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Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1 Hardcover – June 27, 2017
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About the Author
Paul Levitz entered comics in 1971 as editor of The Comic Reader, the first comics newszine, which won two Best Fanzine Comic Art Fan Awards. He has received the Inkpot Award and the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award and serves on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund board. Levitz is known for his writing, including an acclaimed run on the Legion of Super-Heroes, a series to which he's returned. On staff from 1973, Levitz was DC's youngest editor ever, ultimately becoming publisher in 1989 and president and publisher from 2002 to 2009.
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This volume, first of an new series, picks up the compete reprinting where the Legion Archives left off, and for my view, is a better product. The archives reprinted the primary color comics on heavy, glossy stock, while this follows the format established by DC's Jack Kirby Fourth World Omnibus series, a matted, white, newsprint-like lighter stock, which also makes the book less expensive. The printing and paper are appropriate for the material.
A recommended addition to any LSH fan's library.
The contents are the products of many creators but despite this the series maintained a fairly steady pace during this period (late '70s). Indeed the best story in the book was plotted and laid out by Jim Starlin. Paul Levitz and Gerry Conway do some good work and Paul Kupperberg and Jack C. Harris write some of the stories the former plotted. Artistically, it is a very mixed bag. Mike Grell and James Sherman do most of the heavy lifting and look just fine. There are some great fill ins by the aforementioned Starlin and Walt Simonson. The various inkers do not always do justice to the pencils. One suspects that Vince Colletta was doing some of his famous rush jobs.
The production values are not as high as those of the archives. The paper is the newsprint type stock instead of the archives coated stock. Some prefer the former so if you are in that group you'll be pleased. There is an interesting extra in the rear of the book - a proposal for the tabloid story and some character notes.
There is not too much to criticize. The cover is not reproduced for the story that first appeared in DC Super Stars 17. They weren't prominent but Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Cosmic Boy were on the cover so it should have been included. There was one subtle nod to political correctness. In the tabloid story "The Millenium Massacre" the Legion fights Asians on the moon and this scene is depicted on the tabloid cover but on the collection dust jacket the skin coloring of the Asians is changed from yellow to a distinct greenish tint. But on the decorated boards beneath the jacket it's back to yellow!
Highly recommended. This collection is excellent value.
So I was very happy to see this book solicited and, even better, that it would continue right where Vol 13 left off. Considering that the book is starting 20 years into the Legion's run it's actually rather easy to get into, it opens with a tale of the Legion's first case and a little while later has one of the Legion's occasional 'score cards' giving the history and powers of each member.
The stories are a mixed bag, the big epic is the one seen on the cover, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl's wedding which some with some history-shaking time travel shenanigans. The smaller stories are fun too, with art mainly by Mike Grell and James Sherman but with some greats like Jim Starlin and Howard Chakin dropping by. The writing is almost entirely by long-time Legion scribe Paul Levitz who wrote the team off and on from the 1970s to the 2010s! You can see him taking things to the next level, working to give each planet, and each Legionnaire a unique feel. It's also a treat to see the disco era costume with bell bottoms, tight spandex and lots of skin.
The reproduction is fantastic, I have some of the original issues and the colors have never looked better. My only gripe is the lack of background materials. The old Archives had introductions giving some history and context for the stories but this has none of that. We do get reprints of some story proposals and character cards, but nothing to explain them. For example the we see the proposal for the wedding but the summary looks nothing at all like the actual story. I'd be interested in hearing how the story evolved and why it was moved from the comic to a deluxe, over-sized, treasury edition. Some notes would be nice to discuss this, and it should have been easy since Levitz was still writing the Legion as recently as a few years ago.
Despite the lack of supplementary material, I hope this new run of reprints will continue, if my math is right the next book would have the Earthwar Saga, one of the truly great stories of this age.