I Am Legion: The Dancing Faun

Written by Fabien Nury
Art by John Cassaday
64 pages, color
Published by Humanoids/DC Comics

When Humanoids first announced I Am Legion, I was pretty excited about the news. John Cassaday, drawing a trilogy of oversized graphic albums printed with Humanoids’s typical high production values? Sounded like a real winner to me. Since that original signing and now, though, Humanoids has decided to team up with DC Comics for their English-language releases, and the finished project isn’t quite what I was expecting.

Europe in December, 1942, is understandably a troubled place. World War II rages across the continent, but unknown to most of the world is a sinister experiment that threatens to change the war’s path. A young girl and her cat, a mysterious man and his prisoner, and ten soldiers are just a few of the elements that are all coming together… but for what purpose?

The absolute basic idea behind I Am Legion is a good one, asking what would have happened if possession had been possible during the early 1940s. Fabien Nury uses that idea to great effect in two scenes in particular: the opening sequence where we see it being used to an extreme, and the final scene where we get to see the military application of this special gift. Both are thought out well and are surprisingly tense. The problem was, unfortunately, everything that came in-between. It’s hard to quantify why I Am Legion is ultimately boring, because the ideas are interesting and should have sparked a great story. Instead characters brokering information and occasionally running from one another just comes across as dull; it’s actually hard to pay attention to the majority of I Am Legion as a result. Ultimately, an uninspiring story.

Cassaday’s art for I Am Legion is nice, but it’s also a little frustrating to see it shrunk down to “normal” comic book size proportions. Cassaday had drawn the book to be viewed in larger dimensions, so some of the panels look a little cramped, and you just know that all of his delicate linework is getting obscured by the reduction process. Even worse, because of the shrinking down of the book, every page has a huge top and bottom “gutter” of wasted space. We should have been able to see so much more of Cassaday’s beautiful art than what we got in this edition; it’s enough to make me want to see just how rusty my high school French is. On the bright side, though, even reduced Cassaday’s art is pleasant to look at. The way he draws people looks so natural and realistic, and he’s got a good command of storytelling as well, carefully zooming in on hands fumbling for a lock, with a dramatic view of a fallen comrade to heighten the tense nature of the scene. Add in colorist Laura Martin’s hues, from the soft grays of an escape through alleyways to the deep red glow of an occult ceremony, and this is a fantastic looking book.

In the end, unfortunately, I Am Legion: The Dancing Faun is a real disappointment. The story squanders almost all of its potential, and while the art is lovely, marketplace forces seem to have forced it into a less-than-ideal format. It’s a shame, because I really expected so much from I Am Legion. What I got, though, just never really comes together.

Purchase Links:

2 comments to I Am Legion: The Dancing Faun

  • I just picked up a used copy and loved it. I thought the artwork was great. The shrunken version is a pain to read, and it’s a little overwritten, but aside from that, a thoroughly enjoyable read.

  • Dadak

    I to have also read the work and found it to be a vary good read. The art work from Cassady was up to his usual high standards and with the new Devil’s Due reprints I hope that was can now finish the series. I understand that there are to be two more issues.