Friday, March 23, 2018

New 52 Legion Lost #1

Hey all, it's Anj again. 

Fridays for the next several months will be a look back at my New 52 Legion Lost title. I reviewed this over on Supergirl Comic Box Commentary when it came out in 2011. But I haven't thought about it much since then. My overarching feelings were one of disappointment. That much I do remember. But specifics? I don't recall many.

As a result, these reviews will be a bit retro, like my recent reviews of the New 52 Legion of Super-Heroes book. I will post the old review but I will open and close with new thoughts as I reread the book. I must admit, this will truly feel new to me. I don't remember it at all.

As I say in this review of Legion Lost #1, I am not a fan of the "Legion trapped in the present" storyline, whenever it happens. So to have a whole series based on that is already disappointing. To then hinder the characters by making them weakened just by the present day atmosphere is another downer. If I am reading Dawnstar, I want her to be Dawnstar. I want her to have her powers.

I am a bit harsh on Pete Woods art in this review. In retrospect, it is pretty slick. I like the look of the Legionnaires. Even Wildfire's new look is pretty cool. What I don't understand is this team's makeup. Lots of hotheads in this group.

Anyways, onto the book.

Legion Lost #1 came out last week, the second Legion book in the DCnU.

When the book was announced, I had a lot of preliminary thoughts that unfortunately ran a bit hot and cold. On the positive side, I thought the creative team was a winner. I don't have much Fabian Nicieza in my collection but I very much enjoyed his recent run on Red Robin. And I am a huge fan of Pete Woods. Also, this book features three of my favorite Legionnaires: Wildfire (my all time favorite), Dawnstar, and Timber Wolf.

The downside was the premise. I have never been a fan of the Legion being 'trapped' in our time. It also starred a couple of Legionnaires I don't really care for: Tellus and Gates.

But I was hoping ... hoping ... that this book would grab me.

Unfortunately, it really didn't.

The book opens with a man being brought to an urgent care center in Minnesota. It is clear that this isn't your average patient as the man begins to morph into something of a monstrosity, curses (I presume in interlac), and then either detonates himself or erupts in energy, vaporizing the building.

So it is a good opening page for a new book, an immediate threat  is identified.

Shortly thereafter, the Legion Lost team arrives in our time. It is apparently a very bumpy ride as the team spills from the Time Bubble which appears pretty damaged from this trip. Wildfire mentions the 'Flashpoint Breakwall', a new concept which might hinder time travel stories in the future. The Flashpoint ripple has changed things.

And we learn that the earlier threat is someone named Alastor and Alastor has a head start on them.

What's worse is that our 21st century world isn't accommodating to the Legion. The toxins in our air are affecting almost everyone and everything. Flight rings don't work. Transsuits don't work. People feel sick and nauseated.

This does allow Nicieza the opportunity to add some exposition so people know everyone's powers. (Tyroc explains how Tellus' telekinesis, his sonic powers, and Yera's shape shifting means almost everyone can fly on their own.)

While the bulk of the team cannibalizes Alastor's time bubble to repair theirs, Timber Wolf takes off to track down the villain.

Again, it is a decent scene to set up some personalities like a Brin's impulsiveness and physicality, Tyroc's leadership. It showed us, rather than tell us, who these people are.

As for Alastor, he is in Doomsday mode, stomping all over Minnesota until he runs into a crying young girl.

The sight of this girl stops the villain in his track, making him collapse to the ground and revert to his human form.

I don't know Alastor at all. Is he a new villain?

Dawnstar seems to be the most affected by the atmosphere of our time, comparing using her powers here with listening to someone in a pool of mud.

She is able to gather herself and scan the planet. At last, Alastor's plot is revealed. He has gone back in time and released a 'pathogen'. If Alastor has brought a plague back in time, he has had 30 hours to spread it here.

Of course, history doesn't mention it ... but conveniently history always seems to be murky around this time period when the Legion investigate the past.

Alastor's capture turns out to be pretty easy. Timber Wolf found his unconscious form.

And he monologues a bit to give us some of his back story. In the future, mankind has wiped out his people, his sister. And now he has done the same. He has destroyed humanity's future. (Of course this opens up all sorts of time travel confusions. If Alastor kills off humanity, will humanity be around to destroy his sister? And if she lives, will he have the impetus to go back in time?)

At least there is a reason why he fainted at the sight of a small girl ... PTSD from his sister. I would hate to think that was his weakness.

With the villain captured and hopefully spread of the pathogen contained, the Legion decided to return to their time.

It is a short trip.

Alastor transforms into his Doomsday form within the bubble, shattering it, exploding it from the inside. Yera was wrestling with him and Gates was teleporting him away when the explosion happened. The rest of the Legion land back in our time.

There is no sign of Gates or Yera other than 'organic residue' in the rain. Eww. They're simply gone.

And Alastor? He blew himself up on page one. Maybe he did it again. Maybe his power is to re-integrate himself after self-destruction? Maybe that is how he spreads this plague? Detonating himself?

I doubt Yera and Gates are really dead.

And that's that.

The time bubble is destroyed. The Legion are possibly infected with 'the pathogen'. Two of their friends appear dead. Alastor may be alive. The Legion is lost in our time.

So there certainly was a lot going on here. But I have to say, it just never grabbed me. Maybe it is because (as I said) the Legion stuck in our time has never been a plot I have liked. And I have to say that the idea of stopping a plague/pathogen is another plot I have never been keen on.

But even within those plots, there just wasn't anything here that was a 'wow' moment. It all seemed very average.

Perhaps worst of all, the art was a little rough in comparison to Woods' usual meticulously clean and pristine look. If the art was spectacular, it might have smoothed over some of the story.

I'm not ready to give up on this book yet. This opening chapter had to trap the Legion here and it did that. So the question becomes where does this book go from here. Do the Legion announce they are here? Or go into hiding? Do they join the super-human community or work in the shadows? Is the first plot containing the pathogen (the cover with the Legion flying over mutated humans) makes me think the pathogen makes humans into monsters)? Or is that going to be a long term plot.

I was really really hoping to be wowed. But this book felt sort of ordinary.

Overall grade: C

I think the grade remains the same. The death of 2 minor Legionnaires in the first issue would be a decent hook except I felt right off the bat it was a feint. And the idea of a plague killing mankind in the past to destroy the Legion in the future just never works. 

I was desperate for a good Legion book back then, as I am now. So for me to be down on this book from the start is an inauspicious beginning. 

I don't know if this is going to get better. 


  1. One defining characteristic of the Legion has always been the futuristic setting. Plop them down in the 21st century and it becomes just another super-hero mag which are a dime a dozen. Well, not a dime anymore, but you get the idea.

  2. At the time, despite having similar feelings as you about present-day Legion stories, I was thrilled with the team selection and the creatives. But SO much went so wrong after that.

    Did not like: Neither the previously unseen Alastor (whose name bugged me for some reason), nor the mission. Wildfire (my all-time favorite too, Anj) stuck in an unnecessary new containment suit. The environmental effects weakening the team, which never had affected the them before (for example: Dawnstar had been to Smallville back during the Reflecto stoyryline). And the 'deaths' (which might have fooled new readers, but seriously - the shapechanger and the teleporter?).

    Liked: the roster. Wildfire and Timber Wolf are my 2 all-time favorite Legionnaires, and I've always liked Tyroc, despite his minimal use. Tellus and Gates were bold choices, what with the fitting in issues, and I was excited for Yera to get more screen time. And Dawnstar is always welcome.

  3. There was a lot of potential for this book. I hated the first issue, but it got better after that.

    Supposedly it was a miserable creative experience for Fabian Nicieza behind the scenes though.

  4. I won't be chiming in much on this series except to say Fabian confirmed for me on twitter that he got to pick the team he wanted for this series.