I just wonder what you got from that Action Comics storyline that I didn't. For me, Shooter has me reading and enjoying a Legion book for the first time in nearly twenty years; meanwhile, what Johns was doing just felt hollow. It was "let's hit this plot point...and here's a moment that's meant to be evocative...and here on the diagram we insert a scene that touches on the stated thematic goal...and here, one more moment where we stop and commemorate the meaningfulness of it all." I get the impression your response was the reverse of this, and it vexes me.
I wouldn't say my response is the "reverse" of Bensam's, but I did give Action Comics a favorable review and Legion a relatively negative review (with the qualifier that I think the Shooter-penned series has great potential). So let me explain a bit more about how I feel about Johns's recent version of the Legion and Shooter's interpretation.
First of all, my CBR review wasn't evaluating Action Comics as a Legion book, but as a Superman book. So in many ways, Bensam's criticism of Johns's by-the-numbers Legion moments misses the point a bit. The Legion moments were clearly designed to illuminate Superman, to provide a dramatic context in which aspects of Superman's character can be emphasized, not to add depth to fifty years of Legion characterization. As a Legion story, Johns's tale was nothing extraordinary, but it did a more than admirable job of re-engaging the Legion with the Superman mythos. The Legion has been cast aside for too long, in my mind, and even the Abnett and Lanning attempts to connect the characters with Superboy felt like a second-rate patch job. So there's that.
Also, I have absolutely no problem with conventional storytelling as long as its done well, and Johns is one of the best at well-structured superhero narratives. You may be able to see all the beats in advance, but damn it if he doesn't hit them emphatically. There's a reason we, as a species, keep telling the same basic stories again and again. We like to see slight variations, but we like the what we like. Over and over. If you listen to a song you like, even a new version of it, you don't judge it based on what's going to surprise you, but on how well the artist performs the required moments. That's what John does, and he does it well.
I'm still not sure what to think about Shooter's Legion, though. He didn't want to reboot the series, even though he claims DiDio offered him the chance to do so, yet he isn't keeping the tone or characterizations of the Waid Threeboot, so he has basically just adopted the costumes (which he will also change in the near future, as seen on the first cover of his run--a strange image, to be sure, since we're several issues in and those costumes still haven't appeared), and the main cast of characters. But since the characters don't act like they have in the recent past, it's basically a relaunch anyway. Which is fine, I guess, since he did instill some much-needed energy into the series. Even though I liked Waid and Bedard's Legion when I reread the entire series last year, it was a bit too self-serious for me. It felt like it was trying to say something important and show the weight of the universe on the shoulders of these young men and women in the Legion, but it didn't have much life to it. Shooter has brought in some life, which is why I believe the series has potential under him.
But I do actively dislike plenty of his dialogue, much of which relies on "futuristic" slang that sounds like a 65-year-old trying to be hip. And his attempts to add conflict within the Legion is reminiscent of every team comic book since Claremont's X-Men. Or, perhaps I should say every team comic since Shooter's original Legion, which was inspired by Marvel's troubled heroes. Either way, there's certainly nothing new here, and Shooter isn't as good at hitting the marks as Johns is, but I think he might surprise me before his run on the series is over. I'm optimistic about the new direction, but I don't think the comic is all that great yet. Perhaps Shooter still needs a few more issues to position the team where he wants it. I don't know.
Of course, with the Johns/Perez "Legion of Three Worlds" this summer, perhaps Shooter won't get a chance to take the Legion where he wants them to go. I'd be shocked if a reboot or deboot (or whatever) didn't come out of this Final Crisis/"Legion of Three World" stuff. And although I'd happily keep buying Jim Shooter Legion comics, I feel that editorial forces beyond all of our control may have something different in mind for the future of the Legion.
I am really glad that someone had the foresight to pull together a useful analytical guide to the various incarnations of the Legion of Super-Heroes just in time for this huge summer event, though. That guy must know what he's doing, at least.
What does everyone else think about all of this stuff?