Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Legion Lost #12

Legion Lost #12 came out last week and this review has been percolating on the back burner. Sorry for the delay. Written by Tom DeFalco with art by Pete Woods, I feel like this issue closed the book on the first premise of the title while building on its new direction. In some ways I am glad that DeFalco wrapped up the plot begun by Fabien Nicieza. In other ways, there is a bit of hand waving as to how it all happens.

Still, while the action is heavy in this issue, the purpose is to lay the cards out on the table. What are each of these Legionnaires hiding from each other. What agendas are there just below the surface. How can they function as a team, how can they be the Legion, when there are so many secrets? Are they that lost ... not only in time but from each other. Even the Legionnaires that I thought might not be hiding anything are shown to have their own issues.

So while heavy on exposition, DeFalco keeps the ball moving along by infusing a decent chaotic and ever-shifting battle into the mix. And there are a few very nice moments mixed in which reminded me that this is a Legion book. With next month being Zero Month, this title is now teed up for a great 'jump on point' publicity campaign.

Last issue ended with the revelation that Alastor, the Hypertaxis virus index case, had somehow mutated to becoming some sort of Deadman-like wraith, capable of possessing a person but without a body of his own. Now I don't think I can explain just how this happened with what little I know of the description of the Hypertaxis virus. So I guess I just need to roll with it.

The problem is normal humans get consumed when possessed so he needs someone super to house his consciousness. With that premise he begins to jump from body to body trying to find someone strong enough to contain him. He jumps from Dawnstar to Tellus in hopes of getting the Legion all together to find the right host.

Interesting that Dawnstar has her own secret. I thought she might be spared but she feels that Alastor was tricked into being the Hypertaxis carrier. I suppose that is better than her only storyline being in love with Timber Wolf.

We learn Tellus has been keeping secrets which might make the Legion want to kill him! Hmmm ... any guesses?

And then the possessed Tellus flies to the super-powered military unit which captured Tyroc and Chameleon Girl (who have since freed themselves). Realizing Tellus isn't going to be strong enough he leaves the Legionnaire and jumps into Metamerican.

So a couple of things here. One, I don't really like the Yoda-speak DeFalco has Tellus speak in. Second, Pete Woods can really draw monsters. He must love having Yera on the team.

That said, I love his version of Dawnstar the most.

I like this scene where she saves the now freed Metamerican. She seems stunned that he would question her saving him. That is a Legion sentiment. Even if he was gunning for the team minutes ago, the Legion isn't going to let anyone die. Nice nice panel.

Inside Yera, Alastor reveals more secrets. Maybe Dawnstar is on the money because Yera has information that Alastor was indeed a pawn.

I do think this body-hopping was a clever way of revealing all the Legion secrets as well as showing how resourceful the team has to be with an ever changing threat with different powers.

Tyroc is next on the confession parade. We have known about his 'prophecy' seen on a gravestone. We don't know much more.

I still think that gravestone must have his name on it and have some information about his death or something he did in this time.

Gates and Timber Wolf end up showing up as well.

I thought Gates' political beliefs alone would be enough grist for his character. But it turns out that he also has been holding onto a secret. He has seen his (and the team's) death.

Interesting. I wonder if that ties somehow into Tyroc's prophecy and Tellus' secret.

And finally, Timber Wolf is possessed. We know he thinks the Legion has been mind-wiped and dumped into the past as part of a Witness Protection system. But now Dawnstar's feelings for him are put out in the open.

It turns out that Alastor was stalling to try to get Wildfire to show up. Only Wildfire is strong enough to withstand a possession and Dawnstar being in danger is an easy way to get Wildfire to acquiesce to Alastor's demands.

But without an organic host, Alastor has nothing to possess. He cannot stay in Wildfire's suit without a true body to possess. And Wildfire does the right thing, heading into space where there is nothing to jump to.

In a nice showing of Wildfire's intergrity, the Legionnaire rejects Alastor's pleas to save him in exchange for fixing his suit. It might end up killing Wildfire but he won't help a villain. With no where to stay, Alastor leaves Wildfire's body.

Now anyone who has read comics knows that a disembodied spirit like Alastor will most certainly survive somehow to eventually leap into something. Maybe years down the road ... but it will happen. And I am glad because otherwise this felt close to an execution, certainly against the Legion code and not at all in line with Dawnstar's sentiment with the Metamerican just pages before.

Still, it essentially ends the Alastor storyline.

But this was my favorite moment of the book. Despite having driven Alastor off the planet, despite being the heroes, Major Nicholson demands the Legionnaires get arrested.

Despite it being treasonous, Metamerican refuses. He has seen the future while possessed, he knows what the Legion represents - a team of different races and species working for the good of the universe. It gives him hope.

In this dark DCnU, a little light just shone.

So one Gates group teleport escape later we can cue up the dramatic team shot on a gargoyle looking over a city at sunset. It might seem trite but I am a sucker for it. Sure everyone seems to be hiding something but they are still a team; they are still Legion. If there was ever a last page for a trade collection it was this one.

So one year in the initial premise of Legion Lost is behind us and this new deception-based arc about trust starts. While I am glad Hypertaxis is behind us, I hope we get just a little more closure - maybe showing the virus' effects are temporary with Gates returning to normal and TW not shooting claws anymore?

Will all the secrets be laid out completely coming up? Or will things remain muddy? Will this premise have any more long term staying power than the Hypertaxis one? I don't know. How long can there be a team book built on team distrust?

Still, this book remains an interesting read and certainly a fresh look at the usually optimistic and bright Legion world.  Plus we get the standard slick work by Pete Woods!

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed most of this issue until the end. The climax of the Meta-marines storyline ended too abruptly. Just one portal jump away via Gates and end of confrontation. There should have been more to this storyline than that. Also, I hope Oz doesn't get lost as a side kick right away. He provides interesting interaction with the Legion.

So Timber Wolf is the only member of the team without a secret...just repressed memories. Glad he's on the up and up with the rest of the Legionnaires. I for one am glad this first story arc is finally over and eagerly await the spotlight on Timber Wolf next issue.

Finally, I like the way the past two issues have introduced Legion Lost as being members of the Legion of Super Heroes on a special mission to the past. It's a little thing, but this addition of introductory narration is vital to linking the two Legion titles together. That element was missing for the first 10 issues. It's nice to know that no matter what happens in this series, DC is now making a conscious effort to make sure the characters stay rooted in Legion lore.