Tuesday, 27 September 2011

On "Legion Lost" # 1 by Fabian Nicieza And Pete Woods

In which, the blogger would have you warned, there are a great many spoilers ...

        

Even putting the context of DC's "New 52" initiative aside, it's difficult to imagine a situation in which Legion Lost might qualify as even a barely-adequate comic. For it's such an awkwardly and unhelpfully written book that it's unlikely to appeal even to a majority of the ever-dwindling, ever-aging rump of Legion Of Superhero fans, of whose number your blogger most definitely belongs. But then, this isn't a comic which would be accessible, let alone enjoyable, to the great mass of readers who aren't already both devoted to and knowledgeable about the very arcana of flight rings and Time Institutes and the legacy of the three founding Legionnaires either. This is a comic book, it seems, designed to appeal neither to the experienced or the novice consumer, and, presuming that there's a method in such an apparently suicidal approach to marketplace survival, the question simply has to be why?

An example of exposition that's just not needed in this story.  Yera's career background is entirely irrelevant to the events of "Present Tense", and yet there it is, cluttering up an already background-saturated panel.

The storytelling misinvested in Legion Lost is so repeatedly and so substantially flawed that it's easy to get distracted by the business of noting one creative shortcoming after another. And so, yes, the narrative flow from panel-to-panel and page-to-page is often unhelpful if not actively confusing, while facial expressions and body-language are regularly depicted in a way that quite undermines the story that's being told. Important events are repeatedly obscured or even absent from the reader's gaze, there's a tendency to describe key plot-beats rather than showing them, and unnecessary exposition really does clutter up the comic's pages. Even the taken-for-granted skills associated with the likes of the provision of attention-snaring page-turning panels are often absent from Legion Lost. For all of its glossy production values and moneyshot moments, Present Tense is a profoundly and inexplicably amateuresque production.

This is apparently the scene of a terrifying pathogen being released without warning or explanation into the atmosphere. How the reader is expected to make sense of this, let alone be impressed and unnerved by it, remains a mystery. Note the quite detached expression on Dawnstar's face, who could be noting the slightly late arrival of a paper-girl or boy, and the apparently unconcerned statement of "We are too late". Well, when you've seen one end of the world, I suppose you've seen them all. (Actually, the whole moment, which went totally unforeshadowed in the pages before, looks rather magical, with all those trees lit up as if it were Christmas. It may be a dramatically unhelpful panel, but it is undoubtedly pretty.)
        
But the truth is that Legion Lost might still have managed to be a tolerably entertaining comic-book had one key flaw in its script been attended to. For what finally sinks the comic isn't its, shall we say, idiosyncratic storytelling, but the fact that its climax requires the Legionnaires present to behave as if they were impossibly dense and careless. Indeed, the whole supposedly-tragic conclusion to this first issue, with its Legionnaire deaths and escaping super-villains and the resulting exile of the remaining team-members to the 21st century, relies upon characters behaving in a completely implausible way. Because of that, the preceding pages have had to be presented in such a fashion as to obscure the stupidity of both script and characters. Consequently, Legion Lost # 1 is a comic whose creators are struggling to compose a compelling story which doesn't reveal how flawed its basic premise is. Or to put it another way, underneath that surface of dodgy storytelling is a narrative which has sacrificed logic for expedience and effect. And if the story is at points confused and imprecisely told, then it had to be, for the only other option, it seems, would have been to inconveniently rip up the whole plot and instead produce one which actually made sense.

Well, how did the surviving Legionnaires manage to escape the exploding Time Bubble? As is par for the course here, tell not show is the order of the day. Tellus, it seems, "erected ... a telekinetic shield ... as Alastor .. detonated". It's a good job we have this explained to us, because otherwise we'd never know.
Everything in Legion Lost # 1 is designed to set up a new status quo in which a small team of 31st century super-people are trapped in 2011 without either the hope of rescue or the advantage of any significant future technology. And in order for that to happen in such a way as to provide the reader with some high drama and a water-cooler moment or two, the Legion's Time Bubble is shown being destroyed as a result of the apparently unforeseen mutation of a prisoner who the LSH are taking back to the future with them. But to make this plot-twist one which the audience can both believe in and be shocked by, the Legion can't be shown to suspect that the terrorist Alastor might transform into a monster who could destroy their only means of returning home.

          
After all, that would make them at least partially responsible for the disaster which the text quite obviously wants to pin solely on Alastor's shoulders. What a shame it is, therefore, that the story itself makes it perfectly obvious that the Legion would simply have to noted that Alastor was indeed infected by the same creature-creating pathogen which he's also inflicted upon the new post-Flashpoint DCU. For Present Tense is full of sequences which clearly establish that the Legion really ought to have dedeuced that Alastor possessed the capacity to destroy their time-traveling technology if allowed anywhere near to it. In short, their placing him in the Time Bubble for the ride back to Levitz-land, without a great deal more care having been taken to control him, makes them look anything but a group of  heroically able superheroes. Whatever those shackles which the Legion used to restrain him in their complacency were made of, they quite obviously weren't in any way strong enough.

Lights, action, shock, deaths. No sense at all.
     
In order to disguise the Legionnaire’s culpability for the disaster which marks the end of Legion Lost # 1 while maximizing the surprise of the Time Bubble's destruction, Fabian Nicieza really does work hard to make it seem as if no-one could have foreseen Alastor's propensity for turning into a hugely powerful behemoth . But at the same time, Mr Nicieza also has to try to ensure that the reader can believe that the Legionnaires know far more than just a little something about the disease which they've been sent back in time to contain. They are, after all, supposed to be the heroes of the piece. But it's a close-to-impossible trick to pull off, given that the Legionnaires are either on top of the basics of the mission they've been sent to complete or not, and trying to present them as both knowledgeable and yet uninformed is just one of the contradictions which leaves Present Tense riddled with inconsistencies and disappointments.

       
It certainly seems that Mr Nicieza has deliberately avoided mentioning in Present Tense that the pathogen which Alastor is said to be planning to release causes people to mutate into great car-hurling hulksters. For if that effect of the condition was to be openly described in the story, then who could ever accept the scene of the Legionnaires simply binding the obviously infected Alastor with a few relatively thin restraints in their Time Bubble without thinking them to be a pack of fools? Similarly, none of the Legion, with one key exception, is ever shown discussing the symptomatology of the very condition that they've been propelled back in time to deal with. All they're ever allowed to say is that it’s a “pathogen”, and they seem to be rather unconcerned with the effect which it might have if it's released. Their concern, it seems, isn't with the pathogen so much as capturing the man who's threatening to let it loose into 2011, and the Legionnaires certainly never mention the possibility of having to deal with any super-powered victims of it. In such a way does the Legion Lost's writer appear to attempt to both sign up how the comic will close, in that Alastor is established as an impressively formidable foe, while also trying to misdirect the reader's attention away from the implausibility of his plot design, wherein the Legion members are required to behave as if they're unable to imagine that their opponent might be contaminated and empowered by the infectious agent he's stolen.

      
The hope, it seems to be, is that the reader won't notice how daft it is that the Legionnaires miss both the threat which Alastor poses as well as the clearly obvious tell-tale signs that's he's infected. And it does seem that Mr Nicieza is quite deliberately implying that the Legion both knows everything about their task and yet very little of it at the same time. For example, the fact that the Legion do know the effect of the unnamed disease is clearly shown three pages before the story’s end, when Tellus states that Alastor is beginning to transform because “he has been infected”. Tellus therefore quite clearly recognises the symptoms of contamination, which confirms that the Legion knew that their enemy was in possession of a particular pathogen which could cause such specific mutations. How strange it is, therefore, that they never apparently considered, before letting him into the Bubble, that he might be infected himself, and therefore a substantial physical danger to their safety.

In which no-one but Gates notices that their opponent now shows every sign of being infected by a very deadly disease indeed, despite knowing  (1) his previous degree of physical power, (2) his new town-flattening strength, and (3) the effects of the pathogen itself.  (Oh, and poor-soon-to-apparently-die Gates, the loudest and most willful of Legion members, doesn't say anything more about it!)
         
Yet the Legionnaires failure to take in consideration Alastor's possible contamination is by far the least of their sins where the events which lead to the death of two of their comrades are concerned, and, on its own, it'd probably be a carelessness on their part which the reader could most likely ignore. But Present Tense makes it quite plain that they had a great deal of evidence that Alastor was actively infected and profoundly dangerous, and yet they simply chose to ignore it. Perhaps it’s conceivable that in the challenges posed by a difficult mission, one or even two of the Legion might have failed to consider the possibility of Alastor's contagion. But what’s not conceivable is that they’ve also already been clearly  shown that Alastor is infected, and yet they're apparently unable to process the information they've been given. As Timber Wolf tells the team after capturing him, he's seen the evidence that Alastor had “ripped apart a small town".

          
Yet of all the Legionnaires present on this mission to the past, none think to notice that the man who carried the monster-creating plague back in time is now quite obviously infected with the mutating-causing pathogen. To miss that is surely inconceivable, and yet that's exactly what the Legionnaires do. Somehow, they're capable of being told he flattened Red Lake Falls and yet they don't wonder how he could possibly have done so. These are six very smart superheroes from a ferociously advanced future, and even Wildfire is, for all his impulsiveness, an educated and competent individual who's served in at least one key continuity as a Legion leader himself. But only Gates even notices that Alastor has suddenly turned into a creature of considerable power, and even he doesn't link the surprise of the terrorist's new powers with any danger he might pose to the team. Indeed, the most willful and determined of Legionnaires is given just six words to express a touch of concern -  “He has no abilities – does he?” - and he then quite simply shuts up, as if the point he was making wasn't an absolutely vital one. (See the scan immediately above.) Now, the reader might think that the fact of a previously quite typical individual wiping out much of an entire town all on his lonesome might be a really obvious giveaway, if not a blindingly flashing-red warning sign, but it seems you'd be wrong. For the plot requires the Legionnaires not to notice the degree of threat which Alastor poses even as Timber Wolf's witnessed, actually seen, the considerable damage their truck-throwing, cop-murdering opponent is capable of.

Timber Wolf arrives at the end of Alastor's rampage. (That's his reflection in the puddle in the second panel, a clever, but hard-to-notice effect.) How is it possible that the Legionnaires so under-estimated their opponent's threat when the evidence of his power was so overwhelmingly obvious?
         
This whole situation, this entire charade that the Legionnaires are surprised by Alastor's infection and subsequent power, becomes an even more implausible business when it's remembered that Tellus has already referred to Alastor as a probable “patient zero” as well as the "index case" where the pathogen is concerned. It’s odd that he does so, because it’s hard to understand how he could actually know that Alastor is infected. The suspicion inevitably lurks that he's telepathically deduced the information, but nothing is said to explain his declaration at all. A difficult thing to understand, it's true, but then it's equally difficult to grasp how Tellus has forgotten the same fact two pages later, when he declares with some considerable surprise as the Time Bubble's end arrives that "Something is wrong ... with Alastor ... He has been infected ...". Either we accept that Tellus has confused the meaning of the phrase "Patient Zero", and thought that it refers to the human cause associated with a specific epidemiological investigation rather than an infected individual, or we accept that he really does suspect and then immediately and incredibly forget that Alastor is likely to be an extremely dangerous captive indeed. Once again, we find Mr Nicieza trying to show that his Legionnaires are admirably informed and competent, while at the same time presenting us with characters who behave in ways which are forgetful, ignorant and incompetent.

         
There's certainly every effort made to assure us that Tellus knows what he's talking about, for he does refer to Alastor as both the "index case", meaning the source, of the pathogen, as well as its "patient zero", meaning the individual who initiates the spread of the disease through her or his own infection. He uses the terminology quite precisely, which means that we have to accept that he really is saying that Alastor is likely to be an ill and lethally threatening individual. In fact, Tellus seems to be the team's expert on the pathogen right up until the moment at which he actually comes face-to-face with the person who he's already described as probably playing host to it. Only expert knowledge on his part, for example, could explain his statement that removing Alastor from 2011 “should minimise … the pathogen’s spread”. And it seems that the Legion are quite happy to leave for the future in the knowledge that the plague will be limited in its effects, which must explain why they make not the slightest attempt to warn or advise any of the present day's citizens about the situation. (*1) All of which means that Tellus as well as Gates and Timber Wolf should at the very least have been up in claws and flippers about the danger posed by Alastor before he was ever pushed towards the Time Bubble.  But, of course, that never happens, or the story would grind to a halt under the weight of its own logic.

*1 - Mind you, if Tellus doesn't know what he's talking about, then we have to assume that none of his fellows do either. That would mean that Tellus is nothing but a blowhard, and his recommendation that they abandon 2011 to the contagion - because things 'should' be alright - is one that's nothing more than waffle. Either Tellus knows what he's talking about, and therefore he should've realised that Alastor was infected, or he doesn't, in which case the Legion are playing with who-knows-how-many-lives without a clue as to what they're doing.

Straight from the mind of the big telepathic fishy-hero; Tellus strongly suspects that Alastor is infected, and uses very specific terminology to describe the matter. Yet two pages later, he's forgotten the whole business.

Because of this need to avoid making the Legionnaires look as stupid as their behaviour proves them to be, the fact that it's the pathogen which is causing Alastor to become strong enough to hurl trucks at police-cars  is never mentioned until the climactic scene within the Time Bubble. Though we do see the terrorist in his pathogen-mutated form, there's nothing on the page to tell us that he isn't normally able to transform himself in such a way. This sleight of hand means that the reader doesn't question the Legionnaire's lack of concern about what appears to be the threat of Alastor's super-powers. Since the script doesn't mention that there's anything new and unexpected about them, we're left assuming that Tyroc and his colleagues already know that Alastor can make something superhuman out of himself.

  
This also means that we don't listen with any great concern to Gates's brief question about Alastor's supposed lack of any special abilities, because it comes across as if any confusion is his fault rather than that of his colleagues. He and his words are crammed down into the far corner of the panel involved, and none of his comrades cares to acknowledge his concern, let alone reply to it. As a result of this withholding of key aspects of the plot, the reader is nudged into looking at a scene of the Legionnaires behaving in an inconceivably stupid fashion in such a way that they appear to be entirely sensible if somewhat harassed individuals. They're clearly being obtuse, and yet they seem well-informed. Indeed, it's Gates, who's the only one who's even vaguely aware that there's a terrible danger closing in on them, who seems to be the misguided Legionnaire on the page. It's a confusing state of affairs which helps only on the first read through of the story to temporarily cover up the fact that the Legion are dangerously and stupidly under-estimating Alastor. Even then, it's a tale which leaves what's in truth a barely-coherent narrative feeling strangely unsatisfying, while a second glance at Legion Lost leads to the inevitable conclusion that whole story's little but illogic and misdirection.

And so, when reading Present Tense for the first time, it's the big green-and-purple protagonist who seems entirely to blame for the Time Bubble's destruction, as the story's creators would seem to want us to believe. But from then onwards, it's clear that any court-martial of the Legionnaires concerned would find all of them to have been in dereliction of their duty on the occasion of the deaths of two of their fellow Legion stalwarts.

         
After all, how can it be that Timber Wolf sees the evidence of what's supposedly a no-more-than-typically powerful individual having destroyed much of a town without even wondering whether Alastor's been infected or not? How can the other time-travelers hear the Wolf's report and not make the only logical deduction that's possible from it? Yet, once again, the reader's been made to believe that the destruction of the Time Bubble was entirely beyond the Legion's capacity to foresee or forestall, and so the Legionnaires can shown ignoring the most explicit evidence as if it were of no importance at all. But it's an illusion which only holds for the first dash through the comic's pages. As soon as the reader discovers that the Legion hadn't realised that Alastor might be monstrously transformed, and at the point at which they see the largely unprepared Legionnaires facing oblivion because of that, it becomes very obvious indeed that they've just not been paying attention to the world around them at all.

         
Over and over again, key information in Present Tense is obscured and characters are made to contradict themselves so as to not make the Legionnaires ultimately look as thick as thick can be. Tellus is given a fine-sounding diagnosis and prognosis to spout which he then instantly forgets, and Gates is used to express an entirely-sensible and fiercely legitimate concern which is then incredibly ignored, and by Gates himself as much as anyone else. Information is withheld so that we don't question the Legionnaire's competency, and yet complacency is ultimately what their behaviour displays. It's a surely deliberate process by which the Legion are presented as simultaneously smart and stupid, able and incompetent, and all because the reader mustn't be allowed to conclude that the deaths of Gates and Yera are at least as much the team's fault as they are Alastor's. The assumption behind this seems to be that no-one would want to read a comic about super-folks who are that stupid and that lacking in care, although I for one think that a comic which took such an approach in an open and thoughtful manner might be very much worth the investing in. Yet the truth seems to be that Mr Nicieza simply hadn't been able to find a way to wrap up his various first-issue plot-lines without relying on the Legion being not just dense, but out of character, inconceivably forgetful, and disastrously careless..

"They're ... gone ... Both of them ...": Yes, they are, and all through all of your lack of competence and care too.
         
I've yet to come across a single, significantly positive review of Legion Lost # 1, and all of those I've read quite correctly speak of the confusions, obscurations and awkwardnesses in the comic. And yet, there's an irony that if many of those problems were absent from Present Tense, a far worse series of reviews would likely have occurred. For underneath all those problems with the script is the fatal failing of the plot itself, and its the fatal flaws in the latter which so twist and fracture the sense of the story as a whole. 

If Present Tense had been told in a typically transparent fashion, that closing sequence of comicbook shock and angst and awe would have been both entirely unsurprising in itself and thoroughly reprehensible where the behaviour of the surviving Legionnaires was concerned. Because of course Alastor was capable of becoming a monster! Of course the Legion should have realised that he was infected and capable of hurting them so! And instead of objects of sympathy, Tyroc and his team would have been revealed as being at best idiots and at worst criminally negligent.

       
What a choice to be faced with in order to save a story, if that truly was the choice that had to made; to either own up to the fact that the plot relies on the dumbest of conceits, or to make the story truly confusing and potentially unsatisfying in order to protect even something of the plausibility of the big loud bang and all the dead heroes at the end of it.

Well, perhaps. Or it could well be that my assumption that there's any such a purpose behind the problems of Present Tense is entirely misplaced. Perhaps Legion Lost # 1 is just a thoroughly stupid comic book without a single half-decent excuse that we know of for being so. Perhaps it was produced under an impossible deadline, or subject to the influence of a whole chain of other creators and editors? Perhaps, maybe, perhaps ...

Who knows? All we can be sure of is the comic book itself, and that's clearly a daft little thing masquerading as a deeply meaningful superhero melodrama.


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28 comments:

  1. Thank you for the most masterful dissection of a piece of written comics nonsense that I have ever seen. It's what I'd have liked to pull off, but which I didn't have the stomach to endure doing for very long.

    I'd say you prove my own, more compact, contention: This is neither "Legion" nor "Lost." They show a lack of critical or informed thinking that'd have resulted in their all being slaughtered back in the 31st Century against any one of the Fatal Five. And they're not lost, but trapped inside their own lack of savvy as to gauging a potentially deadly enemy.

    It both borrows from the resonance of the LSH and undercuts it while doing so. That the writer is playing fast and loose with something that the Legion, of all comics teams, did NOT play fast and loose with - team members' deaths - is the sickening icing on a tenth-baked esthetic cake.

    This is not just a storytelling disaster, it's an outright menace to the Legion's legacy of over 50 years of stories. If either of the teams - Legionnaires or creative crew - had shown this stupidity and lack of awareness at the beginning, the Legion wouldn't have gotten past 1958, let alone 2958.

    That I have to say this about a Legion team which includes my own two favorite Legionnaires of more than 30 years - Dawnstar and Wildfire - makes me far sadder yet.

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  2. Hello Greybird:- thank you for your kind words. I must admit, though I stand by the points I made, I think the above is a terribly stiff and repetitious piece, and I'm grateful to you for persevering with it. In trying to learn to write at speed to deadlines, I have a 'rule' that I post what I've written. It's a great way to learn, to come face to face with limitations in the most heart-sinkingly public of ways, but if I could break that rule and not feel cowardly, I'd pull the above and re-write it almost completely. For that reason, I am grateful to you for your kind words, because I don’t think I’ve ever felt so uncomfortable with something I’ve posted. And I’ve posted some stinkers …. :)

    "They show a lack of critical or informed thinking that'd have resulted in their all being slaughtered back in the 31st Century against any one of the Fatal Five. And they're not lost, but trapped inside their own lack of savvy as to gauging a potentially deadly enemy."

    I do agree, I really do. And it's one thing to present a selection of Legionnaires as idiots, but another to try to convince us that they're on the one hand highly competent and on the other extremely stupid. Of course, there are lots of folks who are very clever and very stupid too, but that's not the central issue here. Here the LSH actually behaves in ways which contradict the very things they've seen and said in the issue itself.

    I must say, I do wonder of Gates and Yera are dead. My thought is that they can't be. They're both wonderful characters, and Gates is unique; in his original Levitz incarnation, he came across as one of the few politically-informed characters being published in a superhero book. It would be daft to kill off such great characters, and, of course, the last thing comics needs is the end to another stable and loving relationship in the name of cheap angst too.

    Still, having been so harsh, I feel I really ought to be back next month, and if it's good, I shall eat the humblest of pie. But as things stand, it's hard to make sense of why LL exists in the form it does. With the exception of the new take on Tyroc, which I know little of, it's a team full of most of my favourite LSH folks too. Well, two of them seem to be dead now, but I suspect they'll be back in monster form sooner or later. And that would be an interesting plot twist, so fingers crossed.

    The thing is, the way that Mr Nicieza was fighting to make his story seem compelling while retaining the daft end of the story shows every evidence of a good writer stuck with a concept that isn't working. It seems, although nobody could ever be sure from the evidence of a script, that he's making every effort to cover up the plot-conveniences while adding value elsewhere in the story. By which I mean, it might be really interesting to see how he works with the situation he's created. Whatever problems there are here, and yes there's alot of them, there's the sense of a man working to carefully structure a story, but it's unfortunately based on a disastrously daft conclusion. It might not have panned out, but I'll be interested to see how it progresses. In that, and in the strangest of fashions, I guess Legion Lost # 1 has done its job.

    But as it stands, I of course wholeheartedly agree with you. The Legion are a smart group of folks who take care of each other in the way of highly-trained professionals. One of them might screw up on occasion: what would fiction be without that? But not all of them, and not to such a cost, unless that's the point of the story. Not 'Legion Lost' then, but 'Legion Incompetent" perhaps …

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  3. Pretty much fully agree. Although I'll admit I didn't notice how dumb Legion Lost was when I read it, this isn't really a point in its favor because I was too busy trying to figure out who everyone was and what was happening at all to read it critically. Legion Lost was like the comic book equivalent of a Lancaster dropping a bellyfull of Window into the air. Sure, I didn't notice the bad things it was doing to Hamburg, but as a result I sort of missed the episode entirely.

    But! In its defense, I give you the bottom of page 19, with Timber Wolf and Dawnstar's reactions to the (however nonsensical) death of their teammates. I think that's just a beautiful piece of comic book storytelling, even if it is a lone island in a sea of really *bad* comic book storytelling.

    However, I'd bet I'd be even less forgiving if I cared about any of these Legionnaires other than Tyroc; had ever actually seen Gates before; or was not, as someone who would marry the Threeboot if I could, slightly annoyed by the very concept of a Chameleon "Girl."

    P.S. In old Too Busy/Legion news, I finally bought Action 900, and I see where you're coming from a lot more on the "Friday Night in the 21st Century Piece." I don't know if the denouement of the story, if a 4-page story has a denouement, needed set-up at all, especially one that kind of makes Lois look dumb.

    More importantly, I *still* don't know why that guy is so mad at Clark.

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  4. Hello Mikoyan:- I think it's part of FN's skill that the comic doesn't seem as dumb as it is. And although that sounds counter-intuitive, I do mean it. I can't help but wonder, as I said at the end, whether he was very much rushed or subject to 'editorial guidance', because there IS that sense of a writer who knows there's a fatal flaw in their story's design and who's doing all they can to disguise it; I suspect that business of 'missing the episode', as you say, is very much a result of that. And as you also say, those last three panels of page 19 WERE effective, or, they are in isolation from the rest of the story. As a page-turner, that shot of a shocked Brin works better than any other in the comic. Thumbs up to FN and PW for that sequence, and that's another reason why I feel the next issue will be worth checking out. I don't think I've ever read a comic I liked so little that I've been so keen to read the next issue of. (Is this some new fiendish DC method of snaring readers ....)

    You like Tyroc? I don't know enough of the recent year of Legion books to understand much of the most recent take on the character. I am old enough to recall his first appearance, mind you, and what a car-crash that was! Oh, I can laugh about it now ..... :)

    Thanks also for letting me know how you found "Friday Night .... ". Now you mention that, it strikes me that there does seem to be something of a tradition appearing here of Legion stories which aren't quite what they first seem on the surface. And on top of the race/gender issues, it was a shame to reduce Lois to dumb AND loving, wasn't it? I know it was something a nod to the first movie and to the Silver Age Lois, but with all that was and wasn't going on in that short story, it just read badly.

    My feeling about the mad-at-Clark guy? He's a no-hoper who envies Clark's good fortune where Lois is concerned, I suspect. Or perhaps someone with a neat'n'tidy fetish. There's a story to be told there, but then, there's a story to be told about everything .... :)

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  5. Go easy on Nicieza, Colin, as his team books have always seemed to me to suffer from characters tripping over each other to get some face time with the story regardless of their contribution to it. I think he's pegged at this stage of his career as "the X-Men and New Warriors guy" even though his work on books with much smaller casts is usually stronger.

    For my tuppence, the Dawnstar panel looks like a crowd of sentient Christmas trees enjoying a lightshow at a musical event featuring Lady Gaga doing Vultan cosplay. Maybe I'm getting old, but that doesn't sound like something I'd be interested in.

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  6. Hello Colin,

    "Or to put it another way, underneath that surface of dodgy storytelling is a narrative which has sacrificed logic for expedience and effect"

    What did you expect? It is written by Fabian Nicieca, the man who made the X-Men finally into a day-time soap where all characters behaved like being retarded while spouting melodramatic nonsense, where nothing ever was resolved and convoluted became a bad word. Lobdell was hit and miss, well, mostly miss, but Nicieca was downright unreadable.

    I know what you will say :-), that he is a fine writer given the right circumstances, but I don´t buy any book he is involved in.

    I used to be a big Legion fan, back from the Mike Grell days, because the characters seemed - back then - to be more interesting then the old-fashioned JLAers and their costumes looked better, modern and sexy. It was - at that time - a nice space opera, which became a great space opera when Levitz took over.

    After the awful Bierbaum-reboot I quit and never looked back. But even in the old Levitz days I seem to recall that those "The Legionares are marooned in time" stories never were any good. And this is still the case. The biggest conceptual stumbling-block is that these characters should know enough about "the future"; if you think it through they should be arrested as a dangerous group on the second day by the Green Lantern Corps and put in isolation :-) On the other hand this argument never was seen as relevant in the DCU; Superboy visited the 30th century every second tuesday which had no influence on his life whatsoever. So what do I know :-)

    Still, with todays more sophisticated audiences it seems strange that a book like Legion Lost is considered to led a healthy life as an on-going series. Or is it a maxi?

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  7. Hello Brigonos:- And there's a coincidence, because I've been posting a comment over at YFAN as you're leaving one here. Well, who'd've thunked it?

    "For my tuppence, the Dawnstar panel looks like a crowd of sentient Christmas trees enjoying a lightshow at a musical event featuring Lady Gaga doing Vultan cosplay."

    That sounds fascinating, and I'm saying that as somebody who has never knowingly heard - this is Pop shameful - a Lady Gaga song and who only has the vaguest suspicion that Vultan probably isn't anything to do with giant Japanese alien-fighting robots. BUT THE IDEA OF A CONCERT-GOING CROWD OF SELF-AWARE X-MAS TREES IS A CONCEPT I FIND UTTERLY FASCINATING!!!

    I've nothing against Lady Ga-Ga, by the way. It's just there's so much going on and so little time to keep up. I don't need to visit the gym since I bought an exercise bike on the never-never a while or two back, and that means I don't keep up with the charts anymore.

    I'm not a great expert on Mr Nicieza's work. I wasn't a fan of the Marvel Nineties stuff, but I didn't have any bone to pick with it. It just wasn't to my taste. Beyond that, I know very little, and the 90s is far too long ago to be relevant now. As I've said in the comments above, there's material in LL which seems to argue he's a good writer stuck with the wrong plot.

    Ah, the very thought of concert-going Christmas trees ...

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  8. Hello Andy:- "I know what you will say :-), that he is a fine writer given the right circumstances, but I don´t buy any book he is involved in."

    I suppose I think that of everyone, don't I, and there's usually evidence to support such a contention. Actually, I know so little of FN's more recent work that it's hard for me to know what to say. So: I'm sure he's a fine writer given the right circumstances. And I am.

    Still, I will agree that neither Mr Nicieza or Mr Lobdell's X-Men work was in the slightest bit interesting to me. I too couldn't cope with what felt like the obviousness of the soap, but I must admit that it certainly did sell. And I don't mean that in a snotty way. Books that sell help keep the whole industry afloat, so my approach was always "not for me, but good for them". If their comics had followed straight on after the Byrne/Claremont era, then I think I'd've felt far less sanguine about the whole business. But my love for the X-Men had long since been worn away ...

    My favourite Legion era on an emotional level includes the Cockrum and Grell issues, though the best run, it seems to me, is the Levitz/Giffen Eighties one. Quite why the Legion has become such a moribund property is something I'm trying to write about the moment, because it really is a fascinating as well as a dispiriting business. (There's strangely been no attempt at all to make the current LSG book appealling to new readers. It's quite impenetrable.) Yet in the end, I suspect that the endless reboots simply wore away the audience's love for the property. I know that's an unfashionable idea, but the Legion was messed around with so much that there simply was no point in getting involved with it. Next year there'd be a new group of folks claiming to be old friends, and the year after too. A good solid, inspiring reboot can be a great idea. A endless chain of them is a very bad idea indeed.

    I still do suspect that the Legion could be a big selling book. But then, I always think that about everything, don't I? With the right circumstances and talent ....

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  9. Well, I like the *idea* of Tyroc more than most, I suspect.

    It doesn't work well in the context of his creation, and especially in hindsight--Black Person Brigadoon is a rather offensive idea as a rationalization for previous marginalization, but, I dunno, I don't see it as bad idea *outside* of that context.

    Sure, you can't have an angry black man stereotype learn the "error of his ways" when you've been systematically excluding black folk from your utopian future universe and expect it to come off well... but if they ever rebooted the Legion as a basically non-ethnic melange of neutral skin tones, I think it could actually play--especially more as an outsider generally than specifically as a black guy in a white world (or in the 31st century, any number of white worlds, apparently; seriously, I expect Polar Boy's people uniformly die of skin cancer).

    Also, I think he used to have a really cool costume, and has a neat power set (sure, it's sometimes a little too indefinite and expansive, but I like Superman too).

    I wasn't following the newer Legion stuff so I didn't even recognize Tyroc at first. I thought it was some new character. Why they didn't think a dramatis personae (which is pretty much SOP in Legion books even to this day) would be useful is beyond me.

    Anyway, maybe it's really just the controversial nature of Tyroc, and the fact that this nature led him to get neglected for years, that leads me to care more about him than more perennially popular Legionnaires like Wildfire and Timber Wolf, who failed to grab me quite so much.

    (Though I admit I've warmed somewhat recently to Wildfire. Get it? Warmed? Ok, I'm ashamed of myself. Anyway, the part where he steals Sun Boy's corpse is pretty great.)

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  10. A thought experiment:

    Revise the story so that the Legionnaires (a) are up front with the reader that the disease causes monsterism, so we'll anticipate seeing monsters; (b) scared senseless that if there's an outbreak, it'll not only devastate the Earth of 2011 but possibly prevent their own future from happening; (c) mention that the only available treatment for it is in their home time period; and (d) HOLY CRAP THE BAD GUY IS ALREADY INFECTED WE GOTTA HURRY!

    They capture him before there's a full-on outbreak! Yay! The past is saved! Yay! The guy isn't as advanced in his own case as suspected, and the restraints brought can contain him! Yay! HURRY HIM INTO THE TIME BUBBLE BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!!

    But there's something they didn't know about...the disease mutated when exposed to environmental toxins of the twenty-first century, so the monsterism takes on different, and more terrifying forms.

    AAAH!! THE BAD GUY IS BIGGER THAN IS POSSIBLE! HE'S SMASHED THE TIME BUBBLE! HE'S FREE AND RUNNING AROUND IN 2011 EARTH, WE'RE TRAPPED IN THE PAST, AND THE FUTURE ITSELF IS IN JEOPARDY!!

    Adds tension and DRAMA!, and it cuts out most of the stupidity.

    Why not do that? What's wrong with that approach? Is there a reason not to take this route? Seems so obvious. What do I not see?

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  11. "I'm saying that as somebody who has never knowingly heard - this is Pop shameful - a Lady Gaga song and who only has the vaguest suspicion that Vultan probably isn't anything to do with giant Japanese alien-fighting robots."

    Beyond glimpsing her in photos in my periphery vision as I pass printed rags and thinking she needs a wash, Lady Gaga has entered my consciousness largely through osmosis, I admit, though I can't avoid hearing the odd one of her tunes in the same way I can't avoid that tune where the guy is going "that's how we roll" about five times in between several incomprehensible verses so that I don't actually know to what intent or purpose he rolls, only that he does so.

    And EVEN THE TREES know who Vultan is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5HfDIwNI8w

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  12. Hello Mikoyan:- You know, I have always loved the idea of Tyroc coming from a seperatist state, but only because of the unexploited potential in that idea. But you nail my concerns as things are when you say;

    "Sure, you can't have an angry black man stereotype learn the "error of his ways" when you've been systematically excluding black folk from your utopian future universe and expect it to come off well..."

    A Legion comic which had a Nation Of Islam-esque state on its Earth could have a terrific story-motor there. But it would need to be a comic which deals with race in a far smarter way than the superhero book tends to. First stop: let's have a truly multi-racial, multi-cultural Legion, and then, as you imply, a seperatist state becomes interesting rather than insulting.

    I agree with you 100% about the lack of a dramatis personae in Legion Lost. And a touch of those captions briefly detailing powers and the like would've helped too. That's one modern-era convention that I do think works very well.

    I do know what you mean about less-popular/more-contraversial characters being easier to love. For all that I loathed the basic premsie which Tyroc was based on, I always thought the comics of the late seventies really could've done a Black Superman with 'his' own seperate world and 'his' own distinct cultural identity. (And by that, I don't mean a white m/c blokes version of a Blaxploitation riff or two.) The shame is that the Tyroc I see in LL doesn't seem to have much that's distinct about him at all. Quite frankly, I thought he was a new take on Invisable Kid II when I first skimmed the comic.

    I've no problems with post-modern takes on humour, Mr M, but I must say, I can't recall Wildfire stealing Sun Boy's corpse. Is that a recent incident, or is my memory decaying faster than I want to consider?

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  13. dHello Colin,

    sorry for the multiple posting. Sometimes google hates me :-) I never did once get a notification that it was on the way. hm.

    On the Legion, I wrote that I have the Bierbaum reboot - which, if memory serves correct was the first one with a new No.1 - as awful in memory. I know that I cancelled my subs at the time because I really hated the revamped characters. But even before there were some boring and too long storylines which didn´t work, the Magic Wars stuff and the Time-Trapper?

    Still, today I would like to read it to see where it went so wrong.

    Still, times really have changed. Legion was one of those DC books where they put 24 issues in one year on the market, back then when the Direct Market began (if I am right and not confusing things.) It was seen as relevant and successful enough to do this. I wonder what they did sold back then of the title.

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  14. Hello Harvey:- “But there's something they didn't know about...the disease mutated when exposed to environmental toxins of the twenty-first century, so the monsterism takes on different, and more terrifying forms.”

    Fantastic! I’d’ve bought THAT version of Legion Lost and not, I suspect, have wanted to moan about it at all. I can’t say how much I enjoyed your take on the raw material of the issue. I’d sound sycophantic if I tried, and that'll tell you how much I thought of it.

    It was always the fact the FN’s ending required him to leave out so much of his story that sunk LL’s first issue. If you have to focus on disguising the daftness of your climax, and if you have to ignore many of the most interesting aspects of your story in order to do so, there's surely very chance that what’s left won’t be confusing and uninvolving.

    I too was absolutely baffled why the plague wasn’t discussed, why there wasn’t fear in the Legion’s discussions, and why the basic premise – which is rather promising – wasn’t brought out. A FUTURE-PLAGUE WHICH CREATES MONSTERS! It’s a great B-Movie hook for a comic. And your fantastic re-mix of the basic ideas in LL # 1 just shows that there was a great deal of potential there.

    So why did FN hang onto that daft ending, considering how it then deformed the promising ideas in his story? I just can’t say. Was it a killer-deadline, one-draft, no editorial-feedback assignment? Was the basic plot already in place? Was the artwork already in existence?

    You’re right that there’s a host of highly promising ideas in LL. Why anyone would chose to ignore many of them while under-developing the rest is a puzzle made all the more frustrating by reading your estimable re-construction. I can see editorship is something you’ve pursued, Mr H, I really can.

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  15. Hello Brigonos:- Believe it or not, the Splendid Wife and I were discussing how best to say your name this morning, and it was she who opened the conversation, having for some reason being looking through the comments on this blog. So you really are a household name, in our household.

    "And EVEN THE TREES know who Vultan is"

    Yeah, well - clears throat - I talk to the trees, but they don't listen to me ...

    (Pause while visiting YouTube ...)

    Oh. Right. Just let me get the stupid hat and put it on.

    I saw that movie on the day it went on general release at the Staines Odeon with my first girl-friend. Loved it. Feel very stupid.

    I have been listening to some Ga Ga this afternoon in a desperate attempt to get down with the kids. And smack me around with something which won't hurt me at all, but it appears I know a great deal about said Lady. 'Bad Romance' is so familiar from endless plays at the gym I mentioned that I was taken back to its wretched rooms and its masses of folks who hate to exercise and love to chit-chat.

    Hey, I know who Gaga AND Vultan are. It HAS been a successful day :)

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  16. Hey Brigonos, "I can't avoid that tune where the guy is going "that's how we roll" about five times in between several incomprehensible verses so that I don't actually know to what intent or purpose he rolls, only that he does so." This made me laugh and spit my wine out.

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  17. Re: Sun Boy's corpse. It was right before the first reboot (I think?), after the non-SW6 Sun Boy was severely injured the radiation released by an exploding fusion reactor (which seems a lot like Spider-Man dying from a spider bite or Captain America dying from steroids to me, but it was a pretty big explosion I guess).

    Well, Dirk got euthanized, and Wildfire was out of his containment suit at the time, and apparently had no access to a back-up, so, since he didn't need it anymore, Drake snagged Dirk's "containment suit" and wore it around town like an anti-energy Buffalo Bill.

    It was gross.

    Then they all were erased from history or something. This happens a lot apparently.

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  18. Hello Andy:- No problem with the multiple postings :) They get caught in moderation and they’re easy to delete.

    I think I agree with you about the Legion’s decline. My back issue collection starts to thin out after the Great Darkseid Saga, and I’ve nothing but a few issues from the past .. er … twenty years …. That’s terrible, isn’t it?

    “Still, today I would like to read it to see where it went so wrong.”

    I would too. I know that there’s contract problems, but wouldn’t it be good if DC could start publishing great thick phone books of 80s and 90s comics?

    “Still, times really have changed. Legion was one of those DC books where they put 24 issues in one year on the market, back then when the Direct Market began (if I am right and not confusing things.) It was seen as relevant and successful enough to do this. I wonder what they did sold back then of the title.”

    It was the Titans, the Legion and then the Outsiders who went through that experiment, wasn’t it? 24 issues a year, and perhaps it’s no coincidence that none of those books were ever as successful again.

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  19. Hey Brigonos:- Are you making the Splendid Wife hurl her wine? Out here in the semi-rural, middle-class East Of England, causing a woman to waste her vino is the sort of thing that ends up with letters to the Guardian being written.

    Yeah. It's THAT serious ...

    (Hello Splendid Wife:- More wine from Waitrose, then?)

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  20. Oh dear. That is a mess, isn't it?

    And the concept is flawed from the start too. The first Legion Lost is known for having the characters, well, lost: they're in uncharted time and space, they lack all their usual resources and cool stuff, things are physically and emotionally gruelling. That's got a selling point. What's the plot of this Legion Lost? Superheroes are stuck in DC Universe 2011, a time and place full of superheroes. It's hard to see that as either being a huge crisis or being a stand-out concept. It'd be like exiling Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who to the year 4000.

    - Charles RB

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  21. Hi, Colin,

    I still haven't been able to get hold of any of "The New 52" comics that I want. But the shop still had "Legion of Super-Heroes" #1. So I got that.

    It was pretty good. I'm so glad I got LSH #1 instead of "Legion Lost" #1. LSH #1 had several of my favorites, looking pretty good. (I'd forgotten how great Dream Girl is. She kicks ass!)

    "Legion Lost," on the other hand, looks pretty bad. Gates is just about my least favorite Legionnaire. (Except for Ogress. Was there really a Legionnaire called Ogress? Surely that's just my mean nickname. "Ogress" never really happened, did she?) I didn't even recognize Timber Wolf. And poor Dawnstar, trapped in the past with Gates and Tyroc. On top of that, she's got a swollen nose!

    It's been a while, but I go way back with the Legion. I remember "The Great Darkness Saga." I remember the bikini super-heroine outfits of the Legion women-folk. (Saturn Girl and Shadow Lass have long been favorites of mine, probably mostly because of those outfits from the 1970s.) I remember when Pat Broderick was the regular artist. And I swear by the Great Rao, I even remember the Steve Ditko issues!

    (I have to admit, I sometimes wonder if I imagined the Ditko issues.)

    I bought the Legion comics well into the 1990s, but I don't really remember those issues very well. (Something about an SW6 batch gone bad. And the world blew up and the chunks floated through space held together by an enormous Habitrail. And Duo Damsel (sorta) went back to being Triplicate Girl.)

    I hadn't planned to buy LSH #1, but I'm glad I did. There were times in the past when the Legion was a lot of fun, and maybe it's time to give them a chance again.

    (I'm going to write a letter and suggest the return of Proty and the Weirdo Legionnaire!)

    - Hoosier X

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  22. Hello Mikoyan:- thank you for the context. I must admit, it sounds like the kind of thing which Al Ewing and Henry Flint could build a cracking satire around!

    "Then they all were erased from history or something. This happens a lot apparently."

    Those reboots had the Legion dead in the water by the end of the Nineties. There's been several more since, and Legion Lost promises a future which the surviving Legionnaires won't recognise.

    Oh, dear ...

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  23. GREYBIRD!!!!

    I'm having real trouble with your last comment. Well, I'm not: I want to publish it. But it didn't turn up until much later after you published it, and only then in the spam section. I've now tried to publish it and it isn't appearing. I hope it will appear, for those things do happen, and usually with Smitty's comments. Until then, I'd hate for you to think that I'm ignoring you or that I've taken offense. Nothing could be further from the truth. If and when the comment appears, my reply will have to be out of sequence down here. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, and if you have your original, please do re-send it!

    However, having read the beginning of your e-mail, which is all the moderation process allows, I will say:

    1) The discussion here is, you're right to say, a rather good thing, and without the kindness of the folks who contribute, I think I'd step away from blogging. I can't take any credit for this. I think it's just somewhere where folks can come and chat without anybody getting snotty with each other. (That gets edited right out if it ever appears!)
    2) I do have some sympathy with FN not wanting to engage with criticism. Having seen Gail Simone was spoken of when she was on Wonder Woman, for example, I suspect it's a longshot to expect creators to embrace even decent-hearted if intense challenges. Still, it IS a shame. There's a great deal about LL that is a mystery and it would good to hear from FN about it.
    3) But if, as you say, he claims to be writing for the trade, then that directly contravenes the stated policies of the New 52, and might explain why his book reads quite atypically in comparison to most of its fellows. In my opinion, nothing has hurt comics so much as writing for the trade and ignoring the monthly market's needs. I recall you expressed that opinion too. Oh dear.

    Thank you for posting a link to this article elsewhere. Little blogs like this can only benefit from such kindness.

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  24. Hello Charles:- Yes, I absolutely agree, as I find myself doing with your always estimable opinions. I suspect that there may be an attempt being made here to see if the Legion characters are unpopular because of themselves or because of their 31st century background. They've brought back quite a few of the more rebel-yell types, such as Timber Wolf and Wildfire, though Tellus and Dawnstar wouldn't fit such a hastily-thought-out hypothesis :)

    "It'd be like exiling Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who to the year 4000."

    The Big Two do keep shoveling in superheroes into the one place, don't they? Mind you, DC have removed the JSA/Shazam characters, so maybe they NEED another 60 or so super-suits to fill out their pages.

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  25. Hello Hoosier X:- “I still haven't been able to get hold of any of "The New 52" comics that I want. But the shop still had "Legion of Super-Heroes" #1. So I got that.”

    I suspect that that’s the only way the LSH is going to flourish at the moment. Regardless of its quality, the pre-orders for it were apparently lower than most of its fellow titles. Over here in the UK, according to Bleeding Cool a while back, they were shamefully low.

    “It was pretty good. I'm so glad I got LSH #1 instead of "Legion Lost" #1. LSH #1 had several of my favorites, looking pretty good. (I'd forgotten how great Dream Girl is. She kicks ass!)”

    I had terrible problems with it, I must admit. I felt excluded because I hadn’t read the past few years, and I felt as if Mr Levitz had blown a real chance to make the LSH friendly for a new audience. After all, his script was by far the most reader-unfriendly of all the New 52 books I’ve read. Yet your comment once again shows how I’d be making the wrong call if I assumed my take was anyone else’s :) And I’m glad you enjoyed it, because regardless of my opinion, I’d love the Legion to find an audience and survive.

    “"Legion Lost," on the other hand, looks pretty bad. Gates is just about my least favorite Legionnaire. (Except for Ogress. Was there really a Legionnaire called Ogress? Surely that's just my mean nickname. "Ogress" never really happened, did she?) I didn't even recognize Timber Wolf. And poor Dawnstar, trapped in the past with Gates and Tyroc. On top of that, she's got a swollen nose!”

    Ogress I agree with. But I love Gates! Love him! I loved his Communist sniping. It added real colour to the Legion back when he first introduced. But I must say, in the few times he seems to have been around since, he doesn’t seem to have been the same character.

    “It's been a while, but I go way back with the Legion. I remember "The Great Darkness Saga." I remember the bikini super-heroine outfits of the Legion women-folk. (Saturn Girl and Shadow Lass have long been favorites of mine, probably mostly because of those outfits from the 1970s.) I remember when Pat Broderick was the regular artist. And I swear by the Great Rao, I even remember the Steve Ditko issues!”

    Yeah, me too. I go right back to the John Forte and Curt Swan issues! The Legion and I are almost as old as each other.

    “I have to admit, I sometimes wonder if I imagined the Ditko issues.”

    He was phoning them in. That’s why they seem imaginary! Compare them to his pre-1966 work and they seem like the work of a child pretending to be the great SD.

    “I bought the Legion comics well into the 1990s, but I don't really remember those issues very well. (Something about an SW6 batch gone bad. And the world blew up and the chunks floated through space held together by an enormous Habitrail. And Duo Damsel (sorta) went back to being Triplicate Girl.)”
    There you are. The Legion isn’t a property which can’t fly, but it is one which can be sunk by unmemorable stories. Oh, dear. Mind you, I did like the SW6 when it first appeared, if I can refer to those characters like that. They were intended to be the “real” LSH, weren’t they, and that seemed to me to be a way out of a cul-de-sac of an era. Shame the chance was blown …

    “I hadn't planned to buy LSH #1, but I'm glad I did. There were times in the past when the Legion was a lot of fun, and maybe it's time to give them a chance again.”

    I’ll go back and re-read it. You’ve convinced me that I might have missed the point. Sadly, I often do ..

    “I'm going to write a letter and suggest the return of Proty and the Weirdo Legionnaire!”

    And the Legion Of Super-Pets. And the Heroes of Lallor! The Devil Fish too!

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  26. [Re-posted]

    What a pleasure to have such thoughtful discussion. I've been seeing less of it all the time in a number of comics venues.

    Nicieza has held himself "above the fray," barely recognizing (let alone actually discussing) most critical comments, in the DC Message Boards and CBR Forums, as to the largely negative reaction to Legion Lost 1.

    Most of the comments he's deigned to make insist that he isn't fazed, because he's finished writing the first story arc of six issues and knows where it is going, and thus is confident that it will ultimately gain general approval.

    He's also said that "writing for the trade" has become not just one factor in planning such stories, but a primary factor.

    Well, that's an Argument from the Unseen if I've ever heard one, mixed with a dollop of arrogance.

    If his only substantive argument in response to criticism of his first issue is, in effect, You haven't seen the rest of what'll be in the first trade, then why bother with the monthlies any more? And why jerk the readership around like this, wasting the advantage of a New52 start?

    Most of the net.commentary on the pointless passing of two Legionnaires is not just seasoned with, but drenched in, a cynicism that has largely been absent from Legion circles for forty-five years now — since Ferro Lad died and actually stayed dead.

    The nearly universal expectation is that Nicieza is toying with the readers, and that no death is final without the bodies, and that the characters wouldn't be permanently wasted, et cetera, ad nauseam.

    Well, he's playing into that cynicism with his attitude of, in essence: I know what's coming and you don't, and it's all going to work in the end, so shut up, buy the issues, and read.

    No, thank you. Until it shows signs of not casually traducing the intelligence, teamwork, and coherent characterization that has illuminated the Legion at its best ... well, I may read, but I'm not going to shut up, and I'm not going to buy. (And I think most will get my drift with that last.)

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  27. Two other notes of affirmation, at the risk of swamping things ...

    First, I also applaud Harvey's plot re-conception. That would have helped immeasurably. It would have also avoided any need for more exposition as to background on this plague / infection.

    (Nicieza supplied background notes, actually. But in a thread over at CBR Forums! In the form of letters about what was coming. Ah, hell-LOO? Doesn't that go against self-contained storytelling? Isn't it unfair to the readers who assume that the actual book is all you need to follow?)

    And second ...

    >> I'm going to write a letter and suggest the return of Proty and the Weirdo Legionnaire! <<

    > And the Legion of Super-Pets. And the Heroes of Lallor! The Devil Fish too! <

    All that was part of the fun of the Legion. It could take such tangents and give readers a break from the angst and conflict. Exotic settings in the future could support all that.

    Comics are just not fun any more {sigh}

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  28. Hello Greybird:- I'm glad you got my message, and I appreciate you re-posting. I've responded to most of what you've written, thankfully :)

    I will suggest that there are at least a few of the current 52 books which are something of a hoot, which are, as you say, "fun". It's harder to buy into a new comic than a familiar one, I know, but Demon Knights, for one, seems like it'll have some of that freewheeling fun you describe, as well as linking up to a great deal of the DCU and carrying some moments of weight too.

    But I understand your frustration. I suppose we'll just have to cross our fingers and wait for what comes next for the franchise ....

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