One of my Christmas presents was Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes, a hardcover collecting the six issue storyline from Action Comics. Written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Gary Frank and (inker) Jon Sibal, it features Superman reconnecting with his childhood friends and allowed me to reconnect with mine, as this series features the original versions of the long-running (and twice-rebooted) Legion. I talked some about this issues as they came out but I think I enjoyed the story even more this second time around.
Originally, I was swept up in the plot and the pure joy of seeing Blok and Dawnstar and Polar Boy again. But Johns really nailed the essences of these characters - the hotheadedness of Wildfire balanced by the calm practicality of Dawnstar; the arrogance and compassion of Brianiac 5; the positive attitude of Polar Boy.
He also showed why Superman was the inspiration for the future. A non-powered Clark (thanks to Earth's sun having turned red) still fights the fight and is not only loyal to his friends but is still able to inspire them. Obviously, he does not appreciate the Justice League (former Legion rejects, some of whom were members of the Legion of Super-Villains) distorting his life to spread xenophobia on Earth and bring the United Planets to the brink of war. In their final confrontation, Earth-Man tells Superman he doesn't know what it's like to be an outsider, to be rejected. Superman's reply is powerful and well set up by the story.
All of these serious themes and subjects are undercut by bits of humor as well. A major source of this is the reappearance of the Legion of Substitute-Heroes, who hijack a space bus and attack the Justice League in their headquarters. I do love Stone Boy.
The art is a big draw here as well. Frank and Sibal like working on the ladies - rarely have Dawnstar and Shadow Lass looked so good. But they also give us a Superman we can believe in, as well as the entire Legion. Johns ended each issue with a great cliffhanger and the art did not let down the story - Chapter 5's ending of a powerless Superman taking the fight with Earth-Man into space is awesome.
I'm very glad I got this series in hardcover, as I suspect it's one I will return to. My rereading also comes at a good time, since there has been a long gap between issues of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds (the third is coming at the end of the month, finally) and I was itching to see more of the Legion. It is work like this that makes me continue to love super-hero comics.