Thursday, December 18, 2014 • Afternoon Edition • "Ban Herald ASAP!"

52apolooza: Legion Lost

The future is now!  But do we want it?  Let the 52apolooza reviewers be the judge of that.


Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch.  All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer.  To see how this book ranks among the other new DC titles, be sure to check out our 52apolooza Rankings!

A very special Legion task force comes to the present day to save the future.  But they mess it all up.  That may be bad for the heroes but is it good for readers?  Let's see what our reviewers think.
DC Reviewer: SaturnKnight

I badly wanted to like Legion Lost. Oh, how much I did. As a Legion Of Super-Heroes fan of over 30 years, I was so excited when the New 52 was announced with not one but *two* LSH books! Fabian Nicieza on writing, Pete Woods on art! Oh joy, oh rapture! But there's really not a nice way to say it: Legion Lost #1 is a big disappointment and that's due solely to the writing.

Maybe there was heavy editorial interference. Maybe Nicieza is just unfamiliar with the characters and is still trying to get his footing. But that's no excuse. This script is muddled and disjointed. The book starts right off on the first page with...a villain that no one has ever heard of before screaming he hates humans. There's no set-up, no build-up. We jump right in with the brand new villain and it simply does not work.

The next page has our aforementioned Legion Lost popping up out of nowhere and looking scared and confused—kind of like almost every single reader will be upon opening this issue. If it sounds disjointed, that's because it is. We're 3 pages in and the script just reads very herky-jerky yanking around new readers from page to page. Sadly, the Legionnaires aren't going to be the only ones who are lost in this book.

legionlost1The story reads like one of the middle chapters of a much longer story which is absolutely not what the first issue of a brand new series looking to hook readers is supposed to do. The plot moves fast so at least it's not boring. We get to see all the characters in action, both villain and heroes, each using their powers. But it reads like a confusing mess. If this were issue 2 or 3, it would've worked. As a first issue, it doesn't work.

Artist Pete Woods does a terrific job. The artwork here is lovingly detailed and striking. Colorist Brad Anderson does incredible work adding real punch to Woods' art. Then there is Travis Lanham's contribution with slick lettering that fits in perfectly and makes the story easier to read and fun to read. Artwise, Legion Lost is a beautiful book that looks gorgeous from cover to final page. Where this fails is the script.

Nicieza spent several months on Comic Book Resources posting under a screen name that belongs to Legion Lost's antagonist, Alastor. Every post on CBR's forums carefully explained who Alastor was, what actions he was taking and why he was doing it. Regrettably, none of that backstory is here in the book where it should be and the script suffers from its lack. Alastor hates humans! He's going to destroy the Earth! The book NEVER explains why and thus, we are given NO reason to care about him or his actions. There's no context for his behavior, no reason given and he just comes off here as a mindless brute. That's a damn shame because as someone who read all the history Nicieza created and posted on CBR, I know Alastor is an interesting character and a great villain. However, readers have zero way of knowing this from the book itself and that is where it should have been published.

Legion Lost is not a total loss. The heroes themselves—Tyroc, Wildfire, Dawnstar, Timber Wolf, Gates, Tellus, Chameleon Girl—Nicieza gives them all good dialogue. The problem is, the plot jumps around way too much rushing from one action sequence to the next with either too quick explanations or none at all. Even worse, the script's obvious shortcomings get compounded by needlessly "killing off" two of the main characters in the very first issue! Of course, there are no bodies so it seems clear that they aren't truly dead. But the faux deaths are both painfully obvious clichés and also completely fail from a lack of emotional impact.

Legion Lost #1 could've been a great comic book, a truly amazing story. Nicieza is a far more talented writer than this issue's script would lead you to believe. But if you're a total newbie to the Legion or to Nicieza as a writer, this book is probably not going to win you over. It shouldn't. Script-wise, it's a mess and easily my biggest disappointment of the New 52 so far.

What saves Legion Lost is the brilliant art team of Woods and Anderson who give us a lovely book. The cast of characters are beloved favorites with cool powers and great new costumes. The dialogue is serviceable. As a superhero comic, it certainly isn't lacking in action and "special effects." It's just a damn shame that the script was so disappointing. This is your average, dumb, superhero slugfest at best and a very weak first issue at worst.

FINAL SCORE: 70 out of 100

Marvel Reviewer: Superginrai_X

By my count, there have been five billion versions of the Legion of Super-Heroes over the years. There have been almost as many new number one issues. By this point, I find it hard to actually care about the concept.

Then DC puts Fabian Nicieza on the book with artist Pete Woods and suddenly I want to check things out. Even though I don't really give a damn about them, it's not my first dance with the Legion. I recognize a few of these characters and I can even name two or three of them.

What Nicieza does with this group is pretty good stuff. He gives us a small, reasonably sized cast of characters. He takes away all that super tech like the Legion Flight rings. He drops the heroes in the present day. All nice moves that get my attention.

The story itself is a bit confusing to follow. Fabian doesn't start us at the beginning of the story. In fact, this feels like chapter three or four of a mega-event storyline. I like it when I'm dropped right into the action but this seems like maybe they dropped us in a LITTLE too late. After I get my feet wet, the story flows pretty nicely and I get who the principle characters are and what they're doing.

The art... is spectacular. It really shines. The characters look modern. Less retro. The environment looks realistic and interesting. All I'm going to do is gush about the art so I'm just going to move on...

This comic MIGHT be ALMOST readable to those who haven't read some sort of Legion 101. Others are going to have to do a little work to figure out who's who and what's what. In other words, it's a first issue. Honestly, there are a few characters that I still couldn't put a name to. I blame that on my lack of Legion Love. I'm pretty sure people can work out the time bubbles (I think these are the same things used in the last Booster Gold book). Everything else is pretty well explained within the book if you get all the way through it.

There aren't many writers that could get me to read the Legion. Fabian Nicieza is one of them. I'm glad I did because it's a nice package. Despite some of the first issue storytelling problems, I think this thing has some legs to it.

Final Score: 80/100

Grab Bag Reviewer: Psivage

If you like being kidnapped, blindfolded and being drop in an ocean and told to swim back to shore, then this is the book for you. Cause that's what I felt like while reading it. Lost in an ocean.

Now don't get me wrong. I like a little unknown factor as much as the next guy, but not this unknown. I felt so confused by this book, I even questioned my sexuality.

Now I'm not a expert in LOSH, but I read my share of stuff to get the basic hang of it, but even I felt a little left out with who is who. Dawnstar, (Who I had a huge crush on for a while... Yes, I know she isn't real.) Timberwolf and Wildfire are the most recognizable ones, followed by some others I'm not going to even bother looking up, are stranded in the here and now. They followed a villain who has a bug up his ass about the humans.

Now about the villain, I think he is new. From what I could gather about him the humans did something to his sister, something evil, maybe turn her into a Bieber fan? Anywho, I guess he releases a virus of some kind that is going to destroy the humans.

Then two people died, maybe three. WTF? Why kill off people who you haven't really had the chance to bond with? For shock and awe?

Ok, the writing is a mess a bunch of jibber jabber.

Is it accessible? No, not really, even if you already know the Legion you will be lost, God help you if you are a new reader.

Writing: 15/25
Art: 20/25
Accessibility: 10/25
Enjoyability: 10/25

Total Score: 55/100

New Reader Reviewer: Tricia Long

Have you ever played Mao? Don't ask me how to play it, because one does not discuss the rules of Mao. Doesn't that sound frustrating? I feel like Legion Lost is one big game of Mao, and there's rules hidden behind the confusion but I don't have the patience or the time to figure them out. Why are people from the future coming to the present? Shouldn't they already know how polluted our air is? Why does big ol' green guy hate humans? Is he like Bender from Futurama, who insists that he hates humans (and penguins), but when confronted with a very stupid child of very stupid parents (sure, let her wander off into the war zone, she's a growing girl) he suddenly gets all sad?

If it sounds like I have a lot of questions, that's because I DO. And none of them have been answered, there are just more at the end. Like, why would you bring in two totally sympathetic characters and then kill them off in the same comic? They weren't wearing red shirts, and you aren't George R.R. Martin, so what gives? I know that in comics no one really dies, so maybe they'll come back, but it was a confusing move. I didn't have time to learn to care about them, though I was more than willing to try, so it just didn't hit the way it could have. Somehow breathing in their organic matter was supposed to make it really hit home, but these are time-travelling superheroes so I would expect them to be more hardened (breathing in your friends is horrifying, but I just assumed they had seen equally horrible things beforehand).

There were a lot of characters to keep track of, with lots of new powers and storylines that as a new reader I was wholly unfamiliar with. Instead of placing the reader in medias res, writer Fabian Nicieza drops you in the desert without a map, water, or time bubble.

The colors, OH MY GOD USE ALL THE COLORS. I liked how pop culture the art in this comic was, it almost reminded me of the old Captain Planet cartoons. Bright colors and well-rounded figures took me back to that age and frame of mind, when the heroes saved the earth and everyone ended up okay. I really liked the art, is what I'm trying to say. It made me want to chew bubble gum, drink a Coke, and watch Saturday morning cartoons again. There was a charm to the art, it gelled in my mind with what I always thought superhero comic books were supposed to look like. Unfortunately it wasn't paired with a story that could live up to the visuals.

Despite the pretty art, I just do not care about this book. I can see how interesting it could have been if the writer had just found a way to slow down and let me catch up a bit. Dragging the reader headfirst into a confusing and heavily populated storyline will not win you many admirers, and it certainly won't make me want to pick up the next issue. I should rephrase, it's not enough to make me want to pick up a second issue. If you already liked Legion Lost, you'll probably like this. If you were brand new to them, well, look elsewhere.

Writing: 11/25
Art: 20/25
Accessibility: 10/25
Enjoyability: 13/25

Total Score: 54/100

Final 52apolooza Score: 259 (Average Score: 64.75)


Written or Contributed by: SaturnKnight, SuperginraiX, Psivage and Tricia Long

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About the Author - SuperginraiX


SuperginraiX is the biggest sap on The Outhousers' payroll (wait, we get paid?). He reads every issue of every crappy Marvel crossover so you don't have to. Whats worse is that he pays for his books, thus condoning Marvel's behavior. If The Outhouse cared for his well being at all, they'd try and get him into some sort of rehab center. But, alas, none of us even know how to say his name. For a good time, ask Super why Captian America jumped off the Helicarrier in Fear Itself. Super lives in the frozen wastland that is Minnesota with 15% of the state's population living under his roof: a wife he makes wear an Optimus Prime mask, two gremlins, and his mother-in-law.

 


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