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ALIEN LEGION: Piecemaker

Chuck Dixon, Author, Larry Stroman, Illustrator, Carl Potts, Joint Author
Chuck Dixon, Author, Larry Stroman, Illustrator, Carl Potts, Joint Author , illus. by Larry Stroman. Checker $19.95 (212p) ISBN 978-0-9710249-4-6
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This latest resurrection of a title that's too tough to die continues where last year's Alien Legion: Force Nomad left off. The interstellar equivalent of the French Foreign Legion, the Alien Legion is composed of tormented outcasts who have nowhere else to call home; that makes them an exceptionally fierce but close-knit fighting force. Although this description sounds like one of a generic space adventure comic, the series is lifted above the ordinary by its art and writing. Stroman's pencil drawings, the basis of the finished full color artwork, are wonderful. Without copying the appearance of anime, he's mastered the knack of designing whole pages dramatically, and readers won't feel cheated by minimal text or detail. Although Carl Potts created and still owns the title, these reprints were written by experienced pro Dixon. He's very good at varying the tone of each episode and establishing the Force Nomad members as distinct individuals, especially the rambunctious, green-skinned bloke, Jugger Grimrod. In one episode, Jugger realizes the villain he must fight is his own father. But the story doesn't stop with their battle to the death. Jugger spends the next episode hosting a flashback that explains his past and then, in the final segment, performs a solo mission that shows how he's grown to be more than just the violent child of a violent father. A comic book story has tapped a critical human concern and treated it seriously. Maybe that's why Potts's creation has survived and still has power to move readers. (Nov.)

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