Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga Deluxe Edition by Paul Levitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Legion of Super-Heroes suffers a series of setbacks, leaving them vulnerable. When a mysterious manipulator sends his powerful servants to retrieve magical artifacts, the Legion heads for the fight of their lives...
Confession time: When I was in the second grade, one of my favorite comics was Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes. What kid wouldn't like a team of 50(!) super-powered teenagers from various planets in the 30th century. The Great Darkness Saga has been on my radar for years, as it is cited as one of the greatest super-hero comics of the 1980's. Did it live up to the hype?
First, some caveats. This is very much a 1980s comic. There is an over-abundance of cluttered word balloons, the writing is simplistic, and the characters are a bit on the thin side. Much like an X-Men trade I read a few years ago, the cover of this one spoils who the villain is, which I would have liked to have pieced together alongside Brainiac 5. Way to ruin the surprise, DC!
However, this is a pretty epic tale, especially for the time period. The mystery villain is gathering his strength after a thousand year sleep and has some big plans in the works. The Legion is in disarray after a series of setbacks, involving the return of Computo, Khunds, Legionnaires retiring, and a lot of other stuff and the when the apocalyptic scheme goes into place, it's a wonder anyone survives.
Since DC has gone to the "dark side" in recent years, I'm surprised they haven't scavenged the main villain's plot for one of their company-wide, momentum-killing crossovers yet. A planet full of pissed off Superman-level people under the thrall of an all-powerful menace threatening damn near everything seems like money in the bank to me.
All gripes aside, The Great Darkness Saga was a trip down memory lane, a reminder of innocent times and what made me like the Legion in the first place. All of my old favorites were in attendance: Wildfire, Mon-El, UltraBoy, Braniac 5, even Matter Eater Lad, whose super powers I appreciate much more as I approach 40. Did my brain conveniently forget UltraBoy always announcing which of his powers he was using? Note to those unfamiliar to the Legion: UltraBoy had all the powers of Superman but he could only use one at a time.
While it wasn't my favorite 1980s comic storyline and seems a little hokey by today's standards, it was damn good for its time. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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