Thursday, August 21, 2008

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 Review

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by George Pérez and Scott Koblish

Can an issue both disappoint and have you chomping at the bit for the next installment at the same time? Because that's exactly how I feel after reading this issue.

The disappointment arises from the fact this is a trumped up Wikipedia article with pretty pictures from George Perez. In fact, the use of the Superman museum and the Jimmy Olsen hologram was even worse than reading a simple Wikipedia article and it went on and on for the entire issue as it framed everything the Legion and Superboy Prime did.

I realize Johns has to setup dozens of characters, re-introduce people to this new Legion and its alternate future - all while setting up the actual story for this arc - but this is not how a story should be told and it comes off very similar to the exposition filled nonsense from the recent Batgirl mini-series, which is far from a good thing.

To be honest, the only thing really noteworthy from this first issue was seeing Superboy Prime assault the prison world and free the Legion of Super Villains. There was also a shock killing of some longtime Legion supporting character, but I didn't even know who it was at the time and the moment was lost on me, making me wonder why this was such a big deal.

Basically, all you need to know about this issue is:
  • the Time Trapper is the bad guy and brought Superboy Prime to the future
  • the Legion of Super-Heroes is on the verge of being disbanded due to the events of the recent Action Comics arc
  • Superboy Prime destroyed the prison planet and freed the entire Legion of Super Villains
  • Superman was called to the future and Brainiac reveals they will enlist the other two Legions from the three different Legion continuities
Of those bullet points, they take up about 5 pages of story combined with the rest of the oversized pagecount dedicated to explaining who everyone is.

Regarding the artwork, I'm not a big fan of George Perez (well, I used to be a fan, but his art has kind of stagnated and seems to be just going through the motions in recent years), but I think this is some of his best work in years and I was surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did.

Now, with my disappointment over this issue handled, how is it I'm still pumped for the rest of this arc? Well, all the boring introductions and setup seems to be out of the way and seeing Prime's handiwork, that of slaughtering over 20,000 guards and searing a giant, flaming Superman S-emblem into the prison planet, and the promise of the other Legions being called in for the next issue is more than enought to make up for this lackluster and disappointing Wikipedia entry.

Verdict - Check It. To be fair, I think you could skip this issue, read this review or random spoilers and be able to jump right into the next issue without missing a beat. This was the equivilent of a Secret Files one-shot or some other character profile book with the exception it was narrated instead of just static images and text profiles. To me, that's not good storytelling and I don't like paying $3.99 for it. However, what little that does happen is great and the setup for the rest of the story is taken care of, leaving us with nothing but, hopefully, action packed, balls to the wall action for the rest of the series.

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