The first time I ever read Legion of Superheroes was during the so-called "Archie Legion" that followed Zero Hour in the '90s. From what I can tell, a lot of Legion purists hate that era for being overly light and fluffy. But it paved the way for the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning Legion run which was wildly entertaining. I gave up pretty early on during the Mark Waid Legion reboot and I never went back for the new Paul Levitz Legion stories.
Regardless, I figured that I knew the Legion pretty well and if there was any book among that new 52 that I could just jump into, it would be Legion Lost.
How wrong I was…
This inaugural issue dumps us into the middle of a story that's almost impenetrable. I only knew Wildfire, Dawnstar, Timber Wolf and Gates from the previous Legion incarnations, but Tyroc, Tellus and Chameleon Girl were completely new to me. Apparently, all three are preexisting Legion characters that fell out of the book by the time I was reading it. One of the biggest mistakes that Legion Lost makes is that it assumes that the reader is already familiar with the characters and doesn't offer much of an introduction to the cast or the concept behind them. The closest we get are clunky lines like "Luckily, between Chameleon Girl's shapeshifting, Tellus's telekinesis and my harmonic manipulation… most of us can fly on our own." It's also hard to believe that the editor let "Tellus's" slip through uncorrected.
Right off the bat, we know that this motley crew of Legionaries are pursing a man named Alastor, who has traveled to the past to infect the people of modern day Earth with a deadly pathogen. However, it's never really clear what the effects of the pathogen are or what would happen to their future if they fail to stop it. Fabian Nicieza has been one of my favorite writers on Thunderbolts and Cable & Deadpool, but his work in this issue lacks the sharp and clear storytelling skills that he displayed in those books.
Previous stores have brought the Legion to the present day Earth for an extended stay and fans were rewarded by seeing the Legion interact with the other DC heroes and villains that they would ordinarily never meet. We don't get anything like that in the first issue and the world doesn't even seem like the DC Universe. There's a vague mention of the "Flashpoint Breakwall," but why would the Legion even know about Flashpoint?
There's not even any real action in the book either. The villain basically faints after a rampage before the Legion catches up to him and the rest of the issue centers around the Legion's disastrous attempt to return to their home time period. Two Legionaries are also seemingly killed without any dramatic buildup to the moment. As a reader the only reason I felt any connection to one of the deaths is that the character in question was one of my favorite Legionaries. Nothing I read in this issue made me feel any empathy of that character or the other one who perished. It feels like that moment was simply written into the book for shock value.
The artist, Pete Woods also delivers a shaky performance. Some of his pages are reminiscent of his great run on Action Comics, but there are also several pages that seem rushed and hard to follow. If I didn't know any better, I would have guessed that this was a fill-in book for a regular team that had to be finished very quickly. That would account for Nicieza and Woods performing well below their standards.
Crave Online Rating: 3/10