Saturday, May 26, 2012

Legion Lost #9 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Legionnaires and Teen Titans and possibly some other people have to fight someone named Harvest. Wildfire tries to beat him by detonating himself, but it doesn't work very well. Harvest is connected to an organization called Echo, as is Chameleon Girl, and Timber Wolf also seems to know something about it. Harvest says he sent for the Legion and they didn't come to the present day by accident. And the hypertaxis virus isn't such a big problem after all, which Tellus may have known already. Also there's some stuff going on with Rose Wilson and Caitlin Fairchild that I don't care about. Oh yeah, and also Gates finds a time bubble.

Review:

The good news is, I wasn't completely lost despite not having read part 2 of "The Culling". I suspect part of that is because the plot of the thing is on the see-Spot-run plan, but nevertheless, I was following everything okay. So that's fine.

This business of Chameleon Girl and Echo. I find it all very unlikely and I'm against it. Certainly I hope that this series isn't going to be about the tension that comes before the reveal of secret conspiracies by Legionnaires; that would lag. It goes against how the Legion is best portrayed. I mean, I know that "Legion traitor!" is supposed to be a common story element, but if you actually look at the record, all those Legion traitors are a) honest Legionnaires keeping a secret from the rest of the team for their own good, b) some guy who joins the team only to betray them in the same story, or c) an impostor. I don't think any of these apply here.

I suspect I'm going to do an instalment of The Legionnaires for Chameleon Girl next to explore this idea further.

As for the hypertaxis virus... was this the plan all along, that the virus was only a pretext for getting them back there, and it wasn't important itself anyway? It's okay for the story to move around like that, and rely on the quality of writing and art to carry the day in the absence of a unifying premise, but the writing has been nothing special and the art has been much closer to good than great. Could just be DeFalco switching from Nicieza's ideas to his own, in which case I hope he gets on with it; all we've had so far in this series is setup and distraction.

plok of A Trout in the Milk had a post in which he categorized the various runs of Fantastic Four into, and I paraphrase, Real FF, Very Good FF, Caretaker FF, and Bad FF. We could do the same thing for Legion runs, and I may do so in a separate post, but in the meantime let's just say that this series is, so far Bad LSH.

And I don't say that lightly. But we haven't even had a full dozen issues yet and there's already been a writer change, the Legionnaires haven't actually done anything, the writers have shown no particular facility with the characters, what premise there is is not one that's obviously a good one for the Legion in the first place, we've been derailed by a crossover, and Timber Wolf has fired his fingernails across the food court of a mall. It's regrettable.

But not irretrievable!

This could be turned around in a single issue. All it takes is one writer with a good idea for what to do with the series, and we're off to the races. Couldn't tell you if Tom DeFalco is that man, but just right now I'm not getting that vibe.

Notes:
- to me the Legionnaires' new white costumes resemble the new Fantastic Four costumes. Is white the new jacket?
- imagine if Harvest was Grinn
- but I'm worried that he's actually Quislet
- all this conspiracy stuff... is Paul Levitz expected to deal with that in his comic book?

Art: 82 panels/20 pages = 4.1 panels/page. 1 splash page, 1 double-page spread

Can I just point out that there are three logos on this cover? Legion Lost; The New 52; The Culling Part 3 of 4. Also, it may be churlish of me to mention it, but there are a whole lot of panels and pages in this issue that have either no, or basically no, background. That's not cool. I like the way Woods draws the characters, and he certainly does a good job with them here, but we need the rest of the world too. I mean, I don't really know where we are here. A cave in Antarctica? Nobody said this was going to be easy, Pete.

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22 Comments:

Anonymous brainypirate said...

In case you didn't see, Bleeding Cool has heard rumors that DC is changing the creative team of the main LSH series after #12 -- keeping only Levitz. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the creative teams for both series so far.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I did see that, but I consider reading a rumour on Bleeding Cool to be about equivalent to not reading a rumour at all.

I have no problem at all with Pete Woods and I think Portela is awesome. I'm skeptical about whether we're going to get any legitimately good comics out of DeFalco, but from what I've seen so far I can't say that we won't.

Paul Levitz is of course one of the all-time great Legion writers, but I doubt that he has anything interesting left in the tank. I would rather someone more of a risktaker. Levitz, as a choice for a Legion writer, is about as conservative a candidate as it's possible to name.

The rumour doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. If DC isn't happy with how LSH is selling... they think Portela is the problem but Levitz needs to stay? Only thing that would make it make sense to me is if they're bringing in Giffen or someone like that. You know, doubling down on nostalgia. Cripes, why don't they just give up on new stories altogether and just issue '80s reprints with foil covers?

9:48 PM  
Blogger Jim Purcell said...

I agree on many of your points; in particular the downplaying of the Hypertaxis smacks of 'sweeping under the rug'. Which is unfortunate, as I think Nicieza had something cooking there. The Dulling crossover has been nothing but boorish, and everything that's wrong with mandated inter-company crossovers (forces you to buy all the tie-ins, derails ongoing plot threads, etc...)

That being said, I think DeFalco is doing a great job at give each Legionaries their own voice, they feel like organic characters with depth. But like you say, they haven't really DONE ANYTHING in the last 9 issues. And anything they may have been trying to do (Hypertaxis/Alister), as been apparently quietly buried. I do have some faith that DeFalco can take this title somewhere, especially now the that roadbump has passed. Next issue is taking us to dystopian alternate futures. So hopefully we're going to start seeing some raised stakes.

3:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Purcell said...

Oh, and as to LoSH creative change ups. Personally I haven't been as bowled over by Portela as some LoSH commentator's have been. I mean, he's okay. But really nothing special (his anatomy can get weird in the torso sometimes, and some of his faces just seem... off. Backgrounds and coloring are nothing to write home about either), he's no Pete Woods is what I'm saying.

If the rumors are true that Giffen is coming on board in some capacity, then bring him on I say. Writer? Artist? Both?! Love that guy.

3:03 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

One point: the way in which the hypertaxis virus seems to have been disposed of is a clever enough one and on that basis am prepared to embrace it.

Has the Legion ever had to deal with the dystopian alternate future before? I don't recall it. (Well, Star Trek/LSH, I guess, but that's sort of different.) Really it's more of a Marvel thing than a Legion thing, so I suppose we shouldn't wonder that a series featuring Nicieza and DeFalco would produce it.

The optimistic future is such a key element of Legion stories that I'm going to be watching very carefully to see how DeFalco handles this. It's something he could certainly get very wrong.

I think Portela's art is gorgeous. That's a layman's view, of course; I may be showing my seeds by saying so.

I haven't seen any rumours about Giffen specifically; I was just talking off the top of my head. And I have a lot of time for Keith Giffen, and will always read his Legion comics with positive anticipation. Unlike with Paul Levitz, I don't think we've yet come to the end of what Giffen has to say about the Legion. But he's not infallible, after all; he's experimental and some of his experiments fail. Which is fine, but it's something we should be ready to deal with.

Really I'd rather Giffen take over Legion Lost as writer than replace Portela. That might be just the ticket for soup.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Brainy Pirate said...

In searching Google for more news on the possible creative shuffle at LSH, I ran across this interesting snippet from a site called The Outhouse:

<>

The only problem is that while I can get this quote to show up in my Google search, I can't find it ANYWHERE on The Outhouse site -- even in cached versions of the page Google links to. Even to get a quote as long as the above, I had to trick the search engine a bit. I wonder if that quote was edited out of the original story about 0 issues?

Anyway, that quote, if true, would confirm a creative shuffle, even if only temporarily....

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Brainy Pirate said...

Dammit! The quote said:

During my interview with Scott Kolins today at the Phoenix Comic-Con he slipped when I asked what he was he was working on next, "I have 3 issues of Legion of Super Heroes coming up starting with the zero issue in a couple of months." I jumped on him, " Is that you confirming the very much rumored DC zero issues for September?" His response, "...Yeah I guess so." Full interview to be posted

11:27 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

This is the kind of thing that Michael at the Legion Omnicom does better than I do. (At least I hope he still does.) When it comes to rumours like this, I don't want to get in the habit of chasing them; I just want to see what happens and talk about the comics. For the Kolins thing, I don't believe it or not believe it; I just want to wait upon the event.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Jim Purcell said...

Now, Scott Kolins. There's a name I could get behind as a Legion artist.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah, I got no problem with Scott Kolins.

12:01 AM  
Anonymous brainypirate said...

We just got cited by Bleeding Cool as a source for the Kolins story!!!

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/06/03/scott-kolins-to-draw-legion-of-super-heroes-from-issue-zero/

3:48 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

(rolls eyes)

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Brainy Pirate said...

In happier news:

We're #2!! Power Boy and Gravity Kid are #2 in Newsarama's list of great LGBT Superheroes & Couples!

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-lgbt-superheroes-and-couples-1.html

2:15 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That's actually kind of sad. Nothing against Power Boy or Gravity Kid, but they're the most minor of minor characters. There should be better examples than them.

Not that it seems that that article spent a lot of time on how their ten were put in order...

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Brainy Pirate said...

That interview with Kolins has posted and it's a little scary:

"I'll be on the next 3 issues of Legion of Super Heroes, which will include big stunts going on if plans don't change."

http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/features/interviews/19720.html

6:26 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah, well. Talk is cheap. We'll see.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen previews of the first 5 pages for Legion Lost #10 that will be coming out this week. Looks like an interesting plot shift, though I'd rather the team not return to present day Earth to stay "lost.". At least the trip to the future wil help readers better connect Legion Lost with the main Legion title.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Haven't seen it yet. I'm at the stage of just hoping that it's good somehow.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just downloaded Legion Lost #10 on my iPhone today as I won't be able to pick up the paper edition until Friday. I'm looking forward to see your review of things, but I think there was great story line in the future that got rushed and pushed aside way too fast...

6:27 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm looking forward to doing it, but I'm not sure when I'll get to the comic shop next. I hope this weekend will work...

9:58 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Big sigh about Scott Kolins returning for a stint on the Legion. His first round, he was fresh air because it was different. But an extended run on Flash and I really began to despise his inability to use anything but a single line weight in his art. Everything looks flat.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'll miss Portela, but I'm happy to give Kolins a chance.

3:07 PM  

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