Review: The Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #3

The Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (1982) #2 cover
Cover by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt

The Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #3
Published and © by DC, 1984

Title: “The Curse”
Synopsis: Saturn Girl gives birth while engulfed in a magical darkness; everything goes well with the delivery … or does it?

Writers (plot): Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen
Writer (script): Levitz
Pencilers: Curt Swan and Giffen
Inker: Romeo Tanghal

Review: This final annual from the 1980’s run of Legion of Super-Heroes is a mixed bag. For this epilogue to their classic “Great Darkness Saga” (see reviews), Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen have concocted an epic story with a worthy, tragic twist. But the done-in-one pacing feels rushed, particularly given the slow burn of the original saga. Also problematic is the art: Curt Swan’s solid-but-bland style saps the story of energy, and his previous association with the Legion screams “Silver Age.” Giffen draws the final two pages, but his new style feels disconnected from his earlier work. A solid-but-subpar outing.

Grade: B-

Second opinion: “Swan’s solid, straightforward style has been overshadowed by younger, more-innovative artists, but he still deserves enormous respect.” – R.A. Jones, Amazing Heroes #56, Oct. 1, 1984 … “It’s extra fun seeing longtime Legion penciler Curt Swan return for this adventure. … 4 out of 4 stars.” – Brent Frankenhoff, Comics Buyer’s Guide #1668, August 2010

Cool factor: There’s some Greek-tragedy-level shenanigans at play here.
Not-so-cool factor: The art doesn’t do this story any favors.

Notable: The “Legion Outpost” pages includes information on the LoSH’s greatest villains.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a $1.50 Canadian variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “I could have sworn I felt two separate babies’ thought patterns.” – Saturn Girl, who perhaps should have listed to her telepathic intuition

Editor’s note: This review was written March 12, 2022.

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