Monday, April 16, 2012

Legion Lost #8 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Legionnaires fight about Timber Wolf's actions of last issue. Then, some superpowered people from an organization called N.O.W.H.E.R.E. come after them, one on one, and generally outfight the Legionnaires, although they can't quite put them away, and it looks like the tide is about to turn when one of the... are they the Ravagers?... decides to skip to the end of the page by psychically nuking the whole area. So the Legionnaires are now captive.


That was a lot better than I hoped it would be. I had no trouble following it, for one thing, and there wasn't much to it that suggested I was coming into a story part of which I hadn't read. We'll see if this is also true of next issue.

The plot couldn't be simpler so far; some guys are out to catch the Legion for some reason. It's not distracting and it gives us a nice action-heavy comic book. I wouldn't want nothing but this, but it's fine. And the action itself is pretty good in its own right, too.

But we do get some more hints as to DeFalco's ideas about the Legion. Hint 1: Tyroc says, "We're Legionnaires, not thieves!" Hint 2: Dawnstar says, "I know what it means to be a part of a real team--a real family!" Hint 3: Wildfire says, "The Legion never quits. Never surrenders!"

None of which is wrong, exactly, just off a bit. Is the Legion like a family? Well, kind of, I guess, if you want, but isn't it more like a club? And, sure, the Legion is tenacious, but it's not really the first word that comes to mind to describe them. Really it sounds pretty generic. DeFalco could be writing that stuff about the Outsiders or the Champions or anybody. It's not wrong, but it's not interesting enough to be right.

Similarly the characters. None of 'em sound exactly right, but none of them are wrong enough to be wrong. The question there is, is there a difference between DeFalco putting his own stamp on the characters and DeFalco not quite getting the characters? And if there was, would we be able to tell?

It seems that Yera has a secret about what's really behind this mission. So that's what, three of them so far? Yera, Tyroc, and Tellus? I am now assuming that all seven of them are hiding something, and it may actually be the same thing.

As a Legion comic it was decent. As a crossover comic it was practically Shakespeare. I'm hoping that once The Culling is over we'll start to get some idea of what this title is actually about.

- did Oz mean "caged" or "cadged"? I know "cadged", but... is "caged" right too?
- wait just a freaking second. Since when is Gim and Yera's relationship over?
- "The real Colossal Boy never throws the first punch!" No, he gets knocked out by it

Art: 94 panels/20 pages = 4.7 pn/pg. 3 double-page spreads of 5, 8, and 4 panels.

Aaron Kuder brings us the art this issue and I quite like his style. I hadn't paid attention to the credits, but when I saw Timber Wolf leaping on page 3 I was all, that ain't no Pete Woods. It's good stuff; I'd recommend him to a friend. Interesting panel layouts, too; he's not afraid to stretch the action right across two pages, and yet his panel count doesn't suffer from it.

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Blogger jefhamlin said...

Gates sounded completely wrong to me. What with the Gim-Yera break-up off camera and Yera's secret I'm more and more over this series. It should have been a limited series from the start and had a defined purpose.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah, I don't get it with Gates. Seems like he'd be easy to get right, but nobody's done it since the Stern/Peyer/McCraw crowd. And it's not like Johns and DnA and Levitz are famous for not understanding characters.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I'm willing to give DeFalco a couple more issues to get the flavor of the characters closer to what we expect. Hopefully he's still settling into them rather than pulling them away. As noted, it wasn't bad, just wasn't quite right.

And I agree: as a lead-in to a crossover, this was far better than I feared it might be.

The thing with Yera and Gim's relationship being over, plus the thing about secret missions: can we parlay this into an explanation of Gim quitting the Legion so soon in the wake of Yera's "death"? Maybe Gim has a secret mission of his own, and he's out of Paul's book because he's eventually expect to tie into this one?

3:54 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I might buy that if we hadn't seen Gim with the UP spacefleet.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

That's what I mean. We remarked earlier that it seemed odd for Gim to so quickly from Legion to UP Fleet as part of his mourning period. He didn't just go on leave, he quit and joined within weeks of Yera's apparent death.

We now have (the start of) a possible explanation for that, that it may be part of a larger plan. If this "everyone lost has a secret mission" piece was always planned and not just inserted by DeFalco recently, then "Why did Gim switch so suddenly?" may be connected. As well as "Where is Quislet?" (which has been posed in the LSH book, so we know it may be connected) and "Where is XS?" (which is likely not related at all, but we can hope).

4:18 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, if they really did that, if there was a huge story that's been planned and just has to be built, with that much foresight, I'd be impressed. You know, if done well.


I don't really expect that out of the personnel involved. I don't see Nicieza/DeFalco doing that, and Levitz is too much of a gardener and not enough of an architect.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Darren K said...

I enjoyed the issue, far more than the previous one. The thing that struck me the most was the return of thought balloons. Those have been mostly rooted out of comics for the last too many years for being "old fashioned" and unrealistic. Next thing you know third person narration will reappear!

2:46 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh, yeah... that went right by me. They're really expository thought balloons, too, the fruitiest kind. I guess it must have worked since I didn't notice it; let's see if DeFalco gives us more of this.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do hope this is only a 12 part mini-series like the last Legion Lost. I'm really wanting this mission over and the lost members back with the rest of the team... Though I has been cool to spotlight these guys especially Timber Wolf, Dawnstar, Tyroc and Wildfire. Glad to see them mentioned in Legion #8. Perhaps that visual means this storyline is drawing to a close.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Not a miniseries. This thing's going to play out for as long as the sales numbers justify it. I don't think we should expect them back anytime soon; the reference in LSH#8 is just Levitz's way of keeping up with all of his cast, even those not currently on the team.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

“The Culling” is also a major lifeline to Legion Lost, though. Teen Titans is a top-20 book, LL is around #100 and a strong sales candidate for culling (ahem) at the end of New 52 Round 2 (probably announced around #12, done around #16). This crossover can be expected to as much as double sales on the book, but if they immediately plunge again, we can expect the storyline to wrap up a few months after.

(In some way. Don't be surprised to either see a spin-off mini for a couple or the characters, or at least one stay in the 21st century a while longer with one of the other teams. You know how those things go. And of course the Trinity War is coming next year, casualty characters are always needed for events.)

1:32 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Could be. I haven't been tremendously impressed with Legion Lost, what with one thing and another, but it's different enough that I keep thinking that it could be really good. I guess we'll see.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I suspect the biggest problem with Legion Lost is that readers don't know what kind of beast it is. Legion fans all see it as inherently limited -- at some point, the characters will return to the 31st century -- while non-Legion fans see it as a team book with weird characters which doesn't connect much to the rest of the DCU. (And the one case where it did? Connected to The Authority, which also doesn't connect up much.)

That's pretty much a recipe for dwindling sales and enthusiasm.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Maybe, yeah, but you're pointing out the economic problems with it. Important and of interest, but I'm more preoccupied with the aesthetic problems with it, which basically come down to... it's not clear what kind of beast it is.

If it was a miniseries, it would be perfectly straightforward. But it's not, it's an ongoing, and how does this story work as an ongoing? Dunno. Maybe Nicieza and DeFalco know, but, no disrespect to either gentleman, neither one of them has that kind of visionary-master-planner rep that makes me want to say, don't worry, they've got some rabbits in this hat and it'll all make sense by issue #30.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I think we're fiercely in agreement: DC doesn't know what type of book they are doing here, so the readers don't either (and maybe not the creators). It's kind of wandering around in the dark.

On the other hand, one of the strengths of comics (and soap operas) is that they have continuing plots that you don't (in theory) know when they are going to end. With a mini-series, you can typically predict the upcoming story beats; I've come to despise "series or mini-series" and "writing for the trade" as a result. There can/should be something "freeing" about a series where you know that there is an eventual conclusion goal with no obvious map of how you are getting there.

(Lost, for example, sharing a word with the title of this series. We knew from the beginning that, short of cancellation, that it had to end with them getting off the island, but who predicted flashbacks and flash forwards, ancient gods, time travel, parallel universes, and the cause of the Asian Tsunami embedded in there? If DC wants to and has the sales to, this series could do damn near anything they wanted to, keeping us entertained for years.)

3:21 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's starting to remind me of some of the comics I collected in the mid-'80s. I kept getting them, month after month, saying to myself, this could get really good any issue now. And they never did. They stayed what they were.

Unfair to DeFalco, of course, to say that just because those guys back then never took their comics over the top, he won't either.

But, uh, I don't think he will.

3:35 PM  

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