Review: Legion Lost #1 by Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods

Legion Lost #1

Written by: Fabian Nicieza
Art by: Pete Woods
Lettering by: Travis Lanham
Colored by: Brad Anderson

Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99

Note: This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics on Comixology

Legion has a reputation for being difficult for new readers to get in to. This reputation is fairly well deserved. Legion has dozens of characters, and every time DC does a cleaning of their time line, Legion ends up getting completely rebooted. DC just needs to realize “Legion will always be a niche book, with a small but loyal following.”

I was real concerned about what Relaunch would do to Legion. I was expecting “Here we go again, another massive Legion reboot.”  Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to have happened, and instead we get a real solid and accessible Legion book from a great creative team.

Summary (contains spoilers): The issue starts with a man in a hospital speaking some crazed foreign language. In his attempts to escape, he seems to grow and then the whole hospital explodes.

Timber Wolf, Gates, Tellus, Wildfire, Tyroc, Dawnstar, and Chameleon Girl arrive from the 31st Century aboard a time bubble that seems to be malfunctioning. They are in hot pursuit of someone called Alastor, who we can assume is the man in the first page. We find out that Alastor is looking to release some kind of pathogen here in the past. Gates has vanished, Chameleon’s Girl’s powers seem to be acting up and Dawnstar is throwing up. Not a good start for our heroes. Timber Wolf’s senses pick up Alastor, and he takes off in solo pursuit.

The rest of the team tries to follow, but their flight rings seem to not be working properly. We find out that Alastor arrived thirty hours before the Legion, even though he left the future only an hour before they did. Gates reappears, seeming to have little control over his teleporting. Dawnstar tried to use her tracking power to find Alastor, but environmental pollutants in the atmosphere are making that difficult. It seems these pollutants are wrecking havoc with the entire team. All in all, the 21st century is not a good fit for this team of Legion. Timber Wolf continues to try and track Alastor by scent.

By the time he catches up, Alastor, now looking like a giant alien warrior in armor, is fighting with Earth police. A little girl asks Alastor to help him find her brother. Alastor freaks out and collapses, reverting to the more human form we saw in the first page as Timber Wolf arrives.

The rest of the team is trying to get their time bubble working. Wildfire considers jumping back in time a few hours to before Alastor arrived, but is concerned about creating paradoxes. They need to remove Alastor from this time period now before the pathogen can spread too far. Timber Wolf arrives with the unconscious Alastor. We find out that this was all a revenge plot because of the death of his sister. The Legion try to return to their own time, but the Time Bubble explodes. This seems to vaporize Gates, Chameleon Girl, and Alastor. The Legion members find themselves trapped in our time, the pathogen released, and themselves likely infected.

Review: Legion is the first relaunch comic I have read that mentions Flashpoint. I am really curious what the Flashpoint Breakwall is, and how it is connected to the new 52 universe.

I have glanced at a few reviews for this book, and I’ve seen a few that said that this issue was confusing and didn’t introduce the characters properly.  I disagree entirely.  Nicieza did a great job throwing quick little subtle (and not so subtle, see the following panel) hints on who these characters are and what they can do:

I can’t tell if the reviewers are just being cute to play off the “Legion Lost” title, or if context clues are just beyond them. This was almost on the level of Chris Claremont’s X-Men in terms of “characters saying things they probably wouldn’t in real life just to help the reader understand what was going on.” I thought everything was laid out very clearly. We even find out why the Legion can’t just jump back in time and prevent this from happening entirely.

Sure, there is some mystery here about who Alastor is, why he’s doing this, and what the pathogen is (I assume it causes people to get meta powers based on what happened to Alastor), but even veteran readers are supposed to be in suspense here. That is called CREATING TENSION, and makes for good comic writing.  I want to know where the story goes, and I didn’t need everything spoon-fed to me in the first issue.

To be honest, I actually thought this book did a better job than most of the Relaunch books of helping the reader feel comfortable about what was going on. I have been a Legion fan for a while now, but I haven’t read a Legion book in about five years.  I had no problem at all feeling caught up with who these characters where and what they were doing.

Nicieza’s writing is a great fit for Legion. Each character had a very unique voice, and he managed to give us a lot of information in just a few pages. The story was intense, and I felt a lot of suspense until the last minute. I really hope Gates did not really get vaporized. He’s always been one of my favorite characters. It will be interesting to see what the trapped Legion members will be able to do to fix the time stream.

And Pete Wood’s art on this book looks great. All the characters have distinctive looks, and he really manages to capture the more alien features of Tellus, Gates, Chameleon Girl, and Alastor in his transformed mode.  I really like when the Legion characters don’t just look like slightly altered humans.  The Legion animated series did a great job of making each character very distinctive looking, and Woods seems to be doing the same here.

This was a great first issue of a new Legion series. Easy for new readers to jump right in, and it didn’t wipe the slate clean for veteran readers either. I definitely enjoyed Legion Lost #1 and am looking forward to seeing where Nicieza and Woods take us next.

Final Score: 9.0 – A real solid and welcoming first issue. I have heard complaints about this book, but they seem to have no real basis on what actually happened in this comic.

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