Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Legends of Tomorrow, Joys of Yesterday


In last week’s Wednesday comic book post, I reviewed a handful of comics I recently purchased. Except for 1. I decided to hold this over to its own post. And that title is Legends of Tomorrow. You might think, "Hey, this is a comic book based on the TV show, Legends of Tomorrow, right?" And you would be wrong. Yes, Firestorm is in it but...

Legends of Tomorrow is that very rare breed of comic book known as the anthology. Back in the early primordial days of this nascent medium, all comic books were anthologies. With 64 pages to fill and the standard story being somewhere between 6 to 12 pages, comics easily lent themselves to have multiple features with a variety of characters. Eventually anthologies would be organized around a theme (detectives, westerns, funny animals, etc) and further still around certain characters. Batman#1 was an anthology in that it featured 4 different adventures but they all starred Batman & Robin.

Eventually reduced page counts made the anthology format less viable and readers wanted longer form stories with continuity which required more pages than a 6 to 12 page short story.

Legends of Tomorrow came together a bit by accident. Last year, DC announced new mini-series projects featuring Firestorm, Metamorpho, Sugar & Spike and the Metal Men. Perhaps not sensing a lot of sales potential for these series or perhaps they needed to slap "Legends of Tomorrow" on to some damn thing, DC combined these 4 limited series into one title. I can't say I would've picked up the Metal Men or Metamorpho series individually (I was on the fence about Firestorm and Sugar & Spike), I've come to enjoy both of these series and I wouldn't have if it had not been for this anthology format. 

Legends of Tomorrow was certainly cost effective. If the 4 series had been sold separately with a price point of $2.99 each, that's $12.00 a month for all four titles. LoT had a cover price of $7.99; that comes to $2 a in issue. Here's the thing: if the series had been released separately, I would have at best only bought two of them which means I would've spent $6 which is $2 less than what I did wind up paying for LoT. In my case, DC got $2 more of my money with LoT than they would've with separate series. So DC wins by getting more money from me and I win because I got 4 comic books worth of material for $2 an issue instead of $3.




Legends had a particularly strong selection of series. 

Firestorm was old school super hero stuff but with a modern spin. It helps to have Firestorm co-creator Gerry Conway as the writer. This new Firestorm story has powerful action scenes but also strong character work.

Metamorpho revives some of the classic Bob Haney gonzo appeal that made the original Element Man so memorable. Writer/artist Aaron Lopestri threads the needle with a thoroughly modern version of Metamorpho that's shaped by the wild and wooly silver age era that originally gave us this most unusual character.

Sugar & Spike is the most experimental of the series in LoT. Based on Sheldon Mayer's classic series of talking tykes, writer Keith Giffen has the toddler twosome grown up and working as private eyes protecting the more embarrassing secrets of the super hero community. I never quite knew what to make of the adult Sugar who ascerbic attitude towards grown up Spike was both funny but also mean spirited.

Writer Len Wein reinvents the Metal Men for a new DC era, combining the myth of Doc Magnus' wacky humanoid robots with other elements from the DC Universe such as Red Tornado, Robotman (of the Doom Patrol) and even Cyborg from the Justice League. Metal Men began a bit flat for me but over subsequent issues, the world that Wein has developed for the Metal Men and their supporting cast has really begun to grow on me.  

Sadly, Legends of Tomorrow the comic book has come to an end. Issue # 6 came out last week and is the last issue of the series. Which is a shame because I really enjoyed this comic. It reminded me of the more innocent times of my youth when I used to buy DC's 100 Page Spectaculars or their Dollar Comics like World's Finest, Adventure Comics, Superman Family and others. It afforded a variety of styles and characters that provided unexpected results. Some stories were better than others, some stories were worse than others. But that was part of the charm, the idea of never quite knowing what you're going to get.

I hope Legends of Tomorrow did well enough to perhaps encourage DC to try this again.
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On a sort of comics related note, Suicide Squad was #1 for the third week in a row despite precipitous box office drop off and an almost total dearth of positive reviews. Apparently other new films coming along have just not struck a chord with moviegoers enough to entice people.

I have not seen Suicide Squad and quite frankly I don't expect to. After what my fellow blogger Slay Monsterbot of the Deep wrote last week, any flickering enthusiasm for this movie on my part has been snuffed out. Specifically he addresses the treatment of a certain key character in the Suicide Squad mythos and her heinous, criminal actions. And no, we are NOT talking about Harley Quinn. Click here for more on what Monsterbot has to say on this although be warned, there be spoilers lurking there.
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OK, that's that for today. There's a new post tomorrow. Politics? Maybe? I'm sorry. (Just bear with me a little longer; this election can't last forever, can it?) 

Until next time, remember to be good to one another.

Dave-El
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You  

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