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On the science fiction blog io9, Rachel Ariel Porte provides us with a great introduction to Raymond McDaniel‘s Legion Of Super-Heroes-themed poetry collection Special Powers And Abilities, along with a fascinating interview with the poet.
This was a book whose existence I was entirely in ignorance of until now, but has gone straight to the top of my Amazon wish list. McDaniel’s dropped-at-the-deep end introduction to Legion lore sounds remarkably similar to my own, when I bought LSH #300 on a whim as a youth. The interview reveals McDaniel as a writer with an amazingly thoughtful take on these characters, and a man throwing around as many mad ideas and as much maddening language as Grant Morrison. (“Consider us super-induced, added to that which is, enumerated perhaps to the point of being supererogative if never quite superfluous, each one of us supernumerary, all of us superhetrodyne, mixed, reactive, multiple, magical”).
The guy should be offered the job of writing a Legion comic for DC ASAP!
Just read, for example, McDaniel on Brainiac 5: “Let’s imagine someone smart enough to be both a theoretical physicist AND an applied engineer. Which identity would get more use? The engineer. Brainiac 5 is a problem-solver because all anyone does is present him with problems. Who stops by his quarters to discuss xenoliteratures? No one. So what you end up with is an asymmetrical genius, one who has a gift for abstract reasoning that’s perpetually subsumed by his gift for getting things done. As a result, it never occurs to Brainiac 5 that there’s any kind of problem he can’t solve. And when the range of abstractions that require solving includes things like Time, Death, Sentiment and God, you get some very, very weird and heartbreaking ideas. And a boy who is very bright but also, fundamentally, very confused.”