Friday, 11 November 2011

Legion Lost #3 review

Good Lord, what a horrible creature on that cover.

It's Dan DiDio in an OMAC tee shirt!

Kidding ... well, not about DC's co-publisher, there he indeed is, just above the barcode. But I mean the monster Timber Wolf's fighting. It's one of the alien/human hybrids created by the Hypertaxis Plague released by 31st-century terrorist Alastor into the 21st century. And it's out for blood, hunting and killing other victims of the virus.

The why is revealed on the final page, but before that we see Timber Wolf, this issue's narrator, steal a police car as he tracks down the killer. Teammates Tellus and Dawnstar are using their telepathy and tracking to find other victims of the plague, while sonic boomer Tyroc and energy being Wildfire attempt to rebuild their disabled tech.

It's another improved issue of the new Legion of Super-Heroes spin-off, building the momentum and continuing the character work. It also adds a couple of new mysteries to the storyline - as well as the nature of the killer's quest, there's the identity of the woman glimpsed by Tellus on a telepathic sweep. It seems she's keeping tabs on the virus too, could she be connected to the Metacontrol organisation referred to by an air traffic controller left in Dawnstar's super-speed wake?

We also see Timber Wolf using his heightened senses in a disgusting, but effective, way, prior to a blisteringly good fight scene that ends when the hero gains a surprise advantage.

Other good moments include glimpses of 'native' DCU heroes during Tellus' mental recce, and the Legionnaires' difference of opinion over whether they should ask them for help. Then there's the ending ...

Read DC's publicity for this issue and you learn that the killer beast is named Red Rage, a fact not made clear in the story, though it is the name of the chapter. More interestingly, we're meant to learn the answer to the question: 'What secret does Tyroc hide in plain sight'? After several reads, all I can say is: beats me. The goggles that seem glued to his forehead finally cover his eyes, as he works on the knackered tech, so perhaps he's short-sighted. Shocking.

Anyone? Or is this a case of Solicitation Gone Wrong?
What hasn't gone wrong is the story and art. Fabian Nicieza's script is a fine balance of searing action and quieter moments, peppered with sparky dialogue. Pete Woods' illustrations get stronger by the month as he makes the Legionnaires his own. The scene in which Timber Wolf smashes into the mall, leaping from a police car at, yeah, Red Rage, is outstanding. And every page is superbly coloured and lit by Brad Anderson (who also tones that great Woods cover), and lettered by Travis Lanham. The whole creative team - and that includes editors Darren Shan and Brian Cunningham - is really gelling, having taken this book from ho-hum to hoo-hah in just three issues.

Legion Lost? Hardly.

10 comments:

  1. I think Brin's gonna need a new manicure. Luckily, he's in a mall.

    Yeah, this is my favorite issue of the run so far. It started a little shaky (though I liked issue 1 better than most), but I think thinks have become much more clear for new readers, and the issue sets the mind at ease for old ones, too.

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  2. That's not DiDio! That's my cousin in a University of Oregon shirt!

    Thank you for the kind words!

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  3. Another great review as usual. Thanks for writing this and posting it before the weekend.

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  4. I had low hopes for this issue. I saw the cover and my heart sank: I thought it looked messy and confusing, with the Red Rage monster's colouring too close to the red colour of the word 'Lost'.

    But I was pleasantly surprised by the contents. I really like this device that the writer is using - of giving a different character the narrative voice each issue. Timber Wolf had better characterisation than he has had in a while (ditto with Wildfire last issue). I suppose it's possible to give each character more development when there's currently only a handful of them.

    After having pretty much disliked the plot of the first issue, this is growing on me and is firmly in my buy pile now.

    Oh, and I'm glad about the twist on the final page. Makes you appreciate the question on the cover more...

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  5. Not having read the issue, I'm having flashbacks to Stuart Immonen's spooky Inferno title from the 90's. Now that was a good mall-monster!

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  6. Glad you're enjoying it too, Rob. Er, any idea about Tyroc's secret?

    Hi Pete, what was I thinking, saying that was DiDio? (I see the university has been making their trademark 'O' look like it has a pupil ...) I'm not wrong though, am I - that is a DiDio store at the mall, inside the book?) Probably Bob DiDio! Er, any idea about Tyroc's secret?

    Cheers, Novelty. Er, any idea about Tyroc's secret?

    I'm most looking forward to Tyroc's turn at the narrative bat, Rob - I feel I don't know him at all. Er, any idea about Tyroc's secret?

    Stop it Timbotron, next you'll be bringing up that 'orrible Timber Wolf mini-series. Er ...

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  7. enjoyed it, but i'm still hoping all those characters will be put back in the regular legion title.

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  8. Tyroc's secret? All his sonic effects are lip-synced. It's Milli Vanilli all over again.

    (Actually, a recent interview with Fabian indicated that he had to shuffle some of the plot around in order to make the first issue more slam-bang at DC's request. Maybe the secret mentioned in the solicitations is an artifact of Plan A?)

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  9. That cover reminds me of that Timber Wolf series of the early 90s, and what is it about time-lost Legionnaires and malls?!?!?
    Not sure I agree with how the team is trying to survive here; stealing and Tellus using his mind-control on the motel owner [ I mean, I understand why they have to but I think its a bit beneath them, considering the LSHs moral standards, oh well ].
    Good art, nicely realised fight scenes and yes that twist at the end...the momentum is fair rattling along with this book. With DCs plan to cancel poor-selling books after just six issues if they dont pick up Im just glad things are getting accelerated plot-wise.

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  10. Anon, I think our heroes being reabsorbed into the 31st century team is a given - hopefully everyone will survive long enough.

    Rob, that's quite brilliant!

    I'm all for LSH moral standards, Karl, but surely the Greater Good argument comes into play here?

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