Friday, April 6, 2018

New 52 Legion Lost #3

I continue my look at 2011's Legion Lost book here on the blog.

This was an interesting reread for me as things I gloss over in the first review stuck out as more painful in my reread. And the things which I seemed to like a lot I think I liked a smidgen less. As a result, I have a slightly downgraded opinion of this. 

For one, the Legion deciding not to ask the other super-heroes, especially Superman, for help out of concern for infection control seems silly now. Humans are infected and milling about shopping malls. This isn't a contained situation. Second, the fact that Timber Wolf can drive a car with the skill of a stunt driver seems foolish. It would be akin to me knowing how to race a stage coach. Lastly, the idea of the Legionnaires being mutated by the virus such that Wolf can fire his finger nails is a bit cringe worthy in retrospect.

Things that do stand out. I like the pattern of writer Fabian Nicieza using a different team member as the narrator each issue. I like that Wolf's more animal nature is part of his life. And contrasting that to the savagery of humans was nice. And the art by Pete Woods continues to shine. That mall splash page below remains incredible. On to the review.

Legion Lost #3 came out 2 weeks ago making this a late review.

We are three months into the DCnU and it is funny how my responses to some books have changed since the opening issue. I really didn't like the first issue of Legion Lost. I put the book on life support saying it had a short period of time to grab me. I thought the second issue was better with a nice narration by Wildfire and smoother art by Pete Woods.I still wasn't fond of the idea of the stranded Legion fighting a plague in the past. But it was a nice improvement.

Legion Lost #3 was an improvement on the last issue. That's three straight months of improvement and as a result a growing confidence in this title. First off, Fabian Nicieza is really making the Legionnaires three dimensional. Last month's narrator was Wildfire. This month's is Timber Wolf. And that method of spotlighting the inner thoughts of the team members is a great way of adding depth to these characters. I hope that this is a theme, that each month we'll get a new narrator and thus see this story truly from multiple perspectives. And Pete Woods art is at its strongest here, really getting into the action of the book.

Now I will say that I still don't think this overall plot of the hypersapien plague can be sustained long term. So the overall story is for me the weakest part of the book while the individual chapters have been fine.

In a nice opening sequence, we get a quick overview of the story and some glimpses of future plot lines through the eyes of a telepathically scanning Tellus. More and more people are being infected. An alien like being is hunting and eating prey.

More importantly, a mysterious woman is watching all of this stuff from afar. I doubt she is someone from the CDC. Maybe the new DCU has a Metahuman Center for Disease Control, a MCDC. And why do I think there is definitely a military or offensive wing to whatever group this woman represents. I don't recognize her scars so she must be someone new.

But the thing I liked the best about this issue was the inner thoughts of Brin. You can sense how he feels like a caged animal. He is angry. He is frustrated about everything. And hanging out at a Motel 6 isn't helping things.

As always, the best part if Timber Wolf is how he tries his best to suppress this animal side of himself and maintain control. It has never been easy. So this just read well.

I included this corner of the two page spread just to spotlight Pete Woods' version of the new Supergirl. I have always loved Woods' take on Kara, whether it be in Amazons Attack or New Krypton. Heck, he even made the bottom of the uniform look good.

As the 'tech' Legionnaires try to cobble together some sort of time beacon from the wreckage of the Time Bubble, Timber Wolf asks what I would be asking. Shouldn't they be asking Superman for help?

The problem is the Legionnaires are probably infected with the virus themselves. To approach Superman would be to expose him. Better they remain in hiding as they try to figure things out and squelch this epidemic.

I don't know if I 100% buy that. They could phone him rather than talking in person. Don't you think Superman and the JLA might be helpful in potentially stopping a world-threatening infection? Also, I doubt Wildfire can harbor viruses as an anti-energy being. He could probably talk to Superman without a problem. Unless this reluctance to speak to anyone is more about time paradoxes.

So the Legion stays put trying instead to find the index case Alastor and the doctor from last issue.

One of the things I am up in the air about is the characterization of Dawnstar. I like the fact that she demands perfection from herself and others. I also like how the environment of 21st century Earth makes it impossible for her to be perfect. Here she is frustrated with her inability to track Alastor.

While that frustration, and seeing the usually reserved Dawnstar unravel a bit, is going to be interesting to watch I wonder worry it will make Dawnstar less impactful in the book. How can a Dawnstar that can't track be useful? And will her only response be frustration? Or will their be some despondent moments?

But this is Timber Wolf's book. He decides he can't stay penned in anymore, especially with the monster seen in the above panel on the loose. He heads to the local police station to examine the latest victim of the monster and then hears where the creature is.

But here is the dichotomy of Timber Wolf at it's best. Here he says he is trapped among the savages because he needs to hand enter info into the police car's GPS. And yet, a page before, he is licking the half-eaten cadaver of the victim to get information! Who is the savage here? Fantastic juxtaposition!

The creature is an Okaaran Rdrayyj and it is attacking another mutated human in the Great Mall of Fargo.

This is my favorite panel of the book, a dramatic action filled panel as Timber Wolf drives his stolen police car into the mall while simultaneously leaping into battle with this thing.

That is beautiful.

The rdrayyj and Wolf begin to fight. But Timber Wolf wonders just what this things is doing. There are easier things to eat so there must be something about the hypertaxis victims it is eating that is unique.

As I said, Timber Wolf's struggle with maintaining some humanity and civility is one of my favorite things about the character. Above he called us savages. Here he sees cause for that opinion as two people video tape his fight in hopes of a cash score as opposed to helping or fleeing. Just when I am wondering how a corpse-licking guy can call me a savage, Nicieza shows us why he can. Nice.

Throughout the first couple of issues, I wondered if the Legion's fight with Alastor exposed them, infected them.

The answer is yes.

Timber Wolf suddenly has the ability to fire his claws like quills.I don't know how I feel about this yet.

Earlier in the issue, Wolf discovers that all the other victims of the rdrayyj had Durlan DNA from the virus and this current victim does too. Somehow Chameleon girl has been trying to 'come back to life'.

Was she the rdrayyj? Mutated by the infection? And doesn't that mean she's a killer? Or was she somehow stuck in the rdrayyj? I don't know how Nicieza is going to explain this but I'm glad Yera is still alive. Hopefully Gates returns soon.

So this book continues to get better and better. I still don't know just how accessible this book would be for a brand new reader, a Legion novice. But the switching narrator, the characterization, and the action are all working for me now.  As I said, the definition of savagery in this issue was a nice them by Nicieza. And Pete Woods is is firing on all cylinders.

Let's hope the momentum continues to propel this book forward!

Overall grade: B+

So I would probably give this a C+ now, or maybe a B- elevated by the art. I love what Woods did to the New 52 Supergirl costume as I found the bottom part of it usually annoying. Here it looks more Kirbyesque. And I guess we'll see about the military woman stalking the team.

But the overall plot of being in the 20th century to stop a plague still isn't working for me. As I said then, the character layers are good but the underlying plot is lacking.


  1. Overall I liked this issue a lot. The 'taking turns as narrator' idea was a good one, as it gave new readers insight into the characters, and gave old readers big downloads (in later issues) on the less-exposure members such as Yera and Tyroc.

    I did not care for Brin's new Porcupine Pete ability. He is fine the way he is. But the battle scenes were fantastic otherwise. Woods really grew on me quickly.

    Last but not least, did anyone else instantly (back in the day) pick up on the lamely-named rdrayyj? "Red rage" indeed... (eye roll).

  2. Just discovered this blog. Looks great!

  3. If I had to pick just one word to describe this series, it would be "derivative."

    The idea of the Legion trapped on present-day Earth had already been done (with mixed results) back in the 90s.

    The title had already been used by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning for their 2001 mini-series about a group of Legionnaires who were "lost" in another galaxy.

    Even the idea of having each issue narrated by a different character had already been done (and much better IMHO) by Abnett & Lanning for that same mini-series.

    Don't get me wrong: I LOVED Pete Woods' art, especially his costume redesigns for Tyroc, Wildfire and Dawnstar. But great art can only do so much to cover up a mediocre story.

  4. I (gasp) didn’t read the Abnett/Lanning stuff. That was in my time away from the LSH. So thanks for the comment about how this approach wasn’t brand new.

    I agree with the sentiment that this isn’t very good.

    More to come!