Or – “Still 5 And A Half Legionnaires Left…”

…which, now that we mention it, is one more than Def Leppard has got goin’ on.

LEGION LOST #4
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Pete Woods
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Legion Lost:  Alastor (not, as I have occasionally asserted, Alaktor) travelled back in time 1000 years with a terrible plan to release biological weaponry on the DCU of the present.  Seven members of the Legion of Super-Heroes (Wildfire of Earth, Dawnstar of Starhaven, Timber Wolf of Zuun, Tyroc of Marzal Island, Tellus of Hykraius, Gates of Vyrga and Chameleon Girl of Durla) followed him through time, but were too late to keep him from releasing his genetic weapon.  Gates and Chameleon Girl were seemingly vaporized by the weapon, but the Legionnaires found that a strange human/Durlan hybrid was actually a contemporary human somehow partially merged with Chameleon Girl!

CHAOS IN THE MALL!

Each issue of this book impresses me just a little bit more than the previous one, probably as I slowly overcome my distaste for the seemingly careless fate given poor Gates and Yera in the beginning of our tale.  This month’s issue is narrated by Dawnstar, which is always a little dicey, given her generally standoffish nature.  Still, the tone works, as Dawny and Tellus float in the lower atmosphere, combining his telepathy with her tracking powers to track Alastor, also allowing her a birds-eye view of everything that happens in the issue.  After last issues weirdness involving his powers, Timber Wolf once again is the motive force within the story, and Tyroc and Wildfire (never shown to be friends, or even really interact all that much) have a wonderful bad-@$$ moment in the middle of the issue wherein they quickly and efficiently end a standoff with police.  I have to admit that the conversations between them were the absolute pinnacle of this issue, especially as Tyroc kept stopping his end to utilize his sonic powers and keep himself aloft.  Pete Woods does an excellent job with the art throughout the issue, making me wish that he was drawing a full-scale all-out LSH title, especially given his gorgeous Dawnstar (and the only successful costume I can remember Tyroc EVER having.)

ALIENS IN THE ATMOSPHERE!

Given that this is one of the only titles that is allowed to overtly reference the past (or, more to the point, the future) before the relaunch, it’s interesting to see that even these characters are getting slightly new takes on their lives.  Dawnstar and Tellus manage to find Alastor (and the image of Dawnstar superimposed on a starfield is superb) and ignore the advice of their teammates by engaging him directly.  Fabian’s work on New Warriors back in the day was marked by his tendency to make even the villain’s perspectives understandable, and he does that with Alastor here.  There’s a cameo appearance from an old standby (though not, it should be noted, a standby from the Legion’s history, or even the DCU) while the issue ends with another revelation about Alastor’s power-set.  Here’s a hint:  Luornu should sue for gimmick infringement.  Either way, it’s a nicely balanced issue with action, some nice discussion, a resurrection of sorts and some fun character work from Timber Wolf, Tyroc and Wildfire (which, I believe, was also a touring funk band of the late seventies…)

THE VERDICT: WELL-DRAWN AND ENGAGING…

Long story short?  This one is good.  Legion Lost is some of the most successful LSH storytelling since Geoff Johns brought the original team back in Action Comics some years ago, and the use of a limited group of Legionnaires has seldom been so versatile.  I’m still a little bit unclear on what Alastor is doing or what he wants, but this issue reveals a little more about his motivation and backstory, all the while emphasizing Dawnstar’s alien nature and alienation.  Just the fact that Tyroc has been cool as hell has this series on the positive side of the ledger for me, but add to that some truly pretty art, and you’ve got a winner on your hands.  Legion Lost #4 is good stuff, building on the momentum of the relaunch to tell a fresh story, earning a very strong 4 out of 5 stars overall.  If you’ve wondered what happened to the best parts of 90’s comic storytelling, this issue might be a good place to start looking…

Rating: ★★★★☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Do you think there’s any justification for my hope that Gates will return?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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7 Comments

  1. Rome
    December 20, 2011 at 12:02 am — Reply

    Absolutely. Because Gates is so damn cool. You know half the readers are waiting to see what crazy-Fabian-scheme is going to be induced to bring him back, but he is definitely coming back!

    Just like Yera is/will.

    I hear Nicieza’s off the book after #6. What’s THAT about!?!?

    • December 20, 2011 at 7:26 am — Reply

      I hear Nicieza’s off the book after #6. What’s THAT about!?!?

      Well, I wonder if these six-issue changeups were part of the initial plan, like in the old days where creators would rotate back and forth because getting a book out on time was more important that someone building a four-year arc?

      I don’t really know, honestly, but I’m sure the conspiracy theorists will be all over it…

  2. Stefanie
    December 20, 2011 at 1:25 am — Reply

    I want Gates and Chameleon Girl to be ok too!!

  3. MarkW
    December 20, 2011 at 8:08 am — Reply

    Yes, I think you’re justified in your hope that Gates will return. This issue pretty much implied that Gates and 1/2 of Yera fell into the transport energy.

    Loving the work by Woods and Anderson in this issue. Seems like this book does get better every issue. Other than OMAC and The Flash it’s probably my favorite of the New 52 so far. Hopefully Fabian leaving won’t derail the fun.

  4. Brainy Pirate
    December 21, 2011 at 9:57 am — Reply

    Nicieza had said on the DC boards that he made decisions about deaths very carefully based on story considerations. Now that he’s bringing back Yera, it does seem that he didn’t remove them from the story just to kill off two unwanted characters.

    Besides, (and I know he didn’t have control over which characters he got), you’d think that a writer who didn’t want to use a certain character would tell the editors he didn’t want that character in the book–not even for the setup story–rather than keep the character for half an issue….

    It’s not like Levitz couldn’t have figured out a way to explain his extended-and-perhaps-permanent absence back in the 31st century (á la Tenzil).

  5. Noobian74
    December 22, 2011 at 9:03 am — Reply

    Gates was one of the strongest characters of the Reboot Legion. Was happy when he and XS decided to remain with the team at the end of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds. Would be nice if they brought him back and if they did it PROPERLY.

    • December 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm — Reply

      Gates was one of the strongest characters of the Reboot Legion. Was happy when he and XS decided to remain with the team at the end of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds. Would be nice if they brought him back and if they did it PROPERLY.

      And therein lies the problem. They made a big deal about Gates and XS traveling over from their reality and then proceeded to do $&@$# all with them so Paul Levitz could have his throwback Legion book. After Geoff Johns went to such trouble to try and make the Legion fresh again in Action Comics and L3W, we immediately got stories that negated or ignored all the things that might have been interesting and put all our focus on the redemption of Earth-Man. A team book with 35 members has a bit of a problem when only four of them appear per issue…

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