Alien Legion returns; if like me you’re unfamiliar with the series it was originally produced under Marvel’s Epic imprint and after several series it was cancelled and has been drifting in the reprint territory of space. That is to say that new stories ceased in 2004 from what I could tell. The last writer on the series was Chuck Dixon; the writer for this series is Chuck Dixon. Meaning if you left off with the Legion in 2004 then you’re being welcomed back by the same writer at the very least as Titan Comics is ready to deliver new stories. What is Alien Legion? According to the Wikipedia page they’re a group similar to the French Foreign Legion. I would say that it’s an army of aliens from different worlds that have all agreed to serve together for the betterment of the galaxy, but we could also go with the strange French reference.
The issue opens with some history of a race called The Harks. They’re a war mongering society that is viewed as some of, if not the most, dangerous races in the galaxy. Currently they’re having a civil war between Hark Imperium and Hark Warlords over taxes. The Legion receives a distress call from some Harks that are looking for asylum from the civil war, but they wonder if they can be trusted? The Legion is made out of almost a caravan of ships at the moment and so one of the ships heads down to land and is attacked by Harks…
This issue itself has some apparent strengths and weaknesses. Its strengths are rich characters, diverse worlds and a rich history to pull from. Because of that it’s a solid issue and with Dixon on writing duties you know you’ll at least comprehend what’s happening. At the same time though (and here’s that “but” I already set up) the issue struggles to bring in new readers or at least to bring them in smoothly. This was my first and only time reading Alien Legion so it took me a while to process the different characters, they’re roles and really what the Legion was all about. Sure it wasn’t like solving a complex math equation, but like a math equation it wasn’t always friendly. The characters are clearly dense, but having just been introduced to them a better introduction would have been nice. As it stands I only know a few characters’ names and nothing about their back story or job duties.
The art is a lifesaver. It just looks cool and looks like a comic book. I know that’s strange to say considering that’s the medium, but the industry has shifted its style over the past decade to a look that is very different. Now some might just say that this looks like a 90’s comic book and sure there’s a hint of it, but I don’t necessarily think that the look 100% resonates with that era and the Legion as a whole certainly doesn’t either. I look at it and I see a comic book. The paneling is excellent and the futuristic sci-fi elements are fun and well thought out making it visually entertaining.
Alien Legion fans definitely shouldn’t miss this series. In regards to new readers I can see some of them being frustrated with the issue, but if you give it a shot you will come to understand what the series and plot is all about. As for the characters and such, that’s going to have to be a slow burn and something better explored in future issues. By no means does that mean you should skip this issue and if you’re a fan of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy then you should give this a look as well.
Writer: Chuck Dixon Artist: Larry Stroman Inker & Soul: Carl Potts Publisher: Titan Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/25/14