By Gerry Conway, Eduardo Pansica, Rob Hunter, Corey Breen, Aaron Lopresti, Matt Banning, Chris Sotomayor, Micheal Heisler, Keith Griffen, Bilquis Evely, Ivan Plascencia, Tom Napolitano, Len Wein, Yildiray Cinar, Trevor Scott, Dean White, Steve Wands
DC tries to capitalize on the hit CW TV series Legends of Tomorrow by making a comic of the same name and using one of the characters from the show.
There are four segments in this 80 page book, aside from Firestorm there is also Metamorpho, Sugar and Spike and the return of the Metal Men. It’s a really odd choice for DC to set this series inside the New 52 instead of publishing a comic set inside the TV show universe like they do for Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl. If I had to speculate it’s because DC wanted to create an anthology series with characters that don’t fare well in solo outings and use the branding to give the book longevity.
With the four segments, two are stronger than the others. Firestorm and Metamorpho are sort of by the numbers, without really giving a reason for them to still be published as they exist in the New 52. Firestorm on Legends Of Tomorrow has one of the most interesting character dynamics between Jax Jackson and Prof. Martin Stein, but is one of the most boring powersets. He can fly and shoot fireballs and sometimes absorbs nuclear blasts, but it gets repetitive. Here, Firestorm is able to use his transmutation powers but the dynamic between Ronnie and Jason isn’t very dramatic or exciting. They’re depicted as strained friends, who argue sometimes but usually get along. The most interesting part of their story is that their fusion into Firestorm is becoming unstable.
With Metamorpho, Aaron Lopresti instills some of his Power Cubed work into a new retelling of Rex Mason. He finds an ancient artifact (which may be alien tech) that enables him to transform his body into different chemical elements, but is currently being held captive by Simon Stagg in the hopes of finding the source of Rex’s powers and using them to win the Energy Race. Stagg’s daughter, Sapphire, is determined to prove herself as a scientist in spite of being the daughter of the CEO where she works and ends up offering to help Rex if he shows her how he got his powers. Lopresti has some interesting ideas involving Mason’s captivity and Sapphire’s career as a scientist, but plotting the issue as less action oriented hinders it. The best part is the art, where Lopresti’s imagination is allowed to run wild and show his talents.
The final two stories, Sugar and Spike and the Metal Men, are both excellent and semi offbeat in ways that make me wish they were full solo series. Sugar and Spike are a PI team focused on retrieving/tracking things in the DC universe, hired to find embarrassing Silver Age costumes for a certain popular DC hero. Griffen instills some good deadpan humor in the story and sells them as a competent team out to earn a paycheck. The art by Bilquis Evely is stellar, having a very detailed and complete style. I say complete because each panel lacks any mistakes or visual warts, just depth and solid body proportions.
My favorite story unsurprisingly was The Metal Men by Wein and Cinar. Despite following the current continuity, Wein made it feel fresh and accessible by taking his cues from the 1960s iteration. The Metal Men fight ridiculous violent robots and are coveted by the villain hiding in the shadows, all while the military and the public at large resent their existence. Cinar’s art is gorgeous, with wide money shots of the Metal Men in action and detailed designs for them. Cinar’s art also has a vague Manga vibe to it in terms of how the human characters are drawn, particularly Dr. Will Magnus. Picking up the threads from Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ Justice League arc, Wein naturally has more of a leg up in terms of interest and plot foundation and he makes excellent use of it. This is perhaps the most marketable version of the Metal Men I’ve seen in some time and hopefully DC allows them to star in their own series soon.
All in all, a $7.99 price tag is a steep offering for this book. With most of the DC YOU books ending, it stands poised to become one of DC’s more interesting books but isn’t firing on all cylinders. Half is average, while the other is exceptional. There is sure enough to interest hardcore DC fans and even causal ones, but viewers of the show are not likely to come away from the book wanting more. It’s hard to recommend the comic with all that said. In the end, it all depends on how devoted you are to the characters and desire to see more of them regardless of the quality of the story.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent