Thursday, March 24, 2016

80-Page Thursdays: Legends of Tomorrow #1!


Hey, an 80-pager you could buy right now! From last week or so, Legends of Tomorrow #1, featuring stories by Len Wein, Keith Giffen, Gerry Conway, and Aaron Lopresti; with art by Aaron Lopresti, Eduardo Pansica, Bilquis Evely, Yildiray Cinar, and more.

Every Day is Like Wednesday had a little write-up on this last week, and rightly point out this package is basically four comics for the price of two. I don't know how all the numbers break down, but it feels like instead of publishing four probably middling-selling mini-series, DC decided to bundle them up and see how the package sells. And naming it after one of their TV shows couldn't hurt.

So, if you like two of the four titles, you're as much as getting your money's worth, right? Well, it may be a bad sign that I was thinking about this book this afternoon and had plumb forgot the Metal Men were in it...and that's not to say the Metal Men story was bad, but it's pretty straight-forward super-heroing. (With that weird anti-robot prejudice that seems prevalent in 90% of the populace in Metal Men comics, and nowhere to be found in the larger DC Universe.) It's just my bad timing that I was re-reading not-super-old Doom Patrol comics with the more-comedic Keith Giffen/J.M.DeMatteis/Kevin Maguire Metal Men, which does feature the aforementioned robophobia but where the titular robots have more personality in a couple panels than they do in Legends of Tomorrow.

(See? From 2009's Doom Patrol #2.)

Likewise, I read Metamorpho's origin just recently already, the 2007-08 Metamorpho: Year One. Not to quote myself, but on that post I said you could never suck all the fun out of Metamorpho: "You could suck fun out of him all day and still have some leftover." So, of course, Bleeding Cool has an interview with writer/artist Aaron Lopresti, who says "...in the ones I have read there seems to always be a certain air of silliness to the character. In my version, that’s gone." That seems like muting a character with a great voice--a voice that's 75% Marvel's Ben Grimm, but still a great voice! Now, Rex is a prisoner most of this story, but we see both Sapphire and Java getting upgraded to scientist: Sapph had been characterized before as at best, flighty; but Java was a defrosted caveman! (He still is, but on smart drugs, apparently.) I probably sound like I'm bagging on this a bit, and maybe; but it's still not bad...just a bit standardized.

Now, I've never been a big Firestorm fan; but I thought his feature was not unlike the others: a decent superhero story, perhaps lacking a little pop. Giffen's Sugar & Spike update is just confusing, though, as tonally it's all over the map. Let's update a funny toddler strip--that's beloved as such by those few who even remember it--as a light action piece, with a comically creepy Killer Moth, 50's era Batman costumes, and from the current continuity, one-handed Alfred? Together, the choices are just baffling. It would be like deciding to, say, update Archie as a Tarentino-style crime title: it could be done, but why?

I fully realize this probably sounds like a thumbs down for this book, but it really isn't all bad! It is a nice package, but I feel like DC is not taking enough chances with these characters. I want to read about Metamorpho and the Metal Men, so give me Metamorpho and the Metal Men! Don't try and make them like everything else: they aren't, that's the point of them! Go a little more nuts with them, and Firestorm; and what the heck, we'll see where Sugar & Spike is headed.

2 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

I'm with you 100% on the whole Metal Men/Metamorpho thing man. The "silliness" was and is, part of their charm and appeal. Take that away, and you just have a brooding parodiac shell. Why can't they just get Giffin to write 'em both already? At least he knew how to write them properly.

Not sure where Giffin's going with his new take on S&S either, but it seems to be one of those self-aware, 4th wall-breaking deals, like with She-Hulk and Deadpool. I like the art myself though, and it seems to fit the tone of the series for now.

SallyP said...

What the heck is going on over at DC anyway? They have a huge inventory of fabulous characters, most of which they can't even be bothered to use anymore, and they are doing their best to...as you say, entirely suck all the fun out them.

ALL of them!

Bah!