Friday, June 29, 2018

New 52 Legion Lost #14

What do you do when you are a creator and your book is about to be cancelled?
Well, in theory you should reward the readers with a decent closure to all the arcs that have been percolating.

What you shouldn't do is add too much new stuff such that old stuff can't be resolved. What you shouldn't do is have a guest star dominate the issue.

Welcome to Legion Lost #14. There are two more books in the series. Each character has hinted at a dark secret they have been harboring. We have been learning about them, finally. But instead of spending time to wrap them up, writer Tom DeFalco brings in some 'Galactus Herald' type baddies from out of nowhere and then has Harvest, Superboy, and the Ravagers all come in and take up page space.

This is basically a brawl issue with a huge fight taking up almost all the space. We don't learn much more about secrets or move closer to resolutions. And it is presented with so many artists I can't list them here (I will below).

There is a panel in the middle which makes me happy. But outside of that, this issue made me sad. There was some potential in this book, ultimately wasted. How many New 52 original titles can we say that about? Too many.

Legion Lost #14 came out last week, the third to last issue in the title. That means all the threads that have been laid out before us need to be wrapped up in a short period of time, at least if there is going to be a decent resolution to this book.

It's hard not to get the sense of the impending ending of this book. The last two issues have ratcheted up the speed of the plot as well as the action. This issue is mostly a brawl but it also has some reveals and hints that keep things moving ahead at top speed. It also has just about as many guest stars as you can stuff into a brawl.

But I also felt some of the pain of this book being in its death throes. Pete Woods, recently named the artist for the new Vibe comic, only provides some of the art here. And, in order to get the book out, DC went to the bullpen. The artists listed for the book are Woods, Ronan Cliquet, Scott Hanna, Richard Friend, Marc Deering, and Wade Von Grawbadger. The art changes almost with each page. If this was a basketball game, we'd call it  'garbage time', time to bring in the walk-ons.

Tom DeFalco has the tough job of revealing all the mysteries in a short period of time, trying to wrap up each storyline, and hopefully bringing these Legionnaires back home. Is is possible?

 As if there wasn't enough going on in the title that needs to be wrapped up, DeFalco added the threats of Daggor and Thraxx, emissaries for some big bad.

I suppose that a catalyst was needed to speed up the process of wrapping up the stories and a powerful enemy will always do that.

But the Legionnaires personal plotlines are what I want to read about here. At least we see some of it in their thoughts. Here Tyroc is worried that this is where he will die.

 I have been reading the Legion in some form or other for three decades. And it is no secret that Wildfire is one of my favorites.

We have seen him suffer in silence in his love for Dawnstar, knowing she has growing feelings for Timber Wolf. And throughout the book, I haven't felt any struggle within Dawny. I haven't felt that she has feelings for Wildfire.

So I absolutely loved this panel, at last showing that she does care for Drake as more than a friend. As a Wildfire fan, this was great.

Captain Adym, the SciPo who worked for ECHO and Chameleon Girl's superior officer, realizes that Daggor and Thraxx might be too much for this Legion crew to handle. He sends out an alert to gather whatever forces he can.

It includes Officer Lure, the SciPo in deep cover in the present who has been working with Superboy and the Ravagers.

It also includes Harvest and his crew. Now I have never really grasped just what Harvest wants or is doing. So why would he be interested here?

And is it me, or does Harvest's design look more and more ridiculous the more you see him.

Harvest and his cronies answer the alarm, arriving at the fight and eager to join in.

It is a deal with the devil of course. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Despite Chameleon Girl's protests, despite Harvest having imprisoned and almost killed them, the Legion decides to call a truce and fight together against Daggor and Thraxx.

At least Harvest has a reason to join in. He doesn't want these vanguards to destroy the Earth he is trying to shape.

As for Thraxx and Daggor, they continue to show just how powerful they are ... first pummeling the team on their own, and then sowing some technological 'dragon's teeth' to create a never-ending swarm of robot troops.

 As I said, nothing spurs movement along faster than a big battle. Officer Lure decides to call in some markers. She takes Superboy along ... by force ... to the Thraxx battle. And the Ravagers follow along to help Superboy.

I have complained about how stretched thin I think Superboy is as a character. Most of his story is being told in other titles. Here we learn that he is very happy with the Ravagers. I have no sense of that in his main book. How odd I learn about his Ravagers story in Legion Lost. And he is in Titans too. It isn't like Superman being in 2 books and JLA. Here Superboy's story, his growth as a character, is being played out in other books.

 So now we have a battle of 4 armies - the Legion, Harvest and his boys, Superboy and the Ravagers, and Daggor and Thraxx.

Harvest does have a big stake in the Superboy character. He created Kon. Here he decides to show Superboy what his plans are for Kon. He says 'isn't that right Superboy' in Kryptonian. And that code word makes Superboy susceptible to Harvest's commands. And he commands him to 'Kill. Maim. Destroy.'

And Superboy listens, essentially going berserk.

Again, this is a big reveal for the Superboy character. Shouldn't it happen in his own book?

The fight basically fills the rest of the book. But two more moments stood out. One is here when Harvest hints at some connection to Captain Adym.

I would remind you that last month I guessed Adym would become Harvest.

The book ends when Daggor announces that Earth has passed his master's test. It is worthy. And with that another warp opens and a giant machine seems to rise from the ground. And if it isn't scary looking enough, Gates says that this thing is what gave him his scars and burns. It is going to kill them all.

So all the chess pieces are on the table.But will there be enough time to deal with all the threads that have been building here? Will we see the fallout of Yera's double agent status? Will Tellus' reveal his secret? Will Wildfire's suit be fixed? Will Tyroc's destiny be shown?

What I don't want is this fight to end in two issues and then the Legion climbs into Adym's time bubble and go home as if nothing has happened between them. Sure, I suppose some fallout could be shown in the main LSH book. But I'd prefer closure here.

And Daggor, Thraxx, and their unseen 'Master' are so generic right now that I really don't feel they are part of the story, more like an enzyme speeding the story along.

All that said, a simple panel of Dawnstar kissing Wildfire's faceplate warmed my jaded comic heart enough to boost this book half a grade.

Overall grade: C+

Hooray for Dawnstar showing Wildfire some affection. But outside of that, this issue is a big no. I suppose D+ or C- is where it should land. I fear what I will think when I re-read the ending. And yes, Anj from yesteryear, every time you see Harvest and his design you think he looks more and more ridiculous.

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