Legend #4 proves that apocalyptic tales can comment on a variety of social issues without lecturing or talking down to readers.”

Legend #4

Publisher: Z2 Comics
Writer: Samuel Sattin
Artist: Chris Koehler and Sarah Hawkinson
Release Date: Wed, September 7, 2016

LEGEND #4 cover

LEGEND #4 cover

There’s a scene midway through Legend #4, on sale tomorrow, in which Elsa of the dog tribe is trying to convince Daisy that not all cats are to be regarded with disgust and distrust. Writer Samuel Sattin and artist Chris Koehler flashback to a time before a biological terror laid waste to humanity, when canines such as Elsa lived side-by-side with their human masters. A kitten named Maverick was introduced to Elsa’s home and, while she was less-than-pleased with the new addition to her and her humans’ dwelling at first, the two became fast friends, siblings and companions.

Elsa’s experiences color her outlook toward the cat tribe, which is helping Legend, Elsa, and the rest of their dog brethren locate the dread Endark, which killed the dogs’ leader. From her interactions with cats, she is able to put aside an innate, fundamental dislike of felines that seems to permeate the natures of many dogs in order to see past those prejudices and judge cats on the content of their character. And with that, Sattin Trojan Horse’s commentary on the nature racism without become a didactic gadfly.

LEGEND #4 page 18

LEGEND #4 page 18

This scene is but one gem that fits into the larger story of Legend #4, as a battle with one of The Stenchless—zombie humans that smell neither of man or beast—tests the mettle of the uneasy alliance the dog and cat tribes have forged against their common foe. Daisy, Atticus, Legend, and the other members of the motley band have to decide whether the bond they formed is worth risking their lives for creatures they would otherwise view as enemies.

Great storytellers tackling a fictional apocalyptic tale generally use the genre to explore themes and ideas that readers wrestle with every day, such as the aforementioned scourge of racism. However, Sattin and Koehler aren’t content with slipping in commentary on just one social issue—that’s not how life works. Humans don’t just grapple with racism, or hierarchical inequality, or the push-pull of nature versus nurture. We are in the eye of a swirl of internal and external stressors daily. Not only does the creative team acknowledge that, but they address it head-on. How the world’s animals act and react following the extermination of humanity reveals how much their innate natures and their individual, respective experiences shape how they navigate their world and those they encounter. Daisy’s rough treatment gives her a different point of view on the world compared to Elsa, whose life was positively posh in comparison. (See? Even income inequality and class issues are thrown in for good measure!)

 

LEGEND #4 page 19

LEGEND #4 page 19

I’ve raved about Koehler’s use of muted colors and photo-realistic-yet-individualized character work to strike the right atmosphere in the first three issues of Legend, and I could continue to do so for pages. However, one thing that particularly struck me the most this issue were the flashback scenes, painted by Sarah Hawkinson, featuring Elsa and her feline companion Maverick during simpler times. As with Sattin’s writing, Koehler and Hawkinson’s art helps to establish a mood in that scene that’s simultaneously heartwarming, hopeful, and heartbreaking.

In the past year, Z2 Comics has been rolling out great series after great series, and Sattin and Koehler’s Legend #4 is an exemplar of what a powerhouse publisher Z2 is shaping up to be.

Legend #4, written by Samuel Sattin with Chris Koehler on art, is on sale this Wednesday from Z2 Comics.

From the official issue description:

Legend and his band of animals are forced to put aside their search for the murderous Endark when they’re ambushed by the Stenchless, hunched creatures the Journey Cats warn smell neither animal nor human.

Review: LEGEND #4
LEGEND #4 proves that apocalyptic tales can comment on a variety of social issues without lecturing or talking down to readers.
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Jed W. Keith is managing editor for FreakSugar and has been a writer with the site since its start in 2014. He’s a pop culture writer, social media coordinator, PR writer, and technical and educational writer for a variety of companies and organizations. Currently, Jed writes for FreakSugar, coordinates social media for Rocketship Entertainment and GT Races, and writes press copy and pop culture articles for a variety of companies and outlets. His work was featured in the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con convention book for his interview with comic creator Mike Mignola about the 25th anniversary of the first appearance of Hellboy. He also serves as Head Ref for Somer City Roller Derby, the women’s roller derby league in his hometown in Kentucky, and contributes writing to various local organizations. Jed also does his best to educate the next generation of pop culture enthusiasts, teaching social studies classes--including History Through Film--to high school students.