Legacy: the perfect comic book-as-words


legacy-coverLegacy wants to be more than a novelized comic book: Packaged as a hardcover with a spiffy dust jacket and a promising premise, the novel suggests something that transcends stereotypical comic book shoot-em-up.

But it quickly becomes apparent that the book is not the general-audience thriller it appears to be. Instead, Legacy is the pitch-perfect comic book-as-words. There’s no genre-busting, no in-depth character study, no lyrical prose—nothing that would help it transcend the realm of fanboys. Instead, author Thomas E. Sniegoski writes with both knuckles bare, conjuring derring-do and all-out action on page after page.

At just over 200 pages, Legacy makes for a quick read, particularly since the text is light and the paragraphs are short. It’ll be an entertaining two hours, too—for readers who like comics.

The story centers around Lucas Moore, a small-town high school drop-out working as a mechanic at the local garage. His mom works as a short-order cook at the diner across the street. Together, they share a home in the local trailer park.

But Lucas’s world goes wonky when a billionaire shows up, declaring himself Lucas’s long, lost father. Oh, and dad’s a superhero, too: the legendary Raptor, dark guardian of Seraph City. If you’re thinking Bruce Wayne/Batman, you’re pretty much there. The Raptor has come to recruit his son to carry on the superhero legacy. Lucas goes. He gets trained. He starts his new secret life. This is all stuff readers have seen before.

Sniegoski throws in a twist three-quarters of the way through the book that has all the melodramatic angst of Luke Skywalker when he finds out ol’ Darthy is his dad. The resulting father/son confrontation makes no pretense at being a deep psychological study of the rivalries between fathers and sons or being draped in symbolism. It’s just face-smashing action.

Sniegoski has worked for every major comic book company, and it shows. Legacy, while crisply and cleanly written, reads like the boilerplate script for every comic book cliché ever. By all means, if you love comics, dive it—Legacy will offer a fun, entertaining read. Other readers, though, probably won’t find this superhero story especially super.