19 Feb 2015

Graphic Perception: THE CHRONICLES OF LEGION VOLUME TWO: THE SPAWN OF DRACULA

THE CHRONICLES OF LEGION VOLUME TWO: THE SPAWN OF DRACULA
Writer: Fabien Nury
Art: Mario Alberti, Zhang Xiaoyu & Tirso
Titan Comics $10.99

Matt C: A prequel to the well-received bande dessinée Je Suis Légion (abortively translated into English as I Am Legion by DC in 2004, then successfully by Devil’s Due a few years later, and successfully again by original French publisher, Humanoids, shortly after), this second volume of The Chronicles Of Legion (originally published in France as Les Chroniques De Legion: Livre 1) picks up where the first left off, following feuding brothers Vlad Tepes Dracula and Radu through three distinct time periods as they hop from one host body to the next. While I Am Legion dealt with a more familiar schlock mix of Nazis and vampires - but added a sheen of class and intelligence - Chronicles Of Legion is more ornate and traditional in its approach, straying further into gothic territory as it digs into the centuries-spanning history of its central characters.

Fabien Nury, writer of I Am Legion, ventures into the past of the world he’s created, this time joined by a triumvirate of artists who each depict a separate historical period (Alberti illustrates 1531, Ziaoyu does 1812 and Tirso takes 1885). Their styles are distinctive enough from one another to successfully convince that different periods in time are being portrayed, but there’s nothing too drastic or jarring to dislodge the underlying sense that the story is definitely operating within the same universe. It’s not quite clear at this juncture why Nury is avoiding a linear approach to the narrative and there is the nagging sense that the story isn’t particularly benefiting from all the jumping back and forth. This becomes more problematic when one particular thread – Gabriella Dona de la Fuente’s journey to the Americas – is much more dramatic and thrilling than the other two.

Nury has garnered enough trust via the excellence of I Am Legion to indicate that he probably has a masterplan and that everything will make perfect sense as the series heads towards its conclusion. So, while not quite as riveting or cohesive as its predecessor – and, of course, lacking any of John Cassaday’s bold, assured visuals – it’s still a fine exercise in extracting something new from well-trodden mythology and has more than enough going on to be able to stand on its own two feet as a separate entity. 7/10

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