Thursday, June 9, 2011

Legion of Super Heroes: Chain of Command

It's time for another installment in my review of a kid's TV series that came and went without fanfare, and which nobody really remembers, the Legion of Superheroes! And you say, great, Josh, that's really topical. But first, I'm sure you'd like to hear about the character my daughter made up in a video game.

Lily woke up early, and we had time to make a superhero on City of Heroes. Today we made Daisy, with her pet Cat Purr-Purr.

Actual quote from Lily: "That cat is so cute I could reach in the computer and pet her!"

Okay, the Legion:

Lily now offers commentary whether a particular legionnaire has a good power or not when they show up in the opening credits
  • Superman: Good Power
  • Brainiac 5: Best Power!
  • Saturn Girl: Good Power
  • Lightning Lad: Good Power
  • Bouncing Boy: He gets a pass because he's Bouncing Boy, man
  • Triplicate Girl: Bad Power
  • Phantom Girl: Good Power.
  • Timber Wolf: Bad Power.
That last one might be a little harsh. Timber Wolf predates Wolverine and has pretty much has the same power set of being feral and pretty strong and pretty tough, which isn't a bad package at all, unless Superman happens to be on your team.

We recently watched Chain of Command, which was another really good episode. The Legion is engaged in disaster relief on Lightning Lad's home planet, which is suffering from catastrophic meteorological activity. The planet had always been susceptible to this kind of thing, but the colonists had set up some safeguards to capture the energy that caused the problems. Unfortunately, the latest disturbance is of such magnitude that it's overwhelming the safeguards. The team lands on the planet only to find that Cosmic Boy and new Legionnaire Ferro Lad had already arrived to help.

Cosmic Boy rocks the lavender

Cosmic Boy had always been my favorite Legionnaire, and this is his first speaking appearance on the series.  He returns from a long tour in the field, and expects to resume active command of the Legion, since he was the one of the founding members and the team's original leader. Unfortunately, in his long absence, other Legionnaires have grown into leadership roles, and they, rather legitimately in my opinion, don't think he's ready to step back into command since he's so unfamiliar with what the team has become.

There's no villain here; the heroes are just trying to stop a bunch of natural disasters cascading across Lightning Lad's home planet.

I just thought this was a cool picture

I especially like this, because everybody essentially has a reasonable point of view, and a plan that could well be successful. But they can't implement their plans on their own, and everyone is running around willy-nilly trying to do what they think is right. There are disagreements about the best way to go about it, but they never undermine each other and they do work together to save as many innocent people as they can. In the shot below, Saturn Girl drops by just to comfort people and to tell them that the Legion is there to help.

This is what a super hero looks like

Finally it comes down to Bouncing Boy, still on ship orbiting the planet, to take charge of the operation, because he sees that the teams on-planet are simply engaging in damage control by careening from one disaster to the next. He's the only one who can see everything and it comes down to him to coordinate the effort, which he does masterfully.

Large and in charge

At the end of the episode, Lightning Lad requests that leadership of the Legion be put to a vote. Bouncing Boy wins the position, in large part due to his actions unifying the differing factions during storms. The thing I like most is how gracious Cosmic Boy is in defeat. He shakes Bouncing Boy's hand, offers him sincere congratulations and tells him that he'll pass on the leadership belt as soon as they get back to Earth.

Gracious in defeat
I liked both the Substitutes and Fear Factory, but I liked this one a lot too. It's neat to see superheroes operating as part of a humanitarian effort. Sure, I like it is as much much as anyone when Superman smashes through the bulkhead in the nick of time to blast the villain into next week, but here we have a story about heroes using their abilities to save lives, working together, and acting like adults, and that's really nice to see.

No comments:

Post a Comment