Legion of Super-Giffen, Prologue II
First, I would like to apologize. I am absolutely humbled by the depth of Legion knowledge that I've seen on this board. Never expected that. Ya gotta admit pre-Zero Hour LSH continuity is a little obscure at this point.
So, yeah, there are people here who know their Legion.
That said, I still don't feel like exhaustively explaining every little thing in the art below -- that's a lot of typing. Giffen's LSH is the densest storytelling this side of the Silver Age.
No, I just want us to look at the pictures right now. We'll get to the themes later.
So once again I present you with the art of Keith Giffen,
*sigh* I mostly posted this page because of the excellent manipulation of depth and space, and not for the cheesy image of the villain standing over the helpless heroine. The fact that she's his sister does not make things any less cheesy.
I've never understood Giffen's relationship to cheesecake, though I'll be the first to admit that his theoretically-sexy women look a lot better when Al Gordon is inking him. It never seems to work. They never look sexy.
I've always got the impression that Giffen knew that half-naked ladies sell comics but had no major interest in drawing them. It feels obligatory.
This panel works because of composition, shadow, and space. The focus is not on Ayla, especially not on Ayla's deshabille.
I dunno. Discuss.
Now, THAT is a page.
I detect manga influence here.
This comic was done very shortly after McCloud left the DC bullpen, I believe.
Look, it's awesome. It's cheesy, but it's so awesome. The traditional iconography indicates that Ol-Vir will be the one to betray Lightning Lord, an interesting thread that I don't think they ever pursued.
Pop art! I see a lot of Roy Lichtenstein love around here.
What a great panel. I chose it for the expressions but the dialogue is aces.
Is that a Cerebus joke?
It is. That's a good drawing of a simple thing.
Once again, I am way under 1/3 for this issue so if anyone wants to post more there's plenty space.
EDIT: Ashtoreth has again provided a helpful summary:
The first picture under the cut is Lightning Lord (Mekt Ranzz), brother to the twins, Lightning Lad and Light Lass (Ayla Ranzz). Her powers originally duplicated her brothers' but were altered to lessen items weight (the opposite of Star Boy/Starman's ability) in order to get around a Legion rule that prohibited duplication of powers. With her hands manacled and in a dungeon, her power is useless.
Lightning Lord was born without a twin, and that made him a freak on his home planet. He has serious sibling issues. He decided that Light Lass's rejection of the superhero life means she might be turnable to the Legion of SuperVillains.
Since Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy founded the Legion of Super Heroes, Lightning Lord generally partners with a trio that chose to be their opposites (Cosmic King, Saturn Queen, and Lightning Lord). They showed up in a Superman/Batman story where they kidnapped the two heroes and raised them as evil tyrants in an effort to change history.
The next panel is Dawnstar, a winged Amerindian with an unlikely capability to fly faster than light. She races an energy villain named Lazon who can fly at lightspeed. Best not to think about it too much, but worth noting that, while flying, Wildfire is faster than Superman, and Dawnstar is faster than Wildfire.
In the next series of panels, Wildfire attacks Titania (strong chick) and Magno Lad. Wildfire was turned into a ball of anti-energy years before, and at this point required an energy suit to interact with the world. Wildfire and Dawnstar have just returned from her home on Starhaven (a whole race of winged Amerinds!). She has failed her vision quest to find her soulmate, and despite Wildfire's GIANT EMO over his inability to have sex and really truly be her boyfriend, they are a couple.
The next panel needs little explanation (Titania kicks Ultra Boy into Mon-el) but it does show off Titania's really awful haircut.
The next panel I honestly never realized was based on Leonardo's Last Supper. In my defense, I was a child. :) Lightning Lad may be holding court over the Legion of SuperVillains, but he is not the actual leader. He is group oriented enough that he was a reliable second in command.
The next panel was the punchline to the current Legion leader, Element Lad, congratulating himself on how well he was handling everything. Element Lad had a tendency to panic. In later continuity, he was retconed into having a relationship with a guy, Shvaughn/Sean Erin.
The next panel: supervillain banter! Radiation Roy is..well..a radiation user and Tyr has a sentient gunhand that, oddly, sometimes controls minds. Radiation Roy and Tyr argue over name fashion. In the old days, I'd've said Tyr was right. As an adult, 'radiator' sounds too much like a car part. I believe 'Radiation Roy' could be made to work by a post-modernist writer.
The next panels show an example of the frustrating secret symbols meant to stand for Interlac, the common language of that era. Dr. Gym'll is examining Saturn Girl, who stupidly went into battle while she was 9 months pregnant. The effort started labor. Her husband, Lightning Lad, and the Legion leader, Element Lad, wait anxiously. Element Lad is having a tizzy.
Saturn Girl had a normal child who became known in the letters pages as Nosegrabber Kid. We later learn that her child had a twin that was stolen by Darkseid (and this is the meaning of his parting prophecy) and turned into the giant superstrong mental-lightning shooting monster called Validus, who became a member of the Fatal Five in the past. (They made an appearance in Superman's World War event.
In the next panel, we see the castle that the Legion of SuperVillains has made homebase, along with signs of the alterations they've been making as part of their Grand Plan. In the spaceship are Queen Projectra and her consort, Karate Kid, returning from their honeymoon to Projectra's home planet Orando.
The last panel shows the heretofore unrevealed leader of the Legion of Supervillains, holding the captured ring of either Queen Projectra or Karate Kid. The green mist is Mistmaster, who took down the spaceship by gassing them. The white gloves were a red herring to throw readers' guesses off.