DC Preview: Legion of 3 Worlds #1
Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: George Perez with Scott Koblish (Colors by Hi-Fi; letters by Nick Napolitano)Things you should know: I’ve been a Legion fan since I was about six. That makes me more inclined to like this book. I’ve been a George Perez fan for about the same amount of time (I “met” him on Avengers during his first run). That makes me more inclined to like this book. As for Geoff Johns, you know I like his work. All that said . . . This is how you do an event comic. Let’s start with the art. There is some truly inspired Perez stuff in the first issue. It’s got flow. It’s got yards of detail. And it’s got an amazing amount of character to it. Let me clarify: that’s not “an amazing amount of characters”, even though that would also be true. Perez takes pains to differentiate facial structure, even between some characters that are, shall we say, very very alike. I’ve noticed that it’s fashionable in some circles as of late to dismiss the work of Perez. Frankly, that’s crazy. He’s a terrific super-hero artist. His work is kinetic and classic. He doesn’t try to batten on to someone else’s fad or change his style to suit the cultural moment. Like The Who or Christopher Walken, he is perennially cool because he does what he does and he is among the best of his generation. Many kudos should also be laid at the feet of Koblish; I can’t imagine the time it took for the small lines and subtleties of shading in this issue. In terms of story, it’s no secret that I’ve spent a fair portion of this summer discussing the challenges of event narratives. While I’ve enjoyed portions of the actual Final Crisis and Secret Invasion mini-series, I’ve had issues with the ways in which certain aspects of the plots have been delivered. As I’ve previously stated, I believe that in a review I have to look at the book from three levels: as a reviewer, as the target audience, and as a proxy for those new readers that the book may be trying to reach; it’s more complicated than that, but that’s the face of it. Typically, event books lose what should be easy points on the new reader end due to lack of accessibility. Occasionally, they lose what should be easy points on the “reviewer” side by making odd choices that often have to do with tie-ins and the stretching of the narrative to allow for other pieces that must be shuffled elsewhere. Within the script for this book, Johns has managed to hit balance between those three demands. There are plenty of tricks employed to keep it accessible to the uninitiated while retaining elements that are “inside” enough for long-term fans. And despite the fact that the book ties-in to Final Crisis in a tangential way, Johns and company manage to make this book its own thing. It can comfortably exist without the other event to which it is attached. I honestly think that a person with no Legion background can come to this fairly easily. The use of Superman as a reference point adds a level of comfort, and all of the major protagonists (and antagonists) are identified quickly and, in some cases, elegantly. It’s fair to say that you if you’ve never read the Legion, you’ll come out on the other end of this issue knowing particular things about, say, Sun Boy that separate him from the other characters. For the hardcore, Johns also weaves in elements from his runs on Action, Green Lantern, and Teen Titans while simultaneously paying homage to Legion and Superman history. No easy feat. To the new reader, it comes across as a variety of Easter Eggs; to the long-term fan, it comes across that Johns really, really knows his stuff. Granted, a good portion of this is set-up, and we already know what a big story point is going to be from the very title of the thing. Still, this is a top-notch start. I’m actually excited to see the Legions interact, and I’m eagerly waiting to see how Perez makes it all look. That dovetails into this strange feeling I had the entire time I was reading . . . what is that? Oh, yeah. It’s called fun.
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