It has been over two months since Justice League vs. The Legion of Superheroes #1 kicked off and the wait has been excruciating. That first issue was a masterclass in page composition thanks to so many characters on the page at once and nearly all of them talking. The first issue also ended with a whopper of a cliffhanger, but fear not, readers, as the series returns this week to answer a few questions. Not least of which the biggest question on casual fan’s minds: Who is the Gold Lantern?
Thankfully, we don’t have to wait long for that answer as this issue’s opening acts as an origin for the Gold Lantern. Writer Brian Michael Bendis eases us into the issue by giving us a look at who he was before he gained his powers, which leads organically into a long dialogue from the character himself on how we got here in the main story. Essentially, Bendis makes us care for and think about this character in a new way, further making his concern and worry about where all the heroes disappeared to more real and the reader care even more about the moment.
If you’ve come for the always sharp Bendis dialogue, you’ll find it in this opening scene. It’s intriguing how Bendis has the alien speak (pictured below). There’s a lack of experience with English that is apparent and it adds an alien element to their interchange.
This leads to check-in with the Justice League heroes and where they went along with some colorful reflections on the strange world they now inhabit. Bendis is always good at throwing a side comment into a larger dialogue to add a bit of color, like when Batman explains why his mask must stay on.
Artist Scott Godlewski crushes on this issue, once again, with great art by Ryan Cody too. Godlewski’s lines are super clean, aided by a gold outline on the Gold Lantern and a cel-shaded approach to much of the work. This issue has fewer heavy lifts as far as many characters talking at once, but there is another scene involving a large table but done differently here. Godlewski’s style suits the far future scenes which create a sparse yet hopeful environment.
Bendis also appears to be playing with sci-fi tropes as he did in the last issue which is a fun element for longtime sci-fi fans. It’s a key detail involving how our heroes interact, which suggests our characters may be in different times, but that may not matter in real-time for both timelines. If that’s head-trippy, prepare for more of that in future issues.
One gripe with this issue is how much less plot progression we get compared to the last issue. The Gold Lantern origin is interesting but is still incomplete, while the remainder of the issue is mostly check-in with the Justice League. There is also less opportunity for characters to interact as they did in the last issue, which reduces its general entertainment value. There’s nothing bad here; it just feels lighter.
The wait was far too long for the second issue of Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes, but that’s because the series is so darn good right out of the gate. This second issue slows things down a bit as it focuses on the Gold Lantern while preparing readers, and the heroes in the story, for what comes next.
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