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5 star content, but 3 stars for the production errors,
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This review is from: The Legion of Super-Heroes - The Curse Deluxe Edition (Hardcover)
In the wake of the Great Darkness Saga the Legion of Super-Heroes face new foes and challenges. The Curse has no big over-arching story but writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffin use these issues to a tell a succession of smaller ones that focus on the character dynamics and throw in some mad science fiction ideas.
The Curse reprints Legion of Super-Heroes 297-313 (from 1983-4) along with Annuals 1 and 2. These are some of the first comics I ever owned so I have a lot of nostalgic feelings towards them but they hold up perfectly. It anything Levitz's scripts and characterizations are more subtle and multidimensional than a lot of writers today. He was willing to write his characters as human beings, they could be cliquish, catty, petty but still be heroes.
Through quotes from 'Encyclopedia Galactica', 'Earth on 5 Megacredits a Cycle' and other fictional publications Levitz fleshes out their 30th century setting throwing out ideas that are still interesting today. For example a two-parter introduces the idea that Earth has less than 100 police officers with drones and psycho-conditioning taking care of most crime.
And Giffin's designs also still look futuristic and not dated at all. He replaced screens with holograms, elevators with antigravity beams and replaced Roman letters with the universal language interlac.
Throughout the book Giffin's style evolves, he starts with a hyper-detailed but stiff style similar to George Perez but it becomes looser and more expressive over time.
His designs for aliens are incredible, he breaks the usual humanoid mold and gives all sorts of flying, slithering and crawling aliens. In one scene we meet the administrator of a space station, a giant slug with a robot vacuum cleaning up his slime trail. It's a throwaway character just there for a few panels but it shows the real imagination he brought to the book.
Content-wise it's a brilliant book and worth reading.
But Ian Statter, the reprint editor really fell down on the job. There are minor coloring and production errors throughout. Characters hair or costumes shift colors on a page and, in one particularly embarrassing error, some instructions to the production staff "stat panel #6, pg 6 and place" are actually printed.
They also include no extras. There's no forward or introduction to put these issues in context. Which is especially odd since both Levitz and Giffin are working for DC now.
The original comics had all sorts of maps, text pieces, alphabets and other guides to the 30th century but none are included. This is frustrating, Giffin made extensive use of the interlac alphabet he created in stories as well as the icons he designed for the Legionnaires, without those guides it's hard to enjoy the full story. And it's there was no reason to omit them since the book has extra pages between the issues. But instead of using those pages for content, the editor chose to reprint the same bits of stock art a dozen times.
This is a great read, don't get me wrong. But this is a $50 deluxe edition yet it has less content than the original issues and several reproduction errors.