Friday, April 14, 2017
Review: Legion Secret Origin #4
Recap: The Legion is just forming, organized by mega-rich philanthropist RJ Brande. The planet Anotrom was overrun by alien warriors. Now a wormhole has opened near Anotrom and an invading alien armada stands poised to enter United Planets. Meanwhile, more young super-powered youths, including Querl Dox and Tinya Wazzo, are heading to Earth, brought in to help cope with this new interdimensional threat and the lure of the Legion. All the while, the UP Security Directorate council is taking it all in and pulling some strings.
I have already reviewed the first half of the Legion Secret Origin miniseries and I have been of two minds. As an inculcated fan, I have enjoyed this sideways look at the origin. We have been dancing on the periphery of the team's beginnings, adding some details to the well known tale. And that is fine for someone like me who can recite the Legion's beginnings with ease. But I have worried that new fans would be either bored or lost or both.
Legion Secret Origin #4 turns the corner a little bit. There is more Legion action here. The team is together and in action. And the plot threads are starting to tighten into something cohesive. Add to that all of this 'seasoning', like peeks at the personality quirks of the Legionnaires in these early years.
I still think it might be a little tangential for someone new. But this issue is better.
Add to that the smooth art of Chris Batista who gets to stretch his artistic legs a bit. He really gives a youthful polish to these characters, especially Phantom Girl.
On to the book.
One thing that I like about this story is that we learn that Brainy is something of an introvert and definitely likes his personal space. He doesn't like being touched. He loves his force shield. I suppose growing up in the sterile world of Colu, he probably doesn't get casual contact that much. That panel with him holding people off is a nice visual.
He heads to the lab of Circadia Senius hoping to use the lab for his own research. Senius is doing his own experiments with time and time travel. That shouldn't come as a surprise to any longtime Legion fan. These two have been partners (with Rond Vidar) on time research for some time.
So it was cool to see them meet for the first time, especially during a botched experiment by Senius. Everyone is young and inexperienced here. This is another nice touch.
But it isn't just time Brainy wants to study. He also wants to learn about asynchronous worlds like Bgztl.
Meanwhile, the Security Directorate is still trying to make sense of all the different events which have happened recently. The formation of the Legion. Young powered people joining that team instead of the SciPo or other such groups. The wormhole and impending invasion.
These folks act like they usually know all the pieces on the chessboard and are moves ahead of everyone else. Here they seem like they aren't quite sure what is happening and what the right move is. All they know is the Naltorian Anisa keeps saying the Legion has an aura of destiny. She even hints at the High Seer's Apprentice might be attracted to the Legion (obviously a nod to Dream Girl).
I don't know if I like these characters. They seem more like an excuse for exposition. They pull page space away from the Legion. And they just aren't interesting.
She joined the Legion and thinks Brainy should do so as well.
Just as we intuit Brainy's need for personal space, we get the sense of just how touchy and flirty Tinya is. Her body language, the closeness to Brainy, the smile and coyness. It all shows you that despite being intangible, Tinya is physical.
Meanwhile, the Science Police is again upset that the Legion even exists. Brande's new team is taking the best recruits away from the force. And Mycroft of the Directorate seems to agree. Throughout the series, Mycroft seems to be the most wary of the team and Brande.
But the UP governing body doesn't seem that worried. If anything, the team is a nice representation of the what the UP is. After 'the sundering' of the planets, things are healing. And a multiplanetary, youthful group of heroes? That's a beacon.
I don't know just what Mycroft is about.
And then we finally get to see the team. Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, and Invisible Kid have been inducted. That brings the roster to 8. Again, look at Tinya cheering. She is just so bubbly!
Isn't this what the book should be about? Shouldn't we be seeing this close up. We don't know when Cham arrived, how he got to the team, or if he showed his powers.
Did we need all that political backstory when we could get these first encounters?
And then we get just a touch of action.
For the fourth straight issue, there is an attempt on the life of RJ Brande, this time by machines. The last three issues, the assassins have been people, albeit mind-wiped into a single cause of killing Brande. This time the 'Asimov controls' on the machines have been removed leading to construction equipment attacking.
At the very least we get a teeny bit of action. Look, Cham changed shape! Gim embiggened!
In case you can't tell, I am pretty enamored with Tinya in this book. Her personality is pretty infectious. And there is no denying that Batista likes her and is adding to that comely mystique. Yes, it is a gratuitous butt shot of her in the battle. But it just seems to fit her character in this book.
I happen to know that there is a strong contingent of fans who think Phantom Girl is the most attractive Legionnaire. This series definitely has nudged her higher in my mind.
But again, the team working together and using their powers to protect Brande felt like a Legion book. I haven't been able to say that too often with this mini-series.
And then we get a great moment! The UP fleet at the wormhole has called out for assistance, a sign that Colossal Boy knows is a big deal. But Brande is still in danger. Rokk splits the group into mission teams designed to cover both threats.
Now that is a cool moment of Legion history.
But the threat seems too huge even for this new team.
Leave it to Phantom Girl to think outside the box. They need help. So why not reach out through time and get Superman? Given the changes in the timelines with DC and recent stories with Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison, Superman had been part of the Legion again.
I'm still not sold on this mini-series. But this was clearly the best issue so far. But we only have 2 more issues left! Can Levitz bring it all home?