Experimental comics have existed since the art form began. However, not every experiment is successful. What side of that line does Legion of Super-Heroes #8 fall on?
So what’s the experiment here? Each page is by a different line artist, and each is focused on a different Legionnaire. It’s by Brian Michael Bendis, Jordie Bellaire, Dave Sharpe, and twenty-one different art teams- Evan Shaner, Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen, Joelle Jones, Michael Avon Oeming, Liam Sharpe, Andre Lima Araujo, Sanford Greene, Cully Hamner, Yanick Paquette, Dan Hipp, David Mack, Darrick Robertson, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Bilquis Evely, Fabio Moon, Michael Allred, Ryan Sook, Wade von Grawbadger, Alex Maleev, John Timms, and Duncan Rouleau.
The Legion of Super-Heroes is under fire for their actions against Rimbor. Now under attack by Rimbor in retribution and the politics of the United Planets, they are in the toughest spot they’ve faced in their short history. Can the Legion survive?
As a story, this is a pretty straightforward Legion story. It’s actually the most classic feeling of Bendis’s run to date, a mixture of politics, superheroes and soap opera. Without the gimmick, I would say this might have been the best issue of the run. However, you add the gimmick, it actually becomes severely disjointed as a story, with an unclear narrative throughline, especially when it switches from telling how several members joined the Legion to the battle between the Legion and Rimbor’s forces after a few pages. It probably would have been salvaged by waiting for the titular trial of the Legion to have actually started to do the one-page-per-artist concept, or making the new focus of each page clear with each page turn.
As far as the art, it’s a murderer’s row, without a doubt, and there isn’t a single bad page. However, some definitely work better than others. In some cases the artist clearly wanted to experiment a bit, such as Sharpe and Robertson, which gives a good page that doesn’t really tell the story. In other cases, the switch in style doesn’t quite work, such as the flow from Paquette to Hipp to Mack, which is simply jarring. Overall though, it’s an absolutely gorgeous issue, top to bottom.
This is worth checking out to see so many great artists in one book. However, the story needed a bit better focus to be a success, even if that ambition was admirable.
Legion of Super-Heroes #8 is available now from DC Comics.