Compiled of the unwanted beings throughout the galaxy to fight wars no one else would, the Alien Legion was a comic that captured audiences in the early 80′s. Created in 1983 by Carl Potts (of Punisher War Journal, Venom and Shadow Masters), Alan Zelenetz and Frank Cirocco, Alien Legion was a major success for fans of nontraditional adventure comics. The mixture of gritty warfare and hard-sci-fi were reminiscent in part to Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Started as part of Marvel’s Epic Comics line, the series featured stellar artistic talents including Terry Austin, Whilce Portacio, and Scott Hanna.
Due to its non-stop violence and hard-as-nails characters, the series almost feels like it belongs in the UK Magazine 2000 AD. Potts created a one of a kind series that perfectly captured the then burgeoning acceptance of military sci-fi in comics. Drawing influences from pulps, independent comics and film, Potts’ mission was very clear cut, to create a French Foreign Legion in space. The inclusion of alien life forms only came after he drafted a snake/human design that was too good to pass up. At that point the series expanded to include a statement on the melting pot of humanity told on a galactic scale (an idea that both Star Wars and Star Trek come of as very colonial on).
While the back issues and one-shots aren’t all that hard to find Dark Horse Comics collected the series in their ‘omnibus’ line of trade paperbacks.
A kind of time capsule of 80′s comics, Alien Legion is a hit even today, drawing in readers who would ordinarily be turned off by the superhero books and find the more austere comics like Sandman far too limp for their taste. Man, we really could use another comic like this today.