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Legends of Tomorrow #1 [Review]

legendsoftomorrow0001Cover Art: Aaron Lopresti with Chris Sotomayor
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: May 2016
Cover Price: $7.99

I hadn’t paid attention to this originally when I saw it solicited…I noticed the “title” and chalked it up as yet another soon-to-be-failed tv-tie-in of near-zero consequence, at least to me and my following the “regular” continuity of DC stuff. I’m not sure if the tv show had premiered yet or was just about to, but I had no interest in yet another digital-first thing seeing print, and thus ignored it. Then recently there was an ad for it that caught my attention, and left me curious. I was a bit put off learning the thing would be $7.99…even for a double-length issue, being frustrated with $3.99 price points, essentially $8 seemed a bit MUCH for just one issue of something I wasn’t overly familiar with. Still, I resolved to wait and see, not swearing to avoid the book but not intending absolutely to buy it, either. When it came out last week, it was a small week for me, so the $8 wasn’t terribly steep…plus the issue’s squarebound with the title on the spine, so it can actually go on a shelf like a mini tpb, and not simply disappear into a box.

While I’d expected a “lead” story and the others to essentially be “backup” features…if I counted correctly, we have 4 20-page stories in this issue, giving the thing excellent “value” for the content, if one is interested in or doesn’t mind what’s included (vs. say, wishing it was Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, or Green Lantern content).

Firestorm – United We Fall part 1
Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciller: Eduardo Pansica
Inker: Rob Hunter
Letterer: Corey Breen
Editor: Jessica Chen

I remember checking out Firestorm: The Nuclear Men title at the launch of the New 52, and it didn’t hold me enough to stick with it past a few months. I’ve never been a huge Firestorm fan, but I’d been loosely aware of the character at points–though mostly it was after the introduction of Jason as the new Firestorm and the apparent demise of Ronnie in Identity Crisis that the character was fully on my radar; and then the Deathstorm stuff around Blackest Night. Now there’s been a fair bit on the Flash tv show and Legends of Tomorrow, so this “lead” story was a good enticement for me to buy the issue.

We open on Ronnie and Jason testing their powers, with something going on with them, and then the two split, and we get a glimpse into their personal lives–individually, and at school with a mutual friend. We also have the introduction of a new/old villain, and come to see that there is something up with Jason, and with the Firestorm Matrix in general, which leads to a cliffhanger promising imminent destruction.

In addition to the above preamble, I think another draw to THIS take on Firestorm is that it’s written by the character’s co-creator, Gerry Conway…with the added element that I’ve attended a panel where he spoke several years ago, so there’s that quasi-personal-ish connection for me.

I like that the Jason/Ronnie mix has not been scrapped, and that along with both of them we also still have Professor Stein…indicating, for my limited experience with the character, a certain mix of original/classic and newer character elements and an observance of history for the characters. Yet, this also reads as a first issue, showing us bits of stuff with Firestorm and that it requires two people, and there’s this “matrix” thing that allows them to join AS (a) Firestorm; We’re “introduced to” Ronnie and Jason and see a bit about them–Ronnie’s into sports, Jason’s more into academics; We see a bit of “supporting cast” in Stein as well as the boys’ mutual friend; as well as a bit of rivalry between them. I’m familiar enough to simply enjoy the re-introduction/”confirmation” of stuff I figured I knew, and I’m interested in where this story goes.

I’m not sure if I’ve seen Pansica‘s art before or not…but I had no real expectation going into this. I was not disappointed by the art…it’s good, and worked for the story, avoiding random weirdness that’d put me off or have me wondering at anatomy and such; and I was never left trying to figure out WHAT happened or was going on. It’s a good match for the story itself.

I’m not sure exactly how this would rate for me as a first issue wholly on its own…though I probably would not have bought a Firestorm #1. But this was only the first quarter of the issue purchased…

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Doom Patrol #4 [Review]

Dead Reckoning; The Coming of…The Clique!

DOOM PATROL
Writer: Keith Giffen
Penciller: Justiniano
Inker: Livesay
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Guy Major
Cover: Justiniano, Andrew Mangum, Guy Major
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth V. Gehrlein

METAL MEN
Plot: Keith Giffen
Dialogue: J.M. Dematteis
Art: Kevin Maguire
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth V. Gehrlein

It took me 3 attempts to make it all the way through this issue. The first two, I got hung up in the main feature. At the third attempt I managed to get through the main feature, and then all the way through the co-feature with no trouble at all.

I’m not entirely sure what was going on in the main story. To my knowledge all the characters are new to me–none of them rang any bells for me. We’re introduced to a bunch of characters contextually, though to be honest–I’m not sure if those are characters that are part of the current book, or references to the previous incarnation of this title, or what.

But as standard in Blackest Night comics so far, we see dead rise to elicit emotional response from the living, the aim being to ripen a heart with strong emotion before the subject is killed to power up the Black Lanterns.

The art’s quite good, to keep it simple. Though I’m unfamiliar with the characters, there’s no trouble telling them apart nor in following the action. And nothing to the visual style gave me any pause to contemplate quality.

The story itself was not enjoyable for me. I was not interested in the concept of this Doom Patrol before, and I’m not now after reading this issue. That’s not to say the story itself is bad–it’s not–but it doesn’t appeal to me.

This reminds me a bit of my early days in reading X-Men comics: being entirely unfamiliar with the characters and having no real sense of continuity, who characters were, and so on. While the story structure seems good, it just doesn’t interest me. However, for sake of following the entire Blackest Night event, I still intend to pick up the next issue.

If Doom Patrol’s your thing, this’ll be well worthwhile I think. If not…it doesn’t seem like it’s going to–from this issue, at least–add much to the Blackest Night event. Moreso the other way around–the event’s inserting something into this title’s story.

The Metal Men co-feature has nothing to do with Blackest Night, and seems quite timeless. A group of “female” robots have been activated by an arrogant creator seeking to outdo Magnus’ Metal Men. These girlbots proclaim themselves The Clique, and stir up trouble that gets the Metal Men involved (though they were quite happy enough to begin with, shopping with Magnus for a birthday present to give Tina–aka Platinum.)

I’m somewhat familiar with Magnus from 52, as well as the Metal Men from same as well as elsewhere around the DCU. They’re hardly my favorite characters; basically a take ’em or leave ’em situation. However, something about this story kept a sense of fun about things with some goofiness and the fantastic.

I was more engaged by this story than the Doom Patrol, and while I find The Clique to be a stupid/stereotypical element, it still works overall.

As a whole, I’m not entirely satisfied with the purchase as just a comic. In addition to simply being a Blackest Night crossover issue–the first tie-in of the event that’s not a Green Lantern book or mini-series–this issue is the first of several that are part of DC’s “ring promotion,” wherein retailers could order a bag of rings for every X number of copies of this issue they ordered. This issue came with a Yellow Ring. My inner fanboy was almost giddy at receiving the ring at no additonal cost–and for sheer enjoyment of starting a collection of the colored rings, this issue was more than worth its cover price to me.

Doom Patrol
Story: 4/10
Art: 7/10

Metal Men
Story: 6/10
Art: 7/10

Whole: 6/10

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