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#932085 - 06/19/17 04:22 PM Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18  
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The Present is Past
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Legion of Super-Heroes Archive 18 contains the following for your weekly review pleasure:

DC Comics Presents #43
Worlds Finest #284
LSH v2 #284-289
LSH v2 Annual #1
LSH v2 #290-294


#932086 - 06/19/17 04:30 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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I was going to post a compliment, but first I must kneel...kneel before Darkseid. smile Great stuff Future.


"...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."
#932093 - 06/19/17 08:03 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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We must all kneel before Future.


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#932106 - 06/20/17 03:31 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Certainly the most dramatic Archive cover to date. The back cover promises all sorts of re-read goodness!


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#932107 - 06/20/17 03:53 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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DCCP #43 In Final Battle by Paul Levitz, art by Curt Swan & Dave Hunt, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters J. Costanza

[Linked Image]

Clark Kent sees a problem and, leaving his baffled co-workers with a story about an endangered parakeet, races off as Superman to confirm that a Sun-Eater is headed for Earth. He is felled by a blast from the Sun-Eater and falls onto the Moon, face to face with Mongul, who shrinks him and encases him in a clear cube. Mongul is in control of the Sun-Eater. Lois and Jimmy observe this through a telescope. Jimmy pulls out a Legion flight ring and takes a chance that they might respond to a signal.

Six Legionnaires are available to answer his call and, after a debate about the dangers of time travel, they head to the past. Meanwhile, Mongul is defeating Justice League heroes and Supergirl.

When the Legion arrives, Superman explains that he is getting weaker as he remains in the cube; Sun Boy's blast bursts the cube, within the protection of Tasmia's shadow and Brainy's forcefield. They attack Mogul and, in so doing, destroy the devices he uses to control the Sun-Eater, which heads to Earth's sun. As Superman confronts Mongul, the Legionnaires fly after the Sun-Eater. They use their combined powers to get close to the Sun-Eater's core, then Wildfire unleashes his full anti-matter energy (after hurling his fellow Legionnaires out of danger, despite their protest).

Superman defeats Mongul, the Legionnaires create a cell to hold him and explain that Wildfire has blown the Sun-Eater to molecules. Superman confirms this, but notes, with sadness, that there is no trace of Wildfire either. The Legionnaires remind him that Wildfire just needs a new containment suit and joke that they can talk about him without him answering back in the meantime.

Jimmy claims that he saved the day by calling the Legion and asks a returning Clark if he saved the parakeet. Clark responds that he did and that those who can't save the world do what they can.

Comments:
A fairly simple, classic Superman story with the usual Lois-Jimmy-Clark set-up and epilogue. Levitz does a good job explaining who both Mongul and the Legion are, for readers unfamiliar with the characters.

I never really liked those stories which bring a 30th century villain into the 20th century, since I felt it diluted the future. So there's a Sun-Eater in the 1980s, then not another one for a thousand years? However, it serves the purpose of giving the Legion a chance to use their particular expertise and knowledge to deal with the danger.

There's plenty of good teamwork and noble intentions here and Wildfire plays the true hero. Sure, he can't be destroyed, but how certain was he that he'd be able to reassemble his energy waves (or whatever) to return home with the Legion? Could uncontained anti-matter energy affect the operation of the time bubble? His explosion of the Sun-Eater might have been portrayed as a more risky venture, with bigger stakes for Wildfire in particular.

Shadow Lass seems particularly attentive to Superman's well-being. It's that old attraction to powerful men thing, I guess - and maybe she's been bored with Mon-el lately.

Clark makes an excuse that he's worried about leaving the gas on and killing his friend's parakeet. The parakeets of the world no doubt approve of being placed on equal footing with the destruction of the Earth; it's actually a good message, all creatures great and small , God (and Superman) know when a sparrow falls. While it's the much-used bumbling Clark Kent trope, Clark's comment about doing what one can is a good line on which to end the story.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#932413 - 06/26/17 04:33 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Can't really think of much to add to what Cramey said about the story -- it's a solid effort from Levitz.

I do have to say that the art, both front cover and interior, is a sweet treat. Brian Bolland did the cover -- what can be said about his awesomeness that hasn't already been said? And Curt Swan seems to be going that extra mile with his pencils -- it definitely does not feel phoned-in, which, by this point, having been drawing the Super-Books for more than 25 years in a row, he sometimes did. But the real nice surprise is Dave Hunt's inking! He tended to be either nondescript or sloppy, but this job is beautiful, reminds me in spots of Marvel's John Romita Senior! Or, more apropos, of Swan's default inker during the Adventure Legion era, George Klein! Definitely one of the DCP issues most worth seeking out!

#932488 - 06/27/17 11:50 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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World's Finest #284 by Cary Burkett, art by George Tuska, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Adam Kubert

[Linked Image]

Superman travels to the 30th century to enlist the help of the teenage Legion to fight the Composite Superman, claiming that they are indirectly responsible. Statuettes of the Legionnaires were given to Superboy as a memento; later, he placed these in the Superman Museum. A lightning bolt struck the statuettes and bathed a caretaker in radiation, giving him Legionnaires' powers along with a hatred of super-heroes. He used Chameleon Boy's powers to become a combination of Superman and Batman, was thought to have been killed but had just resurfaced.

The Legion and Superman return to the 20th century to confront the Composite, Wildfire blasts him but he survives, explaining that he not only has all the Legion's powers but that the powers are cumulative – and he is now calling himself Amalgamax.

A battle ensues, as Batman considers that a better strategy is needed. He hurls a batarang carrying Shrinking Violet at Amalgamax; she activates his belt-buckle alarm to alert him that his powers are about to fade. He disappears, giving the heroes time to come up with a battle plan.

There's a complicated backstory to explain how the alien Xan became Amalgamax and why he hates Superman and Batman. Superman discovers that Xan's father died of the Muranis Plague. Projectra casts an illusion that he has developed the plague and Wildfire mentions that there's a cure for that in the future. Xan surrenders to the Legion in order to get the cure; he is sedated so that Superman could return him to his world's prison. Batman makes a joke about Wildfire's ego.

Comments:

You know how sometimes you hear a story that's about somebody's uncle, then it involves the uncle's cousin's boyfriend's ex-wife and you get the whole extended backstory? That's what this story was like. My eyes glazed over. It was a 1962 story in a 1982 book.

There's a far-fetched explanation of how Amalgamax got every Legionnaire's power, except Wildfire's. It's a set-up that provides considerable challenge to the Legionnaires. However, in the end, it's clever Batman who figures out the right approach, using different Legionnaires to outwit the bad guy and Wildfire's “loud mouth” to seal the deal. It really wasn't a bad story in terms of action and teamwork, but the WTF gaps of logic kept getting in the way of my appreciation.

Wildfire, unfortunately, has once again been saddled with the primary characteristic of being a loud-mouth. Although his recent origin story gave the reader more insight into his personality, he's written as a one-trick pony. Heroic, certainly – but it always comes back to his blowhard attitude. Gas bag in body, gas bag in speech.

It's odd to read another story with an affable Batman, given how long he's been the dark knight. The ending is like the ending of Harvey Birdman cartoons, with everybody standing around, laughing. I guess that was a parody of the Super Friends cartoon (which I never saw). It must have been an '80s thing.

Pretty impressive cover, though. Also of note is letterer Adam Kubert, who would go on to bigger projects.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#932584 - 06/28/17 07:39 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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We seem to have skipped from January 1982 (LSH 283) to October 1982 (WF 284--at least the issue numbers are sequential). No matter. The WF story is hard to place chronologically. It seems to have occurred before Jeckie and KK took a leave of absence (in LSH 284; I've been reading ahead), but after Cos changed his costume in Annual # 1 (between 289 and 290). One might suppose that Jeckie returned temporarily to active duty or Cos was "trying out" the new costume before adopting it permanently, much as Imra did with her new costume back at the end of the Action run. (EDIT: I just noticed that Imra also sports her later costume on the cover. Inside, her costume is hard to see and miscolored.)

Quote
It was a 1962 story in a 1982 book.


This pretty much sums it up. The Legionnaires don't question why Superman instead of Superboy is paying them a visit, and there's no explanation for why Superman didn't visit the Adult Legion instead. Although lip service is paid to the JLA, there really is no logical reason why Superman had to travel a thousand years into the future to recruit allies against the Composite Superman. Most of what the Legion does here could have been performed by members of the JLA, such as The Atom (instead of Shrinking Violet) and Zatanna (instead of Projectra). The lapses in logic and the "Gee, aren't we clever" ending (I'm only passingly familiar with Harvey Birdman) would indeed be more at home in the early '60s.

Stories like this strike me as the superhero equivalent of business as usual. A bad guy needs to be defeated, so they defeat him. It's a lot like a plumber going to work on a clogged drain. There are no major events here, no life-changing revelations, nothing that teaches us anything new about our heroes or their world. They have a job to do and they do it. At the time, I took solace in such "ordinary" stories. I felt as if I were getting a glimpse of these heroes' lives, like riding along with a police officer in a squad car on a day when nothing special happens. In real life, it's always good when such days occur (especially for police officers and others who regularly put themselves in harm's way). For fiction, not so much.

Quote
Gas bag in body, gas bag in speech.


Well said. This pretty much sums up how Wildfire was depicted here and in other stories.




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#932624 - 06/29/17 12:17 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
We seem to have skipped from January 1982 (LSH 283) to October 1982 (WF 284--at least the issue numbers are sequential). No matter. The WF story is hard to place chronologically.


Yeah, that's the order in which I had it and, given the story, we can be glad it's behind us. I hadn't noticed the sequential numbers - it must be destiny!

Quote
Although lip service is paid to the JLA, there really is no logical reason why Superman had to travel a thousand years into the future to recruit allies against the Composite Superman. Most of what the Legion does here could have been performed by members of the JLA, such as The Atom (instead of Shrinking Violet) and Zatanna (instead of Projectra).


Great observation, HWW! Green Arrow could have stood in for loudmouth Wildfire.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#932951 - 07/04/17 03:37 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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The "A cold and lonely corner in hell" cover is one of my all time favorites... and the story is excellent as well!

#933077 - 07/06/17 11:49 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Next review coming this weekend - suffered total computer failure here and am now a prisoner of a new machine with Windows 10 (which is not as bad as I feared).

Any one else inclined to post on LSH 284, please jump in. The quicksand is lovely.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#933080 - 07/06/17 11:52 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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Sorry to hear about your computer problems, Cramey.


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#933116 - 07/06/17 08:07 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Windows 10 tip not everyone knows: right click the start button to get the traditional windows menu.

#933117 - 07/06/17 08:50 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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Thanks for the tip, Brain-Fall-Out Boy.


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#933141 - 07/07/17 07:08 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Cramey, I echo He Who's good wishes and sympathy. Hope the internet is working smoothly again at chez Cramer as soon as cosmically possible.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #284 (Cover-date: February 1982)

The first hint that this is going to be a less-than-auspicious start to Levitz-Legion Mark 2 is the cover. Pat Broderick is one of my favorite artists of his generation, sort of like Jim Starlin but with prettier people and a looser, more ethereal line. But this issue's front cover, inked by Romeo Tanghal, who IMO hadn't quite yet found his artistic footing, is bland and stodgy and almost wholly nondescript. That description will be borne out by Levitz's script, but there is still some promise of a decent read in the opening 2 pages -- the attention-grabbing splash of Chuck Taine in the Hall of Heroes could have been more fluidly composed, but interior inker Bruce Patterson (who, like Broderick, had just left Marvel for DC) proves much more stylistically simpatico with Broderick's pencils. The first real sign of how well they mesh is in the 2nd and 3rd tiers of Page 2. The expression on Chuck's foregrounded face speaks far more about his combination of sadness and relief at his decision to retire from the Legion than the stilted soliloquy that Levitz gives him. Once Chuck's partner, Luornu Durgo Taine, enters the scene, the dialogue doesn't get any better, but the artistic team does delineate a lovely likeness of Lu.

The team conference scene, on the other hand, is so awful that not even the art can save it. Ironic how Levitz, who, during his Legion Mark 1 run had done more than anyone else to make Wildfire fully-rounded, would portray him in the worst one-dimensional hotheaded way. The escalating argument is tedious, although I do find it amusing that Cosmic Boy (still in his kinky Grell costume) would tell Wildfire not to make an ass out of himself. Pot, kettle, black, Cos.

Mercifully, the comic cuts away at this point to the sight of Medicus One against dark deep space skies with a generous sprinkling of faraway stars. But this peaceful panorama is immediately shattered by an enemy ship breaching the hull of the venerable galactic hospital. Disappointingly, the invading party turn out to be generic-looking reptile-people spouting action-movie-villain cliches. Enter Timber Wolf and Light Lass, who spout equally uninspired banter while TW makes short work of the lizard goons. Once TW exits, we get to see that the artists draw a truly adorable-looking Ayla, and things be even better in the next 2 pages, with lots of outer-space exteriors full of starry goodness, not to mention some nice panels of Wildfire, Dawnstar, and Ultra Boy leading the Legion's charge against the reptilian ruffians and their ship.

Cut to an allegedly comedic sequence of Chuck & Lu saying their farewells to an exposition-spouting Karate Kid and an all-too-playful Dream Girl; at least it gives the artists a chance to show Val with convincingly Eurasian features for a change, and to draw cute expressions on the faces of the other three. Also, this is, to my knowledge, the first hint of Nura having an actual personality, and while Levitz's execution strains too hard for cheap laffs, the porcelain-faced precog is definitely showing potential here.

After another nice-looking outer-space exteriors page, we get a rather dull and wordy one inside Medicus One, punctuated by a close-up of Lightning Lad sporting a haircut that makes me wonder if he's a descendant of Feargal Sharkey, the Undertones' original lead singer. Then the artists give us their prettiest, shiniest galactic vista yet, while Levitz finally deals with what should have been an obvious repercussion which the previous writers were too busy fixating on Reflecto to deal with immediately -- namely, Chameleon Boy finding out (in the year-old "Secrets of the LSH" mini-series) that R.J. Brande is his father. The normally serene Reep Daggle is definitely on edge here, effectively seeding storylines to come in later issues.

Next...more forced comedy, this time involving Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad. The latter, in one panel, looking like he's re-enacting one of the most infamous scenes of "The Exorcist" even though all he's actually doing is spitting out some slop he just cooked. And it only gets worse when Levitz has Ayla react in a deeply insensitive and self-centered way to Brin's ambivalence about the plastic surgery that Ayla had insisted on. We do catch our first glimpse of Dr. Gym'll, but he's spitting out squirm-inducing sophomoric "humor" which I find inappropriate for an all-ages comic book.

And, finally, we meet the one-shot villain of this tale, Organus, and...well...he refers to himself in the Third Person (Strike One) and, at first glance, he looks like a demon-possessed teddy bear (Strike Two.) He doesn't look quite as silly once he's fully visible, but his energy-absorbing tongue is creepy and gross in all the wrong ways (Strike Three!)

From here on, script and art are strictly by-the-numbers, as the Legionnaries mount an attack on Organus, which ends when Levitz falls back on the old Bronze Age Legion trope of "But wait, the villain's powers don't affect that ONE SPECIAL LEGIONNAIRE (in this case, Blok) and even though we know it doesn't make any sense, we're on a deadline here, so cut us some slack."

Not having read any Legion issues between 254 and 284, I can't really say whether this is any better than the average Gerry Conway issue, but I doubt it.

Something tells me the next few issues of Levitz Mark 2 are going to require a great deal of patience on us readers' part. Hopefully, by the time the Great Darkness Saga proper begins, things will have improved substantially.

#933172 - 07/07/17 10:53 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Well, hopefully I’m not too late! Catching up on the non-LSH proper issues…

DC Comics Presents #43

The Superman / LSH team-up in DC Comics Presents is nothing short of awesome, with one great thing after another. So much to love: incredible Boland cover, incredible Swan art, a rare chance to see Superman with the LSH, seeing Superman remember Ferro Lad (just awesome and something I always wanted to see), Jimmy referencing his reserve membership for the first time in years, the LSH showing bravery and intelligence in how they beat the Sun-Eater, Levitz showing his ability to use multiple Legionnaires, Mogul—the best *new* Superman villain of the late Bronze Age, A SUN-EATER!!!, an awesome battle between Superman and Mogul at the end, the LSH defeating the Sun-Eater…whew! It’s fantastic! This is probably the best of the LSH team-ups throughout the entire preboot. And it even leaves open the possibility for a great follow-up story—well done, Paul.

World’s Finest #284
Which leads to WF #284, which simply can’t stand alongside DCP #43. And its hard not to compare them since they open up the “archive”. I remember when I was rummaging through my Dad’s WF collection years ago and found this, and simply couldn’t believe there was a Levtiz / Giffen LSH issue that I didn’t know about! Seeing that cover, I imagined inside was going to be some glorious hidden issue that would leave me stunned. And then I was so disappointed to learn that Giffen wasn’t the artist and Paul wasn’t the writer. And unfortunately there was a lot to dislike as others have pointed out: a Silver Age feel that is out of place in the 80’s, bad artwork, super-ventriloquism, Wildfire and others acting as clichés rather than the multi-layered characters we have now come to expect from LSH stories. The last thing is especially annoying, as by the time we get the scene with Saturn Girl telling Wildfire to shut up, I basically started to breeze through the rest of it.

So there we have it: one fantastic issue and one ‘meh’ one. Onwards to the proper LSH stories!

#933175 - 07/07/17 10:55 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Ann Hebistand]  
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Originally Posted by Ann Hebistand
Can't really think of much to add to what Cramey said about the story -- it's a solid effort from Levitz.

I do have to say that the art, both front cover and interior, is a sweet treat. Brian Bolland did the cover -- what can be said about his awesomeness that hasn't already been said? And Curt Swan seems to be going that extra mile with his pencils -- it definitely does not feel phoned-in, which, by this point, having been drawing the Super-Books for more than 25 years in a row, he sometimes did. But the real nice surprise is Dave Hunt's inking! He tended to be either nondescript or sloppy, but this job is beautiful, reminds me in spots of Marvel's John Romita Senior! Or, more apropos, of Swan's default inker during the Adventure Legion era, George Klein! Definitely one of the DCP issues most worth seeking out!


Great comment about Dave hunt, Fanfie! I totally agree, and feel his inks really made Swan's art look more lush and robust. I also thought of the George Klein similarities as well.

#933180 - 07/07/17 11:17 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LoSH 284

“The Hall of Heroes: Statues of those who have served with honor – and died with honor. It’s not a place where the Legionnaires like to hang out.”

Unless it’s to have a laugh at the hijinks surrounding Jo’s statue being in there.

The opening words of Levitz v2.0 are a mix of sombre heroics and every day practicality.

Watching the statues, is Chuck Taine, tossing his flight ring in the air, and deciding not to become one of them.

It’s not uncommon for new writers to start clearing out the cast of the people they won’t be using. In a book with the ensemble cast of the Legion, it can provide some easy and early drama whether it’s by quitting, marrying, resigning or death. Not to mention providing a bit of breathing space for the writer to focus on the stories they want to tell.

It’s a good character study of Chuck in a page. He’s the cheerful, happy companion but also someone with a strong sense of the group’s history, the risks involved and how it could affect those he cares about.

Mentioning that the universe is either counting on or after the Legion gives the reader an early indication of the threat levels to come. In the next page, Levitz continues to lay the solid groundwork any decent writer should bring to a title. We get a lot in a page. We’re reintroduced to the HQ and its meeting room. We’re reminded that Lightning Lad is leader and of the Legion as an organisation. When Chuck and Lu do retire, we’re shown some of that traditional administration, when they tell Blok that it’s easier to change to and from reservist than as a full member.

Following on from the opening page, and that clearing out the cast point, Superboy is gone in a single word balloon that also updates us on the Reflecto saga. Levitz is not flinching big decisions, with the group now spending some time apart from their inspiration. It’s also possibly an early move to distance the team from the lives of the DCU’s main characters.

We get some early conflict too, which drives so many super teams. As discussed in the last issue, it’s Wildfire who acts as the team’s thorn, criticising Lightning Lad’s idea to discuss membership. He ends up nearly getting into a physical confrontation with Sun Boy. It’s a bit overly dramatic, and pushes Wildfire a bit too far in the pain in the rear direction. Name calling a fellow member isn’t nice.

It’s interesting that it’s Sun Boy who pulls him up. There’s a little overlap in origins in powers, and this is an early sign that Levitz will look to differentiate Dirk.

On the membership issue, this could be a very early indication that the line-up will get some changes, or at least that there will be more sightings of the Academy. Does anyone think Lamprey, Crystal Kid or Nightwind have shown enough promise to get into the team? We’ve also seen Power Boy, Shadow Kid and Laurel Kent, although they duplicate the powers of existing members.

The Mission Monitor Board serves as a straight forward way to introduce the team to this issue’s mission. Again, it’s a reminder of some of the Legion’s trappings. It also reminds us of Chuck’s comments that the universe depends on the team to deal with threats.

Pat Broderick provides a lovely rendition of Medicus One, a null gravity space hospital and we get the first of the Encyclopaedia Galactica comments from Levitz in this run. These really help to provide a lot of flavour and background to the universe the Legion inhabit.

A group of heavily armed and armoured aliens, who look like they may be Gordonians are attacking the hospital. If they are Gordonians, the race only made their debut a couple of years before, and it links the Legion into the sci fi of its other titles. They are introduced as organ leggers. And they are after the body banks. That picks up on the theme of future technology having a possible darker side. Where do the organs come from exactly? What permissions have been granted?

In trying to capture their prize, they meet two Legionnaires, who were already on site. We learn that Brin has been undergoing some surgery, as Levitz provides us with a subplot right along with the main action. The differing approach of the two is marked. Ayla prefers to control the situation while Brin leaps into action looking to beat all of the pirates. He proceeds to leave a number of them strewn along the corridor to their ship, as we see when Ayla follows him. She makes herself light, to increase her speed which is a good use of her powers, but it would have been nice to see her more directly involved this early on. As mentioned, you can often tell from a writer’s first few issues which characters are going to become key to their interpretation of the group.

Despite their losses, the organleggers seem to be more focused on the profit of what they have managed to get onto their craft. It looks as though they expect losses on all of their raids. They don’t get far as the Legion’s advance team reaches them before they can escape. Dawny and Wildfire are indeed made for space travel, and it’s nice to see a simple and effective link established between them. We get the traditional bit of exposition on how Jo’s powers work.

The three are very confident heroes, and they make short work of the aliens. It’s worth pointing out this approach. Some new writers like to tear apart everything that went before. Conflict makes for a good story after all. But with no idea of where to stop you end up with a hero or group that are broken and have nothing left. While that can make for a good arc, creative changes and conflicts can then result in the writer leaving behind half-finished ideas and badly damaged characters. Quite often what they had in mind was never as good as what had gone before anyway.

There are some super hero teams where I have to think hard to remember if they’ve ever won. The late TMK run comes to mind as having a lot of running away tactical withdrawals.

But writers can challenge certain aspects of a character. In the often underdeveloped world of comic characterisation, there are plenty of aspects to explore, without trashing everything. A conflict built on solid foundations, and not from ruins. Seeing a capable team here, there’s a hint that this is the approach Levitz might take.

Like Ayla, it would have been nice to see more of Dawny’s range of powers, but the enclosed space probably didn’t help on this occasion. Levitz gets points for making sure that the battle doesn’t extend to pages. It’s partly a reinforcement of what Chuck said at the start. Despite their arms, the antagonists are up against the UP’s main heroes. And they act like it. But it’s also a sign that Levitz has a lot of ideas that he wants to put into the book. We’ve already had a lot happening in a few pages, and it will be interesting to see if the pace continues.

The mission monitor board serves a further purpose, in handling communications from other members. It’s more membership changes, as Karate Kid and the unseen Projectra announce a leave of absence. We get a quick reprise of his own series (which was partly written by Levitz) and an idea of what will be in the couple’s immediate future. Considering how reactive so many stories and tenures are, it’s refreshing to see a couple with some solid plans for a change. We’re ten pages in and there are five Legionnaires who we will not be seeing as much of.

We get to see one last (for a while) fun moment with Chuck and Lu, as Dream Girl teases him. It’s a lovely summation of her character as an out in the open flirt who has flustered the boys since her first appearance. There’s more to Nura than that of course, and we see that she is considerate and that she is still haunted by her premonitions. They have often portrayed catastrophe only for it to have been misunderstood. With Chuck already mentioning that the team are short staffed, will Levitz go the same way?

It’s not just about fighting the villains as a Legionnaire. The team repair the damage to Medicus one. It’s an opportunity to get to see Element Lad, Sun Boy, Cosmic Boy and brainy in action. We get a touch of Brainy’s intellect but the scene changes tone when they snipe about Wildfire. Coz considers him to be an “egomaniac” and Brainy and Dirk have their own comments. I was thinking of the snarky remarks made by certain characters much later in the Baxter run. But there’s similar things going on right here at the start of Levitz v2.0.

Along with the (telepathic) plug for the advanced technology the Legion uses, there’s a little aside made by Brainy that perhaps reveals Levitz’s thoughts on the character. Brainy is self-critical as a way of constantly trying to improve. Because he’s involved in so many things, he will therefore try to improve everything. That’s going to be tough on anyone. We also learn that Imra has been using her powers to calm the patients down. It’s good to see the cast not just standing around in the background, but being used.

It’s Sun Boy who deduces that it wasn’t the Medicus one staff who raised the alarm. It brought a smile that he’s sitting next to the team’s resident detective. But Chameleon Boy is focused on the revelation from the Secrets of the Legion miniseries. It’s an early sign of things to come for Cham.

Inside the hospital, Garth pays Brin a visit before more surgery. There’s the feeling that whatever procedure he’s undergoing is more than simple plastic surgery. Ayla had commented on side effects earlier. We also get another hint that the danger hasn’t passed. One of the aliens was shown throwing a device into the organ backs as he was challenged by Brin. Whatever that was, is beginning to activate.

But the pace keeps going, and it’s back to Earth where the burden of leadership subplot is raised by Garth. Back in the Grimbor story, he had quit only to table it until the threat had passed. This scene also picks up on the strength of Garth & Imra’s marriage (she’s only recently moved into their Legion HQ quarters). The reminder of the Legion origin was particularly well done. There’s also the idea that they wouldn’t share information with the others, if it meant violating someone’s privacy. Imra backed Garth back on the hospital. She respects Garth too much to ask more. But it’s worth bearing the much later Conspiracy in mind as another example of people keeping secrets with the best of intentions.

Back on Medicus one, and we see Brin ditch his wolverine clone look. There’s pros and cons to this, partly in hindsight. With Wolverine’s popularity, Brin was only going to be an imitator at this point. There’s also only so far you can realistically go with a loner-in-a-team subplot too (something ignored by Marvel for decades). The downside, and this is in hindsight, is that it was a distinctive look, and Brin’s personality under Levitz would have a different emphasis partly as a result. But it’s another lasting change to be chalked up to the issue. Another subplot launched form the scene is the tension in Brin and Ayla’s relationship. We only get a brief insight into it, before that organlegger’s device breaks loose and Ayla must face … Organus.

Levitz had often said that creating villains wasn’t his strongpoint. The Who’s Who picture for Organus made him look a bit uninspiring too. But could that be doing him a bit of a disservice? His introduction reveals that he is a creature from somewhere…else. Contained within a vessel, but using the organleggers as slaves. Able to absorb and utilise the parts and energies of others. Broderick’s depiction of his mental domination of prey and then his horribly organic attack on Ayla reveal his origins to be firmly in the sci fi/ horror films of the period.

Brin also finds out that Organus can use the superpowers of those he absorbs too. It’s unfortunate that Organus was more effective in using Ayla’s powers so far this issue than Ayla was herself. As the second attack on the facility begins, another alert reaches Legion HQ, where we see the team play D&D (without Star Boy!) There’s another nod to Legion protocol as Element Lad takes mission command. Although Garth and Imra are in the HQ, I quite like that there’s the concept of off-duty being used.

It turns out that seeing the team repair Medicus earlier was the writer showing us their power levels before they return to face the villain (there’s a little nod to Dirk being the team’s best pilot too). Levitz resists having Blok stay behind. It would have been easy to leave him there as an indication that the Dryad’s unspectacular days in the group were numbered.

Medicus is a bit bright and shiny to resemble alien here, but it might have been in someone’s mind, as the group burst in and a body hangs in the foreground, Lambert from Alien style. Although the villain is described as an agile parasite, and we see two Legionnaires cocooned, the Alien references don’t really work out too well. Having one of the characters explain what the villain has just done is never a good thing. The creature’s visuals become more and more like the Who’s Who picture the longer they appear and the potential drains away well before an awkward somersault moment.

Blok is seemingly immune to the creature’s powers and saves the day. In doing so, we get a little edge about his darker past as a member of the League of Super Assassins. It’s his conscious awareness of the Legion code (another bit of Legion heritage dropped into the issue) that prevents Blok from violating it.

Blok was going to face the villain anyway, but is inexplicably more effective when used as a missile by Ayla (she did get to use her powers effectively!). Does Ayla know of the weakness as she had close contact with it? Does Organus wander around thinking “gosh! I hope I don’t run into any non-carbon lifeforms and not recognise them as such.” It’s not explained. In the end, it’s all a bit too convenient that Blok was on the mission after all. Drawing attention to it by having him offer to stay behind actually makes it worse. Jan could have picked him as part of the team without saying anything, or in reference to the need for brute strength since Jo/Lar/Kal weren’t part of the mission team.

With Organus restrained on the prison planet for a sequel that never came (he made at least one cameo later on in one of the many Takron Galtos scenes), it’s back to HQ for a last bit of administrative work. The structure of the Legion; it’s code of conduct; technology and membership have been strongly established this issue. Like the mention of Imra and Garth meeting on the Legion’s first case, there’s the reminder of the Legion’s membership limit established for tax purposes the last time the creative team needed to offload Superboy for a while. It’s the end for Tyroc as a member, honourably discharged and not making an appearance like so much of his time as a member.

Despite the losses, and the mention of membership back at the start of the issue, the team still stands at twenty-three, with a twenty-five legal limit.


Summary
At first glance the issue made me think of it as the mediocre Organus story. A one-shot villain in a standard mission. But what a huge amount of other things were going on around it!

Membership changes with Chuck, Lu, Kal, Val, Jeckie and Troy all stepping back. With them go a couple of long term relationships. This will free up space to focus on the Brin/ Ayla and Drake/Dawny romances.

Lots of subplots are picked up on such as Garth’s leadership burdens, Blok’s dark background and Brin’s changes.

The pacing is already different. We have a lot of little scenes, establishing the role of the team, what it means to the UP and how it functions. They are mostly connected or intertwined such as chuck pointing at a screen just as the mission appears or Brin being on Medicus one when it is attacked. Contrived sure, but it assists in the flow of the scenes.

There’s fun in here too with D&D, Dreamy and Chuck. The villain is not at the centre of the story. He’s one of many missions in the lives of the Legionnaires and that is something I’ve no doubt I’ll be coming back to. Gosh! foreshadowing, just as Dreamy did this issue! Levitz is clearly thinking ahead, which gives the book some momentum again after the recent creative changes.


"...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."
#933204 - 07/07/17 12:18 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Cobalt Kid]  
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Ann Hebistand Offline
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Originally Posted by Cobalt Kid
Originally Posted by Ann Hebistand
Can't really think of much to add to what Cramey said about the story -- it's a solid effort from Levitz.

I do have to say that the art, both front cover and interior, is a sweet treat. Brian Bolland did the cover -- what can be said about his awesomeness that hasn't already been said? And Curt Swan seems to be going that extra mile with his pencils -- it definitely does not feel phoned-in, which, by this point, having been drawing the Super-Books for more than 25 years in a row, he sometimes did. But the real nice surprise is Dave Hunt's inking! He tended to be either nondescript or sloppy, but this job is beautiful, reminds me in spots of Marvel's John Romita Senior! Or, more apropos, of Swan's default inker during the Adventure Legion era, George Klein! Definitely one of the DCP issues most worth seeking out!


Great comment about Dave hunt, Fanfie! I totally agree, and feel his inks really made Swan's art look more lush and robust. I also thought of the George Klein similarities as well.


Thank you, Cobie. And since posting that, I've started to recall some other instances of above-average Hunt inks -- he did a pretty decent job on some of John Byrne's late-70s Marvel Team-Up issues.

#933224 - 07/07/17 08:15 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Wow, 284 has already generated a lot of interesting and thoughtful commentary from Annfie and thoth.

Levitz II begins with a tale that broadens the Legion's scope to almost biblical proportions. So much happens here, and so many different characters are involved that the tone of the series feels markedly different from what has gone before. I can't help feeling that Levitz was watching "Hill Street Blues," the groundbreaking police drama which premiered only a year before. Like "HSB," Levitz introduces multiple plot lines and hints at future developments. He expands the relationships of the characters and incorporates personal dramas to create a more realistic sense of interaction among the Legionnaires than had been attempted before. He also shows the Legionnaires being heroes and winning against a group of organ bank raiders while acknowledging the very real risk heroes take.

As thoth pointed out, the villain becomes almost incidental to all of this, but Organus does serve a vital function. He poses a challenge for the Legionnaires to defeat, and it is only because of new member Blok (the "special Legionnaire" who conveniently is not affected by the villain's power, as Annfie notes) that he is, in fact, defeated. But the villain only serves to highlight various Legionnaires in action and, more, to show how they are going to interact with each other in this brave new world Levitz is charting.

Several aspects stand out to me. Garth's irritation with his sister for keeping Brin's surgery a secret feels like real sibling contention. Brin's surgery itself is both unexpected and full of unknown promise for the future. I lamented the passing of his distinctive wolf-like appearance, but I understand now why it was done. I hadn't thought of Brin as looking like a Wolverine clone at the time (despite Brin's wolf appearance debuting first), but it makes sense that DC would try to differentiate him from the more popular Marvel character. Still, Brin looks strangely naked as he rushes into battle with his Cockrum-designed costume and new, human face.

I also enjoyed the glimpse of Garth and Imra's domestic life. It's a cliche that Garth can't cook, but it works in the context of the scene: He's obviously trying to avoid answering Imra's question about Brin and Ayla, and Imra picks up on that and lets it be. This feels like a very real relationship.

Not all the interactions are successful. Wildfire and Sun Boy come off as incredibly immature during the administrative meeting. Their behavior may have been intended to remind us that these heroes are still young people and can be prone to juvenile behavior. (Some of the other Legionnaires laughed at Wildfire's comeuppance.) The scene, which also illustrates how little control Garth has over these proceedings, is well-intended, I think, but comes across as too Marvel-like in its execution.

The Blok of this story is almost unrecognizable from the lovable and innocent hunk o' rock he becomes. He comes across as severe and stern, almost sinister. He is more than willing to allow Organus to die and expresses disapproval of the Legion code. But his primary function in this story is to serve as the newbie, the stand-in for the reader. The Legionnaires have to explain things to him, such as reserve status and the membership limit, that more experienced Legionnaires would already know. While some of this information is necessary, it comes across as clunky exposition and makes Blok look as if he hasn't done his homework.

Levitz also struggles to find his way back into Brainiac 5's persona. Since when did Brainy criticize his past inventions? In this story, he comes across as one of the guys, not the aloof intellectual into which he later develops. (It's actually refreshing to see him try to fit in socially with the others; in hindsight, I wish Levitz had developed this aspect of Brainy's persona more.)

The Broderick/Patterson art is ten times better than anything we've seen in quite a while, even the Jimmy Janes run, which I generally liked. Broderick has a distinctive style, but, like Cockrum and Grell, his style does not interfere with the story telling. The space scenes are breathtaking, and the interior scenes of the HQ and the Legionnaires gathered around convey a lot of information without overwhelming the reader. Most of the Legionnaires also sport distinctive facial features. These welcome strengths make up for some of the weaknesses in the art, such as Garth's hair and that really awkward cover.

There are also some problems in the story telling. Levitz doesn't seem to know where to end scenes. I would have liked the revelation that Chuck and Lu are moving on to sink in for a moment before transitioning into the alert. The ending of the story also feels anticlimactic and would not leave me, if I were a new reader, yearning for more.

But these are kinks in the system to be worked out. 284 does what it's meant to do: start the Legion over with a fresh slate and hint at glorious things to come.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#933575 - 07/11/17 04:03 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
LoSH 285

[Linked Image]

Summary
The Legion investigate the sabotage of space cruisers, including their own, at the Nullport spacedock. They uncover a Khundian plot and, after foiling the sabotage, push back an attack fleet. Realising that NUllport continues to be a target, they move Nullport further into United Planets territory. Elsewhere, Princess Projectra’s father is killed by unknown forces on Orando.

In the issue’s second story, Dream Girl investigates why the Naltorians have lost their precognitive powers. Connecting the loss to the activation of an earthquake-reducing planetary gyroscope, Nura returns her race’s abilities while also continuing to protect the planet form quakes.

Comments
A traditional five-person team arrive on Nullport to collect the Legion’s new cruiser. Levitz has rotated the cast. Mon El uses super speed to run, rather than fly, to save workers as their old ship collapses. He will later use super breath, strength and microscopic vision firmly establishing him as the member taking on Superboy’s duties. Without having to divide that panel time, this could turn out to be a strong period for Lar.

Violet is caught in the wreckage, but this is a convenient way to show her powers and to have her find that the signal that caused the wreck came from the control tower. Like last issue, it’s a small start to an adventure and we’re given a recurring location in Nullport and a new member of the supporting cast in the cigar chomping operator H’Hrnath.

As the team interviews the galactic boatyard’s owner a further two accidents occur. Once again, Vi takes on the proactive investigative role that suits her espionage squad background. Gim and Mon-El handle the heavy lifting of wrecked cruisers. It’s not all plain sailing as Gim finds he has to adjust to the planetoid’s low gravity.

Star Boy and Shadow Lass haven’t had much to do yet. Thom has already mentioned his attachment to Nura and shown a dry wit that the others seemingly have to put up with. He’s acting as team leader on this mission which also gives him some panel time. Shady’s concern over Vi seemed a little out of character for her.

Star Boy reports into Brainy, giving us another chance to establish the HQ and the mission monitor board. It’s interesting that Lightning Lad is off panel, although he’s the leader. Brainy will continue to be a key member of the team, which is a remove away from being written out after his breakdown.

His analytical approach is shown early on. It stands out all the more as its shown in contrast to an arriving Brin Londo’s instinctive reasoning. Londo’s operations from last issue are referenced providing some between issue continuity and he an Light Lass are clearly a couple. There’s a bit of snark form Brainy concering Londo’s intellect. With that in both issues, it could be Levtiz’s shorthand way of establishing personalities through the reactions of their teammates.

The one subplot in this story is to show the feudal ruling of Orado as Val and Jeckie return to look for her father’s consent to marry. King Voxv is reluctant, and is bound to reinforcing the world’s traditions. Not that he gets the chance, as he collapses and we learn of his death at the end of the story.

Back on Nullport, we see that Vi’s skills allow her to shrink to the point where she can follow circuit pathways, allowing her to identify the disriupter that caused the accidetns.

Brin and the Legionnaires on site all seem to suspect the Khunds. Vi’s investigations seem to confirm this. I had been expecting a twist to another culprit, so I get the surprise of it really being the Khunds all along. After the Levitz penned Earth War, they have been rebuilding their power. Warlord Galmark has authorised the use of the disruptor. Once it has failed, he kills the person responsible for its insertion. That person turns out to have been his son. There’s no mercy in the martial logic of the Khunds. With the subterfuge gone, he looks to attack Nullport only to run into the Legion team stationed there. The Warlord can barely believe his ill fortune, and Mon El uses a fastball special to hurl Colossal Boy at their fleet. Gim remarks on it not being the least painful way of getting into the fleet, but at least he wasn’t smeared against their hulls or forcefields. There’s the comic book cliché of anyone big also getting a boost in strength and resistance too, even if not to Daxamite levels.

Star Boy gets to use his powers and we learn that the Khund fleet also consists of drone ships. But that’s not all Thom is there to do. With the Khunds defeated, the Legion team look to move the whole palce further into UP space, and away from Khundian raids. Like Blok, last issue, the team just happens to have people on it that can achieve this. Shady gets to do something by shielding the whole place from view. Although perhaps people will notice that they can’t see anything in the cloaked region. Evne the stars that would normally be seen. Star Boy provides Nullport with its own gravity as Mon El moves it to a safer home.

As a reward, the Equissian H’Hrnath gives them five star wars style Mark 494 cruisers for the price of one. As the team departs, it’s Shady who is again the one who more empathic. While Mon lightly calls H’Hrnath a “bandit,” it’s Shady who points out the soft heart beneath it that reminds her of Legion Founder RJ Brande (in another nice use of dialogue to reinforce team history). Violet is the one who respects privacy of emotions. It must be considered to be one of her key personality traits as it’s something Star Boy feels he can comment upon.

His partner, Dream Girl, takes centre stage in the back up tale. It’s written by Levitz with art by Giffen.

The people of Naltor have lost their precognitive abilities. Dream Girl has returned to assist them, although she too has lost her powers. Nura goes out into the now disaster strewn world with only her flight ring and Legion training.

She comments that others doubted her usefulness as a Legionnaire. While she may have liked Imra, Brainy (both of whom she’d end up with on Universo’s prison planet years later) or Mysa to be there, but they are not. Nura uses her intelligence and training to get on with the job at hand. Dream Girl never gives into self-doubt. Even as she realises that she may have to leave the team if she remains powerless goes unfinished as she tackles robbers.

The story is an update on those spotlight tales where a Legionnaire questions their place in the team and comes out on top. But, unlike a lot of those tales, Nura isn’t shown as simply coming to terms with limitations or that she can contribute in her own way. This story must have undoubtedly led to calls for her to be the next Legion leader.

Even without powers, Nura is shown as a very capable combatant. Although Naltorians have precognitive powers, ashe’s the sister of the White Witch, we’ve known she had a scientific background. She uses that, and her status as the disciple of the High Seer, to solve Naltor’s problem. Better yet, she deduces the solution. It’s not only her science, but how she thinks that saves the day. Singling out what caused the problem takes effort and deduction. Intelligence is one thing, but Dream Girl also looks to expand capabilities. Her use of the flight ring in her battle with the robbers is excellent. In later issues we would see Nura being one of the team’s key scientists and the one who knew how Brainy’s equipment worked.

As we’re early into the Levtiz run, he could easily have looked to move out characters such as Nura, Instead, she will become an important figure in the team, if a little to the writer’s own surprise.


"...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."
#933612 - 07/12/17 01:38 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Fat Cramer Offline
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Café Cramer
LSH #285 Night Never Falls at Nullport by Paul Levitz, art by Pat Broderick & Bruce Patterson, colors by Gene D’Angelo, letters by Bruce Patterson


Comments:
Although these are both straightforward stories, they seem quite dense. In Nullport, we meet the comedic H’hrnath; I wonder which character (if any) was the inspiration for his personality and speech. His talk reminds me of Foghorn Leghorn, lots of bluster. In a galaxy full of different life forms, Shadow Lass still finds him funny-looking; that seems odd, but maybe she never saw a horse before.

Mon-el is acting like team leader, rational, calm and serious. There’s banter among the Legionnaires, but nobody comes off as childish, petulant or angry. Colossal Boy goofs up, forgetting that the lower gravity will affect him when he increases size, but otherwise the team is thoroughly capable.

The Khunds are familiar bad guys and just how bad is confirmed by the Imperior’s murder of his own son for mission failure.

Nullport itself makes good sense. It looks peculiar, but that’s after seeing how Star Fleet built the Enterprise. We’re more removed from shipyards in our present day, but any civilization that depends on ships would have massive yards throughout the galaxy. We’ve left behind those Adventure-era stories in which Legionnaires are stranded on a planet and build their own ship to escape.

While I found the artwork a bit uneven, especially on the faces, there were some interesting touches, such as Mon-el’s viewing of the circuitry and the backgrounds.

The Projectra interlude gives us some insight into Orando, but it’s main purpose is to set up a major storyline.

I recently read that Levitz had a particular scream that he wrote “Ayyyeee!”. Never noticed that before, but, funny enough, here it’s used twice.

The Dream Girl story adds a lot to her character, revealing her insecurities as well as her determination. It also sets her up as a very bright mind and a skilled fighter, which Levitz will develop further in future issues.

It may strike one as unlikely that a frequency could jam the Naltorans power that easily, but we don’t know how their precog works, so it becomes an acceptable premise. Why couldn’t they foresee this problem with the gyrostabilizer? It’s as if the act of viewing the loss of their powers prevented their viewing – they can’t see losing their powers, because at that point in time, they will have lost their powers. Furthermore, they can’t see beyond this point to learn that their powers return, whether because their vision is time-limited or the event instigated a break in their future sight. Useful information for any would-be conquerers of Naltor.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#933615 - 07/12/17 01:56 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
Joined: Jul 2003
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Fat Cramer Offline
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Café Cramer
Originally Posted by thoth lad

Levitz has rotated the cast. Mon El uses super speed to run, rather than fly, to save workers as their old ship collapses. He will later use super breath, strength and microscopic vision firmly establishing him as the member taking on Superboy’s duties. Without having to divide that panel time, this could turn out to be a strong period for Lar.


You're right, the use of multiple powers does make him the new Superboy. And it's a relief to not have Wildfire in the story for once.

Quote
Star Boy and Shadow Lass haven’t had much to do yet. Thom has already mentioned his attachment to Nura and shown a dry wit that the others seemingly have to put up with. He’s acting as team leader on this mission which also gives him some panel time. Shady’s concern over Vi seemed a little out of character for her.


Mon-el came off more as team leader to me, but Star Boy did act very professionally. Shady also seemed out of character laughing at H'hrnath.

Quote
The story is an update on those spotlight tales where a Legionnaire questions their place in the team and comes out on top. But, unlike a lot of those tales, Nura isn’t shown as simply coming to terms with limitations or that she can contribute in her own way. This story must have undoubtedly led to calls for her to be the next Legion leader.


Questioning their place in the team is a theme that's used fairly often. I wonder how many of the spotlight tales are based on this idea; the solo tale is the perfect vehicle for introspection.

Quote
As we’re early into the Levtiz run, he could easily have looked to move out characters such as Nura, Instead, she will become an important figure in the team, if a little to the writer’s own surprise.


I wondered about that, whether Nura was a favourite of his to begin with or became one over the course of several stories.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#933744 - 07/13/17 01:30 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Questioning their place in the team is a theme that's used fairly often. I wonder how many of the spotlight tales are based on this idea; the solo tale is the perfect vehicle for introspection.


Hasn't Dreamy already had one too? Wasn't it part of a back up where Karate Kid was knifed, but was too tough to notice. What's that Look Up Lad? It was Issue 201?! Thanks Look Up Lad!


"...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."
#933771 - 07/14/17 01:45 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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I want a signal ring to call Look Up Lad for reference emergencies!


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#933779 - 07/14/17 05:00 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Wow, 284 has already generated a lot of interesting and thoughtful commentary from Annfie and thoth.

Levitz II begins with a tale that broadens the Legion's scope to almost biblical proportions. So much happens here, and so many different characters are involved that the tone of the series feels markedly different from what has gone before. I can't help feeling that Levitz was watching "Hill Street Blues," the groundbreaking police drama which premiered only a year before. Like "HSB," Levitz introduces multiple plot lines and hints at future developments. He expands the relationships of the characters and incorporates personal dramas to create a more realistic sense of interaction among the Legionnaires than had been attempted before.


(Much-belated) thanks for the kind words, He Who.

And thanks, too, for bringing up HSB. The impact that show had on pop culture across the board cannot be underestimated. It's also no coincidence that it was one of, if not the most, ethnically diverse TV shows of its time, what with diversity being such a strong theme of the Legion. Also signficant were the every-woman quality of Officer (later Sgt.) Lucy Bates (Betty Thomas), and the casting of the dark-haired, somewhat exotic-looking Veronica Hamel as D.A. Joyce Davenport when just a couple years earlier the role would probably have gone to a blue-eyed blonde. And to digress for a moment, I have particularly warm memories of watching reruns of the most recent HSB seasons with my mother as a grade-schooler during early-80s summer vacations to the US -- good times, and very edifying to my young mind (oh, and we'd always laugh every time Belker would show up in the lunch room and unwrap one of his smelly sandwiches.)

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Not all the interactions are successful. Wildfire and Sun Boy come off as incredibly immature during the administrative meeting. Their behavior may have been intended to remind us that these heroes are still young people and can be prone to juvenile behavior. (Some of the other Legionnaires laughed at Wildfire's comeuppance.) The scene, which also illustrates how little control Garth has over these proceedings, is well-intended, I think, but comes across as too Marvel-like in its execution.


Ironically, by that time, Marvel had, by that time, refined and transcended its own cliches, thanks to an influx of more thoughtful creators such as Walt Simonson, Jo Duffy, John Byrne, and Chris Claremont, among others.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
The Blok of this story is almost unrecognizable from the lovable and innocent hunk o' rock he becomes. He comes across as severe and stern, almost sinister. He is more than willing to allow Organus to die and expresses disapproval of the Legion code. But his primary function in this story is to serve as the newbie, the stand-in for the reader. The Legionnaires have to explain things to him, such as reserve status and the membership limit, that more experienced Legionnaires would already know. While some of this information is necessary, it comes across as clunky exposition and makes Blok look as if he hasn't done his homework.


I think Levitz never quite got a handle on Blok, even with 7 years to do so. I wouldn't be surprised if part of the reason Tellus was created was so that the "wide-eyed-innocent" role could be filled by a character with far less backstory baggage than Blok.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Levitz also struggles to find his way back into Brainiac 5's persona. Since when did Brainy criticize his past inventions? In this story, he comes across as one of the guys, not the aloof intellectual into which he later develops. (It's actually refreshing to see him try to fit in socially with the others; in hindsight, I wish Levitz had developed this aspect of Brainy's persona more.)


Agreed.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
The Broderick/Patterson art is ten times better than anything we've seen in quite a while, even the Jimmy Janes run, which I generally liked. Broderick has a distinctive style, but, like Cockrum and Grell, his style does not interfere with the story telling. The space scenes are breathtaking, and the interior scenes of the HQ and the Legionnaires gathered around convey a lot of information without overwhelming the reader. Most of the Legionnaires also sport distinctive facial features.


cheers

#933842 - 07/14/17 04:20 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Tempus Fugitive
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
I want a signal ring to call Look Up Lad for reference emergencies!


By Olsen's Bowtie! Crafty Cramer is after thoth's signal ring! Will she become Look Up Lad's Best Pal?! Read "Signal Your Intentions" in Look Up Lad #134!


"...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."
#933848 - 07/14/17 06:08 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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Annfie,
Thank you for mentioning the ethnic diversity on "Hill Street Blues." It was indeed a very diverse show for its time, and none of the characters were stereotypes. (Well, most of them weren't. Johnny LaRue was pretty much a typical Lothario, but he had a wonderful foil in Neal Washington. Lt. Howard Hunter, as a reactionary emergency team commander, was fun to watch. And Renko was a redneck--so, all the stereotypes were white!)

I hadn't thought about Veronica Hamel as being unorthodox for a leading lady/love interest, but you're right about her being dark-haired and exotic. I had quite a crush on her.

The Legion had already had such diversity for years, but it wasn't fully developed until this era of the team. Under Levitz and Broderick (and later Giffen), the team members developed more well-rounded personalities and relationships. They just happened to be blue or green or orange or Eurasian. I like to think of this era of the Legion as the HSB/St. Elsewhere era of the team. Levitz took a lot of chances with the characters, as "St. Elsewhere" did with its cast. As a reader, there was a sense that you couldn't take anything or any character for granted.


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#933849 - 07/14/17 06:31 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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So, 285 . . .

I've been mulling over what to say about this issue for some time. I appreciated thoth and FC's comments, because they both see more positive aspects than I do. To me, it's a meh story: Levitz's attempt to do a Boltinoff-era tale that marks time but really doesn't accomplish anything special. I get the feeling that Levitz was more interested in setting up Projectra's ascension to the throne of Orando, but he needed time to do this, so this story was meant to involve world building and little else.

To be fair, Levitz does a great job at this world-building. Nullport and the aggression of the Khunds are wonderful concepts that build on what we've seen before and hint at bold, new directions. Nullport takes the science fiction aspects of the Legion to more credible lengths. (Yes, it's much better than the Legionnaires building rocket ships themselves.) However, I could have done without the horsey alien, H'hrnath. (Wonderful personality, but silly appearance--a horse with human hands? And his hind quarters disappear on page 19.)

Levitz also earns props for varying the cast: Mon, Shady, Star Boy, Violet, and Colossal Boy isn't a combination we've seen before. Levitz also does some interesting things with their powers--especially Violet and Thom's unorthodox use of his mass-increasing powers. But little is done with them as characters. Gim forgets the low gravity in Nullport, and Mon forgets that Gim isn't invulnerable. This passes for character flaws?

I did appreciate the last page, in which all five Legionnaires pilot a new ship back to earth--showing, I think, that piloting starships is as common as driving a car is today. A great future to look forward to!

The art is uneven and rushed.

The backup story is much more successful in developing Nura's personality and her homeworld, Naltor. It's great that she's aware of how her usefulness as a Legionnaire is doubted. This shows that she believes in herself when others don't. As an interesting touch, she never once uses her ability to see the future in this story (well, maybe in the last panel she does). She relies only on her Legion training and her own intelligence. In hindsight, this story does an excellent job of setting up her eventual election as leader of the Legion.


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#933916 - 07/15/17 12:43 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
[b]H’hranth's talk reminds me of Foghorn Leghorn, lots of bluster.


He's Foghorn's equine cousin from "Noo Joi-zee." (The Leghorn family tree is a tangled one indeed.) wink

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
While I found the artwork a bit uneven, especially on the faces, there were some interesting touches, such as Mon-el’s viewing of the circuitry and the backgrounds.


I agree, that was a nice, imaginative touch on Broderick & Patterson's part.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
The Dream Girl story adds a lot to her character, revealing her insecurities as well as her determination. It also sets her up as a very bright mind and a skilled fighter, which Levitz will develop further in future issues.


Well said, Cramey. She was definitely the "surprise breakout star" of this Legion era.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
I get the feeling that Levitz was more interested in setting up Projectra's ascension to the throne of Orando, but he needed time to do this, so this story was meant to involve world building and little else.


Good point. That's often the biggest problem with writing a team book that's heavy on the slow-burn subplots.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
The art is uneven and rushed.


Reluctantly, I have to agree for the most part. That said, I think the fault lies mostly with Patterson's inks. The finesse that he showed in the previous issue comes and goes in jarring ways, often undermining the strengths at characterization which Broderick had shown in said previous issue. Ironically, given that I felt the climactic pages of 284 were the weakest artistically, I feel that the climactic pages of 285 (specifically, Pages 14-18; the last page is one of the washouts) are actually the best-drawn. Exhibit A: The last panel on Page 16 -- my girl Tasmia hasn't looked this pretty or this fierce since the better Jim Sherman issues. Exhibit B: The entirety of Page 15, with Thom, Gim, and Mon charging at the Khund ship as it fires on them, and Gim, with Mon's help, making like a guided missile (as an aside, the payoff to Gim's attack on the ship works better on the front cover, which I think is near-faultless -- if not for that cheesy "comical" word balloon, it would be perfection IMO.)

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
The backup story is much more successful in developing Nura's personality and her homeworld, Naltor. It's great that she's aware of how her usefulness as a Legionnaire is doubted. This shows that she believes in herself when others don't. As an interesting touch, she never once uses her ability to see the future in this story (well, maybe in the last panel she does). She relies only on her Legion training and her own intelligence. In hindsight, this story does an excellent job of setting up her eventual election as leader of the Legion.


It's a well-written story, a much better script in many ways than the lead story, but the artwork takes me out of it.

Yes, the time has come for me to make my first LSH Re-Reads comment on Keith Giffen. [sarcasm] And I'm sure all of Legion World's Giffen fans are just giddy with anticipation. [/sarcasm] wink

All kidding aside, I have been planning ahead for this moment, so that I can make my best effort to be constructive and fair and to stay focused on Giffen's pencil art and co-plotting of his first several LSH issues -- no more, no less.

So here are my three main beefs with Giffen's early LSH work, in particular when the assigned inker is not a good match (yes, I'm a heretic, I don't he and Larry Mahlstedt went well together -- and I do like a lot of Mahlstedt's work for Marvel in the 1990s, for other pencilers) :

1) THE FACES: It bewilders me that my favorite of Giffen's LSH successors, Greg La Rocque, takes so much guff from Giffen fans for his faces -- overall, the criticisms boil down to "inexpressive, samey, and ugly." Uh...as if Giffen's faces did not commit the same aesthetic sins, only worse? I'm willing to concede that La Rocque's faces were inconsistent (I'll elaborate on this once the Re-Reads reach the Baxter Era), but if Giffen's were consistent, they were consistently bad (IMHO.)

2) THE RHYTHMS: In a word, FLOW, or the lack thereof in the case of this pencil artist. To use a musical analogy, the rhythms of Giffen's compositions and layouts remind me of amateur musicians trying to play atonal jazz -- think of that horrible, creepy Bill Lava music from the dregs of the Looney Tunes cartoons (circa 1963) and I think you'll get the idea.

3) LACK OF DISTINCTION: I'll be blunt with this one -- most of the time, Giffen's LSH work looks to me like a bad imitation of John Byrne, who, at the time, was the hottest artist in superhero comics thanks to Uncanny X-Men and Fantastic Four. That's one of the things about Giffen in general that most confuses me -- for a guy with such a...um...colorful public persona, his artwork itself has always come up short on personality to me. LSH is no exception.

However...I shall approcach the remainder of my allotted Re-Read issues from this era (286-294, plus Annual 1) with an open mind and hope that I am pleasantly surprised. IIRC, 286-289 are inked by Patterson, so there's a glimmer of promise there.

#933935 - 07/15/17 08:59 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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I'm not disputing any of the flaws you found in Giffen's art, though I found them less distracting than you do. To me, Giffen's art almost always evoked a sense of fantasy, imagination, and even romance. 285 is not fully representative of this (Dream's Girl hair, for one thing, never looks right), but the elements are there. The splash page with Nura standing before the high seer looks like it comes out of a fantasy story, and the top panel of the next page, where they are looking at crystal ball-like viewscreens, further expands the sense of wonder of this place. The candles in the slanted tubes remind me of the Fortress of Solitude in the first Superman movie, with an equal feeling of this place being foreign and magical.

Some other images which stand out to me include the bottom of Page 4 (Nura gestures in a dramatic, dance-like pose as she causes part of the wreckage to spring up out of the floor), the top of Page 7 (Nura, in silhouette, flies across the top of the page; below that is an image of the gyrostabilizer, which looks like an old, wooden spinning wheel), and the three masked robbers, whose look is simple but tells us they do not belong here without making them look silly. (No horse-like aliens, at least!)

A year or so after this, I would discover Nexus, published by First Comics. The artist, Steve Rude, conveyed a similar feeling of a futuristic setting combined with the romantic flair of fantasy.


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#934009 - 07/16/17 03:04 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Fair enough, He Who. And good call mentioning Steve Rude. His style took some getting used to when I first encountered it around 1994-ish (I'd only seriously started collection superhero, sci-fi and fantasy comics around 1991), though despite their common ground in atmospheric decorations, in other ways Rude is the inverse of Giffen, all clean lines and smooth, straightforward storytelling, kind of anticipating Allred and Cooke. I found the early issues of Nexus (seen via Dark Horse trade collection) to be a bit TOO clean, as in, where are the details? But I came around when I saw Rude's later work, especially his painted covers (Rude has one of the richest perceptions of color I've ever seen), and when Rude was noted as an influence on my boy Steve Epting (whose style over the past 10 or 12 years has gotten more and more like Rude's.)

Come to think of it, either one of the Steves would be a great pick to draw a Legion story.

#934011 - 07/16/17 05:27 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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I would love to see a Steve Rude Legion.


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#934107 - 07/18/17 01:40 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LSLH #286 Old Friends, New Relative and Other Corpses! By Paul Levitz, art by Pat Broderick & Bruce Patterson, colours D’Angelo, letters Costanza

[Linked Image]

A group of Legionnaires enjoy some R&R on Brande’s World estate. Guest appearance by Superboy.
R.J. tries to connect with his son Reep, who rebuffs his new-found father’s affection.

Dr. Regulus arrives, seeking final revenge with the death of Dirk Morgna. He takes over Brande’s fusion dome, absorbs its energy and vows to destroy the Legionnaires. His power is now too much even for Superboy, but it doesn’t stop Phantom Girl, who heads to the core to prevent an explosion. Sun Boy confronts Regulus directly.

Cham has returned to Legion HQ, where some members are debating the Khunds’ new aggression. As leader of the Espionage Squad, he orders them to join him on a mission to Khundia. Although some question him, they go along.

Sun Boy and Regulus battle, until Regulus flees in his ship. R.J. and the Legionnaires realize that the fusion dome is now running wild and send Superboy, directed by R.J. via Saturn Girl, to stop it. The radiation overcomes him, but Sun Boy is there at the controls and gets the dome under control. Dawnstar finds Regulus and Colossal Boy grabs his ship with giant hands.

When Lightning Lad learns of Cham’s departure back to Earth, he is angry that Cham did not ask his permission to leave.

Back-up: A Crown for a Princess by Paul Levitz, art by Keith Giffen & Bruce Patterson, colours Gene D’Angelo, letters Adam Kubert

Jeckie and Val discuss her new status as Queen and he vows to stay by her side. They are interrupted by a challenge from her cousin Prince Pharoxx, who accuses her of regicide. According to tradition, he has a right to challenge Jeckie to trial by combat. She falls in the arena, since Pharoxx knows about her illusion power, and Val takes up the challenge in her place. He fights vailiantly, but falls; Pharoxx, as new king, imprisons Val and Projectra.

Comments:
This was a good issue. We saw the Legionnaires at play, bantering among themselves; R.J. and Reep’s story took a new turn, promising future developments; Sun Boy was not only heroic, but surprised even himself by being super-smart; Colossal Boy didn’t goof up when it came to capturing Regulus and the ill-fated mission to Khundia began. At this point, it’s not clear that it will be ill-fated but it’s off to a bad start with Cham acting on impulse.

R.J. Brande is further developed as a personality, with some speech peculiarities creeping in, and reminding us that money can’t buy you love.

Superboy’s appearance was unnecessary, but he didn’t hog the action, so maybe that was the point of it.

I’m not sure what Phantom Girl thought she could do – materialize long enough to fix something and sacrifice her life? How would she even know what to do?

I felt that Levitz was taking a jab at the Adventure era when he has Dawnstar comment on the unmissable golden ship.

Sun Boy claims an exploded fusion dome’s effect could reach Earth in less than five mintues. If Brande’s estate is near Mercury (as previously written) and light from the Sun reaches Earth in eight minutes, perhaps Brande has moved his planetoid closer to Venus.

For someone who doesn’t want to be leader, Lightning Lad is taking the job pretty seriously. His anger at Cham leaving Brande’s estate without permission seems to be an overreaction, although the surprise attack by Regulus showed that Legionnaires shouldn’t just wander around at will if they want to keep the galaxy safe.

The Projectra story was more of a set-up for future issue, but what a set-up! It played to sword and sorcery fans, but presented Jeckie as someone who wanted to introduce more modern ways to her home planet. Was she overconfident and thought her illusions could disable Pharoxx? She had reason to be, having defeated considerable foes with her power as a Legionnaire, but she failed quickly. The reader ends the story wondering if Val and Jeckie will battle their way out of prison, or if a Legion team will somehow come to the rescue.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#934162 - 07/18/17 03:51 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LoSH 286

The cover leaves us in no doubt that this is another mission of vengeance by Doctor Regulus against the Legion, and specifically Sun Boy. Not having read the Regulus tales in any order, they merge to some degree for me in terms of plot.

Our story starts off a bit more quietly than the cover, with a picnic game of volleyball. Gim uses his powers impulsively, cheating at the game, while claiming he just got carried away. It’s a similar reaction he was shown as having at Nullport. Acting first, without necessarily being aware of the consequences. Gim would later be called “Hands On Allon” and this is where a lot of that comes from.

Phantom Girl doesn’t let him off the hook. She takes a very principled stance on such things, even during games. She gets her own back with the aid of Dawnstar. They both agree about the principles of fair play, while Gim childishly laughs it off. It’s the returning Superboy who cools things down.

Broderick’s art has a distinctive look. Where it’s characters who live in the 30th century it’s mostly fine, but Superboy has looked a lot better elsewhere.

Levitz doesn’t escape unscathed here either. RJ Brande and son Reep are reintroduced. Reep’s scripted reaction to being reunited with his dad has the wrong emphasis for me. The pressures behind it are interesting though. RJ isn’t exactly introverted, and I can easily see his personality seeming like an intrusion on Reep. Not to mention all the many issues behind why he had no father growing up. RJ knows that he’s overcompensating, but can’t help himself, leading to further alienation.

This panel develops into a broader scene that results in Reep flying off under the pressure of the relationship and the impact it’s having on him.

Broderick has spent a lot of time on Regulus’ spaceship. It reflects its grimly vengeful pilot so much, it even comes with its own evil toothy grille at the front. It’s gold coloured of course, fitting in with the villain’s methods and background.

The plot, like so many involving Regulus, is far from subtle. He’s targeted the Legionnaires, on Brande’s private planetoid, because it contains a fusion dome. The dome is part of Brande’s research into star making, and it’s perfect for a villain who can absorb solar radiation. The only time he’s spent on the plan is to find a way to disrupt Brande’s security system. Like so many villains, he doesn’t think to consider to use that knowledge to have a normal, productive life. It’s all about vengeance here.

Regulus lands and begins to manipulate the fusion dome. It’s easy for the Legion to find the cause of the problem. They confront Regulus, only for him to blast them back. Perhaps that’s part of why Regulus is used in the same way so often. He has a huge amount of power that a lot of the other human antagonists simply don’t. There’s enough wiggle room in those abilities for him to be able to hold off Superboy. That’s another big plus for Legion writers, as an alternative to Kryptonite, magic or Forced Plotting.

Regulus subdues the Legionnaires, giving an extra dose of red solar radiation to Superboy. While he may have one trick motives, we’re going to get three possible solutions form Levitz to the story. Regulus’s powers can’t affect Tinya. She moves through the villain and into the fusion dome to shut it down. It might be the last thing she does, but the start of the story showed how seriously she takes the role of Legionnaire.

I’ve already mentioned that Broderick draws a very cool Regulus (and ship). This continues right through the issue, and extends to Sun Boy. Dirk’s powers have come a long, long way from emitting bright light. Here, he’s handling the power of stars. Visually, he has a corona of energy around him. He’s almost transformed into an energy form in a couple of panels. It’s an effect I would have put down to Giffen later on, but it really started here.

On the other hand, I do credit Broderick for giving Garth his worst ever haircut.

We get a look into Dirk’s skills in a one panel reminder. Back in his origin he was an assistant. We’re told here that he was a nuclear scientist, so he wasn’t just blundering around his dad’s lab when he interrupted Regulus’ experiment. Dirk also says that it’s been years since he was that assistant, showing that he’s not necessarily kept his skills in that area up to speed since he became a Legionnaire. This adds a bit of depth to him. He’s skilled in an area, but it’s not necessarily the thing that defines him. He’s also well known for his socialising and his pilot skills too, for example.

As Dirk faces up to Regulus, we return to Earth to continue the Reep & RJ subplot. I guess I don’t reread this issue much. I had forgotten that this was the scene that takes them to the Khund home world. So, Levitz does a fine job in ensuring that Reep has a reason for leaving Brande’s planetoid and in getting him off before the Regulus encounter. That keeps the leader and other members too busy to overrule him.

Unfortunately, this is where Reep takes his personal life into his job. As the head of the Espionage squad he orders those present to join him in scouting the Khundian home world. I found a few things particularly interesting due to my lack of rereading.

Firstly, was that the other Legionnaires were already starting to discuss the same idea when Reep arrived. Star Boy and Blok were considering it, as Ultra Boy and Brin assessed the threat. It was the lack of discussing a plan, rather than the reason for going that was the problem. But how often have we seen hero groups fly off and plan on the way, if at all, and get out unscathed?

Secondly, Brin has a strong reaction to being dragged on the mission. At this point his character seems to be capable of being involved more in the planning and decision making than perhaps he would be later on. Brin’s parting remark for Ayla to take care came with a fair bit of foreboding.

Thirdly was that Levitz makes it clear that the reason for going in the first place was due to the attack on Nullport in the previous issue. So, what seemed like a self-contained story was really an early chapter in a wider story. Like Brin’s parting remark, I wonder just how far ahead Levitz was already in the plotting. At the end of this scene, we see Val’s face on a monitor. This links the end of last issue to the back up story in this one. Under Levitz, the back ups are being used to either provide spotlights or that are offshoots form the main storyline.

Finally, I hadn’t realised that so many were in the room with Reep when he ordered the mission. He only takes Brin and Vi when he could have also had Jo, Thom, Ayla and the admittedly easier to spot Blok.

In the energy duel that is also a fixture of Regulus vs Dirk stories, Dirk wins out. But Regulus doesn’t have to stay around to see the planet explode. He escapes to absorb the radiation from orbit, as Dirk melts the dome’s containment wall (well, it’s all going to blow up anyway I suppose). There, he hopes to use what he can remember from his training to shut down this power sphere. This is the second possible solution.

Regulus melted at least one of the controls he was using to land the ship. I wonder how important it was to taking off again. It didn’t seem like he planned to be using it once the planet exploded after all.

The third possible solution comes as part of a Legion power crossover. A recovering Superboy follows Dirk into the reactor. Although he’s super smart, and has created all sorts of things in the past, he’s getting direct information from RJ Brande, courtesy of Saturn Girl’s telepathy. Imra already knew what the plan was going to be by mind reading her colleagues. I’m beginning to wonder if there was ever a time she was reluctant to do this sort of thing.

As the rest of the team goes after Regulus, we have three Legionnaires ready to sacrifice themselves to save the planetoid. The otherwise uninhabited planetoid. So option four could have been to abandon the place, get Dirk to beat Regulus in orbit and fly him far away. Mind you, there was the hint earlier that the planetoid would be as powerful as a nova. Perhaps it would incinerate Earth. So, we have three Legionnaires ready to sacrifice themselves to save the planetoid after all. smile

Dirk and Kal look to be able to get to the controls ahead of Tinya who went in first. There’s a suggestion she’s a bit lost in there, without the knowledge of how it all operates. Kal tells her to evacuate, leaving us with two in the building. But it’s Kal who succumbs to the solar radiation, falling unconscious before he can even instruct Sun Boy. Imra tries to contact Dirk directly. Solution five was her contacting him pages earlier to see how he was getting on. Perhaps that extends to the lack of confidence they have in Dirk compared to Superboy. But Dirk has already worked it out, directly handling the reactor’s control rods, and shutting down the process. Dirk reinforcing his identity on the team is done more subtly than most stories, as it’s only a small part of this plot. After a run of prominent Wildfire appearances, perhaps Dirk will begin to become more centre stage.

Regulus spends at least a few panels in his appearances waiting for things to give him power. It must be a constant disappointment to see those power sources fade away. In a little error, Lightning Lad responds directly to Regulus’ thoughts, even though the villain has no telepathic ear plug to communicate to them with.

We’re reminded of Dawny’s tracking abilities as they find Regulus, even if they are diminished by Lightning Lad’s comments that Regulus wasn’t hiding. Both Dawny and Garth act as decoys so that Colossal Boy can sneak up behind the villain and squash him into unconsciousness. It’s good to see Gim successful in combat. There’s the danger of writers making him a big target, but he uses his powers well here.

Like the multiple solutions to the problem, this is a nice bit of writing as it provides one bookend to the story that started with Gim using his powers all the way back in the volleyball game.

At the story’s end Garth finds out that Cham has returned to Earth. I hadn’t read enough of the Adventure issues before I had read this one. So, I didn’t fully appreciate the overriding Duty to Administration that some interpretations of the Legion have had. To me, Garth was just being a jerk.

The back up story picks up from the death of Jeckie’s father on Orando at the end of the last issue. It’s a lovely opening page that sets out the distinctive architecture and medieval fantasy trappings of that world. It’s an approach that will help strongly define the Legion’s universe. Levitz’s use of Encyclopaedia Galactica in other stories is another example of this. Giffen clearly had a lot of fun with the panel compositions in this back up and there are some excellent results, combining foreground intricacy with storytelling clarity.

With her father gone, Jeckie will now be Queen and she feels alone. She’s pretty much testing the strength of their relationship, and Val has no qualms about staying with her forever. Although, in true comic tradition, her question about him leaving the Legion is left hanging as she is violently interrupted. Her uncle Pharoxx accuses Jeckie of being behind the death of her own father.

It’s trial by combat on Ornado. It seems unfair that it’s just Uncle Pharoxx and his lizard mount (just one of those lovely Giffen details), against two seasoned Legionnaires. Certainly Jeckie and Val seem confident enough. But Pharoxx is immune to Jeckie’s illusions, as the world is steeped in traditions and magic.

And while Val may have been able to best Pharoxx in martial prowess, we never find out as Val has no defence against a magic blast. Pharoxx is a very capable threat here, and his call to dispatch the two “traitors” he has bested carries real menace.

Summary

Like the Organus and the Nullport stories, there’s more going on behind the main tale. Here, the one trick Regulus is used to showcase Dirk and to provide a jumping off point for Cham’s relationship with his father and his trip to Khundia. There’s noticeable characterisation of Gim, Tinya and Kal while Lightning Lad’s leadership issues continue to simmer away each issue.

Elsewhere, Thom is involved in more than just back up duty and Brin seems to have moved a fair distance from his broody, loner self already. Vi does seem to be very aware of her own personality traits. Blok doesn’t add a great deal. But if his history with the assassins is considered, his agreement to a mission to warlike Khundia takes on a darker tone.

The Orando subplot has been built up very nicely over the three Levitz issues we’ve had. You can see the structure of the Levitz paradigm beneath it, as some of the multiple plotlines are progressed to their next stages.


"...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."
#934261 - 07/19/17 08:07 PM 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
286:

The Hill Street Bluesization of the Legion continues in some odd ways. The main story, for me at least, is merely average, but the subplots keep things moving in new and uncharted territory. On HSB, the bad guys were never that interesting--pickpockets, gang-bangers, run of the mill street criminals, but it was the officers' and detectives' efforts to catch them and deal with an inept and corrupt system that fueled the drama. Here we have Dr. Regulus, a run-of-the-mill bad guy with a run-of-the-mill motivation (revenge for losing his job? Get over it, Zax baby. With your skills and power, what the heck to do you need a job for?). The conflict could be used to bring out some new facets of Dirk's personality, but that doesn't really happen. Dirk is heroic (what else?) and even figures out how to shut down the reactor on his own--but we would expect nothing less of a Legionnaire. The lengthy recaps of his origin likewise tell us nothing new about Dirk or his relationship with Regulus. Levitz is absolutely correct, I think, when he says he never had a handle on villains; alas, his grasp of heroes also needs work.

The scenes which rock, however, are those with the Legionnaires just being friends and colleagues. The volleyball game is a winner in bringing out both Gim's and Tinya's personalities. Then Superboy shows up to ruin things by having nothing to contribute to the story. I guess he was included just to remind us that he was a Legionnaire once more. Most of the other Legionnaires on Brande's world are just there to fill up the numbers.

The main exception is Chameleon Boy, who leaves Brande's world without Garth's permission and returns to earth to lead his teammates on an impulsive mission to Khundia. At the time, Reep's actions didn't make sense to me, but now they kind of do. Reep's whole world has been upended by learning that R.J. is his father, so he's out to prove something--what isn't clear to the reader or even, I suspect, to him. Maybe he just wants to get his mind off of thoughts and feelings he'd rather not deal with. Whatever the cause, he isn't thinking clearly. If even Timber Wolf calls your mission "dumb," there must be something to it.

The backup story, once again, is much better. It's shorter and more focused yet has room to develop its plot and characters well. Jeckie is now queen of Orando--at least momentarily--a huge blow to the stasis most Legionnaires have been in for years in terms of their personal development. The Legion, like most super-heroes of their day, seemed to be stuck in a realm where no one really changes--except for the odd costume switch, the odd marriage, and the occasional death. But other real life events were not allowed to creep into these four-color fantasies. Jeckie's ascension is all too real and, for its time, groundbreaking.

The ascension is not without complications; Pharoxx proves to be a worthy adversary. He accuses Jeckie of murdering her own father, proving that "alternate facts" are alive and well even on 30th century medieval planets. He takes advantage of Jeckie's overconfidence and, when he can't best Val, he cheats. Things don't look good for our lost Legion lovers...but hope lies in the message Val left at HQ in the issue's first tale.

When this issue came out, I probably loved it because it featured Dirk, one of my favorite Legionnaires. At the time, the reader had to wait months for a particular character to be featured, and Dirk seemed to have disappeared for much of the Conway and Thomas runs. In hindsight, the story has a lot of promise but Levitz's interest seemed to lie more with his subplots.



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#934263 - 07/19/17 08:23 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer


For someone who doesn’t want to be leader, Lightning Lad is taking the job pretty seriously. His anger at Cham leaving Brande’s estate without permission seems to be an overreaction, although the surprise attack by Regulus showed that Legionnaires shouldn’t just wander around at will if they want to keep the galaxy safe.


Garth's reaction reminded me of Mon-El's similar reaction when Invisible Kid went derelict on duty back in # 203. In both instances, I think, the leader's reaction was warranted. IK went missing during a training exercise, and Reep left when his teammates were just having fun. But a leader must always know where his troops are in case an emergency arises.

Quote
The Projectra story was more of a set-up for future issue, but what a set-up! It played to sword and sorcery fans...


Good point. Like the Dream Girl story last issue, Levitz and Giffen are beginning to envision a 30th century that is far more complex than any we've seen before. Orando isn't just a planet that looks medieval; it feels medieval with its traditions and use of magic in the form of illusion-casting.

Last edited by He Who Wanders; 07/19/17 08:23 PM.

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#934270 - 07/20/17 06:27 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Ann Hebistand Offline
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LEGION OF SUPERHEROES 286

I must admit that, thanks to the keen observations of the Re-Reads regulars, I am developing a greater an appreciation for just how innovative Levitz's prime-time TV inspired approach to writing the Legion was at the time. Just a couple caveats -- one, Levitz would probably be the first to admit that his approach also had its roots in the better books coming out of Marvel between the mid-1960s and the late-1970s, books such as the Avengers, which Levitz has readily admitted was among his favorites during his fan days; and, two, while Levitz was reinventing the wheel as far as the DCU went, I don't think he "hit the ground running," so to speak, and that the first few years of Levitz-LSH Mark-2 are something of an awkward transitional phase towards what I consider the creme de la creme of Mark-2, the 2nd and 3rd years of the Baxter Legion.

So what we end up with here, in this issue's lead story, is another rather pedestrian "A-Plot" undermining the stronger "B-and-C-Plots" which Levitz has simmering on the back burners. That said, I like "Old Friend, New Relatives..." quite a bit better than the lead story of 285 or the book-length 284 story. As the others have already noted in their reviews, the characterizations really start to jell here, and there's much more of a sense of scope and substance to Levitz's efforts at an expansive portrayal of the universe in which the Legion lives, loves, and fights.

Pat Broderick & Bruce Patterson are, as in the better moments of 284, both seemingly giving it their all, which is a great relief to me after the erratic quality of their work in 285 (particularly Patterson's inks.) Standout sequences for me would have to include Page 5, with the expressiveness that the art team brings to Brande's failed attempt at bonding with his son, Reep; Pages 12 & 13, a very well-executed one-on-one battle between Dirk and Regulus which segues into Dirk's breaching the out-of-control dome with fierce determination to save the day; and Pages 17 & 18, with multiple Legionnaires taking down Regulus amidst typically impressive Broderick-style star-scapes, and the bittersweet aftermath back on the surface of Brande's world -- damn, does John Fogerty Garth Ranzz look angry in that last panel after he learns of Reep's rash actions!

The back-up story leaves me less enthused, and not just because Giffen pencils it -- but even though Patterson provides what I consider a much smoother finish than Mahlstedt, showing a much better talent for faces, and also at conveying the illusions of solidity and plausible shadows, Giffen's layouts continue to underwhelm me, for the same reasons as before: 1) Lack of originality, in this case a superficial resemblance to some of the better early-mid 70s Marvel artists such as Paul Gulacy and Tom Sutton before THEY transcended THEIR influences; 2) Lack of fluidity in the compositions, with a lack of flow both within the panels and the segues from one panel to the next. It's not that I think it's all that bad, it's that I don't think it deserves to be held up as the gold standard of 1980s Legion art.

Then there's Levitz's script, which I feel tries in vain to hide how ineffectually Projectra and Val come off behind all the ornamental details; neither character has ever been a favorite of mine, and this story doesn't change my mind -- Projectra's illusion fails to take down Pharoxx, so what does Jeckie do? She tries ANOTHER illusion, which doesn't work either. And Val becomes a boastful boob at the worst possible time, giving Pharoxx a clear opening to defeat him (THIS is the supposed greatest non-powered warrior of the late 30th Century?) Pharoxx doesn't really impress me, either, he kind of reminds me of a generic Silver Age Gardner Fox villain, who can pull a new power out of his butt every time the plot requires him to.

Baby steps for the LSH book, then, but hopefully it'll learn to walk sooner rather than later.

#934532 - 07/24/17 11:30 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Fat Cramer Offline
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Originally Posted by thoth lad

The cover leaves us in no doubt that this is another mission of vengeance by Doctor Regulus against the Legion, and specifically Sun Boy. Not having read the Regulus tales in any order, they merge to some degree for me in terms of plot.


They certainly are repetitive!

Quote
Levitz doesn’t escape unscathed here either. RJ Brande and son Reep are reintroduced. Reep’s scripted reaction to being reunited with his dad has the wrong emphasis for me. The pressures behind it are interesting though. RJ isn’t exactly introverted, and I can easily see his personality seeming like an intrusion on Reep. Not to mention all the many issues behind why he had no father growing up. RJ knows that he’s overcompensating, but can’t help himself, leading to further alienation.


It also struck me as a radical change from his initial reaction. The comment Reep made about getting used to luxury also seemed odd, although he did show a taste for upscale women in previous stories.

Quote
Thirdly was that Levitz makes it clear that the reason for going in the first place was due to the attack on Nullport in the previous issue. So, what seemed like a self-contained story was really an early chapter in a wider story. Like Brin’s parting remark, I wonder just how far ahead Levitz was already in the plotting. At the end of this scene, we see Val’s face on a monitor. This links the end of last issue to the back up story in this one. Under Levitz, the back ups are being used to either provide spotlights or that are offshoots form the main storyline.

Finally, I hadn’t realised that so many were in the room with Reep when he ordered the mission. He only takes Brin and Vi when he could have also had Jo, Thom, Ayla and the admittedly easier to spot Blok.


That's one of the revelations of this reread for me - how far in advance these various plots begin. Brin & Vi are certainly the most stealthy of that group, although you'd think Jo would have brought some welcome physical clout.

Quote
It’s trial by combat on Ornado. It seems unfair that it’s just Uncle Pharoxx and his lizard mount (just one of those lovely Giffen details), against two seasoned Legionnaires.


Good spot on that detail. If he were a good guy, he might have ridden a unicorn.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
The Hill Street Bluesization of the Legion continues in some odd ways. The main story, for me at least, is merely average, but the subplots keep things moving in new and uncharted territory. On HSB, the bad guys were never that interesting--pickpockets, gang-bangers, run of the mill street criminals, but it was the officers' and detectives' efforts to catch them and deal with an inept and corrupt system that fueled the drama.


I really like this comparison to HSB. Whoever's on monitor duty should say, "Be careful out there".

Quote
When this issue came out, I probably loved it because it featured Dirk, one of my favorite Legionnaires. At the time, the reader had to wait months for a particular character to be featured, and Dirk seemed to have disappeared for much of the Conway and Thomas runs. In hindsight, the story has a lot of promise but Levitz's interest seemed to lie more with his subplots.


It is enjoyable to see Dirk back in the action (and, as thoth wrote, have Wildfire recede). Perhaps Regulus could have been taken out of the story altogether: just an unknown agent who set off the fusion dome, turning this into a shorter, tighter tale and turning the tracking down of the villain into another subplot.

Originally Posted by Ann Hebistand
Then there's Levitz's script, which I feel tries in vain to hide how ineffectually Projectra and Val come off behind all the ornamental details; neither character has ever been a favorite of mine, and this story doesn't change my mind -- Projectra's illusion fails to take down Pharoxx, so what does Jeckie do? She tries ANOTHER illusion, which doesn't work either. And Val becomes a boastful boob at the worst possible time, giving Pharoxx a clear opening to defeat him (THIS is the supposed greatest non-powered warrior of the late 30th Century?) Pharoxx doesn't really impress me, either, he kind of reminds me of a generic Silver Age Gardner Fox villain, who can pull a new power out of his butt every time the plot requires him to.


Was Val disoriented by events or has pride gone before a fall? A guy who takes on Superboy and the Fatal Five by himself should have been more of a match for Pharoxx. Projectra's poor performance is pretty inexcusable, but then we wouldn't have much of a story if they just toddled off, got married and ruled Orando.

BTW, enjoyed your insights into the art, Annfie, but no comments since that's out of my league!


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#934549 - 07/24/17 07:33 PM 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
Annfie is our resident art critic!

I like to think that Val and Jeckie were both just a tad overconfident--and Val didn't know what to expect since he had never encountered Pharoxx before and had no idea that the dude knew both martial arts and magic. But the episode certainly doesn't reflect well on either Legionnaire.


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#934550 - 07/24/17 08:42 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by Fat Cramer


Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
The Hill Street Bluesization of the Legion continues in some odd ways. The main story, for me at least, is merely average, but the subplots keep things moving in new and uncharted territory. On HSB, the bad guys were never that interesting--pickpockets, gang-bangers, run of the mill street criminals, but it was the officers' and detectives' efforts to catch them and deal with an inept and corrupt system that fueled the drama.


I really like this comparison to HSB. Whoever's on monitor duty should say, "Be careful out there".


I keep waiting for Brin to call someone "hairbag"!


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#934561 - 07/25/17 09:01 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LSH #287 Save the Espionage Suicide Squad by Paul Levitz, art by Keith Giffen & Bruce Patterson, colors D’Angelo, letters Costanza

[Linked Image]

Garth appears at Legion HQ, furiously demanding to see Cham.

Cham and his team approach Khundia; Brin and Vi are reluctant. Cham Turns himself into a layer of rock around a hollow asteroid and the three use their flight rings to land it on Khundia.

Garth then learns that Mon-el and Ultra Boy have been sent to Orando to rescue Jeckie and Val, then learns from Gim that the U.P. wants nothing to disrupt peace negotiations with the Khunds. In anger, Garth resigns and leaves Element Lad as leader.

On Khundia, the three Legionnaires disguise themselves as Khunds. Brin accidently bumps into a warrior, who demands he recite “the honorable litany of shame and apology”. When Brin fails to do so, he is challenged.

Ayla appeals to Imra to help rescue Brin from the Khundia debacle; the two share a rare emotional moment.

Kharlak the Khund transports the Legionnaires to a Challenge Court and a fight ensues, with many Khundians watching and wagering. They defeat Kharlak and flee as a battle cruiser appears, followed by a Legion team which rescues them and escapes in a ship “borrowed” from President Allon.

Saturn Girl comforts Brin, who is confused as to why she is there. Cham slinks off. Gim, piloting the ship, prepares to leave warp speed just as the ship’s navigation is damaged by collision with space debris.


Back-up: Prologue to Darkness by Paul Levitz, art by Pat Broderick & Larry Mahlstedt, colors D’Angelo, letters Kubert.

Mon-el and Shady interrupt their vacation when asked to investigate a wrecked planet. Shady gripes, Mon-el is dutiful. They are attacked by blasting crawl-tanks, which are even too much for Lar to handle. The tanks pull back when they hit Shady’s shadow field.

On the other side of this world, unknown to the two Legionnaires, a non-human being slowly awakens from many years of sleep. Shady and Mon leave, having received a distress signal from Val and Jeckie, and decide to have the planet marked off-limits. Mon is puzzled why darkness stopped the tanks. The awakened being laughs and declares they should worship the darkness until it comes for them.


Comments: Lots to like in this issue. There’s some great and welcome world-building of Khundia from writer and artist. Garth’s explosive reaction and resignation as leader surprised even his telepathic wife. Cham’s team has escaped, but one senses that this is far from the end of that story. The rescue ship looks like it’s about to be in serious trouble. The second story promises very dark and dangerous events ahead, beyond the immediate dangers facing Val and Jeckie on Orando.

We see a lot of emotion from Imra, which is rare, but she’s been hit with a lot of events in a few minutes. Is she letting her guard down because she’s speaking to her sister-in-law rather than another Legionnaire?

She’s maybe the only one among available Legionnaires who could pull off the rescue mission. Brin is surprised it’s her and, one assumes, not Ayla who has come to help. But Imra has the experience, the authority as a founder/former leader and the sheer force of will to get away with it; who’s going to argue with her? It’s a mess, and she deals with it. Interesting tidbit that Gim borrowed a ship from his mother’s private shipyard – is that private as in private presidential, or private Allon family? Nevertheless, it indicates that this is a sub rosa rescue mission in a volatile political situation.

Cham as a rock layer and the hollow asteroid is another of these far-fetched bits that doesn’t bear much thinking about. The actual battle with Kharlak is thankfully (for me) short-lived, but provides a good occasion to display Brin’s considerable athletic talents.

I liked the depiction of Khundia and the fact that there were women who weren’t dressed like “I Dream of Jeannie”.

The second story was good for setting up the major dramas ahead, on Orando and with Darkseid. I wouldn’t have thought it was Darkseid at the end, just figured it was some new villain. The artwork on Shadow Lass seemed a bit off to me, as did her whining about their interrupted vacation.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#934576 - 07/25/17 11:35 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Thanks a lot for spoiling the villain at the end FC! wink

#934604 - 07/25/17 05:28 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
LoSH 287

This is a cover that’s never captured me. A mediocre looking villain bests three Legionnaires, while the display tells us that they didn’t stand much of a chance. Looking at it now, the leering crowd is probably its best feature. Design wise, it’s by the book. Split it into three horizontally and you have the logo plus the “vs Kharlak” while the middle has the action and the bottom has the crowd. All nicely separated. Split it vertically and Kharlak takes the centre, with space on either side to focus our attention on that action. Actually, that Legion logo could be part of the betting display so it gets some points for that. - From " A cover in Nine Panels " by K Giffen.

Inside, we pick up from last issue’s development that Cham is going off to Khundia while Garth is less than pleased about it. He’s so unhappy that he and the grumpy alien that lives on his head and passes for a haircut come crackling into a room filled with electronics.

I’ve always been struck (ow!) by Ayla’s reaction to Garth’s tantrum. She’s hesitant around him in that mood. Are there things about Garth’s childhood we don’t know about? Is Mekt the only volatile one? Considering Garth’s Livewire retcons later on, it would seem not. Even though Ayla may not have seen Garth this wild, I wonder if there’s more behind this one.

Garth shows that he’s not all about anger. He can sulk like a champ too. When Cos calms him down regarding leadership crises, Garth pretty much moans that no one has problems like he’s having.

It doesn’t help that the lights then go out. Garth is about to lose it completely before they all realise it’s a Giffen mood panel.

Leaving Garth to question his team mates’ courage, we nip off to somewhere near Khundia. Unfortunately, the macho posturing disease that has afflicted Garth has spread here. We don’t get more than a couple of panels and it’s all about Cham’s authority, as he and Brin square up. Vi seems to place her duty to do a job under Cham’s authority, over the sense of it.

Disguising Legion teams as asteroids would be used by Levitz later on in v7 to reach the Dominators. It’s a come down for the snazzy Space parachutes they got to use to infiltrate Talok back in the Mission: Impossible Adventure days. A trio of Legionnaires against the Khunds seems very few this issue, and I remember all those they could have brought with them.

Back on Earth, someone tells Garth the bad news. His hair was never in fashion. Worse, his plan to use Mon El and Ultra Boy to rescue the others isn’t possible as Element Lad, as Deputy Leader, has sent them off to Orando. Gim then tells him that his mom, President Allon, has ruled out Legion missions against the Khunds as there are ongoing negotiations with them.

It a lovely catalogue of mounting problems, all taken from the subplots around the team. It’s in these moments a leader would find a solution. Say, sending Dawny and Wildfire off to help, using warp technology seen in the Adventure days or perhaps contact the White Witch. But Garth just quits.

Giffen has been showing us transformations when the Legionnaires use their powers, and not just as expected for Cham. Dirk became surrounded by fire when facing Regulus; Vi has a mist like quality when she shifts her size while Garth emits crackling, angry electricity. It consumes him much as the pressures of leadership have, and he storms (pun!) off.

Back on Khundia, our scouting party has landed, We get more lovely visuals from Giffen that immediately identify the world to accompany the encyclopaedia entry. It’s a grim place. Years later, when Brin went off to Lithyl, he must have been reminded of Khundia. Here, we get reminded that he has super speed, Cham gives a recap on how his powers work (this will have a pay off much later on) and we see the Legion’s distorter technology. Vi has another moment to shut down the mission, as Cham clearly isn’t emotionally stable enough to be leading it. But in they go. Cham changes into a very alien creature to reflect his mood, but Brin is not impressed in a nice touch. I remember Vi saying she was actually creeped out by Cham’s powers and wonder what she thought of that one.

Emotions are also heightened back on Earth. We see Ayla very emotionally dependant on Brin, trying to persuade Imra to do something. Imra sees that Ayla’s love for Brin is greater than anything she has for herself. Feeling isolated and cold, she agrees to help. It’s a strong, crisply dialogued scene. Like a lot of others, it will have far reaching consequences. Ayla will be forced to confront her dependency as Imra will once again stand out as one of the team’s strongest members. It should be remembered that Imra had a similar bonding experience with Tinya when they thought Jo had died.

Three disguised as Khundians go into the capital. It doesn’t go well. In the aggressive, packed environment a single bump leads to a challenge and transport to the combat arenas. In the arena, Cham ask the others not to use their powers. Why Brin can’t use them and maintain his disguise is a mystery. Gharlak may be a champion of the courts, but he’s outmatched by Brin in what’s proving to be a very good spotlight mission for him. Much like the organleggers a couple of issues ago, Levitz doesn’t shy away of showing the Legion as very capable, if they clearly outmatch their opponent. It probably makes the losses, such as to Pharoxx, have more impact. It does mean that it's another main story where the villains play their part among the other subplots, rather than hog the limelight. Perhaps that will change soon.

With no escape plan, and a Khundian warship approaching, Brin expected more from the team leader. Fortunately, they are rescued by Gim and Imra. The pair have taken a ship from Gim’s mom (does this come from the presidency?) and manage to pick up their teammates.

Unfortunately, their ship is damaged during the escape and our cliff hanger panel shows them crash into an asteroid. As Cham had slinked away form his failure a few panels before, it’s unlikely he’ll hollow out this one for a return visit to Khundia.

I have a few mixed feelings about this story. Garth’s personality in this arc is what I remember most about him. Most of the worst parts of that are evident here. In fairness, his authority has been questioned and undermined for a long time, resulting in at least one blow out. Perhaps that has weakened his resolve when he feels that things have gone against him here. But previously, before Levitz, there was every chance Garth was getting through his leader’s angst. Here, it’s back with added Space Melodrama. He lashes out against his teammates, he sulks, he moans and he offers absolutely nothing as an alternative. Just as Wildfire, absent here, was doing a few issues ago.

I’m willing to go along with Ayla feeling that her world would end without Brin. Someone should have had a word with her ages ago. But lots have people have been there. If anything, Levitz’s arrival has seen Brin act more as a team player than ever, providing a lot of hope for them as a couple.

I’ll go along with Imra’s realisation that she doesn’t have anything as powerful as Ayla’s feelings. We’re all different, so it’s not something that you necessarily have to beat yourself up about. However, Imra has been emotionally isolated from her teammates for a very long time. Just remember the comments they made about her during the Reflecto arc. Her wish to change things, and to rescue Brin is a strong moment for her. I wonder if this is overcompensation, and that it’s this that becomes an issue in the stories to come.

What bothers me is Brin’s reaction of “Why you?” when Imra arrives. It’s very forced and will lead onto further scenes I feel are similarly pushed at the reader. Look at all the other cavalry saves in previous issues. No one said “Why you?” in any of those.

While Cham’s reasons to go to Khundia were genuine enough, it bothered me why he’d leave so many others behind. Even on a scouting mission, the Legion would be stronger in numbers. Similarly, why would Ayla not be part of the rescue team? She’s pleading Imra to organise it, yet isn’t there. Very odd and, as we’ll see, very forced in order for the next part of the story to work.

I’m not convinced concerning Cham’s mission either. I can see him going off ill prepared. But it all becomes far too vague as the characters are put through the plot hoops leading to their rescue. What exactly are they there to do? What are their goals?

But for all the over egging, having the side missions eat away at the Legion’s resources was more subtly done. It will presumably lead into the subplots too.

Last issue Giffen had a lot of intricate foreground work within sparse backgrounds. This time round nearly every panel has a lot going on behind the characters. From the technology of Khundia through the circuitry of Legion HQ to space warping rescues. Yet, he does change for certain panels such as Ayla and Imra’s moment. Losing all the light for Garth’s gloomy panel was funny, and is a precursor to all those unlikely later Giffen shadows. The panel breakdowns across each page are very varied, while the action sequences are excellent. There’s a fluidity to the movement of Cham, Brin and Vi. Tapping into Sherman’s work, Gim seems always to be using his powers. It’s visually impressive if a little odd when he even has an oversized pilot’s chair.

One thing I’m looking forward to are the political ramifications of Cham’s actions. Gim has used him mom’s ship to rescue Legionnaires who have clearly been seen by all of Khundia’s capital. All this while the UP is negotiating with the Khunds. It’s not going to look good. It shows the Legion operating in a more highly defined universe, reminiscent of some of the more in depth older stories.


"...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."
#934675 - 07/26/17 03:28 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Ann Hebistand Offline
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Ann Hebistand  Offline
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
BTW, enjoyed your insights into the art, Annfie, but no comments since that's out of my league!


Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Annfie is our resident art critic!


Thank you both so much. That makes all the thought and effort that goes into those posts worth it.

And I'm happy to say that I'm mostly pleased from start to finish with the art in the issue currently under discussion, LSH 287.

Giffen gets his first shot at the LSH lead story, and I think he -- with no little help from Bruce Patterson -- performs above and beyond the remit. Because although it's still very much in the mold of the most popular styles of the early 80s (this particular case reminds me not so much of John Byrne as of George Perez circa his brief JLA run, particularly when Perez was inked by John Beatty), it's perfectly efficient and effective, same as Paul Levitz's meat-and-potatoes old-school space-opera script. The latter is a good reminder that Levitz, IMHO at least, tended to be a better LSH writer when he didn't overreach himself with the metaphysical and deconstructive aspects of the Legion mythos, and just stuck to the gutsy Galactic Grand-Guignol thrills.

Broderick, in what will be, IIRC, his last Legion contribution until Levitz's writing was in quality free-fall during the middle installments of Conspiracy, does the back-up here, and, as Cramey noted above, it's not his best work. I am tempted to put the lion's share of the blame on Larry Mahltstedt -- whose Legion work, as I said before, is less to my liking than his 90s work on Marvel books such as New Warriors and Spider-Man -- but I also get the feeling that Broderick may have been champing at the bit to get cooking on Firestorm's upcoming solo book, whose first issue gets an ad in this very LSH issue, and so he simply did not put his most focused effort into the LSH backup. (A digression: it's easy to forget just how popular Firestorm was at that time, thanks largely to his appearances in the Perez/Conway JLA -- within only 2 years of his solo book's premiere, he'd make the leap onto the Super Friends animated TV show, a much more rare honor back in those days for a relatively new character!)

Having said all that, even below-average Broderick is still more to my satisfaction than 90 percent of above-average work from other artists. It's erratic, yes, but it definitely has its moments of power and splendor, same as his work on the lead story of 285. My one real bone to pick with the art on the backup (and, by implication, the script as well) is that it doesn't make it clear HOW the Mystery Villain is awakened and set free. As a Tasmia lover and a Mon-El detractor, I'd like to think it was Mon's fault, and that while he was carelessly wrecking everything, he also accidentally shorted out the devices that kept the villain imprisoned. The thought that Tasmia would have accidentally released both Mordru (Adventure #369-370) AND this very ominous Mystery Villain is anathema to me. OTOH, if that IS the case, then it certainly supports my theory that Umbra is a superior iteration of Tasmia to both her Preboot and Threeboot counterparts.

In short, 287 is just plain good comics, and I only hope the remainder of my allotted Pre-Baxter issues not only surprise me equally, but maybe even convince me to not take a hiatus between LSH #294 and Baxter #1.

#934701 - 07/27/17 04:24 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Chemical King Offline
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Bamberg, Germany
I really love those Pre-great Darkness stories. They do have the right mixture that I consider make the Legion so great: There are a lot of tiny tidbits from different characters, nearly everybody plays at least a minor role or has a minor story. There is a larger story with Chams expedition to Khundia, but there is still time for smaller character pieces and shorter stories like Medicus One. And the artwork is terrific!

These stories are kind of special for me for another reason: They are the first ones that were no longer translated into German (they somehow stopped with Reflecto, doing just two further specials publishing the Annual #1 and #300). So they kind of are the stories that are a direct sequel to my childhood Legion days, and it took me over ten years to finally be able to read them in the English original.

In the Annual, there are references to Chams Khundia adventure and Imras intimate moment with Timber Wolf - it was very interesting to actually see that so many years later. I am glad that these stories are included in the Great Darkness Hardcover version smile

#934728 - 07/27/17 01:08 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Harbinger Offline
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here, more often than not
This issue gives the basis for every Khund character in my fan-fics - the gossip, the gambling, the disdain for others, the strict hierarchy and paranoia - it all comes from here.

Sorry I don't have the time right now to join in the discussions properly but I will o in a couple of weeks when I have more time.


Legion Worlds Four - awesome ongoing adventures set in the Retro-Boot, only in the Bits o' Legionnaire Business Forum.
#934741 - 07/27/17 02:53 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Chemical King]  
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thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Originally Posted by Harbinger
This issue gives the basis for every Khund character in my fan-fics - the gossip, the gambling, the disdain for others, the strict hierarchy and paranoia - it all comes from here.


There's so much more to work with seeing a society so tense in such packed, volatile conditions. Much better than the standard Khunds....in..Spaaaace! invading warlords we'd seen before.

Originally Posted by Harbinger
Sorry I don't have the time right now to join in the discussions properly but I will o in a couple of weeks when I have more time.


Looking forward to it.

Originally Posted by Chemical King
I really love those Pre-great Darkness stories. They do have the right mixture that I consider make the Legion so great: There are a lot of tiny tidbits from different characters, nearly everybody plays at least a minor role or has a minor story. There is a larger story with Chams expedition to Khundia, but there is still time for smaller character pieces and shorter stories like Medicus One. And the artwork is terrific!


There's something refreshing with a cast reshuffle under a new writer. Levitz does seem to give everyone something to do, which is always welcome. I'm sure from lettercols that giving panel time to everyone was something he considered. Like you said Chemical King, it's just that right mixture during this period.

Originally Posted by Chemical King
These stories are kind of special for me for another reason: They are the first ones that were no longer translated into German (they somehow stopped with Reflecto, doing just two further specials publishing the Annual #1 and #300).


They probably thought it couldn't get any better after Reflecto smile "Great Darkness Saga? Feh! It is nothing compared to the creepy identity crisis of Kal-Jo!"


Originally Posted by Chemical King
So they kind of are the stories that are a direct sequel to my childhood Legion days, and it took me over ten years to finally be able to read them in the English original. In the Annual, there are references to Chams Khundia adventure and Imras intimate moment with Timber Wolf - it was very interesting to actually see that so many years later. I am glad that these stories are included in the Great Darkness Hardcover version smile


Thanks for sharing that. That's something in the favour of continuity. That references in future issues make getting the earlier stories all the more enticing.


"...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."
#934914 - 07/29/17 04:02 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Harbinger]  
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Fat Cramer Offline
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Café Cramer
Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
Thanks a lot for spoiling the villain at the end FC! wink


Tsk! Since I'm on the spoiler roll, the baby is Izaya. smile And Brin & Imra get all huggy next issue!

Originally Posted by thoth lad

This is a cover that’s never captured me. A mediocre looking villain bests three Legionnaires, while the display tells us that they didn’t stand much of a chance. Looking at it now, the leering crowd is probably its best feature. Design wise, it’s by the book. Split it into three horizontally and you have the logo plus the “vs Kharlak” while the middle has the action and the bottom has the crowd. All nicely separated. Split it vertically and Kharlak takes the centre, with space on either side to focus our attention on that action. Actually, that Legion logo could be part of the betting display so it gets some points for that. - From " A cover in Nine Panels " by K Giffen.


You just made the cover more interesting!

Quote
I’ve always been struck (ow!) by Ayla’s reaction to Garth’s tantrum. She’s hesitant around him in that mood. Are there things about Garth’s childhood we don’t know about? Is Mekt the only volatile one? Considering Garth’s Livewire retcons later on, it would seem not. Even though Ayla may not have seen Garth this wild, I wonder if there’s more behind this one.


Mekt went evil, Garth had a breakdown. Maybe his 5YL calm was the result of medication. Or Imra worked a few mind tricks on him.

Quote
Back on Earth, someone tells Garth the bad news. His hair was never in fashion.


It worked for Prince Valiant!

Quote
Giffen has been showing us transformations when the Legionnaires use their powers, and not just as expected for Cham. Dirk became surrounded by fire when facing Regulus; Vi has a mist like quality when she shifts her size while Garth emits crackling, angry electricity. It consumes him much as the pressures of leadership have, and he storms (pun!) off.


Good point, power made visual adds to the power.

Quote
I have a few mixed feelings about this story. Garth’s personality in this arc is what I remember most about him. Most of the worst parts of that are evident here. In fairness, his authority has been questioned and undermined for a long time, resulting in at least one blow out. Perhaps that has weakened his resolve when he feels that things have gone against him here. But previously, before Levitz, there was every chance Garth was getting through his leader’s angst. Here, it’s back with added Space Melodrama. He lashes out against his teammates, he sulks, he moans and he offers absolutely nothing as an alternative. Just as Wildfire, absent here, was doing a few issues ago.


Moons of Colu! You're right. Garth is the new Wildfire!

Quote
While Cham’s reasons to go to Khundia were genuine enough, it bothered me why he’d leave so many others behind. Even on a scouting mission, the Legion would be stronger in numbers. Similarly, why would Ayla not be part of the rescue team? She’s pleading Imra to organise it, yet isn’t there. Very odd and, as we’ll see, very forced in order for the next part of the story to work.

I’m not convinced concerning Cham’s mission either. I can see him going off ill prepared. But it all becomes far too vague as the characters are put through the plot hoops leading to their rescue. What exactly are they there to do? What are their goals?


Good points again! (You are racking them up!) Ayla could have gone along and the whole asteroid scene could have still happened; she'd just have found out about it earlier. And while Vi, Gim and Brin might have been duty bound to accompany Cham, they might have tried to question him more and get a plan in place before landing on Khundia.

Originally Posted by Ann Hebistand

In short, 287 is just plain good comics, and I only hope the remainder of my allotted Pre-Baxter issues not only surprise me equally, but maybe even convince me to not take a hiatus between LSH #294 and Baxter #1.


That's a surprise - praise for a Giffen issue, albeit with caveats! wink

Originally Posted by Harbinger
This issue gives the basis for every Khund character in my fan-fics - the gossip, the gambling, the disdain for others, the strict hierarchy and paranoia - it all comes from here.


It's a shame that Khundia wasn't further developed along these lines in the comic. They seemed to go rather one-note with a military society and left aside the gossip, gambling and paranoia.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#934927 - 07/29/17 12:21 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Sorry for the late review; RL has kept swimming against a maelstrom this week. I’ll try to make up for it by discussing this issue more in depth than usual.

287:

“Save the Suicide Squad” has the distinction of being the first fully realized lead story of Levitz Mk. II. The tale springs naturally from the characters and the situation they find themselves in (or have blundered into). Both it and the backup story, “Prologue to Darkness,” bring Levitz’s vision of the Legion together in an exciting package that kicks off what has become one of the most lauded eras Legion history. What follows here is a breakdown of the hits and very few misses of this exceptional issue.

THE CHARACTERS

The action in “Save the Suicide Squad” springs naturally out of the characters and reveals them in new and exciting ways.

Chameleon Boy. Still conflicted over his own emotions, Cham leads an ill-advised mission to Khundia, which amounts to an invasion of a hostile world. The Legion did this sort of thing routinely in the past, but now there are constant reminders that Cham’s actions may carry legal and political consequences. None of this matters to Cham, though. He browbeats the others with his right to lead the mission and to order them about. This young man desperately clings to a shred of his former identity, which has been demolished by the revelation that R.J. is his father. The only aspect that remains constant for Cham, it seems, is his role as permanent leader of the Espionage Squad.

(This shifting identity comes off as ironic, considering Cham’s powers. He has made a career out of imitating other people, animals, and objects. Like an actor who has lost himself in the role he plays, Cham seems to have completely lost any sense of his own identity here.)

Cham seems intoxicated with his own power as Espionage Squad leader. I can’t help but wonder if he thinks R.J.’s billions will get him out of any legal difficulties that arise from this mission—or if he’s even thinking that far ahead. Perhaps Garth pegged it correctly that Cham is leading a suicide mission. In any case, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Cham as much as I deplored his actions; I wanted his mission to succeed, even though I knew it wouldn’t.

Timber Wolf and Shrinking Violet. Brin serves quite well as the thorn in Cham’s side. Brin knows the mission is stupid and acts out in anger because he can’t do anything else. Vi serves as peacemaker between the two; as others have pointed out, she comes across as “the good soldier,” the one who follows orders without question. Perhaps, as a long-time member of the Espionage Squad, she has more faith in Cham.


SPOILER WARNING

If I recall correctly, we learn from a later story that Yera, the Durlan impostor, had replaced Vi just before the ill-fated mission to Khundia. If so, this gives us an entirely different perspective on “Vi’s” actions in this story.


Saturn Girl. For me, the real surprise is Imra. For too long, she has played a subservient role as Ol’ Iron Butt and as Garth’s loving lackey. What brings her out of her shell is Ayla. This is the first we've seen of their relationship as sisters-in-law, and it works beautifully. In desperation to save Brin, Ayla turns to Imra, whose response reveals something very interesting and attractive about her: She cares deeply about her friends and colleagues and will break the law to save them.

Imra regains the trailblazing and self-righteous aspect of her personality which was first revealed way back in Adventure 304, when she manipulated the others into electing her as leader of the Legion to save them from death. Later writers would develop this aspect of her personality to an even greater degree in the first Legion Lost mini-series.

Lightning Lad. Garth’s resignation as leader also springs naturally from his character and from what has gone before. Not everyone is cut out to be a leader, and Garth gives us a vivid demonstration of this truth. Cosmic Boy is right: Every Legion leader has faced trials, but Garth’s head is wedged too far up his hindquarters to see that. He takes Cham’s actions personally, and, when the Legion needs him most, he quits as leader. Good riddance.

Colossal Boy. Gim remains a bit player in all this, but an effective one. I can only speculate that he agreed to go along with Imra’s mad plan because he’s loyal to his teammates, he wants to save Violet (for whom he still has unrequited feelings) and/or out of defiance toward his mother, whose presidential directive has hamstrung the Legion. However, we don’t really need to know his motivation—not every Legionnaire needs to “star” in every story.

KHUNDIA


This story affords us our first real glimpse into Khundia and Khundish culture. The Khunds have always seemed like second-rate Klingons, and that resemblance comes across even stronger here. The Khunds, like the Klingons, are ruled by a merciless warrior ethic with trial by combat as the preferred method of settling disputes. No matter—the resemblance serves its purpose by showing how ill-prepared the Legionnaires are. When Kharlak orders the disguised Brin to recite “the honorable litany of shame and apology,” I knew the jig was up. This scene reminded me of any number of WWII films, in which an allied infiltrator, posing as a German soldier, is exposed when someone speaks to him in German and he does not know how to respond. Nothing ruins a cover more quickly than being asked for a match to light a cigarette.

Kharlak himself is simply a means to an end: an obstacle which exposes our heroes’ identities and moves the story forward. I would have been disappointed if he had been harder to defeat. Surely the Legionnaires are better than a boastful street thug.

THE ART


As I re-read this story, I noticed some of the weaknesses Annfie has pointed out in Giffen’s art. These weaknesses are most apparent in the establishing shots inside Legion HQ (pp. 2, 5, and 11, for example): There is a certain flatness and “sameness” to the backgrounds which make them appear fake. Nevertheless, Giffen’s art is cleaner and more exciting than any art we’ve had in quite a while.

I can’t help wondering if he felt forced to draw this way. The cartoony, off-the-wall style, which he adopted later, seemed more natural to him (though, in my view, much less appealing).

THE BACK-UP STORY


“Prologue to Darkness” provides an effective setup for the major story line to follow. It’s interesting to read this now, knowing the identity of the master villain and the abandoned world. At the time, I hadn’t read Jack Kirby’s Fourth World titles, and Darkseid was an occasional villain I’d encountered in JLA and elsewhere, so I did not connect the dots. However, the clues are there for those who are more familiar with the character and setting.

As with the Sun Boy “spotlight” last issue, this story frustrates me by revealing little about Mon-El and Shadow Lass. They go through the motions of acting like lovers whose competing desires conflict with their duty as Legionnaires. Shady bemoans their ruined vacation while Lar puts duty first. When the action starts, Lar blunders through the planet’s automated defenses, and Shady saves the day—albeit unintentionally. They serve the needs of the plot, nothing more.

The Broderick/Mahlstedt art is serviceable but rushed in places—especially the first page (Tasmia’s head looks too large for her bubble helmet) and Mon’s overly dramatic posturing on Page 3.

SUMMATION


When this issue came out, it wasn’t among my favorites because it didn’t spotlight any of my favorite Legionnaires, except Garth (and in a less than flattering way) and Mon-El (who doesn't do anything interesting). I was also used to larger mission teams, so the three-member team shown here seemed a paltry offering. However, Levitz does so much with all of the Legionnaires featured in the lead story and with the story itself, that he caused me to reevaluate my preconceptions about what good writing is. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

This story rocks. The characters drive the plot, which, in turn, reveals many surprising and long overdue insights about our heroes.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#934939 - 07/29/17 03:23 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
LoSH 287 - Backup

Mon-El’s grin at Shady’s huff over an interrupted vacation, belies the very ominous captions on the opening page. “…a world that has been forgotten…no, let us say instead, erased… a world who inhabitants were too cruel, too cold…to survive into this enlightened thirtieth century. A world whose ashes may yet be the setting for the final battle of the Legion of Super-Heroes.” I’d expect huge storylines to be front and centre in most titles, but this one starts in a back up and builds in stages.

A planet has drifted into the major interstellar trade routes. Investigatory probes have not returned, so two nearby Legionnaires investigate. They find a bleak world with an oppressive atmosphere. It’s vicious structures are placed in a cold, rocky world that Mon El notes he hasn’t seen even in his thousand years spent in the Phantom Zone.

In the few Levitz 2.0 issues, we’ve seen Mon El step up to fill in for Superboy. He screams on three occasions when dealing with the world’s automated defences, before Shadow Lass surrounds them with her protective darkness. The machines deactivate. Now that could have meant that they simply couldn’t locate their targets. But it’s made clear on a couple of occasions that it’s the darkness itself that the machines respond to.

The couple are summoned via their rings to help Val and Jeckie form the last back up story, and leave the world. Behind them a dark plume rises from an open air sarcophagus. Its occupant awakes into this new century illuminated by the pits that still burn across his world. Even the simply action of stretching, is tied into acts of violence and darkness. As Mon El tells Shady that he’ll get the world declared off limits, the figure below plans to test this universe with the aim of ruling in darkness over it all.

I first read this issue well after I had got the later ones, and there are plenty of clues here as to who the main villain was going to be. There’s even a handy from behind shot of his distinctive head, as Lar and Tasmia fly off.

I’ve never been impressed by the art in this one. Mon El looks a bit too distinctive. Shady doesn’t look as bad. If anything it’s her peevishness that’s a little out of place this time round. If asked to render a now desolate, forgotten word that still has hallmarks of its evil past, the art does tick all the boxes. Perhaps it’s my lack of 4th world reading, or later Byrne renderings in Superman that made me expect something more.

I think the defence robots/systems are almost cartoonish, and I imagine Apokalips falling when they outsourced their Menace department to ACME. But for all I know Kirby had hundreds of things looking just like those populating that world. And they do just what the script wants. Reading it here, I still get a disconnect between the visuals and the captions. The captions tell us that the villain is deep in a crypt, but he’s shown watching (well, he’s looking up and we see the word balloon) the heroes depart. So, I was never sure where exactly he was supposed to be. Deep underground, or on the surface. Looking at it again, I think he’s supposed to be a lot further down in one of the fire pits that we’re told about. But it’s a tough ask to get those conflicting instructions into a single frame, so we get what looks like a much shallower pit.

We’ve had a few villains so far. Organus had writing, if not visual, promise (Getting his to steal Brin’s powers for that somersault still looks odd). We’ve also had the organ leggers in that issue, the robotic faced villains on Naltor, Pharoxx and the return of Regulus. While the Khunds have offered large scale threats we’ve seen them used here around other stories and as a general UP threat. This story, for all its blatant foreboding promises a villain up there with Mordru and the Trapper in both scope and power.


"...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."
#934942 - 07/29/17 03:59 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
[Interesting tidbit that Gim borrowed a ship from his mother’s private shipyard – is that private as in private presidential, or private Allon family?


Marte Allon was a school teacher before her election, correct? I don't recall what Gim's father does for a living, but, even in the 30th century, it's doubtful that a school teacher would make enough to have her own private shipyard. Maybe she's rich and slumming.

Quote
Cham as a rock layer and the hollow asteroid is another of these far-fetched bits that doesn’t bear much thinking about.


Yeah. There seems to be no reason for him to put himself at risk of burning up on re-entry by "coating" the asteroid with his body; however, it makes a nice visual demonstration of his power.

Quote
I liked the depiction of Khundia and the fact that there were women who weren’t dressed like “I Dream of Jeannie”.


Good catch--a point in the Khunds' favor.


Originally Posted by toth
A trio of Legionnaires against the Khunds seems very few this issue, and I remember all those they could have brought with them.


True. Much depends on the purpose of Cham's mission. If they were only going to gather intelligence, a smaller, more compact team might be necessary (Cham as the brains, Gim as the brawn, Salu as the one who can get into tiny places). Alas, the purpose is never revealed to us.

Quote
I’m willing to go along with Ayla feeling that her world would end without Brin. Someone should have had a word with her ages ago. But lots have people have been there. If anything, Levitz’s arrival has seen Brin act more as a team player than ever, providing a lot of hope for them as a couple.


One of the really nice things about this issue is that it sets up Ayla for the drastic changes she will make after the Great Darkness Saga: breaking up with Brin and quitting the Legion. This arc could be seen as the story of Ayla growing up and coming into her own.

Good point about Brin. This side of him is much more appealing than the angsty loner who can't stand civilization.

Quote
I’ll go along with Imra’s realisation that she doesn’t have anything as powerful as Ayla’s feelings. We’re all different, so it’s not something that you necessarily have to beat yourself up about. However, Imra has been emotionally isolated from her teammates for a very long time. Just remember the comments they made about her during the Reflecto arc. Her wish to change things, and to rescue Brin is a strong moment for her. I wonder if this is overcompensation, and that it’s this that becomes an issue in the stories to come.


Another aspect I'm enjoying about these stories is that the characters' motivations become more complex and open to interpretation. Levitz draws on our previous associations with the characters without spelling everything out for us.

Originally Posted by Annfie
My one real bone to pick with the art on the backup (and, by implication, the script as well) is that it doesn't make it clear HOW the Mystery Villain is awakened and set free.


Good catch. Even if Tasmia and/or Lar awakened the villain, I don't think either should be held responsible. Things happen, and they had no way of knowing the consequences of their actions. But it's just as likely that Darkseid awoke when he was ready, and that his awakening coincided with Lar and Tasmia's visit. As with the character motivations, we're left to draw our own conclusions.



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#934962 - 07/30/17 07:58 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad

I think the defence robots/systems are almost cartoonish, and I imagine Apokalips falling when they outsourced their Menace department to ACME.


[Linked Image]


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#934963 - 07/30/17 08:14 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders

Chameleon Boy. Still conflicted over his own emotions, Cham leads an ill-advised mission to Khundia, which amounts to an invasion of a hostile world. The Legion did this sort of thing routinely in the past, but now there are constant reminders that Cham’s actions may carry legal and political consequences. None of this matters to Cham, though. He browbeats the others with his right to lead the mission and to order them about. This young man desperately clings to a shred of his former identity, which has been demolished by the revelation that R.J. is his father. The only aspect that remains constant for Cham, it seems, is his role as permanent leader of the Espionage Squad.

(This shifting identity comes off as ironic, considering Cham’s powers. He has made a career out of imitating other people, animals, and objects. Like an actor who has lost himself in the role he plays, Cham seems to have completely lost any sense of his own identity here.)

Cham seems intoxicated with his own power as Espionage Squad leader. I can’t help but wonder if he thinks R.J.’s billions will get him out of any legal difficulties that arise from this mission—or if he’s even thinking that far ahead. Perhaps Garth pegged it correctly that Cham is leading a suicide mission. In any case, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Cham as much as I deplored his actions; I wanted his mission to succeed, even though I knew it wouldn’t.


Very interesting insights into Cham's possible motives. He may well be conflicted between suicide mission and reliance on R.J.'s money and influence. The idea that he's lost his identity would explain a lot - and indicate how affected he has been by R.J..


Quote
SPOILER WARNING

If I recall correctly, we learn from a later story that Yera, the Durlan impostor, had replaced Vi just before the ill-fated mission to Khundia. If so, this gives us an entirely different perspective on “Vi’s” actions in this story.


SPOILER REPLY
Which further illustrates, in hindsight, Cham's confusion. His Durlan senses should have identified another Durlan, I would think.


Quote
Colossal Boy. Gim remains a bit player in all this, but an effective one. I can only speculate that he agreed to go along with Imra’s mad plan because he’s loyal to his teammates, he wants to save Violet (for whom he still has unrequited feelings) and/or out of defiance toward his mother, whose presidential directive has hamstrung the Legion. However, we don’t really need to know his motivation—not every Legionnaire needs to “star” in every story.


I still see Gim as immature in a lot of his actions. Taking the ship strikes me as a bit of a prank or a dare, but I overlooked the "saving Vi" motivation, which must have been strong, and the defiance toward Marte.


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#934982 - 07/30/17 04:55 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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^A straitjacket bazooka could only have been designed by DeSaad!


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#934990 - 07/31/17 12:22 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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I'm not sure how future spoilers are handled in this thread: do we limit discussion to what's published as if we hadn't read future issues? Or can I ask the question about #286 I'm dying to ask?

#934992 - 07/31/17 01:55 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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We don't have an official policy that I know of. So feel free to post your question. I'm dying to know what it is!


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#935006 - 07/31/17 06:07 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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According to Wikipedia, #286 was Yera's first appearance. I've looked over the issue pretty thoroughly, but I can't see anything for that to be based on. Was there any in-story hint given that we can recognize the point at which the switch happened? I realize that she must be Yera at this point just because it's the start of a mission where in hidsight it had to be Yera, but that doesn't mean this is where the switch happened, right? As far as I can tell, it could have been Yera at Nullport for example.

#935013 - 07/31/17 07:55 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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In the reveal issue, they do the memory scan and see she pulls the switch "Just before" the mission to Khundia. Hard to say the exact moment it happened, whether she was snatched off-panel while they were prepping the mission, or if she was replaced before Cham recruited her.

#935014 - 07/31/17 07:57 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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The deception was explained - or will be - in #305, when she's revealed to be Yera; Levitz just had her state that the switch was made at the time of the Khundian mission. I don't think there are any real clues. In the letter column in #311, they claim that this was planned a year and a half in advance of the reveal i.e. when writing the Suicide Mission story.


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#935044 - 07/31/17 06:03 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
She’s maybe the only one among available Legionnaires who could pull off the rescue mission. Brin is surprised it’s her and, one assumes, not Ayla who has come to help. But Imra has the experience, the authority as a founder/former leader and the sheer force of will to get away with it; who’s going to argue with her? It’s a mess, and she deals with it.


It's going to be interesting tracking her through her strong showing her to her equally strong showing in the Baxter Universo saga and beyond. At the very end, there’s an acknowledgement that she was the team’s best leader. This issue gives a glimpse as to why that is.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Cham as a rock layer and the hollow asteroid is another of these far-fetched bits that doesn’t bear much thinking about. The actual battle with Kharlak is thankfully (for me) short-lived, but provides a good occasion to display Brin’s considerable athletic talents.


I was wondering if there’s an alien life form that can survive re-entry, and Cham is imitating it. Why he feels the need to is a mystery. Perhaps it’s to protect the others form the heat inside the rocky inner shell. While things like the cartoonish head on an alien body is funny, I probably prefer a bit more definition on Cham’s powers. Not that we’ve ever really had that.

As for Brin, he does seem to be establishing a niche for himself with Levitz. Possibly in the same way Mon El has moved into Superboy’s boots. With Val on leave, there’s room for an agile, melee driven fighter on the team.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Tsk! Since I'm on the spoiler roll, the baby is Izaya. smileAnd Brin & Imra get all huggy next issue!


Gah! Well…Neil Gaiman’s death is waiting for them all at the end of the DCU…so there…



Originally Posted by Cramer
Mekt went evil, Garth had a breakdown. Maybe his 5YL calm was the result of medication. Or Imra worked a few mind tricks on him.


Perhaps Garth’s inner Proty was otherwise occupied. Odd that this would happen just as Brande would be revealed as Reep’s dad, and that Brande would be shown as very close to the Proteans…hidden story there.

Combining this with Imra’s decisiveness when confronted by Ayla here (and Tinya previously), perhaps this pushes her to think that a falimy life with Garth, even one away from the Legion will bring her similar happiness.


Originally Posted by Cramer
It worked for Prince Valiant!


I’ve never liked Price Valiant because of his hair either. My brain cell tells me I didn’t like Valiant first, before I saw Garth. But why? Clearly some flashback to Arthurian battles in my ancestry.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Moons of Colu! You're right. Garth is the new Wildfire!


I bet Drake had stupid hair too. The accident had one upside. smile

Originally Posted by HWW
Like an actor who has lost himself in the role he plays, Cham seems to have completely lost any sense of his own identity here.)


Possibly why he clings to the only solid thing he has, his Espionage position.

Originally Posted by HWW
I can’t help but wonder if he thinks R.J.’s billions will get him out of any legal difficulties that arise from this mission—or if he’s even thinking that far ahead. Perhaps Garth pegged it correctly that Cham is leading a suicide mission.


I was thinking that help form Brande was the last thing he wanted. Consciously at least. If it’s a suicide mission, then it casts some fresh perspective on Cham’s mind. I’d really hope he’d not take two colleagues into it, no matter how grim things seemed. But the Secrets reveal is certainly paying off under Levitz’s pen.

Originally Posted by HWW
Every Legion leader has faced trials, but Garth’s head is wedged too far up his hindquarters to see that. He takes Cham’s actions personally, and, when the Legion needs him most, he quits as leader. Good riddance.


Yups. Although memory tells me it hangs over him for some time to come. Which probably means the Comic Cliché of sitting in darkened rooms, while others fight your battles until…

Originally Posted by HWW
Gim remains a bit player in all this, but an effective one. I can only speculate that he agreed to go along with Imra’s mad plan because he’s loyal to his teammates, he wants to save Violet (for whom he still has unrequited feelings) and/or out of defiance toward his mother, whose presidential directive has hamstrung the Legion. However, we don’t really need to know his motivation—not every Legionnaire needs to “star” in every story. .


Really good insight into Gim’s motives there. All excellent reasons why he would go. Together they are very compelling.

Originally Posted by HWW
This scene reminded me of any number of WWII films, in which an allied infiltrator, posing as a German soldier, is exposed when someone speaks to him in German and he does not know how to respond. Nothing ruins a cover more quickly than being asked for a match to light a cigarette.


Always happens. That’s why MI6 started extensive language courses for its operatives. Soon, they were all speaking in dodgy accents, but slowly and very loudly so the locals would be sure to understand. smile

Originally Posted by HWW
I can’t help wondering if he felt forced to draw this way. The cartoony, off-the-wall style, which he adopted later, seemed more natural to him (though, in my view, much less appealing).


I don’t know if a lot of artists go through the same number of influences on the printed page. Perhaps it’s just that we know of Giffen’s that makes them stand out more. I like to think he was developing and experimenting as he went. I seem to recall there’s a story coming up that bears an uncanny resemblance to the 5YG work that would appear later.


Originally Posted by HWW
They go through the motions of acting like lovers whose competing desires conflict with their duty as Legionnaires.


I think that there’s an element of this right at the heart of their relationship, so seeing them like that works as development for me smile I agree that both serve the plot well here. Mon as Super-Stand in to show how powerful the villain is, and Shady to give a whopping insight into the nature of the threat. It was nice seeing Lar’s sheer determination and Shady saving his butt.

Originally Posted by HWW
Marte Allon was a school teacher before her election, correct? I don't recall what Gim's father does for a living, but, even in the 30th century, it's doubtful that a school teacher would make enough to have her own private shipyard. Maybe she's rich and slumming.


His dad is shown as involved with the UP fleet at some point in the retroboot, so it might be a loaner form there.


Originally Posted by HWW
Much depends on the purpose of Cham's mission. If they were only going to gather intelligence, a smaller, more compact team might be necessary (Cham as the brains, Gim as the brawn, Salu as the one who can get into tiny places). Alas, the purpose is never revealed to us.


An espionage story without a plot, isn’t much of a story and that’s partly what we got here. It was all about getting Cham into the position and having them escape than having any other purpose.

Originally Posted by HWW
This arc could be seen as the story of Ayla growing up and coming into her own.


A lot of Levitz Legionnaires will have to question what they believe in, while the action goes on around them.

Originally Posted by HWW
Even if Tasmia and/or Lar awakened the villain, I don't think either should be held responsible. Things happen, and they had no way of knowing the consequences of their actions. But it's just as likely that Darkseid awoke when he was ready, and that his awakening coincided with Lar and Tasmia's visit. As with the character motivations, we're left to draw our own conclusions.


There’s a plot point later that does show the villain as able to take information form others. That was from Mon too. But I like to think of the dark world as returning after a cataclysmic earlier battle, after which it was foretold that the galaxy would be free from its blight for a millennium. And here we are at the end of that.

Since that time, the colony worlds have sprung up and what would have been a quiet orbit previously, now takes the world into shipping lanes. If anything, the UP probes might have activated the place. None of them came back after all. Any follow up lifeform may have been enough to raise the villain, or perhaps the cycle was already running when they arrived.

How do you fire a bazooka from a straitjacket? Next on the Querl and Tenzil Sanatorium Show!


On Vi

#284 – sitting next to Gim in the background during a meeting.

#285 - Trapped under a fallen cruiser. Would the real Vi have managed an easier escape by shifting between the molecules of the debris? But then, she does find that there was sabotage, which was the Plot point of having her stuck under there in the first place. She’s keen to investigate, and knows her way around Khundian technology. She also shrinks down to follow circuit paths. In the final panels, she’s tells the others that there’s nothing wrong with keeping feelings private. Promoting her cover? Perhaps, but Star Boy associates it clearly with Vi’s normal personality.

#286 – Initially a background character in HQ. She knows what Cham’s personality is supposed to be like, when he acts out of character, and comments that next, she’ll become like Nura. Knowledge that only Vi would have, or an admission to the acting potential of Yera?

#287 – Confident enough to step between Brin and Reep’s argument. Compliant in following Cham’s orders, but he does have authority. I did note that as the three entered the asteroid, Brin tells Cham not to be so theatrical. Beside him is the actress Yera, and this might be one of the early examples of Brin’s accurate intuition. Yera’s use of a distorter and having to blow her cover also carry more weight when later events are revealed. Vi also looks to support Cham, who clearly has personal issues.


She survives the Khundia mission. While not showing much combat prowess, she does shrink to “microscopic size” when hitching a ride out on Brin.

In summary, there’s not much to show the change until next issue. Some of her dialogue does seem to relate to what personality should be like. Likewise the Khundia mission is all about infiltration and disguise. Both might be telling. We’ve already seen Levitz plan ahead, so I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt that this wasn’t just retrofitted in.


"...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."
#935052 - 07/31/17 08:03 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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I wish I'd realized last year that you guys would be getting to this classic Levitz/Giffen run so soon. I did a re-read of the run all the way thru 325 (no Baxter) in late 2016. Much as I love it, it's just too soon for me mentally to re-read it again. I'll enjoy reading your posts, though.

I suppose I'll hold off on re-reading the Baxter series until you guys reach it, though.


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#935054 - 07/31/17 08:24 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad

Originally Posted by HWW
Gim remains a bit player in all this, but an effective one. I can only speculate that he agreed to go along with Imra’s mad plan because he’s loyal to his teammates, he wants to save Violet (for whom he still has unrequited feelings) and/or out of defiance toward his mother, whose presidential directive has hamstrung the Legion. However, we don’t really need to know his motivation—not every Legionnaire needs to “star” in every story. .


Really good insight into Gim’s motives there. All excellent reasons why he would go. Together they are very compelling.


Thanks.

Originally Posted by thoth


An espionage story without a plot, isn’t much of a story and that’s partly what we got here. It was all about getting Cham into the position and having them escape than having any other purpose.


Point taken, but I think there actually is a plot--we're just not given much insight into the crucial purpose of Cham's mission. That omission may be deliberate. I don't think this is an espionage story so much as the story of a Legionnaire (or several Legionnaires, actually) suffering a breakdown. The espionage angle is just a plot device.

Originally Posted by thoth


How do you fire a bazooka from a straitjacket?


Very carefully. wink

Thanks for the breakdown of Vi's appearances leading up to this issue.

In # 305, Cham says, "...she began her impersonation the morning I led that stupid mission to Khundia" (p. 7). This suggests to me that the switch occurred between 286 and 287, allowing for a day or two of prep time for the mission. This supports your theory that the familiarity Vi displayed with her teammates in 286 came from the real Vi.


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#935055 - 07/31/17 08:40 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by He Who
“Save the Suicide Squad” has the distinction of being the first fully realized lead story of Levitz Mk. II. The tale springs naturally from the characters and the situation they find themselves in (or have blundered into)


Very well put. I also appreciated your insights into the characters, especially Cham.

Originally Posted by Cramey
That's a surprise - praise for a Giffen issue, albeit with caveats! wink


LOL I'm just as surprised as you! But, as I said before, I think Bruce Patterson prettified and solidified Giffen's pencils a great deal. Hopefully when Mahlstedt comes back soon as Giffen's default inker, I'll find more to like. I do have to admit I'm a bit worried that GDS might suffer from the shift in plotting -- Levitz solo to Levitz/Giffen -- about halfway through, but we shall see.

Originally Posted by He Who
As I re-read this story, I noticed some of the weaknesses Annfie has pointed out in Giffen’s art. These weaknesses are most apparent in the establishing shots inside Legion HQ (pp. 2, 5, and 11, for example): There is a certain flatness and “sameness” to the backgrounds which make them appear fake. Nevertheless, Giffen’s art is cleaner and more exciting than any art we’ve had in quite a while.

I can’t help wondering if he felt forced to draw this way. The cartoony, off-the-wall style, which he adopted later, seemed more natural to him (though, in my view, much less appealing)


Agreed about the flatness of the images you mentioned. Also, I've found, in previous reads of this LSH era, that Giffen's pages tend to strike me as rather static and stiff, as well as over-crowded with too many little panels and too much superfluous detail. Oddly enough, I think those criticisms could also be applied, in unsentimental hindsight, to a lot of the lesser work of George Perez, to whom I (favorably) compared Giffen's 287 art. And hopefully, the art in the next few issues will surprise me as pleasantly as that in 287.

As for Giffen's later, stranger, crazier style, the ultimate irony is that it brought him accusations of outright plagiarism, albeit of an obscure-to-American-readers European artist named Jose Munoz. Even so, I've gathered that there was quite a bit of controversy about this in the mid-1980s fan press.

Originally Posted by He Who
When this issue came out, it wasn’t among my favorites because it didn’t spotlight any of my favorite Legionnaires, except Garth (and in a less than flattering way) and Mon-El (who doesn't do anything interesting). I was also used to larger mission teams, so the three-member team shown here seemed a paltry offering. However, Levitz does so much with all of the Legionnaires featured in the lead story and with the story itself, that he caused me to reevaluate my preconceptions about what good writing is. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

This story rocks. The characters drive the plot, which, in turn, reveals many surprising and long overdue insights about our heroes.


Again, agreed. Levitz does definitely know the nuts & bolts of good serial writing better than most of his generation IMO. Of course, it doesn't hurt that one of his writing teachers was none other than Frank McCourt.

Originally Posted by Pal-Lardy
I wish I'd realized last year that you guys would be getting to this classic Levitz/Giffen run so soon. I did a re-read of the run all the way thru 325 (no Baxter) in late 2016. Much as I love it, it's just too soon for me mentally to re-read it again. I'll enjoy reading your posts, though.


Thanks, Lardy. But just a reminder that it's never too late to chime in, even if it's not until a couple years from now. I've been considering going back, at some point sooner rather than later, and doing full reviews of selected stories from Volumes 11 through 17. Maybe even reaching back to the Adventure era, during which my re-read participation was spotty.

Originally Posted by Pal-Lardy
I suppose I'll hold off on re-reading the Baxter series until you guys reach it, though.


Yay! Glad to hear that. As I've said before, it's the first 3 years of Baxter (especially Year 2 and Year 3) that I'm most passionate about as far as the Levitz LSH goes. To have more people participating "in real time" would be wonderful!

#935066 - 08/01/17 01:52 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Paladin]  
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Originally Posted by thoth
Perhaps Garth’s inner Proty was otherwise occupied. Odd that this would happen just as Brande would be revealed as Reep’s dad, and that Brande would be shown as very close to the Proteans…hidden story there.


Wow! I'd totally missed that possibility. What a great retrofit! Garth/Proty's on edge because R.J. is possibly on to him or the whole Durlan/Protean thing seems to be getting out of hand... and Garth's Proty-senses wouldn't pick up on the Yera deception because he's so muddled with anxiety and stress. Could be quite the trip down the rabbit hole with that hidden story.

Originally Posted by Paladin
I wish I'd realized last year that you guys would be getting to this classic Levitz/Giffen run so soon. I did a re-read of the run all the way thru 325 (no Baxter) in late 2016. Much as I love it, it's just too soon for me mentally to re-read it again. I'll enjoy reading your posts, though.


It did sort of sneak up on us, time-wise. I had the impression it would take longer to get there as well. Your comments on any of the stories from whatever you remember reading would be well appreciated!

Originally Posted by Annfie
As for Giffen's later, stranger, crazier style, the ultimate irony is that it brought him accusations of outright plagiarism, albeit of an obscure-to-American-readers European artist named Jose Munoz. Even so, I've gathered that there was quite a bit of controversy about this in the mid-1980s fan press.


Wasn't aware of this controversy. When somebody imitates Kirby, it's a tribute. I wonder what the problem was.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#935072 - 08/01/17 06:10 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by HWW
Originally Posted by thoth
An espionage story without a plot, isn’t much of a story and that’s partly what we got here. It was all about getting Cham into the position and having them escape than having any other purpose.


Point taken, but I think there actually is a plot--we're just not given much insight into the crucial purpose of Cham's mission. That omission may be deliberate. I don't think this is an espionage story so much as the story of a Legionnaire (or several Legionnaires, actually) suffering a breakdown. The espionage angle is just a plot device.


Oops. I was actually trying to use the example of reading a spy novel, only to find that there was no espionage in it. The Legion issue is saved quite a bit (as HWW mentions) as there are other intertwining plots.


Originally Posted by HWW
Originally Posted by thoth


How do you fire a bazooka from a straitjacket?


Very carefully. wink



Thanks HWW. As you know, I'm trying to be careful after my helicopter-in-a-neckerchief incident.


Originally Posted by HWW
...This suggests to me that the switch occurred between 286 and 287, allowing for a day or two of prep time for the mission. This supports your theory that the familiarity Vi displayed with her teammates in 286 came from the real Vi.


Is there a feeling that the reader should have had a tip off of some kind? Or do some of the above comments work in hindsight, so the reader can piece it together?


"...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."
#935089 - 08/01/17 08:57 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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[snip]
Originally Posted by thoth lad
Originally Posted by HWW



[quote=HWW] ...This suggests to me that the switch occurred between 286 and 287, allowing for a day or two of prep time for the mission. This supports your theory that the familiarity Vi displayed with her teammates in 286 came from the real Vi.


Is there a feeling that the reader should have had a tip off of some kind? Or do some of the above comments work in hindsight, so the reader can piece it together?


I'd go with the second. But I first read these stories after the big reveal, so... shrug

Cham says, "She must have," etc. But he can't be sure.

With what we know about technology now, I bet this would be a tougher story to pull off today.


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#935098 - 08/01/17 11:15 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad


Is there a feeling that the reader should have had a tip off of some kind? Or do some of the above comments work in hindsight, so the reader can piece it together?


The first real tip-off comes in "Cold and Lonely..." when Gim works up the courage to confess his feelings to her and she reacts with doubt and confusion.

#935107 - 08/01/17 02:48 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Another tip-off occurs in 298, IIRC, when Gim and Duplicate Boy have their showdown over Violet. Dupe remarks that Vi is not the woman he thought she was. On the surface, it's a comment from a jilted lover, but it's also a tip-off that Dupe sees something that isn't quite right. Vi's reaction is also not what we would expect; she simply averts her eyes. We're led to believe that the real Vi would behave much differently. In 305, the Legionnaires point out that they had trouble believing the real Vi would give up on her love for Duplicate Boy so easily.


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#935113 - 08/01/17 05:20 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Hey, what is this? spoiler open season? smile next thing some idiot will be revealing that it was Ambush Bug that chided RJ Brande that he didn't spend enough time with the little folk, and that he also had a 50% off coupon on the Earth Shuttle...oops. D'Oh!


"...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."
#935122 - 08/01/17 08:16 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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These aren't spoilers; they are historical research. But, just in case:

Marie Antoinette gets beheaded.


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#935125 - 08/01/17 09:30 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Much later, of course:

Gim and Yera split up because, uh... I dunno'. Something to do with Satan showing up to collect on a promise. No, wait that was Marvel. shrug I dunno'.


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#935126 - 08/01/17 09:31 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
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laugh


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#935128 - 08/01/17 09:33 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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[bows]

I'm overqualified to be an editor at either company.

Uh, I am enjoying these threads though. Sorry I haven't got much to add since I don't have the books in front of me. Once in awhile somebody brings up something I've read recently in my library copy of the omnibus, though. Or something like this that I remember really well despite the ravages of time.


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#935137 - 08/02/17 03:57 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LSH #288 The Legionnaire’s Made for Burning by Paul Levitz, art by Keith Giffen & Bruce Patterson, letters by Patterson, colors Carl Gafford

[Linked Image]

Val and Jeckie are in a dungeon, Val punishing a stone pillar and Jeckie bemoaning her fate. They try to escape but are stopped by Pharoxx and taken for execution.

Brainy surveys the new holographic monitor system at HQ, then joins the meeting to discuss the situation on Orando and the five missing from the Khundia escapade. Garth and Ayla weep over past mistakes.

On Orando, Dream Girl and Ultra Boy greet Shady and Mon-el, just as Val and Jeckie are about to burn at the stake. Hagga, the Sorceress Royal and Jeckie’s grandmother, reveals that she resented Jeckie leaving Orando, thought she’d be a weak Queen and gave Pharoxx immunity to Jeckie’s power. The Legionnaires arrive to free Val and Jeckie but are stopped by Hagga – and all of them are about to burn at the stake. Nura denigrates Hagga’s power and uses her tremendous will power to free herslef with her flight ring. She then vows to blot out the sun, with shadow provided by Tasmia.

The five missing Legionnaires have crashed on an icy asteroid and try to survive with limited supplies. Imra’s leg is injured, Cham keeps apologizing and the others bicker. Brin takes Imra to a quiet place to rest and the two hug while discussing their respective partners. Cham finds Gim and Violet kissing in the wrecked ship.

While Hagga attacks Nura, Tasmia kicks a wooden stake at the old witch and Nura slugs her. This breaks the captivity spell and all six Legionnaires descend on Pharoxx. Val takes him on personally and defeats him. Jeckie is hailed as Queen, then faints. Val later announces that he will remain on Orando with Jeckie.

Comments:

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.

For an icy asteroid, there’s a lot of hot action developing. Given the build-up over many issues of Gim’s devotion to Violet, it’s not too surprising that they wind up in an embrace. Gim’s been very attentive and we haven’t seen much of Duplicate Boy lately. Imra and Brin’s hug, which looks like comfort in a bad situation, is more curious, given how unemotional Imra has been. One suspects that her conversation with Ayla in the previous issue may have affected her – and she’s likely both concerned about and annoyed with Garth, putting her in a vulnerable emotional position.

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.

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.

The issue ends with Val and Jeckie remaining on Orando. Readers may well expect that this is their exit story and they’ll remain as occasional, reserve members if needed. Won’t we be surprised!


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#935162 - 08/02/17 05:56 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 04:52 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 05:02 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.


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#935347 - 08/05/17 08:19 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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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 12:08 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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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 02:17 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 09:26 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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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.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#935458 - 08/07/17 01:21 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 03:31 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 09:14 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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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 01:38 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 11:28 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
>rimshot!<


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#935595 - 08/09/17 04:10 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 04:40 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 06:53 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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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 03:06 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 04:44 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.


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#935869 - 08/13/17 04:58 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 01:26 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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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 02:50 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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 03:09 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 07:07 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Paladin]  
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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 07:15 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Ann Hebistand]  
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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 08:47 PM 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 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


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#935921 - 08/13/17 09:19 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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#935929 - 08/13/17 10:06 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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The Underbelly of Society
Originally Posted by Hubes
"Hubes"? Hmm ... I've been He Who, Huey, HWW, even HHW on occasion. I'll have to add this to my nicknames. smile


Gotta keep you guessin', Hubes! lol Ask Ann (Landers wink ), I've branched out more than once with my nicknames for her! nod

Originally Posted by Hubes
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.


That's what I mean! My memory may be flawed, but I recall there being a time where you wouldn't have anything to say about the art. In short, I like that you're responding to some artistic observations and offering some thoughts on them, now, at the very least!


Still "Lardy" to my friends!
#935981 - 08/14/17 05:39 PM 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 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?



It's not so much that I feel the body language was badly done, but rather that there was a preponderance of generic poses and gestures, the kind which any halfway competent artist would have drawn. All nuances, subtleties, and distinctiveness in the faces, were entirely down to Patterson's inking...in my opinion. This all goes back to my inability to perceive this stage of Giffen's artistic evolution as anything better than average-quality imitations of the styles du jour circa 1982.

#935982 - 08/14/17 05:43 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Paladin]  
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Originally Posted by Paladin
Originally Posted by Hubes
"Hubes"? Hmm ... I've been He Who, Huey, HWW, even HHW on occasion. I'll have to add this to my nicknames. smile


Gotta keep you guessin', Hubes! lol Ask Ann (Landers wink ), I've branched out more than once with my nicknames for her! nod


Tee hee.

Originally Posted by Paladin
Originally Posted by Hubes
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.


That's what I mean! My memory may be flawed, but I recall there being a time where you wouldn't have anything to say about the art. In short, I like that you're responding to some artistic observations and offering some thoughts on them, now, at the very least!


I think one of the best things about these re-read threads is the way we challenge and inspire each other to reach beyond our comfort zones and look at things from perspectives we wouldn't have tried before.

#935984 - 08/14/17 09:52 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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I think LoSH # 289 has one of my top 5, possibly top 3, LoSH covers of all time.

#936019 - 08/16/17 06:48 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Café Cramer
LSH Annual #1 Monster in a Little Girl’s Mind! by Paul Levitz, art by Keith Giffen & Bruce Patterson, colours Costanza, letters Laurie Sutton

[Linked Image]

Officer Shvaughn Erin arrives at Legion HA as the first SP Liason Officer. She gets the tour from Element Lad and observes Brainiac 5 treating a young girl, suffering from a rare energy-overload, in the medi-lab, assisted by Dream Girl and Mon-el and attended by the girl’s brother Jacques Foccart.
Brainy is using circuitry which previously caused serious harm and, once again, something goes awry and Computo comes to life in the child Danielle’s body.

Suddenly, computer and tech systems throughout the HQ attack Legionnaires. Outside, Earth is on full alert since Officer Erin managed to get a message out that Computo is active. The HQ is quarantined and the surrounding area evacuated. Various groups offer help – the Subs, the Green Lanterns – but are rebuffed. Reservist Luornu cannot bring herself to help and Chuck remains with her; Chameleon Boy mopes in a park, unaware of the disaster. The dark being that awakened several issues ago senses a power and dispatches a servant to investigate.

Computo taunts Brainiac 5 and Jacques Foccart. Brainy manages to slip Jacques a telepathic earplug and instructs him to take Lyle Norg’s invisibility serum, on the chance that it might give him powers which Computo would not expect. Jacques does this and does turn invisible, as Computo continues to wreak havoc and Chief Zendak reports on the disaster. Via telepathic earplug, Brainy communicates with an immobilized, weakened Mon-el and instructs him to open a storeroom with his heat vision to release a hypo disc, which invisible Jacques grabs and uses to sedate and disable Computo. The techno-attacks come to an abrupt end. Danielle is still alive, but must be kept unconscious to prevent Computo from awakening.

At an assembly of Legionnaires, Brainy explains the situation, apologizes, resigns and requests that Jacques Foccart replace him as the new Invisible Kid. Leader element lad rejects the resignation; the Legionnaires vote to admit Jacques as a new Legionnaire, who accepts. Brainy vows to cure Danielle.

Comments: This is an exciting, fast-paced, satisfying story with everyone but the Super-cousins (yay! - except for one panel showing Superboy in 1969, sensing “a sudden chill”). We get some glimpse into the personal lives and thoughts of each Legionnaire before disaster strikes them, which provides continuity with the events of previous issues. Computo arranges a great variety of creative attacks, made worse by the Legionnaires not realizing who/what is attacking them.

There’s a real sense of danger as the Science Police and Earthgov deal with the emergency. Shvaughn’s reports to Zendak at the top of each page illustrate how events are seen from outside the medical centre, which Computo barricaded. She suggests both nuking the HQ and evacuating the entire planet, which raises this event well above Computo’s Adventure-era attack. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and less drastic measures were taken by authorities outside Legion HQ.

Danielle looks truly possessed, with glowing eyes and drenched in sweat as her small physical body tries to cope with Computo. Newcomer Jacques is credible as her frantic brother, out of his depth, but willing to risk his own life to help his sister.

The two groups whose help is declined provide a brief comic moment (the Subs, ranked below the Super-Pets by the responding SP officer) and an untold, promised-for-the-future story of why Green Lanterns aren’t allowed on Earth.

Nobody comes off badly in this story, except possibly Chameleon Boy, who at least appears to be ready to face the consequences of his rash behaviour. There is a bit of an odd moment when Shadow Lass says that she never heard of Computo; something that important to Legion history would surely have been common knowledge of all members.

An unusually humble Brainy takes full responsibility for the mess. A very forgiving Element Lad takes the unilateral decision to reject his resignation. It’s a happy ending, with a promise of future threats: supposedly unconscious Danielle’s eyes open and glow red and the Dark Being is getting interested in Earth.

I expect Levitz and Giffen had as much fun creating this story as I had reading it.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#936022 - 08/16/17 08:47 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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FC forgot the single biggest moment in this issue: The first appearance of Thom's beard!

#936024 - 08/16/17 09:06 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Hah! True - I guess he was so busy with D&D - and with Nura busy in the medi-centre - he didn't bother to shave.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#936049 - 08/16/17 01:51 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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My contribution this week is less a review than an analysis of how DC Comics writing was evolving over the course of the 80s.

See, even though I did not enjoy this issue as much as I did the last time I re-read it a few years ago, the re-read of this issue did clarify exactly why I enjoy the Baxter Era so much more than the previous thirty or so issues of Levitz Mark-2.

The density of Levitz's writing style, with all its subplots, world-building, and character moments, was not well-accommodated by the standard 25-page done-in-one/make-each-issue-stand-alone format of DC Comics up to that time. This script, in particular, is so dense that, even with almost twice as many pages as a monthly issue, Giffen and Patterson both seem a bit overwhelmed to me. Once again, Giffen riffs on the Perez style, but more awkwardly than in 288, what with little panels upon little panels piling up on top of each other, while Patterson appears to be sensing the approaching deadline like a mad dog giving chase, his inks lacking the finesse he had demonstrated on 286-289.

But I also have some issues with Levitz's script. To reiterate something I said in my review of 287, I think he was at his best when he stuck to no-nonsense, straight-shooting thrills, instead of throwing everything (and every cast member) but the kitchen sink -- whether the plot could bear the weight or not. It's like an episode of a 60s or 70s sci-fi TV show written and directed by an overambitious film-school graduate.

In short, issues like this one are the reason why "decompressed writing," or stretching a story out across anywhere from 4 to 6 or even more issues, *had to happen.* LSH Annual 1, for all its positive aspects which Cramey already pointed out, is, in my opinion, so "compressed" that it ends up imploding.

To try to end this post on a positive note, at least it bodes well for the next storyline, the Great Darkness Saga, with its 5-issues-plus framework seemingly offering Levitz and Giffen the room to stretch out that they needed.

#936059 - 08/16/17 04:36 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LoSH Annual 1

An excellent Giffen/Giordano cover graces the annual. Previous issues have shown how to focus the reader’s attention. Here, six Legionnaires form a circle in the air around a central figure. Its evil expression is surely linked to the cables that each hero fights with, and which connect them all. Note how the pose of each hero turns, from the front of Vi through to the back of Shady and round again. The use of Vi at the top also helps to keep the logo clear and uncluttered, but still adds to the overall design. Good stuff indeed.

The opening page shows Shvaughn Erin approach the Legion HQ. She introduces herself, and her role in her thought bubble, courtesy of another little data drop in with the normal dialogue. But there’s more going on than that. There’s a certain ease to this page that will work its way through the annual and beyond into the Giffen/Levitz run. The comfort of a team that has already gelled, helped in having an expanded format to work within. It shows itself in the roll call. It doesn’t just give the names. Giffen has drawn all of the Legion symbols behind. The captioning is whimsical, even as it tells us of the perils that await.

Look at Weisinger Plaza! Split levels, with a variety of cosmopolitan alien races strolling the concourses!. Is it a complex like the one shown in the adult Legion stories? That’s something the creative team will address in a later issue. The art gives us little tech modules, Interlac on the levels and on Erin’s cute booties. She’s also walking on an anti gravity platform too, just to give it all a 30th century vibe.

Erin is to be the Legion’s first Science Police liaison officer. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect from the Avengers. But Shvaughn is no Gyrich. She’s been keen to work with the team since Earth War. That was back in the Levitz v1.0 days, and Levitz had plans for her.

Speaking of the Avengers, there’s a security mishap that reminds me very much of the doorstep security of the Avengers mansion. Shvaughn is freed from metallic tentacles, eerily reminding the reader of that cover, by a departing Dawnstar and Wildfire.

Levitz has a knack of capturing the characters in a short amount of time. Last issue, we had the directness of Nura accompanying the stoic practicality of Lar. Here, it’s the reactions of Drake and Dawny. Both are bronze age additions, and are more visually distinctive than their Adventure era counterparts. I think this adds nicely to Shvaughn’s reaction.

Drake is direct and quick to rise to Dawny’s gentle rebuke. Ironically, he almost gives away the upcoming plot by summing up the results of Brainy’s experiments. A sort of more argumentative version of Brin’s instinctive intuition. smile As grouchy as he is, he stops the problem before it escalates.

Dawny is colder, with her single word interaction with the new liaison officer. But she clearly cares enough for Erin’s well being to chide Wildfire for his approach.

As with having a liaison officer, we also have two Legionnaires going on leave. That’s not new, but adds to the organisational feel for this scene. These are professional heroes. Having some of them on leave adds something a little different to “on a mission in a different galaxy” when trouble calls. Not that Drake and Dawny are going to get too far.

So, in a few panels we get to see more than one layer of two Legionnaires. Levitz then starts to show us more of Jan Arrah. He’s someone who has been often defined by his tragedy, rhater than having a character of his own. There’s an awkward moment between them, but it quickly passes as they tour the building together. Had Lightning Lad not quit, what would have happened between them?

(The answer is that Jan would have gone full sociopath while Erin stalked him across the galaxy, and not in a law enforcement way. In case anyone’s wondering smile )

Jan is little more than a tour guide here, but it’s a start. We see all the gizmos Giffen wants introduced through his saner fictional proxy, Brainy smile We’ve had the mission monitor board, but we get a run through some Alien movie portals and Forbin Project movie security terminals. Remember: Invest in holographics. They’re going to be huge! (Remember as we go that Alien had a lot of technology going wrong, and the Forbin Project had a similar theme.)

I mentioned hints of a wider organisational structure and responsibilities above. This extends to the next part of the tour. The pair look down onto the Legion’s new medical centre. Although Brainy gets a lot of ability hogging here, it’s not a one man show. We’re reminded of Nura’s Naltorian science. She did alter Ayla’s powers after all, and we saw the technology in a recent back up too. Silver Age tampering becomes Bronze Age genetic modification. The superior biological knowledge of Daxam goes back at least as far as the team trying to find a way to bring Lightning Lad back.

“But you never heard of us except as fighters, right, Jacques?” says Lar. This page does a great deal to establish the Legion as something greater than your normal super hero group. The “Jacques” referred to by Lar is Jacques Foccart. He’s the brother of the unconscious Danielle, whom Lar, Nura and Querl are trying to cure. More points for Lar’s selfless credit giving, while Nura likes to share.

Like the Nullport back story leading into the Khund mission, it turns out that the Tenzil back story leads into this annual. Querl is using techniques he’s trying out on Tenzil with Danielle. She’s “suffering from a rare energy-overload on her nervous system.” Considering that both Foccarts would eventually become Legionnaires (I am *not* putting spoiler in!), this is quite a page.

Around the medical centre are floating red globes. They are part of Brainy’s computer controlled solution to Danielle’s problems. He’s sure that *this* time he will be able to control things, and prevent harm. Uh oh. Whatever it is Querl thinks he’s controlling takes no time at all to break any constraints as soon as it’s activated. Nura is electrocuted at her terminal while Brainy just protects himself. The dialogue tells us that he’s activated his flight ring in time, but it really should have read “force field”

It a different sort of Giffen nine panel page, as a single bottom panel shows Danielle sitting upright, with completely red eyes.

It could have been a much larger tour, much like the Adult Legion story, through the eyes of a familiar newcomer. But there was another reason why Shvaughn was seen walking up to the HQ at the start. This is the Legion in the Exorcist.

Cosmic Boy is the first to feel the effects. He’s trapped by metal in his own room. Like all the best Legion artists, Giffen seamlessly recreates the Legion’s world. We saw Imra get a (to my mind much improved) new uniform in the Khundian mission. Here it’s Rokk getting a much-needed upgrade. The scene loses lots of points when we learn that Ayla pined away after Brin by sewing!

It’s been mentioned that Levitz’s subplots simmer away, before coming to the boil across a number of issues. Well simmering was what we saw way back in #284 when we saw the inside of Imra and Garth’s Legion HQ apartment. Having established they lived in the HQ then, it’s familiar to see them there, when it’s next to be trashed the kitchen’s out of control Atomiser. One was cooking in each scene in #284 Imra even comments that she uses the atomiser much more than Garth. How’s that for build up?
The atomiser has a shape familiar to all old school Legion readers (of which I wasn’t one at the time, so missed it)

With whatever is controlling Danielle starting to attack, it seals off the Legion HQ form the outside world. It’s another thruway line, but it’s mentioned that the Legion would normally need Earthgov approval before doing this. It all adds to the team being part of a larger UP.

This is built upon in stages through the story. Gim’s mom, and Earth President coordinates a response to the situation. She’s strong enough a leader to tell the Green Lantern Corps to stand down (and pat the seed for a later issue on why the GLC aren’t allowed on Earth). The SP look to find a way into the Legion’s HQ, providing the reader with a great double page HQ schematic.

Back inside, Thom and Dirk are attacked by their holographic (they’ll be huge I tell you!) D&D characters. Star Boy is now sporting a distinctive beard. Having the holograms stop and peer out at the “real” world is very creepy.

Danielle seems satisfied with her work. Controlling her is Computo, Brainiac’s creation that wanted to destroy humanity, after it had taken all the knowledge from their minds (back in Adventure #240 – Look It Up Lad)

Here’s where the story makes a few Plot Driven missteps. Jan Arrah is watching all of this. But he can’t get to them because a convenient barrier springs up around the medical centre. It’s material, but reactive to his powers. It’s for scenes like this that Jan is so frequently underused.

Lar is down there, but conveniently has been bathed in red solar radiation *and* had his anti-lead serum tampered with. The latter will kill him, rather than neutralise him and I still don’t see why he can’t move.

Elsewhere, word has got out and evacuations are taking place. Very wise. But reservist Luornu Durgo can’t face going back to confront Computo. It’s a poignant moment, where we learn the extent of the trauma losing a body caused her. It’s certainly a lot more than we got at the time. As Chuck and Lu had both left the team, I wonder if this seen was added in for the nod to the original story. Lu certainly doesn’t get any closure from this reappearance of Computo. I can easily see a finale where she uses an old Adventure era tunnel into the Legion’s basement and her powers to defeat Computo. But the finale will go to someone else in this Annual. Not that she would have got past the shields. The Subs couldn’t and they are dismissed by the SP (and mentioned the same panel as the Super pets). That line between underdog and comedy value is a thin one.

There are others in the HQ and all are subjected to Computo’s wrath, as the life support is switched off. While I was happy being absorbed by the story when reading it, I do wonder what Computo’s long term goals are here. Before, it was everything. Here, like a lot of second time villains, it’s personal and vengeful.

Gim and Vi have the Legion cruiser they are on fly out the building towards Earth’s shiny polymer sphere. This pushes forward that subplot, as Vi is sorting out her feelings and we learn that the rescue cruiser on the Khundian mission was the president’s personal cruiser.

Brin and Blok are attacked by gymnasium equipment. The two would become regular companions under Levitz, starting around here. Blok seems to get to be the butt of Brin’s comments. Fortunately for Timberwolf, Blok’s alien curiosity seems to have replaced his darker assassin past.

Tinya, Jo and Ayla are taken down by domestic appliances and an explosion. It’s probably not something they’ll want to recount later on. But it was unexpected. We get the standard explanation of Jo having to switch powers. Giffen shows him lifting storage crates back into his quarters (this, and the Reflecto statue earlier are throw away references to that story. On both occasions no one wants to go into any detail smile ) using super strength. Ayla is lifting even more than Jo, thanks to an effect of her powers we don’t see enough of. She effectively has super strength too.

... more to come


"...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."
#936060 - 08/16/17 04:37 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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...continued


At the halfway point, the Legionnaires in the building are all going through domestic versions of death traps characters would have faced back in the Silver Age,

It’s becoming clear that Danielle body is burning up, with Computo controlling it. Will Brainy be able to save her and stop the villain?

Find out…after this interlude with Chameleon Boy. The UP is a lot nearer war with the Khunds thanks to his mission. He’s been pretty much named as the cause of it in public too. Aware of having to face the consequences, a slump shouldered Cham goes off further into central park, oblivious to the cruiser streaking overhead, en route to the Legion HQ. Another chance of redemption gone.

Brainiac Five has a plan. It involves getting Jacques to take a vial of Lyle Norg’s invisibility serum. There’s a risk involved. It might kill him. But if he doesn’t try, Computo looks likely to kill his sister. It would seem that telepathic earplugs only require skin contact to work. They don’t have to be anywhere near the brain, so Querl gives Jacques the information just by palming him a spare one. Once it’s finished with Danielle, Computo may go into the main computer. That would presumably get the villain back into it’s all conquering goals again.

Jacques makes his brave decision and manages to get to the serum, not without tension and an access code mishap (we learn that the Foccart’s mom has died along the way).

While all this was going on, the rest of the Legion would battle Computo’s traps.
Lightning Lad would free himself and Imra. Together they’d retrieve an unconscious Cosmic Boy and rescue Star Boy and Sun Boy from a D&D crucifixion. Again, the holos are very creepy. I do wonder why Star Boy couldn’t have used his powers to wreck the equipment as Lightning Lad did. The group run into further trouble with only Lightning Lad left to do battle with a distorted version of himself.

Computo is not above attacking the Legion psychologically. It makes the villain work on another level. It knows that Garth has suffered form depression. It knows of Lar’s fears of the Phantom Zone and it uses Danielle’s fate against both Brainy and Jacques.

Garth seemed a lot stronger this issue. He comments that blasting the atomiser was the first piece of luck he’d had for ages. That’s an early seed for a much later Luck Lords story.

Other groups don’t fare so well. Brin and Blok never leave the gym, despite their powers. Brin refers to possibly not being Lightning Lad’s favourite person after the Khundian mission. It indicates the strained feelings within the team and puts Imra’s reunion dinner with Garth in a new light.

We see Ayla, who has saved her colleagues also think on Brin & Imra’s embrace as she lies in the rubble of the HQ. She wishes Brin was with her in what she thinks could be her last moments alive.

Element Lad, Shadow Lass and Shvaughn don’t make any real progress. They move through the HQ, blocked by Computo’s Plot powers.

Colossal Boy and Violet have to be saved by Wildfire and Dawnstar. Dawny’s comment at being surprised that Gim couldn’t control the ship, is one of those comments that seems sensible, but comes with a sting. It’s careless of Gim not to get a replacement flight ring. He’s been around long enough to know that anything could happen in a Legionnaire’s life.

I mentioned the comfort of a well working creative team at the beginning being partly due to the increased space in an Annual. Having Computo traps groups of Legionnaire compartmentalises the characters. It allows him to create a story full of action and suspense. But also with the ability to bring in or drop characters as the space/ storytelling dictates. A number of the battles are essentially peripheral to the main action. I think the build up with Jan, Shady and Shvaughn suffers from this a little. They don’t even get a battle.

Foccart’s disappearance gets an immediate reaction from Computo. It correctly surmises Brainy’s involvement and attacks. Brainy just manages to get an instruction to Lar before he’s knocked unconscious. Lar uses heat vision, under the strain of his paralysis, to give Jacques access to a tranquiliser disc. Jacques isn’t a traditional hero. He’s feels fear and he questions his actions. Bravery and a sense of sacrifice he has naturally, and he ends Computo’s threat by subduing his sister.

In the aftermath, Brainy tenders his resignation. He cites this as one of a number of failures. Despite not being leader, and completely in keeping with the direct approach seen at the start of the annual, Wildfire sticks up for him. Drake would also prefer to have either Lamprey or Nightwind in the team, when Brainy nominates Jacques as his successor. Having also joined in battle, adds his vote for Jacques. He’d mention this again later in the Baxter run too.

Outside, Shvaughn leaves the HQ wondering about the excitement that lies ahead. There’s no reason why this couldn’t have been the last page, as it would have framed the story more smoothly.

In the end, Brainy stays with the team and Jacques also joins. It’s a touching scene as Jacques’ main concern is his sister. He’s a bit tearful throughout his first appearance, almost as much as Superman does in DC Events.

One of the reasons that the Annual works so well, is that it’s not a standalone tale. It’s not just the new member, or the cosmetic (Coz-metic in one instance smile ) changes. All the recent sublots are involved here. Even if there’s not any huge leaps forward with them, they all get space to build up some tension. The Brin/Ayla/Imra/Garth rectangle is there, along with the Vi/Gim storyline. Nura continues getting built up by Levitz. Computo shows Lar a possible fear. Is this what helps send him over the edge later on? It’s certainly something that the team will come back to.

One other subplot that gets panel time, but not a lot of movement is the Servants of Darkness one. In single panels throughout the annual we get :-

Computo awakes
In 1969, Superboy feels a sudden chill returning to Earth
Our villain senses a power from Earth and dispatches a mockery to claim it.
The mockery approaches Earth and pauses to assess the new polymer screen
The mockery finds the edge of the screen, but it’s hit by something.
The mockery is apparently crushed, and our villain says that he will have to create another in his place.

As the Great Darkness approaches, I’m reminded of a thread from just after I joined here.. Who is this mockery? He doesn’t seem to fit with the ones created for the regular issues, and why would all this affect Superboy 1000 years in the past?

I have just noticed that bit of random metal that hits him is the runaway Legion cruiser that Vi and Gim were trapped on. The Legion were beating the villain even before the Great Darkness saga began! 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."
#936061 - 08/16/17 05:21 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
Comments: This is an exciting, fast-paced, satisfying story


nod The pacing is solid. Computo escalates from possessing one body to controlling the HQ, to threatening the world. The possession of Danielle has a growing adverse affect on her and as you say...

Originally Posted by Cramer
There’s a real sense of danger as the Science Police and Earthgov deal with the emergency.



Originally Posted by Cramer
Danielle looks truly possessed, with glowing eyes and drenched in sweat as her small physical body tries to cope with Computo .


Jacques: The Power of the Comics Code compels you! smile

Originally Posted by Cramer
Newcomer Jacques is credible as her frantic brother, out of his depth, but willing to risk his own life to help his sister .


I think that sums up a lot of Jacques time, and place, on the team. He's more of a heroic everyman than someone with a heroic past or obvious skill/powers set.

Originally Posted by Cramer
...and an untold, promised-for-the-future story of why Green Lanterns aren’t allowed on Earth.


Or is it just on Mondays as they were about to rule on in v4?

I don't like Monday's
I'm gonna shoot the whole Earth down - as the Boom-Tube Rats would sing about the incident.

Originally Posted by Cramer
There is a bit of an odd moment when Shadow Lass says that she never heard of Computo; something that important to Legion history would surely have been common knowledge of all members.


Unfortunately, someone put the Legion Archive in a vault in the Legion's basement. Shady went to open it and... Mordru!

Originally Posted by Cramer
An unusually humble Brainy takes full responsibility for the mess. A very forgiving Element Lad takes the unilateral decision to reject his resignation .


As in his later trial, Brainy will have calculated the odds of his dismissal. The selfless "let Jacques join in my place" thing was just to adjust it in his favour. smile


Originally Posted by Cramer
It’s a happy ending, with a promise of future threats: supposedly unconscious Danielle’s eyes open and glow red


there's a much more subtle inference that Computo is still in there, a few issues from now. I found the red eyes to be a little much, after a supposed victory. As Danielle is being monitored by devices, there's nothing at all to stop a fully controlled Danielle from reaching out immediately.



"...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."
#936220 - 08/19/17 05:36 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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here, more often than not
This is one of my favourite single issues.

The art is, for the most part, great as it's clean and consistent throughout. Introducing Computo to a more modern audience without it looking like a kids toy from the 50's is a good idea as the concept of a rogue uber- powerful amoral AI is a natural fit into Legion mythos.

A couple of points irk though: the convenient force field that blocks Jan and Shady, Mon El being so easily neutralised, and Brainy's force field falling to random debris are all plot devices that kind of fail, but none are deal breakers.

The introduction of Jacques was well done. He's not the usual confident hero and about time someone thought it would be fun to have a French Legionnaire. Well, I always find it funny.

It's amazing that he's only the second black Legionnaire, thankfully later incarnations of the team try to redress this imbalance.

I love how everyone gets some screen time and in the end no-one dies this time. Great characterisation for Lu too.

Last edited by Harbinger; 08/19/17 05:59 AM.

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#936231 - 08/19/17 12:03 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Fat Cramer Offline
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Originally Posted by thoth lad


An excellent Giffen/Giordano cover graces the annual. Previous issues have shown how to focus the reader’s attention. Here, six Legionnaires form a circle in the air around a central figure. Its evil expression is surely linked to the cables that each hero fights with, and which connect them all. Note how the pose of each hero turns, from the front of Vi through to the back of Shady and round again. The use of Vi at the top also helps to keep the logo clear and uncluttered, but still adds to the overall design. Good stuff indeed.


*sigh* I never notice these details. Thanks for pointing them out!

Quote
As with having a liaison officer, we also have two Legionnaires going on leave. That’s not new, but adds to the organisational feel for this scene. These are professional heroes. Having some of them on leave adds something a little different to “on a mission in a different galaxy” when trouble calls. Not that Drake and Dawny are going to get too far.


Good point; it also makes them seem like real people, not always on duty.

Quote
So, in a few panels we get to see more than one layer of two Legionnaires. Levitz then starts to show us more of Jan Arrah. He’s someone who has been often defined by his tragedy, rhater than having a character of his own. There’s an awkward moment between them, but it quickly passes as they tour the building together. Had Lightning Lad not quit, what would have happened between them?

(The answer is that Jan would have gone full sociopath while Erin stalked him across the galaxy, and not in a law enforcement way. In case anyone’s wondering smile )


An untold story from the Vertigo Legion. I like this possibility!

Quote
Like the Nullport back story leading into the Khund mission, it turns out that the Tenzil back story leads into this annual. Querl is using techniques he’s trying out on Tenzil with Danielle. She’s “suffering from a rare energy-overload on her nervous system.” Considering that both Foccarts would eventually become Legionnaires (I am *not* putting spoiler in!), this is quite a page.


Geez, imagine if Tenzil had become Computo. He would have eaten everything like Pac-Man.

Quote
Here’s where the story makes a few Plot Driven missteps. Jan Arrah is watching all of this. But he can’t get to them because a convenient barrier springs up around the medical centre. It’s material, but reactive to his powers. It’s for scenes like this that Jan is so frequently underused.

Lar is down there, but conveniently has been bathed in red solar radiation *and* had his anti-lead serum tampered with. The latter will kill him, rather than neutralise him and I still don’t see why he can’t move.


Venge/Computo will use the same technique on Lar in the DnA series, so I guess Computo's memory spans versions.

You and Harbinger bring up Jan's ineffectiveness. It is strange/disappointing, although it provides the reader with some suspense that perhaps he, Shady and Shvaughn will be the ones to finally defeat Computo. It's interesting that the Legionnaires who didn't face off against Computo the first time (except for Jan) are unaffected: Dawnstar, Wildfire, Shady, Shvaughn. Mopey Cham doesn't even know what's happening.

Quote
But reservist Luornu Durgo can’t face going back to confront Computo. It’s a poignant moment, where we learn the extent of the trauma losing a body caused her. It’s certainly a lot more than we got at the time. As Chuck and Lu had both left the team, I wonder if this seen was added in for the nod to the original story. Lu certainly doesn’t get any closure from this reappearance of Computo. I can easily see a finale where she uses an old Adventure era tunnel into the Legion’s basement and her powers to defeat Computo. But the finale will go to someone else in this Annual.


That would have been a seriously great story, if Lu could face off against Computo and win.

Quote
There are others in the HQ and all are subjected to Computo’s wrath, as the life support is switched off. While I was happy being absorbed by the story when reading it, I do wonder what Computo’s long term goals are here. Before, it was everything. Here, like a lot of second time villains, it’s personal and vengeful.


Possibly his motives were being affected when channeled through a young child, even the sweetest of whom can have "I hate you" temper tantrums.

Quote
Ayla is lifting even more than Jo, thanks to an effect of her powers we don’t see enough of. She effectively has super strength too.


Good point - and not used enough in the stories.

Quote
Computo is not above attacking the Legion psychologically. It makes the villain work on another level. It knows that Garth has suffered form depression. It knows of Lar’s fears of the Phantom Zone and it uses Danielle’s fate against both Brainy and Jacques.


Smarter with every reincarnation.

Quote
Element Lad, Shadow Lass and Shvaughn don’t make any real progress. They move through the HQ, blocked by Computo’s Plot powers.


Hah! Clearly the most devastating power of all!

Quote
Outside, Shvaughn leaves the HQ wondering about the excitement that lies ahead. There’s no reason why this couldn’t have been the last page, as it would have framed the story more smoothly.


True, and it would have been easily accomplished by rearranging a couple of panels.

Quote
As the Great Darkness approaches, I’m reminded of a thread from just after I joined here.. Who is this mockery? He doesn’t seem to fit with the ones created for the regular issues, and why would all this affect Superboy 1000 years in the past?

I have just noticed that bit of random metal that hits him is the runaway Legion cruiser that Vi and Gim were trapped on. The Legion were beating the villain even before the Great Darkness saga began! smile


Missed that myself, nice bit of coincidence.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#936244 - 08/19/17 04:41 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Good point; it also makes them seem like real people, not always on duty.


Clocking on and off after a period of duty is probably another cop show analogy. We’ve seen leave before, but it seems a bit more like the end of a shift with it being Drake and Dawny.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Geez, imagine if Tenzil had become Computo. He would have eaten everything like Pac-Man.


Computo: I hunger for power!... and you don’t want to make me hunger!
Later…
Computo: Dox was foolish to leave this power pellet in the lab. Now I’m invincible! But first I must chase after Phantom Girl for a while!


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Venge/Computo will use the same technique on Lar in the DnA series, so I guess Computo's memory spans versions.


That’s a scary thought! Computo could join the Psycho Pirate’s Crisis survivors Support Group though.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
You and Harbinger bring up Jan's ineffectiveness. It is strange/disappointing, although it provides the reader with some suspense that perhaps he, Shady and Shvaughn will be the ones to finally defeat Computo.

There’s a point where they go through the floor, and I thought that this would have some bearing on the story. But it just led to the basement, and they get no closer to the enemy. Shady says that without his serum, Lar will die as soon as “Computo lifts that paralysis.” But why Lar wouldn’t die just as quickly under the ray eludes me. It’s not as though it’s suspending his functions. He can still use heat visions and is aware enough to appreciate the phantom zone images and to communicate with Brainy.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
It's interesting that the Legionnaires who didn't face off against Computo the first time (except for Jan) are unaffected: Dawnstar, Wildfire, Shady, Shvaughn. Mopey Cham doesn't even know what's happening.


Computo: Ha! The Legion will never discover my Super Robot Construction Base from where I shall conquer the United Planets!
Dawnstar: I have found Computo’s secret base.
Wildfire: Right. Let’s end this.
>One giant Anti-Matter Blast later<
Dawnstar: At least our vacation was only slightly delayed…


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Smarter with every reincarnation.

Brainy: Well done Jacques! That tranq-disc put an end to Computo’s control over your sister.
>Computo sticks one thumb up as Danielle slips into unconsciousness<
Computo: I’ll…be…back.
Brainy: I didn’t know your sister was Austrian.
Jacques: Je ne comprends rien.


"...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."
#936290 - 08/20/17 09:44 PM 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
RL has given me precious little time to do a full review, but I wanted to comment on a few things.

Originally Posted by FC
This is an exciting, fast-paced, satisfying story with everyone but the Super-cousins (yay! - except for one panel showing Superboy in 1969, sensing “a sudden chill”). We get some glimpse into the personal lives and thoughts of each Legionnaire before disaster strikes them, which provides continuity with the events of previous issues.


Originally Posted by Annfie
The density of Levitz's writing style, with all its subplots, world-building, and character moments, was not well-accommodated by the standard 25-page done-in-one/make-each-issue-stand-alone format of DC Comics up to that time. This script, in particular, is so dense that, even with almost twice as many pages as a monthly issue, Giffen and Patterson both seem a bit overwhelmed to me.


Here we have the yin and yang of Levitz Mk II in general and this issue in particular. This is indeed a fast-paced and satisfying story, but it is also dense and overwhelming, not only for the artists, I'm sure, but also for me as a reader.

To mark the occasion of the Legion's first annual, Levitz threw in everything he apparently could think of. At the very least, he includes every active Legionnaire. This accomplishment alone would exhaust most readers. But, for good measure, he installs a new supporting character, brings back an old villain, introduces a new Legionnaire, advances his Great Darkness subplot, and makes occasional (but not distracting) references to long ago and recent stories. These accomplishments would be enough to satisfy most fanboys. Giffen and Patterson also rise to the challenge by redesigning Legion HQ so it looks more futuristic, include numerous graphics such as the mission monitor board symbols (some of which we may have seen in previous issues) and update the appearance of two Legionnaires, Star Boy and Cosmic Boy. All in all, it's a massive undertaking.

It's also a very successful one. This is because the spine of the story is simple: While trying to help a young girl, Brainy unleashes an old enemy which takes over the HQ, trapping the Legionnaires inside and posing a threat to earth. The defeat of the villain rests on the girl’s brother, who must make a soul-wrenching decision to possibly end her life while risking his own. Jacques Foccart is the heart and soul of this story.

Jacques serves multiple functions. He is the newbie through whom new readers come to know the Legion. (Shvaughn also serves this purpose when she is shown around the redesigned headquarters.) He makes us care about him because he cares about his sister. And, defying comic book stereotypes, he is not an angry young black man. He never blames Brainy for what has happened to his sister; he makes it clear to us that he knows Brainy is her only hope, and the surgery’s success was never guaranteed. He performs heroically while making us all too aware of his fears and uncertainty. The true achievement of this issue, in my opinion, is that Levitz introduced such a well-developed character in the confines of a very crowded issue.

The other Legionnaires serve to advance the plot, though some get more panel time than others. I do not quibble with Levitz’s choices; in fact, I think he made logical and sometimes surprising decisions. Brainy, of course, is center stage with Jacques, and he continues to show his calm-in-the-face-of-disaster side while remaining caring and compassionate toward Danielle. He brilliantly outwits Computo by palming his telepathic earplug into Jacques’ hand (we presume; he couldn’t place it in his ear), and he offers his own resignation to take responsibility for Computo’s revival.

Garth, Imra, Gim, “Vi”, Jan, Brin, and Blok also get good panel time with scenes that somewhat advance their characters. Others have less to do. Dirk and Thom play a holo-game and are beaten up by it. Dawny and Drake are conveniently absent from HQ but turn back in time to rescue Gim and “Vi”. Shady is just there for Jan and Shvaughn to talk to. But not every character needs to shine, and, as I mentioned in a previous review, it’s good if some merely serve as supporting characters from time to time.

Because the story is so densely packed, there is a danger of it becoming hard to follow. Levitz solves this problem with a simple but elegant solution. Beginning on Page 12 and continuing for a dozen more, the final panel on most pages provides a brief interlude to something else going on away from the main action on the page. On Page 12, Superboy feels a sudden chill. On Page 14, the Subs are turned away by the Science Police. On Page 16, a sci police cruiser flags down Dawny and Wildfire. And so forth. This simple device provides a needed break from the action and a transition into the next scene. It is used most effectively on pp. 18-22 and 24 to advance the Great Darkness subplot. In this way, a lot is accomplished without our attention being diverted from the main story.

While I wouldn’t care to read a densely packed issue like this every month, I appreciate this one for what it is: a momentous occasion that celebrates the Legion’s renewed popularity and creative resurgence. It gives all members of the creative team a chance to strut their stuff, and, boy, do they deliver!


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#936311 - 08/21/17 07:15 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
While I wouldn’t care to read a densely packed issue like this every month, I appreciate this one for what it is: a momentous occasion that celebrates the Legion’s renewed popularity and creative resurgence.


I think that's the perfect way to put it in a nutshell. Thanks, He Who. Thanks, too, for making time to keep your toes in the Re-Reads despite Real Life throwing obstacles at you.

Good point also about Jacques rising above the black stereotypes of that particular era. That honestly had never occurred to me before, I was so distracted by his c'est frommage Claremont-style accent. Whether or not Levitz was consciously doing a cynical imitation of Claremont, I have to say that your observations, combined with Harbinger's consistently wonderful portrayal of Jacques in her Legion Worlds series of fan fictions, have just about brought me around a full 180 degrees in regards to this character.

#936345 - 08/21/17 07:25 PM 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
I'm glad you're warming up to Jacques, Annfie. He truly was a groundbreaking character for a number of reasons.

When I was in my final year of college, 1992-93, I drafted an article on the use of accents and dialect in comics. I intended to send it to the Comics Buyers Guide but never did. However, I learned so much in my English and German courses that I wanted to apply it to comic book characters such as Nightcrawler to show how writers used accents in dialogue. In most cases, the writers simply throw in a few foreign words to establish the character's foreign-ness, and it often comes across as a bad stereotype. In becoming acquainted with many people of international origin since then, I've come to realize the best approach when writing dialogue is to focus on what they say--word choice, emphasis, and expressions--instead of trying to recreate a foreign accent. To a degree, Jacques falls into the stereotype camp. However, this isn't necessarily bad since it immediately establishes his unique speech patterns. As I wrote above, the character transcends stereotypes in so many ways that it was worth putting up with a few French-isms.

Besides, if handled correctly, the use of foreign words can be educational to young readers! I learned a few German words from Nightcrawler, and the love of the language I developed from him led me to minor in German. In LSH Annual # 1, Jacques uses the word "maman"; I had no idea what it meant, and Levitz (to his credit) doesn't explain it or include a footnote. Now, of course, I know it means "mom." Jacques is praying to his deceased mother. Discovering things like this is what makes education--and comics--so much fun.


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#936357 - 08/22/17 07:18 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Café Cramer
LSH #290 And the Servant Shall be a Sign by Paul Levitz, art by Keith Giffen & Larry Mahlstedt, colours by Carl Gafford, letters by John Costanza

[Linked Image]

A team of Legionnaires, including new member Invisible Kid, investigates some destruction at the Museum of Mystic Arts. Suddenly, a dark figure breaks through a wall and commands them to serve the darkness, or else. This servant of darkness seeks a magical wand held by the Director, Steffanaci. He easily fells the Legionnaires as they attack; the wand is dropped and the servant leaves with it.

At Legion HQ, Brainy explains tourism to Blok. Brin gripes at Chameleon Boy for all the trouble he caused, leaves in a huff and has an embarrasing moment as he collides with Saturn Girl.

The Museum team has gone to London, since Stefanacci thought that Excalibur might be the next mystical object to be stolen. They encounter more tourists at the Tower of London. Another creature of darkness attacks and tries to steal the sword, both Wildfire and Invisible Kid try to stop him, without success. Wildfire does land a successful punch, but the servant recovers and flies off through a space warp with Excalibur.

At Legion HQ, Garth is in a bad state; Gym’ll diagnoses an electrical dysfunction of the brain and counsels waiting and hoping. Ayla remains with him as Jan goes to find Imra. He finds her speaking with Brin about the asteroid incident, tells her that Garth needs her and makes a few snide remarks. We learn that there is an election for Legion Leader the next day.

On the remote barren planetoid, the dark being congratulates his servants, while calling them mockeries. He feeds on the mystical objects they have brought.

The team at the Tower of London discuss what is going on; they decide to return to HQ for help. Jacques volunteers to try and follow a servant if they encounter one again. They next head to Talok VIII with Shadow Lass, since Brainy believes that the Orb of Orthanak will be the next target. The lights go out; even Shady has trouble seeing in this darkness but perceives a female shape seizing the Orb. The Legionnaires fight back, but another servant appears, seizes the Orb and leaves. Jacques deflects the female servant from entering the portal and she becomes a prisoner of the Legion.

At Legion HQ, a few members meet regarding the election. Element Lad declares himself a candidate, followed by Dream Girl and Ultra Boy. The team from Talok VIII arrives with the captured servant, expressing their fears over the power of the servants’ master. Marte Allon contacts the group to inform them that Chameleon Boy’s treason trial will be held the next day.

As Superboy carries the servant to the lab, Shady follows, disturbed with the effect the servant has on her. Superboy confides that he felt the same unease with the first servant. As they enter the lab, they see Danielle Foccart/Computo and observe instruments indicating that the presence of the servant is invoking nightmares in her.

The dark being receives the Orb and gains still more power, deriding the servant, his son, who brought the Orb. He proclaims that it is time to take power from the living and dominate the universe with his darkness. The image of the son and the emerging figure make it pretty clear that the servant is Orion and the dark being, Darkseid.

Comments:

And so begins one of the great Legion stories. We’ve had inklings of the menace in previous issues and they burst full-blown into action here. The reader is led on a chase, along with the Legion, as mystical objects are stolen, leading one to suspect that a magical foe might be at the heart of this mystery – until the final pages. What impresses, up to that point, is just how powerful the servants are; if the master calls them mockeries, the master must be very fearsome indeed. I think we’re further misled by the silhouette of the master, quite lean, with a very large collar; it just doesn’t look like Darkseid.

Orion is quite recognizable to anyone familiar with the New Gods but the other servants are harder to identify. Clues are given at the end that the Legion might be facing some form of Kryptonian or Talokian, given the comments by Superboy and Shadow Lass.

(BTW, where did Superboy come from (so to speak)? Is Levitz doing a test run to gauge how much readers want the Boy of Steel back in the Legion on a regular basis?)

There’s a nice nod to the early Legion with the explanation of how Excalibur was found by Supergirl, which apparently still hadn’t been verified as the true Excalibur at the time it was stolen.

Apart from the mystery of the servants’ mystical crime spree, life goes on for the Legion as they prepare for an election. Dream Girl’s candidacy surprises other members although we’ve seen how competent she is in the last few issues. Perhaps her teammates aren’t aware of her serious skills, as she continues to distract with sexy poses.

For such a serious matter as Cham’s treason trial, the Legion is caught off-guard. How could they not be informed of (or care) what was happening with him – or is the snap trial standard in the 30th century?

Garth has taken a turn for the worse, which is a surprise after his seeming recovery from depression in the Annual. It’s not clear if Imra has been avoiding him (which seems unlikely, again based on the Annual) or is unaware of his deteriorating condition. Sister Ayla stays with her brother, but doesn't appear distressed over Imra’s absence.

We’re also reminded of the on-going problems of Matter-Eater Lad and Computo. Tasmia did seem a bit cavalier when she explained Danielle’s presence to Superboy, “Oh, that’s just Computo....”

Once again, she and Brin are caught in what appears to be a compromising situation but which is in fact quite innocent. Jan jumps to conclusions and criticizes Brin for trying to steal Garth’s wife. Brin himself hadn’t shown any sympathy for Cham, so there are bad feelings all around the HQ. There's no good time for Darkseid to appear, but the Legion is going into this menace on shaky ground.

Invisible Kid acquits himself admirably as a new Legionnaire. A bit of Superboy hero-worship, but he shows plenty of courage and skill for somebody who has been thrown into the deep end of the pool.

The tourism is a good touch to remind us that the Legionnaires are celebrities, but we’ve moved on from the statues and parades of the early Adventure days.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#936365 - 08/22/17 09:17 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Legion of Super-Heroes 290

I feel I should preface this review by explaining that my first encounter with the GDS was different than that of a lot of other Legion Worlders.

Firstly, I didn't read it between the ages of 8 and 13, or as a lapsed fan returning in my 20s or 30s. I read it as a jaded, cynical 22-year-old on the verge of quitting comics altogether (it WAS the mid-1990s,) more than a decade after it was first published. At the time, I was not much of a Legion fan, because I intensely disliked the TMK Legion, and while I'd tried the Postboot, it felt a little too fluffy and juvenile at the time (obviously, I wasn't reading it carefully enough, but I digress.) I'd bought a few 70s and 80s Legion issues, depending mainly on who had drawn them.

And the entire reason I even bothered with the GDS in the first place was because I'd already learned ahead of time that Darkseid was the villain. I didn't know much about the original Kirby New Gods stories, but I did know Darkseid from the final two seasons of Super Friends, where he had been memorably voiced by the great Frank Welker.

So GDS has no real sentimental value for me. With that in mind, I approached my current re-read of this first installment with as open a mind as I could, having been mostly impressed with the handful of monthly issues leading up to it.

I think it's pretty good. Levitz gets the action moving right away, for which he is to be commended, keeps the plot simple enough to be accessible, weaves in the subplots gingerly so that they're not disruptive, and does a smooth job with all the teases and clues.

Now, then, the Giffen/Mahlstedt art...(deep breath)...in a nutshell, I didn't like it in 1996, and I still don't like it now. But I didn't hate it then, either, nor do I hate it now. Except for a few interesting layouts, such as the impressive opening splash page with the Legionnaires going down the tube (no pun intended,) Giffen's pencils are just...there, very plain, bland, and derivative -- and so I still don't understand why it continues to be held up by Legion fandom at large as the Gold Standard of 80s Legion art. What is clearer than ever to me is that I really, really dislike Mahlstedt's style of inking here. It's like he's trying to imitate Terry Austin's style, but without understanding why Austin used the approaches he did. So what we get, in my view at least, is a lot of little bitty thin lines, and a lot of tiny details, but no feeling whatsoever of depth or solidity. This art is so flat and so wispy-looking, it almost threatens to fly off the page if the wind from my oscillating fan gets too close to the comic book.

Sooooo...qualified success in my opinion, then. But the big, big battle-sequences are yet to come, and Levitz always had a real talent for choreographing them, while Giffen could be very dynamic when he put in the extra effort. We shall see what I think of the remaining installments.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer


Apart from the mystery of the servants&#146; mystical crime spree, life goes on for the Legion as they prepare for an election. Dream Girl&#146;s candidacy surprises other members although we&#146;ve seen how competent she is in the last few issues. Perhaps her teammates aren&#146;t aware of her serious skills, as she continues to distract with sexy poses.


That's our Nura! If her teammates insist on underestimating her, they do so at their own peril.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Tasmia did seem a bit cavalier when she explained Danielle&#146;s presence to Superboy, &#147;Oh, that&#146;s just Computo....&#148;



Yeah, even for Preboot Tasmia, that's pretty cold. It might be the first indication that, as far as Tasmia's personality was concerned, Levitz didn't get the difference between "merely haughty" and "just plain mean."

#936393 - 08/22/17 12:57 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Dave Hackett Offline
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Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
A team of Legionnaires, including new member Invisible Kid, investigates some destruction at the Museum of Mystic Arts. Suddenly, a dark figure breaks through a wall and commands them to serve the darkness, or else. This servant of darkness seeks a magical wand held by the Director, Steffanaci. He easily fells the Legionnaires as they attack; the wand is dropped and the servant leaves with it.


Pretty sure this is Matter Master's Metachem wand, isn't it?

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer

The dark being receives the Orb and gains still more power, deriding the servant, his son, who brought the Orb. He proclaims that it is time to take power from the living and dominate the universe with his darkness. The image of the son and the emerging figure make it pretty clear that the servant is Orion and the dark being, Darkseid.


Is it? I'll have to look again. Of course, when I read these as they came out, I had no idea who any of the New Gods or Darkseid were, so the ultimate reveal a few issues later was a bit of a head-scratcher, but didn't detract from the story. I know Darkseid's the selling point for later readers, but it always bugged me he's front and centre on the cover of all the collections, when the story itself is designed as a mystery.

#936394 - 08/22/17 01:54 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Ann Hebistand]  
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Paladin Online content
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The Underbelly of Society
Originally Posted by Ann Hebistand


Now, then, the Giffen/Mahlstedt art...(deep breath)...in a nutshell, I didn't like it in 1996, and I still don't like it now. But I didn't hate it then, either, nor do I hate it now. Except for a few interesting layouts, such as the impressive opening splash page with the Legionnaires going down the tube (no pun intended,) Giffen's pencils are just...there, very plain, bland, and derivative -- and so I still don't understand why it continues to be held up by Legion fandom at large as the Gold Standard of 80s Legion art. What is clearer than ever to me is that I really, really dislike Mahlstedt's style of inking here. It's like he's trying to imitate Terry Austin's style, but without understanding why Austin used the approaches he did. So what we get, in my view at least, is a lot of little bitty thin lines, and a lot of tiny details, but no feeling whatsoever of depth or solidity. This art is so flat and so wispy-looking, it almost threatens to fly off the page if the wind from my oscillating fan gets too close to the comic book.



This brings up something I wonder about some times: Is it really possible for me to be completely objective as an adult about stories and art that I loved as a child? I was right in that age range you described when I discovered the LSH and read the GDS off the stands, so I just have a love for the story and art imprinted on me. It's similar to how a lot of people hate Carmine Infantino's art on Star Wars, but I re-read it last year and still mostly love it. With Giffen the overall consensus is that fans loved his art up until it started to change around Omen & Prophet, which is mostly how I feel. I really don't know how I would feel about the art if I'd first discovered it as an adult the way I'm experiencing so many other Bronze Age artists for the first time these days.


Still "Lardy" to my friends!
#936397 - 08/22/17 02:06 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Paladin]  
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Ann Hebistand Offline
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Originally Posted by Paladin
Originally Posted by Ann Hebistand


Now, then, the Giffen/Mahlstedt art...(deep breath)...in a nutshell, I didn't like it in 1996, and I still don't like it now. But I didn't hate it then, either, nor do I hate it now. Except for a few interesting layouts, such as the impressive opening splash page with the Legionnaires going down the tube (no pun intended,) Giffen's pencils are just...there, very plain, bland, and derivative -- and so I still don't understand why it continues to be held up by Legion fandom at large as the Gold Standard of 80s Legion art. What is clearer than ever to me is that I really, really dislike Mahlstedt's style of inking here. It's like he's trying to imitate Terry Austin's style, but without understanding why Austin used the approaches he did. So what we get, in my view at least, is a lot of little bitty thin lines, and a lot of tiny details, but no feeling whatsoever of depth or solidity. This art is so flat and so wispy-looking, it almost threatens to fly off the page if the wind from my oscillating fan gets too close to the comic book.



This brings up something I wonder about some times: Is it really possible for me to be completely objective as an adult about stories and art that I loved as a child? I was right in that age range you described when I discovered the LSH and read the GDS off the stands, so I just have a love for the story and art imprinted on me. It's similar to how a lot of people hate Carmine Infantino's art on Star Wars, but I re-read it last year and still mostly love it. With Giffen the overall consensus is that fans loved his art up until it started to change around Omen & Prophet, which is mostly how I feel. I really don't know how I would feel about the art if I'd first discovered it as an adult the way I'm experiencing so many other Bronze Age artists for the first time these days.



That's a very good point, Lardy, and I'm glad you brought it up. There's nothing quite like the thrill of getting into something when it's fresh and new and exciting right off the stands, and I think that applies as much to art as well as writing. My own example would have to be the Epting Avengers era -- I felt at the time (1991-1994) that Epting's art -- particularly around the 350s, the early 360s, and his last four issues (372-275,) was the best of both the old school styles and the newer, more in-your-face approach. But other people at the time just didn't seem to get it -- the older fans would be like, "It's too Image-y!" and the Image fans would be like, "It looks too much like the way the old guys drew!" Whatever, I thought back then, your loss. But now almost 25 years have passed and every time I look at the best issues of that run, I still feel *exactly the same way.* So in, answer to your question, Lardy, no, I don't think it's possible for most people to be completely objective about their earliest superhero (or any other comic book genre) loves.

#936400 - 08/22/17 04:03 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LoSH 290

A Servant of Darkness dominates the centre, and focus, of this cover. We have some Marvel-style hyperbole to the side of the logo. This was back in the days when multi issue epics weren’t as common as they would become. Back then, some of them were actually good. smile

To show that Darkness means business, there’s only rubble beneath the creature’s feet on an otherwise blank background. I wonder if anyone tried to get the Legion logo down there instead, or put it in the same rubble-like font. The book has to be identifiable easily on the racks though, so it’s one where commercial considerations trump the design. The rubble certainly shows the creature’s intentions though.

Legionnaires do make an appearance. They are trapped within the creature, who reminds me of the nebula formed cosmic entities from both major comic companies (well, Cos is on both hand and leg, making it look more projected onto it, but that’s artistic license smile ). This works on a number of levels. It shows our protagonists in peril and it highlights the return of Superboy. This reinforces, not only sales, but also backs up the hyperbole. It’s also a nod to the portals used as transportation by the villains.

Like the Annual, the servant isn’t recognisable as any particular one. This, and the lack of detail on Invisible Kid’s costume (and with his back turned), make me wonder if the cover had been completed well in advance of the annual. That would also support why so many of the subplots in the Annual get space, but without considerable progression. Not that the space wasn’t beneficial.

The saga starts with a very impressive splash page. The Legion arrives at a futuristic plaza. Smoke trails indicate that there’s action immediately ahead. So, no slow build up here. The perspective of the group looking down on several stories of concourses is just another example of Giffen’s ability to capture the reader’s attention. He even goes to the trouble of making sure there’s greenery in the structure, taking the Metropolis movie out of his futuristic metropolis.

It’s an interesting field team too (classic Swan formation of five in use). Superboy is present. We don’t see him having to travel through time. A few words from Wildfire to remind us are sufficient to remind us where he’s from. As for why, I imagine that the cold feeling he felt back in 1969 (in the Annual) may have brought him into the future. Something I’d not connected in previous reads. Like the servant being thumped by a Legion cruiser in the annual, I think everything ties up.

As per the cover, Superboy’s involvement also indicates something big ahead. The sparring between Wildfire and Superboy picks up seamlessly from a number of issues ago. It’s developed into a relationship that’s good for both people. Superboy needs someone to treat him as just another hero, and not as a teenage inspiration. The Livewire version of Lightning Lad would have a little of this many years later. The trail from Wildfire’s boots is a lovely visual use of his powers. Drake’s not dependant on a flight ring.

In contrast, Jacques is unsteady and in awe of Superboy. Phantom Girl is a sure and steady voice of experience and Cos gets to show off his new costume from the Annual. Blok would also lose the chains from his costume as of this issue, I think.

The team look through the debris of what survives of Disney in the 30th century. The Museum of Mystic Arts is on the site of the Magic Castle. A throwaway that seems like a certainty for a Disney/ Superpets cross over. Yet, because of Warner’s connection to DC, we’d end up getting a Looney Tunes/ Legion crossover instead smile

Antonio Stefanacci, our creative team’s idea of a Doctor Strange descendant, makes his first appearance as the curator. He has been protecting the Mentachem wand, an artefact that has survived from its 20th century creation and use by Flash villain Matter Master.

Stefanacci claims it’s the most powerful item in the inventory. However, on the top panel on page three, fanboy Keith Giffen has put in Doctor Fate’s costume and helm. The colouring of the helm isn’t right, making it tougher to spot. Giffen would add a few more Fate links to the Legion over time.

The mockery that was seeking the wand returns to claim it. The Legion don’t fare well against it. Superboy is swatted away and its dialogue suggests a link between creature Kryptonian.

Tinya can’t phase through the thing properly and passes out. I find that sort of thing as annoying as Dawny’s tracking powers giving out for Plot Purposes. There’s not much Jacques can do, and Wildfire has to hold back to prevent roasting both the newest Legionnaire and the curator. Jacques uses “cauchemar” in both his first adventure and in his last appearance in v7 #23. Thankfully Jacques’ dialogue doesn’t come with a translation in the same balloon. The mockery claims the wand, announces the fact to its omniscient master, and escapes through a Ploink Tube.

A single page conversation between Blok and Brainy, reintroduces the Mission Monitor Board as a key piece of Legion equipment. If only to let the reader know where everyone is. Blok is referred to a linguistics programme as he grapples with the concept of tourism. The scene acts as a link between the Computo Annual (that damage has to be explained for people who hadn’t picked it up) and the Chameleon Boy subplot. We are also introduced to Oliver Queen descendant Oli-3 Queen. He’ll have a part to play in a future story. Blok’s failure to grasp certain human things, and his colleague’s frustration would be a trend in issues to come. Considering the array of alien species Giffen draws, you’d have hoped for a bit more patience in the future.

Speaking of tourists, Superboy seems a little out of place in this version of 30th century Earth. He’s been there often enough and has had wide ranging adventures. That, and his super-science, should mean he’s not as wonder struck as is shown.

Timberwolf is present to see off Chameleon Boy, who is looking to clear his name. There’s real enmity from Brin here. With the move to Levitz’s subplot driven approach, conflicts build over time. This isn’t going to be a single-issue misunderstanding or a case of Space Mutiny. Timberwolf really doesn’t like the Durlan.

The Mentachem wand was the latest in a number of magical artefact thefts. Excalibur (from way back in Supergirl’s initiation to the Legion) has yet to be stolen and the team arrive in London (nice splash page as an introduction) just in time for another Servant to attack.

The team lose again, with the mockery managing to escape with the sword. This mockery has a connection with light, even as it serves darkness. Each mockery is individually visually striking, while retaining a theme. They have separate background connections while serving a single villain.

Invisible Kid makes his first foray into combat. He’s nervous, but brave. There’s a good Wildfire moment as he powers in to punch the mockery. It’s one of my favourite panels of him. This attack works and serves as a clue to the source of the servant. Conveniently, Superboy is helping save the tourists. He may have had some more success against this mockery than the last one.

The team are seen as celebrities both in this scene and in the scene where Oli-3 is showing tourists the HQ. It was a good move by the creative team to recognise the status this team would have after all of their victories. Flashes of this would be carried all the way through into the TMK run. Here, the autograph hunters get in the way of the mission.

Back at HQ, and Garth has been diagnosed with an electrical brain dysfunction. It’s quite fitting for his powers (and for the merging of his Proty guest personality). But it does seem a little like a cop out of dealing with some more serious issues.

Ever tearful Ayla is present, while Jan leaves to find Imra. She’s with Brin after a chance encounter. Imra is the one who is more aware of what happened on the asteroid, and of the moment that passed. But Brin knows enough to sulk after a few barbed comments from Jan. He’s leader, but Jan’s comments are catty and a far cry from any sensitive later portrayal. He’s not exactly team building here. After his comments to Cham, it’s nice to see Brin have to take his own medicine.

Garth has an electrical brain dysfunction affecting his reactions. Danielle was looked at by Brainy because of an energy overload to her nervous system. That was of interest to him, because Tenzil Kem suffered from similar effects. All a coincidence, or is there a Lost Legion story in there?

Brainy predicts that the next attack will be on Talok. It’s very convenient to have Brainy around when you need to move a plot forward. smile It appears that there have been thefts all across the galaxy, showing the range of our villain.

Talok means that Shadow Lass joins the field team. They encounter another Servant. This one says that it’s the least of the Servants. But it looks to kill Cosmic Boy all the same. It is captured after some smart work from Jacques. Although they lose the artefact (an orb that thankfully isn’t the Emerald Eye) to a mockery harnessing an “Astro-Force”, the Legion now have a prisoner.

The escaping Mockery returns to the dark world foreshadowed in recent issues, just past the Hanging Captions of Foreboding. It is called the most loyal of the servants and referred to as “son” It’s another big hint at the identity of the villain (not that I’d have known these ones when I first read it).

Jacques has been an important part of two of the three main scenes. It’s important for a fledgling character to get some panel time, without hogging it. Despite his more passive powers in the face of powerful villains, he is handled very well. Compare this to Blok, who didn’t get to take advantage of his earliest appearances as a Legionnaire.

The team return to HQ with their captured mockery. This segues into a scene showing us that there’s an election on the way. Element Lad, Ultra Boy and, to everyone’s surprise, Dream Girl are in the running.

Imra looks dejected at the meeting, and snaps at Wildfire and Mon El. Marte Allon interrupts with news of Chameleon Boy’s trial for the failed Khundian mission. Cham seems to be a little out of sight, out of mind to his colleagues at present. They seem a little surprised. Perhaps they were unaware that the UP Council itself would be handling the trial.

Both Superboy and Shadow Lass feel particularly uneasy around two of the creatures they have encountered. Their prisoner certainly disrupts the comatose Computo (still in Danielle’s body and a nice reminder of the annual to encourage readers to go and pick it up).

Having taken all the available power from artefacts, our Dark Master (shown earlier with human looking skin tones on his arms) is now going to target living entities. It’s nice he keeps his power grabbing checklist in easy categories. But who will he target and how will the Legion stop him?

There’s a lot going on in these issues, as Levitz and Giffen get into their stride after only a couple of stories. But the main plot is actually the three action set pieces against the Servants. Where the book already works well is in the pacing of these scenes and the way they interconnect to the other subplots. It gives the book a feeling of being an ongoing organic universe, rather than a series of more isolated scenes.

So, Superboy from the annual links into his appearance here; the Khundian mission subplots intertwine; Jan leaves one scene to interrupt another; Computo, who our villain had sent a servant to look at in the Annual, is disturbed by another servant here; Marte Allon links this issue with the Khundian plots and also her appearance in the Annual showing that the Legion operate in a wider universe. And so on.

There’s not much fat on any of the action scenes, which allows for the room to have the other subplots in the issue. All have a lovely introductory panel by Giffen. They all establish the goal of the villain and the links they have with some of the heroes.

Another point is that the Legion is responsive to the villain’s plans in each scene. After their first encounter, they are already looking to see where they will strike next. Brainy uses that information to figure out Talok as another likely location. It might have been nice to see a glimpses of other field teams out there at alternate sites, as shown when the team were looking for the missing Khundian mission and rescue teams.

But, in principle, it shows that it’s a team of thinkers as well as fighters. It’s what Mon El told Jacques in the annual. There’s a battle of wits for the Legion in this story, as raw power alone won’t be enough. It makes a very nice change. Jacques suggestion to identify the villain would also develop over this, and the next couple of issues.

The power of the villains is another reason to keep the action scenes brief. Only transuits seem to have protected a couple of the Legionnaires here. Any longer could have led to fatalities. There’s something additionally creepy in having servants of such power be scavengers of artefacts.

Finally, I should really point out how much I still enjoy the colouring in the old issues. Carl Gafford was an important part of making the 30th century a visual treat. Just as Patterson/ Mahlstedt have been keeping the consistency just right, where Giffen looks to express different influences just a little.


"...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."
#936402 - 08/22/17 05:48 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Dave Hackett Offline
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Originally Posted by thoth lad


Finally, I should really point out how much I still enjoy the colouring in the old issues. Carl Gafford was an important part of making the 30th century a visual treat. Just as Patterson/ Mahlstedt have been keeping the consistency just right, where Giffen looks to express different influences just a little.


I agree that DC colourists did amazing things during this period (Swamp Thing was another book that worked the colour superbly for the medium), BUT I will say that the restored/redone colours of the Deluxe Edition are downright gorgeous. Everything looks so good, and certain things like the yellow glow around Wildfire's fist, really pop. The drawback is that the improved colours and paper detract slightly from Giffen's "Face Shadow" technique which look more textured in newsprint, but a little off in the DE.

Loved this issue as a kid and still love it now, lots going on, and still lots to learn (at the time). Don't know much about Dream Girl, and Ultra Boy seems too much like those Tom Cruise-esque macho jerk action stars young me hated so much in the movies, so I'm sticking with Jan and will vote accordingly. Except I won't, because American postage is a little expensive and I'm saving up for something or other.

Even in hindsight, I still disagree with FC and don't see Orion/Darkseid on the last page, but the Astro-Harness on pages 19 & 20 is a dead giveaway.

This issue also contains the WORST page in the GDS, which is #15. In the top panel, the Master is revealed completely except for his face, wearing a purple costume, with clearly Caucasian arms and chest exposed. Young me will spend the next several months staring at that panel to try and figure out who has a costume like that, only to discover later that Darkseid looks NOTHING like this. All these years later I'm still baffled at what they were trying to do here (Also, the Kalibak clone is hairless)..

#936445 - 08/23/17 04:41 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
if the master calls them mockeries, the master must be very fearsome indeed.


When I first read this, I probably thought that the mockery tag was because they were mockeries of life, rather than mockeries of particular heroes. Can’t be sure, but reading “mockeries” even now still gives me that impression.

Originally Posted by Cramer
I think we’re further misled by the silhouette of the master, quite lean, with a very large collar; it just doesn’t look like Darkseid.


The bare arms was a change for him too smile

Mock-Orion: Master! I have returned with Felix Faust’s Fondue Set!
Villain: Gah! You have returned too soon! >leaps out of bath for next panel appearance in a bathrobe and bunny slippers.

I think there was an earlier panel where you could see his distinctive head gear. (hah! not getting me to type “distinctive helmet”…bah!) But he has been shown inconsistently as have the mockeries.

Originally Posted by Cramer
(BTW, where did Superboy come from (so to speak)? Is Levitz doing a test run to gauge how much readers want the Boy of Steel back in the Legion on a regular basis?)


In the annual, he felt a chill of something ominous. I think he got to thinking about visiting old friends as a result. It’s as near a guess as I’ve got smile

Originally Posted by Cramer
There’s a nice nod to the early Legion with the explanation of how Excalibur was found by Supergirl, which apparently still hadn’t been verified as the true Excalibur at the time it was stolen.


It was a nice touch. I probably thought the use of it a little silly on the first reading, but this time round I was a little sorry to see it go. Still, the spirit of Albion must reside somewhere. Arise King Lad!

Originally Posted by Cramer
Perhaps her teammates aren’t aware of her serious skills, as she continues to distract with sexy poses.


I’ve noticed that in the future, sexy poses seem to involve putting your knee on top of consoles. Jeckie did the same thing a while back. There’s probably Console Clubs dotted around the UP for this sort of thing.

Originally Posted by Cramer
For such a serious matter as Cham’s treason trial, the Legion is caught off-guard. How could they not be informed of (or care) what was happening with him – or is the snap trial standard in the 30th century?


I thought they’d be a bit more in the loop too. Could the others have a more professional relationship with their head of espionage, than a friendly one? In a much later volume I remember Vi saying she’d never been in his HQ apartment for example.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Garth has taken a turn for the worse, which is a surprise after his seeming recovery from depression in the Annual.


That’s a good observation. That was just the sort of scene that should have been the turning point for his condition.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Sister Ayla stays with her brother, but doesn't appear distressed over Imra’s absence.


Imra was just down the corridor to be fair. Probably off to get Ayla some more tissues. smile

Continued...


"...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."
#936446 - 08/23/17 04:41 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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thoth lad Offline
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... continued

Originally Posted by Cramer
“Oh, that’s just Computo....”


I think she was covering her utter lack of Legion knowledge about Computo from the Annual. smile “Yes I know all about Computo! Just don’t ask me about any other villains as I may have already accidentally released them from their vaults.”

Originally Posted by Cramer
Brin himself hadn’t shown any sympathy for Cham, so there are bad feelings all around the HQ. There's no good time for Darkseid to appear, but the Legion is going into this menace on shaky ground.


There’s definitely a bit of longer term friction brewing. The Legion, the Titans and the X-Men. All very popular at this time. All showing some angst.

Originally Posted by Cramer
The tourism is a good touch to remind us that the Legionnaires are celebrities, but we’ve moved on from the statues and parades of the early Adventure days.


Attention Legion Worlders! The annual parade to Cobie’s statue will proceed as normal! Please disregard comments to the contrary! smile

Originally Posted by Paladin
This brings up something I wonder about some times: Is it really possible for me to be completely objective as an adult about stories and art that I loved as a child?


I read the Infantino Star Wars work when I was a kid. It never struck a chord with me then and really doesn’t now either. But I appreciate it more now, seeing the craft involved in his work and having a better appreciation for more distinctive artists.

I liked Perez’s art on a story when I was a kid, years before I would see his work on JLA and Titans. But you can see all the improvements he made in his later work.

I do find that there’s certain styles I’ve preferred from the time I could learn to read. My appreciation of them changes with experience though.


"...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."
#936477 - 08/24/17 12:24 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Fat Cramer Offline
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Café Cramer
Originally Posted by thoth lad

It’s an interesting field team too (classic Swan formation of five in use). Superboy is present. We don’t see him having to travel through time. A few words from Wildfire to remind us are sufficient to remind us where he’s from. As for why, I imagine that the cold feeling he felt back in 1969 (in the Annual) may have brought him into the future. Something I’d not connected in previous reads. Like the servant being thumped by a Legion cruiser in the annual, I think everything ties up.


I hadn’t made the 1969 connection even on this reread, although it does make sense if you figure that he looked around his own time, found nothing amiss and figured something might be up with those wild and crazy kids from the future.

Quote
As per the cover, Superboy’s involvement also indicates something big ahead. The sparring between Wildfire and Superboy picks up seamlessly from a number of issues ago. It’s developed into a relationship that’s good for both people. Superboy needs someone to treat him as just another hero, and not as a teenage inspiration.


Good interpretaion of their relationship, and emphasized by Jacques’ hero-worship.

Quote
The team look through the debris of what survives of Disney in the 30th century. The Museum of Mystic Arts is on the site of the Magic Castle. A throwaway that seems like a certainty for a Disney/ Superpets cross over. Yet, because of Warner’s connection to DC, we’d end up getting a Looney Tunes/ Legion crossover instead


So is the Castle showing up in Marvel Comics now?

Quote
Antonio Stefanacci, our creative team’s idea of a Doctor Strange descendant, makes his first appearance as the curator. He has been protecting the Mentachem wand, an artefact that has survived from its 20th century creation and use by Flash villain Matter Master.


You and Dave got that but it’s one I never connected, not having read much of the Flash stories. Along with the ban on Green Lanterns, the acquisition of the Mentachem wand is another untold story. (Since both the wand and Excalibur had links to comic book stories, I looked up the Talokian Orb of Orthanak and Google, thinking I don’t know how to spell, gave me the Orb of Orthanc from Lord of the Rings.)

Quote
Timberwolf is present to see off Chameleon Boy, who is looking to clear his name. There’s real enmity from Brin here. With the move to Levitz’s subplot driven approach, conflicts build over time. This isn’t going to be a single-issue misunderstanding or a case of Space Mutiny. Timberwolf really doesn’t like the Durlan.


This enmity seems recent i.e. since the asteroid, but I wonder if there was evidence of it earlier.

Quote
Back at HQ, and Garth has been diagnosed with an electrical brain dysfunction. It’s quite fitting for his powers (and for the merging of his Proty guest personality).


Shades of Eltro Gand! Unless the Proty idea originated with Levitz, this scene handed TMK a nice opportunity. I love these unintended connections!

Quote
So, Superboy from the annual links into his appearance here; the Khundian mission subplots intertwine; Jan leaves one scene to interrupt another; Computo, who our villain had sent a servant to look at in the Annual, is disturbed by another servant here; Marte Allon links this issue with the Khundian plots and also her appearance in the Annual showing that the Legion operate in a wider universe. And so on.


Nicely summed up.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#936484 - 08/24/17 03:57 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Dave Hackett]  
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thoth lad Offline
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
I hadn&#146;t made the 1969 connection even on this reread, although it does make sense if you figure that he looked around his own time, found nothing amiss and figured something might be up with those wild and crazy kids from the future.


I'm stretching that one a bit, as it's not at all clear.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
So is the Castle showing up in Marvel Comics now?

A portal to the Negative Zone? Bought by Doctor Doom and transferred to Latveria as it was more authentic looking that the fantasy castles they had been putting him in all those years? smile


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Along with the ban on Green Lanterns, the acquisition of the Mentachem wand is another untold story. (Since both the wand and Excalibur had links to comic book stories, I looked up the Talokian Orb of Orthanak and Google, thinking I don&#146;t know how to spell, gave me the Orb of Orthanc from Lord of the Rings.)


For a guy who likes to keep the Legion away from the DCU , in its own space, there's still quite a few links around. Perhaps that would fade over time, as his other duties increased. Certainly after Crisis and the Event comics kicked in.

I think you're Orb reasoning could be spot on. We'd get to see the Maakas from Talok in a later story, and Tasmia's own origins are tied in with supernatural traditions.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
This enmity seems recent i.e. since the asteroid, but I wonder if there was evidence of it earlier.


I took a quick peek at the issues around Earthwar. No sign of animosity there. But I did notice that Jan led a team on an impulsive plan to attack the Khundian leadership. I guess it's ok if things go well... and if you take Superboy along. Jan also threatened to kill someone (psycho). But there should be some of the Legion willing to cut Cham a little more slack.


Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
I agree that DC colourists did amazing things during this period (Swamp Thing was another book that worked the colour superbly for the medium), BUT I will say that the restored/redone colours of the Deluxe Edition are downright gorgeous. Everything looks so good, and certain things like the yellow glow around Wildfire's fist, really pop. The drawback is that the improved colours and paper detract slightly from Giffen's "Face Shadow" technique which look more textured in newsprint, but a little off in the DE.


I'm switching between the softcover and the floppies for the reviews. You're spot on in that the TPB quality meads to popping colours. Thanks for pointing out the effect it has on the shadows. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I agree that's actually a drawback. I also quite like the more subdued colouring that's on the original paper stock. If anything, I like it more, the more faded it has got over the years.


Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
Loved this issue as a kid and still love it now, lots going on, and still lots to learn (at the time). Don't know much about Dream Girl, and Ultra Boy seems too much like those Tom Cruise-esque macho jerk action stars young me hated so much in the movies, so I'm sticking with Jan and will vote accordingly. Except I won't, because American postage is a little expensive and I'm saving up for something or other.


smile

Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
This issue also contains the WORST page in the GDS, which is #15. In the top panel, the Master is revealed completely except for his face, wearing a purple costume, with clearly Caucasian arms and chest exposed. Young me will spend the next several months staring at that panel to try and figure out who has a costume like that, only to discover later that Darkseid looks NOTHING like this. All these years later I'm still baffled at what they were trying to do here (Also, the Kalibak clone is hairless)..


Paul: I've got this great idea for a villain. It's going to shock the Legion to it's core when they find out that Supergirl has survived 1000 years into the future and she went bad!
Jenette: Nope. We're looking to kill her off in an event we're just starting to plan out.
Paul: What?! Already?! Rats...now I'll need to make a quick switch.. Darkseid! Whew! I'm glad I won't have to come up with a switch like this again....

You'd think from the annual and this issue that some of the details weren't planned out. Such as Kalibak. Perhaps the arms were simply a colouring/printing error?


"...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."
#936486 - 08/24/17 05:12 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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290:

I remember buying this issue off the stands before I found the annual. The first page threw me for a loop. A new Invisible Kid?! I put the issue down and scoured the city until I found a copy of Annual # 1. (Distribution of annuals and other special issues could be spotty in my area.) I felt greatly annoyed ati first; tying the main story so closely into the annual was something Marvel would do, not reader-friendly DC. smile However, the extra effort was worth it. Issue # 290 builds well off of the annual. The ongoing storylines and subplots deepened the Legion's universe and created a sense that anything could happen.

Levitz again shows his mastery of writing by playing with some tropes yet changing or improving upon them. Jacques is the newbie Legionnaire, and we’re reminded of this because he’s not used to the flight ring. His gosh-wowness at working alongside Superboy provides a nice orientation to the characters and situation. Jacques also hangs back in the action against the first servant but takes the initiative during the second encounter even though he knows he’s out of his depth. (My favorite line: “At least while I’m invisible, no one can see my teeth chatter!”) Bravely, he comes up with an idea to follow one of the servants back to the master, even though doing so would certainly be suicide. His plan doesn’t work out quite as intended, but he helps the Legion capture a servant.

The other Legionnaires also come across as better developed personalities. Cosmic Boy (oddly, perhaps) is the voice of reason who keeps the others grounded. Tinya snaps at Wildfire for “getting angry at innocent birds” (though that probably isn’t what Drake meant), and Drake responds with a defensive comment about that he’s as fast as any Legionnaires. These personality clashes seem genuine.

Superboy also fits in quite nicely here—the humble icon—though I found it annoying when he expressed amazement at the 30th century more than once. He’s surely visited the future enough times to not get thrown by a pyro-nullifier team or futuristic London.

Another trope used in the story is that the heroes are initially unsuccessful in stopping the thefts of two magical objects, but, on the third attempt, they win a partial victory. These scenes work because they are tight and well-choreographed. They also drop abundant clues as to the servants’ identities (…least of all you, Kryptonian!”)

Back at HQ, other familiar situations are developed with similar skill and freshness. Brin’s antagonism toward Cham comes back to bite him in the form of a snide remark from Jan. Jan announces his bid for leadership but is undercut by Nura’s own surprise bid. There is a nice setup in these scenes, almost like a one-two punch. Other characters (Ayla, Imra, Brainy, and Blok) are used to great effect in their supporting roles.)

As for the art, I see more and more of Annfie’s objections to Giffen’s style. There is a certain flatness and sameness throughout. I haven’t paid much attention to body poses, but the faces sometimes appear wonky. Giffen can still be called on to express emotion, and some characters seem more natural than others, but his faces are definitely a work in progress.

Two aspects of the art stand out to me though: the use of alien extras and the action scenes. The aliens give the impression of a multicultural, multispecies society, albeit one often represented for humorous effect. (Second favorite line: the alien asking Jacques if he is somebody and if the alien get a sample of Jacques’ scent.). Through the alien tourists, we get a sense of how the Legion is lauded throughout the galaxy.

The action scenes, as mentioned above, are taut and well-depicted. The scene on Talok VIII is especially well done, a challenge given that some of it takes place in the dark. The female servant is quite creepy as she reaches for the globe, and the arrival and departure of the Orion servant happens fast but without being rushed or confusing.

I also see Annfie’s points about Mahlstedt. His inks, though serviceable, do appear thin compared to Patterson’s.

I’m pleased that 290 still holds up well after all these decades. The Legion was truly in the midst of a creative renaissance at the time, helmed by creators who truly cared about the series and who seemed to be as invested in the characters as the fans were.


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#936527 - 08/25/17 07:35 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer


There’s a nice nod to the early Legion with the explanation of how Excalibur was found by Supergirl, which apparently still hadn’t been verified as the true Excalibur at the time it was stolen.


I loved this reference. It was a surprise yet fit in naturally with the storyline. In later stories, Levitz would inundate us with trivia for no apparent reasons, but here it works well.

Quote
For such a serious matter as Cham’s treason trial, the Legion is caught off-guard. How could they not be informed of (or care) what was happening with him – or is the snap trial standard in the 30th century?


I read it that they were simply shocked when it finally happened. It's like learning a relative of yours who has robbed a bank has been arrested. You know it's coming, but it's still hard to take.

I also didn't read it to be a snap trial. In the annual, Jan says Lightning Lad dumped the leadership on him "last week," so some time has passed--allowing for the wheels of justice to take their course.

What I'm curious about is that Cham is shown "packing up" (in Timber Wolf's words), suggesting he is leaving the Legion or has been thrown out. His status with the Legion at this point was never clarified.


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#936531 - 08/25/17 07:55 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Paladin]  
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Originally Posted by Paladin

This brings up something I wonder about some times: Is it really possible for me to be completely objective as an adult about stories and art that I loved as a child?


Originally Posted by Annfie

So in, answer to your question, Lardy, no, I don't think it's possible for most people to be completely objective about their earliest superhero (or any other comic book genre) loves.


I agree, and I would add it's not desirable to be completely objective about our earliest comic book loves, or even our latest. Being fans means we throw a large portion of objectivity out the window, and that's okay.

I recall something thoth wrote during one of our earlier reviews. I mentioned that whenever Mon-El appeared, as a child I experienced a sense of excitement since he was my favorite character. Thoth said he had never experienced that feeling over a character. In a way I understand this; it's a totally irrational sensation when a favorite character (or rock star or actor or sports figure) is elevated to Messiah-like status and can do no wrong. When the character appears, the fan feel everything is going to be all right. The fan wants to embody that character--his/her confidence, charisma, power. There is almost a religious aspect to this.

It's the same with writing and art. If we feel the memory of goosebumps as we re-read these old stories and experience the old art, that's perfectly natural. That doesn't mean we should be blind to their faults or unwilling to view them in a new way, but we never lose sight of those initial feelings and impressions. Nor should we.


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#936541 - 08/26/17 05:17 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
290:

I remember buying this issue off the stands before I found the annual. The first page threw me for a loop. A new Invisible Kid?! I put the issue down and scoured the city until I found a copy of Annual # 1. (Distribution of annuals and other special issues could be spotty in my area.) I felt greatly annoyed at first; tying the main story so closely into the annual was something Marvel would do, not reader-friendly DC. smile However, the extra effort was worth it. Issue # 290 builds well off of the annual. The ongoing storylines and subplots deepened the Legion's universe and created a sense that anything could happen.


Yeah, this goes back to what we were talking about earlier about the best ways for publishers to do continuity and world-building. Ironic, isn't it, that only about 3 years from these issues currently under discussion, DC would counter-productively wreck the whole concept with Crisis On Infinite Earths? Regardless of COIE's merits as a stand-alone story, the long-term effects would basically guarantee that the DCU would remain inaccessible and incoherent for decades to come!

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by Paladin

This brings up something I wonder about some times: Is it really possible for me to be completely objective as an adult about stories and art that I loved as a child?


Originally Posted by Annfie

So in, answer to your question, Lardy, no, I don't think it's possible for most people to be completely objective about their earliest superhero (or any other comic book genre) loves.


I agree, and I would add it's not desirable to be completely objective about our earliest comic book loves, or even our latest. Being fans means we throw a large portion of objectivity out the window, and that's okay.

I recall something thoth wrote during one of our earlier reviews. I mentioned that whenever Mon-El appeared, as a child I experienced a sense of excitement since he was my favorite character. Thoth said he had never experienced that feeling over a character. In a way I understand this; it's a totally irrational sensation when a favorite character (or rock star or actor or sports figure) is elevated to Messiah-like status and can do no wrong. When the character appears, the fan feel everything is going to be all right. The fan wants to embody that character--his/her confidence, charisma, power. There is almost a religious aspect to this.

It's the same with writing and art. If we feel the memory of goosebumps as we re-read these old stories and experience the old art, that's perfectly natural. That doesn't mean we should be blind to their faults or unwilling to view them in a new way, but we never lose sight of those initial feelings and impressions. Nor should we.


Beautifully put, good sir. cheers

#936542 - 08/26/17 06:49 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
In a way I understand this; it's a totally irrational sensation when a favorite character (or rock star or actor or sports figure) is elevated to Messiah-like status and can do no wrong. When the character appears, the fan feel everything is going to be all right. The fan wants to embody that character--his/her confidence, charisma, power. There is almost a religious aspect to this.


As I read this last night, I was listening to the radio reporting that 30 people had been killed in rioting in India, following the rape conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. This guru has a rock star profile, with popular support and deep political connections. He has many supporters who think he's a living saint and can do no wrong.


"...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."
#936549 - 08/26/17 10:05 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
I used to feel the same way about certain rock stars. They engaged in behavior that would be unacceptable for mere mortals, yet, because they were rock stars, they made it acceptable. For a kid or young adult facing seemingly endless constraints, it is very attractive when someone comes along, defies all the rules, and seems to succeed because of it.


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#936687 - 08/29/17 04:00 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LSH #291 A Sign of Darkness Dawning! By Paul Levitz, art by Keith Giffen & Larry Mahlstedt, colours by Carl Gafford, letters by Annette Kawecki

[Linked Image]

Mon-el and Dream Girl examine the captured servant as Shadow Lass looks on; they determine that it is a clone of Tasmia’s ancestor, Lydea Mallor, made of inanimate matter. Dream Girl rushes off to the Election meeting but a shaken Tasmia opts to lie down at Mon’s suggestion.

On Avalon, the Orion servant unearths Mordru, who only has time to make one death threat before he is assaulted by the Master.

On Earth, Cham consults with his attorney, who paints a dismal picture of his trial outcome.

The captured Lydea awakens in the Legion lab.

Ultra Boy and Element Lad spar off at the meeting over Cham’s situation; Jo wants to postpone the election to help clear Cham but Jan refuses, saying that Cham is guilty. Dream Girl reminds them that she’s also running; as Wildfire insults her, she falls into a prophetic collapse. Suddenly, all hell breaks loose with a report of a disturbance on Takron-Galtos, news of Mordru’s freedom and Nura’s vision that her sister on Naltor would be attacked by the Servants of Darkness.

Mon-el, Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl and Shadow Lass head to Takron-Galtos and put down the prison break; they find a frightened Time Trapper at the centre of the destruction, mumbling about the darkness. The Orion servant appears from a space warp but is repelled by Mon and Jo. As Shady muses about the incredible power of the Master, Tinya considers that he has drawn some power from the Time Trapper.

Garth remains unconscious with Imra by his side.

On Avalon, Wildfire and Dawnstar find Mordru; as the other Legionnaires catch up to them, they see Mordru, helpless in a pit, moaning about the dark and cold.

On Naltor, the White Witch appears before waiting Legionnaires just as one of the servants attacks and tries to transport the Witch to the Master. As Sun Boy blasts the servant, Invisible Kid enters the portal and observes the Master. The servant flees, abandoning the White Witch, and the Legionnaires see Jacques, partly visible, stuttering about the darkness and cold. Sun Boy asks Nura where the nearest hospital is, but she is caught up in another vision: the Legion fights the servants on the Sorcerer’s World – and lose.

Second story: Of Leaders and Lovers by Paul Levitz, art by Howard Bender & Rodin Rodriguez, colours by Carl Gafford, letters by Janice Chiang

Imra tries to comfort a feverish Garth, when Rokk calls to report on the three teams’ encounters with the Servants of darkness and to tell her that the election will be conducted by remote hook-up. He is suddenly blasted by something and Imra runs off to investigate, worried about Computo. She finds Lydea beating up Rokk. Imra knows she can not fight the Servant and sends a desperate call for help to her ailing husband. As Lydea prepares to kill Imra and Rokk, a weak and wobbly Garth appears and lets loose a massive lightning bolt, immobilizing Lydea.

Imra puts him back to bed, relieved that his fever has broken. She tells Rokk that stress made Garth’s power backfire on him, disrupting his brain to the point of collapse. As they discuss the stress of leadership, they get news that Dream Girl has been elected leader.

Comments:

The fast pace of this story continues on multiple fronts. By the end of this issue, we know how and why the Master is stealing artefacts and attacking specific beings, and we have a pretty good visual that matches Darkseid’s profile. The mockeries/clones/servants are explained, although we don’t know why these particular characters were chosen, although Orion makes sense and Lydea's associated with darkness.

There’s a good sense of things becoming very chaotic as the Legion has to deal with three different attacks, the election is conducted hastily, Cham faces his trial without any Legion support, and Garth remains unwell, but able to repel an attack by an awakened Lydea clone.

To include the White Witch as a target along with top-notch threats Mordru and the Time Trapper elevates her to a powerhouse level character.

Jacques’ bravery is highlighted; he hasn’t been shown to be a daredevil by any means, he had thought previously to try and enter a portal to find out what’s going on and, when the opportunity presents itself, he seizes it. Not without consequence, and one hopes that he won’t be another very short-lived new Legionnaire as a result.

Tasmia lets down the team, in my opinion, by becoming overwhelmed with the revelation that one of the servants is based on her ancestor. Not acting very planetary champion! She should have been enraged by the insult and vowed retribution. Am I harsh? She could be particularly affected by the darkness.

Superboy departs at an odd time, given the situation. It seems to violate the idea of time travel, if he has to keep to a particular schedule back in the 20th century.

Dream Girl is elected, but who voted for her? Imra was distracted, Jan and Jo would likely have voted for themselves, Wildfire thought she was a joke and others considered her a surprise/unlikely option. Perhaps in the panic they hit the wrong button. Switching leaders amid a crisis is a curious path to take for a team; there could be more respect for Dream Girl’s abilities than team members have openly admitted – or they, like Thom, realize that she may have foreseen her own election.

Jo stands up for Cham, returning the favour of Cham helping him out when accused of murder. Jan’s dismissal – he’s guilty, so let him rot – struck me as cold, but practical in the face of the many threats.

Giffen’s art may not be to everyone’s liking, but he sure delivers on the aliens, with a great depiction of Cham’s lawyer. There also were a lot of shadows on people’s faces, which was a not-so-subtle reminder of the descending darkness.

The second story resolved the Garth illness problem, recapped events leading up to it, and announced Dream Girl as leader. I’m always amused how Legionnaires’ pajamas match their uniforms, or at least retain their symbol.


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#936688 - 08/29/17 04:01 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Another thought: for a story about great darkness, that's a very bright cover.


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#936689 - 08/29/17 05:27 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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OG Shady's reaction I get...given Talok's ancestry devotion, I can see how she'd be really shaken to see a corrupted version of someone she'd have probably considered to be a flawless inspiration until then. The warrior aspect of Shadow Lass was never really empathised until possibly 5YL (or definitely Umbra otherwise)...it's kind of retroactively become an important part of her identity.


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#936690 - 08/29/17 06:07 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Of note for this issue, the backup Fat Cramer reviews is in the original issue. For anyone reading the TPB or Deluxe Edition it has been replaced by the Giffen version , done in his later style so as to be extremely jarring. For the record I enjoy the original much more.

#936691 - 08/29/17 06:43 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer


Tasmia lets down the team, in my opinion, by becoming overwhelmed with the revelation that one of the servants is based on her ancestor. Not acting very planetary champion! She should have been enraged by the insult and vowed retribution. Am I harsh? She could be particularly affected by the darkness.


Cramey, I don't think you're being harsh on Tasmia. Bascially, I think the Preboot Tasmia started out with a tremendously good first impression back in Adventure 365-366, only to gradually end up a stuck-up snob with feet of clay who tended to be defined by the men in her life. Raz does make a good point about how a lot of her warrior spirit was a retroactive thing, although I'd mark the starting point as happening towards the end of the Baxter era, with my beloved Eduardo Barreto-drawn issue 56, where she rescues Mon-El from certain doom. Also, kudos to Raz for mentioning Umbra, whom I overall like a lot more than her predecessor.

One other thing about Tasmia in this issue: her tiara is blown off, and her costume shredded, by the Servant's attack, neither of them to be seen again until the Retroboot. I, for one, despise the makeover that Giffen gave her immediately post-GDS, and which this issue basically anticipates (FTR, the look that Lightle came up for her in Baxter 14 is, in my mind, the definitive one, and it enraged me when the Convergence: LSH tie-ins depicted her with her Giffen look, even though the story took place shortly AFTER Baxter 14!)

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Giffen&#146;s art may not be to everyone&#146;s liking, but he sure delivers on the aliens, with a great depiction of Cham&#146;s lawyer.


I, personally, love the Giffen/Tanghal front cover, although I do see Cramey's point about its brightness. Tanghal had just recently come into his own as an inker, over on New Teen Titans, and his work on this cover blows Mahlstedt's inks on the interiors out of the water, IMHO. As for the aliens, I do think they're an important part of the Legion aesthetic, but I also think the humanoid characters are an equally important part, if not moreso.

Finally, I have to say that I really love to hate the Lydea Mallor Servant, and that I wish she had been Darkseid's second-in-command rather than the generic toady that the Orion Servant comes off as to me.

#936695 - 08/29/17 04:56 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LoSH 291

The concentric circles on the cover are a good way to focus the reader’s attention. Here, they surround the central villain. As has been pointed out, our central villain seems to go through a few costume/ tone changes as part of this story, meaning that his distinctive silhouette isn’t recognisable on this cover. Still, that the circles represent the operation of a Ploink Tube gets it lots of points.

The cover can be split into three tidy horizontals, this time out. The top has the logo, the middle our villain, and the bottom has a beaten Mordru. Not that you know that until you’ve read the issue. They could have left a silly hat or some bondage gear on the cover as a clue to his identity. smile

Where Giffen adds his flourish is to transition the Legionnaires from that bottom third into the middle. While the three central Legionnaires react to the villain’s appearance, it’s really the framing figures of Dawny and Wildfire that make the cover. Dawny is a great character to have rise above the others with her powers, and the elegance of her wings. Wildfire’s futuristic appearance always gives the book more of a sci fi feel.

We get another great opening page. The Lydea Mallor mockery takes up the central vertical, raised above the Legionnaires to reinforce to their feeling of awe over their discovery. The mockery’s hair looks to have a sinister life of its own. There have already been, and will continue to be, many examples of Levitz and Giffen reinforcing each other’s work, making this a high point in Legion history.

I could easily a have seen a version of the splash page text making it to a cover.

Lar: I know the secret of this Servant of Darkness! It’s a mirror image of your ancestor, Shadow Lass!
Shady: But---She’s been dead a thousand years!

Then there are the extra layers. It’s Dream Girl and Mon El who are analysing the Servant. As established in the Annual, they are two thirds of the group’s biosciences team. Not only does this approach greatly expand the range of both characters, it reduces every story’s dependency on Brainiac 5 to find a solution.

When he’s not on a mission, Giffen has been drawing Mon El without his cape, which is a nice touch. Dreamy and Shady have also been really well drawn under Giffen and this continues here.

Finally, in all of the futuristic technology Giffen has put into the panel, and which doesn’t detract from the focus of the scene, there’s a little glowing orb. This is the precursor to the Computo major-domos that the creative team would later introduce. It’s another excellent throwaway link to ongoing subplots.

The link between the Servant and her lineage comes as a real shock to Shadow Lass. As the hereditary champion of a world steeps in tradition, this is a really difficult moment for her character. I’m reminded that Shady would shortly look to make a drastic change to her appearance. Apart from a Legion lore link to that change, I wonder if it was also in reaction to the discoveries here. The scene is interrupted by the Election subplot. That’s quite a lecherous look from Mon El in the last panel, considering his partner’s emotional struggle.

As declared last issue, our master villain is through with cars, he’s eating bars… focusing his attention on living sources of magical energy, rather than artefacts.

He, and the really creepy looking mockery he calls his son, release Mordru from his imprisonment. We hear Mordru scream, before we cut away. There’s a brief look at Chameleon Boy’s upcoming trial. It’s a tense scene where Cham is given little hope of anything but a harsh punishment.

Cham’s lawyer is a very visually different alien. Yet, the dialogue could have been taken from any tense courtroom drama. Like the tourists from last issue, it’s odd that such different life forms all seem to have exactly the same roles in society that we have now. If there’s ever a call for a new Eyeful Ethel to join to Legion, my vote is for the lawyer.

Element Lad’s “Chameleon Boy’s problems are his own doing” seems cold, even if Brande is defending him and Cham wanted them not to attend. Ultra Boy, remembering all the times he’s had to go on the run, looks to defend Cham. But, as Jan says, they know he’s guilty. Hopefully, Brande is also not trying to pretend otherwise either in hiring a defence. But, just because Cham is punishing himself as well as waiting for a verdict, doesn’t mean that his friends can’t give him emotional support. If they’re friends, rather than colleagues, of course. Another point towards sociopath Jan.

Wildfire is still disparaging about Dream Girl’s election chances. He says “next thing you know, Krypto the super dog would be in the running.” Considering all the alien life forms we’re seeing with Giffen, (also see the Sensor Lad thread) there’s not only a dearth of them on the team, but a bit of ignorance on what constitutes intelligence on Wildfire’s part. Why not Krypto? smile Next thing you know, they’ll be voting a disembodied energy blob as leader, Drake smile

The dialogue throughout the scenes in this issue, contain references to the election. It provides a way of highlighting the personalities of those involved as well as the reactions of their colleagues. It’s just another layer in how well the book is structured.
For all his planning later on, which he points out to others, Element Lad can’t be prepared for every eventuality. Something that Star Boy points out to him. Thom is developing into a cynical thorn in people’s egos.

As Element Lad presides over the election meeting, a number of subplots move at once. It’s a real payoff for Levitz to be able to do this. It shows the number of options his set up work provides the pacing of his stories. They find out that Mordru has been released at the same time as they are informed about an attack on Takron Galtos. There’s movement from the lab table where Shady’s ancestor is being kept. The mockery isn’t as shut down as their analysis would suggest. Viewers of The Thing are probable particularly on edge now.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Levitz still has his eyes on the set up. Nura has a vision that’s tied into none of these, but involves a future attack on her sister. That confrontation will be a key moment in the story. Giffen shows a shaken and sweat covered Nura, illustrating the staring her powers have on her.

There’s a small pause for breath as Brin and Blok have a comedy moment, and we’re off…

The only thing worse than getting a job on Takron Galtos, is having to fill out all the insurance forms once you find out you have a job on Takron Galtos.

The prisoners are on yet another rampage.

Guard 1: The prisoners are revolting!
Guard 2: I know! There’s no washing facilities in the stasis cubes!
Ol-Vir: >heat vision blast<

While Brainy may have provided a force shield around the place to prevent an escape, they’ve managed to get out of their cells. Mon El and Ultra Boy arrive to save the life of one SP officer. Already on whole life sentences, the inmates feel that they have nothing to lose, adding an interesting bit of social commentary to proceedings.

Levitz even uses the guard as a set up point. He’s not only there to show the threat of the prisoners but, when Shady uses her powers, to show that the Villain has been there too.

Shady’s powers get in the way of her colleagues. I don’t think this is the first time this has happened, and I know it’s not the last. Firstly, there’s nothing stopping Shady from using her abilities in a more focused manner. Surrounding individuals, rather than areas. She has been shown with that level of control, and uses it in the very next scene. Secondly, it’s a little lazy to show her as being a ranged fighter. As her planet’s champion, and with some Legion training, Shady should be a bit better than this. Instead, Mon-El and Jo get all the action, with Tinya and Shady as makeweights. At least Levitz acknowledges this in the two ladies’ reactions.

It’s not all about power. It’s Tinya who realises that, despite the broken shielding around the Time Trapper’s cell, he’s not responsible for the devastation. Jo tries to sneak a peek at the departing Ploink Tube. Plot Power trumps Ultra Powers though, and he can’t see anything. The son mockery attacks, and gets the better of Jo and Lar, before Lar’s heat vision drives it back through the portal. Again heat and light really have an impact on the mockeries, nt that anyone really follows up on it.

Giffen is having fun with Shady’s cape. It billows and becomes a focus for her shadow powers, giving her some very good panels throughout. She doesn’t use them to avoid the mockery’s blast though. Neither is Tinya using her powers, which you’d think she’d have active by default in such a situation. If the Astro Force was lethal, they should be dead, but that’s Comic Book energy attacks for you.

Levitz likes to alternate the pacing of his subplots. So, after the action on Takron Galtos, we have a quick interlude between Saturn Girl and Superboy. It concerns an update on Garth’s condition. His electrical fever shows no changes. But the real story is between Imra and Kal-El. Apparently, Kal’s foster parents would die of a very similar condition. Apart from that sort of thing being a reason for Kal’s mind wiping, I don’t remember if the how was established. It’s fine if everything’s controlled by Weisinger Central. But this sort of foray into Super-territory would be raising alarms bells in editorial offices before too long, even derailing the Legion book as a result.

Superboy leaves, looking to go back in time again. I can feel that disconnect as he goes. It’s another reason why he comes through the time barrier less frequently. Also notable is Imra in casual attire, a reminder that she has a life outside of the team as we saw when she got married and in the future retirement story. Also, that Garth’s luck is mentioned again, well in advance of the Luck Lords story.

The Legion’s discovery of Mordru mirrors that of the Time Trapper. Both look drained and terrified. Mordru’s silly hat has a touch of poignancy about it. In sweeping aside the Legion’s most powerful foes, is Levitz showing us the power of the threats the team will face? Levitz created the Infinite Man as a Time Trapper alternate. Now, Mordru has been depowered, having been shown as a cackling last act villain in recent outings.

The Dark Master sapping all these powers is the villain equivalent of new heroes slapping Batman around to get some ratings. Both the Trapper and Mordru would return, and this issue acts as a point of evolution for them both, rather than one of destruction. That’s one real advantage in having the same writer on board for such a length of time.

Giffen continues his visual touches when the Legion use their powers. Drake is once again shown to be using his energy emission to assist his flight, and is surrounded by energy when he goes to attack Mordru. He and Dawny have been shown consistently as part of the Legion’s first response. I get the feeling that this role feeds their perceptions of their importance to the team.

Following up on Nura’s prediction, a team contacts her sister. Three of the four, Dirk, Jacques and Blok, would form part of Byrne’s Fantastic Four Legion tribute in the post Crisis years. Beside Jacques sleek costume, Dirk’s wrestling pants on the outside attire looks very outdated.

Something that looks great is Giffen’s take on the White Witch. I can see a lot more of the work he put into this panel, this time round. The elegant, clean approach he has to his pencils; the depth of the panels and everyone in them; the complementary inking and lovely palette selection really make this run stand out for me more each issue. No wonder Blok is stunned. The Legion has a tradition of Love at First Panel, and this is Blok’s moment.

The lines on Mysa’s outfit would split the costume into three, had they not all been white. That approach to Legion costumes would become the norm in later years and across at least one ‘boot.

Like Jacques chattering teeth comment, knowing that Mysa spent hours preparing her teleportation spell endears her immediately.

When there’s a big disaster, there are often reports of people who narrowly missed the catastrophe with the suggestion that there was something, other than coincidence, at play. Levitz takes this idea further, as the precognitive Naltorian abilities make the area around the Legion team suddenly very quiet indeed.

Apart from a very clunky bit of exposition by Blok and Nura, the team’s response to the attack is a quick one. It has to say a lot about Mysa’s power level that she’s considered to be valuable to the Villain. But she can’t do anything to prevent the mockery capturing her here. Even Blok gets to do something! smile Sun Boy has more success. You’d have thought that after Wildfire’s fight with this mockery, that Brainy would have been used to analyse their weak points already.

Jacques takes the opportunity of an open portal to take a look at our villain, as had been his plan from last issue. A little convenient or a perceptive plan form the outset? He ends up as traumatised as the Trapper and Mordru, with a white streak in his hair.

It was brave of him to go. But he had to as the Villain’s shoulder pads are too wide to go through the portal on his side. Dirk also shares the same shoulder pad issue as the story’s main Villain. I wonder if this is a sign of Dirk’s decline in later years. smile

Jacques is subdued, Mysa captured and Ayla and Nura are largely ineffective (Ayla really could be better used). The Mockery has just blasted Dirk. So, it’s a misstep that both Mockery and Master leave without Mysa. They’ve been relentless in the past. As a result, the bones of the plot are shown. The scene is there to add Mysa to the cast, fulfil Jacques plan and to seed a further premonition of a losing battle on the Sorcerer’s world. Which shows just how much is going on in each scene. But it would have kept things on the narrative track if Giffen’s visuals had shown the mockery being blasted by Dirk and then fleeing, rather than blasting Dirk and wanting to leave suddenly itself.

Regular readers will know that Nura’s predictions always come true. But as pointed out with the sweeping away of old villains, it’s unlikely that Levitz will be using Legion robot duplicates as stand ins for any defeat. The lingering image of a Mockery in Nura’s eyes, as her vision fades, is a final example of that great writing and art interaction the book has.

LoSH 291 – Backup Story

The story stars the three founding members. It has a lot of similarities with the subplot in the Annual. The three face a peril, Cosmic Boy succumbs first and Lightning Lad saves his colleagues, seemingly breaking through his illness (or reintegrating his Proty/Garth selves smile ). The mockery, who we saw move in the lead story, is returned to an inert status once again. Like the Annual, the Servants of Darkness story here is a side step rather than a step forward. I don’t see why this couldn’t have been incorporated into the main storyline really, and can imagine some paging issues in making the whole saga work necessitating this add on.

Imra performs a little bit of telepathic manipulation on her husband here. Considering that one of the things he’s worried about is her relationship with Brin Londo, I wonder what kind of tinkering she did there.

Under Howard Bender, there’s a different emphasis on some of things we’ve seen established. The hug between Imra and Brin makes them look more of a couple. His Lydea Mallor mockery is physically powerful and turns Cosmic Boy into Punching Bag kid. I think of Coz mainly through his powers for this period of books. He’s visually interesting, without a lot of character coming across. I’m not sure how he managed to survive the mockery’s powers here. It would be a quite a bit later when I’d read his spotlight issues, time as leader and then the TMK run. The mockery shows some creepy shadow effects that could shed some light (ouch) onto some of the things Shady could potentially do.

In a final surprise, Dream Girl is confirmed as leader. A proto omnicon is seen delivering the news. I remember reading that Levitz was as surprised as anyone concerning Nura’s victory. But she has been given strong, character expanding space during his run. Her success seems less of a left field fan vote and more of a natural progression form what we’ve seen in the last few issues.

Bender provides a Silver Age take on the Legion characters. His backgrounds are basic with some nice flourishes in the decor. Keith Giffen redraws this as part of the TPB. Other than consistency in creative team, I’ve no idea why this was done. As it showcases one of Giffen’s later artistic looks, it’s not any more in keeping with the rest of the book than Bender’s art.

From the clean, open perspective of the lead feature, we’re now into giant, oppressive angular interiors with shadow effects that Tasmia would have to work overtime to achieve. These are the same scenes as Bender drew, but there’s a more claustrophobic feeling to the work. There’s even the Munoz style eye close up and a repeat panel of Garth’s face. I find this version of the style a little softer, in a good way, than other versions.

Giffen keeps a pot plant from Bender’s portrayal. Giffen would use plant life quite a bit to offset the otherwise starkly technological backdrops. Instead of providing life to proceedings, I always wonder if they were real and how they survived in there. Perhaps the Pot Plants are an alien race from a lost legion story.

I’ve just taken a quick look at the shadow effects in the first few pages, as they are quite different to what we’ve seen before on the book. I don’t think I’ve given them enough credit before. On the first panel Garth’s face is in darkness as he’s suffering an illness. Imra’s shadow surrounds his head, providing as much comfort as her physical touch. The next shadow appears on Imra’s face as she’s interrupted by Cosmic Boy. It’s a shadow of frustration, a darkening mood. Next up is a half face shadow for Garth. The top of his head is clear of shadow, indicating his mind is clearing, while the rest is dark reinforcing his illness from the first panel.

Fighting Lydea Mallor provides a few opportunities for some dramatic lighting, with a particularly nice one only showing Imra’s eyes. The last two instances seem to be just for the heck of it, which is a bit of a let down. But there’s some definite chiaroscuro appreciation going on.





"...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."
#936696 - 08/29/17 05:53 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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thoth lad Offline
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Originally Posted by Cramer
To include the White Witch as a target along with top-notch threats Mordru and the Time Trapper elevates her to a powerhouse level character.


It’s a reminder why Evillo wanted her in the Devil’s Dozen and of the time where she countered Modru’s magics (Adventure #371 – Look It Up Lad). Like Excalibur, she’s a magical part of the Legion’s past and it’s fitting she’s used. I wonder at what point Levitz decided to make her a member. I’ve a feeling it was for a particular storyline that we’ll be touching on soon.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Not without consequence, and one hopes that he won’t be another very short-lived new Legionnaire as a result.


Superboy said “if you live long enough” to Jacques. Just the sort of comment to perhaps make readers wonder.

Tasmia lets down the team, in my opinion, by becoming overwhelmed with the revelation that one of the servants is based on her ancestor. Not acting very planetary champion! She should have been enraged by the insult and vowed retribution. Am I harsh?

I saw this in a similar vein to Raz. We’d seen Talok being a culture struggling to become more technologically advanced in previous appearances. It would be picked up again in the Tales stories to come. Tasmia is a hereditary champion of a 1000 year lineage. To find the inspiration of that lineage corrupted in some way must have been a huge shock.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Superboy departs at an odd time, given the situation. It seems to violate the idea of time travel, if he has to keep to a particular schedule back in the 20th century.


Without peeking ahead, he’ll be back soon, won’t he? It’s another side step in plot. If it was a chill of dread that brought him to the 30th century. Why go back now? Perhaps he’d left the gas on and worried he’d not get back to exactly the right time?


Originally Posted by Cramer
Dream Girl is elected, but who voted for her? Imra was distracted, Jan and Jo would likely have voted for themselves, Wildfire thought she was a joke and others considered her a surprise/unlikely option. Perhaps in the panic they hit the wrong button.

I wonder if the votes were provided in the lettercols. I’ll need to look. They were part of the story for the next one.


Originally Posted by Cramer
Switching leaders amid a crisis is a curious path to take for a team; there could be more respect for Dream Girl’s abilities than team members have openly admitted – or they, like Thom, realize that she may have foreseen her own election.


I think Legion admin, a little like the Avengers, is a subplot all of its own. smile Perhaps Element Lad didn’t like the uncertainty surrounding the team not having a proper leader in the wake of Garth’s resignation? He looked to put himself forward for the post, to make his leadership legitimate, rather than form a deputy position. It happens here when unelected PMs go to the polls to reinforce their position within the party, as much as to display leadership to the country.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Jo stands up for Cham, returning the favour of Cham helping him out when accused of murder. Jan’s dismissal – he’s guilty, so let him rot – struck me as cold, but practical in the face of the many threats.


Gosh yes. It was Columbo Cham who did the legwork in that one for Jo. I still think Jo comes across as the better person, regardless of the threats the team face. [/quote]

Originally Posted by Cramer
There also were a lot of shadows on people’s faces, which was a not-so-subtle reminder of the descending darkness.


It’s possible he was already well on his way to shadowy effects demonstrated in his redone back up strip. 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."
#936703 - 08/29/17 09:09 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
I plan to do more extensive review later, but to touch on a few points:

--I don't understand how Tasmia let the team down. All she did was skip a meeting. (People at my job do it all the time!) I think her feelings were understandable, as raz and thoth explained. It would weird anybody out to discover a villain to be a clone of a long-dead ancestor, but, given Talokian ancestor worship, it must have been doubly hard on Shady. To me, her reaction humanizes her and presents a vulnerable side we haven't seen before.

--I also didn't see Jan's behavior during the meeting as particularly callous toward Cham. As Jan mentioned, Cham didn't want Legionnaires at his trial. Jan was respecting his wishes and also being practical. There was nothing the Legionnaires could do for him, save offer unwanted moral support. Their efforts were better spent dealing with the crisis at hand.

--Good catch about Ultra Boy's reasons for defending Cham. Jo is pure emotion here, while Jan relies more on logic. Jo's support of Cham in light of their recent history is commendable.

--The election results were indeed revealed on the letters page--in 290. This means readers knew the outcome before it was revealed in story. (Ugh!) Out of 784 votes cast, Dream Girl walked away with 109 and Jan with 88. Ultra Boy came in third with 83.

--When I first read the Superboy scene, I thought Imra was upset because she knew Superboy was going back to visit his parents just before they died. Actually, she was upset because they would die of an unexplained fever similar to Garth's. Even so, this scene bugs me and drives home how much the Legion kept from Superboy in order to keep him on the team. It surely must qualify as one of the great moral dilemmas of all time that the Legionnaires chose to withhold information about Superboy's future from him, but no one really questions this. Why isn't Mon as passionate about telling Superboy the truth as Jo is about defending Cham? Changing the past be damned. Does anybody even know if changing the past would unravel the Legion's future? (Sure, the Fatal Five tried to change the past once, but they had assistance from a device called the Time Sorter.) The thing is, the Legionnaires have gotten to know Superboy as a friend and a person, not just a historical icon. Some of them should be wrestling with their choice to keep him uninformed.



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#936704 - 08/29/17 10:01 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Klar Ken T5477 Offline
Deputy
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Paradise Valley
Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Another thought: for a story about great darkness, that's a very bright cover.


[Linked Image]

Does this make you feel better?


I'm nigh invulnerable. I have the reflexes of an Olympic-level jungle cat. I have the strength of 10, perhaps 20 men: a crowded bus stop of men. But my greatest power is this: when destiny speaks, she speaks to me.
She says hi, by the way.
#936714 - 08/30/17 03:57 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Klar Ken T5477]  
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thoth lad Offline
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Originally Posted by Klar Ken T5477


[Linked Image]

Does this make you feel better?


I dunno. It makes me feel kinda blue....

Darkseid's makin' a mockery outta me
Yeah, Darkseid's makin' a mockery outta me
I'm mad, tho' Nura says to just wait and see

- Great Darkness Blues, Elastic Olsen Band.


"...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."
#936735 - 08/30/17 12:01 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Fat Cramer Offline
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Café Cramer
The blue cover does look more in line with the story to me. After thinking about it, I guess the Legionnaires were still living in the bright light since Darkseid was just building his strength. Or something like that.

True that Tasmia wasn't the warrior she would be made out to be in later versions, and that she would have been rattled, especially given the importance of ancestors in her culture. Nevertheless, she had information about who Lydea was, which might have been useful to the team in figuring out what they were up against. Perhaps Nura communicated the necessary details. In any event, she recovered quickly enough to participate in the mission to Takron-Galtos.

It was curious to print the election results before it was revealed in the story - maybe an editorial blooper? I'd like to know how the Legionnaires themselves voted - don't think there was a tally presented for this election.

(I never got the TPB Great Darkness but am curious to see the Giffen version of the second story, so I'll probably cave in and buy it.)


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#936737 - 08/30/17 12:28 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Dave Hackett Offline
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Originally Posted by thoth lad


Bender provides a Silver Age take on the Legion characters. His backgrounds are basic with some nice flourishes in the decor. Keith Giffen redraws this as part of the TPB. Other than consistency in creative team, I’ve no idea why this was done. As it showcases one of Giffen’s later artistic looks, it’s not any more in keeping with the rest of the book than Bender’s art.


I suspect it's a credits/compensation thing.

The Original GDS TPB was just the issues comprising the Saga (as opposed to the Deluxe edition which encompassed issues before and after), so the art credits for the whole book would be Giffen/Mahlstedt once the replacement was done. It could also be a matter of Bender's contract not having a reprint clause, though would it really be cheaper to pay Giffen/Mahlstedt to redo the story than work out a deal with Bender? Hard to say.

#936832 - 09/01/17 12:23 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
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291:

Yes, it is a bright cover—but what’s interesting is that the GDS covers are varied and innovative, and not too obvious in how they use the theme of darkness. The impression I get from this cover is that it’s a supernova going off, just before everything plunges into darkness. In fact, I live in an area of the country which experienced totality of the recent eclipse. It reminded me that darkness and light go hand-in-hand in creating a deadly effect.

On the story itself, a lot happens yet I felt somewhat underwhelmed. It’s a truism in comics that middle chapters of multi-part stories tend to lag, and some of that happens here though it’s difficult to pin down exactly what’s lagging. Make no mistake: 291 is an exciting chapter that raises the stakes and contains a few surprises. But it didn’t go as far as it should have.

The story begins with a bang, of sorts: The revelation that the female Servant was cloned from a long-ago ancestor of Shady’s. While the revelation itself isn’t particularly impressive, what it tells us about Shady is. This is the first I’d heard of her ancestor being a hero, and that fact that Lydea Mallor lived a thousand years ago sets up the possibility of her introduction in the present-day DCU (which does happen in L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89, etc.—Levitz and Giffen planned very far ahead, it seems). As we’ve already discussed, Shady’s reaction to the news tells us some interesting things about her, as well.

This leads into the admin meeting where Element Lad and Ultra Boy argue over whether or not to support Cham at his trial. This, too, has been discussed, but what I like about the scene is that it shows us different sides of Jan and Jo’s personalities. Their conflict is ramped up by their competition for leadership, and, in these stories, I’m really getting a sense of Jan’s personality beyond his sole survivor status.

The admin meeting is interrupted when the Legion must respond to alerts involving two of their deadliest enemies: Mordru and the Time Trapper. But it is not these enemies who pose the threat. The Legionnaires arrive to find each a cowering, defeated version of his former self. The real threat comes from the “Master,” who defeated them. Yep, the “Master” is truly powerful and the Legionnaires are in deep doo-doo if they go up against him.

But go up against him, they must. A timely vision from Dream Girl (who at last gets to use her power—or maybe her power uses her) alerts them to where the Master will strike next: at DG’s own sister, the White Witch. I’m not sure if this revelation truly elevates Mysa to world-class status as a magic user. Darkseid abandons her awful quick once the Legionnaires interfere. Perhaps Darkseid just wanted to grab at anyone who possessed magic, or perhaps he wanted her for other reasons. It must get very lonely sleeping on a dead world for centuries. In any case, the redesigned White Witch is quite striking and her addition to the Legion’s cast adds a dimension to Nura’s personality, as well.

As middle chapters are wont do to, this one ends in a stalemate, with nothing truly being accomplished save for Jacques getting a glimpse of the Master and a streak of skunk hair for his trouble. It’s the sort of revelation that could lead somewhere but doesn’t. If Jacques recognized Darkseid or were able to describe him to history buff Brainy (or Cos), the mystery would be over. But the mystery must endure, so it doesn’t really matter that Jacques saw him.

I guess that’s one of the two things which bug me about this story. The other thing is the Legion's unearned victory. They don’t prevent Darkseid from taking off with the White Witch; he simply abandons her. It would have been more interesting, I think, if the villain had realized the Legionnaires were more powerful than he thought and decided to retreat until he could study them further. This would give the Legionnaires a fighting chance and also address one of the problems Levitz had with his villains: they are so omnipotent that they fear nothing, learn nothing, and never grow. Nothing is more boring than a static character.

The backup story also yielded mixed blessings. It resolves the Garth subplot but in a way that is neither interesting nor convincing. Garth remains comatose until (trope alert!) he realizes his wife and friend are in danger, then he miraculously recovers and even has time to get dressed before dispatching the menace with a single lightning bolt! And then he collapses.

What I like about the backup is Imra’s attempt to use her power to help her husband. Her self-recriminations over being a good wife also tell us a lot about her. It’s interesting that both she and Shady have “vulnerable” moments in this issue. I have truly appreciated how Levitz has used the last few issues to reveal so much about Saturn Girl’s inner world, insecurities, and doubts. Paradoxically, she seems a stronger character because of them.

This is also one of the few stories we’ve had to feature Garth, Imra, and Rokk as the three founders. Their shared history is put to good effect here (though Rokk accusing Imra of being irresponsible for not listening to him seems a tad insensitive—but this is Rokk, after all).

So, 291 is a better-than-average middle chapter, but not what it could have been.


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#936908 - 09/03/17 02:07 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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thoth lad Offline
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Originally Posted by HWW
There was nothing the Legionnaires could do for him, save offer unwanted moral support. Their efforts were better spent dealing with the crisis at hand.

I think an unwanted message of moral support would have gone a long way. They don’t have to turn up and form a picket outside his cell for that. smile



Originally Posted by HWW
The election results were indeed revealed on the letters page--in 290.

Typical. I started peeking at #291 smile Even then, I nearly missed them.

Blok – 23
Brainiac 5 – 41
Chameleon Boy – 36
Colossal Boy – 15
Cosmic Boy – 19
Dawnstar – 15
Dream Girl – 109
Element Lad – 88
Karate Kid – 56
Lightning Lad – 28
Light Lass – 8
Mon El – 52
Phantom Girl – 28
Princess Projectra – 26
Saturn Girl – 26
Shadow Lass – 14
Shrinking Violet – 16
Star Boy – 17
Sun Boy – 20
Timber Wolf – 37
Ultra Boy – 83
Wildfire – 27
Total – 784 (“doesn’t including a couple of obvious attempts to stuff the ballot box.”)

“Frankly we were shocked by the results, having expected it to be a dead heat between Ultra Boy and Element Lad…but we bow to the will of the majority. Besides, it will be interesting to see what happens.”

It couldn’t have been that much of a shock. She did stand for leadership. It wasn’t as though ti wasn’t even one of the candidates. Having the candidates named in the story does seem to have focused the voting. As mentioned, Dreamy had been getting a very solid build up over the Levitz run, and this was a natural progression of that.

What if Jeckie or Val (4th in the poll) had won, even though they had left the team?
What if Cham had to lead the Legion from his cell?
What twists and turns would happen to future plots with “Violet” leading the Legion?


Originally Posted by HWW
Even so, this scene bugs me and drives home how much the Legion kept from Superboy in order to keep him on the team. It surely must qualify as one of the great moral dilemmas of all time that the Legionnaires chose to withhold information about Superboy's future from him, but no one really questions this.


Those who did question it were mind wiped on the next Time Bubble trip smile

Why isn't Mon as passionate about telling Superboy the truth as Jo is about defending Cham? Changing the past be damned. Does anybody even know if changing the past would unravel the Legion's future? (Sure, the Fatal Five tried to change the past once, but they had assistance from a device called the Time Sorter.) The thing is, the Legionnaires have gotten to know Superboy as a friend and a person, not just a historical icon. Some of them should be wrestling with their choice to keep him uninformed.

Originally Posted by HWW
Cos, at least, wrestled with this back in Supes #235. That’s the one where they were mindwiping Supes so he wouldn’t know that they had found a way to extend lives. They didn’t want that knowledge ever tempting Supes, or to fall into the wrong 20th century hands.

Didn’t Supes consent to the basic mind wiping, when he returns to the past? Along the lines of he’d rather no know the fates that befall everyone from his time.



Originally Posted by Cramer
True that Tasmia wasn't the warrior she would be made out to be in later versions,

She kicked Lady Memory’s butt later on in this run too.


Originally Posted by Cramer
I'd like to know how the Legionnaires themselves voted - don't think there was a tally presented for this election.

Star Boy must have voted for Dreamy. She would know whether or not he would. Even if he really wanted to vote for someone else, he would have voted for her to spare himself the grief, therefore fulfilling any foresight she had on it.

Originally Posted by Dave
I suspect it's a credits/compensation thing…It could also be a matter of Bender's contract not having a reprint clause, though would it really be cheaper to pay Giffen/Mahlstedt to redo the story than work out a deal with Bender? Hard to say.


I’d hate to think that Mr Bender was deprived of any payment, just because he wasn’t on DC’s royalty scheme or hadn’t a reprint clause.


Originally Posted by HWW
On the story itself, a lot happens yet I felt somewhat underwhelmed. It’s a truism in comics that middle chapters of multi-part stories tend to lag, and some of that happens here though it’s difficult to pin down exactly what’s lagging.


I think I get a little of that feeling next issue smile I’m sure if you were to ask Levtiz to write this as a graphic novel, the pacing would be different. It’s a little bit of a retread of last issue, substituting magic users for magic artefacts.


Originally Posted by HWW
This is the first I’d heard of her ancestor being a hero, and that fact that Lydea Mallor lived a thousand years ago sets up the possibility of her introduction in the present-day DCU (which does happen in L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89, etc.—Levitz and Giffen planned very far ahead, it seems). As we’ve already discussed, Shady’s reaction to the news tells us some interesting things about her, as well.


When Shady tells us that her ancestor died, it could have been of old age, in a Talokian nursing home. But heroic figures never seem to have that fate.

From what I recall, Giffen was involved with LEGION Acronym because no one else wanted to launch anything off the back of Invasion. Shady’s ancestor must have been rattling around in his head. Despite knowing her fate, Shady obviously couldn’t hint about any previous Legion group in this story.


Originally Posted by HWW
I’m really getting a sense of Jan’s personality beyond his sole survivor status.


How do you see Jan’s personality at this stage?

Originally Posted by HWW
I’m not sure if this revelation truly elevates Mysa to world-class status as a magic user. Darkseid abandons her awful quick once the Legionnaires interfere.


I think her role in Evillo’s group and in countering Mordru in previous stories give her a pretty high status in Legion terms. In the same way they involved Excalibur, it was a good nod to Legion history to bring in the White Witch. I agree that the villain should have seen this one through, forcing the Legion to find other solutions. As you say later, it’s an unearned victory.


Originally Posted by HWW
…or perhaps he wanted her for other reasons. It must get very lonely sleeping on a dead world for centuries.


Eeeewwww! Considering her abusive relationship with Mordru.


Originally Posted by HWW
In any case, the redesigned White Witch is quite striking and her addition to the Legion’s cast adds a dimension to Nura’s personality, as well.


Yet another bit of creative support for Nura in this run. It’s refreshing to see a character built on positively, rather than demolished along the way.

Originally Posted by HWW
… this one ends in a stalemate, with nothing truly being accomplished save for Jacques getting a glimpse of the Master and a streak of skunk hair for his trouble. It’s the sort of revelation that could lead somewhere but doesn’t. If Jacques recognized Darkseid or were able to describe him to history buff Brainy (or Cos), the mystery would be over. But the mystery must endure, so it doesn’t really matter that Jacques saw him.


… It would have been more interesting, I think, if the villain had realized the Legionnaires were more powerful than he thought and decided to retreat until he could study them further. This would give the Legionnaires a fighting chance and also address one of the problems Levitz had with his villains: they are so omnipotent that they fear nothing, learn nothing, and never grow. Nothing is more boring than a static character.



Jacques involvement would be paralleled by another cast member next time out too. (Peek Ahead Lad) This will become a retread later in the story too…

I would have preferred the villain not to retreat at all. He’s grabbed everything he wanted up until this point, and the Legion simply don’t offer enough resistance for it to be different this time round either. Had the villain not been so omniscient, the Guardian mockery could well have been chased off by Dirk, for a scene where it is punished by its master. Failing that, Mysa could have been taken. This would have forced the group to her home world, whether through logic, since the villain is pinching lots of other mages, or through Nura’s predictive powers. Likewise, our villain could have pinched the secrets of the Sorcerer’s world form a captive Mysa, again forcing a confrontation. Like Jacques mission, this too would have a parallel next time out (Peek Ahead Lad)


Originally Posted by HWW
The backup story also yielded mixed blessings. It resolves the Garth subplot but in a way that is neither interesting nor convincing. Garth remains comatose until (trope alert!) he realizes his wife and friend are in danger, then he miraculously recovers and even has time to get dressed before dispatching the menace with a single lightning bolt! And then he collapses.


The always cut the panels where the hero collapses, gets a James Brown cape put over them, and then recover enough to continue. Copyright reasons I guess shrug

Originally Posted by HWW
I have truly appreciated how Levitz has used the last few issues to reveal so much about Saturn Girl’s inner world, insecurities, and doubts. Paradoxically, she seems a stronger character because of them.


I’ve always seen this as a longer character arc than Nura’s, but with the result that it’s the two of them in Universo’s prison. There, Imra moves ahead even more than the others. It’s a much better approach here, than blowing up Titan. smile

Originally Posted by HWW
This is also one of the few stories we’ve had to feature Garth, Imra, and Rokk as the three founders. Their shared history is put to good effect here (though Rokk accusing Imra of being irresponsible for not listening to him seems a tad insensitive—but this is Rokk, after all).


From the time I started reading, the three founders were starting to look a little distant. Rokk would spend time with Lydda and the Subs, while Imra and Garth would move into parental roles. Then there was the retirement subplot and Legionnaires Three. I might feel differently about them if I had been reading since the beginning, but I quite liked the transition of characters out of the main Legion. It’s something DnA would pick up more fully in Hypernaturals.


"...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."
#936916 - 09/03/17 06:11 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
291:

Yes, it is a bright cover&#151;but what&#146;s interesting is that the GDS covers are varied and innovative, and not too obvious in how they use the theme of darkness. The impression I get from this cover is that it&#146;s a supernova going off, just before everything plunges into darkness. In fact, I live in an area of the country which experienced totality of the recent eclipse. It reminded me that darkness and light go hand-in-hand in creating a deadly effect.


This.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
As middle chapters are wont do to, this one ends in a stalemate, with nothing truly being accomplished save for Jacques getting a glimpse of the Master and a streak of skunk hair for his trouble. It&#146;s the sort of revelation that could lead somewhere but doesn&#146;t. If Jacques recognized Darkseid or were able to describe him to history buff Brainy (or Cos), the mystery would be over. But the mystery must endure, so it doesn&#146;t really matter that Jacques saw him.

I guess that&#146;s one of the two things which bug me about this story. The other thing is the Legion's unearned victory. They don&#146;t prevent Darkseid from taking off with the White Witch; he simply abandons her. It would have been more interesting, I think, if the villain had realized the Legionnaires were more powerful than he thought and decided to retreat until he could study them further. This would give the Legionnaires a fighting chance and also address one of the problems Levitz had with his villains: they are so omnipotent that they fear nothing, learn nothing, and never grow. Nothing is more boring than a static character.


Yeppers. Shooter had that same problem sometimes, although more often in his Marvel work than in his DC work.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
The backup story...is...one of the few stories we&#146;ve had to feature Garth, Imra, and Rokk as the three founders. Their shared history is put to good effect here (though Rokk accusing Imra of being irresponsible for not listening to him seems a tad insensitive, &#151;but this is Rokk, after all).


ROTFLMAO rotflmao

#936953 - 09/03/17 05:19 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad

Originally Posted by HWW
There was nothing the Legionnaires could do for him, save offer unwanted moral support. Their efforts were better spent dealing with the crisis at hand.

I think an unwanted message of moral support would have gone a long way. They don’t have to turn up and form a picket outside his cell for that. smile


Unwanted support would have been a legitimate response. I don't think there was any right or wrong choice on Jan's part, but his choice suggests some things about him.

You asked how I saw Jan's personality now. I think some clues can be found in both of these last two issues. In 290, he says he likes the job of leader but wants to earn it in his own right. He also says, ". . . I've made the Legion my home--and I want to give it my all" (p. 21). So, he is intensely devoted to the Legion, perhaps more so than any other member. This may come from the fact that he has no place else to go--no family or home world, like most of the other Legionnaires, but it may also be that he is the type of personality who throws himself 100 percent into any role he's given.

In 291, he argues with Ultra Boy about postponing the election and later makes a point of analyzing his teammates' tactical advantages in fighting Mordru (p. 13). He also appears genuinely hurt when Star Boy rides him about not anticipating the condition in which they find Mordru (p. 14). So it seems to me that Jan is desperately trying to prove himself, to show the others he is decisive and well qualified for the job. Perhaps another way to put it is that he has all the same insecurities as Garth but more mature ways of dealing with them.

I understand these feelings; I was twice passed over for promotion, and, even though I agreed that the people selected for those roles were better suited than I was, the "rejection" still hurt. Also, now that I have been promoted, I want to give my all to my new role and the trust which has been placed in me. I think I can relate to Jan in this regard.


Quote
It couldn’t have been that much of a shock. She did stand for leadership. It wasn’t as though ti wasn’t even one of the candidates. Having the candidates named in the story does seem to have focused the voting. As mentioned, Dreamy had been getting a very solid build up over the Levitz run, and this was a natural progression of that.


It could be that the poll was conducted some time before these stories were written. It seems like too much of a coincidence that the top three vote getters were also the three candidates.


Quote
I’d hate to think that Mr Bender was deprived of any payment, just because he wasn’t on DC’s royalty scheme or hadn’t a reprint clause.


Yeah, that's a shitty thing to do--but businesses are run on similar decisions. Perhaps Giffen had a clause in his own contract that he could redraw any portion of GDS if he so desired. At least Bender is not credited in 291 as "the rest" [Gilligan's Island reference, for those not in the know].


Quote
I would have preferred the villain not to retreat at all. He’s grabbed everything he wanted up until this point, and the Legion simply don’t offer enough resistance for it to be different this time round either. Had the villain not been so omniscient, the Guardian mockery could well have been chased off by Dirk, for a scene where it is punished by its master. Failing that, Mysa could have been taken. This would have forced the group to her home world, whether through logic, since the villain is pinching lots of other mages, or through Nura’s predictive powers. Likewise, our villain could have pinched the secrets of the Sorcerer’s world form a captive Mysa, again forcing a confrontation. Like Jacques mission, this too would have a parallel next time out (Peek Ahead Lad)


Those would have all been legitimate story choices, I think, and better ones than what we were given.


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#936959 - 09/03/17 08:02 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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S'more.

Originally Posted by thoth lad


Originally Posted by HWW
…or perhaps he wanted her for other reasons. It must get very lonely sleeping on a dead world for centuries.


Eeeewwww! Considering her abusive relationship with Mordru.


Yeah, poor Mysa.

Comic book major villains are never into sex, it seems. But in the real world, Darkseid would have thousands of concubines. Of course, they're all dead by the Legion's time. What's a lonely god to do?


Originally Posted by thoth
The always cut the panels where the hero collapses, gets a James Brown cape put over them, and then recover enough to continue. Copyright reasons I guess shrug


Imra tried to find Garth's cape from his original costume, but he had donated it to charity . . . of space!


Quote
From the time I started reading, the three founders were starting to look a little distant. Rokk would spend time with Lydda and the Subs, while Imra and Garth would move into parental roles. Then there was the retirement subplot and Legionnaires Three. I might feel differently about them if I had been reading since the beginning, but I quite liked the transition of characters out of the main Legion. It’s something DnA would pick up more fully in Hypernaturals.


I, too, liked their retirement as Legionnaires. It was a progressive and natural move and a sign, I thought, that comic books were growing up by featuring real-world transitions. But I could only hope. Imra's eventual return, and Jeckie's, represented a sort of backwards move--though, in a rare, enlightened twist, it was the wife who returned to the Legion, not the husband.


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#936964 - 09/03/17 11:57 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by HWW
In 290, he says he likes the job of leader but wants to earn it in his own right. He also says, ". . . I've made the Legion my home--and I want to give it my all" (p. 21). So, he is intensely devoted to the Legion, perhaps more so than any other member. This may come from the fact that he has no place else to go--no family or home world, like most of the other Legionnaires, but it may also be that he is the type of personality who throws himself 100 percent into any role he's given.

In 291, he argues with Ultra Boy about postponing the election and later makes a point of analyzing his teammates' tactical advantages in fighting Mordru (p. 13). He also appears genuinely hurt when Star Boy rides him about not anticipating the condition in which they find Mordru (p. 14). So it seems to me that Jan is desperately trying to prove himself, to show the others he is decisive and well qualified for the job. Perhaps another way to put it is that he has all the same insecurities as Garth but more mature ways of dealing with them.


Thanks for your thoughts on him. I was also getting the feeling, even from the Annual, that he was very focused on the Legion, possibly to the extent that his personality had been lost in it. With all the issues I think he already has, the loss of the election may have had a big impact on someone who thinks they have given everything to the team.

All Legion and no play, makes Jan a dull boy.
All Legion and no play, makes Jan a dull boy.
All Legion and no play, makes Jan a dull boy.
All Legion and no play, makes Jan a dull boy.
- Jan relaxes at the Overlook Space Hotel after The Great Darkness Saga smile

Originally Posted by HWW
I think I can relate to Jan in this regard.


Uh oh! smile

Originally Posted by HWW
Yeah, that's a shitty thing to do--but businesses are run on similar decisions.


The Kent’s General Store in Smallville: The Kents have just monopolised the sale of produce from the local farms. It’s more than they can actually sell, but it’s put all their rivals out of business, and into abject poverty.

Ma Kent: Do you think that was a sh1tty thing to do?
Pa Kent (smugly): Not at all! Businesses do this all the time!
Clark (using his super hearing): >gasp!< Lex was right! People are selfish, ruthless and greedy! I’ll join up with him! He’ll tell me what those kids from the future were really after!

Originally Posted by HWW
Yeah, poor Mysa. Comic book major villains are never into sex, it seems. But in the real world, Darkseid would have thousands of concubines.


That would have been quite a policy change from the Comic Book Code folks smile

I like to think he never really got over Suli… and Tigra of course. Besides, what would his next kid be like?

Originally Posted by HWW
Of course, they're all dead by the Legion's time. What's a lonely god to do?


Maths, maths, maths. That Anti-Life Equation doesn’t write itself! smile

Originally Posted by HWW
Imra tried to find Garth's cape from his original costume, but he had donated it to charity . . . of space!


Where you can also get Miss Terious costumes and come across many Sir Prize outfits!. 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."
#936973 - 09/04/17 08:29 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Additional...

The Election was announced way back in #282, with the results planned to be announced in #291.

I wonder how the tally changed when Levitz came on board. Was there already a groundswell of Dreamy voters, or was it a late push following her solid apperances under the the new team? Were Nura, Jo and Jan already ahead when Levitz put them in as the contenders?


"...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."
#937000 - 09/04/17 12:33 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad


Originally Posted by HWW
I think I can relate to Jan in this regard.


Uh oh! smile


Don't worry. If I become the Progenitor, I will spare you and every else on LW.

Originally Posted by thoth
Originally Posted by HWW
Yeah, poor Mysa. Comic book major villains are never into sex, it seems. But in the real world, Darkseid would have thousands of concubines.


That would have been quite a policy change from the Comic Book Code folks smile


As with a lot of these stories, you have to read between the lines. hmmm

Originally Posted by thoth
I like to think he never really got over Suli… and Tigra of course. Besides, what would his next kid be like?


I'm not that familiar with Darkseid's extra-Legion history. These characters are unknown to me. But one imagines there must be a lot of illegitimate Darskeids running around. Their surname could be Fitzseid or something.

Originally Posted by thoth
I wonder how the tally changed when Levitz came on board. Was there already a groundswell of Dreamy voters, or was it a late push following her solid apperances under the the new team? Were Nura, Jo and Jan already ahead when Levitz put them in as the contenders?


Good questions. While we'll probably never know the answers, I imagine Dream Girl's victory was brought on at least in part by the realization that, in the Legion's entire history, there had been only one female leader to this point. Levitz has certainly made his views on equality known in these stories, and he made a point of showing Nura to be competent and capable on Orando and in the backup story on Naltor, so those depictions might have swung the votes in her favor.


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#937024 - 09/05/17 05:29 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Don't worry. If I become the Progenitor, I will spare you and every else on LW.


But will you recognise us after the aeons?! Poor Monstress!

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
As with a lot of these stories, you have to read between the lines. hmmm


Or dress up like original Invasion Outfit Mordru. smile


Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
I'm not that familiar with Darkseid's extra-Legion history. These characters are unknown to me.


I remember reading he'd been married, and a minute of google-fu later... I prefer not to know that the history is all mapped out. But then, I've not read many of the 4th World stories so perhaps it works there.


Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
But one imagines there must be a lot of illegitimate Darskeids running around. Their surname could be Fitzseid or something.


Miss Thomson, 5th Grade Teacher: Timmy! Where has little Gordon gone?
Timmy: Dunno Miss...
Miss Thomson: You were just talking to him.
Timmy: >looks sheepish<
Miss Thomson: >eyes narrowing< Did you use your Omega Beam on him?
Timmy: Might've...
Miss Thomson: You bring him back, right this minute!
Timmy: But Miss, he'll be a zombie...
Miss Thomson: I don't care! Right this second!

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Good questions. While we'll probably never know the answers, I imagine Dream Girl's victory was brought on at least in part by the realization that, in the Legion's entire history, there had been only one female leader to this point. Levitz has certainly made his views on equality known in these stories, and he made a point of showing Nura to be competent and capable on Orando and in the backup story on Naltor, so those depictions might have swung the votes in her favor.


Looking at the other in-story candidates (not that the readers knew them when the poll started), I think that the best person won. Jan has been a solid deputy, but was catty to Brin and puffed himself up before a fall when checking out Mordru. Jo, and the readership, need time to get over the Reflecto saga smile Had that been... well, coherent... it might have been a big story for him, gaining him lots of extra votes.


"...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."
#937060 - 09/05/17 04:40 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Don't worry. If I become the Progenitor, I will spare you and every else on LW.


But will you recognise us after the aeons?! Poor Monstress!


Uh, well . . . ask me again in a billion years.

Originally Posted by thoth

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Good questions. While we'll probably never know the answers, I imagine Dream Girl's victory was brought on at least in part by the realization that, in the Legion's entire history, there had been only one female leader to this point. Levitz has certainly made his views on equality known in these stories, and he made a point of showing Nura to be competent and capable on Orando and in the backup story on Naltor, so those depictions might have swung the votes in her favor.


Looking at the other in-story candidates (not that the readers knew them when the poll started), I think that the best person won. Jan has been a solid deputy, but was catty to Brin and puffed himself up before a fall when checking out Mordru. Jo, and the readership, need time to get over the Reflecto saga smile Had that been... well, coherent... it might have been a big story for him, gaining him lots of extra votes.


I think the best person won, too. Jan was awful snippy in 292--Nura makes a point of noticing that he didn't congratulate her on winning the election. Later, he dismisses her victory by telling Star Boy, "your lady" won the election--as if to minimize Nura's independence. (Then again, maybe he's just getting back at Thom for the latter's crack about not anticipating Mordru's condition. Either way, Jan's been mooching on sour grapes.) Jo is the proverbial "act first, think later" jock. He seems to boss even Mon-El around.

But Nura doesn't win just by default. Levitz had truly set her up to be smart and capable, and she demonstrates those qualities again in 292 (jumping head).


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#937079 - 09/06/17 07:23 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders

she demonstrates those qualities again in 292 (jumping head).


You may be reading a different version of the comic than the rest of us. ElasticLad

#937091 - 09/06/17 12:12 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LSH #292 Darkness Transcendent by Paul Levitz, art by Keith Giffen & Larry Mahlstedt, colors Carl Gafford, letters John Costanza

[Linked Image]

The Takron Galtos team finishes their clean-up and discusses the mystery of the Master. Cham arrives as the newest resident of Takron-Galtos, unseen by his teammates.

Dream Girl, with her sister the White Witch, leads the team from Naltor to the Sorcerers’ World, joined by Brin, Brainy, Thom and Jan. The Takron-Galtos team’s cruiser is blasted apart by four Servants as it approaches. Shady wonders why her power manages to confuse them. Mon-el rushes into a portal to confront the Master, is shocked by what he sees; the Master takes a moment to figure out why Mon-el recognized him “in this century” and comments that Daxam is very interesting. He sends Mon-el hurtling out of the portal, unconscious.

On Earth, the three founders analyze information gathered on the Servants and discover that they are clones of Lydea Mallor, a Guardian and Kal-el.

On Sorcerers’ World, Nura and Mysa address the Teachers and ask for their help. Dawnstar is skeptical. Brin is rebuffed by Ayla. The teachers implore the Legionnaires to stay with them, since no trouble will come to their world. They suddenly realize they are wrong, as the skies darken and mystical energies are sucked into a vortex, leaving destruction in their wake.

Wildfire and Dawnstar fly off to confront the servants; Wildfire hurls Dawnstar into space to protect her. He realizes he can not fight four of them and is blasted apart as he flies away.

The teachers seek an enchantment of life to battle the darkness and, through a space-warp, a baby appears. Nura has a feeling that this baby is just what they need.

On Earth, Imra, Garth and Rokk call on reserve and on-leave members for help.

On the Sorcerers’ World, the Legionnaires are losing the fight with the Servants. Brainy suggests a tactical retreat to the Teachers’ island but Nura tells him that they must keep the island safe at all costs. Brainy activates his force shield but, as the Servants approach, the Master appears and angrily silences them, then shatters the force field. He returns Dirk, Blok and Dawnstar to them, unconscious, and keeps Wildfire’s helmet as a souvenir. He announces that they may live due to a service rendered him by one of their own, then disappears.

The Legionnaires are confused and discouraged, but Dream Girl laughs, pleased that the island remained safe and the baby undetected by the Master. Two of the sorcerers died and their world was damaged. Nura does not know what role the child will play, only that he will somehow cause the defeat of the Master.

Comments:

The saga unfolds gradually: more fights with the Servants, the Sorcerers get involved, Mon-el meets the Master face to face, provoking an interest in Daxam, and suffers from the encounter, Cham arrives as a prisoner of Takron-Galtos, we learn the identities of two more Servants and a mysterious baby appears. These events are the foundation for further and serious consequences, in the next issue and beyond, but there is still no outright identification of the Master.

The baby is a real wild card for first-time readers. Nura only has a feeling, not a vision that this baby will defeat the Master – so the situation still seems precarious.

The other big mystery is what the Master thought when he realized Mon-el was from Daxam.

What’s particularly interesting are the Legionnaires’ various comments and interactions. Wildfire protects Dawnstar against hopeless odds. She thinks magic is nonsense. Ayla gives Brin the cold shoulder – no “the world is about to end, so let’s be friends again”. Jan snipes at Thom.

Nura slips easily into the leadership; even Brainy defers to her and Wildfire is remarkably snark-free. She displays no moment of self-doubt or indecision.

The trial of Chameleon Boy is not included, only the result. Just as well, since there wouldn’t have been any impassioned defence. The whole thing probably took two minutes. Whether or not the Legion is aware of this development isn’t clear, but they certainly have enough other problems to distract them.

The Sorcerers and their world are visually interesting. Their complacency is quickly shattered, which is a good lesson about living in an ivory tower. They pay the price, with deaths and damage, although, even forewarned, they might not have stood against the Servants.

The cover is pretty blah, compared to many of the scenes in the story itself.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#937092 - 09/06/17 12:29 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Dave Hackett Offline
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Young me would like to get something off his chest regarding this issue:

75 cents? 75 CENTS?!?!?! Is DC Crazy? Do you know how many more empty bottles I'll have to excavate from the old lady down the street's basement to pay for my comics now? It really stinks down there! My cousin has a subscription and HE isn't paying more per issue (EDIT from future me: ... yet). 75 cents is 3/4 the price of an annual! I don't see any extra pages here! What a rip-off! If comics go any higher, I'm out!

#937093 - 09/06/17 12:35 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Café Cramer
It's only going to get worse, young Dave.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#937101 - 09/06/17 02:27 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Dave Hackett]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders

she demonstrates those qualities again in 292 (jumping head).


You may be reading a different version of the comic than the rest of us. ElasticLad


I'm not sure what you mean, Dave, but she acts decisively and shows good strategic thinking in 292. She orders the Legionnaires into battle while she stays behind to safeguard the most important aspect of the mission: the arrival of the child who is key to stopping the master. Since her infrequent visions have not proven very useful in battles, I think this was the wise choice.

Are you seeing something I'm not?


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#937105 - 09/06/17 03:28 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LoSH 292

An unusual design splits the cover diagonally contrasting the desperate battle against the mockeries with the peaceful calm of Nura Nal and child. Nura would be anticipating the more Material Girl aspect of a Madonna by a couple of years. smile Readers hoping to pick up futuristic parenthood tips from the Great Darkness Saga would be left trying to contact DC’s complaints department.

The close up of Nura jars a little with the long shot of Dirk and Brainy fighting off Orion. A visual of Brainy’s force field affecting proceedings would have been useful too. He’s not adding much, other than being green, alien and promoting jumpsuits, here.

The Splash page this issue takes us to the clean up on Takron Galtos. It’s not as good an introduction as previous issues, with an overly complex piece of technology being used to rehouse one of the prisoners. There is a slightly more gradual exposition piece over the next couple of pages to its credit. While the pacing of the overall story may be affected, it’s important to remember that each issue had to make new readers comfortable enough to get into the story.

The inmate, Harug, looks as though he may be Imskian. If only he had given a hint to a certain upcoming plot. The Legion has a vacancy these days for a Micro Lad stand in. Typing of subplots, this introduction segues seamlessly into one. As the sub group of Lar, Tinya, Jo and Shady (sporting a science police uniform following the destruction of her costume last issue) leave, Chameleon Boy arrives to begin his sentence (“Treason and wilful endangerment of United Planets diplomats”) in a single panel.

While he was guilty, (not that it’s stopped other Legionnaires trying similar things in the past) his subplot has been seen in glimpses. None of the departing Legionnaires mention him. Nor do any of the others in the issue. We didn’t get to see the trial, conviction or, at least, the walk of shame past the Legion statues. It could be that Levitz had planned so far ahead that he knew things would turn around. But, at present, poor Cham has been abandoned.

The terse dialogue as we’re told Dream Girl is the new leader, with Element Lad always the bridesmaid, doesn’t quite work for me. It strikes an odd note, like Cosmic Boy telling off Saturn Girl last issue. So Nura’s in charge as the team arrive on the Sorcerers’ World. Nura makes a point of Jan not congratulating her (Jan = Sulk Lad). She tells her sister that this isn’t the first mission that she wanted. It reminds me of Phantom Girl’s leadership at the end of v7, where things went very wrong. Newbies Blok and Jacques are tasked with being amazed at the shifting landscapes of Sorcerers’ World. It no doubt adds to Blok’s crush (ouch!) on Mysa.

With so much at stake the Legion are sending in three shuttles to make their stand. The last ship gets hit by the appearance of a Kul-Thooom! Tube. It’s Jo, Lar, Tinya and Shady up against four mockeries. The creatures’ master shows off his Advanced Villainy Diploma, by lurking in silhouette at the back.

Shady still wonders why her powers are effective. Jacques has recovered from his encounter behind the portal, but clearly no one has bothered having a chat to him about it. The battle follows the same pattern as last issue on Takron Galtos. Again, Shady & Tinya are unconscious very quickly, and again Lar looks to tackle the master directly. This time, he gets to see and recognise the master villain (should have got Jacques to draw a sketch). He’s taken out of action, before he can reveal anything to the others. Lar has had alternate identities such as Legionnaire Lemon and Marvel Lad to fall back on over the years. Here is an early appearance of his Coma Kid identity. He’d be in this condition again at the end of the Baxter series and at the end of v7.

In a key moment, our Villain learns about Daxam, through some handy Plot Telepathy. He wonders for a moment how Mon El knew of him. Luckily for everyone, the Dark Master didn’t pick up the concept of Time Bubbles from Lar as an alternate explanation for this.

Back on Earth, the three founders try to learn the secret of the mockeries, picking up from their encounter in last issue’s back up feature. Computer processing power does have some limits in the 30th century. Fortunately, all top line computers now come with a Big Stick (or I-Stick) to which additional power can be applied. The grip on the device means it can only be used by someone with superpowers, meaning that Levitz was years ahead of things like Ellis’ super-powered shiftships and a lot of the tech in the Authority. Brainy would have a couple of other attempts at Augmentors in later issues. Imra is impressed by a villain with the sheer power to obtain cells from what she assumes must have been a living Guardian. It’s a very effective bit of dialogue. It’s only been in subsequent years that the bodies of Guardians have littered the battlefields of numerous DC Events. smile

A recovered Garth adds the power and, in a scene with lots of very nice displays, we learn that the mockeries are derived from Superman, a Guardian and Lydea Mallor. Mallor had been dead for 2000 years and not the 1000 suggested by the Legion Acronym series. Superman’s birth date, or at least launch date from Krypton, is given as 1948.

As Cosmic Boy wonders who else the villain may have cloned, I wonder if anyone has any favourites who could have been considered for such a treatment? DnA used a few later on, there’s the lost one from the Annual, and then there was Lobo in the TMK run. There’s no reveal on the one with the Astro Force, despite him having bragged about it. It’s sad that a Wiki equivalent doesn’t make it into the 30th century. smile

Levitz doesn’t get enough credit for matching speech patterns to the cultural background of his characters. Each of the teachers has a distinct voice, tied to their powers. It’s a limitation that extends to their worldview too, as they are oblivious to the rampage of the mockeries across their world. To their credit they are quick to react. For all his power, the villain doesn’t end up immediately at the teachers’ isle. It’s only because Mysa spent so much time on the world, that the Legion made their way without any inconvenience. Could it be that our villain isn’t quite as all powerful as he seems to be?

As the Legion converse with the teachers in a big (easy to blow up) cluster, we get a character moment and a continuation of a subplot. Dawny considers magic to be fakery. Having spent so much time emotionally dependent on Brin, Ayla is chillingly cold towards him. It’s hard to imagine that he hasn’t tried to talk to her in all this time.

One good thing about having precognitive powers is the ability to plan well in advance. Alternatively, you can just point to the blazing battlefield and tell your colleagues to win, as Nura does here. smile She does get them to split up at least. Presumably this is to divide the mockeries, but they all end up fighting in the same space later on.

It’s Wildfire and Dawny in the lead, as the Legion’s quick response team. Considering the danger such a position has, Drake is very overprotective of his partner. Dawny can fly at super speed and can resist the vacuum of space. Drake on the other hand is only as resilient as his suit. He roughly pulls her way twice in this scene. His heart may be in the right place. But since he’s an energy blob it’s hard to tell, and it could be that he’s a bit too far removed from basic interaction than he’d like.

Wildfire fights bravely, but he’s knows when to cut and run. Unfortunately, he runs right into his advancing colleagues, and his suit is blasted as a result. Should the Legion emerge from this, I hope he learns from his actions here. Dawny loses her tiara. Is this, like Tasmia last issue, a sign for a costume change? The whole scene is a really well choreographed, with very consistent character portrayals.

As Nura & Mysa watch the teachers weave a magical solution, the Legion try to hold off the mockeries. On Earth, having realised the power of their foe, the founders call in the reserves. This includes Superboy, whose return to the 20th century looks a bit plot convenient/odd now. Luornu is keen to participate, and mentions guilt at not helping to stop the return of Computo. Her involvement there would have been welcome, but this perhaps shows just how traumatic her experience against it was.

It looks a bit desperate for our heroes. With Supes back in the 20th century, Lar in a coma and drake’s suit destroyed there’s only Jo and Blok for sheer strength. And Jo is back with Lar. Sun Boy somehow survives a punch from the Superman mockery.

There’s a missed opportunity for Blok and/or Ayla to really shine. But Star Boy does make a real difference here, showing he has the power to drop mountains on opponents. I quickly check to see if Brainy is making notes for any potential trial (or at least a Mock one smile ). But the Coluan is expanding his forcefield to try and protect the teachers’ isle. There’s clearly some balancing required with Brainy. On one hand, you don’t want him to be a plot solving panel hog. On the other, you don’t want him relegated to emotionless-guy-with-force-field. This story puts Brainy too much in the latter camp for me.

The mockeries approach the Legion’s last stand (no idea why Tinya and Jo haven’t caught up). But their master has grown impatient. He effortlessly breaks through Brainy’s force field. But not to conquer. He returns Dirk and Blok to them. Dawny had been trying to save them off panel, but is now unconscious too.

The villain reminds us subtly of the information on Daxam, provided to him by Lar. But he still has no reason at all to break off the attack. He could easily have fulfilled his goal on the Isle and still followed up on Daxam. An alternative bit of plotting could have had the Villain learn of Daxam during this last desperate stand, and break off the conflict suddenly with the thought of so much power.

The main antagonist departs with some Cosmic Villain Mocking and a Wildfire ornament for his Mantelpiece of Doom. We see the reactions of six Legionnaires. Element Lad’s sense of self, his ego, has been badly dented. Timberwolf responds with animalistic aggression (the treatments might not have taken from Levitz’s return issue). Meanwhile Jacques is reminded of his childlike fear in the presence of the Legion’s foe. Thom provides a dose of realism. His appearance in this panel makes me wonder if he’s a Giffen stand in.

Nura’s laughter is completely at odds with this. She knows that they have changed the future. Her vision hasn’t been a misinterpretation. The fabric of time in the DCU has changed. The villain was going to win, and their magic has stopped it. This sort of knowledge gives Nura a very different perspective on the universe around her. It’s something to consider when thinking about how she lives her life.

In the last panel, the silhouettes of the Legionnaires face the coming darkness. I think the final cover of the Baxter run deliberately reprised this ahead of the Five Year Gap.

The teachers’ spell has delivered a baby into their midst. They have sacrificed two of their number Their appearance and speech patterns have also altered, suggesting that even the survivors have lost part of themselves. Wider still, a lot of the magic of the world has also been lost to the Villain. This is an action that will have consequences in later years.

But our heroes now have a counter to the Villain’s power. There are greater forces than the Legion or the teachers at work here, Nura says that her explanation of the baby’s purpose “sort of came to me that way.” She’s not in full control of her thoughts, and the story concludes with the hint of deific power that was on the cover.


"...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."
#937106 - 09/06/17 03:36 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Dave Hackett Offline
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders

she demonstrates those qualities again in 292 (jumping head).


You may be reading a different version of the comic than the rest of us. ElasticLad


I'm not sure what you mean, Dave, but she acts decisively and shows good strategic thinking in 292. She orders the Legionnaires into battle while she stays behind to safeguard the most important aspect of the mission: the arrival of the child who is key to stopping the master. Since her infrequent visions have not proven very useful in battles, I think this was the wise choice.

Are you seeing something I'm not?


Just your typo. wink

Last edited by Dave Hackett; 09/06/17 03:37 PM.
#937110 - 09/06/17 04:12 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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thoth lad Offline
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Originally Posted by Cramer
The other big mystery is what the Master thought when he realized Mon-el was from Daxam.


I probably got that one before I was ever able to identify the Villain. smile

Originally Posted by Cramer
What’s particularly interesting are the Legionnaires’ various comments and interactions. Wildfire protects Dawnstar against hopeless odds. She thinks magic is nonsense. Ayla gives Brin the cold shoulder – no “the world is about to end, so let’s be friends again”. Jan snipes at Thom.


It’s partly these that put this run of the Legion as one of the peaks. There aren’t too many wasted panels, and a considerable number combine plot, subplot, character progression and/or establish something visually too.


Originally Posted by Cramer
Nura slips easily into the leadership; even Brainy defers to her and Wildfire is remarkably snark-free. She displays no moment of self-doubt or indecision.


That was the way I remember the Adventure stories to be (well, except where the plot specifically needed the leader to lose his cool (oooh Dirk pun smile ) The team would defer to the leader, trusting their judgement. There’s a bit more antagonism bubbling under the surface here, but Nura handles herself well.

I note that Garth’s haircut has gone along with his mental difficulties. Coincidence? Or has the off-panel Prince Valiant/ Proty crossover finished?

Originally Posted by Cramer
The trial of Chameleon Boy is not included, only the result. Just as well, since there wouldn’t have been any impassioned defence. The whole thing probably took two minutes.


it’s all run automatically by Computo’s slightly less psychotic Batch Brother.


Originally Posted by Cramer
Whether or not the Legion is aware of this development isn’t clear, but they certainly have enough other problems to distract them.


I see this subplot highlighting the Legion as professionals rather than friends.
Jan: Did you hear about Cham’s sacking?
Thom: Yeah, stupid venture with low yield return.
Jan: So, how was the rest of your weekend?

The only difference is the disrepute that Cham’s actions have brought to the Legion. That was one of the reasons why Garth was peeved in the first place I thought.


Originally Posted by Cramer
The Sorcerers and their world are visually interesting.

Very different to Khundia, Orando and Earth which is an excuse to give some praise to the art team. It was another very good issue from them.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Their complacency is quickly shattered, which is a good lesson about living in an ivory tower. They pay the price, with deaths and damage, although, even forewarned, they might not have stood against the Servants.


Good point. The teachers had illusion without and within.

Originally Posted by Cramer
The cover is pretty blah, compared to many of the scenes in the story itself.


I wonder if it was just Nura and kid initially only for editorial to demand some action be put on it. smile

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Are you seeing something I'm not?


I don't think Dave is referring to Nura's familiarity with editorial. Oh, Dave 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."
#937112 - 09/06/17 04:19 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Dave Hackett Offline
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The cover shot is a little odd, especially the choice to have Blok not only be there, but be profiled from an angle where it's even harder to differentiate him from a Servant. If you are looking to draw folks in who aren't familiar you'd think you'd use a Legionnaire with a brighter colour scheme to make the contrast sharper.

#937114 - 09/06/17 04:28 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Dave Hackett]  
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Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
The cover shot is a little odd, especially the choice to have Blok not only be there, but be profiled from an angle where it's even harder to differentiate him from a Servant. If you are looking to draw folks in who aren't familiar you'd think you'd use a Legionnaire with a brighter colour scheme to make the contrast sharper.


smile I didn't even notice it was Blok. I never paid any attention to one of them shooting, what I must have assumed was, his own guy. smile They always were a backstabbing lot lol

Considering some of Blok's dark moments, how creepy would a "Why don't you join us and serve a new Dark Master?" scene for him?


"...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."
#937117 - 09/06/17 05:19 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
LSH #292 Darkness Transcendent


The story-title-slash-cover-blurb is false advertising! There's hardly any darkness, and the contents are certainly not transcendental!

I'm exaggerating, of course, but I do think that, after a strong first installment and a flawed but solid second one, the story spends this whole wonky issue doing little more than spin its wheels. Except for the scenes on Sorcerors' World, it feels to me like padding.

I also have to wonder: Even though Giffen doesn't get his first co-plot credit until next issue, is it possible that maybe Levitz still gave him too much rope on this issue? Or maybe the editor-shift from Sutton to Berger was already under way, two issues before it's listed in the credits? There's too much "telling rather than showing," in my opinion. We don't see two of the sorcerors die, nor do we really get a sense of the devastation wrought upon the planet, except for that one panel of the magical energies being funneled through the Boom-Tube. There are also no real segues from the initial attack on the planet to the sorcerors regrouping for the enchantment to the exposition-dumping on the last page. Instead, we get a lot of Legion-versus-villains fighting that, except for Mon-El's confrontation with the Master, feels redundant to me.

Finally, the artwork really deteriorated in this issue, to my view at least. The facial close-ups of the Legionnaires are more hideous than ever, their body language is more rote than ever. Giffen's designs of the Sorcerors and their planet, especially the architecture, could have been interesting if only Mahlstedt hadn't inked them in a manner more befitting a pre-schoolers' coloring book! There's very little atmosphere on display, and very little contrast between the look of the planet before and after the attack.

Two more issues to win me over, then.

And I feel I should make it clear, I'm not here to throw this beloved storyline under the bus, nor this beloved era. I just go into each issue with what I feel are reasonable and fair expectations. Issues 286-289 met, and in some cases even surpassed my expectations. But, so far, the issues that have followed have almost consistently underwhelmed me.



#937127 - 09/06/17 10:17 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
292:

The cover is certainly different—the pink (or is it salmon?) color alone departs from what we might expect of an action-packed saga. Then there’s the image of Nura cradling the infant, seemingly unconcerned about her colleagues being blasted by the Servants. Is she dreaming the battle? The infant stares directly at the reader with in intelligent gaze (or is it gas?). In its own quiet way, the cover is disconcerting.

In the story, things happen quickly—a lot of ground (and space) is covered, but none of it feels rushed. Our heroes linger on Takron Galtos just long enough to deliver exposition and then they’re off—and Cham’s fate is inserted in such a way that I felt sorry for him. Having been one of the mighty Legionnaires, he must now sit this battle out. He doesn’t even rate an acknowledgement from his hurrying teammates.

The next two pages deliver more needed exposition but in such a way that moves the story forward and keeps things interesting. Nura looks confident in the command chair of the cruiser, yet allows her vulnerable side to show to her sister. The Sorcerers’ World is truly a wonder to behold.

By Page 5, we’re back in the battle again, as the Servants attack one of the Legion cruisers. Mon-El is used to great effect; by recognizing the “Master,” he provides us with a clue that we readers should also recognize him—someone Mon would have been aware of a thousand years earlier. I don’t even mind that Mon is taken out of the action so quickly. His role in this story adds a vital plot twist: Just why does the Master think Daxam is “a splendid concept”?

Many other things happen in the story. The three founders figure out some stuff and summon reinforcements. Mysa and Nura plead with the teachers of Sorcerers’ World, who are fittingly lost in their magical opulence and blind to the harsh reality approaching. Brief but great character interactions follow: Brin and Ayla, and Dawny and Wildire. Then an exciting and well-paced battle sequence begins.

Very little is wasted in this issue. The story, the characters and the settings all work together surprisingly well, leading up to the revelation that a baby will save them. Okay, this one made me grown when I first read it. But there is a certain mythical aspect involved: The baby Jesus . . . Arthur pulling a sword out of a stone . . . even Luke Skywalker. The idea that someone innocent and young will save the world is nothing new. It fits in quite nicely with the mythical aspects of Darkseid/the Master as an evil god.

Once again, the Master abandons his assault before achieving victory, but here his choice makes sense. In learning about Daxam, he now has an entire world of super-powered minions waiting to do his bidding. Why does he need to trifle with Sorcerers’ World?

The artwork is rough in places, but the action scenes and layouts more than make up for this. One standout page is 12, which is composed of four vertical panels—three of which feature different groups of Legionnaires taking flight; the arrangements of the characters shows an appealing parallelism. The fourth panel focuses on Nura, but it, too, fits into the overall pattern of the page.

Another standout image consists of the overhead shot of the three founders surrounded by video screens and control panels on p. 8. The Legionnaires are closed in, but there is a sense of unity and purpose in this shot. In fact, the images of the green video screens on this page as well as pp. 9 and 17 create an atmosphere that seems oddly cozy; there is a feeling that all is right in the world as long as these three work together. Colorist Carl Gafford doesn’t get near enough credit.

Some may differ, but I think 292 is a step up from 291. It is more purposeful and moves the story forward in a huge way. Almost all of the featured characters have something interesting to do, and, by incorporating elements of myth and magic, the story connects to something larger than a self-contained super-hero universe.


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#937138 - 09/07/17 04:48 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by HWW
The cover is certainly different—the pink (or is it salmon?) color


Cosmic Boy always insists that colour is salmon smile

Originally Posted by HWW
Then there’s the image of Nura cradling the infant, seemingly unconcerned about her colleagues being blasted by the Servants. Is she dreaming the battle? ,,, In its own quiet way, the cover is disconcerting.


There’s a definite classical dichotomy in the cover, which I think Giffen was going for. The beatific “mother” and child combined with the medieval inferno images of the twisted mockeries and their attack on mankind.


Originally Posted by HWW
The infant stares directly at the reader with in intelligent gaze (or is it gas?).


Well, if you’re going to spoil the ending…”Enough! I Shall Travel To A Universe That Does Not Require Nappies To Be Changed!”

Originally Posted by HWW
Cham’s fate is inserted in such a way that I felt sorry for him. Having been one of the mighty Legionnaires, he must now sit this battle out. He doesn’t even rate an acknowledgement from his hurrying teammates.


Probably because of reading this era first, Cham seems to be an isolated Legionnaire. Not because of his homeworld or his abilities. Not because they gave him some espionage trappings. Not because he’s pining after Elwinda. But because he was separated from, and unacknowledged by the others during this period.

Originally Posted by HWW
The Sorcerers’ World is truly a wonder to behold.


Points for the art team for bringing it to life. Just think of all the comics that give fairly flat, uninspiring backgrounds. Part of the impact of the Teachers’ illusions being stripped away from them, is how well they were built up in the first place.

Originally Posted by HWW
Mon-El is used to great effect…by recognizing the “Master,” he provides us with a clue that we readers should also recognize him—someone Mon would have been aware of a thousand years earlier. I don’t even mind that Mon is taken out of the action so quickly. His role in this story adds a vital plot twist: Just why does the Master think Daxam is “a splendid concept”?


I was looking forward to your comments on Lar this issue. He’s always been the Legion’s powerhouse. In Levitz 2.0 we’ve got to see his scientific background and, here, a real indication of some of the knowledge he has stretching back a millennium.

In the Annual Nura said “much of our bioscience comes from his home world of Daxam.” I wonder if some readers connected The Villain’s words here with that. Perhaps the Legion’s foe was looking for a way to cheat Death, as per the Adventure story when they tried to resurrect Lightning Lad?

Originally Posted by HWW
…leading up to the revelation that a baby will save them. Okay, this one made me grown when I first read it. But there is a certain mythical aspect involved: The baby Jesus . . . Arthur pulling a sword out of a stone . . . even Luke Skywalker. The idea that someone innocent and young will save the world is nothing new.


I was saving my Child Lad comments for next issue, but groan is right smile

Originally Posted by HWW
It fits in quite nicely with the mythical aspects of Darkseid/the Master as an evil god.


It does, but I didn’t get too far past the groan smile

Originally Posted by HWW
Why does he need to trifle with Sorcerers’ World?

Trifle gives me an appetite. And you don’t want to give me an appetite. But alas, Tenzil has been written out deliberately. The writer knew that the Villain was no match for his punnery! smile


Originally Posted by HWW
One standout page is 12, which is composed of four vertical panels—three of which feature different groups of Legionnaires taking flight; the arrangements of the characters shows an appealing parallelism. The fourth panel focuses on Nura, but it, too, fits into the overall pattern of the page.


Another standout image consists of the overhead shot of the three founders surrounded by video screens and control panels on p. 8. The Legionnaires are closed in, but there is a sense of unity and purpose in this shot. In fact, the images of the green video screens on this page as well as pp. 9 and 17 create an atmosphere that seems oddly cozy; there is a feeling that all is right in the world as long as these three work together.


The panel layouts generally have been excellent. The more it goes on, the better they’re getting in terms of dealing with the increasing density of story layers.

The transition from page five, where Kalibak mockery engages with Jo, to the long drop panel in page six is excellent. Likewise, the bottom panel of page six, where Mon El flies towards the portal sets up a change in environment for a very powerful full encounter on page seven. Nura’s win panel on page eleven serves a similar purpose.

I agree about page nine. The comfortable functionality of the computer room is at odds with the growing revelations of the results they get there. The horizontal panel use pushes the reader down from reveal to reaction to reveal. It’s very well done.


Originally Posted by HWW
Colorist Carl Gafford doesn’t get near enough credit.


If there wasn’t already so much to type about in this run, I’d definitely be spending more time talking about the pacing and story construction. But it’s far from being just Levitz and Giffen show. Mahlstedt has a great knack at bringing out the best in Giffen’s pencils, regardless of the little style differences that appear sometimes.

I’ve mentioned before how much I like Gafford’s work in this era. As Giffen settles in I really appreciate the amount of detail in some of the scenes and what a great job Gafford does in making it all so consistent. It’s not just the palette I really like (and I really like it), but the subtlety he brings to it too. Constanza has always been a top-drawer letterer. Who better to bring out a certain New Genesian feel to proceedings than the guy who worked on the Fourth World stories in the early 1970s.

Originally Posted by HWW
Some may differ, but I think 292 is a step up from 291.


>gasp< choose between my babies?! smile #291 shared some similarities in plot structure with #290 but…nope… can’t play favourites with Legion issues… 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."
#937145 - 09/07/17 12:22 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Dave Hackett]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders

she demonstrates those qualities again in 292 (jumping head).


You may be reading a different version of the comic than the rest of us. ElasticLad


I'm not sure what you mean, Dave, but she acts decisively and shows good strategic thinking in 292. She orders the Legionnaires into battle while she stays behind to safeguard the most important aspect of the mission: the arrival of the child who is key to stopping the master. Since her infrequent visions have not proven very useful in battles, I think this was the wise choice.

Are you seeing something I'm not?


Just your typo. wink


Ah, I see. And I also see I typed "grown" for "groan" in a later post. That's what I get for rushing.

Yes, I are a English perfessor. Why do you ask?


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#937166 - 09/07/17 08:19 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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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by thoth lad

Originally Posted by HWW
The cover is certainly different—the pink (or is it salmon?) color


Cosmic Boy always insists that colour is salmon smile


Well, he should know. And if we disagree with him, he might slap us.

Originally Posted by thoth

Originally Posted by HWW
The infant stares directly at the reader with in intelligent gaze (or is it gas?).


Well, if you’re going to spoil the ending…”Enough! I Shall Travel To A Universe That Does Not Require Nappies To Be Changed!”


The real enemy of GDS: The dreaded Gas Giant!

Originally Posted by thoth
Originally Posted by HWW
Cham’s fate is inserted in such a way that I felt sorry for him. Having been one of the mighty Legionnaires, he must now sit this battle out. He doesn’t even rate an acknowledgement from his hurrying teammates.


Probably because of reading this era first, Cham seems to be an isolated Legionnaire. Not because of his homeworld or his abilities. Not because they gave him some espionage trappings. Not because he’s pining after Elwinda. But because he was separated from, and unacknowledged by the others during this period.


It's always interesting to read how fans who came in later than I did interpret the characters and their relationships. It's also fascinating to realize we had to wait this long, until Levitz Mk II, for certain characters such as Element Lad and Chameleon Boy to develop discernible personalities. For me, Cham really comes into his own in these stories. He's made a stupid mistake and paid the penalty. In spite of that, he acquits himself quite well when an unexpected threat arrives on Takron Galtos. (I'm trying not to give away spoilers.) This leads to his eventual return to the Legion and to his father--older, wiser, and more appreciative of the chances he's been given.

Originally Posted by thoth
Originally Posted by HWW
The Sorcerers’ World is truly a wonder to behold.


Points for the art team for bringing it to life. Just think of all the comics that give fairly flat, uninspiring backgrounds. Part of the impact of the Teachers’ illusions being stripped away from them, is how well they were built up in the first place.


Indeed. A lot of thought was put into how Sorcerer's World should look. The payoff, in terms of its value to the overall story, is minimal--but that shows the level of dedication this creative team had to the series. Little details, such as the images on the viewscreens at HQ, add to the sense of reality of this fantastic future world.

Originally Posted by thoth
Originally Posted by HWW
Mon-El is used to great effect…by recognizing the “Master,” he provides us with a clue that we readers should also recognize him—someone Mon would have been aware of a thousand years earlier. I don’t even mind that Mon is taken out of the action so quickly. His role in this story adds a vital plot twist: Just why does the Master think Daxam is “a splendid concept”?


I was looking forward to your comments on Lar this issue. He’s always been the Legion’s powerhouse. In Levitz 2.0 we’ve got to see his scientific background and, here, a real indication of some of the knowledge he has stretching back a millennium.

In the Annual Nura said “much of our bioscience comes from his home world of Daxam.” I wonder if some readers connected The Villain’s words here with that. Perhaps the Legion’s foe was looking for a way to cheat Death, as per the Adventure story when they tried to resurrect Lightning Lad?


On one hand, it gets old when Mon-El is repeatedly taken out of the story so easily. This gets back to a point I made earlier that the writers hadn't really thought through potential weaknesses (both physical and emotional) for the Legionnaires. However, here it works quite well. Stephen King once advised writers to "murder your darlings" for the sake of writing a better story. So, if Mon has to spend some time in a coma to advance the plot, I'll go with it.

I'm not a science guy, so the whole "bioscience" bit went over my head. It was like revealing that Dirk collects sculpture or is a good navigator: It's one of those "specialties" the Legionnaires had but didn't really play much of a role in any story or tell me anything revealing about the character. It was good, though, to see Mon participate in the med-lab in the annual and GDS. It gave him something new to do.




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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#937199 - 09/08/17 12:33 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Keith Giffen did the cover of Amazing Heroes #15 (Sep 1982), with Mysa and Nura fighting off the Servants of Darkness.

[Linked Image]


"...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."
#937299 - 09/10/17 12:11 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Nice cradle! And Mysa's very calmly kicking ass.

One thing that's curious about the story so far is that, unlike the Computo tale, no one outside of the Legion seems to be aware of the menace. There's no cause for SP/Earthgov involvement at this point, and the Legionnaires themselves don't really know what's going on, but it seems odd that there wouldn't be some reference to alerting the SPs or the United Planets. It does fit in with the idea of darkness and unknown monstrosities lurking in the shadows; it's just quite different from the Computo experience.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#937310 - 09/10/17 04:36 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Well, he should know. And if we disagree with him, he might slap us.


I was thinking that as I typed my post smile

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by thoth
Originally Posted by HWW
The infant stares directly at the reader with in intelligent gaze (or is it gas?).


Well, if you&#146;re going to spoil the ending&#133;&#148;Enough! I Shall Travel To A Universe That Does Not Require Nappies To Be Changed!&#148;


The real enemy of GDS: The dreaded Gas Giant!


The galaxy is saved and it's a tearful, yet joyous, occasion as the Legion admits F'Aartt, The Flatulence Lad into their esteemed ranks. Mysa provides a wonderful illusory fireworks display, with real ones being too dangerous to use around Flatulence Lad.

Originally Posted by HWW
It's always interesting to read how fans who came in later than I did interpret the characters and their relationships. It's also fascinating to realize we had to wait this long, until Levitz Mk II, for certain characters such as Element Lad and Chameleon Boy to develop discernible personalities. For me, Cham really comes into his own in these stories. He's made a stupid mistake and paid the penalty. In spite of that, he acquits himself quite well when an unexpected threat arrives on Takron Galtos. (I'm trying not to give away spoilers.) This leads to his eventual return to the Legion and to his father--older, wiser, and more appreciative of the chances he's been given.


I'm looking forward to seeing how he reintegrates into the team, to see if Levitz was using it as a wider arc or got inspired to extend this one.

Originally Posted by HWW
On one hand, it gets old when Mon-El is repeatedly taken out of the story so easily.


Mordru: Pitiful Legionnaires! You should not have trifled with me!
Tenzil: Trifle? That gives me an appetite, and you don't want to give me an appetite!
Nura: Oh Tenzil. Your jokes go down like lead balloons.
Lar: Did some one mention lead?! Gaaah! >passes out<
Nura: Oh No! We've lost Mon El for the mission!

As long as every episode doesn't have to have a few panels explaining why Mon El can't save the day. smile In GDS Levitz has had to shuffle Superboy around a little through time to get around this. Putting Lar into a coma also makes sure he's not up and about. But this was one adventure where Mon El could really have cut loose without it really stopping the villain.

Originally Posted by HWW
This gets back to a point I made earlier that the writers hadn't really thought through potential weaknesses (both physical and emotional) for the Legionnaires. However, here it works quite well. Stephen King once advised writers to "murder your darlings" for the sake of writing a better story. So, if Mon has to spend some time in a coma to advance the plot, I'll go with it.


I often think that people get too hung up on that quote in relation to bumping off the cast, where there was a wider idea involved in advancement as you mention. Funnily enough, I was reading Faulkner's (who came up with the quote) The Sound and the Fury last month. It was one of many I've enjoyed more with a few more years under my belt.

Originally Posted by HWW
I'm not a science guy, so the whole "bioscience" bit went over my head. It was like revealing that Dirk collects sculpture or is a good navigator: It's one of those "specialties" the Legionnaires had but didn't really play much of a role in any story or tell me anything revealing about the character. It was good, though, to see Mon participate in the med-lab in the annual and GDS. It gave him something new to do.


Comic Book Science rarely gets past some nice looking lab equipment and a character spouting whatever it takes to get the Plot Effect. smile Look! Tenzil is thin! Chuck isn't! Ayla's got Lightning Powers! And he's a she! oh, wait that one wasn't science based... smile Still, enjoy this time. Mon El will bring a white dwarf star to Earth later on, and in the wider DCVerse Earth will become the centre of the universe.

What it does for the group, is move their utter dependence on Brainy, while emphasising things we had seen from them in the past. So, lots of good research by Levitz to remember that Dreamy has been involved in altering superpowers, and that Daxam has a history of biological research.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Nice cradle! And Mysa's very calmly kicking ass.


Would I be right in thinking that the chair is supposed to be a variation of Metron's Chair. The appearance of a broken god, his quest for knowledge having brought him, and those he encountered, nothing but ignorance and misery might have made for a nice Metron cameo. Despite his questing, he's still a puppet of other powers, and he brings them the gift of a child.

Despite things looking bleak on the cover I'd like to think that:-
Sun Boy is a moment away form blasting the area with yellow light.
Nura says "Remember the Kents" to the Superman mockery, turning it against the other villains.
Mysa says : dieskraD it taeB! (A spell of similarity between herself and the spirit of Zatanna) smile

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
One thing that's curious about the story so far is that, unlike the Computo tale, no one outside of the Legion seems to be aware of the menace. There's no cause for SP/Earthgov involvement at this point, and the Legionnaires themselves don't really know what's going on, but it seems odd that there wouldn't be some reference to alerting the SPs or the United Planets. It does fit in with the idea of darkness and unknown monstrosities lurking in the shadows; it's just quite different from the Computo experience.


Really good point. It's been quite Legioncentric, with no checking of Coluan archives or the mystical legends of Orando etc for info on the Villain. Likewise, no sense of preparation from the UP despite the many thefts and attacks.

President Allon: Hi son, Just calling to let you know Chameleon Boy's trial is tomorrow.
Gim:>quickly stops snogging "Vi" for a minute to answer the call< Thanks Mom! We might pop in if we manage to defeat the all powerful villain who wants to crush the galaxy.
President Allon: That's nice son. Don't forget the Adlers will be coming for dinner afterwards, and their daughter is just dying to meet you.
Gim: Oh mom!


"...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."
#937402 - 09/12/17 03:48 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LSH #293 Within the Darkness by Paul Levitz, art by Keith Giffen & Larry Mahlstedt, colors Carl Gafford, letters John Costanza

[Linked Image]

Five Legion cruisers fly behind Dawnstar, Superboy, Wildfire and Ultra Boy, with a mission to find the Servants. Nura, Ayla, Blok and Mysa tend to comatose Mon-el. Mysa explains that her magic is limited and that she is little more than an apprentice.

One of the teams arrives at the barren planet which Tasmia and Lar had investigated. Superboy receives a holographic message from Luornu, imploring him to find the Master so that she might redeem herself for not fighting Computo. On Earth, the founders, Chuck and Lu discuss the situation.

On Takron-Galtos, Cham fights other Durlan prisoners, depsite have his powers nullified by antennae bindings. R.J. visits him and the two reconcile.

On Daxam, the Master arrives.

Val, Jeckie, Gim and Violet join the search for the Master in separate ships.

Mysa and Jacques watch the baby, who is now visibly older. As they turn aside to greet Blok, red flames emerge from the child’s eyes and he appears to grow older still.

Nura checks in with Jan’s cruiser; he feels insulted that she inquires into his search results and rebuffs her compliment that he’ll be a great deputy leader.

The Master enslaves the inhabitants of Daxam and moves the planet to a yellow sun, switching its place with his barren planet. Dawnstar tracks the Master to Daxam, only to find that it is the barren planet and that Tasmia, Tinya and Jo lie injured. Dawnstar tries to guide Jan’s team in to supply medical support, but that cruiser is brought down. Dawnstar is grabbed into a void as two Servants attack Wildfire. These two are attacked in turn by Jan’s team, which had not been in the crashed cruiser since Brainy sent it down empty on auto-pilot. Wildfire turns his full energy force on one of the Servants, who has suggested he might keep Dawnstar as a toy. Brainy has also equipped Superboy with circuity to give him powers under the red sun.

The Daxamites, now super-powered under the yellow sun, are commanded by the Master to burn their planet and reshape it.

As Superboy fights the Superman Servant, his circuitry is destroyed. However, Jan shields him in lead, turns other rocks to gold kryptonite and Timber Wolf destroys the now de-powered Servant.

Wildfire is distressed over Dawnstar’s disappearance, but Jacques finds her hanging invisibly in stasis and rescues her. Brainy deduces that Daxam has been taken captive, switched with the barren planet and its residents given powers equal to Superboy’s. He also has figured out the Master’s identity. Indeed, Daxamites fly into space on the Master’s mission to conquer the universe and Daxam is revealed to have been reshaped to be the face of Darkseid.

Comments:
The action really ramps up in this issue with rapid scene changes and more scenes with the Master himself. Things go from bad to worse and the miracle baby doesn’t seem to be helping at all. Although the reader may have suspicions, the Legionnaires are still figuratively in the dark regarding the Master’s identity, until the end. Brainy’s explanation of the evidence and the legend explain Darkseid for any readers not familiar with the character.

There’s a wide range of reactions to the crisis: Chuck’s optimism, Violet’s sense of hopelessness, Gim’s reliance on the team, Jeckie thinking the whole thing is silly, others feeling bewildered about how they can stop the Master.

Nura keeps a firm hand on the leadership which must have a good effect on the teams. She doesn’t waver, show any self-doubt, lose her cool or criticize anyone. Quite a change from Garth.

Jan behaves poorly with Nura in terms of civility, which clearly surprises her, but she doesn’t give him any grief about it. (At some point in the series, whether past or possibly future I can’t recall, he called her “beautiful”. An untold story of unrequited or rebuffed love? An embarrassing crush?) Tensions are running high and he’s been under some stress as acting leader so blowing off steam is credible. He does redeem himself by playing a critical role in defeating some Daxamites and the Superman Servant.

I like how Jacques fits right in with the group. No newbie jokes. He doesn’t screw up and isn’t overawed by the more experienced members, which is something we will get with the Academy student stories. He’s still discovering how his power works and what it can do. Talk about hitting the ground running!

Wildfire’s affection for Dawnstar has been well handled. It’s not creepy obsessive at this point; you get the sense that he genuinely cares for and watches out for her. Okay, so maybe he’s a little protective – but it struck me as more of a sweet romance than the jealous dependence of later years.

It’s also nice to see Tasmia not obsessing over Lar’s condition and sitting by his side. She’s needed on the front and that’s where she is.

Lu finds an excuse to speak with Superboy. The circuitry Brainy had given Kal doesn’t survive the Servant’s attack, which explains why Brainy didn’t equip him on a permanent basis – too unreliable. (I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why Brainy hasn’t given everybody forcefield belts.)

Physically exchanging Daxam with the Master’s planet is pretty awesome, and accomplished in a single panel. That’s what being a god is all about. The enslavement, mind control and powering of the entire population of Daxam is mega-awesome, although we won’t see the effects until the next issue.

Cham’s story gets some needed attention with a reconciliation with his father. It’s a quiet moment with age-old mortal emotions which is in sharp contrast to the mayhem.

For all the cold and darkness that is felt on contact with the Servants and Darkseid, there’s a great deal of fire and mayhem. This covers the full spectrum of human/sentient fear, from the cold stillness of death and the unknown to the frenzied panic of destruction.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#937404 - 09/12/17 05:52 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LoSH 293

Issue #290 had the story title in rubble beneath the feet of one of the Mockeries. Things have got worse. The very essence of the Legion, in the form of a rock hewn logo, is being defended by the team. Against the hellish backdrop (consistent with last issue’s cover) come hordes of dark shapes, all seemingly servants of our Villain. The Logo is cracked in many places as even Superboy struggles to keep it safe. How will the Legion stop it from being overrun?

After Dave’s post, I checked to see if Blok was one of shadowy creatures. Not that I could see, but come on, this is the one chance the guy has to go on an espionage mission. Well, I suppose there’s a mission to Stone Boy’s world too.. smile

Now I like Giffen’s combination of Perez/ Kirby and all the other influences that go into producing his own style. Much is made of the extent of those influences. But when it came to DC’s biggest Event, Perez didn’t look past this cover to come up with the hordes of Shadow Demons or the rubble strewn Anti-Monitor’s base. And it didn’t stop there, so inspiration/homage works both ways.

The splash page is a bit of a quality split between script and art. The Sorcerers’ World took a real battering as I guess that’s where the team are coming from. That glimpse of devastation we got last issue, has engulfed their planet. I’m surprised the Villain didn’t just move in, considering his origins. The illusion based powers of the survivors are going to come in handy to make it took a bearable place to live. But how many of them are left?

As an aside, as the Villain stripped a lot of the magic from the world, how does this tie in with the story at the end of the Baxter run? Was the Villain there affected by events here?

Giffen has the ships and Legionnaires encircle the world as they head off to confront the Villain. Which is where the problem is. The team only survived last issue because the Villain let them off. They are incredibly cocky about going to hunt him down here. They know that the baby they now have is important, but don’t really know any of the details. Further, they have no idea where they’re going to look. Superboy (a conveniently late arrival again) is reduced to scanning the heavens with his telescopic vision to try and find the Master.

Once again, Lu regrets not being more involved in the Computo story. The more she says this, the more of a missed opportunity it was. Perhaps this is a very long arc that culminates in her choice on whether to return towards the end of the Baxter run.

Nura provides a summary of the situation as she, Ayla and Mysa look upon a comatose, and naked Mon El. Off panel, Dawny will take a break from being in the team’s strike force to look in on naked Mon El, while Lu offers support to naked Mon El through the new holographic imaging system. Jeckie, Imra and Tinya will all pop in to see if there’s anything they can do to support naked Mon El, before Shady arrives to thank them ever so much for their efforts and send them all on their way.

Levitz uses Mon El’s condition to establish more of the limitations around Mysa’s powers. It’s smart to get this sorted now, before he has to find ways to stop her solving all of the team’s problems in every story.

I took a peek back at a couple of Mysa’s early appearances to see how her powers compared. Back in Adventure #350 Mysa was shown to have a rocket powered broomstick. That was more of a gimmick for her Hag persona. It didn’t require any magic and it wasn’t seen again after she was transformed into her old self. A drastic change of appearance, through the influence of magics, is also in-keeping with what we’ve seen of her.

Mysa could also teleport, which is what we saw in her reappearance in this storyline. Additionally, she could create hanging portraits that showed the future of those who viewed them. That was a combination of her magical abilities (they were possibly illusions) with probable access to her Naltorian heritage. She had taught Nura a few spells, and the key one in this issue certainly had a lot of preparation involved. An issue revolves around getting the components for it. That matches what Mysa says here about only having a finite number of spells at her disposal and having to prepare for each one.

In a later appearance, she counters Mordru’s magical attack on the Legion HQ. She didn’t do this alone. Mordru was only too happy to fall for Jeckie’s illusion of a destroyed building, as Mysa disrupted the magical energy used.

I did notice that Mysa styled herself as the White Witch in her first story, a superheroine from Naltor. She’s a lot less outwardly sure of her abilities here. Perhaps she’s learned just how much she’s still to learn during her studies. She sees herself as more of an apprentice now. Again, that stops any chance of her being overpowered, while opening up a number of possible arcs for her to develop. That’s something I’ll come back to at the end of the storyline.

Blok is supportive of Mysa’s doubts over her abilities. He doesn’t miss any opportunity smile There’s a bit of damage on his rocky surface from a blast he sustained last issue. While the others are changing costumes, Blok is going through some changes of his own.

Dave highlighting the cover last issue, made me see that a lot of Blok’s rocky chest had been blown off there. A similar thing would happen to Strata in Legion Acronym years later.

Giffen has a lot of fun with the monitor screens. The Legion logos indicating who is in each shuttle is a good touch. On the writing side, Sun Boy shows Jacques how to pilot one of the ships. It doesn’t seem that long ago that Dawny was learning the ropes in the Academy. Her on-point place in the team seems to have pushed her past this stage. But Blok is still fairly new and we now have Jacques. There’s a shift from new members who were already capable champions to those who are having to learn on the job. It does reinforce that transitional feeling in the team though, which I quite like.


Chuck tries to raise the team’s spirits (like always) as the founders worry about how to locate their adversary. They only needed to check in with Shady’s team. She’s linked the effects of the mockeries and their master to the world she and Mon El visited in the back up story of #287.

I had been wondering what took them so long. In fact, there’s a crossed-out scene in the back of the TPB where Shady does link all this much earlier on. That would have had a very interesting effect on the pacing of the story. Incidentally, the same script breakdown shows confirmation to the art team as to where the Annual would fall. That probably explains all the plot points that are given some nice space in the Annual, but without lots of progression.

One effect of the pacing changes, is the number of times Shady, Tinya and Jo are knocked out by the Servants of Darkness. They are ambushed on the Villain’s homeworld. One of the things about the Villain’s technology was that at least a “Boom” told you what was on the way. Such effects have been noticeably absent in this story (a “Ploink” or two apart). Here, the portal makes no sound at all. The Servants who knock the Legionnaires out, don’t go down the usual “Die Fools” route. But after so many similar threats, it’s a wonder who our heroes keep surviving, why Tinya is always caught in the blast and why Jo doesn’t have his invulnerability on. All three are better than these scenes.

Having telepathically learned of Daxam from Mon El, the Villain emerges from a portal above one of their cities. He descends from their heavens, his deity class powers awing and frightening the inhabitants. He then proceeds to mind control three billion Daxamites to do his bidding. Surrounded by a lambent aura he then sends bands of shadowy energy to engulf their world (an effect that inspired at least one later title written by a Mr Morrison) and switch it with one under a yellow sun. The Villain’s reason for abandoning the Sorcerer’s World is now clear. He has three billion slaves with the power of Mon El (which is a major plot of so many issues of Kirkman’s Invincible).

All of the build-up for the Villain pays off in this scene. He’s beyond anything the Legion have faced, as foreshadowed by Brainy when Mordru and the Trapper had their powers drained. For all their science, the Daxamites fared no better against the Villain than anyone else would. Like we would if something so advanced appeared above us. It’s chilling stuff.

Between his appearance and moving a world, there was time for Levitz to get in a few subplots. smile Princess Projectra (in a ship with her logo on it) has clearly moved away from being a Legionnaire. She sees her time there as “playing” at being Princess Projectra. It’s a stance that would be used by Aquaman in the much later Kingdom Come. Her consort, Karate Kid, looks far more pleased about going back into action again. His interactive space invaders game still looks great.

Gim and Vi (having to make do in a Legion cruiser. Mom probably forbids Gim to use hers after the Khundia mission) have returned to duty from their holiday. As will become relevant later, it’s Gim who’s keeping the couple away from the group, not Vi. He still can’t seem to believe his luck in them becoming a couple. He didn’t hold too many grudges against Chameleon Boy for the Khundia Mission. Vi seems uncertain of her use, but it’s something that is shared by anyone who knows that their foe has beaten Mon El. Gim’s line reminds me of one from the Matrix.

It’s important to keep new/ intermittent readers up to date with the key movers in the story. Levitz does this well by thematically linking hope with the previous scene. At the same time as he has Jacques provide us with a reprise and he pushes forward the child’s character arc. The boy seems to be getting suddenly older in stages.

Watching over the child with Jacques is Mysa. Of the Legion she says, “I have never seen it prouder in any of its triumphs than it seems to be today in its darkest moments.”

Okay, she’s only been with the team on a few occasions. But it’s the sentiment that the outside would also share, as seen at the start of the TMK run. Mysa’s words of light shining from the darkest of times would also resonate with Lydda Jath’s comments in the TMK run. Mysa’s appearance in the bottom panel of page 9, looks a lot more like Giffen’s later work than usual.

This scene of faith and purpose is offset with the arrival of Blok. Never one to miss an opportunity to be with Mysa, he uses the old “Can I show you the Emergency Procedures” routine. Jacques, oblivious to Blok’s motives, invites himself along too. Blok was probably wishing that Jacques could fade away, when he realised… smile

Finally, Mysa’s feet never touch the ground. It’s a nice, constant, visual touch by Giffen. We’ll see if it has any bearing on her character as we go.

Cham is reconciled with his father, RJ Brande. The more RJ had tried to make up for the time they spent apart (almost as if the whole thing was a drop in plot smile ) the more Cham felt uncomfortable and resented the belated closeness. In this scene, the roles are reversed as it’s RJ who has been isolated and alone, while Cham is the one seeking closeness. Perhaps having experienced the emotions of the other side, helped bring some closure to both here.

Elsewhere, Jan snubs the chance at continuing to be deputy leader after the current crisis. Dreamy was being very cordial with him, but Jan can’t get past his sulk. Having quit, he realises how good it feels. This burst of ego would have lead him down the slippery slope to becoming the Progenitor, had it not been for the 5YG, and removing himself to Trom. smile

With all the subplots out of the way, Dawnstar tracks the Master to his home world. (Yay! Dawny tracking success!) She is justly giving Wildfire grief for treating her roughly in their encounter with the Servants. While Drake is being overly protective, it does raise the old Legion concern about having couples in the team. Way back, we saw Jo’s decisions being affected in a bid to protect Tinya. Dawny would never put up with such clinginess (well this far at least) and puts Drake right. But it’s only a matter of time before his personality kicks in again.

There’s just one snag with finding the Master’s homeworld. It’s where Daxam should be. In the blazing wreckage of the world, they find Jo, Tinya and Tasmia.

Levitz plays with the reader, as the Servants reappear and attack Dawny, Wildfire and the others in the shuttle. A structure rises suddenly out of the ground (a power not seen elsewhere by the Servants), destroying the shuttle. Dawny has already said she was guiding the shuttle in. When it is shattered, Wildfire wonders if anyone inside is alive.

But no one is aboard the ship, as they conveniently let the shuttle go in on autopilot. But why would they not tell Drake and Dawny of their intention? Why would Drake and Dawny not notice? Why would they look to protect themselves, but send in Drake and Dawny first? The pair go on point a lot, because of their speed at getting to situations first. No one needs super scouting here.

Dawny’s general attitude of frustration at recurring events is a good character moment for her.

As Darkseid uses the Daxamites to use their heat vision to reshape their own world, a bruising battle between the Legion and the Servants continues. Wildfire’s suit survives a clubbing from a super strong Kalibak.

Dawny is grabbed through a portal. She loses her tiara again. Is this the sign of a costume change? Wildfire uses yellow radiation against the Oan Mockery. When it taunts him over the fate of Dawny he opens up his suit, destroying it. It’s a moment that shows the depth of feeling that Drake has for Dawny combined with his direct approach built up over so many issues. It’s also a reminder of how powerful he is. The same sequence & motivation would be used years later when Guy Gardner though that Despero had hurt/killed Ice in the JLA.

Star Boy uses his power to turn the Orion Mockery’s power against the Kalibak one, seemingly ending it’s threat. Typical Thom. Always involved in a shooting incident. smile

With Brainy restraining the Orion mockery in his force field, it leaves lucky Brin to face the Superman Mockery. It’s a shame we don’t get to see some of Brin’s super agility and strength to delay the creature. But Brainy has a master plan. Superboy arrives, covered in circuitry that allows him to function under the red sun. The Boy of Steel (looking older these days) puts up a great fight, injuring the Mockery. But the creature is cloned form a more powerful Superman, and Superboy falls.

It’s not over yet. The Legion has its own One-Man-Cavalry. Often too powerful to use in actual combat, Element Lad is frequently the guy who stops the fight, but only after a lot of damage has been done. As mentioned in previous reviews, this holding back becomes a character trait, and you begin to wonder what motivates him to act like that. Here he covers Superboy in a lead shield, while changing the rocks to gold Kryptonite. The Mockery instantly loses its powers following Comic Book Kryptonian Science, allowing Timberwolf to destroy it.

The Orion Mockery manages to escape from Brainy’s force shield. That’s an interesting limitation. Presumably, he would not be able to keep Zymyr in one either.

The combat over, Giffen gives us a nice overhead shot of the reinforcements surveying the battlefield. Wildfire is worried about Dawnstar and what’s happening to her. Dawny would disappear with someone again in the Crisis, so it’s a feeling that Drake would have more than once.

But where is Dawnstar? The Legion are already on the Villain’s homeworld. If she is transported to where the Villain now is, then she may be consumed in the fires that now ravaged Daxam. She seems to be somewhere in between locations. Dumped halfway through a Boom Tube? Wherever they have her, Invisible Kid manages to see and return her.

We don’t see how he returns her. But it’s the same sequence that was used when the Flash spotted Norman McKay in Kingdom Come.

It opens up a lot of possibilities for Jacques. He drank Lyle Norg’s serum in the Annual, but there was an element of uncertainty in him doing so. I was going to type that the serum works differently, depending on the physiology of the drinker. But Lyle had a relationship with Myla before his death; someone between life and death who only he could see.

Jacques powers here match that too closely to be a coincidence. Even more bonus points to Mr Levitz for that one. Perhaps this is an aspect that’s going to be explored further with Foccart. It’s going to be interesting to see if the Legion treat him as a Norg substitute, or if he manages to forge his own path.

As good as this is for Jacques, Dawny, of all Legionnaires, should have been able to find her way back. Perhaps she could have come back with a warning about what the Villain was really up to (the art on the Dawny/ Jacques moment is a well rendered relief from the deathly action).

Brainy gets to deduce something! His step by step logic reveals their adversary. In parallel with this, Giffen also works in a reveal on a planetary scale as we see what the Daxamite’s heat vision had been reshaping their world into.

As the world turns (another soap source for the Legion? smile ) we see the profile of a New God. When the three billion Daxamites leave to conquer the universe, we get a long shot of the maniacally laughing Villain, standing above a fiery landscape of a world now in his image. The creative team are looking forward to the finale so much, the last page is essentially an advertisement for the battle ahead. Next issue, the Legion stand against 3 billion Daxamaites and… Darkseid!

…and not ‘Mazing Man as I was guessing all this time… smile

One final point about this issue is the destruction of the Mockeries. Were they alive? We saw them born from birthing wombs in a previous issue. They are organic, with genetic material taken from historical heroes, and combined with Apokaliptian science. They make conscious decisions and feel a range of emotions. We’ll see some changes in “Orion” next issue that suggests they were not completely morally programmed either. Should Brin be accused of killing it? Should Thom have looked to see if there were handy tree branches to drop on “Orion”? The Superman mockery crumbles like rock. But if that was a sign it could be destroyed, where does that leave Blok?


"...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."
#937406 - 09/12/17 07:09 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 4,110
Dave Hackett Offline
Dave Hackett  Offline


Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 4,110
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
So as this saga has ramped up, my cousin and I have a bit of a rivalry going on to see who gets Legion first so we can lord it over the other. He has a subscription, while I get mine off the spinner racks. I get Batman and the Outsiders, Swamp Thing, Zoo Crew and Amethyst, while he gets Batman, All-Star Squadron, New Teen Titans and JLA, but we BOTH get Legion. Every afternoon we dutifully trek down to his mailbox to see if he got his copy, while I just as dutifully wait for grocery day so I can head into town with my mom to check the racks. Sometimes he gets it first, sometimes I do. In this case, I do! As soon as I get home I race up the hill to his house, open the door and scream "They revealed who the Master is!". After the initial glimmer of defeat in his eyes, he can't bear not knowing and asks "Well, who is it?" To which I respond "I have no idea, never heard of him before!". Slightly anti-climatic, I'm sure, but the point here is I got the issue first.

I'd like to also point out that Masters of the Universe insert was awesome. Conan meets Flash Gordon, with some cosmic mysticism thrown in (and Ironically a lot of Kirby New Gods homages I didn't get - see above)? Sign me up, I'll buy those toys (and boy did I ever)! The follow-up DC comic was equally awesome. Man, it would suck if Filmation came out with a cartoon series that kiddified the whole thing and ruined it (and boy did they ever)!

#937409 - 09/12/17 07:25 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
Joined: Sep 2013
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thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
Tempus Fugitive

Joined: Sep 2013
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Originally Posted by Cramer
miracle baby doesn’t seem to be helping at all.


They never should have let him join the team! Super pooping is not a power! smile

Originally Posted by Cramer
Brainy’s explanation of the evidence and the legend explain Darkseid for any readers not familiar with the character.


This issue and next keep the details of the New Gods fairly vague. Perhaps this was not to tread on Kirby’s work and plans (Crisis did likewise). Whatever the reason, it makes the snippets all the more ominous in the ruins of the murder machines of Apokalips.

Originally Posted by Cramer
There’s a wide range of reactions to the crisis: Chuck’s optimism, Violet’s sense of hopelessness, Gim’s reliance on the team, Jeckie thinking the whole thing is silly, others feeling bewildered about how they can stop the Master.


I remember reading an interview, that give some of Levtiz’s insights into the characters. They really stood out for their maturity and specific character motivations. I don’t think any of them were defined in huge, broad strokes.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Nura keeps a firm hand on the leadership which must have a good effect on the teams. She doesn’t waver, show any self-doubt, lose her cool or criticize anyone. Quite a change from Garth.


While she’s had a time when she doubted her place in the team (probably just her turn that month) Nura has previously been shown as a confident, cool person. It’s probably helped by her sudden announcement of people’s power/appearance changes in cameo roles. As for leadership, few know the constitution better than she does, since she got several of the team expelled in her first appearance, in an attempt to save them (Adventure 317 – Look It Up Lad).


Originally Posted by Cramer
(At some point in the series, whether past or possibly future I can’t recall, he called her “beautiful”. An untold story of unrequited or rebuffed love? An embarrassing crush?)


He voted her into the team, but didn’t really appear in her first appearance. Perhaps he got left out when the machine was telling them all who to pair up with.


Originally Posted by Cramer
He does redeem himself by playing a critical role in defeating some Daxamites and the Superman Servant.


When he gets round to it. smile (Spoiler Lad)

Originally Posted by Cramer
I like how Jacques fits right in with the group. No newbie jokes. He doesn’t screw up and isn’t overawed by the more experienced members, which is something we will get with the Academy student stories. He’s still discovering how his power works and what it can do. Talk about hitting the ground running!


That’s a point about him not messing up. It’s a huge mission so just not getting hurt is a plus, and he adds a few things along the way so he does participate.



Originally Posted by Cramer
Wildfire’s affection for Dawnstar has been well handled. It’s not creepy obsessive at this point; you get the sense that he genuinely cares for and watches out for her. Okay, so maybe he’s a little protective – but it struck me as more of a sweet romance than the jealous dependence of later years.

It’s also nice to see Tasmia not obsessing over Lar’s condition and sitting by his side. She’s needed on the front and that’s where she is.


I’m not sure that Dawny sees his actions as being in the sweet romance section. More in the undermining my position and powers in the team section.

Shady will have plenty of time to spend with Coma Kid later smile (Spoiler Lad). Considering the huge threats Lar and Kal have survived, I think the original idea of invulnerability still holds in the perceptions of quite a few. If he’s alive, he’ll be back sooner or later. Failing that, Eltro might have had some other relatives smile

Originally Posted by Cramer
(I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why Brainy hasn’t given everybody forcefield belts.)


Eventually, it would become an artefact of his lineage, rather than something he’d create and tinker with. That undermined all of his other force field technology, such as the one covering Takron Galtos just a couple of issues ago. Considering the damage the team take, I’d not be surprised if Brainy had messed with their Transuits a little. They’re clearly better than anything other characters are shown to have.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Cham’s story gets some needed attention with a reconciliation with his father. It’s a quiet moment with age-old mortal emotions which is in sharp contrast to the mayhem.


Had it not been for all the other subplots to fit in, I wonder if this one could have worked as a back up.

Originally Posted by Cramer
For all the cold and darkness that is felt on contact with the Servants and Darkseid, there’s a great deal of fire and mayhem. This covers the full spectrum of human/sentient fear, from the cold stillness of death and the unknown to the frenzied panic of destruction.


The team have done a great job in conveying what it means to have someone as powerful as Darkseid look to take over. Contrast that with the previous Mordru/ Trapper appearances where they’ve been put in as stock villains.


"...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."
#937410 - 09/12/17 07:27 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
Joined: Sep 2013
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thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
Tempus Fugitive

Joined: Sep 2013
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Great story Dave! 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."
#937439 - 09/12/17 08:32 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
293:

I’ve been trying to remember how I felt about the big Darkseid reveal. I believe I was disappointed. As I mentioned, I didn’t read Kirby’s Fourth World stories, so I only knew Darkseid from the Secret Society of Super-Villains and a Fourth World spinoff, Return of the New Gods. I was not impressed. Craggy-faced, godlike villain who represents Ultimate Evil. Marvel has two dozen of those, and Darkseid was, if nothing else, a blatant attempt to Marvelize the DCU. There was also a Darkseid action figure around this time, and the figure’s pose was similar to the image of the villain on Page 22 of this issue. The whole thing seemed to be an attempt to promote Darkseid as a more interesting and popular villain than he was, and I resented it.

I’m not sure who I would have preferred the Master to be, but someone from the Legion’s own past would have been nice. Surely fanboy Levitz could have found some way to make Zaryan the Conqueror a plausible threat. smile

Of course, that was 19-year-old me struggling to come to terms with the fact that I had been a Legion fan for fully 10 years at this point, and, though I loved the characters and the setting, I had yet to see a truly awesome Legion story that blew my mind. The epic I envisioned didn’t exist, except in my imagination, so when the closest thing to it was delivered in the form of this story, I couldn’t help but find fault with it---that is, until I learned to accept things as they are and not as I wished them to be.

In short, my experience with GDS is about growing up—much like the Legionnaires themselves in the story.

It’s fitting that the three founders sit out the story so far by remaining at headquarters, and two retired members join them to keep watch. This story belongs to later and younger members: Drake and Dawny, Dreamy and Jan, Jo and Tinya, and Jacques, Blok, and Mysa (who is not a Legionnaire yet, but was there any doubt?). This story passes the gauntlet, and ina much more effective manner than the later retirements of Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad. This transition is subtle and natural.

Given such a transition, Superboy seems out of place—though I couldn’t resist cheering when he flies out of the sky and straight into the face of his own mockery. The look of determination and disgust on his face says it all: He stood for something, and he would not see his legacy perverted by the Master and his deliberate distortions. Superboy has never embodied the spirit of the Legion more than he does right here, and this spirit continues to flourish even as the lineup changes.

Another aspect which sailed right past 19-year-old me was the sheer magnitude of the Master’s power and how he performs incredible feats of physics. I don’t know if I simply didn’t understand that he had switched one planet in space with another, or if I was just used to comic book characters pulling off such feats (including the Legionnaires from time to time). However, this development seems all the more impressive and frightening now. I much better understood the villain’s enslavement of three billion Daxamites and what their newfound powers suggested for the universe. Abstract concepts like moving planets I couldn’t relate to; an army of super-powered slaves---piece of cake.

In reading the story now, I’m surprised to discover all the subtleties I missed. Kudos to thoth for noticing that Jacques’s ability to see what is invisible mirrors Lyle’s encounter with a ghost. Kudos to FC for defining Nura’s qualities as a leader and noticing that she doesn’t hold Sore Loser Lad’s sniping against him. I also have a deeper appreciation for Jeckie’s point of view. Now that she is the monarch of an entire planet, her Legionnaire days must seem like a form of rumspringa. Gim and Vi (actually Yera) are fully aware that their powers are woefully outclassed by the Master and they respond appropriately—and bravely.

And then there is the scene with Cham—who, like the founders, is far removed from the main action, but, unlike them, cannot even contribute in some small way such as summoning reinforcements. Instead, Cham tearfully embraces his father for the first time. This has to be the most mature level of writing ever displayed in the Legion, and it works beautifully. We don’t need a backup story; what we’re given is brief, visual, and powerful.

I think it’s fair to say that such character bits stand out to me more than the action scenes in 293—though the action scenes are also well done and satisfying. Thoth pointed out a few weaknesses, such as Jan holding back when he could have defeated the Kal mockery earlier and Jo, Tinya, and Shady once again taken out of the action so quickly (one wonders why they and Lar hang out together—such a dysfunctional quartet!). Such weaknesses I came to expect from comics—can’t have the story end too quickly. But they do strain credibility.

All in all, there is much to love about 293, but also much to hold in reservation. The story, like the Legion itself (and me at the time) hovers between juvenile expectations of what a super-hero saga should be and the more mature, nuanced direction its writer wanted it to take. The story leans heavily in that direction but remains anchored by some of the tropes and plot conveniences one might expect from the genre. Sometimes this blend of innovation and expectation works (such as the cover, which artfully depicts the heroes being overrun by shadowy figures in a new and eye-catching way); other times, I felt the characters and the writer lingered too much on the past—such as yet another reminder of who founded the Legion and who didn’t go off to fight Computo. Levitz trusts his audience with nuance, but only so far.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#937455 - 09/13/17 09:07 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Dave Hackett]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 15,346
Fat Cramer Offline
Fat Cramer  Offline


Joined: Jul 2003
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Café Cramer
Originally Posted by thoth
The splash page is a bit of a quality split between script and art. The Sorcerers' World took a real battering as I guess that's where the team are coming from. That glimpse of devastation we got last issue, has engulfed their planet. I'm surprised the Villain didn't just move in, considering his origins. The illusion based powers of the survivors are going to come in handy to make it took a bearable place to live. But how many of them are left?


It would have complicated the plot, but I’m surprised they didn’t have Darkseid take control of the Teachers. In the last issue, they said that two were killed; we don’t know how many there are in total – nor how many students/apprentices.

Quote
As an aside, as the Villain stripped a lot of the magic from the world, how does this tie in with the story at the end of the Baxter run? Was the Villain there affected by events here?


I wonder if the magic was restored after Darkseid left. In LSH #63, one of the Teachers says that the planet had been leaking magic for centuries but the balance was perhaps finally upset when Mordru left, and/or when Mysa left to join the Legion. No mention of Darkseid! (Look-up Lass :))

Quote
Once again, Lu regrets not being more involved in the Computo story. The more she says this, the more of a missed opportunity it was. Perhaps this is a very long arc that culminates in her choice on whether to return towards the end of the Baxter run.

That’s a good connection regarding her motives!

Quote
I did notice that Mysa styled herself as the White Witch in her first story, a superheroine from Naltor. She's a lot less outwardly sure of her abilities here. Perhaps she's l