Lazarus Planet: Legends Reborn #1 review

Legends reborn! That sounds exciting. And indeed it is thrilling for this old Firestorm fan as the Nuclear Man is thrust back into the DC spotlight. As for the other characters who get solo strips, I don’t keep up with Renee Montoya, but I guess this is the first time she’s returned to the role of The Question in a while. Raven seems to be the same cheery Goth gal she’s been for ages, but preview art shows a more classic look coming in the new Titans series, so maybe that starts here. As for City Boy, he’s a new character.

As for the Maguffin of it all, the Lazarus Rain that can bestow or transform power, it only affects Firestorm, so forget that.

Perhaps the wee legend at the start of proceedings can make sense of the title.

‘…as ideas bigger than their mortal coils…’? So AI programs are now writing comics? Let’s forget it, and just look at the individual tales for what they have to offer.

I mentioned that Firestorm is affected by the rain spewed out of a magical nonsense volcano. It comes after the two gentlemen who combine to create Firestorm, Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein, discuss some information recently learned by the former.

The awkward conversation is cut off when the green storm splits them apart, leaving Ronnie just fine, but Martin… well, we find out at the end of the story. Ronnie fears it’s the end for Firestorm, with Martin out of the picture, but the arrival of a Shadow Demon forces him to open the Firestorm Matrix to the nearest person to hand, STAR Labs scientist Dr Ramirez.

I agree, Firestorm looks amazing in his classic costume, as drawn by Jesus Merino and coloured by Romulo Fajardo Jr. While I’m horrified that the ‘Everything you thought you knew about Firestorm is wrong’ from Geoff Johns’ Doomsday Clock book has entered wider DC continuity, hopefully writer Dennis Culver has brought it up to quickly dismiss the slanderous nonsense that Martin deliberately blew up Ronnie as part of a seriously sinister science experiment. Meanwhile, Dr (No First Name) Ramirez has potential, along with a rather urgent problem… well, that’s becoming a superhero for you.

I enjoyed ‘Rain of Fire’ loads, with the creators on top form – let’s not forget ace letterer Dave Sharpe – and hopefully set to continue the story into a series. Heck, I’ve never seen the Crisis on Infinite Earths’ Shadow Demons presented as scary, and I like it.

Renee Montoya’s story is more a Gotham Central tale than it is a Question entry, and that’s the way I like it. Montoya never made sense as a legacy character; as a Gotham detective she had more than enough charisma to carry a strip – obscure her face and give her a hat, with mini-ponytail, and she looks like a naff disco act.

This is how I like Montoya, alternately fiery and supportive – put her in the Question outfit and she actually loses her personality. Still, this issue’s artist, Clayton Henry, does a good job with the visuals, and story dynamics, all round.

There are also luminous colours courtesy of Marcelo Maiolo, and attractive letters from Pat Brosseau.

Alex Segura’s script for ‘Masks and Monsters’ is pretty decent, when he’s not contriving ways to get ‘question’ into dialogue, or fixating on the phrase ‘where’s the rub’ without ever quite using it… if Montoya isn’t actually after the Condiment King, just ask what the catch is, already. And he really should have namechecked Montoya sooner than page five – we’re not all reading Batman books.

Titans Raven and Beast Boy are following up on a vision that visited the former, searching for three human-demon hybrids brought by the Lazarus Rain. Along the way she stops to help a man who’s been caught in the carnage.

Nice one Raven, it’s good to see someone remember she’s a natural empath, but writer Alex Paknadel most certainly does. Mind, I didn’t like the line he gives Gar about Raven, who has proved her heroism over and over, needing to be more like her deadbeat demon dad Trigon. As it turns out, that’s not bad characterisation, it’s… well, read ‘Trilogy’ for the big picture. And for the colourful, stark pictures from illustrator Christopher Mitten and colourist Romulo Fajardo Jr – I think this is my favourite page in the whole issue

This is the first story from Lazarus Planet to convey not just creepiness, but true horror, and I hope it’s a vibe the creative team continues in more Raven spotlights.

Finally, we have our newest character – City Boy debuted in the recent Wildstorm 30th Anniversary Special where he met King of Cities Jack Hawksmoor. City Boy talks to cities, finds lost things and sells them for money. Jack is a human-alien hybrid and his powers are very similar, but not exactly the same.

Looks like magic. Which makes me wonder if Greg Pak is going to link City Boy – that name is soooooo bad – to DC’s existing teenage user of street magic, Traci 13. I do hope so, Traci is a great character and our hero, real name Cameron Kim, needs a friend. Anyway, here the Lazarus Rain brings City Boy not just a pet, but an encounter with his second senior hero.

Nightwing! Everyone’s favourite hero. Unfortunately, City Boy is too pig-headed, or suspicious… something… to make the wise life choice of getting Dick Grayson in his corner.

I liked this strip, titled simply ‘City Boy’, a lot – Pak knows how to tell a satisfying tale in just ten-pages while Wildstorm Special artist Minkyu Jung rejoins him on the visual side, partnered again with colour artist Sunny Gho, as Wes Abbott handles the letters. Everything looks splendid, with my only problem being this moment of psychometry.

Can anyone tell me why the swanky lady ends up in jail, and unhappy?

And is it only me who looks at the design on City Boy’s hoodie and thinks ‘Ted Kord tribute act’?

Vasco Georgiev produces the best Lazarus Planet cover yet, a crackingly clear and colourful creation. And that’s fitting, as Lazarus Planet: Legends Reborn is the best anthology yet in DC’s winter event.

8 thoughts on “Lazarus Planet: Legends Reborn #1 review

  1. Ugh
    These one shots are not doing a thing for me.
    The Question story was forgettable and I’m not sure the colourist meshed well with Henry’s art. Normally I love what Clayton Henry can do, but his art looked rushed here, and the colouring did him no favours. It was both dark, muddy and too “computery” (colours being blended together for no good reason… gradient overkill… unnecessary shines all over the place).
    The Raven story was going to have to work real hard to get me to look past the Rachel version of the character that has become a peer/girlfriend to Gar. It just doesn’t work for me and this story didn’t do anything to make me like it better. The artist has a real interesting way of interpreting the characters though. I’d read more from them on the right strip.
    Cityboy – nope. No interest. What can he do? I dunno. And I’m not really interested in finding out. Perhaps if he shows up in Nightwing I might be more interested…
    Firestorm. Sigh. Anyone remember Jason? What’s he doing? A perfectly interesting character in his own right and he worked well with Ronnie. So now Firestorm is a death sentence for anyone but Ronnie. I’m not sure I see the long term potential in that.
    Also, maybe it’s just the shadows and poor lighting but Ronnie’s got brown hair. Not dark dark brown that’s almost black. Just brown.
    Sheesh. I’m cranky.
    Here’s hoping the final issue of Lazarus Planet is more exciting and does something interesting with the concept than we’ve seen so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cranky is OK, I get cranky, and these books are expensive, it’s a bugger when they’re not for you.

      I’ve done several minutes of research and can’t find out what happened to the latest version of Jason Rusch, the New 52 Firestorm ended at #20 with our hero(es) heading for Justice League membership, and then he got lost in the guddle of neverending Geoff Johns nonsense. I liked Jason, and poor Gehenna.


  2. DC, thy name is inconsitency. They can keep Evil Stein canon but forget S.T.A.R. labs was disbanded? What I do like about the Firestorm store is no fire elemental, Pozhar, or Jason. I especially disliked Jason as Firestorm with or without Robbie. Let him steal Lorraine’s schtick instead.

    Renee’s story felt like an unused inventory story honestly. I also mildly dislike Henry’s art. The figures are too stiff and teh faces all look smoothed out. I do like her as Question when she isn’t highjacking Lois Lane’s panel time because there being a lot of Questions just writes itself. I’d like to see others take up just the face mask and trench coat, not as a team but just because there are more Questions than answers. Did I explain what I mean well enough?

    OG Raven with creators stuck in one or two defining character traits annoys me as much as Starfire’s years stuck moaning that she missed Dick and having no other characterization besides. Younger Rachel feels like she has more potential, even if this story sticks her with Mephisto wannabe daddy,

    City Boy was my favorite. The name itself is funny and simple and his powers are odd but cool and effective. He does remind me a bit of Kevin Schumer from The Marvels last year. A moral guy doing shady things to get by is a trope I like and apparently so do Busiek and Pak. Hopefully City Boy will follow the Monkey Prince pattern of an anthology debut followed by a stellar mini.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Noooooooo! Lorraine must remain intact in case someone ever wants to actually use her.

      How excellent to hear a defence of cheery Rachel Raven. Maybe we could have a split Raven, keep them both – reveal Trigon was part Carggian or something…

      I must go and look up Kevin Schumer!


  3. I liked the other special of the week (Flash) a lot more than this one.

    Maybe the “swanky lady” had rented the tiara and was accused of stealing it? Then sad because she spent years in prison? But why would she care that the tiara was finally returned to her by City Boy? And why would he actually give it to her? If she owned it, she wouldn’t have gone to prison due to its loss. If she didn’t own it – why is he “returning” it to her and not to whoever the rightful owner was?

    I guess they forgot to write this part of the story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t say this one did a lot for me. I guess, out of all of them, I’m most interested the ongoing stories of Firestorm, and maybe City Boy after him — but like you, I couldn’t make sense of the visions of the woman losing the tiara (and why she’d go to jail for it). His introduction here doesn’t sway me enough to give his limited series a buy (though I might try it on DCUI). And with Firestorm, I’d like to see Rusch back, too, and Stein’s name cleared.

    I tend to really love Clayton Henry’s art, and also enjoy Alex Segura’s writing (especially his novels), but the whole Question story felt like one long cliche. And the Raven spotlight felt like warmed-over Hellboy — in part, maybe because the art seemed so similar to that of BPRD’s main artist, Guy Davis. Not a bad thing in itself, but it’s definitely inviting the comparison. I agree with you on the best-looking page in the issue, though!

    Ah, well — hopefully the next one of these is more my speed.

    Liked by 1 person

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