Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino, Andre Lima Arauho, Artists; Jim Lee, Penciller; Scott Williams, Inker; Alex Sinclair, Dave Stewart, John Kalisz, Jordie Bellaire, Colorists
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: We’ve been waiting for the Legion of Super-Heroes to return for a very long time, which makes it all the stranger that Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1, the first issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ mini-event restoring them to continuity before he launches an ongoing series…doesn’t have the Legion in it.
Rather, this story focuses on an unexpected lead character through four different time periods – Rose Forrest, the host to the mysterious Thorn. This four-part comic takes Bendis’ newest pet character through DC history as it’s revealed that her “condition” has the side effect of making her immortal. Bendis teams up with a quartet of legendary artists, starting with Jim Lee. His segment features Rose talking to an aged Supergirl – now President Supergirl – as she monologues about the fix she’s in now that the medicine she used to control Thorn has been discontinued. Thorn’s been locked up so long she’s terrified what’ll happen if she gets out. Lee’s art is probably the weakest of the segments, but that’s more a testament to how strong the art is on the others.
The second segment, with art by veteran DC artist Dustin Nguyen, sends the immortal Rose and Thorn forward in time again – this time to the steampunk techno-future of Batman Beyond. The art here does a great job of capturing the gloominess of future Gotham, but the story here is probably the weakest. Thorn is clearly becoming more unhinged as her long life wears on her, and she kidnaps Terry to interrogate him about what superheroes are doing wrong that crime is still a problem. There’s some tension to the scene, but the narrative is overall unclear and that continues into the third segment – drawn by frequent Jeff Lemire collaborator Andrea Sorrentino. Taking place post-Great Disaster, it involves Thorn wreaking havoc in Kamandi’s world as she seeks to steal the uniform of the late Superman, killing an ape-man elder along the way. With virtually no humans left, her lucidity is slipping away – and it doesn’t get much better in the final segment, taking place in the far future where the Planeteers are pioneering space travel. At this point she’s so crazy she gets the authorities called on her when she tries to get off-planet – and promptly steals a speeder. The art is brilliant, there are some compelling scenes of possible DC futures – but halfway through, what this has to do with the Legion and how Rose is tied to them is totally unclear.
Corrina: Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 feels like it would be far better as an original story, rather than using any DC characters at all. The story of an immortal with either a second being/disassociative identity disorder trying to navigate her way through a confusing history of humanity has potential. (This reminds me of some parts of Astro City.)
But since it’s a DC book, I’m left trying to sort out how this all relates to the various time periods Rose exists in and how it relates to the absent Legion of Super-Heroes. To say that I’m nonplussed by the use of Thorn would be an understatement, as she’s a super deep-cut into DC lore. Bendis using her in Metropolis made some sense, though now it appears her showing up in the Superman books might have been only to show she’s immortal.
There’s also the question of mental illness and how well that may/may not be handled. Rose’s statement that there are no more people with her condition left, and therefore no meds, is a bit disturbing, in that it implies some sort of eugenics movement that eliminated mentally atypical persons from the population.
Issue #2 will also be double-sized but, still, that seems not enough space to help Rose recover, unravel Thorn’s secrets, and introduce the new Legion of Super-Heroes status quo.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.