Thursday, June 6, 2019

Reboot: Legion Lost #1

Legion Lost #1 (May 2000)
title: "Legion Lost"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Olivier Coipel
inker: Andy Lanning
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Olivier Coipel & Andy Lanning
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5.1, Chameleon, Element Lad (hologram), Kid Quantum II, Live Wire, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Umbra; in flashback: Cosmic Boy, Ferro, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kinetix, M'Onel, Spark, Star Boy, Ultra Boy, Violet, XS

Kamlos, Reos, Shikari


In trying to close a space-time rift, the Legion was apparently vaporized...

Somewhere that could be as far as outside our universe but no closer than the far side of our galaxy, three members of a race called the Kwai fly through a comet's tail. They are suddenly attacked by the bug-like Progeny, who kill two of them and harvest their energies, but the third, Shikari, escapes into a nebula, her pathfinding senses detecting something there.
It is half the Legion Outpost, ripped off by the rift and sent here. Inside, she finds homographic recordings made over weeks by Element Lad in which he explains he encased the other Legionnaires with him in Tromium crystal to save their lives while he worked on stabilizing the station. He also explains the concept of the Legion and references his calculations and his starting a process that will hopefully send them back home, though he's not sure he'll survive the transition. Shikari next finds the encrystalled Legionnaires, just as the Progeny find her.
They fire at her in an enclosed space, hitting and cracking the Tromium, and releasing eight heroes from their prison: Live Wire, Monstress, Kid Quantum, Saturn Girl, Umbra, Ultra Boy, Chameleon, and Brainiac 5.1. They route the Progeny, then turn to Shikari, giving her a set of telepathic earplugs so they can understand one another. She relates Element Lad's message and it's not comforting. Ultra Boy himself starts to freak out, asking where his wife is, visibly upset at the thought he might never see her again. As he goes from agitated to violent, Apparition phases through the floor to calm him, explaining she merely dropped down to the next level instinctively when the crystals were shattered. They embrace, but a massive ship cuts through the nebula to confront the comparatively tiny Legion Outpost.
While I was shocked with the way they transitioned in the past issue, this one has been very intriguing. First of all... Helllooooooo Shikari! When I saw the cover, I immediately had questions about what or who that was. I must say that I love love love the look of these humanoid-bug-pixie-predator creatures called... Kwai? I guess I’ll learn more about her, her kind and their enemies in the next issues. Very cool also that she can transition from wearing her armored skin (or maybe it’s just retracting armor... once again, I’ll have to be a little patient is all) and her more human appearance. This change of setting and pace, as well as the new characters and their backstory has gotten me captivated again in the comic. Not that I was tired of reading it, but this makes so much more sense than trying to change the tone while being in the same time and place that we were in for so long.
I have so many questions... Where’s the rest of the team? Will they be settling down there or will they spend all their time finding new ways to try and get back home seeing how they were treated before being transported in this time and space? I wasn’t a big fan of the time they were stranded in the 20th Century for so many issues seeing them going through numerous attempts at time travel while failing over and over again. I’m sure they will give it a shot or 20, I just hope they’ll do a better job in keeping the reader engaged in the story than back then.
With this small a cast, gone are the days of 15 slow-burning subplots an issue. What DnA are instead setting up in the modern serial mystery (so common on television). Not just what will happen, but what IS happening. What happened to Element Lad? Where ARE they exactly? And more besides that I have knowledge of, but don't want to spoil for my reading and writing partner. Thanks for playing along, guys.

What DnA have left behind in terms of plot density, they've replaced with prose density. They have a knack for making things sound like they come from more modern science fiction, and that includes Shikari's alien lingo. We get a real sense of how different her point of view is, the Kwai apparently a nomadic people flitting through space with senses we can't understand. Their predators, the Progeny (is there a giant queen bug, is that why they have that name?) call them "variants", which is intriguing in and of itself. Simple xenophobia, or are they somehow connected biologically? Anyway, to this old fan, I think it's neat that we now have a Reboot version of Dawnstar. Completely different, but we all have to admit the original character, whether we loved her or not, was problematic in terms of Native representation. Shikari is interesting from her first panel, and I'm guessing super-tracking will be useful in the Legionnaires getting their bearings.
For new readers, the issue does a good job of not just introducing her, but all the starring Legionnaires, their powers very cool in Shikari's point of view. And it really is her POV. We're on HER turf. WE'RE the outsiders. They even have the Legion speaking in Interlac she doesn't understand (get your decoder keys out) until translation is assured. The Legion may be lost, but this time, it's not somewhere we know like the back of our hands (as Shotgun referenced). It's a mystery to us too, and that's pretty exciting.
Science Police Notes:
  • As the Legion's stories return to a single book a month, the all-inclusive numbering disappears from its covers.
  • Shikari means "hunter/tracker" in Hindi. She makes her first appearance here. Given that she has wings, can fly through space, and has a tracking ability, we will have to consider her the Reboot version of Dawnstar.

First issue of Legion Lost volume 1.

1 comment:

  1. Ordinarily I would have objected to the art as a bad fit for a Legion book. But given how far away from home they were, I think it was an excellent fit. But it did take a while to get used to.

    It was an um, interesting journey. I think this is one of the most memorable limited series done with the Legion. There are some real big surprises coming in this mini-series. Some will be shocking. I can't say I was wild about all of them, but it will be a heck of a journey.