Less filling– a review of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1

In Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, Geoff Johns and George Pérez hit every note perfectly. From Superboy landing in 31st Century Smallville, to the ridiculously detailed Superman museum(in the future, every superhero will have their own museum,) to the inclusion of almost every alien race ever seen in a Legion of Super-Heroes comics (but did Xanthos rate an appearance anywhere?), the Legion of 3 Worlds gives you almost everything you’d want in a Legion comic drawn by George Pérez. Johns and Pérez know what they need to deliver to produce a book that will excite the Legion and the Superman fan.

Legion of 3 Worlds is the followup to Johns’s successful “Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes” arc from Action Comics which itself was a followup to the mess that was “The Lightning Saga” in Justice League of America and Justice Society of America. Slowly over the last couple of years, Johns has done with the Legion what he’s done for JSA, the Teen Titans and Green Lantern; he’s recrafted the concepts and remade them to resemble the comics of his youth. Green Lantern bears more resemblance to the Denny O’Neil books than to the Gerard Jones or Ron Marz books of the 90s. Johns’s Teen Titans tried to recapture the Wolfman/Pérez magic and his current Justice Society desperately wants to be Roy Thomas’s All Star Squadron. And with the Legion, he’s putting his spin on the Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen era team.

Johns’s writing is loud and bombastic. It’s actually a style that he developed during Infinite Crisis but has refined since then, particularly for the Sinestro Corps War storyline. Like he did with that story, Johns writes Legion of 3 Worlds at such a high intensity that you can’t believe this story is anything other than a mega-blockbuster event. He’s the Michael Bay of DC, except that he can actually tell a story in between the explosions. The explosions begin when Superboy Prime finds a Superman museum that hardly even acknowledges Prime, continues on as the Legionnaires have to defend their existence before the United Planets and continues through to a breakout on a prison planet. Johns fits in character moments between the explosions but they’re still carry as important and as intense a mood as the scenes that contain explosions because you know that this is still a Geoff Johns book and those quiet scenes will eventually lead toward their own explosions.

In George Pérez, Johns has found an artist who can keep up with him. On these big mega stories (see JLA/Avengers,) Pérez draws the same way that Johns writes. By now, you know what you’re going to get with George Pérez and he doesn’t let you down. His panels, crammed with every possible minute detail practically screams “Crisis-level event going on here!” It’s loud, intense, bombastic and filled with more detail than humanly possible.

While the title is Legion of 3 Worlds, it’s obvious after this issue that there’s only going to be one Legion really focused on– the current Johns written Legion. The other Legions are relegated to single images on the last pages of this book. Personally, I’m kind of surprised at the joy I have at seeing the Zero Hour Legion pictured again. Both Johns’s Legion and the current Shooter-written Legion are so morose, heavy and self important that it’s great to see a Legion that used to actually look and act like kids. What can I say, I like seeing Andromeda in costume again.

If there’s any great disappointment in Legion of 3 Worlds it’s that the creators didn’t really pull out any surprises during the book, other than a promising last panel that hopefully defines the nature of the miniseries. Everything leading up to those last panels are fairly standard and what you would expect out of this book. In Johns’s Legion story in Action Comics, there was a fun sense of discovery or maybe even rediscovery as he introduced the Legion, familiar yet long missing characters. In this new book, there are few surprises or discoveries amid a collection of now familiar characters and familiar art.

Legion of 3 Worlds #1 is a solid adventure story that delivers what you expect out but rarely exceeds those expectations.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1
“Book 1”
Written by: Geoff Johns
Penciled by: George Pérez
Inked by: Scott Koblish
Colored by: Nick Napolitano
Lettered by: Andam Schlagman

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