Friday, May 11, 2018

New 52 Legion Lost #8

The New 52 was an incredible experiment which, for the most part, failed. 

For me, I have to lay the blame at the feet of the highest up in DC. Because if you are going to blow up the entire continuity of a comic universe, renumbering books from your origins, and giving people a point to jump on or off your properties, you better have a solid lineup of books with bullet proof directions.

And we know that the line didn't have that. 

We know it because early on in many books, creative teams were cast off. Books got bold new directions after only half a year. Others were near immediately cancelled. And the whole thing seemed built on sand. 

Now I could point to Hawk and Dove, or Perez's Superman as examples of books blown up because editors decided things needed a shake-up a handful of issues in. But you guys are here for Legion stuff. 

So here is Legion Lost #8, a New 52 book which undergoes a complete change in direction just 2/3 of a year into the run. Fabian Nicieza and his Hypertaxis virus mega-plot are gone. In comes Tom DeFalco who decides to double down on the nonsensical gritty tone of the New 52 by folding in the Legion book into a dreadful and incomprehensible  'Hunger Games' plot which was in both Superboy Titans. Add to that DeFalco eliminating the Hypertaxis plot and instead giving each Legionnaire a personal plot we haven't heard about in the prior 7 issues. 

Shouldn't DC have either trusted Nicieza to proceed? Or not pick this plot for a new book if they had such low confidence in it? This book seems lost, pun intended.

All that said, this is early Aaron Kuder work. I love Kuder's art style. His stuff on Greg Pak's Action Comics is stunning. And one thing I did like about the New 52 was the new take on Ravager. On to the book.

Legion Lost #8 came out last week and it marked the beginning of the next phase of this book.

The book has a new writer, this being Tom DeFalco's second issue on the book. It has a new style, dropping the rotating narrator style that had been the hallmark of Fabian Nicieza's time as writer.  And now, given some of the dialogue we got in this issue, we seem to have a new theme and new storylines. All of these changes in the face of lowish sales makes me wonder if this is a last ditch effort to save this book from cancellation (the equivalent of adding Lobo and Starfire to R.E.B.E.L.S. not so long ago). And if we are there, why not include the Legion in The Culling crossover that Superboy and the Titans are embroiled in.

Now I am a huge fan of Pete Woods and I have been a huge fan of the new Rose Wilson. So I think this is fantastic cover. Makes me wish Woods was doing a Rose solo title. But the Legionnaires reflected in the sword blades is a nice touch.

Woods isn't on interiors this month. Instead we have Aaron Kuder who does a great job channeling Frank Quitely, not a bad guy to try to emulate. Artistically, this book had the feel of one of the big action New Xmen issues Quitely drew for Grant Morrison.

The book starts with us learning that NOWHERE has become aware of the Legionnaires and wants to bring them into the fold of the Colony. And they are sending in a retrieval team led by Psykill, a definite winner in the 'Comic character from the 90's' lookalike contest. I find it hard to take such characters even remotely serious. Now matter how much he bloviates, he still can't eat a bowl of cereal.

In the meantime, Tyroc has the appropriate response when he learns Timer Wolf has thrashed some thugs and stolen their money. It leads to an angry confrontation with Brin, one that the other members need to break up.

I do like that Dawnstar realizes that Tyroc has to be the bigger person here, the 'adult' amongst Wildfire, Timber Wolf, Gates, and the like.

Psykill's team includes Rose Wilson.

In the continuation of a theme over in Superboy, Rose gets the best lines and most dramatic pages.

Here I love how she shuts up Psykill, telling him he can't intimidate her. She then jumps from this airship to confront Timber Wolf, a 2 page spread of a variety of panel sizes, shapes, and points of view on her readying for the attack. It is a great page showcasing Rose's abilities again.

But this attack by NOWHERE is only one aspect of this issue. The other seems to be to distance the book from it's initial premise as the Alastor/Hypertaxis plot gets swept under the rug.

First we learn that the Hypertaxis mission isn't the real mission. Yera is on a secret mission and calls the virus 'ridiculous'. Hmmm, I never really cared for the 'lost in time' plot line. Will mocking it or expunging it save the book?

Psykill and Rose aren't the only Ravagers cut loose. We meet some other NOWHERE operatives too.

I liked this one 'Misbelief'. Seems like she can pluck a possible fear and make it physical. Here Yera fights a manifestation of Colossal Boy, her estanged husband.

Tyroc decides he needs a walk to clear his head. After all, he can't dwell on 'the prophecy'. Is this another new plotline, moving away from Alastor?

So Yera is on a mission, Tellus is hiding something big, and Tyroc thinks his life is predestined. These are a lost bunch.

Tyroc gets taken out by someone with wind powers.

And the rest of the team get attacked by other metans. Here at least, the Killer Croc looking one seems remorseful, forced to do this by Harvest, mirroring that sentiment seen in Superboy.

Rose holds her own with Timber Wolf, amazingly, mostly by ducking and weaving. But Timber Wolf sees through her ploys of trying to keep him from heading back to the hotel.

Smart, tough, cunning. Rose is great.

This panel, especially the smashed glass, seemed like Quitely.

And I include this because Wildfire is my favorite Legionnaire and there is some nice Kirby dot flair here.

Will Wildfire and Dawnstar have a new 'secret' back story too?

In the end, Psykill has a psychic kill switch, a sort of neuro EMP. Everyone gets incapacitated and gathered up for the Hunger Games .... I mean, the Culling.

So interesting art, a great cover, and some Rose Wilson are the upside to this book. I don't know enough about the new storylines to know if I like them. It seems unfortunate that the Alastor story looks like it might be pushed aside rather than wrapped up. And I don't like the Legion being in this corssover, as it feels forced.

There are elements of this book I like a lot. But right now, it feels lost.

Overall grade: C

I'm giving this a C- now. The emergence of Kuder and the revisiting of the Rose Wilson character I loved so much raises this up from the D it should be. To have us suddenly hearing about prophecies and secret missions when we have been in these characters' heads for more than half a year is idiotic.

And I am pretty sure things only get worse.


  1. Ugh. This is where the series began its hard downward spiral for me. With apologies to the writer of this review, I cannot stand Ravager, so her appearance here, along with all of the other flunkies (including the cheesy "Image-ly" named Psykill), was a major downer.

    Don't even get me started on the disaster/waste of time that was "The Culling"!

    My love for the Legion kept me on the book through the end of the series, but there are very few bright spots remaining going forward...

  2. I don't blame Tom for trying to put in some subplots. For all he knew, this book would improve and then he would be left with nothing.