Review - Legend #1 (@Z2comics)

"Gather round, sad ones. For today we mourn."

Dogs are wonderful creatures. They're incredibly capable problem-solvers, they have a way of commiserating with their owners and they're generally pretty fun. It's easy to conceive of them running the world in the absence of humanity and Z2 Comics delves into that in Legend #1. The issue is written by Sam Sattin and illustrated by Chris Koehler.

What if a biological terror agent wiped out most of humanity, and our domesticated animals were left in charge? How would our dogs and cats set about ruling and rebuilding the world? Ransom, the leader of the Dog Tribe, has been murdered by a creature known as the Endark. An English Pointer named Legend reluctantly rises to lead in his place, vowing to kill the monster once and for all.

Dogs are a lot more intelligent than people probably give them credit for and Sattin draws upon that intelligence to make Legend work. The issue builds up in a way that features the dogs discussing a potential new terror on the streets and how they plan to deal with it. Sattin gives every character personality that matches their dog breed and it's pretty touching to see them rally around the death of their leader. Any dog owner will tell you that dogs have distinct personalities and Sattin relies on the differences in personality as a means to individualize each dog involved. The actual terror they're up against is just that--terrible--and is left somewhat vague in the interest of keeping the reader guessing.

Similar to the notion that each dog has a different personality, Koehler illustrates all the dogs with distinct looks that are pretty recognizable as far as breeds go. Facial expressions are rendered for each dog that does an excellent job of conveying a wide range of emotions that are pertinent to both the situation and the personalities. Aside from the looks of the dogs themselves, Koehler uses relatively monochromatic coloring to offer up the view of the world through the eyes of the dogs. It's a very profound way to really get the reader to see things from a dog's perspective and it adds a lot to the overall enjoyment of the issue. Koehler also mixes in some funky panel arrangements that keeps up with the fast speed of the dogs.

Legend #1 is a pretty fascinating approach in terms of personifying dogs. Legend is a believable protagonist and seemingly has a lot to contend with, but he has the trust of the other dogs. Sattin's script is pretty simple and the dialogue is effective at getting the reader up to speed on everything happening. Koehler's illustrations are subtle yet effective at getting the reader into the mindset of the dogs as they grapple with an impending evil of sorts. Legend #1 is a pretty fast-paced first issue that sets the tone immediately and doesn't shy away.

Legend #1 is in stores in May.