Friday, June 1, 2018

New 52 Legion Lost #11

When I was first asked to reformat and reprint my New 52 Legion and Legion Lost reviews for the site, I sort of sighed. I hadn't revisited these runs since they were on the shelves. I had no real burning desire to reread them. I had labeled them as 'lousy' but kept them in my collection because ... well ... they're the Legion.

In particular, I thought the Legion Lost run would be the more onerous of the two to revisit. Between the vague memories of displaced Legionnaires, plagues, The Harvest, and creative upheavals, I remembered the book being an absolute mess.

And yet, somehow, I am enjoying this Legion Lost reread.

Maybe it is the distance of time. Maybe I am not expecting much where I was expecting to be blown away when it was being published. Maybe I forgot how much Pete Woods on a monthly book can elevate material. And maybe I forgot the singular character plots which seem to be the hallmark of the back end of this book.

Legion Lost #11 is a good example of this. Each Legionnaire is dealing with their own private issues while the team is still dealing with being trapped in our time and on a mission. This issue really highlights how Tyroc and Yera can be 'stars' in a book. And I find it all surprising given Tom DeFalco is writing this. 

This isn't going to replace the 5YL or Levitz/Giffen runs in my internal rankings. But if you miss the Legion (like most of us do) and these are in the quarter bin, you should pick it up. At the very least, Pete Woods is glittering.

Legion Lost #11 came out last week and continued the restructuring of this book, moving it toward a new overall theme of 'lost', not only temporally but also psychologically. This Legion team is each dealing with some serious issues in this time whether it be trust, or fear of death, or paranoia.

It is an interesting overlay for a Legion book. I feel like these Legionnaires are sort of caught in the eye of a storm. They are starting to look at each other with a more discerning eye as secrets and lies are being uncovered. And yet, they still have to trust each other as teammates and friends to get through these trying times. That dichotomy of feelings is a pretty rich theme to mine. In that way, it is an interesting counterpart to the more upbeat main Legion book.

Writer Tom DeFalco adds more mystery this issue, bringing in a new wrinkle to a Legionnaire and helping move the initial storyline of Alastor and his Hypertaxis plague closer to a finale. And artist Pete Woods continues to shine here.

Last issue ended with the MetAmerican attack squad engaging with the Legionnaires who returned to New York and shooting Timber Wolf in the chest. And Chameleon Girl isn't going to take that lightly. She morphs into your typically excellent Pete Woods monstrosity and wades into battle.

Now I usually harp on these books for having our military immediately target and fight the heroes in comic books. But this actually seems reasonable. The Legionnaires aren't established in our time and have been around a lot of disasters. It makes sense to try to bring them in.

That said, the placement of the American flag so prominently in the fight sequence seemed forced. It added a bit too much 'our heroes are fighting America' feel to the scene. That flag doesn't need to be in the scene but it is ... so the writer must want it to mean something. I liked it when our heroes fought for America.

Anyways, the MetaMarines are a pretty good unit and pretty soon get the upper hand. Yera suffers a minor head injury so she can't focus to shape change. And Tyroc gets a boot to the throat so he can't use his sonics.

The scene shifts to Oz, Tellus, and the injured Timber Wolf. Oz brings Brin to the local urgent care center, staffed by Dr. Shaleeka Mosley. She opened up the clinic to help the underserved and has treated many trauma victims. But high caliber bullet wounds to the chest?

Now I suppose if I can suspend my disbelief enough to buy Timber Wolf, Tellus, and Gates then I have to suspend it that an urgent care site and an experienced doctor could deal with these wounds. But even a level one trauma center with an experienced trauma team and a waiting OR would have a hard time saving someone with multiple high caliber bullet wounds to the chest.

I do hope that Mosley becomes a supporting cast member, a sort of Leslie Thompkins for the team.

One character who I have grown to like a lot is Yera. She seems completely 'no nonsense' and proactive. She will wade into the good fight with or without her powers. No you could argue that maybe the right thing to do was surrender here and state their case to the marines. But not Yera ...

Yera seems to be hiding inside info about Harvest.
Tyroc seems troubled by a propecy only he knows.
So they have their issues, even with each other. So nice to see them back each other up.

Tellus is hiding some big secret too.

At first it seemed like Wildfire and Dawnstar might not be touched by all this internal intrigue. But now they have their own issues adding to the maelstrom of this team.

Dawnstar apparently has feelings for Timber Wolf. The two rush to his side in the clinic where his natural healing has kicked in.

Wildfire, his suit irreparable and leaking his essence, sees that she loves Timber Wolf and not him. As a Wildfire fan, this struck me. He thinks he is dying, dissipating ... and now he thinks he has lost his love.

So now they have their issues outside of the team as well.

Pete Woods has always been great but I feel like he has come to put his mark on these characters. I like that Tellus' human image of Wildfire has a scar where the crack in his faceplate is. And he really does a wonderful Dawnstar, a sort of cold beauty about her.

That clinic also has a corpse! A dessicated husk of a person ... with the stench of Alastor all over him.

With the rest of them elsewhere, Tellus and Dawnstar decide to track him down on their own.

Thank goodness! I am glad the opening arc is going to be dealt with.

That said, shouldn't Tellus be able to tell that Yera and Tyroc are in a battle. Shouldn't they head back to find out who shot Timber Wolf? I just don't understand why this team would be so scattered. And blase about the attack.

And I thought that Timber Wolf might remain above the fray of all the personal conflicts and conspiracies. But he also begins to have some concerns about this mission.

While recovering he has a vision about the Echo project, a plan to mindwipe witnesses in the future and throw them in the past. Could the Legionnaires have been mindwiped and dumped in the present?

It seems too crazy an idea to contemplate. It's not like Alastor wasn't here when they arrived. He was. And they have their memories ... although I suppose the key memories could have been scrubbed.

But this seems a bit too out there to easily accept as a reader. It feels like a forced 'lost' storyline for Timber Wolf.

But as I said above, what I love about the book is that while everyone seems to have a skeleton in their closet or some impending tragedy or some delusion, they are still the Legion, together. The Marines can only defeat Tyroc and Yera by exploiting their care for each other. It was a nice little reminder of who the Legion are amidst these personal dramas.

And I like that the MetAmerican thinks that exploitation of their teamwork was loathsome. Again, I don't think these guys are the bad guys. So it is nice to see them have some morals as well.

And Tellus and Dawnstar have no shot against Alastor, who has developed a new power to possess people. That is, until he burns them out like that corpse seen earlier. And here he takes over Dawnstar.

We saw Alastor defeat the whole team in the early issues so I don't know just what these two thought they could do by themselves. I don't know why Tellus didn't inform the rest of the team.

So right now these characters are lost in time, hiding motivations and missions from each other, and now separated. It looks like things are going to get better before they get worse.

Of all the DCnU titles I have bought which changed themes and teams early on, this one has made the easiest transition. While I miss the rotating narrator motif that Nicieza brought to the book, these internal mysteries and 'lost' plotlines have piqued my interest. Now you can't keep all the secrets secret too long or it becomes tedious. But for now I just wonder which one of these hidden back stories is true ... maybe more than one is. I almost feel like the team needs to come together and everyone needs to come clean.

Overall grade: B

Okay, even if I am looking at this through rose-colored glasses, I am sick of Alastor.  As I did back in the day, I am wondering why these team members aren't coming clean with their secrets. I like the slow addition of new supporting characters out to help the team like Oz and Dr. Mosley. And the art is still fantastic.

I think B is where this one should stay. And that is surprising!


  1. I never liked the Alastor story, and the fact that all 7 members each had a secret (some of them better motivations than others) was a bit too pat.

    And as much a fan of Dawny & Drake as I've been over the decades, seeing her slowly gravitate to Brin actually made sense to me.

    P.S: I loved Tellus' 21st century human overlays. All were very clever.

  2. Since Yera joined the Legion, she definitely developed a spark. Now, I do like how Yera is portrayed as a bit more reckless than calculated Cham. She never got this much development while Levitz had her in vol 6. They really seem intent on developing Dawnstar's sensory powers. Levitz, her creator, never seemed consistent in his application of her powers, relegating it to tracking mostly. She really has a form of cosmic awareness.

    Brin has been without relationship so long (if you ignore him and Ayla in the Johns story) that it would be interesting to see he and Dawny together. They both have fashioned themselves as loners in the past.

  3. Agree that Yera broke out of her mold in this comic.

    And I did like Tellus' human looks for the team as well. So funny to see what they project, sort of the 'true self' in the Matrix.