- Posted by Johanna on December 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics; $2.99 US
Legion Lost #4
Storytellers: Fabien Nicieza and Pete Woods (Don’t blame me, that’s how they’re credited)
Last month, this was one of my five recommended DCU titles, and now I’m already regretting that choice, since this issue is basically a string of fight scenes, and I found myself losing interest quickly.
I am conflicted, however, about criticizing the book on that basis. This is a superhero comic, after all, and what sets them apart is that the cast (or at least a significant part) have powers and abilities far beyond the normal man. The best way to demonstrate these superpowers is through action scenes, and the most immediate version of those are battles. So I am well aware that I am criticizing this book for being part of its genre.
However, we have also reached a point where these monthly comics are only 20 pages. That means creators are cutting content, and what ends up going are the small, quiet, character moments that make these heroes truly memorable and understandable. I don’t need to see Dawnstar flying — even if she’s monologuing about the story so far and the names of her teammates and how remote she feels why she does so — since I get that that’s her power because she has wings. And yet, even with all that background catchup, I end this issue not knowing who Alastor, the bad guy, is or why I should care, other than that he’s going to kill people.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: R.B. Silva
Inker: Rob Lean
Hey, the redhead turns out to be Caitlin Fairchild, and someone’s concerned about maintaining her visual branding, because there is no other reason for a woman to be wearing a bra that is two-tone purple and green. I’m also wondering about why her underwear has a belt on it, because that seems stupid. I don’t think I’m supposed to be distracted by these elements — although clearly I the reader am supposed to admire her physique, especially her cleavage — but that’s what sticks with me in the opening scene, which, yes, is a fist fight.
Much of this issue is forgettable chatter about various factions setting up for Superboy to be part of the Teen Titans and establishing that once again, Superboy doesn’t know who his parents (really genetic donors) are. I did find it refreshing that Superboy hates Christmas because the world is at war and people are starving. That’s a rather unusual position for a title-character superhero to take. (I also appreciate reading a holiday-themed issue at the holidays, because that makes me happy.) It’s really an expression of his adolescent identity crisis, which is overused in superhero comics, but at least the way we see it here (visuals! yay!) is creative and different. Especially setting the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on fire. Dang, that’s an image you don’t see often.
The villains are the usual crazy creepy mass-murdering couple, a trope I’ve seen too often since Spike and Drusilla (and I’m sure someone came before them). In taking them down, Superboy has a previously unseen take on how fun it is to find people he can cut loose against. It’s not classically heroic, but it acknowledges the “without you they wouldn’t need me” superhero/supervillain symbiosis that drives modern comic storytelling. Maybe I should drop Legion Lost and add this. After the upcoming crossover.