Monday, 6 June 2016

The Legacy of Luther Strode Review (Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore)

The Hercules Method transformed Luther Strode from an ordinary kid into a god-like superhero. Many others were similarly changed, developing “strange talents” of their own - except, unlike Luther, most chose to use their powers for evil, forming The Murder Cult. Now, in this third and final book of the series, Luther is set to destroy the Cult once and for all by taking out the head: the biblical Cain. Seconds out - fight! 

I’ve been a big fan of this series since the first volume and, although I still enjoyed the finale, this third book was the weakest story-wise for me. Luther and Petra work their way through the Murder Cult’s operatives scattered across the world to find Cain’s location. This involves them popping up in Russia or Hong Kong and fighting someone before moving on to the next. It’s not terribly involving. 

Joining them is Delilah, as in Samson & Delilah. Maybe I needed to re-read the first two books but I’m not sure where she came from or what her deal was. She’s immortal with psychic powers for some reason? Ok… I guess she has ties to Cain and that explains it all? Petra was really annoying. She kept trying to be “funny” and “charming” and came off as totally irritating instead. 

I’m not gonna complain too much about the lack of story or character too much though because this series is basically a showcase for one of the best artists working in comics today: Tradd Fuckin’ Moore. Holy shit this is an amazingly drawn book! Like the other two books, Legacy is a near non-stop hyper-violent action-fest as Luther battles one crazy mofo after another in some epic sequences. 

Just the opening scene alone where Samson takes on an entire army single-handed was stunning but set the stage for what’s to follow. Luther breaking out of police custody on the bridge and escaping with Petra, his fight with The Twins - and that’s all just in the first issue! Moore was clearly influenced by The Matrix Reloaded as the battle on the highway between Luther and Dobrev was very much like the highway scene from that movie with characters jumping from one vehicle to another and solid ground rippling like water from the force of the fight. 

The Gardener fight in the snow-covered Russian forest was awesome (the path of skulls was a nice touch) though I would’ve preferred the Russian dialogue to be translated. Luther’s fight against The Shooter was the best sequence in the book, again riffing on Matrix Reloaded by crashing through skyscraper windows backwards while shooting. The insanely imaginative fighting between Luther and Shooter was too cool and Moore almost animates it on the page with his precise, flowing artwork. I also liked that writer Justin Jordan included a character who’s used the Hercules Method for good for a change. 

It’s not just the fight sequences either but sometimes just a panel will stand out as unbelievably beautiful. For me that was when Delilah was recounting her backstory and she’s making a moonlight escape - one small panel on a page and it looks remarkable. The Strange Talent of Tradd Moore! Credit to Felipe Sobreiro too for his masterful colours elevating Moore’s art to the highest level - the blood is very, very red, and I loved the whites of the Russian snow.

Of course they make it to Cain’s lair (which looks a bit like the Tiger’s Mouth Cave from Disney’s Aladdin) and incredibly bloody violence ensues. Jordan tries to make it a meaningful ending but considering most of the book (and series for that matter) is just mental fighting, ironically it doesn’t quite have that powerful a punch on the reader. 

Moore also writes a short backup featuring the Twins that wasn’t bad but didn’t really need to be included. Up-and-coming artist Stephen Green draws and his apprenticeship with Sean Murphy really shows as his style is quite similar to Murphy’s. 

Luther Strode goes out with a bang with Legacy, ending as it started with scene after scene of exaggerated superhero action drawn superbly by the genius that is Tradd Moore. Justin Jordan’s script didn’t do much for me but Moore’s glorious artwork “moore” than made up for it (yukyuk) - goes without saying that if you’re one of his fans, you’re definitely picking this up. If you want to see some of the best action comics have to offer, and you’re not squeamish, check out Luther Strode.

The Legacy of Luther Strode

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