By Gerry Conway, Eduardo Pansica, Rob Hunter, and Corey Breen (“Firestorm: United We Fall”); Aaron Lopresti, Matt Banning, Chris Sotomayor, and Michael Heisler (“Bound But Not Broken”);Keith Giffen, Bilquis Evely, Ivan Plascencia, and Tom Napolitano (“Fashion Sense”); Len Wein, Yildiray Cinar, Trevor Scott, Dean White, and Steve Wands (“Robots, Go Home”)
If you are loving the CW show Legends of Tomorrow, you may find yourself tempted to pick up this title. You may even be excited because it is a first issue and you can enjoy this along with the show, but if this is your motivation for picking up this book you will be severely disappointed. DC missed a huge cross promotional opportunity to put out this title with some of the show titular characters like Rip Hunter, Black Canary, or Atom. This book only features one of them, Firestorm, and three other more obscure characters of Sugar & Spice, Metamorpho, and the Metal Men. This book contains four separate introductory stories featuring each superhero and/or superhero team, and it is surprisingly not bad. This book harkens back to a pre-52 era and serves as a re-introduction to each character or character teams and the stories are pleasantly great with art that also serves to add to each respective story.
The story writing we get from Conway, Lopresti, Giffen, and Wein is really great at re-establishing these slightly obscure characters and reintroducing them to a new audience. Each writer is attempting to pay homage to original themes and character concepts without trying to pull out any fancy new gimmicks besides great storytelling for the most part. The standout story goes to Firestorm with Conway being reunited with this character, it feels nostalgic, yet reinvigorated with new zeal as there is a new interest emerging around Firestorm. Conway delivered a great introduction into characters and a great set-up for future arcs showing Ronnie and Jason struggling to work together and also apart. There was also the added bonus of the mysterious introduction of Multiplex that leaves the readers eager to see how Conway will wrap him into the story. The biggest let down was by far the Metal Men story by Wein,which does not really find any footing as the story slaps you across the face with a public that fears them yet needs them dilemma that the Metal Men continually face. The bad guy introduced, Nameless, is really ineffective in striking fear into the readers’ hearts as he is just a really sophisticated computer hacker and never really presented as a tough baddie. Lopresti’s work on Metamorpho was good, just a nice solid introduction to the character and the Rex Mason back story while also sliding into Sapphire Stagg and her father into the mix. It did not really add a lot of depth to the character of Metamorpho or do anything special to leave you desperately anxious for the next book. The biggest surprise was Giffen’s work on Sugar & Spice, as two relatively unknowns performing an investigation in a pretty well-known city, it offered some funny moments and good dialogue between the two main characters.
The art throughout the issue is best classified as feeling like true, classic DC with over-exaggerated muscle definition and the use of primary colors. There are some really standout art moments especially for Pansica, Hunter, and Breen in Firestorm with the great splash page we get on the title page. The splash page is a great close up of Firestorm spiraling out of control, which really grabs you in and just blows you away with the intense colors and depth of saturation. The whole art team behind Firestorm did a great job creating so much movement between panels and the art work flows seamlessly over packed panels. Every creative team did a great job to match art style to reflect each respective story, attempting to set each tone very separately from one another while still being reminiscent of nostalgic DC classic stories.
DC may have missed or squandered a fantastic marketing opportunity, but they made up for it by giving some freedom to the creative teams. Each story had a new take on an underused or almost forgotten character and found new life in the current DC universe. For the high cover price of $7.99, it certainly delivers on story and art as the book is packed with four solid stories. Even though the title may be misleading, it can draw new fans to a familiar title and grow their comic-reading audience. If DC’s intent was to cross their TV watching audience with their comic reading audience, they missed the point, but the stories hold up and the art really delivers and feels authentic to each story.