Legion of Superheroes: Millennium #1 // Review
Since moving to DC Comics after almost two decades at Marvel, writer Brian Michael Bendis has arguably turned out success after success. His run on the Superman titles has been tremendous fun, as has his work on Young Justice and Naomi. His first big event for DC, Event Leviathan, has been a tight little mystery/thriller. The series he’s shepherded with other writers--Lois Lane, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, Wonder Twins, and Dial H for HERO--are among the gems of DC’s offerings. With Legion of Superheroes: Millennium #1, Bendis might have finally delivered his first dud at DC.
The series follows Rose and Thorn, a minor DC anti-hero who has been appearing in the pages of Bendis’ Action Comics lately, as she discovers that she’s immortal. Bendis uses this character’s journey to tie together several of DC Comics’ various canonical futures into one cohesive whole. Presumably leading to the 31st (or is it 32nd?) Century and the advent of the Legion of Superheroes.
In the first segment, Rose seeks out the help of President Supergirl (it’s unclear what she’s the President of--the US? the Earth? the United Planets?) as the medicine keeping her destructive alter ego, Thorn, in check has run out. Since this segment has a few double-page spread flashbacks to the present-day DCU, it was a smart choice to have the art team of Jim Lee and Scott Williams, with color by Alex Sinclair render this in the DC house style. The story itself is hit-or-miss, as the whole thing is simply a conversation between Rose and Supergirl--one that ends with Supergirl making a promise that is very clearly an empty one.
The second segment sees Thorn battling with Jokerz in Neo-Gotham, in the future of Batman Beyond. Thorn eventually meets and subdues Terry McGinnis, hoping he’d turn out to be the Batman of her era and therefore also functionally immortal. He isn’t, and the segment just...ends. Again, the best part of this chapter is the art by Dustin Nguyen and colorist John Kalisz. Any opportunity to return Dustin Nguyen to Gotham (Neo or otherwise) is a good one.
The story then moves to the post-apocalyptic world of Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, as Thorn for some reason steals Superman’s suit and kills an innocent ape. Andrea Sorrentino somehow manages to combine photo-realism and a pitch-perfect Jack Kirby homage, and Dave Stewart’s colors are gorgeous.
The final, and strongest chapter of the book sees Rose visit the future of obscure DC character Tommy Tomorrow. As Rose tries and fails to get off the planet by joining Tommy Tomorrow’s Planeteers. The banter between Rose and Tommy is a lot of fun, and André Lima Araújo’s art, with colors by Jordie Bellaire, is delightfully kinetic and weird. Letterer Dave Sharpe unites the four different stories.
Bendis fails to give the four vignettes any type of through-line, and neither Rose nor Thorn seems to change much as the book lurches forward. It seems like the only reason for this book’s existence is to give Bendis a chance to briefly visit all of DC’s various futures before landing in the world of the Legion when its title debuts in November, but there’s really not much substance here. So far, at least, this series seems superfluous and unnecessary.