Legion Lost 0

Today, Peter and (special guest writer) Nikki Royce are discussing Legion Lost 0, originally released September 12, 2012. Legion Lost 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Peter: The Legion of Superheroes is something I never really got into. The concept is there, but it was so far removed from the DC characters that know and grew up with that it never jived. The closest I ever got was if any of those characters made appearances in the present time, such as the JLA/JSA crossover The Lightning Saga. I was confused even then. I think it probably boils down to there simply being too many heroes, or too few major members, and too many minor characters. Regardless, The New 52 provided me with a chance to try again on the Legion, and yet, here we are again, lost in the limbo of not really caring too much about them.

Legion Lost 0 tells the origin story of Brin Londo aka Timber Wolf, one of the Legion Lost gang. When Brin was a young child, his father, Marr Londo who was a scientist was hired by the corrupt and rich Lord Vykor, to come up with a powerful agent that could enhance his personal army of men. In a classic bad guy move, Vykor shoots Brin’s mom, Kana to ‘motivate’ Dr. Londo. Fueled by rage, Londo injects both himself and Brin with the incomplete serum. The effects give them some pretty neat powers like speed, strength, yellow eyes, and super long fingernails, essentially a human-wolf hybrid.

When Vykor returns for his serum, Marr attacks him. Vykor shoots him.Brin fights them off, but cannot save his father. He is now on his own, a true Lone Wolf. Brin grows up on the streets, fighting for survival and bad guys. The underworld begins to refer to him as the Lone Wolf. He fights criminals for years, trying to get close to Vykor. After finally finding him, Brin must fight Vykor’s son, Tor. Both Vykor and Tor have also taken the serum, having reverse engineered it from Londo’s corpse. Brin bests them in combat. The police (science officers in the future) give him the idea to apply for the Legion of Super Heroes, hell, they would even write him a recommendation. Brin runs off, officially changing his name from Lone Wolf to Timber Wolf.

This is a really great story. It has some classic origin story elements, and creates a compelling character for Brin Londo. I really enjoyed reading this book. The story is very well done. It sticks to the major points, and doesn’t suffer from the distracting elements that could happen when using a universe the size of the Legionverse. Props to Tom DeFalco. I mean, yeah, a bit of it is cliche, but it works very well here. If cliches can be employed well, they don’t so much distract, as add a classic feel. This is a classic story.

Timber Wolf is a really great character. He’s both a loner, but also a team player on the biggest superteam in the universe. In addition to being essentially a werewolf, he’s a very transformative character. Zing! He has Batman-like drive to want to do right by his parents, and honor their memories. But there is a very special dichotomy within him.

It’s interesting, he wants revenge like his father wants, but his mother wouldn’t want that. It goes back to their relationship when Brin was a child. His mother was caring and loving, like a mother should. His father was cold, withdrawn and always working. This transfers over into Brin’s inner monologue and decision making.

The art here is clean and concise. Pete Woods and Brad Anderson do a great job of handling Brin’s movement — his bursting through that window in the image above, his running around in the shadows. They give a sense of his abilities and powers without compromising details and getting in the way of the story. He really does have those animalistic qualities. I guess the only criticism I have about the art is that there could be a little less use of shadows. Brin’s face could easily be draw a little bit different with more definition, instead of being constantly obscured by some random facial shadowing.

Legion Lost 0 didn’t really work as a jumping on point. LL is a team book, and yet, the zero issue focuses on just one person. I read #1 and Timber Wolf featured probably the least of everyone. So I probably won’t keep reading this book, simply because right now, Timber Wolf is interesting, but it doesn’t do much to interest me in the rest of the series. The Legion of Superheroes will probably remain something that I know about, just am not super interested in. For a franchise on its fourth iteration, DC is still trying to find the perfect mixture in order to get it right. Maybe someday, but for me, today isn’t that day. Nikki, you are relatively new to comics. What do you think of the Legion of Superheroes, and Timber Wolf?

Nikki: Well Peter, you are usually my go-to on all things comic related, and I find myself agreeing a lot with what you have said.  I have read the Legion Lost prior to this, and what I like about the series as a whole is that each issue is told from a different point of view and from a different Legionnaire. That makes the entire series interesting, because you get so many characters’ points of view and personalities. The series has a very special feel that sets it apart from others. I found it easy to find at least one character that I could really relate with. That being said, I can see how it also lacks continuity that other, more popular comics have. So from the traditionalist point of view, it may make it hard for a reader to become overly attached to any one character or get into the book.

I really liked this particular origin story. It drew me in for many of the reasons that you stated, and also because I am overly fond of only children, being one myself.  This story specifically did a great job of showing how well loved Brin was as a child — especially by his mother. I liked how his mother was the one who really tried to give him a normal childhood, not shoving him off to a nanny, and how she — even when his parents were obviously top scientists — made him feel like their accomplishments were the family’s accomplishments. It can be a tough thing for any mom to balance a family and a career and it is nice to see it placed in the part of his ‘caring family’ backstory.

Brin still lacks some bonding with his father, but it is understandable. By the time he is injecting Brin with the serum he is already overtaken with thoughts of revenge. This could have been a good time for him to share the experience with his son, rather than treating him like a tool. However, he still cares for his son enough to give him a contingency plan. The sadness that Dr. Londo felt for loosing his wife was also a surprisingly sweet and his grief made his treatment of Brin more understandable.

The entire story is laced with puns, full of great action and at the core a sympathetic main character. I felt a lot of attachment and respect for his origin. I think he is a well developed caring character who will be a great addition to the Legionnaires. Like you stated, I am relatively new to the comic world and I will most likely keep reading this book because it is so different from the popular comics that are finding their way into the main stream daily life. This series goes out of the way to delve into so many characters that it keeps it fresh and unpredictable which I find very appealing.

Nikki Royce is a former dance studio director who likes cats and seahorses. When she is not out exploring nature or reading books, she is attending classes at Michigan State University in pursuit of her advanced degree. Sometimes she can be found folding sweaters at the Limited.

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page.  Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore.  If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there.  There’s no need to pirate, right?

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