Monday, March 7, 2011

Back-Issue Alphabet: L is for Legends of the DC Universe #41

Legends of the DC Universe #41 Lessons in Time Part Two of Two (Todd Dezargo, Rich Faber, Drew Johnson)

I love this cover. I have no idea what’s supposed to be going on, but I love it. I’m guessing that The Atom teams up with a temporally displaced World War 2 velociraptor battalion. The cover was so radical that I bent the rules of Back-Issue Alphabet and checked the box I randomly pulled #41 out of for #40. It was right next to it, so I picked it up. It takes a bit out of the randomness of the Back Issue Alphabet project, but the way I see it is if a reader randomly took this book of the self in 2001, he would be smart enough to see “part one of two” on the cover and check if part one was on the shelf beside it, which is what I did. Because I’m smart enough. 

“Lessons in Time” features Ray Palmer, the Atom, a scientist at Ivy University who can shrink himself down and manipulate mass. Ray is also an advisor to J.D., a smart but cocky student on the brink of losing his scholarship. Ray is having more success at exploring a tiny portal that allows a tiny person to travel through time than he is at motivating J.D., and he’s worried that he’s a poor teacher.

Meanwhilest, the villain Chronos, breaks into Ray’s lab and begins harnessing energy from the tiny portal for personal, criminal gain. He plans to use this energy to travel through time, becoming history’s greatest criminal.

Nice. Something goes wrong and time begins to tear itself apart, and thus we find dinosaurs, WW2 tanks, flying cars and giant robots appearing on Ivy University’s campus, and it’s up to the Atom to save time.

Here’s a neat thing: there’s a cabinet arcade game that J.D. is playing on with the title “Aucoin Fighter II” and on the side says “Do battle with Derec!” I’m guessing this is referencing comic book artist Derec Aucoin  (thanks Google!)

I really liked these issues. Both stories have a satisfying resolution, and we learn enough about these characters to care about them. If I can have one petty complain, it’s that Chronos has a terrible costume. I know the premise for Legends of the DC Universe is that the stories are stand-alone tales that take place sometime in the past, and a lot of costumes were abysmal back then. Case in point: he’s got a high cape. The only people who should be allowed to wear high collar capes are wizards, vampires, and Beldar.

Besides that, Johnson’s art is superb; he draws each character distinctively, his facial expressions are on par with Adam Hughes and his layouts are imaginative and easy to follow.

Unfortunately, this was the last issue of Legends of the DC Universe, so I wouldn’t be able to follow it if I wanted to. I would, however, try to find other works by artist Drew Johnson and writers Todd Dezago and Rich Faber.

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