Review: The Legion of Super-Heroes #297

The Legion of Super-Heroes (1980) #297 cover
Cover by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt

The Legion of Super-Heroes #297
Published and © by DC, March 1983


Synopsis: Cosmic Boy, enraged with grief, hunts the terrorists who dropped a mini-nuke on the Earth neighborhood where his family lives.

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

Review: For the third straight issue (see reviews of LoSH #295 and #296), Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen choose to scale things back. That’s OK; the epic scope of “The Great Darkness Saga” isn’t sustainable. And there’s plenty going on here to keep readers engaged: flashback recaps to bring new readers up to speed and subplots aplenty to set up future issues. But the emotional core here is Cosmic Boy’s turmoil as he struggles to differentiate between justice and vengeance. Levitz’s character work is outstanding, even if his ending is a bit unclear (who is that screaming in the second-to-last panel?)

Grade: A-

Cool factor: It’s been said before but remains true: Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt’s art is a prefect for the 30th century.
Not-so-cool factor: The unclear ending cost this issue’s grade its minus.

Notable: Also includes an uncredited gag one-pager featuring Cosmic Boy.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, the is a 75¢ Canadian variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “If I kill you, I’m no better than you are …” – Cosmic Boy, working things out

Editor’s note: This review was written Nov. 28, 2020.

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