Saturday, 3 October 2009

Flip The Page Review: Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #3

For some reason this year, Marvel decided that the best thing to do with Dark Reign is as little as possible. "But Flip, Dark Reign has been a year long status quo event thing! It can't be little!" you say. Shut the hell up I'm being clever. When I say little, I mean tiny teeny limited series. The trio of series now known as The Underside; Mr. Negative, Zodiac and Lethal Legion.

Now any long term reader will know how much I love Van Lente's Mr. Negative series, which achieved so much in so few issues, so I won't go on about that, and Zodiac is a pretty awesome little series too wherein Johnny Storm finally got what he deserved for being a smarmy git. So what about Lethal Legion?

Well I can't honestly say I liked the first two issues. They were confusing and left Wonder Man looking like a retard. This was a hot tip for being the worst of the trio. But then... ISSUE 3.

I mean... ISSUE 3!

... Well... I don't know... Let's find out.

I suppose for the sake of plot clarity I should summarise what's happened already. after all, this is a doozy of a closer. The Grim Reaper, awesome villain and brother to Wonder Man, has been killed in a prison riot. Prior to this he had formed a new Lethal Legion to take on Norman Osborn: Absorbing Man, Nekra, Mr. Hyde, Tiger Shark, The Grey Gargoyle and Wonder Man. The plan was a success, with Osborn successfully being captured by them and tied up, but someone betrayed them. A lawyer is talking to them all in the prison following the Grim Reaper's death, trying to found out who exactly the traitor is. All of this in the great framing device of said lawyer quizzing each person, gaining more and more of the story as we go. So far... Not much has been worked out. So all the more to be revealed now in this issue!

The writing here is handled by the excellent Frank Tieri, who I'd like to remember for things like Underworld, New Excalibur (where he brought back one of my favourite mutants, Chamber), World War Hulk: Gamma Corps (which isn't actually that good) or X-Men Manifest Destiny... But when I try to I remember how I have a copy of X-Men/Spider-Man with a bloody Manifest Destiny cover. So Frank Tieri brings brilliant writing to any table, but in the end you just think of one of Marvel's more notable cock-ups.

The art here is... Mateus Santolouco. I know nothing of this person outside of Lethal Legion, though he's doing one of the one shots for Necrosha. Art's okay, and Grim Reaper looks suitably fearsome. Heck Mr. Hyde looks good too. But no matter how much I like the character art on most of the characters I just think of how Wonder Man looks in this:
and that's a flattering image...

Still enough of that, let's talk moments shall we?

1. The Tooth Fairy
Tieri actually addressed something that happened in a Thunderbolts one-shot? And a good one at that?! Holy crap I might just have to worship this dude. Also you know, this stands out because holy crap Mr. Hyde is mental as ever.

2. Brotherly Beatings
Wonder Man (in a rare moment of being drawn correctly) teaming up with his strangely awesome brother to beat the mad dog's shit out of Mr. Hyde's head? If that's not a nice moment I don't know what is.

3. Poor Mr. Gargoyle
Another awesome reference to the Thunderbolts (this time being the original line-up)?! Well done Tieri! And just to double the moment's awesomeness we have a slightly pathetic and lovable moment of Grey Gargoyle saying he could be Thor, wielding a small hammer and a battered looking helmet. Poor guy.

4. Poor Mr. Gar- Oh wait I've used that title
The poor pathetic unloved sap couldn't be more wrong. And not just wrong, but also stuck in the past, thinking only of obscure villains from the Silver Age. Well, and Batroc the Leaper.


Okay pretty hefty spoilers, so I've ruined this for you all now. But it is awesome. Seriously you couldn't make it all wrap up so perfectly (especially with the text boxes of stuff people have brought up over the series) if you tried. So for this awesome twist ending I give this series the highest salute possible; nothing negative said about the moment. Okay that sucks but shut up.

And that's the issue. It's an awesome conclusion to the series and the best example of Tieri's writing yet. But it's only worked for me because I've read the whole mini. So it's with a heavy head that I have to adjust my rating system slightly to have a second line for special cases like this (might jump in at some point properly).




In which case it's a Flippin' MUST READ!

Next up: another That Is Why! Oh and Tim's Archaic Spidey review is gonna be up soon.

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