DC UNIVERSE LEGACIES #5 Review - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: C-

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  • Title: DC Universe Legacies #5
  • Written by: Len Wein
  • Art by: Scott Kollins, George Perez, Walt Simonson, Scott Koblish
  • Colors by: Allen Passalaqua
  • Letters by: Rob Leigh, John Workman
  • Published by: DC Comics
  • Publication Date: September 15, 2010
  • Price: $3.99
  • Series:


"...solidifies the series as 'Cliff’s Notes'"

By Chris Smits     September 20, 2010

© Mania

DC Comics has had to push the reset button on many of their titles over the course of the publisher’s history and (more than once) on the entire shared universe that their heroes exist in. Legacies provides a guide of sorts to where the chronological events of their universe now fall. As the timeline gets convoluted and new editorial directions give new writers a chance to arrange the puzzle pieces a little differently than they were, Legacies is an overview of how the picture looks as of 2010.

In this, the fifth issue of the series, writer Len Wein presents the tales of the 1980’s. Signaling a change in the tone of the books, the fact that the stakes were raised for the superhero community is shown through the emergence of darker aspects of heroes and villains alike. The joker is killing people now, The Spectre is now an instrument of horrifying vengeance, sidekicks have grown up and into heroes in their own right, and new crops of participants enter into things. All of this culminates with things getting serious enough to where The Crisis presents itself; a threat literally so intense that it attacks all of existence.

With these events being “told” to the reader through the story of one man’s recollection of the way things happened, Wein does a great job of pointing out the hot spots for those who didn’t get a chance to read these books when they were published. Bringing George Perez (and Walt Simonson in the Adam Strange backup) on board for the artwork gives this issue of Legacies an accurate feel that the earlier issues weren’t necessarily able to get. As both artists were very prominent in comics when the original publication of these moments occurred, it adds to the homage in ways that the recap of The Golden Age of comics couldn’t do (since those people are mostly no longer living).

Cover art to DC UNIVERSE LEGACIES #5 by George Perez and Scott Koblish

Though this is a nice book and a fun tribute for those that love the history of DC Comics, this issue really settles in and solidifies the series as “Cliff’s Notes” where the start of the series teased that it might be a little more. If you like walking down memory lane in this way, or these events are unfamiliar to you, then Legacies works much better as a read. At this point though, someone would probably do better to just track the actual back issues down and enjoy the stories in full. Most of the books referenced in Legacies #5 aren’t all that hard to track down if one decided to look, and I’m guessing that you wouldn’t have to spend a fortune to do so like you would for the earlier works that Legacies recapped in issues 1-4.

Everyone involved delivered a great book here (and I really hope they’ll forgive me for this because I really do admire all involved) but it’s my recommendation above that’s the reason I’m giving this a C-. It’s not that the book isn’t good enough to recommend to folks that are interested (it is) but by giving readers a reminder of how many fun storylines took place back then, I think they should just seek out the back issues, read them, love or hate them, and not worry about if they fit into the current continuity of the books being published now. Like most of the heroes that this book highlights, good stories are timeless.


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ChadDerdowski 9/20/2010 6:37:38 AM

Referring to this series as "Cliff's Note" is perfect.  There's nothing that I dislike about Legacies, and I love that DC is filling us in on their new history, but it seems like rather than go the single issue route, they should've just released this whole story as a graphic novel - maybe with some reference material in the back, should any readers wish to look up the actual books that are being talked about. 

On the other hand, if I were 12 years old again, learning about the ins-and-outs of the DC Universe, I would've eaten this book up like chocolate cake and I'd be begging for seconds.

Wait for the collection - buy it in a 1/2 off bin at next summer's con.  Give it to your kids.

animefanjared 9/20/2010 8:10:32 AM

I understand where you're coming from, Chris, suggesting that readers just pick up the back issues involved.  However, the economy is still bad and money is tight for a lot of people, and I think this Cliff's Notes edition is a good way to fill in newbies without a huge money or time commitment.  I'm sure a lot of readers will have thier interest piqued and pick up the backstories that interest them most.  And I think Chad is right, there should be a listing in the back of the issues being referenced to make that easier (and sell more collections to make DC more money).



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