Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Comic Review: Legion: Prophets #2 (IDW Publishing)

Paint-by-Numbers Mediocrity

A Hollywood movie has a predictable lifecycle. It hits theatres before becoming available on DVD. After awhile, the DVD’s go on sale and the movie winds up on cable television. Consumers decide how they want to experience the movie and can choose to save money by simply waiting for it to change formats. Comic books are beginning to follow a similar lifecycle: single issues for $3.99, a usually cheaper trade paperback, perhaps a digital copy for $1.

Here we have a four-issue limited series, Legion: Prophets, which is the prequel to the movie Legion to be released in January 2010. Bottom line on top: this comic book deserves, at best, to be featured as a motion comic on the Legion movie DVD, or to be picked up for a quarter at some future comic book convention. It exemplifies much that is currently amiss with the comic book industry.

Although the first issue had some promise, the second is truly a waste of time. Limited series are all the rage these days (presumably because they allow publishers to release an issue with a #1 on the cover and they’re easily collected) but you typically have a couple issues in the middle of the run where nothing of great importance happens and fight scenes take up double or triple the space they need to.

This release bulges with a bloated seven-page battle between a topless prostitute with a sword and some sort of demonic zombie. The art is often lazy and unrealistic. Does Jose Holder lack talent? Hopefully not - some panels have a nice energy to them but overall the finished product looks rushed and ill-planned.

The geisha sequences are interspersed with dialogue between angels preparing for battle but so little information is given we’re not sure what’s behind the goings-on. The speech bubbles are unbelievably short, often with only a few short sentences. Page 4 contains a blockbuster 47 words. Slim pickings indeed. And two people get writing credit for this issue?

To price this comic at $3.99 is downright exploitative, almost criminal. IDW Publishing could permanently displace Image Comics as the fourth largest comic book publisher but not if they’re gonna churn out low-grade stuff like this. Anyone with an interest in apocalyptic or magical storylines would be better to check out Jeff Lemire’s warm artwork in Sweet Tooth ($2.99 from Vertigo) or Mike Carey’s savorous writing in The Unwritten (also $2.99 from Vertigo).


In stores December 2, 2010

Adam Paige
Senior Reviewer

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