Cover date: April 2009
"Origins & Omens"
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Francis Manapul
Inker: Francis Manapul
Colorist: Elisabeth V. Gehrlein
Cover: Aaron Lopestri
Reviewed by: Barry Freiman
The time traveling Legionnaires were Cosmic Boy, Lightning Boy, and Saturn Girl. Lightning Boy would later become Lightning Lad and get rid of the Christmas colors for blues, whites, and golds more evocative of lightning. Saturn Girl would be from Titan, not Saturn. The self-identifying names would disappear from their costumes. The heroes would eventually get real names: Imra Ardeen (Saturn Girl), Garth Ranzz (Lightning Lad), and Rokk Krin (Cosmic Boy). And, as the group name suggests, there would be lots more Legionnaires. Lots, lots more.
The end of the story is what helped jump-start the Legion craze: there are three additional Legionnaires who can be seen in the group (two of whom appear to be Brainiac 5 and Invisible Kid, the third with his back to the panel). At the time, it created a curiosity as to who they were and who else might be in this Legion.
New Story: "Origins & Omens"
Scar, the scarred, female Guardian, reads from the Book of the Black about Lex Luthor. Luthor is where we last left him chronologically - imprisoned by General Sam Lane and forced to unlock Brainiac's technology.
Luthor does exactly what he's been forced to do - then he takes Brainiac to his ship. He's stopped by two armed guards. Luthor reveals that he is in control of Brainiac, the green man's 'droids, and his ship. Brainiac comes to life and kills the guards.
Lex enters a cavernous room containing Brainiac's ship. The ship whirs to life and emits a red beam that envelops Luthor and Brainiac. Brainiac rises and reveals he played possum to be reunited with his bio-shell. Brainiac tells Luthor they aren't going anywhere and that they are going to work together.
Scar continues reading from the Book of the Black about another person Lex will have control over, and who may save him from Brainiac, Superman, and himself - Kon-El, a.k.a., Superboy.
Story - 5: Gosh darn that was a good story. I didn't see the Green Lantern connection coming and I should have; Geoff's strength is in telling simple stories with kick-butt cliffhangers.
"The Blackest Night", "New Krypton", Brainiac, Luthor, and the classic Legion's return - it's all cleverly connected. The final page bookends well with the final page of Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #3. For the first time in a long time, I don't feel like I need to buy all the potentially connected titles to figure things out; I want to. I can't wait to see how Geoff weaves in and out of the bubbling - but still separated - plot points that ultimately will all tie together. I'm ready - take me on the ride that Final Crisis promised me.
Art - 5: Beautiful, luminescent, colorful without being gaudy - a total homerun. My only criticism is Brainiac's ship looks a little too much like a dog - an angry rotting corpse of a dog, but a dog just the same.
Cover Art - 5: If we had a six rating out of five, this cover would get it. SUPERBOY! The adventures of the Man of Steel when he was a teenager living in Smallville and hanging out with his friends in the Legion. I've waited 21 years for this.
I don't have any problem with the cover being a depiction of the reprinted story rather than the new one. This was a rare occasion the internet didn't spill the beans on who the story would feature.
Of course the return of Kon is no big surprise. Things have been leading to this for a while. But I suspect it's a long road back to life for the Boy of Steel - one that will take him through "The Blackest Night" before a new day.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.