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#936962 - 09/03/17 08:09 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! (LSH 79, L* 36) [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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LSH 79:

In general, I agree with Ibby's comments. The Legionnaires come across as careless amateurs here, and they make some obvious and really silly mistakes. Fortunately for them, the Fatal Five aren't so fatal, after all. Vi has at least two chances to be killed here, but she survives.

Reading this story alongside the Great Darkness Saga for other review thread produces some interesting juxtapositions. The GDS Legion consists of experienced, older, professional heroes who have worked together for a long time and are at the peak of their skills. The Legionnaires of this story are much younger, brash, and inexperienced. Peyer, McCraw, etc., seem to have made a deliberate choice to emphasize these qualities. The heroes come across like teens who are trying to figure things out as they go along (including who they are and what they can do) and not the seasoned professionals one might expect. This portrayal ties in nicely with the plot, I believe. Tharok alludes that the Legionnaires have been set up on this Sun-Eater quest; apparently, President Chu did not expect such inexperienced heroes to survive their encounter with the Fatal Five.

The fight scenes are indeed difficult to follow at first, but they reward careful attention. On Page 4, for example, as many as three different things are happening in one panel, and the action sometimes carries over in the next panel. For instance:

Panel 1: Cos squares off against Empress. Cos tells Cham not to worry about Empress's blade. Spark attacks Persuader.
Panel 2: Cos fights Empress. Persuader's axe cuts through Spark's lightning bolt.
Panel 3: Cham sneaks up on Empress from behind while Cos looks on. Spark flies away from Persuader. Imra confronts Validus.
Panel 4: Validus roars at Imra.
Panel 5: Imra collapses from Validus's mental resistance while Cos looks on.

So, there is a lot going on, yet these scenes display a certain order and flow with Cos serving as the anchor. He's like a recurring motif in a song, keeping our attention focused. These scenes are densely layered. Over on the other review thread, I've compared Paul Levitz's approach to writing the Legion to the '80s TV program Hill Street Blues; I think we see more of that influence here. (However, by the time the reboot was launched, densely layered TV scripts were the norm.)

My major gripe is that when the issue ends, it feels as if nothing has been accomplished. The Legion gets into a free-for-all with the Fatal Five and loses. Fortunately, the ceiling explodes, which, we all know, is simply going to bide our heroes some time. I expected more from the plot than one long rumble.


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#937007 - 09/04/17 03:24 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! (LSH 79, L* 36) [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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L* 36

It's exhilarating to jump back into these reviews after an absence of some years, and not having re-read the stories leading up to this arc. I feel like I've parachuted into a carnival and am holding on to the Ferris Wheel for dear life. This is a good feeling. It evokes the memory of being a kid and going on a real Ferris Wheel (or Octopus or Butterfly, etc.): You know that this is very dangerous. A fall from this height could kill you, and the contraption may break down, etc. Yet your parents or friends are with you, so it must be safe. Either that, or you're all going to die.

L* 36 conveys all those feelings and then some, especially as Live Wire's rescue squad arrives just in time to save the Legion. The two-page spread with XS running into Tharok and the others appearing through the hole in the hull (which Jan turns around to seal shut) is simply marvelous. The role call bordering the panel tells us everything we need to know about who's who. This is the kind of story I wanted to read as a kid and which the kid in me still loves to read.

Most of the story works extremely well, though it is dragged down by two long and largely unnecessary flashbacks. We don't need all the lengthy captions on Page 1 which tell us who XS is, who her grandfather was, that she was drafted, etc. All we really need to know is that she just returned from a time-travel jaunt and was accosted by a mysterious robed figure in the middle of the ocean. Less is more, folks.

Likewise, the lengthy flashback of Garth recruiting Jo, Jan, Andromeda, Valor, and XS detracts from the action and suspense. Much of this is necessary information, especially Jan's forgiveness which prompts Andromeda to join them, but it could be truncated.

There are a few other details which are of questionable merit in the story. Jo receives a ghostly whisper (from the temporarily deceased Apparition, I presume) to switch to invulnerability in the nick of time, and Kinetix appears out of nowhere, also in the nick of time. Deus ex machina plot devices strain the credibility in a story which already asks us to believe that Garth undertook a secret mission for Rokk and arrived (yes) in the nick of time. Brainy's distracted crush on Andromeda is amusing the first time; after that, it becomes silly.

Other aspects of the story shine, such as escalating tensions between Braal and Titan, and how the Fatal Five fits into all this. Cosmic Boy is the leader we all wish we could be: He's planned Garth's rescue mission well in advance. He sizes up the situation and sends three teams of Legionnaires on missions to deal with different aspects of the problem. He also picks the teams very well, such as sending Lyle, Lu, Vi and Cham to question Ambassador Wazzo--an encounter that seems to go horribly wrong, but all is not what it seems.

The artwork captures the childlike wonder of this era of the Legion yet employs sophisticated and innovative narrative techniques. The news scrawl at the bottom of pp. 2-3 tells us about the escalating political situation without distracting from XS's encounter with the two robed figures. The layout of Garth's flashback on pp. 10-11 is mostly coherent (though I was confused by the three-image sequence that introduces Valor--his floating legs and Saturn Girl's image are unnecessary and distracting). Keeping all of this straight is no easy task considering the amount of dialogue and the number of word balloons. As a writer, I'm getting a headache just thinking of scripting all this.

L* 36 is a tense and exciting chapter which moves the story forward yet allows plenty of time for our heroes to interact with one another and display their personalities. As we've discussed before, the writers of this era respected the readers' intelligence, too. There is a huge bait-and-switch going on, which will become clear in the next story, yet at no point do the creators feel it necessary to drop unnecessary hints as writers of the past might have ("Things look grim for our Legionnaires, but just wait and see--next ish!").

By the way, my copy of this issue is signed by Jeffrey Moy, whom I met at a Kansas City comic convention in 2002.



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#937270 - 09/10/17 04:15 AM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! (LSH 79, L* 36) [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Looks like you and I have many similar opinions on these last two issues, HWW!

I'm also glad L* 36 made up for the "lost time" caused by the lack of plot movement in LSH 79. And I totally agree that a) the Reboot era writers respected readers' intelligence, and b) also fit in a LOT of details into their stories, which may be too much!

I am so envious that you have Jeff Moy's signature on your copy. I am a very big fan of his art! Not just his style, but also how well he handles his layouts.

#937283 - 09/10/17 08:44 AM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! (LSH 79, L* 36) [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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On respecting readers' intelligence: I admire the scene at Winema Wazzo's quarters. It is an example of how to trust readers and not spell everything out for them. Four Legionnaires enter Winema's quarters; the guards outside hear a fight. The door opens and Vi is tossed out, unconscious. Lu staggers to the door and passes out. As the guards peer inside, they see what appear to be a human skeleton and a blob on the floor, leading them to believe Lyle and Cham have not survived their encounter with the elusive Winema. But understanding this scene requires the reader to know what Lyle and Cham can do with their powers--things the guards may not be aware of. (The guards' ignorance of the Legionnaires' powers is hinted at when one of them fails to recognize Vi as Imskian.) I haven't read ahead, so I don't recall how the following scene plays out, with Winema shooting Brainy and Chu, but it's masterful how the writers have set up Winema to be the villain of the piece yet subtly hinted that things are not what they seem.

I agree about Moy's layouts. They are inventive without being distracting.


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#937287 - 09/10/17 09:12 AM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! (LSH 79, L* 36) [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Re the Winema quarters scene; if I remember right, the next issue would be the first time that Lyle reveals he can use "partial" invisibility to appear as a skeleton. But, it is a plausible extension of his powers - not one that seems like a deus ex machina. And I agree, the writers did an excellent job of setting Winema up to be a plausible villain while still leaving enough clues that she may not be!

#937568 - 09/15/17 03:44 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Legion of Super-Heroes 80
Trust

Issue information

Summary:

As Live Wire, Spark, Star Boy and Ultra Boy distract the Titan fleet, Saturn Girl and Gates board the lead ship. Saturn Girl's teacher Dr. Micah Aven helps telepathically shut down the commander to stop the fleet from attacking Braal. Ultra Boy experiences a surge of pain, but brushes it off.

Leviathan, XS, Kinetix, Andromeda, Jan Arrah and Valor stop the Fatal Five from launching Braalian weapons at Titan. Mano turns on Tharok, as Mano is not willing to mass-murder innocents. Andromeda tries to save an injured Tharok's life.

RJ Brande joins Cosmic Boy in the Legion Monitor Room. They watch as Winema Wazzo tries threatening Brainiac 5 and President Chu into using Brainy's time machine to save Apparition. For some reason, Winema is broadcasting her actions to the entire galaxy. To pressure Brainy, Winema cites her accomplishments: sending the Fatal Five to ambush the Legion; brainwashing Jan Arrah; setting up the Sun-Eater hoax; and inciting the first Braal-Titan War so the United Planets could gain prestige by ending it. Brainy tackles Winema and gets shot by accident. Chu destroys the cameras and questions Winema as to how she knew of all these plans, considering they were Chu's. Winema reveals herself to be Chameleon; Cosmic Boy arrives and reveals that there was a second hidden camera broadcasting Chu's actions to the galaxy. Invisible Kid, Brainiac 5, Shrinking Violet and Triad are all alive as well. Cham reveals himself to be fluent in Interlac, and was pretending to have trouble speaking it to make his impersonations more effective.

Cosmic Boy explains to the Legionnaires that Aven had shared his suspicions of Chu before. Cos believed him, and only pretended to follow Chu's orders so she would trust him; Live Wire, Invisible Kid and the Espionage Squad (Chameleon, Triad, VIolet and the deceased Apparition) were helping him behind the scenes. He apologizes for fooling everyone, as he could not risk Chu catching on.

Chu is imprisoned and the real Winema Wazzo cleared of all charges. RJ Brande is elected United Planets President. He pardons Brainiac 5 and Andromeda, clears the Legion of charges related to drugging Winema (so Chameleon could impersonate her) and "kidnapping" Chu to expose her, and abolishes the draft. The Legionnaires smile happily as they realize things will get better for them.

Detailed Summary:

RJ Brande enters the Legion Monitor Room to find Cosmic Boy overwhelmed. Riots are breaking out everywhere over fear of the Sun-Eater. Cos tries to explain to the Science Police that the Sun-Eater is a hoax, but nobody listens. News comes in that the bodies of Triad, Invisible Kid, and Chameleon have been found. Cos breaks down crying. (I have slight issues with this)

Winema Wazzo has restrained Brainiac 5 and President Chu; her henchman Gullo has a gun trained on them. Wazzo tells them she had planned to kidnap Chu and force her to abolish the Legion; but because Brainy was present, she now wants Brainy to use his time machine to rescue Tinya.

Spark, Live Wire, Star Boy and Ultra Boy distract the Titan fleet. Thom is an idiot, so Spark gets to explain to him - and us - that they are flying around the ships as a distraction. Live Wire and Spark hold hands and combine their lightning (Lightning Twin powers activate!). Ultra Boy suffers a bout of pain; Thom is concerned, but Jo waves it off. And that's pretty much it for these four.

Gates teleports himself and Saturn Girl into the Titan lead ship, complaining all the way. They are surrounded. Oops.

On Drak IV, Leviathan leads Kinetix, XS, Andromeda, Jan Arrah and Valor to stop the Fatal Five from launching Braalian weapons at Titan. They are attacked by missiles; Kinetix, Jan and Leviathan make short work of them, impressing Valor. They break into the Five's hideout. Gim quips that Jan could just turn the Five into cheese spread, to Jan's disgust. The Empress foolishly tries to attack Andromeda, and gets taken out with one tap. Validus electrocutes Valor and Andromeda, taking them out. Mano runs to Tharok, and is shocked that Tharok plans to launch missiles at Titan.

Brainy refuses Wazzo's ultimatum. Wazzo tries to convince him by listing all her atrocities: sending the Fatal Five to ambush the Legion; brainwashing Jan Arrah; setting up the Sun-Eater hoax; and inciting the first Braal-Titan War so the United Planets could gain prestige by ending it. For some reason, everything is being broadcast to the galaxy. Brainy remains unmoved, so Winema threatens Chu. Gullo hesitates, so Winema vaporizes her. She changes the settings so Chu will leave a corpse and prepares to fire. Brainy manages to unlock his restraints and tackle Wazzo (wow, Brainy doing something physical!?), but she shoots him by accident. Too late, Cos fixes their location as he stares at Brainy's lifeless body. Brande pulls Cos together.

Imra tries to get Titan command to listen to her. They don't; her teacher Micah Aven appears out of nowhere and stuns everyone in the room. Aven hints that Cosmic Boy will take care of everything.

On Drak IV, missiles are launched at Titan. The launch makes Validus lose his balance; XS punches him at super-speed. The Persuader throws his Axe at Leviathan; Jan Arrah transmutes it into... cheese spread! Kinetix blasts the Persuader, and Leviathan does nothing (boo). XS revives Valor and Andy. They find Mano leaning over an injured Tharok; Mano melted Tharok's robot half. Seems Mano was a dupe all along, and doesn't want to go along with killing millions of innocents. Valor takes Mano out, and asks Andy to help him stop the missiles. Andy refuses, saying they need to save Tharok. A surprised Valor (surprised because Andy stood up to him despite fawning all over "Lord Valor" earlier) destroys the missiles.

Winema is still breaking down over Brainy's death, as it means she can't use his time machine to save Tinya. Chu takes advantage of her distraction to destroy the camera. Then she turns on Wazzo, asking her how she knew about everything. Turns out, they were Chu's actions and plans. All that Winema missed was the new Braal-Titan war. Winema goes "gotcha", and Cos and Brande walk in. As they Chu, Winema reveals herself to be Chameleon! Invisible Kid and Violet appear (Violet was Gullo), and Brainiac 5 is alive. They had set things up so Chu would expose herself. Triad is also alive, much to Brande's delight. Cham reveals his fluency in Interlac to Brande, much to my delight as this is probably the funniest scene in the issue (see below for a quote).

Time for the wrap up! Cos explains that Aven shared his suspicions of Chu when he tried to heal Imra (Legionnaires 26). Neither Cos nor Aven could prove it, so Cos pretended to play along with Chu's micro-management to get close and earn her trust. That's why he let Garth,Jo and Jan be kicked out, and why he pushed Imra away (so she wouldn't read his mind by accident) (LSH 72). He apologizes for keeping this a secret from all the other Legionnaires, but he needed to be cautious. Chu never trusted him, so Cos asked Lyle to form an Espionage Squad (pointedly saying, "if he hadn't already") to gather evidence against Chu. Cos also figured out that Jan Arrah's memory of Winema attacking him was false. Zoe asks why Chu wanted to kill them, if she originally wanted to control them. Brainy reasons out that his time machine presented a big threat to Chu, as it would give anyone the ability to undo her work. Lyle and Garth were helping Cos behind the scenes all this time.

The UP meeting ends. Triad tries to apologize to Winema for keeping her drugged while Cham impersonated her; Winema calls her a little criminal as Vi comforts her and Jo explains that Winema is merely in pain over Tinya. Brande throws a tantrum, and Marla Latham explains that he was elected President. Triad sympathizes, but Marla is confident; in the two minutes Brande has been in power, he already pardoned Andromeda (for her role in aiding the White Triangle by giving them the anti-lead serum), and Brainiac 5 (for experimenting with time travel illegally); stopped charges from being pressed against the Legion for any of their actions in the Chu sting; and abolished the Legion draft. The Legionnaires are shocked, and Marla encourages them by saying they are finally free. The gathered Legionnaires look on happily as the Legion flag is raised.

Thoughts:

The story unfolded excellently. The writers kept the suspense up, and made sure that readers would be kept guessing despite leaving clues. Little things like Cosmic Boy pretending to believe Triad and company were dead; and Cham-as-Winema mentioning casually that Brainy's presence was unexpected, really helped.

The art is also great. Moder worked in many subtle, little things that add to the story. Like Lyle trying not to laugh as Cham reveals his fluency in Interlac, or Andromeda standing in front of Brainy as Brainy pauses while reasoning out Cos' secrecy (remember, Cos didn't tell Brainy that Andy was alive). The Legionnaires' groupings in the final page also show their relationships: best friends Vi and Zoe; Triad gushing over Lord Valor; Brainy behind Andromeda; Jo with a hand on Jan's shoulder (both are newbies); Gates and Thom, who joined together.

Likes:

Andromeda taking the Empress out with one tap. Hah! I was getting tired of the Empress endlessly talking about how much she loves killing. Thanks, Andy, for shutting her up (and really, any Legionnaire with long-ranged powers could have taken her out, so I'm glad she went out in a really funny way).

At first, having fake "Winema" broadcast her dramatic kidnapping seems odd. But a) Chu calls her out on acting like a cheap-vid villain (hah!), and b) the story is paced so well that I didn't really question it on my first read-through. And in hindsight, it helped lull Chu into a false sense of security; she never expected there would be a SECOND set of cameras hidden because the first were in plain sight!

Aven's line when he shuts down the minds of the smug Titan soldiers: "Stupid, overbearing, overconfident, blind, unreasonable. The perfect soldier." You tell it like it is, Aven.

Cham using his shapeshifting to fake Winema's phasing, and Lyle's partial invisibility to pretend to be a skeleton. Violet shrinking down to give the impression she had been vaporized as Gullo; and Triad helping fake Lyle's and Cham's deaths. All smart uses of their powers and abilities.

Not everything is swept under the rug; Leviathan grouses about Cos not taking him, his deputy leader, into confidence. And even though Brainy rationally agrees to it, he pointedly pauses and looks at Andromeda while saying so.

Many other lines are great:

1) Kinetix - "lose your footing, Validus?" and when the Persuader says that Gim "makes an irresistible target", she quips "so do you, hatchet man!"

2) Jan gleefully telling Leviathan to catch the Atomic Axe... and turns out, he had turned it into cheese spread

3) The rioters and Science Police reactions to the "confessions" of Winema and Chu. "You've got to be sprocking kidding me!"

4) Brande can't understand how Cham impersonated Winema, as Cham doesn't speak Interlac. Cham's line: "Mr. Brande... did you honestly believe my linguistic instruction would require such a protracted apprenticeship? In actuality, I maintained the appearance of lexical difficulty merely to abet this charade. Comprende, senor?" And Brande just goes... "By... damn." Priceless.

Quibbles:

1) I read a comment in another thread, where a fan complained that Cosmic Boy crying was over the top. Only RJ Brande saw him at that time, and there was no reason for him to go so far to keep the pretense up. What was Brande going to do, anyway? I have to agree; even if Cos was hesitant to confide in Brande as the sting was already in progress, him crying seemed over the top. Didn't he trust Brande? Or did he just want to go for the best actor award?

2) Star Boy. I know he's not the smartest kid on the block, but does Spark really have to explain to him again that they are flying around the Titan ships to jam their sensors? What, wasn't he listening when the Legionnaires were planning? Or is he really that dim? Live Wire, Spark and Ultra Boy didn't get much else to do, but I guess the writers couldn't fit that much more action in.

3) Jan transmuting the Persuader's Axe into cheese spread. That's pretty sophisticated! I don't know that I like Jan to be this powerful (for most of the Reboot, this won't be an issue though; a lot of his future appearances will have him making more simple element-to-element transmutations.

4) Leviathan. Not only did he not contribute much to the battle, but he was barely a leader! Insulting Jan as a "sprocking pacifist" for not wanting to turn the Five into cheese spread? Uh, Legion Code, anyone? And he didn't take leadership either; Kinetix, XS, Valor, Jan and Andromeda all acted autonomously. Yeah, we need some prickly characters on the team to make things interesting, but Gim is supposed to be a tough leader type. At least show him leading!

5) Although the panel payouts were generally good, there was one page - where XS wakes Valor and Andy up - that got the speech bubbles reversed. It was a little bit confusing.

Overall, though, this was a GREAT issue which neatly wrapped up many storylines from the past year or so and explained a lot of odd behavior (like Cos suddenly being a jerk). Many plotlines were resolved as a result of the Chu sting - Andromeda's "exile", Brainy's imprisonment, the rift between Garth and Cos, the status of the Espionage Squad. This was also a very satisfying story, as the Legionnaires triumph not just against the Fatal Five, but against a controlling government. This is a majestic victory, and one they won through both brains AND brawn. This remains one of my favorite issues of all time, and the overall story is also one of my faves.

Last edited by Invisible Brainiac; 09/15/17 03:45 PM.
#937586 - 09/16/17 12:35 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
LSH 80

“Trust” is the 1990s equivalent of “The Outcast Legionnaires”/”The Forgotten Legion” from Adventure # 350-351. Consider the parallels:

• Both stories involve several Legionnaires being captured, maimed, or apparently killed.
• Some Legionnaires are expelled in the events leading up to the story.
• The Legionnaires must take in and trust new members (Sir Prize and Miss Terious/Garth’s rescue squad) whose loyalty may be questionable.
• Every Legionnaire participates—as do various allies.
• The villain is undone from within his/her organization or sphere of influence (The White Witch and Dr. Zan Orbal/Winema Wazzo and the Legion Espionage Squad).
• The Legionnaires win and are made whole: former members return, restrictions end, unexpected good fortune arrives (the kryptonite cloud is changed/Brande’s presidency leads to positive changes for the Legion.)
• Both stories represent something of an early apex in the Legion’s career.
• Both stories follow the apparent death of a Legionnaire (Triplicate Girl/Apparition).
• Both stories precede disastrous events which lead to the death of a Legionnaire (Ferro Lad/Leviathan).

The 1990s creators may or may not have intended such parallels—perhaps the Legion’s story just “goes” this way. What amazes me is that LSH 80 preserves essential elements of the earlier story while weaving and reshaping them into something new. “Trust” is not only about the Legionnaires earning trust and learning to trust their leader, but also about fans learning to trust where the reboot was going. For both characters and fans, their faith is amply rewarded.

The Big Reveal unfolds in such a way that seems both natural and psychologically complex. Winema is portrayed as a woman on the brink of insanity—willing to go to any length to restore her daughter. At first, her plan seems ludicrous, but when we learn it involves Brainy’s time machine, it makes horrifying sense. I almost wish the creators had stuck with this idea because it of its psychological and ethical sophistication. What parent wouldn’t want to use time travel to restore a lost child?

What we’re given works well nonetheless. It’s not Winema, after all, but Cham, who, along with the other members of the Espionage Squad, participate in one of the great deceptions of all time. They lull President Chu into thinking Winema is a broken woman, someone who is no longer a threat, yet who was able to figure out the particulars of Chu’s own crimes. All that remains is for Chu to get out of Winema how she knew about Chu’s schemes. Thinking she has the upper hand, Chu reveals herself to be the true villain.

It works so well I have only two minor quibbles:

Quibble #1: Cham reveals after the fact that he mastered Interlac some time ago and was only pretending he couldn’t understand the language. Fair enough, but it comes across as too convenient and too sudden. I don’t recall if there were any clues leading up this second reveal, but, if not, there should have been. It’s a funny revelation nonetheless.

Quibble #2: This has more to do with events which have happened in the 21 years since this story was published (and the 15 years or so since I first read it), particularly the state of politics. Okay, so Chu admits before a camera that she staged the Sun-Eater hoax, instigated a war between Braal and Titan and almost instigated another. Are we to believe this is enough to get her drummed out of office? Where are all the Chu supporters who refuse to accept the evidence or claim she did what she had to for the betterment of earth and/or humans? Where are her claims of “alternate facts”? Had Chu studied early 21st century politics, she might have walked away unscathed.

From my jaded perch, this story works primarily because it plays into the childhood yearnings we all have: the belief that kids can make a difference, that bad guys will get what’s coming to them, and that all will be right with the world if we pull together and work hard. R.J. even becomes president—and his first actions are Legion-centric. The moral order of the universe is restored.

I’ve used the word “restored” throughout this review somewhat unintentionally—for LSH 80 is truly about the world being restored to some desirable state of being. If the reboot were a novel or a movie, this would be a good place to end it. As with most popular fiction, “Trust” does what it is intended to do: fulfill a desire for a moral purpose in the universe, and to reinforce the notion that heroes can discern this purpose and achieve it.

In comics, at least, our heroes can do just that.


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#937593 - 09/16/17 12:55 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Comparing LSH 80 (and the lead-up issues) to the Outcast Legionnaires is genius, HWW! I never drew the connection between those two stories. But you listed a lot of parallels that make sense.

You do have a good point, that Chu may have had some die-hard supporters who would stand by her no matter what. I do think that she would still have been booted out - the UP delegates would likely have accepted her admission as hard evidence - but it does seem odd that we never see any Chu supporters, in hindsight.

As for Cham, I also can't recall any hints that he was fluent in Interlac - except perhaps that one panel in Legionnaires 36 where he whispers something unknown to readers in Brainy's ear. It's a very weak clue, though. I also remember his Interlac getting marginally better since his first appearance, but certainly nowhere near fluent.

Last edited by Invisible Brainiac; 09/16/17 12:56 PM.
#937602 - 09/16/17 06:49 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Originally Posted by Invisible Brainiac

The art is also great. Moder worked in many subtle, little things that add to the story. Like . . . Andromeda standing in front of Brainy as Brainy pauses while reasoning out Cos' secrecy (remember, Cos didn't tell Brainy that Andy was alive).


Good catch!

Moder's art has a certain appeal but some of his figures take getting used to. Valor on p. 7, for example, just looks wrong.

Quote
Likes:

Andromeda taking the Empress out with one tap. Hah! I was getting tired of the Empress endlessly talking about how much she loves killing. Thanks, Andy, for shutting her up (and really, any Legionnaire with long-ranged powers could have taken her out, so I'm glad she went out in a really funny way).


One of the single best moments of the reboot.

Quote
Aven's line when he shuts down the minds of the smug Titan soldiers: "Stupid, overbearing, overconfident, blind, unreasonable. The perfect soldier." You tell it like it is, Aven.


Yes, but it bothers me that Aven refers to Imra as "my most adequate student." Do they not practice constructive criticism on Titan?

Quote
Violet shrinking down to give the impression she had been vaporized as Gullo; and Triad helping fake Lyle's and Cham's deaths. All smart uses of their powers and abilities.


I loved the Gullo/gullible bit.

I'm unclear on how Triad "stood in" for Cham and Vi at Winema's quarters, though. Does this mean she impersonated them? If so, how was she able to pull off Vi's shrinking and Cham turning himself into a blob, or am I missing something?

Quote
Not everything is swept under the rug; Leviathan grouses about Cos not taking him, his deputy leader, into confidence.


Nice character bit there--and it shows why Gim really wasn't cut out to be a leader. He looks good on paper but doesn't have the skills necessary to put the mission above his personal feelings. This is also telling in his exchange with Jan, first encouraging the latter to violate the Legion's code and then insulting Jan when he expresses disgust. Gim may have been kidding in both cases, but a leader should not "kid" with someone he doesn't know very well. What if Jan had taken the "cheese spread" invitation seriously? Gim wears his feelings on his sleeve too much.

Jan's "cheese spread" come back later in the story was priceless--though I, too, wonder what elements were involved in creating cheese spread.

Quote
Comparing LSH 80 (and the lead-up issues) to the Outcast Legionnaires is genius, HWW!


Thanks!

Quote
You do have a good point, that Chu may have had some die-hard supporters who would stand by her no matter what. I do think that she would still have been booted out - the UP delegates would likely have accepted her admission as hard evidence - but it does seem odd that we never see any Chu supporters, in hindsight.


Curiously enough, just two years after this story was published, impeachment proceedings were initiated against the president of the United States for perjury and sexual harassment. Yet we have now elected a leader who openly makes crude and demeaning comments towards women, makes statements which are verifiably untrue, and whose policies target people based on race and religion. To be fair, the ascendancy of Donald Trump would have been unthinkable when "Trust" was published; in its own way, however, the story comes across as naive to me as some of the '60s Legion stories must have seemed to '90s readers. The Legion wins a complete and total victory against the most powerful person in the UP, and she goes away without a word.


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#937606 - 09/16/17 09:26 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by Invisible Brainiac

The art is also great. Moder worked in many subtle, little things that add to the story. Like . . . Andromeda standing in front of Brainy as Brainy pauses while reasoning out Cos' secrecy (remember, Cos didn't tell Brainy that Andy was alive).


Good catch!



Thanks!

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders

Moder's art has a certain appeal but some of his figures take getting used to. Valor on p. 7, for example, just looks wrong.





Indeed. A good point about Moder's art is he makes the Legionnaires look young; but sometimes he makes them look a bit off.


Originally Posted by He Who Wanders


I'm unclear on how Triad "stood in" for Cham and Vi at Winema's quarters, though. Does this mean she impersonated them? If so, how was she able to pull off Vi's shrinking and Cham turning himself into a blob, or am I missing something?



Not clear to me either. Was she disguised as Lyle and Cham when they walked in? But what was the point of that? Lyle and Cham could have walked in as themselves, and still faked their deaths.

I also don't understand why the news bit said Triad's body was found; in Legionnaires 36, we only see one skeleton and one blob. This part wasn't thought out well.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders


Gim wears his feelings on his sleeve too much.



We will see even more egregious examples of this in LSH 82! Gim is the same way towards Thom and Gates. I expect more self-control from a former Science Police officer as well.

#937638 - 09/17/17 06:19 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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I also noticed there was no mention of Violet among the casualties in the news report . . .

The interesting aspect about Gim is that he might have made a good sci-cop or even Legion leader if he had been given the time to grow into either role. He was rushed up the sci-cop ranks very quickly once he had acquired his power. His accelerated promotion was a publicity stunt, but it gave him too much responsibility too soon. He carried that lack of development over into the Legion, trying to measure up to what he thought a leader should be. It should also be noted that the Legion was a very different organization than the Science Police. The military-like structure of the SP simply didn't work for a diverse group of young draftees, yet Gim had trained in the black-and-white world of giving and following orders (and, probably, making crude comments involving cheese spread).

Many of my military students have noted the differences between writing and working in civilian sectors versus the military. The military is straightforward; if there's a question, there's usually a rule book somewhere with the answer. Actions and statements are clear, direct, and unequivocal. The civilian world is messy and requires nuance in how people interact with one another.

Gim's military training comes through in at least two panels in LSH 80. On Page 3, his dialogue as leader of one of the mission teams is straightforward and decisive ("We're heading in"). Compare this with Saturn Girl's dialogue; she takes a moment to assure Cosmic Boy that she won't let her people hurt his (a rather condescending way of putting it, but . . .). Both responses are appropriate, but they bring Gim's no-frills mindset into sharp relief.

On Page 7, he tells the members of his team, "It's worth our lives to keep these creeps from launching them against--" This can be read on two levels. It could be an indication of his death wish, as we've discussed elsewhere. But it's also a very military thing to say: putting the mission first and being ready to sacrifice one's life for others.



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#937658 - 09/18/17 08:33 AM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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One refreshing thing about Gim is his strong conviction for the Legion's mission. He in no uncertain terms expresses his resolve, and even his disgust at the villains.

#938521 - 10/08/17 08:27 AM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Legionnaires 37
Decisions


Issue Information

Summary:

The Legionnaires and RJ Brande deal with the aftermath of Chu's exposure. The galaxy at large is abuzz with recent changes.

Valor is encouraged by RJ Brande to continue involving himself with the Legion. Valor decides to take up the Legion's offer of special Detached status, giving him the flexibility to be a Legionnaire and still have plenty of time off to go exploring. He takes the name "M'Onel", ancient Martian for "He Who Wanders", to give himself a cover identity.

Cosmic Boy, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Leviathan and Invisible Kid draft a Legion Constitution. Key developments include "encouraging a diversity of powers", though without a hard ban against it (to protect Live Wire's and Spark's concurrent memberships, among others).

Andromeda thanks Brainiac 5 for saving her before, and tells him of her decision to leave the Legion. Brainy coolly dismisses her by saying she was an asset, but they will get by - to Andromeda's surprise and annoyance.

Kinetix, Leviathan and Violet question the Empress about the Emerald Eye. Zoe is upset at the dead end and ponders continuing her search. Violet retorts that Zoe would leave them again so soon, and that Mysa turned her into a "tattooed albino with a tail!" Gim convinces Zoe to stay by promising all the resources of the Legion to help with her search. Zoe gratefully flirts with Gim, to Vi's annoyance.

Gates asks Vyrga's matriarch for permission to return home, citing the end of the draft. He is refused, as his membership brings much honor to Vyrga. Star Boy has the opposite problem - Xanthu wants him home to increase its local prestige.

Jan Arrah formally takes the code name Element Lad, and Ultra Boy gets a new costume (dropping his Preboot threads for the SW6 style costume). Jan transmutes Jo's costume to change the color; Jo suddenly collapses, brushing it off as residual pain from the battle with the Fatal Five. To Triad's surprise, Jo orders a Bgztlian Blue - Apparition's favorite ice cream flavor.

Invisible Kid and Chameleon try examining Proty as Lori looks on. Cham only knows that Proty is not Durlan, but is unable to truly communicate with it. Lyle alludes to Cham's duties back on Durla - referencing earlier scenes that implied Cham would have to take up the mantle of Spiritual Leader from his deceased father. However, Cham stresses his commitment to remain a Legionnaire.

Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl have been making plans together to ease Braal-Titan tensions. As they prepare to depart for Titan, a jealous Live Wire forces himself onto the mission team.

Detailed Summary and Thoughts:

I'm mixing these parts together because a lot of little things happened; it does not make sense to have a shorter summary and a longer separate one.

Overall, the story does a good job of updating us on each individual Legionnaire, and a few of the supporting cast members. We get just enough information on each to develop their characters and set up future plot points. The script is well-written, packing a lot of information into the space we have; Moy's art also adds a lot. He has a talent with using body language to complement the story.

The opening two pages serve as both a roll call, and a perspective on what the galaxy thinks of recent events. It is well-done, as the reporters ask some questions that readers would no doubt have been asking, while other questions show repercussions of the Legionnaires' actions on the galaxy at large.

Picking up on HWW's thoughts on LSH 80, it seems that Chu's hidden camera confession was admitted as evidence, and enough to impeach her.

RJ Brande's reluctance at being UP President is emphasized yet again - and if his treatment of the Legionnaires hadn't already established it, this is more evidence that he will be a good President out of altruism.

Now for the roll call:

The three founders - can they hold a growing membership together? This cleverly refers to the fact that the Legion's size has pretty much doubled - before the Fatal Five/Chu storyline, there were only 10 active Legionnaires (Cos, Imra, Lu, Cham, Lyle, Gim, Ayla, Vi, Thom, Gates); the story returned 8 more to us (Garth, XS, Brainy, Zoe, Andromeda, Jo, Jan and Valor) to us.

XS' and Kinetix's long absences were remarked upon, as were rumors of XS being lost in time, and Kinetix's pointy ears, odd face tattoo, and her tail.

Andromeda's return is also mentioned, as was the fact that the UP said she was dead.

Chameleon, Invisible Kid, Triad and Violet's covert ops are highlighted, and the reporters ask - can they be trusted?

Poor Leviathan's status as Deputy Leader is questioned, including his authority and his access to information. Perhaps someone was eavesdropping on the Legion's debrief last issue, where Gim yelled at Cos for not bringing him into the secret plans.

Brainiac 5's pardon for conducting illegal time travel research is noted. Will he continue them in the future?

Spark, Star Boy and Gates are called the replacement Legionnaires, and their continued membership is questioned. Now, I never thought of Spark as a replacement, given her membership is the officially sanctioned one; but perhaps I am being too unkind to Garth and his founder status. It seems that the galaxy (or the reporters, at least) did not put much stock in Ayla's official status. Gates and Thom make sense in hindsight, and I am sure many readers agreed with Gim when he yelled at Cos for letting Gates and Thom be added to the team when Garth, Jo, and Jan were turned away by Chu.

Jo and Jan's lack of official Legionnaire status is mentioned, but I certainly had no doubts they would be full members.

And finally, the mystery Legionnaire. There are rumors that he resembles Valor, which shows that Lar was not 100% careful about not being seen. His scenes in earlier issues (L*34) do show he took some pains to keep hidden - when he beat up the scavengers on Drak IV, he kept out of sight of the Science Police - but now I do remember him being rather visible outside the UP Assembly in LSH 80.

We cut to RJ Brande welcoming Valor to the former's mansion on Mars. I know Cos kept Valor's return a strict secret from everyone who was NOT a Legionnaire - Valor took great pains to keep hidden from Shvaughn Erin and the Athramites in - but it makes sense that RJ would...wflat&Number=936946#Post936946]L* 36), the Empress showed she knew something about the Emerald Eye. Empress claims she knows it only from legends; that two hundred years ago, the people of Venegar fought a civil war over it, that it brings immeasurable power... but at a price. Empress taunts Zoe by saying that if she finds the Eye, she can bring it to her. An enraged Zoe's line is telling - "Murderess! You think I can't handle the power!" Other Legionnaires might have reacted with disgust - "I will never give it to a mass murderer like you!", but Zoe has to make it about power. Gim and Vi calm Zoe down, and they exit. Gim and Vi question Zoe over whether it is such a good idea to find the Eye; Zoe mentions her promise to Mysa, and that she only has her powers back because Mysa helped her. Vi counters that Mysa turned Zoe into a "tattooed albino with a tail", which is an apt description (missing only the pointy ears). Gim tells Zoe she can have all the Legion's resources to search for the Eye, causing Zoe to flirt with him. Violet glowers at them - this is the second time we see Vi get annoyed at Gim's feelings for Zoe (see LSH 76, when she snaps at Gim that Zoe only smiled at him because she was laughing at his headgear!)

Gates petitions the Matriarch of Vyrga to allow him to return home, now that the draft is abolished. Matriarch will have none of it, telling Gates that his continued membership s giving Vyrga the recognition they deserve. The art is wonderful here - Gates' room is decorated to look like Vyrga, complete with plants and giant mushrooms and bits of rock. His facial expressions are also easy to read. Gates mis-teleports into the Hall of Heroes, saying he never understood the custom of erecting "effigies to dead meat". Ooh. But it makes sense that some cultures would not have this. Star Boy shows a bit of knowledge, saying he is surprised Gates is there as he didn't know Vyrgans paid respects to the departed. Thom finds Gates' situation ironic, in that Thom himself is being asked to return home to Xanthu against his will. Thom cites two main reasons for staying: in the Legion,he is just one among many super-powered individuals, and that he believes Brainy can help him control his newfound powers. As an aside, the dialogue here is tops - Thom reacts to Gates' plight as "funny", before apologizing to an annoyed Gates that he meant "ironic" instead. I know I have had to explain my English to many of my non-native speaking friends!

Gates leaves Thom to go to the cafeteria. Jan hits on the Element Lad code name because RJ always calls him "Lad". Interesting that the writers departed from the trend of dropping the Girl/Boy/Lad/Lass kid names with Jan - he is the only Legionnaire to have gotten a new code name in the SW6 era (Alchemist) to revert to his original Preboot name in this reality! Gates asks for a bowl of slugs, prompting Ayla to gag. Love the lines here - Tenzil goes, "a bowl of slugs, coming up!" and Ayla thinks, "they're not the only thing coming up..."

Jo walks in with a new outfit, which is his SW6 look. Triad's personalities make themselves distinct, with Purple flirting and Orange shushing him. Violet comments that the color is too dark, prompting Jan to transmute some pigments. Jo suddenly collapses, and a horrified Jan says nothing should have happened. Jo brushes it off, saying it's residual pain from the Fatal Five battle. I like Jan's line - "By the change! What have I done?" A recovering Jo asks Tenzil for a Bgztlian Blue, prompting Triad to remark to her selves that it was Tinya's favorite flavor.

Cham and Lyle try to examine Proty. Cham can't communicate with it, but he transforms into a series of forms, and Proty follows. Lori's panicked reaction to Cham transforming into Tangleweb reminds us that, despite physically being an adult, she is only mentally 10 years old. Lyle also reminds Cham about his responsibilities on Durla, alluding to Cham's being next in line for spiritual leader (his father was murdered by the Composite Durlan). Cham, annoyed, says he is committed to stay with the Legion, as his membership will help the galaxy become more comfortable with Durlans.

Vi and Gim see Cos and Imra off. The latter two are heading to Titan to meet the UP Ambassadors from their homeworlds for a goodwill tour. It is telling that Vi is along - trying to get more time with Gim? Gim remarks that he wishes Cos would stay, as things are in a state of flux. But Cos says he has faith in Gim. Nice to see they have ironed things out a bit. Valor returns with a new costume, saying he wants to accept the offer of Special Detached Status. According to the new constitution, if leader and deputy agree, Legionnaires may take this status. They are active Legionnaires, but have more freedom to come and go as they please. The dialogue makes it clear that Cos and Gim both had a say in this. In response to Imra, Valor also says he thought of a new identity to prevent from being recognized as Valor - M'Onel, ancient Martian for "He who wanders". (Hi HWW!) A nice nod to his Preboot codename of Mon-El, which would not have made sense in this reality (or I think; his introductory issue never included him being called Mon-El). Garth walks in to interrupt M'Onel's welcome, saying he is joining Imra and Cos on their tour. Garth says he thinks three founders instead of two will be better for the goodwill tour, but it is clear he just wants to stay close to Imra. Cos sharply says it is fine with him, if it is OK with Gim... and Garth gives Gim the evil eye, rendering him speechless. Whoo! Garth scaring Gim, who would have thought?

The issue ends with a reporter talking about the Founders' trip, asking if it will ease passions... or inflame them?

A solid issue indeed, and one that whets the appetite for more!

#938737 - 10/12/17 08:58 AM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Legion of Super-Heroes 81
Sundown

Issue information

Summary:

We revisit Dirk Morgna, last seen in Legionnaires 29. He still radiates intense heat and light. Since his confinement, his father Derek Morgna has not called nor visited. Dirk uses his powers to escape from the hospital.
Brainiac 5 is incensed at being turned into the Legion’s go-to physician – examining Kinetix’s physical transformations, XS for after-effects of time travel, Element Lad for after-effects of brainwashing, Ultra Boy’s cramps, and Star Boy’s new powers. Ultra Boy brushes off Star Boy’s concern and runs off. Star Boy chases Jo and crashes through the new façade of Legion HQ, to Leviathan’s rage and Chuck Taine’s despondency. An outraged Leviathan drags Thom off to see if he can get him out of the Legion.

Saturn Girl, Live Wire and Cosmic Boy arrive on Titan. Garth’s thoughtless jokes cause Imra to argue with him, to Rokk’s delight – further deepening the love triangle between the three.

A floating package arrives for Spark. Everyone figures out it is Invisible Kid – proven when Kinetix telekinetically traps him, to Ayla’s delight. Chameleon is enraged, as Lyle was only supposed to help him impress Ayla.
RJ Brande reopens the Time Institute, despite Winema Wazzo’s protests. RJ sarcastically suggests that Winema join his staff to show him how to run the government… an offer she accepts, to his consternation.
Star Boy asks RJ for help to fight against Xanthu’s recall of him. RJ asks Leviathan to visit Xanthu and convince them to let Star Boy stay, much to Gim’s rage.

Leviathan leaves Kinetix in charge. She barges into Brainy’s lab to see if any of his equipment can be used to track the Emerald Eye. However, she is interrupted by a distress call – Dirk Morgna has returned home, but his powers are still out of control. Kinetix, Triad, XS, Violet, Ultra Boy and Element Lad try to stop him. Dirk blinds Jan, causing XS to spirit him off to Brainy. Derek tells Dirk he never called on him because of shame; he feels that he failed Dirk. Dirk says that the loneliness and isolation was killing him. Derek offers to let Dirk touch him, just to remember what it is like. Before Dirk can do so, XS arrives with Brainy’s solution – a transuit tinted with inertron. Brainy calls Kinetix, telling her that he is sick of being abused by his teammates, and that they have gotten lazy about thinking because of his presence. He ends the call – and the issue – by tendering his resignation.

Thoughts:

Let’s get it out of the way: there is a lot of stupid going on in this issue. Compare LSH 79 and 81 to Legionnaires 35-37; the quality of writing, plotting and script on the LSH books has been markedly worse than the Legionnaires issues. Could it be because of the writing/scripting credits? Legionnaires is handled by Tom Peyer and Roger Stern, while LSH is handled by Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw. All I know is I am becoming a big fan of Roger Stern…

Dirk’s plight is understandable. His powers are out of control; he is confused and isolated, and his father has not even spoken to him. For some reason, the sedatives being used on him prove ineffective, allowing him to escape. I really don’t understand the point of the scene where the Science Police try to drop a gas canister on him, and he destroys it. To establish that the Legion is needed to subdue him? I’d say that was a given – he burned through a hospital wall on his own. Oh well. We will get back to Dirk later.

Kinetix, despite being my favorite character, does not come across as sympathetic even to me. She teases Brainy the whole time he examines her. Brainy says she is healthy despite her physical changes, and lucky that her depowering and encounter with Mysa didn’t do anything worse. To add to her snarkiness, she also comes across as power-hungry, reckless, thoughtless and completely not self-aware. She does say she wanted her powers back so she could help the Legion more, which is consistent with her characterization in LSH Annual 6. Brainy sarcastically questions her sincerity with the lovely line, “I am certain the purity of your motives will inspire many rousing songs. Now, bye.” Zoe’s tone-deaf behavior worsens when she returns to Brainy’s lab, disturbing him in the middle of an experiment and messing with his equipment. She could have asked nicely! And when she tells him to guess who Gim made acting leader, Brainy goes… “Stalin? Roxxas? YOU?” Brainy -2, Zoe – 0. Zoe never seems to realize, through the whole issue, that Brainy is close to snapping. I thought she had more insight than that!

Brainiac 5 is probably the only Legionnaire who comes across as sympathetic this entire issue. Not only can he not devote time to his research, but he is forced to be the Legion’s physician by examining five Legionnaires. His teammates’ lack of empathy adds to it. Despite his complaints, nobody seems to care that he is being disturbed and put upon. I don’t blame him for quitting. It’s not like he doesn’t contribute – he heals Jan’s blindness and comes up with the solution for Dirk Morgna. He just does not want to feel abused. As he says when he refuses to join Zoe for the mission – “Haven’t I done enough for this team for one day?”
Star Boy is smart enough to know that Ultra Boy’s pain attacks are a problem. He does the smart thing of telling Cosmic Boy, as Ultra Boy does not care enough to get checked out. What baffles me is his reaction when chasing Jo – he loses Jo, smashes through Chuck’s new façade, and does not even show the slightest bit of concern that he ruined the thing. When Gim calls him out on it, all Thom says is “I SAID excuse me!” Leviathan’s anger here is justified; I would have reacted the same way.

Jo isn’t off the hook here. He has suffered from pain attacks in the past two issues, and does not seem to worry at all. He is even resentful of Thom for telling Cos, and runs off before Brainiac 5 can see him. If I were in his shoes I would want to get checked out right away. Better that than falling down in battle. Speaking of, why is Jo still allowed to take part in missions? If he loses control during a critical moment, somebody could die.
A lot happens in the cafeteria scene. Zoe makes a joke about Brainy lacking social skills; Triad Orange defends him, causing Triad Purple to go “Don’t be stupid, Triad!” which makes Zoe defend Orange by telling Purple to calm down! The point here? Uh, to reinforce that Triad has three different personalities. Purple does hint at something more – “Sorry. When you can split into three separate people, sometimes you get sick of the sound of your own voice.” Hm. Trouble in Triad’s mind?

“Some super-spy you are!” These were Cham’s words when he confronts Lyle about getting caught delivering a gift to Spark. And Cham is right; Lyle should be smarter than this. But no, he delivers the gift to Ayla in the cafeteria, with more than half a dozen Legionnaires around! Even before Kinetix trapped him, everyone had figured out that it was Lyle. Who else could make a package “float”? To his credit, Lyle does try to tell Ayla the truth, but he didn’t get the chance.

The founders. Garth is also being stupid, but more in the awkward adolescent way. He likes Imra but does not know how to get her attention. He cracks a few jokes, but Rokk and Imra warn him to be careful. Garth thinks to himself that all telepaths have no sense of humor; but loud enough for Imra to overhear, causing Imra to confront him. Apparently, Rokk was more discreet as Imra does not seem to hear HIS hope that Garth will blow it with her. Ah well. What a friend. I guess best friendships don’t cover fighting over the same person.
I saved the most stupid for last. Bear with me, but it’s just…

Dirk makes it back home. He sees some Morgna Industries staff attempting to dispose of Dr. Regulus’ leftover radioactive gold. For some stupid reason, Dirk offers to help out and grabs a canister – which immediately starts burning. Not only does he not put it down, he does not even worry. “Hmph, not much of a canister. Better complain to dad about the cheap materials he’s using.” Um, okay? You melted down a hospital wall and destroyed a Science Police weapon. What did you expect? Dirk’s behavior is so idiotic that I wonder if he has any sense of self-preservation left. The day is saved only by Element Lad’s timely transmutation of the canister.

For that matter, why did Dirk burn down the wall of Morgna Industries? Surely he could have entered another way? Or is he just THAT rich? Affliced by Affluenza?
And he also does not seem to care about tempering his powers against living beings. He blinds Jan, and Jo only survives Dirk’s blast because Jo switched to invulnerability. What gives?
Next, the Legion shows the same professionalism that they did in LSH 79 – almost none. Sigh. A team of teenagers they are, but I expected more from them given what they pulled off in LSH 80! Jan tries to cage Dirk, but Dirk blinds him before he can transmute a prison. Jo rushes Dirk but gets blasted back and burned. Zoe then tries to cage Dirk. Triad and Violet just stand around and do nothing, instead of, you know, going to get Derek Morgna or evacuating the premises.

Thankfully, Derek shows up just then. And the next scene is meant to be touching, but it makes me cringe instead.

Dirk feels that Derek hates him, which is why he never visited. Derek says he could not face Dirk out of shame for what happened. Then…

Dirk: The loneliness… it’s killing me, dad. I never see anyone. No one to talk to… no one to… to touch... If I could just… just touch someone once… just to remember…

Ibby: Okay, what? The isolation I get, but the touch? You never brought that up before in this issue. But fine.

Derek: Touch me, son. Touch me.

Dirk: What? No. I can't. I'd burn you up.

Ibby: Yeah, FINALLY. Not that you cared when you nearly fried Jo and blinded Jan.

Derek: Come on, son. Touch me.

Dirk: Dad...?

Derek: Just so you can remember. Please.

Dirk reaches out to his dad, despite knowing he will burn him up... and I'm screaming at both of them for their extreme idiocy. Hereditary? I'm sorry, I know this was meant to be touching, but it just comes across as incredibly cheesy and poorly thought out.

Thankfully, XS comes racing in and puts an intertron-tinted transuit on Dirk (I guess she was too fast to be burned)? Everyone marvels at how simple a solution it was and how they all feel stupid for not thinking about it. Cue Brainiac 5 calling Kinetix, and he is having none of her "that's brilliant!" compliments. Brainy tells her that he is pissed at the Legionnaires relying on him for all their thinking needs, says "no more" and hangs up. The other Legionnaires "congratulate" Zoe on having Brainy quit.

Well, a lot of things happened this issue. Like real life, it does not always make sense. Almost everyone in this issue was acting like an idiot, and I didn't have much fun despite some of my favorite Legionnaires getting a lot of screen time. The overall plot was decent, but the execution was left seriously wanting.

#938869 - 10/14/17 07:26 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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L* 37:

This is where “I” come in—or at least my namesake. smile

I’ve written in the past how much I dislike the name “Valor.” It is just so ordinary and lacking in personality, like calling someone Strong or Smart (generic terms can work for some characters, however, such as The Thing). I’ll take the name “M’Onel” any day, however it’s spelled and whatever origin is concocted for it. The name suits Lar.

It also suits me, as it turns out, as I’ve been “He Who Wanders” for 16 years now.

Lar’s arrival as a formal member of the Legion is one the many highlights of this issue, which provides a nice “breather” from the heavy action of previous issues. There is no major crisis to resolve, no villain to defeat, and no patented Super-Hero Angst to artificially create drama. Yet the story holds together because it is built on the theme of characters staying or going. Most of the Legionnaires featured have a decision to make: whether to stay with the team or go home now that the draft has been abolished. Even though the decision would appear to be simple for most, it is complicated by other factors: some say of their own accord, some leave of their own accord; one stays because his government wants him to, one is about to leave because his government wants him to. (Nice contrast between Gates and Star Boy there.) Even the reasons for staying and leaving are varied. Zoe wants to pursue the Emerald Eye, but is persuaded to stay by Gim. Reep stays so he can make other UP worlds more comfortable with his race (a fitting nod to preboot Cham’s motivation). Ayla offers to resign because her brother joined first, but the Legion Constitution is drafted with a specific clause which allows members to have the same power. (The English major in me must point out how vague “diversity of powers” sounds, though; the phrase can mean anything.)

Yet the writers remind us of ongoing tensions between Braal and Titan and how the Legion is perceived by the public, maintaining the background tension of the series. The story even ends on a double strand of tension as the three founders depart on a goodwill tour of the hostile planets and as Garth horns his way onto this tour. Clearly, he’s not leaving Imra to Rokk’s devices, and Rokk seems kind of relieved about it. In the short time since the reboot, Garth had come the longest way as a character: from an immature and impulsive child who lived up to his codename to a controlled and assertive young man who knows what he wants and goes after it.

Some odds and ends:

--I loved the conversation between R.J. and Lar—the reluctant president and the reluctant Messiah. R.J. spends considerable energy on a speech to get Lar to join the Legion, but Lar doesn’t seem to need much convincing. However, he drops a hint that he knows something about R.J. which the latter does not wish to be known. At this point, the writers were toying with the idea (and dropping hints) that Brande was secretly the Martian Manhunter—hence his resort on Mars and JLA memorabilia. Nothing came of this, but, for the moment, there were nice parallels between these two figures (Lar and Brande) who had so much to hide about their pasts.

--I also loved the virtual reality experience of Triad, Spark, and XS. It had me fooled—why would these three girls go back to the 20th century, and why were three of The Flash’s rogues’ gallery waiting for them? But it was just a game and showed some nice bonding among the three girls.

--I’m not sure why Brainy reacted the way he did when Andromeda told him she was leaving. He finally has the love of his life back alive, and he just coldly tells her the Legion will get by without her. Having had two failed relationships since I first read this issue, I can sort of understand the mixed feelings Querl must have been struggling with, but I’m still not buying his reaction. Unlike most of the other Legionnaires, Brainy verges on being a stereotype: the aloof intellectual who would rather spend more time with test tubes than with people.

--Attraction/crushes/unrequited love is a minor recurring theme: Brainy/Andromeda, Violet/Gim/Zoe, and Garth/Imra/Rokk.

--The art team of Moy, Carani, and McCraw did an outstanding job, as always, especially on the nuances of facial expressions. Some standout shots: Valor and Brande on p. 5, Brainy and Andromeda on p. 11, and Jo on p. 17. The Martian landscape and Brande’s office (hard-wood floors!) were nicely depicted, as was Gates’s quarters. (Nice catch, Ibby!)

--Lori’s reaction to the spider was too cliched. Yes, she’s mentally 10, but let’s be original.

--I’m also not sure why “detached service agent” status was needed for M’Onel. This parallels the special status Superboy and Supergirl held in the preboot, but they lived in the 20th century. The preboot Mon-El never needed such status, and here it seems forced.



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#938919 - 10/16/17 04:45 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Brainy's reaction to Andromeda is indeed weird! In LSH 77, Nara Minsork the telepath concludes that Brainy did indeed have a crush on Andromeda, as shown by his fascination at her joining, and then grief at her death. But she also later finds that Brainy built his time machine NOT in order to save Andromeda... but because her presence and death stirred up forgotten memories of his mother, who resembled Andy (tall and blonde)... and that he built the time machine so he could go back in time to see his mother's face, because he forgot how he felt when he was born. So... jury's out on that one! I don't understand it myself.

I always thought the detached agent thing for M'Onel was just a way to conveniently have the Legion's most powerful member away a lot. They did try to explain it by highlightning M'Onel's wanderlust and desire to see the galaxy, but I agree it could have been foreshadowed better.

#939138 - 10/19/17 08:31 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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LSH 81

I had a very different reaction to this issue than Ibby did. I thought it was a hoot.

Originally Posted by Invisible Brainiac

Let’s get it out of the way: there is a lot of stupid going on in this issue.


I didn't see it is idiocy so much as Legionnaires being impulsive, young, and, yes, relying on Brainy too much. I take your point that they pulled off a wonderful coupe in LSH 80, but a couple of things should be kept in mind. The Chu Sting was largely orchestrated by Cosmic Boy, who is not present during the main action of this story (which shows the value of a good leader), and even though people can do great things that doesn't mean everything they do is great. There are quite a few bands which have followed a successful album with an album that doesn't live up to expectations.

Quote
I really don’t understand the point of the scene where the Science Police try to drop a gas canister on him, and he destroys it. To establish that the Legion is needed to subdue him? I’d say that was a given – he burned through a hospital wall on his own.


Not only does this scene establish how ineffective the Science Police is in stopping Dirk, but it shows his deteriorating mental state, I think. He sounds overconfident, even cocky, in this brief scene, which is quite a change from his earlier depiction.

At the beginning of the story, Dirk is frightened and demands to be taken home. He's convinced himself that the doctors are keeping his father away. Now that he's burned through the hospital, he's adopted a confident, almost arrogant attitude. This suggests to me that he is trying to make sense of his world and to feel he is in control.

Quote
Kinetix, despite being my favorite character, does not come across as sympathetic even to me. She teases Brainy the whole time he examines her. Brainy says she is healthy despite her physical changes, and lucky that her depowering and encounter with Mysa didn’t do anything worse. To add to her snarkiness, she also comes across as power-hungry, reckless, thoughtless and completely not self-aware. She does say she wanted her powers back so she could help the Legion more, which is consistent with her characterization in LSH Annual 6. Brainy sarcastically questions her sincerity with the lovely line, “I am certain the purity of your motives will inspire many rousing songs. Now, bye.” Zoe’s tone-deaf behavior worsens when she returns to Brainy’s lab, disturbing him in the middle of an experiment and messing with his equipment. She could have asked nicely! And when she tells him to guess who Gim made acting leader, Brainy goes… “Stalin? Roxxas? YOU?” Brainy -2, Zoe – 0. Zoe never seems to realize, through the whole issue, that Brainy is close to snapping. I thought she had more insight than that!


I've never been attached to Kinetix as a character, so I don't mind her not being sympathetic to Brainy. In fact, your description of her as power-hungry, reckless, etc., pretty much sums her up to me. I, too, questioned her sincerity in wanting more power to help the Legion.

Quote
Brainiac 5 is probably the only Legionnaire who comes across as sympathetic this entire issue.


I see this very differently. Brainy, in his own way, is as self-absorbed as Zoe. He's part of a team but prefers to spend all his time alone in his lab, working on scientific experiments. He objects to the Legionnaires coming to him with legitimate medical complaints. While it's true the Legionnaires rely on him too much, there are ways of addressing this other than quitting.

Quote
Star Boy is smart enough to know that Ultra Boy’s pain attacks are a problem. He does the smart thing of telling Cosmic Boy, as Ultra Boy does not care enough to get checked out. What baffles me is his reaction when chasing Jo – he loses Jo, smashes through Chuck’s new façade, and does not even show the slightest bit of concern that he ruined the thing. When Gim calls him out on it, all Thom says is “I SAID excuse me!” Leviathan’s anger here is justified; I would have reacted the same way.


I thought this scene was hilarious. Thom is very single-minded and seems to have priorities: the pain of a fellow Legionnaire is important; smashing through a wall while pursuing that teammate is not. Thom is insensitive to Chuck and the Athramites, sure, but it's consistent with how his character has been depicted--someone who blunders into things without thinking. Yes, Gim's reaction was justified.

The Jo, Triad, and Lyle/Cham scenes all seemed very real and authentic to me. I've known a lot of people (myself included) who don't want to admit a medical problem may exist or who think it will just go away. Jo may be worried that he will be sidelined or even kicked off the team if some problem is discovered. It's an irrational but very real fear. Triad's different personalities continue to make her a much more interesting character than she was in the preboot, and the dialogue establishes her power for new readers. Lyle perhaps should have anticipated that the others would assume his invisibility was behind the floating package, but did he know Zoe would be able to magically expose him? (I can't recall if her powers were this developed before her transformation.)

Quote
The founders. Garth is also being stupid, but more in the awkward adolescent way. He likes Imra but does not know how to get her attention. He cracks a few jokes, but Rokk and Imra warn him to be careful. Garth thinks to himself that all telepaths have no sense of humor; but loud enough for Imra to overhear, causing Imra to confront him. Apparently, Rokk was more discreet as Imra does not seem to hear HIS hope that Garth will blow it with her. Ah well. What a friend. I guess best friendships don’t cover fighting over the same person.


I think you've pegged Garth and Rokk quite well here. My brother used to make off-color and insensitive jokes and didn't realize they were off-color and insensitive until his wife objected to them.

Quote
IFor some stupid reason, Dirk offers to help out and grabs a canister – which immediately starts burning. Not only does he not put it down, he does not even worry. “Hmph, not much of a canister. Better complain to dad about the cheap materials he’s using.” Um, okay?


Again, I think this is an indication of Dirk's deteriorating mental state. He is joking about the canister, being the boss's son, etc., but in a way that would seem funny only to him. In fact, since Jan tells us that the heated canister may have led to a "nuclear disaster," I can't help wondering if Dirk intended to commit suicide and was using humor to distract himself from or downplay the situation.

Quote
For that matter, why did Dirk burn down the wall of Morgna Industries? Surely he could have entered another way? Or is he just THAT rich? Affliced by Affluenza?


Dirk's motives for returning to Morgna Industries are unclear. He wants to see his father, but, as I mentioned above, he also seems to want to commit suicide. If so, it makes sense that he would burn his way into the area where the radioactive gold was kept as the most expedient way of getting inside. Besides, even if he had gone through the front door, it might have melted.

Quote
Ibby: Yeah, FINALLY. Not that you cared when you nearly fried Jo and blinded Jan.


The Legionnaires are virtual strangers to Dirk, but Derek is his dad.

Quote
Dirk reaches out to his dad, despite knowing he will burn him up... and I'm screaming at both of them for their extreme idiocy. Hereditary? I'm sorry, I know this was meant to be touching, but it just comes across as incredibly cheesy and poorly thought out.


I'll go for it being touching. smile Derek Morgna knows he will be committing suicide by embracing his son. Dirk is conflicted. He so badly wants human touch--especially from his father--that his hand wavers as he reaches out. He is caught between what he knows and what he feels--and this conflict is compounded by the fact that his own father is telling him to touch him. Many children do not want to disobey their parents, even when obedience seems illogical and dangerous.

I thought there was a great deal of psychological complexity in how Dirk and Derek were portrayed. We're set up to hate Derek--he hasn't visited his son at all since the latter's confinement. He is a despicable father; yet, he admits to being a coward in not being able to face Dirk and bravely risks his own life so Dirk will remember his father's touch.

Because Derek was a coward, though, his son endured months of isolation with only his imagination to guess why his father was absent. Those fantasies took on a life of their own and became Dirk's reality--a reality he could no longer bear. In our modern world, people shoot up crowds of people for all kinds of reasons or no reasons--none which make sense to us, but are often born out of loneliness, isolation, and estrangement. (I'm thinking of Ted Kaczynski, Klebold and Harris, John Hinckley, and others). Dirk may or may not have become a serial killer, but clearly he was seeking something simple--the touch of a fellow human being, especially his father--and the absence of that basic human need drove his actions in this story.



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#939149 - 10/20/17 04:20 AM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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I suppose I have less patience for impulsive actions smile And I did not consider how Dirk's isolation could have drove him so.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders


The Jo, Triad, and Lyle/Cham scenes all seemed very real and authentic to me. I've known a lot of people (myself included) who don't want to admit a medical problem may exist or who think it will just go away. Jo may be worried that he will be sidelined or even kicked off the team if some problem is discovered. It's an irrational but very real fear. Triad's different personalities continue to make her a much more interesting character than she was in the preboot, and the dialogue establishes her power for new readers. Lyle perhaps should have anticipated that the others would assume his invisibility was behind the floating package, but did he know Zoe would be able to magically expose him? (I can't recall if her powers were this developed before her transformation.)



Re Jo: that is a good point, as I myself have delayed visiting the doctor for a few days when enduring mild pains. But the severity of Jo's attacks has been pretty bad - in L* 37 he collapsed onto a table. I would be more worried, I think!

Zoe's exposure of Lyle is certainly something new, unless she just used telekinesis to freeze him in place and make him visible.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders


I'll go for it being touching. smile Derek Morgna knows he will be committing suicide by embracing his son. Dirk is conflicted. He so badly wants human touch--especially from his father--that his hand wavers as he reaches out. He is caught between what he knows and what he feels--and this conflict is compounded by the fact that his own father is telling him to touch him. Many children do not want to disobey their parents, even when obedience seems illogical and dangerous.

I thought there was a great deal of psychological complexity in how Dirk and Derek were portrayed. We're set up to hate Derek--he hasn't visited his son at all since the latter's confinement. He is a despicable father; yet, he admits to being a coward in not being able to face Dirk and bravely risks his own life so Dirk will remember his father's touch.

Because Derek was a coward, though, his son endured months of isolation with only his imagination to guess why his father was absent. Those fantasies took on a life of their own and became Dirk's reality--a reality he could no longer bear. In our modern world, people shoot up crowds of people for all kinds of reasons or no reasons--none which make sense to us, but are often born out of loneliness, isolation, and estrangement. (I'm thinking of Ted Kaczynski, Klebold and Harris, John Hinckley, and others). Dirk may or may not have become a serial killer, but clearly he was seeking something simple--the touch of a fellow human being, especially his father--and the absence of that basic human need drove his actions in this story.



I completely agree with you on the intent of the scene. I guess I focused so much on the execution - which I felt was wonky - that I was not able to appreciate the ordeal that Dirk went through. I do understand it now, but I still didn't like the issue smile

Last edited by Invisible Brainiac; 10/20/17 04:21 AM.
#939223 - 10/20/17 02:50 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Originally Posted by Invisible Brainiac


Re Jo: that is a good point, as I myself have delayed visiting the doctor for a few days when enduring mild pains. But the severity of Jo's attacks has been pretty bad - in L* 37 he collapsed onto a table. I would be more worried, I think!


One of the things I've learned in my studies of literature and literature analysis is not to read too much into what I think a character should do or to expect a character to make the same decision I would make. The fact that Jo does not seek medical attention maybe tells us something about him--he's too afraid of being kicked off the team, perhaps, or he suspects the attacks are cause by Tinya's ghost, or he doesn't like doctors. We don't know yet, but his actions should make us ask why is he behaving this way?

It's a fine line because sometimes bad writing is to blame, but other times a character's behavior may be an intentional choice of the writers.


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#939227 - 10/20/17 03:46 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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There is the link with him suddenly ordering Tinya's favorite ice cream flavor after his collapse in L* 37. I guess the question is - is he conscious of it? Which we will get answered in a couple of issues...

#939233 - 10/20/17 05:00 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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I'd forgotten about the ice cream thing. Good catch! And a subtle clue.


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#939235 - 10/20/17 05:20 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Indeed, and at least it gave us something to think about.

Come to think of it, Jo’s resentment of Thom for telling about his problems is a natural reaction as well.

#939237 - 10/20/17 05:56 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Nobody likes to be snitched on. In one sense, Thom overstepped his bounds, but, in another sense, the team needs to know if one its members has a problem that could cost them on the battlefield. I love the complexity of this version of the Legion, how the characters are true to themselves, and how the drama springs from the characters.


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#939240 - 10/20/17 06:33 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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Yes. It's hard to root for one side, because neither person is completely right.

Take the Spark/Chameleon/Invisible Kid conflict. Lyle screwed up, but he tried to tell Ayla the truth. He tried to make amends. But of course, Cham's anger is understandable because "super-spy" Lyle made a big, big error.

Then there's Thom and Gim, whose conflict will develop in LSH 82. Gim gives Thom a very hard time, which is not completely unjustified as we have seen Thom be extremely reckless. Yet, Gim also does not handle the situation the best way he could have.

And the Rokk/Garth/Imra love triangle.

Or the Gim/Zoe/Vi triangle...

#939258 - 10/21/17 02:04 PM Re: Re-Reading the Postboot Legion! [Re: Invisible Brainiac]  
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I should note that I have a gap in my collection - LSH v4 Annual 7, the Dead Earth tie in. It would have come out around this time.

As a heads-up, I am also missing the two 1 million issues for LSH and for Legionnaires.

And now for a short one - in terms of continuity, it should have happened before LSH 81 because of Leviathan's presence, but I missed it (in LSH 81 he leaves for Xanthu; stays there until L*39, and goes on another mission right after). So it gets slotted in here!

Showcase '96 #8
Assassination Agenda

Issue information

Summary:

Leviathan, XS and Gates are on Dagosk, which has just been invited to join the United Planets along with its sister planet Dabron. Only Dagosk accepted the offer. Several Dagosk officials have been murdered, sowing discord among the governments of both planets. The Legionnaires personally guard N'cia, the official chosen to lead the negotiations after the most recent murder. They successfully protect her against assassins Quicksand and Holdur, only to learn that N'cia was behind the murders due to her belief that Dabron and Dagosk should join together or fall apart. Through some clever power usage, the Legionnaires stop N'cia. However, Dagosk decides to wait for Dabron to join along with it.

Thoughts:

This was a nice, short, done-in-one story with a good mix of action, character development and a lesson. My only quibble is the lesson, which could have been illustrated better in the story.

We begin with a half page panel summarizing the background: UP's invitation, only Dagosk is interested, the link between the planets. It's interesting how the two are so intertwined. There must be some amazing synergy going on between the two worlds (this is the MBA student in me speaking).

Our three Legionnaires race in to find Vice Chancellor T'Jark and his guards murdered - the third in two weeks. A clue to the murderer: one of the deceased is merged into a statue. Hmmm. Leviathan is the lead, and directs Gates and XS to search for clues. Gates mouths off again - "and what do you do, Leviathan? Give orders?"

Gim is much more level-headed and a considerably better leader here, than he has been in the last few issues of the main books. He doesn't snap at Gates, despite clearly being frustrated. Gates continues to argue with Leviathan, causing the Dagoskians to question the Legion's competence. Gates is insulted and complains about the Dagoskians' lack of respect. Sorry, Gates; I love you, but you are clearly in the wrong here.

Enter High Chancellor Pen'ta, along with a bunch of (I would assume) Vice-Chancellors. D'ned is skeptical of the UP, and believes their offer has directly caused the murders. N'cia seems more supportive, pointing out that if Dagosk can't send a representative to meet with President Brande, they may lose the opportunity for membership forever. D'ned snarks that it would not be such a bad thing, causing N'cia to admonish him. XS suggests letting the Legionnaires guard the representative, prompting Pen'ta to choose N'cia - to the surprise of both D'ned and N'cia. Hm. Why would both of them be surprised? N'cia is certainly more supportive than D'ned is.

In N'cia's quarters, XS muses over the murderer's identity. She notes that D'ned does not like the UP. N'cia says D'ned is hardly a murderer. Gates snarks again that most leaders are capable of anything - except a hard day's work! Oh, Gates. Hardly appropriate, but very funny. Gim finally loses it and tells Gates off for always complaining, and to leave if he is really unhappy. Gates insults Gim's intelligence for not being able to grasp the political realities (that Gates' people ordered him to stay); I find this funny; surely even Gim, coming from a world where he has more choices, could understand this? Thom didn't have trouble with the concept. Gates further says that "someone should stand up to our power-hungry Deputy Leader", which is uncalled for. Not only has Gim not acted out of line this issue, but he has hardly abused his power in previous issues! Nor has he acted particularly bossy. Gates presses the attack, saying he would do a better job by finding the murderer instead of ordering his teammates around.

Cue... Quicksand and Holdur! Both are wearing sexy costumes, and the gay man in me appreciates Holdur's see-through, barely-there fishnet tank top... I digress. Quicksand is the scarier and more intimidating one, as she can turn herself and other objects into liquids and back again. Gim has to tell XS and Gates twice to take N'cia to safety; XS hands her to Gates, who grouses, "sigh, chauffeur to the rich and endangered again." I'll let this one pass, it's just too funny. Holdur grabs on to a growing Leviathan, and Quicksand turns the floor to liquid, limiting XS' speed.

Gates teleports into the Senate Hall, where Pen'ta and D'ned are waiting. He believes N'cia will be safe, especially because the murderer must be one of these two - they were the only ones who knew where N'cia would be. Unfortunately, Gates isn't completely correct - N'cia shoots the guards in the room.

Back at the battle. XS recovers, using her flight ring to get her bearings. Gim shrinks out of Holdur's grip, and takes him out without growing again.Quicksand attempts to escape with herself and Holdur in liquid form; XS uses her super-speed to create a cyclone that stops Quicksand from getting away. Gim wraps them up in a transuit. Good teamwork from these two, and intelligent use of their powers!

Gim also notes that they weren't trying very hard to kill N'cia, perhaps because of how easily Gates got away - and because Quicksand and Holdur took time to battle them before leaving to pursue N'cia.

Back at the Senate Hall, N'cia reveals all. She strongly believes that Dagosk joining the UP without Dabron along, would lead to interplanetary tensions and eventually war between the worlds. Pen'ta calls her out for resorting to murder instead of debate; N'cia says Pen'ta's mind was made up from the beginning and he would not listen. Gates chimes in - "Are you saying they should have thought before acting?" N'cia affirms this, and tells Gates he could learn this from his teammates. If you mean he should think before speaking, I agree. It could also apply to Gates' decision to teleport right into the Senate Hall to confront his suspected murderers, though I can't fault Gates for wanting to make sure they would not get away. And he couldn't have known N'cia was the culprit. Anyway, Gates bites back - "you're insane! You call this thinking things through?" N'cia isn't having any of this and fires...!

Luckily, XS rushes in and saves the officials. Gates cleverly takes N'cia out by teleporting a statue from behind her, onto her head, knocking her out. Smart move - Gates couldn't have teleported the officials away because N'cia was facing them, but anything behind her was fair game!

Dagosk ultimately decides to refrain from joining the UP, as N'cia's concerns were shared by many.

Gates is crestfallen, as N'cia's words stung. Gim is sympathetic, and tells him that "being a pain" is far from purposely inflicting pain on others.

Gim's portrayal here is great. He acts like a leader and fought well in battle. Despite blowing up at Gates in the middle of the story, he kept his cool at other points, and even showed concern for him at the end.

XS gets to show off her moves,though she doesn't get much personality development here - aside from her tic of speaking too quickly.

Alas, no background is given on Gates, nor are his communist leanings discussed. I fear that non-Legion fans reading this would not appreciate the nuances of his character. He comes across as fussy and argumentative, but without being grounded in any principles. The whole "think before you act" lesson is thus not clearly driven home, because Gates' main flaw here was arguing, not acting rashly or impulsively. Unless you count his comments as thinking before acting. On the plus side, he was an effective Legionnaire AND had the best lines in the story.

All in all though, it was a nice short story that did the job.

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