Friday, March 31, 2017

Review: Legion Secret Origin #2

Legion Secret Origin #2 continues to be a look at the formative time in the team, when their membership and their standing was still in flux. Who are these kids? What is RJ Brande trying to create with this team? And what does the United Planets brass think of it?

For me, on paper, it is an interesting look at the Legion past. It is very easy to say The Legion was founded, proved to be good citizens, and were accepted. But that is too easy, too Silver Age, too 1950s of an answer to be easily accepted these days. Let's put this way. If I said a billionaire was assembling his own well-armed tactical team to run missions of good well, would you say 'cool'? Or would you want to know who decides what missions? Is there oversight? Who vets the members?

We live in cynical times. The Legion is not a cynical book. Addressing the questions seems prudent.

Ahhh ... but addressing them and being entertaining? That is a different story. Once again, I have to say that this origin seems to be written for the pre-established Legion fan. I know the straightforward history so looking at these events from a new slant is easily digested. For someone who doesn't know the difference between Rokk Krinn and Stone Boy? Maybe not so. And there is so many scenes of political pundits talking that it isn't a snappy read either.

The art by Chris Batista continues to shine here. It is a nice, clean look at a shimmering future. So no complaints there.

This issue picks up right where last issue ended. We are seeing the Legion tower being built. The famous 'L' symbol emblazoned on a flag. And Triplicate Girl has just been sworn on to the team.

But what is this team? I don't think we have heard the term Legion used yet, even though the L is prominent on the banner.

Brande says the team is a symbol of hope and unification of planets and races. They need to recover from 'The Sundering' which I assume is a time when planets stopped allying themselves and went isolationist. Already someone from Cargg has reached out. And the team is thrilled to have Luornu on the roster. Cargg doesn't seem to be a planet known for communication or collaboration so this already is an impressive start.

Still, I wish we had more of the actual conversations between Brande and the founders about forming the team rather than just jumping into a new member being brought on board.

Luckily, the team is there to stop another assassination attempt on Brande. Once again, Rokk and Garth use their powers to bring down the killer's ship.

But who is behind the murder attempts? We still don't know.

At the very least, we got to see the Legionnaires use their powers. Hurray for that!

Last issue we met the United Planets Security Directorate, a shadowy triumverate pulling strings to have events go their way. Comprised of a Coluan, an Naltorian precog, and a Machiavellian Terran, the trio has been looking at the Legion very closely.

Anisa the precog already knows the team will be a major player in the future for many planets. She says the team should be granted the deputy status the Science Police wants to bestow on them.

Mycroft the Terran isn't so easily convinced. He doesn't seem to like Brande much. He wouldn't mind seeing Brande dead. And this Legion seems too convenient an army. Plus, the bigger concern should be the planetary raid on Anotrom which we saw last issue.

Brainiac 5 was sent there to investigate and he has run into Tinya who crossed a wormhole from Bgztl to warn this dimension of an impending threat. She is one of the few from Bgztl who can cross the dimensions.

There is a lot to like here. Brainy puts his hand into her intangible chest to test her status and she calls him on where he is touching. I love how shy and embarrassed he is by that in the first panel.

But more, it shows how brave she is. Crossing the barrier was like being 'bounced through Hell.' And she did it to warn people she doesn't even know. Also, when intangible, she seems to have more ghost like powers than I am used to, like floating around.

The two agree to help each other. She solidifies and they shake hands.

But then one of the creatures that attacked Anotrom comes through. We see this soldier, dripping with armor and weapons, come through and immediately attack. But Brainy's force shield (powered by a unique power source ... thus not everyone gets a force belt) holds up. He quickly sees this is some bio-technology interface, one that can easily overload.

We only get half shots of these savages but they sure look Khundian.

And I love how matter-of-factly Phantom Girl watches the proceedings. She can't be harmed so she sits back and enjoys the show.

Meanwhile, word of the Legion is growing.

Science Police Academy student Gim Allon has recovered from his meteor accident. He tells his officer father that he might skip the police and try out.

Now we know he's Colossal Boy. But did this scene feel superfluous to those who don't?

At least it gave us a sense that Brande's group is growing in reputation.

Now at Brande's home, we hear that maybe it is simply his financial prowess that is marking him. He hints about a home far away. Again, I know it is Durla. Maybe to someone who doesn't know that already this is a mystery to try to unravel.

But this is just the quiet before the storm as yet another team of assassins tries to kill him and are once again thwarted by the Legion.

Okay, three assassination attempts in 1.5 issues. Seems a bit heavy on one plot point.

But it is all taken in by the Directorate. And once again it is Mycroft who is the most wary of these developments.

The Legion might be so special that they should be under no ones control ... not the UP or the SciPo or Brande. He seems to have changed his tune, hoping they'll be autonomous rather than an army for someone to point in a direction.

Maybe the Directorate needs to do their job once more, this time convincing the United Planets to let the Legion be something special.

So overall another decent issue. The action sequences of the team stopping the assassins were okay. But after seeing them shoot down one ship on page 4, to see a similar sequence on page 16 seemed a bit redundant. And once again, we are getting a lot of exposition and conversation from the Directorate rather than hearing from the team themselves.

I will admit I am intrigued by this book. I have little to no recollection so it reads very fresh to me. But Is still don't know if this would bring in new fans who don't know the Legion at all.

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