Saturday, February 02, 2013

Week of 30 January 2013

I did not see any Legion content in comics this week.

I did take the opportunity to re-read the entire run of  the recent Legion Lost title, and you know what? It's just as bad as I remember.

Okay, there are many reasons it was bad. There were too many ideas crammed into too few pages. Most of those ideas were obviously what I call "hey-wouldn't-it-be-cool" ideas, novelty for the sheer sake of novelty, without any thought of fitting into a larger narrative. Worse, most of these ideas were never followed up.

In addition, the title had two writers, who apparently never talked with one another about their conceptions of the series. The first guy at least seemed to have some idea of where he wanted to take the time-lost Legionnaires; the second guy just used the book as a companion title to Superboy and Ravagers, thus turning the Legionnaires into supporting characters in their own title.

All that aside, the most awful thing about this title is that everything constantly reset to zero. In the final analysis, nothing happened. The characters went through a series of apparent adventures -- at least three of them even died -- yet at the end, they were unscathed and unchanged. (All right, Gates was physically scarred and Tellus grew legs...but emotionally and psychologically, they were the same.) All the apparent sacrifices were pointless, because no one paid any cost.

As various critics have pointed out, the Legion is all about change. Characters grow, change, even die. There are real prices to be paid, and the characters are altered by their experiences. That's what makes the Hall of Heroes such a powerful image: the Legionnaires are aware of the prices they've all paid. That's what makes it worth while to follow convoluted Legion continuity: we understand the present Legionnaires by knowing what they've faced in the past.

In this day and age, a Legion series that goes 16 issues without anyone changing or paying a price is a series that's the opposite of everything the Legion means.

And that, in my opinion, is why Legion Lost was so bad.


Madman2001 said...

I loved your analysis, Get-a-Life Boy. I actually bought the last 2 issues of Legion Lost and I was totally lost. Who were all these characters running around? You would think that there would be some explanatory text or something, but no . . .

As you say, the Legion became supporting characters in their own magazine.

Too bad.

Meerkatdon said...

Actually, it never occurred to me that the word "Lost" in the title might be meant to apply to the reader, not the characters.

If that was their goal, then they succeeded!