Friday, October 14, 2011

Legion Lost #2 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Red Lake Falls is having a funeral for all the people who died from Alastor's plague attack, and Timber Wolf is scouting it. He sees one of the men who's supposed to be dead, walking around. This is Dr. Jeffrey Scanlon, who's been turned into some kind of energy being. The Legion tries to help him come to terms with his new situation but instead he elects to blow himself up and eventually lets himself dissipate into nothingness. Plus something is stirring in a nearby swamp.  


One of the intriguing aspects of the current formation of the LL team is that the characters are going to be pushed into unfamiliar roles. Look at Timber Wolf in this issue. He's the only one of the five of 'em who can move inconspicuously in public. Who else? Wildfire is humanoid but not human, Tellus isn't even that, Dawnstar's wings don't come off, and Tyroc... Tyroc can go out in public, no problem, but he's going to stick in people's minds because there aren't that many black people in rural Minnesota. So it's just Brin. And Brin is certainly comfortable working solo like that, but in this case he's not really working solo; he's scouting for the team. He's an ambassador for the team. In this issue, he does okay in this role. But this is exactly the kind of thing that's going to jump up and bite them one of these days.

I like Wildfire's observation that the Legionnaires in this group aren't the smartest ones. And of course they're not. I wouldn't call any of them dumb, not by any means, but it's true that they're not geniuses. I might except Tyroc from this, as we haven't seen that much of him over the years, but then he was bright enough to lead a planetary resistance, be named president of Earth, and weasel his way out of the presidency, in the 5YL run.

Interesting that Scanlon has become part Teallian. I'm surprised it's possible; I can't imagine that Teallians even have genetics as we understand them. But I guess in the 31st century, the biologists' science is pretty tight. Wonder what the other problematic human/alien hybrids are going to be. Daxamite, I suppose. Bgtzln. Imskian. Sephian. Hykraian. Naltorian, maybe.

I've seen criticisms of the first issue that say that the Legionnaires basically messed up their mission in every way they could have. So, in this issue... I reread it with that in mind. And I don't really have any complaints of that kind, except for one big one, which I'll get to at the end. They've found a base of operations, and they're checking out the town, and Timber Wolf and Wildfire are keeping an eye on the memorial service. This seems like a reasonable way for them to start. They identify a pathogen victim and try to help him. They fail, but I don't see anything fundamentally flawed or stupid about their approach. (Okay, one flaw: Tellus could have been a bit faster on the draw when it came to figuring out Scanlon's mood and intentions.)

However. Here's the big thing. Just what do these guys plan to do about this pathogen and its victims? What abilities do they have, super or otherwise, that can be effective against this threat? They can't cure anyone of this disease. They can't stop it from spreading. Can they? Just what exactly is the plan here? And I don't mean I want to know how they can solve the problem. We'll find that out in time. I just want to know if there's anything sensible they can even try anytime soon, and if so what.

This was something of a done-in-one issue, which is always good. I know a lot of people were glad to see the exposition and backstory. I was doing okay without it but I know not everyone keeps up with the interviews and stuff the way I've been.

- Scanlon had that Jim Corrigan hair, red with a lock of white at the front. Wonder if that's DC code for "I'm really dead"
- Is it just me, or does Dawnstar have a shower every time she visits the present day?
- So it's the Psions who first made this virus. I haven't heard much about the Psions lately. They were in Omega Men, right?
- I am unsure about what this issue says about the nature of Teallians and of Wildfire. I am unsure that this is somewhere we want to go. On the other hand it's better than the Red Tornado thing  

Art: 83 panels/20 pages = 4.2 panels/page. One two-page splash, one section of five panels over two pages. You know what I like best about Woods's art so far? I like what he's doing with Dawnstar's face. She doesn't look generic-comic-book-pretty anymore; she looks like a specific person. I wonder what it is exactly--maybe the way her bangs are cut straight across her forehead. That's probably part of it at least.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's going to be a parade of guest stars marching through this title(L.E.G.I.O.N. is bound to show up) but it would be more interesting to build up a supporting cast of "regular folks" who aren't superhuman or affiliated with the JLA.Having the cultures of the 21st. and 31st. centuries meeting and clashing should be at the heart of this book.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I agree about the supporting cast; that's always a strength for a superhero book. The culture clash I'm not convinced about; that should be part of it, yes, but I think it's adjacent to the main point, which is about failure and identity and lostness. I think.

7:39 PM  
Blogger karl said...

A marked improvement on the first issue...Timber Wolf shows some authority and initiative, and everyone seems to be getting their act together. Pete Woods art has a fine realism to it, and I like lots the double-page spread of the towns survivors.
Its interesting how these lost LSHers have never been lost or stranded before, like most of the other Legionnaires have been, and it is nice to see second-stringers like Tellus, Tyroc etc without the main LSHers around to steal their thunder.
If I have one gripe, its that the Legion should really know how to cope if their flight-rings and transuits etc break down when they time-travel/visit other planets. With 31st century technology and training they shouldnt have to rely on them.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous AJay said...

I really like that Pete Woods has given Drake something of a face behind the visor.
I'm wondering if Gates and Yera were affected by the pathogen or otherwise tranformed or transported. I don't think that they are gone.
So glad to see Brin being Lone Wolf again and I can't wait to see more development of Tyroc.
Safe to say that I'm enjoying this immensely.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's starting to look like this is a story that can work; Nicieza and Woods seem to have some idea of how they want it handled. The only question is, is it going someplace interesting?

4:43 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

The Psions were the foes in the last arc of the pre-New52 REBELS series. I don't know that we've had prior indications of the various Vega races in the 31st century; in fact, it has always been such a big hole in the Legion alien race presence that it seems likely that the entire system got wiped out in the intervening thousand years.

I would be surprised to see LEGION/REBELS show up in Legion Lost any time soon. The DC space characters are pretty much absent in the New52 at this point, other than the Earthbound aliens like Kal-El, J'Onn, and Koriand'r. Tanga (in My Greatest Adventure) is the main exception.

Drake's "face" -- given Wildfire's other comments about how long it has taken for him to have as much control over his energy form as he does, this could be seen as a growth point for the character, beyond any nifty artist flair.

Where is this going? Nicieza and Lobdell have said there will be a connection to N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and a crossover with Superboy and Teen Titans. (Which itself should be interesting, since the Losties should be age and experience peers of Nightwing, Red Hood & the Outlaws, etc.), and for Brin, around since mid-Adventure, he's got the experience level of Justice League members (he's an age peer of young Superman, after all). Bet they won't play that up, though.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I always thought Comet Queen should be a Tamaranian.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

There are similarities, aren't there. Maybe a touch of hypertaxis will have made it through the centuries...

9:23 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

We can't use hypertaxis to explain everything, though. Some of those alien races exist in the present-day DCU. (Although I suppose they could have changed that.)

10:22 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

Wouldn't want to.

But if we want to tie Comet Queen into Tamaran (which I like), when her pre-transform identity didn't look Tamaranean and implications are than the Vegan races are dead or absent, then some form of genetic engineering seems to be the answer.

Hypertaxis would be the answer du jour, although the next time the Time Trapper yanks a cosmic string, who knows.

7:24 PM  

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