Years after leaving his team, Majestic-XII, the superhero known as Legend is convinced to come back and lead them once again. But what will he do when he finds that most of his teammates have been replaced by criminals, and there are aliens knocking at Earthâ€™s door?
Imagine a world where super heroes existed, and their main duty was to keep one of the biggest secrets in the world from the public? Justin Leach and Andrew Kilian imagined just that, and so was born Majestic-XII.
After the Roswell Crash of July 7th, 1947, government agents approach the President of the United States and present him with the materials that where recovered. After being convinced that the information needed to be kept from the public, the super hero group known as the Majestic-XII was formed. Their purpose: protecting the planet and keeping the public unaware of the existence of aliens. These twelve heroes are lead by the presidentâ€™s hand picked hero, Legend, and answer to the Majic Board.
Flash-forward to the present day, government agents have searched out the man formerly known as Legend, Jack Clayton, and informed him that his country needs him to lead the current incarnation of Majestic-XII. But this Majestic-XII is not like the team he left behind years ago, this is a team made up, for the most part, of convicted criminals. A few of his old teammates remain: Ballistik (a human/mecha), Epsilon (synthetic humanoid), and Synapse (telepathic/telekinetic). The majority of his old teammates are happy to see him, except Synapse; it seems there was a relationship there, and she thought he was dead. Donâ€™t you hate it when that happens? Being introduced to the rest of his team as they fight amongst themselves, Legend is not impressed.
In addition to the previously mentioned heroes, the rest of Majestic-XIIâ€™s rolecall is as follows: Chimera (human/dragon hybrid), her boyfriend Deathrattle (snake/human hybrid), Coral (water elemental), Thunder Heart (wielder of the Star Magic), Revolution (matter transmuter), Skorch (firestarter), Sesmic (creates vibration waves) and Limbo (phantom powers).Â From the moment that Legend breaks up the initial fight, it becomes apparent that not all of the team is going to toe-the-line. While Limbo and Deathrattle seem to be firmly for Legends leadership, others like Sesmic question his authority from the start. During the meeting, Legend briefs them on their adversary, the intergalactic warlord known as Anthrax.
Anthrax. His army rules over two thirds of the universe, and he seems to have become fixated on Earth, and Legend. The team is quickly put to the test as a giant ship appears in the sky and a cadre of villains challenges them in Anthraxâ€™s name. But during the battle, the true meaning of the attack is revealed and a member of Majestic-XII becomes a prison of evil. The events afterward are even more interesting, as another player is introduced, the mysterious Libra, apparent keeper of the balance. And we find out a little about Chimera, as we discover that the monstrous form she holds on the team is not her only available appearance.
Let me hit this one by the numbers, and start covering the art first. Andrew Kilian is a graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, and he really puts out a goods showing here with his first published work. He does classic superhero anatomy and has some clean lines working for him. His women are hot and his men are muscled, but, there are issues. The art work ranges from panels with dynamic composition to more run of the mill filler. Overall? Good solid art work that may need a little polishing up. That said, as a co-creator of the characters, he has a definite feel for them and all of their looks. The costume design was great, with a couple of ho-hum exceptions. For some reason (and this is meant as a complement) I looked at the designs and several reminded me of a LoSH style from their Baxter paper days. Omi Remelante, Jr. earned his pay; his colors really brought the characters to life, great job there.
The story was entertaining and held my attention, but I had a few issues with Leachâ€™s writing. The story kicks off and you never get to catch a breath, but you also have to wonder about some things, to many things. Yes, not spoon feeding the story to the reader is important. You have to make sure that you leave them wondering about some things and leave plot hints and threads to be followed up on later. But this is an instance where you are dropped into the world and have very limited information. There is enough story in this one issue to have actually been turned into two fully realized issues. A little character growth from the criminals would have been welcome, and some things happen that really catch you off guard. Some of the dialogue is a little stilted, and is the stuff that looks great on paper but rings odd when spoken aloud. But, the saving grace of it all is that you can tell that he is going somewhere with it. Justin Leach and Andrew Kilian clearly have backstories for nearly all the characters, and I can only imagine the huge Levitz Paradigm that they have worked out. Little hints are dropped that make you wonder about characters (Shadow King, I went to your funeral!) and their connections to each other. It would just be nice to see a little more time spent on one story at a time, and prepare the subplots for later. You can tell there is a solid foundation there, but it just seemed a little overwhelming at times.
This is a first effort (according to my source) from the team of Justin Leach and Andrew Kilian, and while it is not the polished piece of work that a veteran may turn in, it is a really solid start. They have managed to capture a feeling that reminded me of my old days of playing the pen and paper Champions RPG with aÂ touch of Legion of Super-Heroes thrown in. Maybe it is the orange skinned girl, but I got a serious nostalgic vibe while reading it.
As a nice little treat, there are a couple of pin-ups that give you alternate looks at some of the characters. John Jackman delivers a team pin-up that features Deathrattle, Ballistik, Legend, Coral, Epsilon, and Thunderheart. Nice work with a strong pop art vibe to it and it give a totally diffent look to the characters. But the second pin up really just blew me away. Jed Dougherty gives you a piece featuring Coral that makes you really wonder about the character. It is defiantly worth a look, because he does a little piece of illusion that I did not catch the first couple of times I looked at it. When I did, it just blew me away.
Majestic XII is an independent comic which is published by Leach and Kilian under the banner of Odyssey Comics and is sold through the website Indy Planet. I enjoyed this book, but on a critical layer there where just some things that bothered me. As always, true independent books arenâ€™t for everyone, but this is a nice introduction to an interesting cast of characters. If you want a different feel of superhero, check it out. And let me now if you got the same nostalgic feeling I did. It will be interesting to see the creative team grow, and I look forward to future issues. Iâ€™m giving Majestic-XII: Top Secret/For Majic Eyes Only #1, a solid 2.5 out of 5 stars.