Legion of Super-Heroes #4 is published by DC Comics, written by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by Ryan Sook and Mikel Janin, inks by Wade Von Grawbadger and Mikel Janin, colors by Jordie Bellaire, and letters by Dave Sharpe. With Damian Wayne returned to the 20th Century, Superboy gets his crash course in Legion history. And he’d better hurry. While the past may be set, the future isn’t going to wait around for Jon to be ready for it.
Class is finally in session in Legion of Super-Heroes #4. With several mentions scattered throughout previous issues, Jon finally has a moment to start learning about why he is in the future. This takes the form of a virtual reality experience with the help of Computo, a cybernetic humanoid hybrid. Through this program, Jon experiences the moments when key Legion members are called to join. Seeing the first steps of Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, and Lightning Lad is enlightening to say the least. Bendis does a great job keeping a lore-heavy issue interesting and fun. Several key details given about members really help flesh them out, making them much more interesting to me. The critical history lessons are cut short though, as current events demand the Boy of Steel’s attention.
Bendis continues to craft a unique tale with Legion of Super-Heroes #4. I sometimes struggle with how it simultaneously feels extremely busy while at the same time going nowhere at all. The hinted-at struggles of the fledgling Legion continue to have me hooked though. My limited exposure to The Legion in previous comic iterations was always hallmarked by the sense of an ideal. It was like everything was naturally harmonious for them. This feeling of chaos and uncertainty is a surprise that has kept me intrigued almost despite how meandering the plot feels. Every time I feel like I’m about to learn something cool the story pulls away. While some of this creates tension and excitement, too much can become obnoxious. And though it’s not to that point yet, it feels like it’s getting precariously close.
Though the plot might suffer from a bit of stalling, one place Bendis has always excelled to me is in his characters. Legion of Super-Heroes #4 continues to shine a great amount of character within its pages. Little moments give the stories within authenticity that goes a long way to keeping grounded a book that flys so far in the future.
Sook and Janin’s art goes a long way to reinforcing the strong presence of character within Legion of Super-Heroes #4. In particular, the visual work for Saturn Girl’s introduction is an excellent example of this character focus. With nothing in the panels but her, the art team has to really sell Saturn Girl’s presence and make her shine. The emotions and strength of her presence resonate through her introduction.
The lettering done by Sharpe is also excellently handled. With lots of jumps happening during this issue, there are plenty of opportunities to present different voices here. Sharpe does a great job of using numerous different styles and colors to highlight these various voices. This helps keep the events interesting and fresh.
Overall, I found Legion of Super-Heroes #4 to be an enjoyable book. It succeeds in introducing several key Legion characters on a more personal level, even though this comes at the cost of once again stalling the main narrative. As long as you are ready for a slower burn, character-driven story, I think there is a lot to enjoy in Legion of Super-Heroes #4.
Legion of Super-Heroes #4 is available now, wherever comics are sold.