Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #2

The Legion of Super-Heroes (1984) #2 cover
Cover by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt

Legion of Super-Heroes #2
Published and © by DC, September 1984

Title: “… Where a Villain?”
Synopsis: Skirmishes break out across space as the new Legion of Super-Villains continues to gather material for their secret master plan.

Writers (plot): Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen
Writer (script): Levitz
Penciler: Giffen
Inker: Larry Mahlstedt

Review: Writer Paul Levitz does a masterful job of building tension, particularly when it comes to establishing the threat level of his villains. From Lightning Lord’s mental state (he “hears” storms talking) to a shocking scene of wanton evil from Sun Emperor, Levitz makes it clear our heroes are at real risk. He also demonstrates an uncanny knack for juggling multiple plot threads without the overall story feeling cluttered; this is a hallmark of Levitz’s time as the Legion’s primary scribe. Keith Giffen’s increasingly abstract cartooning style continues to benefit from the higher-quality paper stock used on this relaunch.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: The villains are terrifying.
Not-so-cool factor: If Giffen hadn’t been experimenting stylistically, this arc might have rivaled “The Great Darkness Saga.”

Character quotable: “They’re all going to die this time, Ayla – the storm says so.” – Lightning Lord, picture of mental health

Editor’s note: This review was written July 11, 2022.

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