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#935162 - 08/02/17 04:56 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LoSH 288

Back when Conway was writing the book, the Legion was split into teams so that sub groups could be looked at in turn, across a number of issues. With Levitz, the missions will begin to interweave and the back ups will become sub plots withing the main story.

Last issue, Garth couldn’t send his first-choice rescue team after Cham, because Jan had already dispatched them to Orando. Before they arrive, Val and Jeckie make a futile escape attempt, once more being defeated by Pharoxx.

Seeing Val blasted again left me a little colder this time round. It was one thing for him to be surprised by ranged magic last time, but it’s careless to get caught so easily twice. Could an encounter closer to Pharoxx have been engineered? Could he not have escaped through the walls/ floor as he’s seen cutting through that stone pillar easily enough. Why not try to bring the roof down on Pharoxx? He’s the best combat specialist in the galaxy, but no one has figured out how to take down ranged opponents? He did get time for an “Oh no” but not to follow any training?

Jeckie doesn’t do a great deal either. No secret Palace escape routes? No Legion training to give her the edge over Pharoxx?

These were issues that shaped my view of the Legionnaires. Garth will always be sulking, Val will always be trying to escape Orandian prison cells, whether here or in the Baxter issues.

Back at Legion HQ, we get a dual-purpose scene. It introduces Brainy and his personality to the reader (and gives us the idea that Tinya is quick with a comment about a colleague), while also showing us new HQ toys such as the holographic mission board, and the doors taken out of Alien (adds a certain scare factor when playing hide and seek with Cham). This issue would also introduce the Polymer Shield (or “wrapper” as Dawny disdainfully calls it) around Earth.

Brainy goes into a Legion meeting where we get some more insight into the others, at the same time as we get a mission update. Garth is moping while Ayla stands behind him. Neither went on the mission with Imra, and we get some soapy simpering. Ayla syas that Imra didn’t choose her for the mission. But if she had really wanted to go, she could have gone. This was done for forced Plot purposes. But it means that Imra’s first reactions to sensing the live Ayla and Brin shared is to keep them apart and to rescue Brin herself. Well, it’s one interpretation. I’ll stick to brave Legion leader who wants to get them back together as quickly as possible and who thinks that Ayla is too emotional to help. With powers that can be written as weak, and an incapable, dependant personality, it’s not a good spot for Ayla. Fortunately, Vi’s not here to see it. Because she’s trapped on that asteroid! What other reason?! smile

Star Boy’s call-them-as-he-sees-them approach continues to gain no fans among his peers. Tinya is quick to take umbrage as she did with Gim before the Khund mission. A little reminder of Jan’s history is included in his lack of a plan to find a solution.

I note that they refer to five missing Legionnaires. Jan would become one of a similar number on a couple of occasions later in Levitz’s run. As an aside, the overuse of rather dull Lost Legionnaires was the main reason I didn’t get past the first issue of DnA’s Legion series.

It’s harsh to think that Jan should have a plan. But seeing him here reminds him being leader when Universo took over Earth much later on. When we get to those issues, this last sentence will auto-delete so I can’t be accused of spoilering smile

The support team arrives on Orando. I chuckled at Ultra-Jock thinking that Nura had a “one -note mind.” I got so used to Tinya being one of this grouping that it’s odd to see Nura there. They’ve arrived just in time for Val and Jeckie’s execution. Levitz sums up the conflicting cultures very well in a page (Nura not having seen a castle before is a nice touch too). Jeckie’s knowledge of a wider UP, is something beyond the scope and more importantly control of Pharoxx and the sorceress Hagga. It’s a chilling moment when Hagga is revealed to be Jeckie’s mentor… and grandmother. Just the sort of aristocratic practicality I like to see from Hagga.

Hagga manages to best the rescue team too. They should have been warier when they saw their two captured colleagues. But they went down just as easily as Val and Jeckie did. Looking ahead to Jeckie’s future, there’s no reason why she could not have developed the powers that Pharoxx and Hagga possess here. It’s something to remember when her powers develop, but in a different way, later on.

Legion comics are teaching me that if your partner is in any kind of danger, the best thing to do is to wait behind and let everyone else do the rescuing while you get in some angst-time. Perhaps it’s a Ranzz trait. Garth waits behind while the Legion cruisers (looking a little less like X-Wing fighters this issue) race from Earth.

The reason Nura replaces Tinya in this mission team becomes obvious. She has to be there because, through her sister, she has an idea about magic. It’s nice to get these mentions of Mysa in the book, as it connects the Legion to a wider circle of family and allies.

With Mon-El and Ultra Boy out of action, the real treat is in Nura saving them all. As the Nullport story turned out to be a lead in to the Khundian mission, Nura’s back up story on Naltor turn out to have been a lead in to her standing and solution here.

As she declares her own special status to the Orandians, it has real power to it. We know, because Levitz took the time to show us in the back up strip. He also showed how analytical she can be and just how strong her will is through her creative use of the flight rings. Nura brings all of those skills to the fore here. In a nice twist, the villains are fooled by Nura’s bluff partly because of the immunity they have to Jeckie’s powers. By thinking that one thing can’t be an illusion they fall into another.

Shady backs up Nura’s play. There’s a barbed “her only magic is the ability to turn men’s heads…” comment. In other books this sort of thing could be meaninglessly snarky. But the sense of importance as Shady assumes it’s up to her to assist, reminds us of her upbringing as planetary champion of Talok. The technologically backward aspects of Orando must have reminded Shady a little of some parts of home.

Shady also misses the point that, despite her reputation, it was Nura who came up with the plan. There’s more than just the illusions concerning the Orandians at play here. We also get an insight into why Shady and Tinya get along so well. But mainly it’s funny because turning men’s heads is exactly what Shady did when she joined, as she tried to partner up with Brainy and then Lar. Like Jo’s interpretation of Nura, there’s more than a little irony.

But both continue to assist each other to defeat Hagga. The traditions that dictate so much of the Orandian court prevent Pharoxx from intervening initially. He used the excuse that Jeckie had thrown off those traditions when she left to join the Legion. But he’s more than happy to throw those traditions off himself, when he sees Hagga fall.

The final confrontation between Pharoxx and Val acts as one bookend to Karate Kid’s time and fate on Orando. The “I’ve got a score to settle” before entering single combat is ominous and Jeckie’s coronation between the pyres will also be seen again. It’s a shame the combat has shaken Val’s arithmetic. He’s already been blasted twice by the villain.

The coronation of Queen Projectra is more about duty and lineage than it is a joyous affair. The people are there to witness the spectacle of their monarch, at a remove, more than to share in the celebrations. As we see Nura revert into what seems like a shallow self, it looks as though Val and Jeckie have had an adventure sized sign off from the book.

We pick up on how the Khundian expedition is going. The ship is trashed. Fortunately, so was Saturn Girl’s bikini outfit. I’ve never liked it and this is the one I associate most with her. Brin comes across as a strong character again. He’s considerate towards Imra, while being angry at Cham for getting them into the situation. Brin and Imra share a quiet moment and a hug as they talk about Ayla’s love for Brin. This seems perfectly natural.

It’s only because the rest of this subplot seems so forced to me, that I start to question Imra’s motives. Which I haven’t one in previous reads of this, but there has to be something going on that I’m missing.

Typing of things going on, Gim and Vi get together. Like the comments on the previous issue, we don’t get to see what could have been an important tip off. Gim’s feelings for Vi go way back. But we don’t see why Vi falls for him here. I’ll be coming back to this is future re reads. Like the Imra/Brin/ Ayla story, there’s something a little off in the execution of the mapped out plot points.

In summary, it’s an excellent issue. The two missions don’t exactly weave seamlessly between each other. But, each of them is either setting up plots or closing them down. In addition, we get upgraded Legion technology, membership changes, character development and a new costume thrown in for good measure.

While Val might have ended the combat, the real stars were Shady and Nura. Nura has been seen solving a crisis on her own, then as part of a team. So, it will be interesting to see this trajectory continue. Likewise, there are a few references to Imra’s time as leader. While her rescue attempt didn’t work out as planned, it’s clear there are plots in development around her husband and his side of the family. There’s continuing development for Gim too. HWW pointed out last time all the reasons why he would go on the mission, and we see one of them develop strongly here.

I’d say more, but seeing the coronation has left me feeling light headed…>Jeckie faint< smile


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#935181 - 08/03/17 03:52 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Legion of Super-Heroes v.2 #288 (June 1982)

I do declare, I actually enjoyed this issue even more than 287! Levitz's "A Medieval Long Days Journey Into Night" styled family conflicts transcend their melodramatic trappings thanks to him giving us plenty of food for thought about such topics as isolationism, tradition, birthright, and so much more. Also, Cramey made some very good points about why this script is so good which are worth quoting:

Originally Posted by Cramey
Orando’s tradition of hasty execution wraps up the Pharoxx story in one issue. I think this was more effective than dragging out some tale of Val and Jeckie in prison while the rescue team slowly make their way to the dungeon, fighting mystical and medieval menaces.

I also enjoyed that although the rescue team included the Legion’s heaviest hitters, it was Dream Girl and Shadow Lass who broke free and disabled Hagga’s power, before the fists moved in to seal the deal.

There’s a lot of sulking and griping in this issue which, while very un-Legionish, serves to give these characters more real personalities and signals the reader that there are troubled times ahead for the group.


So, good show, Levitz, good show!

As for the Giffen/Patterson art, I wasn't quite as surprised at how much I liked it as I was about how much I liked their work on 287, because I think if Giffen does have a true artistic forte, then it's exactly this kind of spooky, moody, dark, sword & sorcery/mystical-fantasy type of stuff. That's why he was, for example, so ideally suited to draw Dr. Fate. That said, I also think the outer-space vista on Page 11 is right up there with the best of Broderick, Sherman, Grell, and Cockrum. This all augurs very well for the upcoming GDS issues!

A few minor quibbles: Levitz still hasn't quite gotten the handle yet of giving all the characters distinctive speech patterns -- in particular, Tasmia's frequent colloquialisms grate with me; the conference scene on Pages 5-6 shows that Giffen continues to struggle with drawing faces (although Patterson makes them tolerable to look at) and at staging more mundane, conversational scenes. And, last but not least:

Originally Posted by Cramey
It’s been sort of a joke around here, but is there a count of how many times Jeckie has fainted? Levitz may have added that as a nod to her past fainting spells.


Levitz's occasional indulgences in gimmicky AR fan-service bits like that one have always gotten on my nerves and always will (although I think the absolute worst is in #299-300: Tasmia in white makeup just because of a coloring error during the Adventure Era. Sheesh!)

#935235 - 08/03/17 04:02 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
It’s been sort of a joke around here, but is there a count of how many times Jeckie has fainted? Levitz may have added that as a nod to her past fainting spells.


I hadn't actually noticed smile I just added it into my review as a one off. Years later, Sensor Girl would faint at the end of the Fatal Five story too. Even then he was having fun with it, and made sure that she was the last person standing when she did collapse.


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#935347 - 08/05/17 07:19 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
288:

The Jeckie/Val story line comes to a fitting and mostly satisfying conclusion. This is a momentous issue, in which two of our stalwart Legionnaires semi-retire in a manner which befits their characters and situation. Jeckie at last assumes the throne of Orando with Val at her side. There's a fairy tale aspect to this resolution, albeit a bittersweet one. It means that two of our Legion friends will no longer be around. Yet there is also a satisfying sense of closure in all this--one of many during Levitz's tenure. The Legionnaires, these eternal teenagers, are at last growing up. Growing up means saying goodbye.

The story leading up to this resolution appears to be taken straight out of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court; I have not, I confess, read this literary classic, but I know enough of the gist of it: A visitor from the future (the 19th century) finds himself transported into the past of knights and chivalry. He uses his knowledge of the future to wow the locals and set himself up as a magician. The Legionnaires do much the same here by relying on some sleight of hand by Nura and Shady.

It's to Levitz's credit that he has the two female Legionnaires work together to con the superstitious Orandoans. Their portrayal in this story advances them, both as female heroes and as individuals. Nura once again demonstrates cunning and intelligence; she doesn't even use her future-telling power. (A possible missed opportunity: Levitz could have had Nura predict an eclipse or some other event, as the protagonist of Twain's book does.) Shady picks up on Nura's intentions and uses her power to thrust the Orandoans into a hellish darkness, from which Giffen seems to have borrowed much from EC horror comics.

Where I feel the story fell off track is in involving both Mon-El and Ultra Boy. Either should be able to mop up the sandpits with the denizens of a backwards world such as Orando; conveniently, they are incapacitated due to magic. Likewise, Val spends most of the action unconscious. To sideline three powerful Legionnaires so easily seems like a cheat; they really have nothing to contribute to the story, except to kick ass and for Val to deliver a moving monologue at the end.

I almost wish the story had involved just the female Legionnaires--especially Projectra. The story really should focus on her growth as a character--the fact that her own grandmother wants her dead, and the difficult choices she will face as queen. It was a nice touch of reality that Levitz revealed Hagga as Jeckie's grandmother; the histories of royal families are full of similar examples of betrayal, conspiracy, and murder. But this idea, and Jeckie's central role, get brushed aside too easily. Instead, we're treated to yet another instance of Jeckie fainting.

The scenes at HQ give us necessary information, but there is too much exposition dragging the story down. Do we really need a reminder that Jan is the last of his race? This is fanboy Levitz throwing in stuff he knows. Garth's irrational hatred of Cham seems like a building subplot, but, as I recall, it goes nowhere.

The scenes on the asteroid are more successful. They put our heroes in dire circumstances and allow different aspects of their characters to emerge. As a fan at the time, I was gratified to see Gim finally get the girl of his dreams. How it happens isn't quite explained yet--and there's the dangling existence of Duplicate Boy--but I was glad to see the nice guy come out on top! Brin and Imra's hug seems innocent enough, but we know there's more to it. And let's not forget Cham, who realizes his actions of the previous issue were a mistake. It may be too late for our stranded Legionnaires, but it was good to see a hero learn from his errors.

So, 288 is a good story but not a great one. Levitz crafted a solid resolution to Jeckie's story, but he couldn't resist indulging in comic book cliches, such as sidelining his most powerful players and dragging out the exposition.


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#935371 - 08/06/17 11:08 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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here, more often than not
Most of the points I'd raise have been said already, though I'd like to add that while I prefer Giffen's art to Broderick's he somehow overlooked giving his men necks in quite a few pictures, Val using Zwenian martial arts to fashion a knife from the stonework was a sweet nod towards Stone Boy, and also Jo's trick with the quick burst of flash vision followed by the super cold ultra-breath was neat. As everyone has mentioned already, it was a nice use of Nura and Tas, though sadly at the expense of the guys. Jeckie was a bit of a cypher, sadly.

Onwards and upwards.


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#935381 - 08/06/17 01:17 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Harbinger]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
The Jeckie/Val story line comes to a fitting and mostly satisfying conclusion. This is a momentous issue, in which two of our stalwart Legionnaires semi-retire in a manner which befits their characters and situation. Jeckie at last assumes the throne of Orando with Val at her side. There's a fairy tale aspect to this resolution, albeit a bittersweet one. It means that two of our Legion friends will no longer be around. Yet there is also a satisfying sense of closure in all this--one of many during Levitz's tenure. The Legionnaires, these eternal teenagers, are at last growing up. Growing up means saying goodbye.


Very well said. In theory, superheroes growing up and evolving is a wonderful thing.

Unfortunately, in practice, since the characters get passed along from one writing/editing team to another, it tends to get weird and creepy and sensationalistic. Not to mention the trend during the 2000s, and even into the 2010s, for one creator to piss all over his or her predecessor's work on a character by either undoing it or by distorting it horribly.

Personally, I think what both of the Big Two should do is simply do away with continuity, and just let each creative team tell their own self-contained story with the publishers' iconic IPs, from beginning to end, in a finite number of issues, anywhere from 25 to 100.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
I almost wish the story had involved just the female Legionnaires--especially Projectra. The story really should focus on her growth as a character--the fact that her own grandmother wants her dead, and the difficult choices she will face as queen. It was a nice touch of reality that Levitz revealed Hagga as Jeckie's grandmother; the histories of royal families are full of similar examples of betrayal, conspiracy, and murder. But this idea, and Jeckie's central role, get brushed aside too easily. Instead, we're treated to yet another example of Jeckie fainting


Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Do we really need a reminder that Jan is the last of his race? This is fanboy Levitz throwing in stuff he knows.


Agreed, and agreed again. Sadly, that kind of look-at-me fan-service crap would get way out of hand in the decades to come, though I consider the 90s to be the nadir. It wasn't big, and it wasn't clever, and it just made superhero stories more hermetic, sterile, and inaccessible.

Originally Posted by Harbinger
Giffen...somehow overlooked giving his men necks in quite a few pictures.


As bothersome as that is, I'm a lot more annoyed by his post-GDS art, where he overlooks giving his women hair. grin

#935394 - 08/06/17 08:26 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
One of the things I loved most about the Levitz era is that the Legionnaires did grow and change. He took some chances with the series, and they worked precisely because he was on the book for such a long time. I agree with you that turnover writers are detrimental to long-term character and series growth. While letting each creative team do its own self-contained story has its appeal, the approach I would favor--though it's unlikely to ever happen on this side of the pond--is to model comic book writing after series television writing in the UK. One writer or team of writers would be in charge of each series. They may need to take breaks now and then, resulting in the series being suspended, but this does not have to be a problem. Taking a year or more off in production helps British TV writers recharge. There's no reason why this can't work for a comic book series. It may even create more demand if the story quality remains high over the long haul.


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#935458 - 08/07/17 12:21 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
One of the things I loved most about the Levitz era is that the Legionnaires did grow and change. He took some chances with the series, and they worked precisely because he was on the book for such a long time. I agree with you that turnover writers are detrimental to long-term character and series growth. While letting each creative team do its own self-contained story has its appeal, the approach I would favor--though it's unlikely to ever happen on this side of the pond--is to model comic book writing after series television writing in the UK. One writer or team of writers would be in charge of each series. They may need to take breaks now and then, resulting in the series being suspended, but this does not have to be a problem. Taking a year or more off in production helps British TV writers recharge. There's no reason why this can't work for a comic book series. It may even create more demand if the story quality remains high over the long haul.



That's a fantastic idea, He Who. I think you should post that on DC and Marvel's FaceBook pages.

#935467 - 08/07/17 02:31 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by HWW
Yet there is also a satisfying sense of closure in all this--one of many during Levitz's tenure. The Legionnaires, these eternal teenagers, are at last growing up. Growing up means saying goodbye.


We’d spoken before about Chuck and Lu being the most mature couple in the team. Val & Jeckie’s commitment to each other, and to others in their lives, has made them distinctive. Now both couples are gone, at least for a while. That night open up space to look at Garth/Imra, Drake/Dawny and/or Brin/Ayla.

Originally Posted by HWW
The story leading up to this resolution appears to be taken straight out of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court;


By Korbal’s Power Cuts! I think you’ve uncovered a lost legion story! The Orakles have advised Hagga that the Legion are to be her downfall. She reaches into the past for a solution. A balance has to be struck, and in doing so, Garth and Prince Valiant are switched, explaining Garth’s haircut!

Originally Posted by HWW
she doesn't even use her future-telling power. (A possible missed opportunity: Levitz could have had Nura predict an eclipse or some other event, as the protagonist of Twain's book does.)


Had writers moved on regularly for Nura’s need to pass out when using her power at this point? Narcomancy?

Originally Posted by HWW
Shady picks up on Nura's intentions and uses her power to thrust the Orandoans into a hellish darkness, from which Giffen seems to have borrowed much from EC horror comics.


It’s worth mentioning that, despite the occasional snarks, our heroes are professional, smart and have worked together long enough to follow each other’s’ leads.

Originally Posted by HWW
Where I feel the story fell off track is in involving both Mon-El and Ultra Boy. Either should be able to mop up the sandpits with the denizens of a backwards world such as Orando; conveniently, they are incapacitated due to magic.


But if Lar, Jo, Jan or a number of others acted to their true potential, we’d have some very short issues. I don’t mind them being a bit vulnerable. With Superboy away, at least we won’t be seeing Kryptonite or snoopy Lana Lang’s every issue.

Originally Posted by HWW
Likewise, Val spends most of the action unconscious. To sideline three powerful Legionnaires so easily seems like a cheat; they really have nothing to contribute to the story, except to kick ass and for Val to deliver a moving monologue at the end.


Yeah, I had a moan about that. It’s their story, but Val and Jeckie aren’t really the main players in it. I suppose Val’s tenaciousness and will gets an arc as he’s able to best Pharoxx in the end. But I’d have preferred a different route for this one. But the comments on Fainting Femme make her more of a story figurehead than a participant.

Originally Posted by HWW
It was a nice touch of reality that Levitz revealed Hagga as Jeckie's grandmother; the histories of royal families are full of similar examples of betrayal, conspiracy, and murder.


I liked this too, for the same reasons.

Originally Posted by HWW
The scenes at HQ give us necessary information, but there is too much exposition dragging the story down. Do we really need a reminder that Jan is the last of his race? This is fanboy Levitz throwing in stuff he knows.


I saw this one a little differently. Every issue is someone’s first, and Levitz is fairly new to this tenure on the book. Little reminders to readers can be useful. I saw it more as an introduction than a show off.

Now, Jan could have just had the dialogue without the personal reference, but then he’s just one of a number of Legionnaires in a costume. I do think it’s a little glib to drop in the extinction of your race into every day conversation. But then, it’s not everyday conversation. It’s comic book conversation. So, I don’t mind a little reminder being in there, if it doesn’t get in the way of the scene. Jan didn’t go off on a flashback, or go on about it for a number of balloons. So it was about as subtle as you could make it, and it was before little code icons “Jan Arrah: Nipped out for Milk as his planet died” appeared in recent years.

Originally Posted by HWW
Garth's irrational hatred of Cham seems like a building subplot, but, as I recall, it goes nowhere.


Yeah, his crackling with rage has turned into super sulking here, now that he’s quit as leader.


Originally Posted by HWW
How it happens isn't quite explained yet--and there's the dangling existence of Duplicate Boy--but I was glad to see the nice guy come out on top!


I have no doubt I’ll be coming back to this one. He got the girl of his dreams. But clearly, didn’t get to know her very well, if someone else could step in and take her place. Sure, his heart may have been ruling his head a bit. But in not seeing the seen where it happened, we never know if Gim had any doubts, or if Yera had any guilt.

Originally Posted by HWW
And let's not forget Cham, who realizes his actions of the previous issue were a mistake. It may be too late for our stranded Legionnaires, but it was good to see a hero learn from his errors.


We saw Cham coat an asteroid to survive the heat of re-entry in this story. Yet, he’s unable to come up with a similar creature that survives the cold of worlds distant from their sci-fi suns.

Cham is shaped a bit in these issues for me, much like Garth is. I do feel for him. His subplot from Secrets, is used to make sure two couples are together on the asteroid to get their subplots going. But it’s a fractious time for a few of the cast, and it’s going to be a long road back into the fold for Cham. As it was a total disaster for him, I’m pleased it wasn’t a quick fix (“Gosh Dirk! It must have been too many consecutive missions that made you an utter space loon! So, we’ll just stop those rather than getting you some help!”)


Originally Posted by Harbinger
Val using Zwenian martial arts to fashion a knife from the stonework was a sweet nod towards Stone Boy


Wag Dentim had infiltrated the Orandian court. Soon, he would be able to find out why the sorceress Hagga coveted the minerals of his world, and of his people. Soon, he would strike….ow! arrgh! Who was hitting him! Aaargh! That hurt! >dedded<

A tragic case of mistaken identity. If the folks from Zwen are inanimate when they turn to stone, when do they get to use their martial arts?

Originally Posted by HWW
the approach I would favor--though it's unlikely to ever happen on this side of the pond--is to model comic book writing after series television writing in the UK. One writer or team of writers would be in charge of each series. They may need to take breaks now and then, resulting in the series being suspended, but this does not have to be a problem. Taking a year or more off in production helps British TV writers recharge. There's no reason why this can't work for a comic book series. It may even create more demand if the story quality remains high over the long haul.


I’ve often wondered why there’s not more of a rotational aspect to comics. Particularly in times where artists can struggle with a book a month. Or when writers simply need a break to step back, or focus on another project as a way of inspiring them when they come back. That way, you have a more stable book, with longevity, a pool of ideas with general directions agreed in principle up front and less deadline racing, last gasp fill ins. I just assumed the answer was simply cost.


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#935489 - 08/07/17 08:14 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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Originally Posted by thoth lad


By Korbal’s Power Cuts! I think you’ve uncovered a lost legion story! The Orakles have advised Hagga that the Legion are to be her downfall. She reaches into the past for a solution. A balance has to be struck, and in doing so, Garth and Prince Valiant are switched, explaining Garth’s haircut!


Poor Garth. First Proty is knocking around inside his brain, now Prince Valiant. No wonder he's neurotic.

Originally Posted by thoth lad


It’s worth mentioning that, despite the occasional snarks, our heroes are professional, smart and have worked together long enough to follow each other’s’ leads.


True dat. And that's another aspect of Levitz's run I enjoyed: he treated the Legionnaires as professional super-heroes who had worked together for several years. There was a sense of history in their relationships, but also a sense that they were competent and very good at what they did.

Originally Posted by thoth


But if Lar, Jo, Jan or a number of others acted to their true potential, we’d have some very short issues. I don’t mind them being a bit vulnerable. With Superboy away, at least we won’t be seeing Kryptonite or snoopy Lana Lang’s every issue.


It always bothers me when heroes have to pull back or the writer has to find convenient excuses to sideline them. To me, this is sloppy writing. In the Legion's case, I think it results from two problems: 1) the heroes' powers are so ill defined that they are almost godlike in their execution (Saturn Girl has been shown being able to communicate telepathically with the populations of entire planets), and 2) the writers aren't thinking through our heroes' personalities, foibles, and other potential weaknesses they may have. Lar has been shown, for example, to lack confidence in taking the lead in certain situations. In other stories, he loses his temper and rages like a bull on a planet full of china. Savvy villains could recognize these character weaknesses and exploit them. This would make the stories more believable as our heroes would have more realistic obstacles to overcome.

Can you imagine a police officer who knows judo and karate and is a master in various forms of weaponry going into battle thinking, "I have to hold back to prolong the drama of this hostage situation and so I don't overshadow my less talented colleagues"? No. Having all those skills does not guarantee a speedy and successful outcome. There are many moving variables in dangerous situations.

Originally Posted by thoth


Originally Posted by HWW
The scenes at HQ give us necessary information, but there is too much exposition dragging the story down. Do we really need a reminder that Jan is the last of his race? This is fanboy Levitz throwing in stuff he knows.


I saw this one a little differently. Every issue is someone’s first, and Levitz is fairly new to this tenure on the book. Little reminders to readers can be useful. I saw it more as an introduction than a show off.


I'm willing to cut Levitz a little slack because he was still very young and inexperienced as a writer. But I also think it's worth pointing out his weaknesses. Just because he needs to introduce the readers to new characters is no excuse, in my view, for clunky dialogue. For example . . .

Originally Posted by thoth
Now, Jan could have just had the dialogue without the personal reference, but then he’s just one of a number of Legionnaires in a costume.


Which would be perfectly all right since his only function in this story is to remind the reader that he's now in charge since Garth has resigned. We really don't need a distinctive character trait for each Legionnaire in every story. Sometimes characters serve best when they act only as supporting characters for a particular story. (Another lesson learned from Hill Street Blues.)

In fact, that line irritates me precisely because it drives home how little Jan's personality had been developed over the years. Other than being the sole survivor of his race, what else do we know about him? The spirituality angle would come later. In the issues to come, Jan would become more defined as the stalwart deputy who continues to serve even as he is passed over for leader multiple times. He sees the Legion as his family (one of the few members to express his bond with the others with that word) . But at this point, 288ish, we only have his sole survivor status to define him as a character.


Originally Posted by thoth
Originally Posted by HWW
Garth's irrational hatred of Cham seems like a building subplot, but, as I recall, it goes nowhere.


Yeah, his crackling with rage has turned into super sulking here, now that he’s quit as leader.


As I think about it, this is one of the more realistic character depictions, even though it doesn't put Garth in a positive light. Reeling from his perceived failures as leader and worried over his missing wife, he chooses to vent his frustrations by blaming someone--in this case, Cham. It's a very immature reaction, but a realistic one.


Originally Posted by thoth
Originally Posted by HWW
How it happens isn't quite explained yet--and there's the dangling existence of Duplicate Boy--but I was glad to see the nice guy come out on top!


I have no doubt I’ll be coming back to this one. He got the girl of his dreams. But clearly, didn’t get to know her very well, if someone else could step in and take her place. Sure, his heart may have been ruling his head a bit. But in not seeing the seen where it happened, we never know if Gim had any doubts, or if Yera had any guilt.


Well said. Gim may have been in love with the idea of Vi or with what she meant to him, but he didn't really know her as a person. As a survivor of numerous infatuations, I can--sadly--relate.


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#935497 - 08/08/17 12:38 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by thoth lad


By Korbal’s Power Cuts! I think you’ve uncovered a lost legion story! The Orakles have advised Hagga that the Legion are to be her downfall. She reaches into the past for a solution. A balance has to be struck, and in doing so, Garth and Prince Valiant are switched, explaining Garth’s haircut!


Poor Garth. First Proty is knocking around inside his brain, now Prince Valiant. No wonder he's neurotic.


Ayla: What's wrong with Garth?
Imra: He's just not himself.


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#935529 - 08/08/17 10:28 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
>rimshot!<


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#935595 - 08/09/17 03:10 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LSH #289 A Cold and Lonely Corner of Hell by Paul Levitz, art by Keith Giffen & Bruce Patterson, letters by Costanza, colors Carl Gafford

[Linked Image]

On the asteroid, the Legionnaires’ rings are not working. Cham continues to brood over his mistakes; Gim declares his love for Violet.

On the jungle planet, Yucatan VII, Blok and Sun Boy seek a downed ship which may be the missing Legionnaires. Instead they encounter some vicious-looking aliens and beat them up, but Sun Boy realizes that they were only honeymooners and fears the political fallout.

At Legion HQ, Mon, Jo, Shady and Nura find Lightning Lad shirtless, unshaven and brooding in his residence. They unsuccessfully try to break him out of his self-pity.

In space, Dawnstar and Ayla seek the missing Legionnaires, having received a distress signal from Saturn Girl two days earlier. A solar storm destroys the ship and Dawnstar, although injured, rescues Ayla, who is protected by her automatically-activating space suit.

On the asteroid, Imra explains to Brin that Ayla’s love for him is much deeper than her love for Garth. They are interrupted by Vi and Gim shouting that they found something in the wreckage that might save them.

On the cold world which Mon-el and Shady had investigated, the dark being has gained strength and, with a burst of power, opens five pods containing his servants. Star Boy and Phantom Girl cruise by this world and observe the burst of energy, but detect no life force.

On the asteroid, Vi and Gim have rigged an anti-matter pod, part of the cruiser’s power system, to emit light and Cham has changed into a form to magnify that light as a distress flare. Suddenly, the pod reacts with the cruiser elements and explodes, destroying all remaining supplies. Saturn Girl faints from the strain, then recovers but weeps over the desperate situation. She repeats that she envies Ayla’s love for Brin; Brin hugs her just as Dawnstar and Ayla appear. Ayla is obviously distressed having observed Brin and Imra’s hug.

Second story: Once Upon an Insanity by Paul Levitz, art by Carmine Infantino and Larry Mahlstedt, colors carl Gafford, letters Todd Klein

Brainiac 5 and Element lad go to the clinic in which the insane Matter eater Lad is residing. Brainy vows to cure him. Tenzil attacks them, Brainy sedates him with a spray, then the sedatomizer is knocked out of his hand and the three fall unconscious. When they awake, they are prisoners of Doctor R’xalim, who resents a recommendation by Brainiac 5 that he be dismissed. The doctor has taken Brainy’s forcefield belt, created a shield around the Legionnaires and activated a machine to shrink the shield until it kills them. Some rapid calculations and observations lead Brainy to pick a flower and wave it over Element Lad, who is woken as a result of an “intense Tromian allergy to pollinating flowers”. Jan then transmutes the elements around the forcefield into an inertron compound , which stops the shrinking and causes the energy to rebound on the machine, which explodes.

The doctor is taken into custody and Tenzil is released into the custody of Brainiac 5.

Comments: Some action, lots of set-up. Legionnaires, in small groups, on search missions or returning home, advance the various sub-plots.

Tinya speaks her mind in response to Thom’s pragmatic assessment of the likelihood of rescue. It appears that she’s being developed as one who criticizes others’ behaviour but, at this point, her comments come across as honest assessment rather than cattiness.

Blok shows concern for the rocks but not the plants. If Chlorophyll Kid had been along, it might have been the reverse. It’s not clear why the honeymooners went on the attack, but maybe they were just in a bad mood after crashing their ship. That Sun Boy is concerned about political fallout reminds us that this Legion suffers some friction with the U.P.

Garth’s a real mess now. All that’s missing from that scene is a few empty bottles. That he’s deteriorated from relatively competent and stable to seriously depressed would make me think that some yet-to-be-revealed villain was messing with his mind. The Orando team is clearly surprised by his state and try to reason with him.

If Ayla had an automatic space suit, why didn’t the Khundian rescue team? Wouldn’t that be standard safety equipment, even if Gim borrowed a ship, why wouldn’t they have brought suits along? Did they in such haste, they neglected essential safety equipment? Or did I miss something?

I had remembered the ending as being an explosive argument between Ayla and Brin, but it was simply a crashing chill. Strangely, Brin, breaking off from Imra, stretches out to greet Dawnstar as Ayla shrinks in the background. It’s generally-grumpy Dawnstar who, understanding the situation, comforts Ayla.

What lingers from this issue is just what did happen, emotionally, between Brin and Imra. There are some indications of embarrassment, which they shouldn’t feel if they were just sharing some comradely comfort in a desperate situation. Add this situation to Garth’s mental state and the reader can look forward to some serious emotional drama in the issues ahead.

The second story I found generally unappealing. There was a lot of technobabble, which may or may not have made sense if you know physics. Brainiac 5 left the facility some time ago, and they’re just getting around to firing that doctor, who just happened to still be around for Brainy’s return, with a handy forcefield shrinker machine (no doubt another fine Acme product).

Tromian allergic reaction is not to break out in hives, sneeze, or suffer breathing problems, but to suddenly wake up. Convenient, as was the thoughtful placement of pollen-bearing plants. This is Brainy as Macgyver.

Releasing Tenzil like that didn’t strike me as best medical practice. This is Brainy as all-around medical expert. What really got me was that poor Tenzil didn’t even get a wheelchair, but was carried out fireman-style over Brainy’s shoulder. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

Carmine Infantino is a big name in comics, but I really didn’t like this artwork.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#935596 - 08/09/17 03:40 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LSH 289 (July 1982)

With this issue's lead story, Levitz's writing ascends to a new plateau of maturity and insight into human foibles. Cramey has already summed up very nicely the actions and reactions of the various Legionnaires. I'll just say that seeing this tender side to Dawnstar is very heartening to fans of hers such as myself, but it's bittersweet, knowing that she, of all the female Legionnaires, would in the long run be the one to get the least amount of follow-through from Levitz and the most brutal disrespect from TMK. sigh

What's decidedly bitter for me is that, despite Bruce Patterson once again going above and beyond his remit as inker/finisher, Giffen once again proves to be the wrong kind of artist for these kinds of character-driven "interlude" scenes. I mean, the layouts have the odd flourish here and there, but the body language and the faces are just...functional. Ergo, I find myself missing Broderick already.

I got a good chuckle -- or two or twelve -- out of Cramey's pithy review of the insipid backup story. Regarding Infantino, his artwork here definitely shows him at his worst, but I think he was quite good on Flash and Adam Strange during the Silver Age, and he himself admitted, in late-in-life hindsight, that when he stepped down from his executive position and returned to drawing after 8 years away from pencil & paper, he never fully recovered his mojo.

#935601 - 08/09/17 05:53 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Dave Hackett Online content
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While I had read Super-Assassins & Dark Man stories from my cousin's stash, this was my first LSH purchase (Along with the Annual on the spinner rack at the same time). Needless to say it had a great impact on me, perhaps more so than the Annual, which given Jacques intro would seem to be a more reader-friendly entry point. I liked the large cast of characters all with their own personalities. It was shocking to see the leader so lost, fascinating to see the other interactions. I identified with a lot of the characters (Cham, Gim, Blok), actively disliked others (T-Wolf, Sun Boy), but found the whole dynamic of the issue unlike anything I'd read in other team books. In short, I was hooked.

#935843 - 08/12/17 02:06 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LoSH 289

Lots to like about the cover. The arching ice on either side focus the reader on the title. They do like the title. and the weight of its meaning weighs down on the slump shouldered Legionnaires who surround the only source of heat in sight. The Legion Logo offers them no hope or warmth as it has been blended into the starscape, making the group seem even more abandoned. Finally, the cover is actually he opening page of the story. As we move into the first page, we just move in closer to the group, and hear their conversation.

The relationships established in the previous issue are recapped through Giffen’s positioning and through Cham’s exposition. Gim and Vi share some dialogue that matches their newfound closeness as a couple. On the other side Brin shares his aggravation, while Imra tries to calm him. In the middle, Cham blames himself (rightfully) for the situation. We get a bit of internal monologue extending this a page later. It’s a little clunkier having to think a plot synopsis at us. I wonder if Cham’s alien form is due to shame over his actions.

The team can’t signal their comrades because their Flight Rings have been rendered useless by the Handwavium crystals on the frozen asteroids. It’s as much of a device as the Magic we saw last time, but a little less convincing.

Following on from the heightened visuals for a number of Legionnaires using their powers, such as Lightning Lad and Sun Boy, we see Brin’s fully red eyes here. I think they may be eerier on his human face than they would have been on his wolfen one.

Another, more subtle point, is that Imra has been telling Brin all about Garth and his situation. That will become more important before the issue is out.

Gim expresses his feelings to Vi, finding some positives in an otherwise bleak situation. This is where we get to know that something about the situation bothers Vi. This is the scene I thought we’d get leading up to last issue’s smooch, not after it. In true comic book fashion, Gim can’t follow up with any reasonable questions as we shift to another scene.

On Yucatan 7 we learn that the Legion have split up into search parties. It makes a nice change to drop in on one of the ones that isn’t plot critical. That it’s Blok accompanying Dirk is a good move. Blok has had precious little to do since joining, despite being the Plot Driven solution to Organus. Dirk is still getting increased panel time, coming back out of the shadows (which is just what you’d expect with his powers). There’s no Wildfire in this issue.

Three pages may seem a little long for a case of mistaken identity. But it’s a light hearted aside (unless you were some of the wildlife incinerated by idiot Dirk – never mind the rocks Blok! What about the animals?!). The sharp-toothed pack creatures with acid for blood may be familiar to Aliens fans. But, in a fun twist, we see that by the 30th century they’re part of the political structure of the UP too. Dirk’s actions must remind them of the centuries old “nuked from orbit” incident.

Levitz’s grasp of sub-plotting extends to having the end of one feed into others. So we see the conclusion of one, with a group returning from Orando, segue into the ongoing Garth gloom fest. In light of surrounding events, Garth’s “…and I still had my wife” is an interesting way of describing that Imra’s team are also missing. Jo is shocked, Shady quiet while Mon El is practical. But it’s Nura who deals with Garth directly, giving him a firm but friendly push. She really is getting a lot of solid attention under Levitz.

It’s the turn of another character to get some Levitz attention. We’d seen Dawnstar as part of the team’s fast response force a few issues ago. She was also the one who tracked Regulus. But she gets a bit more prominence here. Unfortunately, there are some solar prominences too, there’s a spot of bother.

Dawny is very earnest about proving the use of her powers. This is going to become something of an ongoing issue. Always wanting to help, only to be foiled by Plot Handy Hyperwarps and the like. Her companion is Ayla, who talked Imra into going on a rescue mission in the first place. She chose not to go along, despite being emotionally dependant on the outcome.

Dawny saves Ayla from a destroyed Legion cruiser and repeats her pledge to find the missing, through pain suffered in the rescue. Ayla falls into passive unconsciousness, which is about as useful as she’s been in this one. Good to see Dawny showing her powers to withstand the extremes of space. But I do think the pair could have avoided the trouble entirely with some better ship sensors. But hey, Ridley Scott used it this year in Covenant too.

It’s back to the frozen asteroid. Last issue, Cham respected Gim and Vi’s privacy for their smooch. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened between Imra and Brin if the couple had been a little more cautious in their approach this issue.

It’s still an odd subplot. It really drags the reader along by the nose. In #287 we read Brin saying “why did you come, Saturn Girl? Why you? We’re beaten about the head with it again here. “Why did you come Saturn Girl? – Why’d you try and pull us out?” think about the huge number of rescued Legionnaires down the years. Has anyone ever asked this? No, they haven’t. But it kicks the plot along, pushing Imra to explain her motivations.

Up until this reread, I’d always thought it was all a bit harmless and that everyone was overreacting to an extend that made the whole plot look weak.

This time, Imra seems to be more in focus. We’ve seen how the others react to her in the team. How they speak about her as emotionally cold. Later, she shared a bond with Tinya, over Jo’s disappearance. It’s repeated in Levitz’s run, but with Brin. Imra sees the passion in the love her colleagues share, and realises that it’s something she doesn’t have. It’s not just what Imra sees. It’s what she also picks up through her powers. “I never saw love like that before—never felt it.

True to her nature, Imra has weighed up both sides up. She loves Garth, but not in the way the others love their partners. She’s been talking to Brin about Garth. She does so again, by telling Brin she’s not sure if Garth cares at all. She opens up to Brin about her marriage. “I had to save the man who made Garth’s sister feel a love that great.”

Back in #287, Imra told Ayla that “I saw your soul for a moment there—and it made me feel so cold.” Imra fells the love others have had. She feels it. And now she wants it too.

As she stares with a certainty of purpose into Brin’s face… she’s interrupted by pesky colleagues. Imra pulls back chiding Violet for asking a silly question as the group find a beacon to summon help.

The group light their last hope. Cham amplifies it in a first step to mending his reputation. It lasts only a few panels. While the flare has gone up, so have all of their supplies in the reaction. Cham returns to beating himself up. We get a quick glimpse of Gim and Brin using their powers in the process, which is a welcome visual.

Brin moves the injured Imra away, gives them another chance to be alone. But the moment seems to have gone too. Imra misses Garth and her family. Brin curses Cham just to remind the reader of the repercussions the Durlan faces. Imra’s “Easy, Timberwolf” is a repeat of her words on the first page, bookending their time on the asteroid. Note that the ice rising up on each side of their secluded spot is very similar to the cover. It nearly forms a heart which is worth bearing in mind along with the story title, and future events. smile

Imra tells Brin that Ayla has “got her envy…-- and a very special guy.”
The two hug, just as Dawny and Ayla arrive. Dawnstar tells then that her powers “sufficed” for the rescue. It shows the use of internal monologues. Dawny would never admit how much she drives herself to others, and her earlier thoughts show the difference between her inner and outer self.

The hug between Imra and Brin looked perfectly innocent. There was a much bigger, secluded hug in #288. But even Dawnstar realises that Ayla is hurt by seeing it. Had they arrived before Vi & Gim interrupted them, I think she would have seen a lot more.

Ayla wanted so much to come to Brin’s rescue and to be with him again, only to find that the person who went in her place is holding him. By the nature of the hug, Ayla probably remembers the conversation she had with Imra back in #287 and knows that the two have been together on the asteroid for a few days together. After days of worry, and inner torment, her wish of rescue and reunion is squashed in a moment. While the moment may have passed between Brin and Imra earlier on, it’s seems that their embrace lingers more than just a casual support hug. It’s contact between people who have become closer, even if they wouldn’t become partners.

In the Organus issue, Ayla and Brin’s relationship seemed to be taking a positive step. But here it’s taken a big hit. Ayla has been very overtly dependant on Brin, from his loner origin through his lotus fruit days to his time as a wolverine clone. It’s sometimes seemed strong beyond the point of unhealthy. For his part, it was Brin who was moping around Zuun, wishing he could have a girl, and be part of life. There’s no doubt he loves Ayla deeply, but it’s been shown through the conflict between his longing to belong and his loner urges and habits. With Brin, these may even be heightened by his powers.

Imra’s reactions have also been heightened through the use of her powers. She’s not seeing a relationship as it would appear to others. She’s seeing all the deep, subconscious desires and emotions. Perhaps if Imra had been more aware of relationships, she would have recognised that she wasn’t seeing things as they really were.

If that wasn’t enough, Brin and Imra are two Legionnaires who have supressed their emotions for a lot of their lives, giving them a connection the others simply don’t have.

Years later, we’d get the TMK interpretation that Garth was more of a “livewire” in his early Legion days. That began to change markedly following his return from his freeze ray “death.” It adds another layer into Imra’s emotional life. That budding relationship with Garth, when the Legion was young and new, has brought her to this point. In Jo/Tinya and Ayla/Brin she perhaps remembers a spark (Garth pun!) of how things might have been.

Now, I wouldn’t suggest for a moment that there’s more to Ayla staying behind while Imra went off on the rescue. But I do think this plot has really strengthened Imra’s realisation of what is possible in her own life. In that respect, she and Ayla will both have journeys ahead.

That’s how I saw it this reread anyway smile

In between all the asteroid events, another pair of Legionnaires out searching for lost Legionnaires came across the planet that attacked Lar and Shady. Tinya and Thom approach it. Thom is curious, but when a blast erupts from the surface, doesn’t stay to investigate. Detecting no life, whether their missing teammates or not, the pair move back to their search pattern.

On the world below, a figure watching five forms birthed from slimy, hanging pods. While he waits, the figure has plenty of time to read all the Captions of Foreboding on all of the panels. The five, crawling figures are to go out into the world, and bring their master strength following his centuries of slumbering. Strength he will use to…sorry I’m even typing Foreboding review text after reading all that. Despite the overkill (fitting really) and the ACME cackling villain laughter, there’s the start of what seems to be a big threat.

The scene, in combining two subplots again just like the Orando/Garth ones earlier, also gives us some insight into Tinya and Thom. It’s a good pairing for the reader as Thom’s tell-‘em-like-it-is science perspective doesn’t sit well with Tinya’s preference to keep hoping as a source of strength. Tinya’s strong enough to say what’s on her mind too, which makes both of their characterisations something of an improvement under Levitz.

The back-up story is a prolonged tying up of a loose story thread. Querl and Jan visit Tenzil to see if they can cure him of his insanity.

Brainy continues to get a complete reprieve as a murderous villain due to being insane at the time.

Jan is not only Legion Leader, he’s now Exposition Lad. This one was a lot clumsier than the few words last issue. smile

Levitz gives us dialogue describing the things we can already see in the panel, which is never a good sign.

Another poor sign is having to invent something out of the blue as a solution. Credit to Levitz if Tromians really have been portrayed as having severe allergic reactions to plants. But it read as a very convenient inclusion.

Rather than just dropping a few panels into the main story, this visit is padded out with a vengeful villain (who says nasty things about people with two arms and legs) and a comic solution of overpowering a device to make it explode.

On the plus side, all three are shown using their powers. Not seeing Jan hold back for story purposes is always welcome. Besides, as Legion leader he’s going to need more panel time, and this acts as a fuller introduction.

Infantino’s art is well…he has a distinctive look of his own. Some are going to like it a lot more than others.

In the end, lifting the story over someone’s shoulder and walking off into the sunset with it, is a fitting ending.

It’s ironic that someone who would have a huge allergic reaction in gardens, ends up tending a garden of Tromian crystals.


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#935868 - 08/13/17 03:44 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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289 sports one of my favorite LSH covers ever and probably ranks somewhere among my all-time favorite covers in general. Over the years I've seen many others comment on their admiration of this cover, as well. I think the image itself is pretty cool, but the choices made with the logo make everything spark in a way that some other more traditional take would not have. The transparency to let you see more of the starry background is great itself, but I think the pink highlights provide just the perfect contrast to set the whole cover off. Also notable is how the DC Bullet's color matches the title lettering. Whomever made those choices, be it a cover editor or Giffen or someone else, should be commended for doing a particularly great job. It's subtle and tasteful and really makes the whole image memorable.

I remember showing this cover to my mom as a kid, something I didn't typically do, because I was so taken by it. She politely feigned interest with a "hmm" or a grunt or something--in such a way that even at 12 or 13 I could tell she was just humoring me. I remember feeling glad that she didn't notice or object to the word "hell" being on the cover, which was something I'd forgotten to take into consideration in my enthusiasm. lol

In addition I really appreciate that the cover depicts such a quiet scene. Certainly, there were some more dramatic or action-y moments that could have been teased from the story. For that era this was a fairly brave and mature choice for a product that was marketed on spinner racks and still considered primarily for kids.


Still "Lardy" to my friends!
#935869 - 08/13/17 03:58 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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I'd never thought of the cover to 289 in those terms, Lardy, but, upon reflection, I agree with what you said about it, especially effectiveness of the transparency. Thanks for providing a fresh perspective.

As for who might have made those choices, I'm pretty sure that, around this time, the talented artist/designer Ed Hannigan had just moved over from Marvel to DC to become their cover editor (and frequent cover artist.)

The Legion editor at this time was Laurie Sutton, working under the supervision of Karen Berger, who, about four-fifths of the way through G.D.S., replaced Sutton, who was bound for Marvel's Epic imprint. So it might also have been one of those great ladies.

#935895 - 08/13/17 12:26 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
289:
With “A Cold and Lonely Corner of Hell,” Levitz’s vision for the Legion fully comes together. The plot, script, and outstanding visuals provided by Giffen work together to honor the best of the Legion’s past while moving the series forward in bold directions. That all of this springs from a simple idea of Legionnaires looking for five missing teammates, demonstrates Levitz’s power to pack a lot into a 17-page story.

The missing Legionnaires continue to bide their time on the ice-covered asteroid, where ice crystals have destroyed their flight rings’ signaling capability. Cham indulges in mea culpas now that he realizes, too late, that he’s probably doomed himself and the others to a long and unpleasant death. A literal ray of hope emerges when the Legionnaires discover the means to build a flare. However, the flare burns out and their supplies, like what remains of their hope, go up in flames.

Hopeless situations bring out aspects people keep hidden, or lead them to do and say things they otherwise wouldn’t. Levitz understands this quite well and uses the situation get under the skin of certain Legionnaires in a way that had rarely been attempted before. Gim, at long last, confesses his feelings for Vi. Her reaction isn’t what we might expect, but, as we will later learn, she’s not herself.

Brin displays a compassionate side in looking after the injured Imra, who, in turn, reveals her inner feelings and desires. A psychiatrist would have a field day, I imagine, with Brin, Imra, and Ayla as patients. There is so much in their interactions and in what they reveal about themselves in this story. Imra wants and needs a strong, capable, and loving man; she has not been able find that in Garth. Brin, when the chips are down, displays these aspects in full force. He asks nothing of Imra; he only wants her to be safe and comfortable. Imra is right: he’s a very special guy.

Of course, Brin isn’t perfect. We’re not sure how he feels about Ayla. We do know Imra’s comments take him aback—as if she’s the first Legionnaire to see beyond his tough loner exterior and view him as he truly is. Then again, maybe her explanation of how much Ayla cares surprises Brin. Whatever the cause, Brin and Imra are confronted with open honesty for perhaps the first time in their lives, and it leads them—in what may be their final moments—to embrace.

As it turns out, the embrace occurs at exactly the wrong moment.

Contrary to what I remembered, and to how the scene has been discussed on these boards, there is nothing scandalous or titillating or even romantic about the embrace. It’s just one Legionnaire offering comfort to another (though Levitz and Giffen provide some delightful ambiguity in their closeness and facial expressions). However, the embrace proves to be enough to shatter Ayla’s love for the man she risked so much to find.

Ayla’s love, it seems, is immature. For three issues now, she’s told us that Brin is “all I need in the universe.” She pleaded with Saturn Girl until the latter agreed to lead the ill-fated rescue mission. Now she shows up just in time to find her man in the arms of that same woman, and she is crushed. She is not happy to see him. She does not rush into his arms. Rather, when her idealized version of Brin turns out to be not-so idealized, she breaks down in tears.

It is fascinating to see such realistic personalities and sophisticated relationships among the Legionnaires. These heroes, who have often been portrayed as perfect, turn out to be flawed—but their flaws reveal so much about who they truly are.

In subplotland, Dirk and Blok engage in a rescue mission gone awry. It’s a mildly successful attempt at humor in which our heroes bungle things badly—the type of subplot used frequently on Hill Street Blues. (The toothy aliens, I thought, were running to greet their rescuers, not attack them. There is a nice parallel between the aliens running toward Blok and Dirk, and Cham, Vi, and Gim running toward the rescue party on the last page.) Unfortunately, the two Legionnaires didn’t think to bring along their universal translators.

(By the way, did anybody else notice three aliens were on their “honeymoon”? Is one the pilot, or does this species require three partners to reproduce/mate? I never watched Alien.)

Dawnstar also comes into her own in this story. Despite doubting the effectiveness of her powers, she dives headlong into the damaged vessel to rescue Ayla and suffers significant injuries in the process. To her credit, she pretends everything is just hunky dory so Ayla can pass out in comfort.

Garth, on the other hand, continues to wallow in self-pity. I loved FC’s comment that all that’s missing from his room are some empty bottles. Garth, like his sister, focuses only on what he needs and does not see things as they truly are. It’s telling that he does not participate in the rescue efforts for his own wife.

If there is a theme to this story, I suppose it would be selflessness versus selfishness.

“Once Upon an Insanity” sets up the long-awaited resolution to the M-E Lad subplot. The resolution itself is never shown in subsequent issues—only the aftermath—and it’s disappointing that this story doesn’t focus on him at all. It’s a run-of-the-mill backup, but it does have a couple of interesting features.

For one, the Brainy-Jan pairing is rare. While Jan doesn’t get to do much here, it was nice to see him involved in a story for the first time in who knows how long. Second, Brainy starts to develop his detached intellectual persona, which will grow during Levitz’s run. But here he has enough compassion to look after Tenz and continue his efforts to find a cure.

The backup is also noteworthy for its horrid art. Carmine Infantino had been one of DC’s leading artistic lights of the Silver Age, particularly on The Flash. However, he’s clearly spent too much time as an executive. The big foreheads, crunched faces, and awkward anatomy make this look like artwork bound for a refrigerator door.

The lead story, however, is just about as close to perfect as I can imagine a Legion story getting. It uses a simple plot to conclude one story line, advance a few others, and reveal character—like all good fiction should.


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#935898 - 08/13/17 01:50 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by Fat Cramer

If Ayla had an automatic space suit, why didn’t the Khundian rescue team? Wouldn’t that be standard safety equipment, even if Gim borrowed a ship, why wouldn’t they have brought suits along? Did they in such haste, they neglected essential safety equipment? Or did I miss something?


The asteroid appears to have a breathable atmosphere, so perhaps the polymeric suits are not needed. I don't know if the suits would offer protection against the cold of the asteroid--perhaps it needs to be vacuum-of-space cold for them to be effective.

Quote

Brainiac 5 left the facility some time ago, and they’re just getting around to firing that doctor, who just happened to still be around for Brainy’s return, with a handy forcefield shrinker machine (no doubt another fine Acme product).


The story doesn't tell us how long ago Dr. R'xalim had been dismissed. It could be that he anticipated that Brainy would come back eventually for Tenz and had "bugged" the facility so he could respond at the appropriate time. Brainy doesn't seem to know the doctor had been dismissed, but there's no reason why he would be apprised of personnel decisions.

Quote
Tromian allergic reaction is not to break out in hives, sneeze, or suffer breathing problems, but to suddenly wake up. Convenient, as was the thoughtful placement of pollen-bearing plants. This is Brainy as Macgyver.


I always like it when the Legionnaires' otherworldly physiologies are shown to differ from earth humans', but there should have been a set up for this allergy. MacQuerl, indeed.


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#935901 - 08/13/17 02:09 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
Finally, the cover is actually he opening page of the story. As we move into the first page, we just move in closer to the group, and hear their conversation.


Good catch. This technique would be used on every issue of Watchmen, still four years in the future.


Quote

Gim expresses his feelings to Vi, finding some positives in an otherwise bleak situation. This is where we get to know that something about the situation bothers Vi. This is the scene I thought we’d get leading up to last issue’s smooch, not after.


The timing of the smooch bothers me. You'd think Gim would confess his feelings first, but no. It almost seems these scenes are out of order.

Quote
There’s no Wildfire in this issue.


And I, for one, haven't missed him.

Quote
Jo is shocked, Shady quiet while Mon El is practical. But it’s Nura who deals with Garth directly, giving him a firm but friendly push. She really is getting a lot of solid attention under Levitz.


I like this depiction of Lar and Nura.

Quote

It’s still an odd subplot. It really drags the reader along by the nose. In #287 we read Brin saying “why did you come, Saturn Girl? Why you? We’re beaten about the head with it again here. “Why did you come Saturn Girl? – Why’d you try and pull us out?” think about the huge number of rescued Legionnaires down the years. Has anyone ever asked this? No, they haven’t. But it kicks the plot along, pushing Imra to explain her motivations.


It certainly is an ambiguous bit of dialogue. Was he expecting Ayla to come? Does he harbor secret feelings for Imra? (If so, they will never be developed.) Does he just not expect iron-butt Imra to give a rodent's behind?

Quote
It’s not just what Imra sees. It’s what she also picks up through her powers. “I never saw love like that before—never felt it.


Good catch! I don't know if Levitz intended this, but, if so, it's a nicely subtle use of her powers.

Quote
Note that the ice rising up on each side of their secluded spot is very similar to the cover. It nearly forms a heart which is worth bearing in mind along with the story title, and future events. smile


Another great catch! Eagle-eye thoth!


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#935918 - 08/13/17 06:07 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Paladin]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by Paladin
289 sports one of my favorite LSH covers ever and probably ranks somewhere among my all-time favorite covers in general. Over the years I've seen many others comment on their admiration of this cover, as well. I think the image itself is pretty cool, but the choices made with the logo make everything spark in a way that some other more traditional take would not have. The transparency to let you see more of the starry background is great itself, but I think the pink highlights provide just the perfect contrast to set the whole cover off. Also notable is how the DC Bullet's color matches the title lettering. Whomever made those choices, be it a cover editor or Giffen or someone else, should be commended for doing a particularly great job. It's subtle and tasteful and really makes the whole image memorable.



That's an excellent breakdown of the cover's attributes! I agree. It's one of the Legion's most eye-catching covers. I'm also glad it featured a quiet scene. There is so much loneliness and isolation in that picture. Also, the fact that they are super-heroes and dressed in super-hero costumes yet have nothing to do but sit around a fire plays against type. I think Giffen and Levitz definitely respected their readers' intelligence with this one.


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#935919 - 08/13/17 06:15 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Ann Hebistand]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by Ann Hebistand


What's decidedly bitter for me is that, despite Bruce Patterson once again going above and beyond his remit as inker/finisher, Giffen once again proves to be the wrong kind of artist for these kinds of character-driven "interlude" scenes. I mean, the layouts have the odd flourish here and there, but the body language and the faces are just...functional. Ergo, I find myself missing Broderick already.


I see your point about the faces; there is a certain flatness to them. However, I think Giffen delivers emotion when he's called to. Some of my standout face shots include Dawny (page 8), Ayla (page 9), and Imra (p. 16). I also think he deserves credit for giving the Legionnaires individual features, which will develop further as the series continues.

As for body language, I didn't see any problems. Where did you feel it was off?


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#935920 - 08/13/17 07:47 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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The Underbelly of Society
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by Paladin
289 sports one of my favorite LSH covers ever and probably ranks somewhere among my all-time favorite covers in general. Over the years I've seen many others comment on their admiration of this cover, as well. I think the image itself is pretty cool, but the choices made with the logo make everything spark in a way that some other more traditional take would not have. The transparency to let you see more of the starry background is great itself, but I think the pink highlights provide just the perfect contrast to set the whole cover off. Also notable is how the DC Bullet's color matches the title lettering. Whomever made those choices, be it a cover editor or Giffen or someone else, should be commended for doing a particularly great job. It's subtle and tasteful and really makes the whole image memorable.



That's an excellent breakdown of the cover's attributes! I agree. It's one of the Legion's most eye-catching covers. I'm also glad it featured a quiet scene. There is so much loneliness and isolation in that picture. Also, the fact that they are super-heroes and dressed in super-hero costumes yet have nothing to do but sit around a fire plays against type. I think Giffen and Levitz definitely respected their readers' intelligence with this one.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by Ann Hebistand


What's decidedly bitter for me is that, despite Bruce Patterson once again going above and beyond his remit as inker/finisher, Giffen once again proves to be the wrong kind of artist for these kinds of character-driven "interlude" scenes. I mean, the layouts have the odd flourish here and there, but the body language and the faces are just...functional. Ergo, I find myself missing Broderick already.


I see your point about the faces; there is a certain flatness to them. However, I think Giffen delivers emotion when he's called to. Some of my standout face shots include Dawny (page 8), Ayla (page 9), and Imra (p. 16). I also think he deserves credit for giving the Legionnaires individual features, which will develop further as the series continues.

As for body language, I didn't see any problems. Where did you feel it was off?




Hubes, I'm impressed with your comments on the art and such! I remember a time when you pretty much discounted the art in favor of the story in reviews you did on, say, 5YL issues. Though I know it is still secondary or absent in your full reviews, I like how you responded to art comments and offer agreement or counterpoint. I hold true that art is equally important in this unique medium, and it's nice to see these signs from you that you're coming around some in that regard.

None of this is meant to be condescending, btw. I struggled with the above wording somewhat because everything I typed seemed to come across as such. I just flashed back to prior interactions we had on the subject when you wouldn't really say anything about the art. You would say something to the effect of: 'it wasn't unpleasant and didn't distract from the story', if I pressed you.

So, anyhow, I just felt like acknowledging this a little and add that I like it! nod


Still "Lardy" to my friends!
#935921 - 08/13/17 08:19 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
"Hubes"? Hmm ... I've been He Who, Huey, HWW, even HHW on occasion. I'll have to add this to my nicknames. smile

I hadn't really thought about my transition into art criticism as a big deal, but it's nice of you to notice, Lardy. I don't think I've ever discounted the importance of art in comics, but, from a personal perspective, the writing is what matters most to me. However, I appreciate your feedback.


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