Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: Legion: Secret Origin #1

My Legion flight ring is of surprisingly decent quality. I expected the gold paint to look a lot yellower in person, but it has a nice metallic sheen to it and looks a little more expensive than the free lantern rings did. It's way too big to fit around my tiny child fingers, but I can wedge it in between my fingers long enough to get out a cry of "Long live the Legion!", and it looks nice on a chain. It's definitely worth spending the $2.99 if your local comic shop is participating in the giveaway.

I'm a little less enthused about the comic that came along with it. I don't think Secret Origins is a bad comic, and I think there are a lot of people who it will appeal to, but I don't think I'm one of them. I've been trying to stick with Legion Lost, and have actually been enjoying the main Legion of Superheroes title, but for the most part, I found this one to be dull. I enjoyed Brainiac 5 largely because of my pre-existing love for the character, and Phantom Girl was the only character who really jumped off the page for me. We hear about these characters, but we don't get any moments that allow us to really connect with them. In a 6 issue series, I think it's important to have that right from the start.

The comic opens with a bit of backstory that begs to be read in a deep, boomy voice. It looks like we're about to get a nice action scene, but the action is already over and done with, and we get an exposition heavy conversation instead. I started to get interested when Brainiac 5 showed up, but we got more narration instead. There's a foiled assassination attempt that's less interesting than it has any right to be, and more of that exposition laden dialogue. We do get one wonderful Brainy and Phantom Girl scene, but it's over all too quickly. By the end of the issue, we've gotten even more exposition, seen plenty of Legion's trademark character introduction boxes and what looks like the start of the team.

Most of my limited Legion knowledge comes from Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes, and I really think a deeper knowledge of the Legion would've increased my appreciation for this book. This is a tweaking of the previous Legion origin, and I think a lot of what makes this book intriguing comes from seeing what's different and wondering why. This might be a great read for readers who already know and love these characters, but this issue doesn't do much to sell what makes the Legion great. I can see this being a good story in trade, but right now I don't have any interest in seeing what happens next month.

This is the rare occasion when I think readers will be pleasantly surprised by how the art looks in comparison to the cover. Chris Batista's done a lot of Legion work in the past, and his familiarity with the characters really helps here. He gets in some nice facial expressions, and does a great job handling the Legion-verse's futuristic tech. Phantom Girl has sported some of the Legion's goofiest costumes, and it's nice to see her looking so classy. I'm not sure if he had a hand in updating the Legion costumes, but either way, they look terrific. There are some interesting reoccurring elements that really give you a sense of what style is like in the 31st century. It's clear a lot of thought was put into these changes.

This is the most accessible Legion title by far, and it's a shame that I don't really feel like I can recommend it on its own. It's worth picking up if you can get the ring to go with it, but otherwise, I think this one is just for the Legion die-hards. I'm dropping this one for now, but I plan on looking into it again once the story concludes. Hopefully, it'll make for a better introduction to the Legion when you can read it all in one go.

By Marceline with No comments


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