is a slow issue. The story lacks focus. The story meanders about with zero sense of urgency at all. There appears to be no point and purpose at all to the story. Bendis strings together several shallow scenes that fail to form a coherent narrative that drives forward with a destination in mind.

Here we are with a comic book that has a “#1” on the cover and promises the return of the Legion of Super-Heroes. However, Bendis never gives the reader any clue about what is this title’s mission statement. Bendis never tells the reader why we should care about this title. Bendis never tells us why the reader should come back for more. The reader has no idea what is the objective of this title and what goal Bendis is trying to achieve. These are all critically important tasks that a debut issue of a new title absolutely must address.

The plotting is terrible. Bendis clumsily shuffles between these different scenes with no clear theme or narrative that unites the scenes. There is no overarching literary spine to connect these random scenes together into a compelling story that intrigues the reader. The reader feels like they are haphazardly crashing into unrelated scenes for no good reason. On top of it all, many of the scenes are poorly constructed to the point where some of the scenes read as if they were written by an amateur writer. The Kamandi scene, in particular, is terribly disjointed as the pages crash randomly into each other.

Bendis begins Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 with an eight-page scene between Rose and Supergirl that does very little other than giving the reader plenty of repetitious Bendis speak. All Bendis does is tell the reader that Rose has a split personality and that Thorn is murderous, that Rose is immortal, and that Rose is no longer getting her psychotropic drugs. That’s it! Eight whole pages for just the most basic and simple information about a character that nobody on planet Earth cares about.

Bendis then burns an entire eight pages in the scene with Terry and Thorn. What does the reader learn? That Thorn says that everything is a cycle and that they go from crisis to reboot to rebirth over and over. That’s it. Again, eight pages for just the absolute bare minimum of plot progression and content. We are now sixteen pages into Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 and have gotten nearly no plot progression or content at all.

DC Comics Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1
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We then get the absolute trainwreck of a scene with the nine-page scene centering on Kamandi and Thorn. This was truly awful writing. The scene is terribly constructed. There was nothing that actually resembles plotting when it came to laying out and writing this scene. On top of it all, Bendis gives the reader next to zero plot progression or content. Nothing at all happens in these nine pages.

Bendis then ends Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 with a five-page scene with Rose and Tommy. This scene was pure fluff and a complete time waster. Again, Bendis gives the reader zero actual content and fails to deliver much plot progression at all. This was largely just a pointless scene full of babbling designed to stretch a thin story across an additional five pages.

Seriously, there is nothing to this issue. This is a painfully shallow story. There is no depth at all to the story. Bendis’ story in Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 is the anti-House of X/Powers of X. Jonathan Hickman is like a Michelin star chef who treats the reader to intricate plot lines that form a detailed story full of complexities and texture that envelope the reader in an immersive world. Bendis? He is more like a line cook at Burger King. Bendis just hastily slaps together the most basic shell of a story and then tosses it at the reader.

There is no actual content for the reader to get lost in while reading this issue. It appears that Bendis has the most basic and bare concept of a story and then came up with maybe six pages of real content and went and stretched that over the course of a thirty-page issue. Bendis just takes the barest minimum amount of content for a story and then proceeds to repeat the same things over and over again.

Bendis also presents the question of the cyclical nature of the DCU. How the DCU goes from Crisis events to Rebirth. This would be an interesting question. However, Bendis treats it in the most cursory and superficial manner. Bendis proceeds to tell the reader rather than show the reader. It is all such a lazy and amateurish way to investigate this question.

Bendis’ character work and dialogue are equally terrible. None of the characters have anything that remotely resembles an actual unique personality. Tommy and Terry get that trademark bland Bendis style personality. They never rise to anything that resembles actual fully formed characters. Kamandi is even worse. Poor Kamandi just gets the most basic vanilla generic personality.

DC Comics Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1
Click for full-page view

Of course, Bendis displays zero sense for the characters of Kamandi, Tommy, and Terry. Bendis is about the last author you would ever want to hire to write a comic book that requires heavy continuity work or research. It has never been his strength. There is no way that Bendis has ever read a comic with any of these characters in it. Bendis displays the knowledge and understanding of these characters much like a thirteen-year-old armed with just the knowledge of Wikipedia would know about these characters.

Then we arrive at the main character for Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium: Rose/Thorn. Rose is a D-list character that no reader is going to enter into this story with a connection with at all. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Bendis to somehow try and quickly generate reader interest in Rose. Unfortunately, Bendis completely fails in that endeavor. Bendis does nothing to get the reader to even remotely invested in Rose’s character.

Picking Rose as the main character for this story was a gamble and it blew up in Bendis’ face. Bendis gives Rose the most basic generic personality. Rose acts more like a caricature than a real character. There is a hackneyed quality to Rose’s personality. The reader feels like we have seen this character before but in a far superior manner.

The dialogue all through Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 is poor. Characters either get nothing but Bendis-speak or the characters get dull generic external voices. Some characters, like Rose, get to vacillate between both dull generic dialogue and Bendis-speak. No matter what, the quality of the dialogue is as lacking as the character work.

At no point does the reader care about any of the characters in this issue. The lack of any character for the reader to get interested in plus a shallow story that seems to go nowhere all combines for an issue that bores the reader. The reader is never able to become invested in any of the characters. The reader never becomes immersed in the story.

Outside of Jim Lee, the artwork is largely average. To be fair, I am not a big fan of comic books that have artwork by committee.

Overall: Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 is a $5 comic book. Let me repeat that. The cover price is $5. That is an insane price for an issue that offers literally next to no content or plot progression. Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 is the comic book equivalent of a bag of air.

I would only recommend Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 to die-hard Brian Bendis fans. For literally everyone else? Avoid this issue. Seriously. You would have to be insane to waste $5 on this issue! That is only $2 less than an entire month of the new Disney+ streaming service! There is no way anyone would argue that Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 offers any type of value for your entertainment dollar.

And Legion of Super-Heroes fans? You can skip this issue for sure. Do not feel pressured into buying it just because “Legion of Super-Heroes” appears on the cover. There is nothing about this issue that requires you to read it at all.

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