May 27, 2015: This story follows the next generation of heroes who take over the superhero team their, now retired or deceased, grandparents created in the 1940’s.
This story offers a really fun read. Morality is black/white, and the good guys definitely wear the white hats.
There is a large cast of characters, some developed very well. This large cast was a bit of a problem as there were characters I really wanted to get to know better who did not get the "screen time" they could have used. For instance the team speedster is black and there are some really interesting comments about her grandfather’s struggles being accepted as a black superhero during the 50s and 60s. Jim give us more grandpa!
One of the things that makes this story so fun is some of the side characters who can really steal the show . . . Rhino I’m looking at you! And let us not forget the Yellow Burrito and his Burrito Gun.
Overall this is a really entertaining read. Well worth the time if you are into the genre.
Jun 5, 2014: Nick starts out as a nerdy teenager, who has issues with jocks. That was, ah, quite a few years ago, real time. Now Nick is a nerdy teenager who has recently started college and left his girlfriend Haley back home.
Nick also happens to be the grandson of the original Rocket, and Haley is the granddaughter of the original Night Wolf. There are lots of other characters, major and minor, most of whom are teenagers. There are just enough middle age and elderly heroes (and villains) around to spice things up a bit and add some adult perspectives to the story, but it’s mostly based around teenage superheroes. How they perceive the world, how they interact with each other, and how they learn to fit in with the rest of the superhero community.
Even though the story has been going on since 2007, Nick still feels like a teenager. A nerdy teenager with a fascination with machines and electronics (Which makes a whole lot of sense, since he builds and repairs his own mechanical and electronic equipment), and a real need to learn to lead. He’s still growing up, and so is everyone around him. Unlike most superheroes in the comic books, He does grow commensurate with his age and experience. The old Nick is the same Nick from 2007, but he’s learned a lot, done a lot. He’s growing up, ever so slowly, and the readers get to see it.
Oh, did I mention aliens? Oh, and a god-like being that likes teaching people how to fight and play guitar? Better yet, these things fit.
Jim is writing something here that feels, to me, to be a good representation of teenage super teams in the silver/bronze age of comics.
Jun 7, 2010: I hadn’t intended to read Legion of Nothing, nevermind write a review for it; I have notions for my own teenage superhero story and didn’t want to risk absorbing someone else’s ideas. Nevertheless, here I am, and here it is:
The Legion of Nothing deals with a group of high-schoolers dealing with their family’s costumed pasts and their own desire to form a super-squad of their own. The narrative focuses on Nick, grandson of the Rocket, a tech-inspired superhero in a retro Art Deco Iron Man suit that uses sonic-based attacks and a giant rocket strapped to its back.
Pretty much /all/ superhero fiction nowadays is more concerned about the people behind the masks than the masks themselves; what makes The Legion of Nothing stand out is that it focuses on the challenges high-schoolers face when they decide to team up as heroes and take on killers and sociopaths. Simple things like schedule conflicts and teenage romance take on a whole new dimension when lives hang in the balance.
There are some weak points in the narrative; a lot of times, it feels like the author isn’t taking enough chances—a lot of the prose plays it safe (although in his defense, this is a first person piece from the perspective of an engineering nerd—dry language makes sense). But the main character is compelling—awkward and insecure without being whiny and self-indulgent; confident and heroic without being overbearing and cocksure. He’s a very easy character to like, and this makes the reading incredibly smooth.
The setting is intriguing, too—and it’s set the story up for what seems to be a potential escalation of power (one of my favorite story types). While Nick and his friends are battling home-brewed conspiracies, there’s brief mention of teams of superheroes who rip through holes of reality and punch aliens in the face—but the author’s sensible enough to keep this sort of thing far off in the distance, building a very credible, solid base of realism before (so I assume) having his heroes fly off to fight against time-traveling Nazi zombies planning on destroying the universe.
I’m still working on my superhero story, and now I’ve got quite a bit to be self-conscious about while writing it; in the meanwhile, however, The Legion of Nothing remains an excellent piece of super-hero fiction. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys the genre.