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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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Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 [Review]

serenityleavesonthewind001Script: Zack Whedon
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Karl Story
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover: Dan Dos Santos
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.50

I have to blame a friend for my getting this. Firstly, I’m pretty sure she was aware of this then-upcoming series before I was, and then more recently being my “excuse” to “upgrade” my Firefly/Serenity collection. I also recently re-watched the entire series and movie, wrapping up just a couple weeks ago.

Given that recency, I was impressed with the cover from the start. Dos Santos captures Mal’s face in such a way that there’s no doubt that’s as portrayed by Nathan Fillion. The cover in general looks like a scene straight off the screen.

The interior art threw me off a little bit…there’s something almost too “light” or “bright” about its coloring, and some of the panels’ shots seemed a little more “out there” to me than I’d expect after being used to the visuals of the tv show. Granted, this is a comic book, so that change in visual style needs to be afforded a certain level of “pass” allowing for the difference in medium.

In and of itself, the visuals are good. I wasn’t blown away by anything seeming particularly amazing, but everything fit for the most part. There were a couple panels I had trouble telling who was supposed to be who, but I’m not entirely convinced that wasn’t just my brain refusing to parse ’em out without audible voices to identify the characters.

The story works in general. We pick up some time after the events of the film Serenity, so as the issue progresses the status quo is gradually revealed while leaving some questions (or at least the specifics of how things went down) up in the air.

That this is a comic and not the tv show and yet it’s advancing the same story creates an interesting dynamic of sorts that I haven’t experienced all that often…particularly as the two media aren’t usually directly connected in this way.

I could “hear” the characters’ voices in the dialogue, and given context of the story, the characters themselves seemed authentic to me.

Unfortunately and fortunately at the same time, the comic is a different presentation of the material…lacking the movement and charm of the actors and actresses themselves, their voices, and other things tv and film can do that comics can’t. However, the comic can show things on a grander scale than a tv budget can allow, thus opening the scope of the story that much more.

Unfortunately, as only the first issue of six, this is just a chunk of story for now. Far too short to really be compared to a singular episode of the tv show, yet it seems like there’ll be enough content to this story that the better comparison of the eventual whole would be to that of the film rather than a single episode.

In the current marketplace of primarily $3.99 cover prices, this is “only” $3.50…not as much a bargain as $2.99, but a more reasonable step in pricing than the leap to $3.99.

While you may have plenty of questions of the backstory, this also isn’t a horrible place to jump in fresh…though picking up as it does after the events of the tv show/film you’ll encounter a fair number of “spoilers” should you opt to go back to the source material.

All in all, this is an issue I was looking forward to, made “top of the stack” for my reading priority (even ahead of as-yet unread issues from the past several weeks), and was enjoyable to read.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue, and seeing where the characters go!

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