Just when you thought you were too old for Halloween, Dark Horse Comics publishes a book like The Halloween Legion. Proclaimed on the first page as, “The World’s Weirdest Heroes…” one might wonder how good a Halloween-themed superhero group can be with so many heroes running around. At the very least, is it good?
The Halloween Legion: The Great Goblin Invasion (Dark Horse Comics)
This is a one-and-done book that’s 80 pages long and will cost you 15 bucks ($11 on Amazon!). It’s about a super team that lives in the real world proper, only this world has your typical Egyptian resurrection spells floating around to be used by your average hick. The team consists of five members: You’ve got “The Devil,” an orphaned, almost average teenage girl with some fire powers that bump her out of average; The Witch, who is &mash; you guessed it — a witch with magic powers; The Skeleton, who has as much smarts as he does brawn; The Ghost, a recently deceased apparition who died sometime before puberty; and finally, Autumn, a black cat that’s not just any ordinary cat.
The story opens on the team working together to fight off an evil spell that’s casted mummies, gators and flying heads after the children of the local town. Most of the character development is focused on The Devil, as she tries to integrate herself into the local high school. Things grow shoddy for her development when a new threat emerges that could mean the end of the world.
This book is a lot of fun, plain and simple. Writer Martin Powell doesn’t spend too much time explaining how this team banded together, but focuses on the good stuff, like fight sequences and a rather interesting threat. I won’t ruin it here, but it’s a clever little twist on a very American villain. By focusing on the plot and action Powell takes a bit of the meat away for anyone wanting a gripping ride, but that’s okay. The book is read by the seat of your pants and any important information is grafted as you go along. That keeps things light, but also always entertaining.
That said, I did wish there was more content on who these characters are and why they banded together in the first place. That’s more of a compliment than anything though, because I fell in love with the characters, their design and who they were and only wanted more. The action is taut and the twists and turns are spooky good.
The art by Thomas Boatwright is quite good and serves perfectly for this type of book. The styling of the characters is cartoony, but detailed enough so it has a bit of dread on every page. If you read this book from four feet away you’d swear it was colored and drawn for TV, but when you look closer there’s a good bit of detail to keep things gritty and natural looking. The way Boatwright does the skies in particular really adds a layer of realism of this world. Most of the backgrounds are hazy and, I think, digital, but they give a gloominess to the night or a crispness to the autumn days. Another page takes place in The Witch’s lair and the background, again kind of blank and digital, looks like a long curtain. It goes a long way to add ambiance to the scenes.
The first 70 or so pages contains the one story which I reviewed above. The final story, again written by Powell but this time drawn by Diana Leto, tells a true story from Powell’s life. This one doesn’t contain the characters of Legion, but Powell and his friends when they were trick-or-treating. The art is nice, reminds me of Archie, but with a pastel or watercoloring. Essentially this is a story to convey the spookiness of Halloween and for all intents and purposes does its job.
- The art suits the story perfectly
- Interesting characters wrapped up in an exciting storyline
- Wish there was more about the team itself and its members
What we have here is a sweet read for all ages. The violence isn’t going to be too much for the kiddies and the action and art is cool enough to keep the adults entertained. I never thought we’d need a superhero team to take on supernatural menaces that doesn’t contain Ghost Rider, but it looks like we do. By book’s end you’ll wish The Halloween Legion was an ongoing series.
Is It Good?
Yes. Captures the Halloween spirit and has a ton of fun and colorful action.