Review: The Legion of Super-Heroes #290

The Legion of Super-Heroes (1980) #290 cover
Cover by Keith Giffen and Frank Giacoia

The Legion of Super-Heroes #290
Published and © by DC, August 1982

Title: “And the Servant Shall Be a Sign …”
Synopsis: The servants of an unknown evil gather powerful magical relics – and the Legion appears unable to stop them!

Writer: Paul Levitz
Penciler: Keith Giffen
Inker: Larry Mahlstedt

Review: Writer Paul Levitz’s winning Legion formula of sci-fi, soap opera and superheroics is in full effect as “The Great Darkness Saga” gets underway in earnest. Matters of the heart and political intrigue play out against a growing threat of unknown evil. This juxtaposition makes the stakes feel real and lends the book a powerful dramatic tension. The addition of regular inker Larry Mahlstedt rounds out the art team, with his work giving Keith Giffen’s pencils a nice solidity. The quintessential LoSH creative team is already in fine form as it launches one of the epic storylines of the Bronze Age.

Grade: A

Second opinion: “… the beginning of five issues of fun … .” – Tom Joyner, Comic Informer #7, January-February 1983. … “A great start to the story. 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.” – Brent Frankenhoff, Comics Buyer’s Guide #1668, August 2010 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: The classic Legion creative team on the classic Legion story. That’s about as cool as it gets.
Not-so-cool factor: There’s a coloring glitch showing “the master” with human skin, confusing the slow reveal of the big bad’s identity.
Notable: Chapter One of “The Great Darkness Saga.” … According to the original script, the aura around the Servant of Darkness at the Tower of London was supposed to have been green – an important clue to that servant’s identity. … Cameo appearance by “Antonio Stefanacci,” a 30th-century Dr. Strange homage.

Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “… at least I’m trying to get something Lightning Lad gave up voluntarily. How about you … pal?” – Element Lad, applying the snark to Timber Wolf

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Sequential Reaction (Vol. 1) on July 5, 2016.

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