Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #1

Story by
Art by
Mateus Santolouco
Colors by
Chris Sotomayor
Letters by
Chris Eliopoulos
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Evidently a new version of the Lethal Legion razed Oscorp and encountered Osborn's Avengers. Or at least that's the story we're getting as this issue unfolds. Under the leadership of the Grim Reaper, the Legion -- Nekra, Grey Gargoyle, Absorbing Man, Tiger Shark and Mr. Hyde, with a very special additional member who remains unrevealed until the final page -- have found themselves defeated, incarcerated, and in need of legal counsel.

Tiger Shark and Grim Reaper explain the occurrences that led them to their current location on the Slab. The attorney for the Lethal Legion, Mr. Livingston, is the perfect surrogate for the reader. Tieri essentially uses Livingston's existence to serve as a portal for the fourth wall, allowing Tiger Shark to tell us the story of what happened. As Tiger Shark puts it, the group went out for some old school villainy, "Mayhem for the sake of mayhem."

Santolouco is pressed into service here rendering everything from a prison sink to a decapitated statue of Liberty. With a style reminiscent of Tom Grummett, Santalouco draws a great story, with one glaring error. When Reaper gets stabbed, he is shown at first with the shiv on his right side and Mr. Livingston on his left, but when the story calls for a more dramatic splash-page to follow this panel, the knife wound has moved to the left side and Mr. Livingston has moved to his right. This struck me as a potential production error that may not lie completely on Santolouco, but it was distracting enough to pull me out of the scene.

Tieri and Santolouco begin to address the underbelly of the criminal world following Norman Osborn's rise to power and they've chosen an interesting mix of characters to use as their voices. I like the selection of Tiger Shark as our connection, and I hope he continues to enlighten us in the remaining two issues of this series. Tieri and Santolouco deliver a cliffhanger final page reveal that left me flabbergasted. This one was all the bait I need to come back for the next segment of this story.

Even though the cover price is steep on this title for no extra content (I'd blame Norman Osborn for the price hike) this is offbeat enough to be a memorable book that I'd go back to read again sometime before the next issue hits the stands.

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