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#937404 - 09/12/17 04:52 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 06:09 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Dave Hackett Online content
Dave Hackett  Online Content


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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 06:25 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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thoth lad Online confused
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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 06:27 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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thoth lad Online confused
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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 07:32 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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She ran and called him Wildfire.

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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 08:07 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Dave Hackett]  
Joined: Jul 2003
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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 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.


Good recap of the powers she’s shown in the past. Might they have been different in her Hag persona and no longer available to her? It would have been a humbling experience, in any event, and contributed to her sense of how much there was yet to learn. She’s not a Legionnaire yet, but her attitude reflects Jacques’ in the sense that both are somewhat unsure of what they can do, but go right ahead anyway.

Quote
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.


Ah! I wonder why they cut that scene. Another reason to shell out for the TPB.

Quote
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.


Agreed, they could have reacted to the warning signs and still been caught by other means, in order to preserve the sense of great menace. The Servants should have had all sorts of tricks up their absent sleeves.

Quote
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.


She struck me as a bit arrogant in that scene. And it’s not as if her time with the Legion was spent on silly games. She’ll return to the Legion, humbled in her own way.

Quote
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.


Gim doesn’t seem like the type to hold grudges, despite often seeming immature. Or he’s just on Cloud
9 with Violet, and everybody is wonderful.

Quote
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.


Hah! Blok seems to have been stricken by love at first sight. Mysa seems so much his opposite, physically – light, pale, mysterious. Enchanted.

Quote
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.


Last minute idea? Or did they fear that any communication to Drake and Dawnstar might be overheard by the Servants?

Quote
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.


Wow! Great association with Lyle perceiving Myla! The writer could still throw in some physiology-related differences in later issues.

Quote
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).


She was probably overcome by the dark and cold. She was hanging in limbo, suggesting unconsciousness.

Quote
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?


In #291, Mon-el observes that the Lydea clone is inorganic – but there wasn’t any reference that she was made of rock, or rock-like material. Could the Servants survive without the Master? Was it the gold kryptonite that made the Superman Servant crushable? (If they were just rock to begin with, they should have been more easily defeated.) Brin calls it dumb inanimate matter, so one could argue that he lacked intent of killing a live being.


Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
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.


Does your cousin still resent you for that? smile A lot of people must have had the same reaction, not knowing who Darkseid was.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
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.


Which came first, the idea for the action figure or the story?

Darkseid may have more impact in restrospect than he would have had at the time, especially if there were a bunch more like him on the Marvel side. Given that the Master was stealing mystical energy from artefacts and the Sorcerers’ World could have boosted the powers of some former Legion villain (funny that the Emerald Eye sat this one out).

Quote
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 in a much more effective manner than the later retirements of Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad. This transition is subtle and natural.


This really is a turning point for the Legion in that sense; I’d never thought of this arc as the particular pivot point.

Quote
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.


He does fail to stop Servant and Master, which also contributes to the sense of transition, while preserving his idealism.

Quote
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.


“Rumspringa” was a new word for me but it does describe well how Jeckie might have seen her Legion days. She and Val hadn’t been given a very challenging task, so perhaps I was hasty in deeming her arrogant.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#937464 - 09/13/17 10:12 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 4,157
Dave Hackett Online content
Dave Hackett  Online Content


Joined: Sep 2004
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Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
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.


The Return of the New Gods and SSoSv were both six years prior to this (the closest appearance was the JLA/JSA crossover two years before). He was a pretty obscure character, and it's historically THIS story that launched him into prominence. The Action figure wouldn't come for another three years when Kirby used him in Super Powers, and the related toyline. Between GDS and Super Powers (which eventually overtook the Super Friends Cartoon), Darkseid got much bigger play, with people guessing him to be the villain of Crisis before that reveal. After Crisis (and Legends), he became much more ubiquitous as the go-to big villain.

#937485 - 09/13/17 06:02 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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thoth lad Online confused
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Online Confused
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Originally Posted by HWW
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 remember the Super Powers series not appealing to me when I saw the ad. I liked the look of a couple of the dollies. But I wasn’t used to seeing out of continuity (if it was) comics so it all seemed a bit odd.

It wasn’t until much later I learned that it handily a good way to get Kirby some sort of benefit for all his contributions.

I was more of a JLA fan, and Darkseid had appeared there. I thought he was DC’s go to Big Villain. Having the stories 1000 years apart just reinforced that. I remember him being less Marvel like, but this re read certainly has its share of maniacal cackling and overloaded panels of foreboding. The last page of this issue couldn’t have been more Marvel if it had “‘nuff said” on it. smile There is something a lot bleaker in Darkseid’s worldview than nearly any other villain though.

Speaking of Marvel methods, Levitz and Giffen seemed to work that way. The plots (following discussions) at the back of the TPB scooted off to Giffen to pencil before returning to Levitz to dialogue. Bot guys were firing on a lot of cylinders, and this method just adds to that cohesion.

Originally Posted by HWW
Surely fanboy Levitz could have found some way to make Zaryan the Conqueror a plausible threat.


Just reading that and I can come up with something that’s particular to Zaryan and tie it in with a relatively recent bit of cosmology to make it a Big Threat. So, it can be done (stores it for Bits) smile

Originally Posted by HWW
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.


I agree with this. I get a similar feeling to reading this as I got with the Legionnaires 3 mini series. The founders were still part of the team, but it was becoming a separate part. Having said that, Drake and Dawny would be distinct as would the Jo/Lar/Tinya and Shady group to a degree.

Jacques, Mysa, Blok, Wildfire and Dawny make for an interesting group of people, and quite distinct from a lot of the early members.

Originally Posted by HWW
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.


I got the same optimistic feeling when Supergirl received her summons in this story. I always thought she was a better fit for the team. At least some of this is down to the order I read the issues. It would be a while before I’d be buying old Adventure Comics, where I’d get my Superboy appreciation from.

Originally Posted by HWW
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.


nod

Originally Posted by HWW
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).


Darkseid: My Power has switched these worlds…giving me...hang on nothing has happened. Where are my slaves?!
Kal: We had spare cardboard after creating a fake Earth for Mantis Morlo to destroy. So we just created Daxam with it.
Darkseid: I shall still rule this galaxy!
Lar: This cardboard galaxy. None if it’s actually the real galaxy. It’s all a mock up, contained within a Giant Dox Field. ‘Bye now!
Darkseid: Noooooo!


Originally Posted by HWW
Gim and Vi (actually Yera)


Who that? (Anti Spoiler Lad – Coming to a LW 12 issue Maxi Series near you! smile)


Originally Posted by HWW
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.


Much like the Element lad in-dialogue character exposition, I think that a lot of this is both necessary from the storytelling of its day and was an effective way of capturing readers and anchoring character personalities.

Take the Luronu bit of dialogue as an example. She’s looking to Superboy to find the Master. It’s due to guilt she’s feeling at making herself and Chuck miss out on facing Computo. It’s good editorial guidance that, if she’s in the book, then it has to be for a reason. Otherwise she’s just character wallpaper.

Lu’s isn’t only there to provide us with a link to the Computo story (as Marvel-like as that would be). It’s not just there as an indicator to a possible subplot in her looking to return to active status and “redeem” herself either.

Lu is there as a counterpoint to Superboy. He knows that the Legion mission is important, even as he misses the Kents Anniversary party. His previous scene with Imra set up the eventual death of the Kents. Having established some finality, the very deliberate use of an anniversary party reinforces the passage of time and shows that Clark is a little torn. It’s his “gotta have priorities” line that ties all that with Luornu.

She’s the one member of the Legion who would have wanted nothing more than to have had a relationship with Clark. Levitz is letting us in on Clark following down the road of adulthood and, in parallel, showing us a woman who already decided on her priorities within the pages of the book.

Lu gave up on Superboy and followed a path that led to Chuck. But the dialogue itself has another aspect. There are things that Luornu couldn’t be there to face for a number of reasons. She’s illustrating (as a giant holographic head smile ) that this doesn’t mean that you won’t get other opportunities to “redeem” yourself or that you should let those feelings prevent you making the hard decisions in the first place.

Lu’s only other appearance in the book is by the side of Chuck, morale officer, Taine. Now his dialogue falls a bit foul of the exposition line, as he explains to the reader his Reserve status and that those reserves have been called up (Associate Assistant Reserve Avengers Assemble! smile )

The rest of it works on a couple of levels, but that but was a little Avengers-clunky. A solution to this sort of thing is being introduced by Giffen in these very issues! >gasp!< The holographic mission monitor board would be able to visually update the reader on mission teams and their status, without having to beat us about the head with it. That in turn, would develop into the little name/ power/handy text description icons that were used in later years and versions to eliminate exposition such as Element Lad’s. “Element Lad/ Jan Arrah/ Last Survivor of Trom” for example or “Sulk Lad/ Jan Arrah/In Huff on Trom” smile


Originally Posted by Cramer
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.


I don’t know why Darkseid didn’t just take control of the Legion. If only for it not to work due to an element in their flight rings or something. But still…

The Teachers became a bit feeble really. I remember a big circle of them surrounding Mordru in the Baxter issues though and preventing him going back down the road of Villain Cackling though. I think they ended up as part of his court in the TMK run.

Originally Posted by Cramer
I wonder if the magic was restored after Darkseid left.


He’s a real sweetie at heart, if he did. smile I took it that he used the power her stole to power his campaign.

Originally Posted by Cramer
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 :))


“Look Up…Up…and Away with Look-Up Lass!” smile

Definitely a missed opportunity (Connectivity Kid) smile

Originally Posted by Cramer
Good recap of the powers she’s shown in the past. Might they have been different in her Hag persona and no longer available to her? It would have been a humbling experience, in any event, and contributed to her sense of how much there was yet to learn.


Good point about Mysa’s reaction to having been the Hag.

Originally Posted by Cramer
She’s not a Legionnaire yet, but her attitude reflects Jacques’ in the sense that both are somewhat unsure of what they can do, but go right ahead anyway.


Rokk: We are selecting members based on bravery right?
Querl: Of course!
Rokk: It’s not brain death or reckless lack of self regard?
Querl: Don’t be silly. Now send in the next batch of subjects to try this new batch of Norg formula!

Originally Posted by Cramer
Ah! I wonder why they cut that scene. Another reason to shell out for the TPB.

Off the top of my head, I think it was all about the structure changes that would be needed if the Legion knew the villain’s HQ that early on in the story. I’ve not really thought the changes through though…

Originally Posted by Cramer
She struck me as a bit arrogant in that scene. And it’s not as if her time with the Legion was spent on silly games. She’ll return to the Legion, humbled in her own way.


Oooh… good connection with Mysa Connectivity Kid II (which means my version of Connectivity Kid has to get his neck snapped needlessly in a later LW issue, so you can take over. Bah! smile)

Originally Posted by Cramer
Gim doesn’t seem like the type to hold grudges, despite often seeming immature. Or he’s just on Cloud 9 with Violet, and everybody is wonderful.

Awww. He’s luvved up! Sweet!

Originally Posted by Cramer
Hah! Blok seems to have been stricken by love at first sight. Mysa seems so much his opposite, physically – light, pale, mysterious. Enchanted.


Blok does seem to grow and shrink a lot in this issue (Not just when he’s with Mysa Sewer minds) as if Giffen wasn’t sure of his size or was having trouble fitting him into panels.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Last minute idea? Or did they fear that any communication to Drake and Dawnstar might be overheard by the Servants?


Dirk: Hey! There’s a good pub right next to Daxam. Fancy a pint?
Nura: Great idea! No one would face Darkseid sober!
Dirk; Should we tell the others?
Nura: Snooty Lass and Wildjerk? Nah….

Originally Posted by Cramer
She was probably overcome by the dark and cold.


She can survive unaided in the vacuum of space though – Spirit of Greybird

Originally Posted by Cramer
In #291, Mon-el observes that the Lydea clone is inorganic –


Thanks. Case closed.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Could the Servants survive without the Master?


I got the feeling that they would just switch off without him. But Orion showed self determination before his transformation. So…

Originally Posted by Cramer
Was it the gold kryptonite that made the Superman Servant crushable?


I think it removed his superpowers and Brin used his super strength to smash it, as he’d been itching (fleas Brin?) to do for a while.


"...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."
#937488 - 09/13/17 06:44 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Dave Hackett]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
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She ran and called him Wildfire.

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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by Dave Hackett


The Return of the New Gods and SSoSv were both six years prior to this (the closest appearance was the JLA/JSA crossover two years before). He was a pretty obscure character, and it's historically THIS story that launched him into prominence. The Action figure wouldn't come for another three years when Kirby used him in Super Powers, and the related toyline. Between GDS and Super Powers (which eventually overtook the Super Friends Cartoon), Darkseid got much bigger play, with people guessing him to be the villain of Crisis before that reveal. After Crisis (and Legends), he became much more ubiquitous as the go-to big villain.



Thanks for the historical perspective on Darkseid's rise in prominence. I couldn't remember whether the action figure or the Legion issue came first.

It is fascinating, though, to realize that the Legion played a role in elevating a rather obscure villain to wide recognition. Now if Darksie could return the favor . . . wink


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#937490 - 09/13/17 07:04 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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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
Originally Posted by thoth lad

I was more of a JLA fan, and Darkseid had appeared there.


I read the JLA issues, as well, and my standout memory is of Big Barda (or was it Zatanna?) trying to comfort a young girl on Apokalips and encourage her to turn away from hate. There was something deeply meaningful and powerful about that scene, and it really drove home just how the residents of Apokalips were forced to buy into the bleak worldview you mentioned . . . and how innocent people can grow up in a culture that distorts them with propaganda and harsh treatment. This scene seems even more relevant in the post-9/11 world.

So, there was much more to Darkseid than I gave him credit for. Unfortunately, most of the stories I read didn't explore these themes--and this is true of GDS to a great extent.

Quote


Speaking of Marvel methods, Levitz and Giffen seemed to work that way. The plots (following discussions) at the back of the TPB scooted off to Giffen to pencil before returning to Levitz to dialogue. Bot guys were firing on a lot of cylinders, and this method just adds to that cohesion.


Absolutely. As a writer, I've always wanted to work with an artist in the Marvel method. I've got a script for a graphic novel if anybody who's really good wants to talk. smile

Quote
Originally Posted by HWW
Surely fanboy Levitz could have found some way to make Zaryan the Conqueror a plausible threat.


Just reading that and I can come up with something that’s particular to Zaryan and tie it in with a relatively recent bit of cosmology to make it a Big Threat. So, it can be done (stores it for Bits) smile


Glad to inspire you!

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I got the same optimistic feeling when Supergirl received her summons in this story. I always thought she was a better fit for the team.


Of all the missed opportunities throughout the Legion's history, the failure to develop a significant role for Supergirl on the team was surely one of the biggest.

Quote


Much like the Element lad in-dialogue character exposition, I think that a lot of this is both necessary from the storytelling of its day and was an effective way of capturing readers and anchoring character personalities.


I agree that it was necessary from a narrative standpoint at the time. Nevertheless, it's as distracting as the tropes I mentioned. You made a good point about Giffen using the icons to update readers on the team. So, there were ways around the clunky narrations if creators had been more inventive.

Good points about Lu's role in this story. There is indeed something special about her initial contact with Superboy, which reminds long-time readers of their past interactions without drawing attention to them.




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#937692 - 09/19/17 02:57 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LSH #294 DARKSEID by Paul Levitz & Keith Giffen, art by Keith Giffen & Larry Mahlstedt, colors Carl Gafford, letters John Costanza

[Linked Image]

Brainiac 5 recounts the legend of Darkseid, admitting that all the evidence shows that the legend is real – and that Darkseid is evil incarnate with the power of a god. With that news, Nura decides to call in all the reserves, including the Subs and Supergirl.

Across the universe, Daxamites destroy planet after planet. Dev-em tries to fight them off and is rescued by the Heroes of Lallor, heading to Weber’s World to help stop the invasion. The Subs and the Wanderers also try to hold back the Daxamites, but fail.

Ayla and Blok guard the mystery child, who continues to grow but makes no sound. Their cruiser loses power and is attacked by a Servant who demands the child. Dirk repels the Servant, who commands an army of Daxamites to destroy the ship. As the child is taken by the Servant, there is a great explosion.

On Takron-Galtos, a young Daxamite seeks Cham amid the devastation; Cham manages to lead the Daxamite into the cell containing Validus, then faints.

Legionnaires from the destroyed cruiser float unconscious in space, protected by Mysa’s spell of survival; she retains consciousness and vows to do something to save them. She awakens surrounded by Imra, Chuck and Lu who say they responded to her call for rescue. Imra asks her to duplicate Darkseid’s space warp so they can rescue the child – and Imra has already sent Legionnaires to find what she needs, having read the spell in Mysa’s mind. The warp is created and three Legion ships enter it.

Darkseid commands his son Servant to kill the child, the White Witch and the Legionnaires.

At Legion HQ, Gim battles the Lydea Servant as Vi enters her body to cut off circulation to the creature’s brain, which succeeds.

Other Legionnaires fight Daxamites on Daxam, who, despite their powers, are mentally compromised by Darkseid’s control. Ayla and Tasmia find the child, surrounded by unconscious guards. Above the planet, Mysa wonders where her energy is coming from when she receives a telepathic message from the child that he gave her the power and must use her. At this moment, Darkseid shouts “No!”.

Jan, on instruction from Brainy, turns some of the atmosphere to lead, which depowers the Daxamite soldiers. Mysa, with powers not her own, switch the people of Daxam to Apokolips. Darksied retaliates by having the Legionnaires experience their greatest fears. He commands his son Servant to fetch the child that he may finally destroy it. Tasmia protects the child, casting a shadow towards Darkseid, while Orion attacks Ayla. Darkseid belittles them and sends Orion for the child, but falters at the sound of a motherbox. Highfather appears, with the Servant restored to the true Orion. Highfather says that he was the child and can only exist momentarily, then sets Orion on Darkseid.

Tasmia is teleported to rescue Mysa, floating in space. Darkseid and Orion wage the final battle in which it was prophesied that Orion would kill him. Highfather addresses the Legionnaires and brings forth the Super-cousins, empowered under the red sun. They too fall while fighting Darkseid, but then the Legionnaires, other super-groups and the freed Daxamites arrive. Imra tells Darkseid he is losing his power; he realizes this is true and stops. Uttering threats, he vanishes, but his image reappears with a curse that the darkness will destroy them and that the most pure among them will be the first to go.

Epilogues: Ayla tells Brin that, given all that’s happened, she’s leaving the Legion and he can come with her. Brainy and Supergirl converse; she says he is much more relaxed and he claims that he no longer has a crush on her. She departs, calling him cute and he regrets his poor timing.

Comments:

Whew! Multiple battlefronts and frantic action make this 41-page story fly by. I’m not coming up with much in the way of comments except to say that each scene is captivating and, while you figure the Legion will win in the end, it looks like no sure thing.

Indeed, they wouldn’t have won without the child, who turns out to be a fragment of Highfather. He claims he’s a pale ghost of his original self, but his power is far-reaching as he puts all the chess pieces in place for the final stand-off.

We finally see the galaxy wake up to the menace of Darkseid, as other heroes try to fight the Daxamites, without much success, on many different planets.

Imra is able to seek out a needed spell in Mysa’s brain. Good planning that Mysa had the foresight to prepare it – or did Highfather plant it there? Imra really stands up to Darkseid, telling him he’s lost. Is this why the bearer of bad news will later pay the price through her child?

Darkseid is defeated, but doesn’t surrender. He isn’t captured, he just walks off-stage with a final curse. As we’ll see later, these aren’t just bitter words but prophecy - or warnings of his intentions. I had remembered the “purest among you” curse but not the claim that the darkness within would destroy the Legion. Now I wonder if the Legion’s dissolution in the five year gap, not to mention the angst brought by the Conspirators against the Time Trapper, had its seeds in this curse of Darkseid.

Amid all the mayhem, Cham isn’t forgotten, as he fights his solo battle on Takron-Galtos. Does he even know what’s going on in the rest of the galaxy? Regardless, he provides an ingenious solution to handle the young Daxamite, dropping him in with Validus. Did the creative team know at this point that Validus was/would be a creation of Darkseid?

There’s a final appearance of Superboy and Supergirl, although they don’t save the day as in earlier stories, which is a good way of reminding us that the Legion is can stand on its own.

The artwork is really striking; Mysa’s spell to create a void, the double-page of Tasmia protecting the child as Darkseid reenacts the Creation of Adam, the flaming battle scenes, Darkseid’s “ENOUGH” page, his assault on Supergirl (in which reality itself appears to fracture).

The epilogues focus on changing relationships: Ayla is fed up with the danger and is leaving the Legion; Brainy and Supergirl part as friends, but don’t exactly call it quits. It’s not you, it’s the time thing. The sunny, quiet backgrounds of these scenes are a great contrast to the prior mayhem, but the Brin-Ayla confrontation promises trouble ahead.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#937693 - 09/19/17 04:22 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Dave Hackett Online content
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I'm curious how the creative process behind this worked, because if the Deluxe edition is to be believed, the actual "Script" for this issue is just a few pages of outline, some of which isn't even followed. So did Giffen really "Marvel-Style" the entire issue and Levitz just fill-in balloons? Or did they sit together and plot it out (or spend countless hours on the phone? Not even sure they were both in New York?). I doubt either would talk much about it now, but it would be fascinating to know.

#937724 - 09/19/17 03:35 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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LoSH #294

The focus of the cover is on the giant head of Darkseid, his rocky features screaming “Evil” at the reader. A moment later, you realise that the Legion are on their knees, willingly worshipping this creature. It’s a depressing sight. It’s even more chilling when you then pick out the individuals. Even Chuck, even Clark… even Imra.

Giffen’s cover relates to two main plots from last issue. While the head can just be taken as an image for the converted to worship, it also represents the planet Daxam, carved into his likeness last issue. The red sun behind the head reminds the reader of Daxam’s home system, even as it adds a hellish colour to the chaotic skies around the Legion.

The same sun bathes the Legionnaires in eerie light on the splash page. Points for Giffen for the visual link. Apokalips is now the recipient of its warmth. The Legionnaires there realise who their foe is, as they stand on the result of his seemingly inevitable power. The very rock shows the name of the villain as if the world itself screams with the pain of the victims who have suffered there.

Brainy rightly says he should have deduced the villain’s identity sooner, but offers no solution. Dream Girl is more practical, calling in the Subs and Supergirl.

Elsewhere, the Daxamites unleash death and destruction across the galaxy. We mentioned the UP response a couple of issues again. Whatever forces and defences they had are nowhere near enough to combat an army with this level of power. Whatever the outcome, and whatever the destruction’s true source, no one is going to view the Daxamites in the same way again.

Isolated resistance appears as the Heroes of Lallor return to Webers World with Dev Em. Dev is a survivor of Krypton, but he was beginning to struggle against overwhelming odds. There, they join the Wanderers and the Subs. They fight bravely, but the hordes destroy much of the world and move on. Gas Girl and Quantum Queen were given some particularly interesting visuals by Giffen here. But their desperate defence will continue while they hope that the Legion finds a solution.

But it’s not going well for the Legion either. Ayla tells Blok that she thinks that the old days of the Legion were simpler. The changing nature of the threats as well as the breakdown of her relationship with Brin are leading to a decision for Ayla. But I think she’s wrong, The old Adventure stories were full of near death encounters, and in the case of Mask Man, had the biggest body count this side of a reboot Event.

The ship where the mysterious, rapidly aging child is being kept, is attacked and dismantled by the Daxamites. They are tempted by one of the servants to hand over the child willingly. Dirk blasts “Orion” back into its portal. It takes something a lot subtler to turn Dirk’s head in years to come, and this is a poignant reminder of what he was capable of. The Legionnaires are left to die in space as the child is kidnapped back to Darkseid. Perhaps they wonder why “Orion” didn’t just portal into the room where the child was kept, if it was so easy for it to go anywhere. “Orion” wants to handle the child personally, finding something displeasing about the evil in the other servants. That’s a hint of the true nature of the creature from the cells that were used as a basis for the clone.

Where there’s any time lapse, Levitz uses the opportunity to put in a subplot. Until the first of the Legionnaires aboard the ship regains consciousness, we switch to Takron Galtos. It’s in ruins again, and Chameleon Boy tries to evade a Daxamite. When Darkseid took over the minds of Daxam, there were children their too. This child is playing deadly hide and seek. We only see the chase with Cham, and this scene could have been a lot more horrifying, if we had seen what else the kid had been up to.

The child’s lack of control over his powers is a good early sign on the effectiveness of the rest of his race later in the issue. It helps to explain the much lower than expected body count. Here, Cham has to rely on his intelligence to outthink his opponent. He lures the Daxamite into the cell of Validus, and leaves the two of them together. Cham doesn’t get to celebrate for long, as he is affected by some sort of fever.

The kid would become known later as Ol-Vir. I wonder if his isolation with Validus is partly responsible for him maintaining his worship of Darkseid after this story is finished.

Mysa awakes in the debris of the shuttle. We get a reminder of how limited her powers are. But she manages to tap reserves of power to summon help. Perhaps she had a little help. A Legion flight ring would have been handy to have, if you wanted to summon aid too bit Mysa doesn’t have one of those. She’s not got time to rest as Imra wants her to duplicate the Mockeries’ space warp to bring the battle to Darkseid. They have to rescue the child their hopes rely on. It seems to have been Dream Girl’s decision to do this. Imra reminds us that Dreamy is leader. That’s happening quite a bit as if her colleagues still can’t quite believe it.

Imra has already taken the information necessary for the spell from Mysa’s mind. Because it was an emergency. As opposed to all the non-emergency times she takes information from other people’s minds smile Still, the time saved stops us form having another subplot. smile Giffen provides us with a nice psychedelic effect as Mysa’s spell works.

Darkseid demands a full Kirby page! He senses the presence of the Legionnaires. He dispatches Orion to deal with them, although he’s aware that there’s possibly a power helping these irritants.

As the sides of that battle draw close, there’s time to check in on Colossal Boy and Shrinking Violet. They have returned to Earth for some of Gim’s gear, only to encounter the Lydea Mallor mockery. While Gim takes some lumps, Vi has snuck into the mockeries blood stream. She causes it to collapse just in time. Gim wasn’t going to last much longer (the Mallor visual ident earlier in the story told us that she came with super strength) and ice was forming around Vi.

As good as the Vi panels are, this is a bit of a fill in scene, tying up the loose end of one of Darkseid’s minions. It’s hard to believe the Legion didn’t lock up the Mallor mockery the last time it awoke. Nor do we see Gim ever use the gear he’s there to collect.
The Legion attack Darkseid on Daxam. The majority of their forces are a decoy to draw attention away from Ayla and Tasmia who head for the child. Above, an exhausted Mysa observes from a Legion cruiser.

There’s twists for all parties. Ayla and Tasmia arrive at the child to discover his guards are already defeated. A mysterious force powers Mysa into swapping the people of Daxam and Apokalips back again.

Darkseid utters a “No” as the change occurs. It’s a response we’d see from Mordru as realities shifted in the early TMK issues.

As for the decoy force, Element Lad once again makes a massive belated difference. He transforms the lead content of the atmosphere, downing hordes of Daxamites.

There’s hope for the Legion, but it lasts only a moment. Darkseid ends the threat decisively with a thought, inflicting almost biblical curses on the heroes. Garth loses his arm. I think it becomes Proty’s protoplasm smile ; Chuck loses his power again, not that this has ever stopped him, while Lu loses another body. Dream Girl loses her looks, something Levitz has shown she doesn’t need to rely on. Timberwolf is the android he always feared he was, and this is a clear forerunner as to who should have been the Legion’s Manhunter. smile Jo is swallowed once again by an Ultra-beastie while Wildfire is dispersed. Imra’s mind is opened to the terror her friends are feeling. Her pupils and irises go completely white, reminiscent of the telepathic overload in the film Scanners.

It’s a shame that Imra didn’t take Chuck’s courage and Nura’s will to overcome Darkseid’s effects, launching us into the next confrontation. Instead, Darkseid then takes “Orion” to deal with the child.

Some people snipe at Giffen for being easily swayed by the artistic influences of others. But the two page spread of Darkseid reaching out to the mystery child shows just how original the man’s vision is, creating a wholly original work highlighting the divine difference between mortals and deities… oh wait, hang on smile

Where the only god is a dark one; where the angels are mockeries and where “Adam” is to be protected from the divine. Lots of things to read into Giffen having some fun as he did with the madonna and child cover image. smile

It’s interesting that, as much as he mocks Shady’s use of her power to hide herself and the child, Darkseid doesn’t enter it himself. There could be a lot of things about the source of Shady’s lineage that we don’t know about. Shady resists a further temptation and is ready to fight against a god, so it’s a pretty good moment for her.

“Orion” enters Shady’s darkness. Darkseid has been nothing but decisively ruthless, so the sound of ticking upsetting him is quite a shock. While he may not remember all the details of his millennia long sleep, the sound of a Mother Box still haunts him.

Blasting away the shadows, Darkseid is faced with a reformed Orion and Highfather. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see the child fully develop. Some stubble, at least, would have helped bridge the gap to the big white beard we see here. smile

Giffen’s version of the Creation of Adam showed the beginning of one creation myth, and the confrontation between Orion and Darkseid portrays the end of another.

The image of the two locked in combat among the firepits really deserved to be a full page. It’s still very impressive. The effects of it can be seen by Shady. Highfather has teleported her to Mysa, even as he heals the other Legionnaires. Shady sees a massive explosion reaching up into Daxam’s orbit. Levitz deserves credit for showing the mythology and power of Kirby’s Fourth World, without revealing any of its secrets. Darkseid doesn’t know if this conflict is the one foretold, or if it’s just an echo of an ages old conflict he can no longer remember.

For a moment, Orion thinks he has fulfilled the prophecy of him destroying Darkseid. But it’s a fleeting victory and the dark god returns his creation to dust. Triumphant, and with the child-turned-Highfather gone Darkseid is ready once more to claim the universe. But he’s unaware that Highfather has imbued the Legionnaires with some of his power. It arrives in the form of two Kryptonians; heroic remnants of their world as Darkseid is a villainous one of his.

Darkseid becomes a mass of crackling energy under their onslaught. He manages to blast Superboy, but underestimates the courage of Supergirl who returns to the fight, even in the face of death. This is a really powerful Supergirl scene and the scene was clearly a huge inspiration for her treatment in Crisis a few years later.

Unlike there, Supergirl is saved by her fellow Legionnaires. It’s Brainy’s force field that protects her, as the others blast their foe, which is fitting. The two sides face up to what could be a final encounter. Then Levitz throws in something different.

Imra points out to Darkseid that it’s no longer the universe he knows. She seems to know the extent of his power in a time long past his previous awakening. Perhaps as Darkseid opened Imra’s mind to the terrors of others, she glimpsed something of his mind too? Darkseid reaches out and realises that he has lost control over the Daxamites. He has not been defeated. He has not surrendered. He has just had enough. Like an emotionally led classical god, he leaves the board when the game cannot be won.

There was a moment when Karate Kid could have used some of that stone sculpting he’d demonstrated in a previous Levitz issue on Darkseid’s face. But the writer decided on another route smile

But no good myth really ends. “You have won, children of the light. The darkness is fading, even as we watch. But remember… the darkness cannot surrender. It is always with you, always on the fringe of dawn…”

With his world, Darkseid vanishes. Until Wildfire opens his energy yap, that is. In crowing that they made Darkseid “turn tail and run” an image of the New God returns. “The wise man does not boast so swiftly, child. For though I am gone, you shall not forget me.” Nice one Drake.

“I leave you my curse, Legionaries… does of Izaya’s work. The curse of darkness growing within you, destroying you from within,,, and that which is purest of you shall be the first to go! “

It’s an ominous premonition from such a powerful being. The Legion is no stranger to having events laid out in their future, as seen in the adult Legion stories. Levitz, like the team before him were looking to address these. But Levitz’s planning me have had an eye on some future consequences of his own.

We have a thread on the Curse elsewhere. The TPB provides some information on how that might have played out. I’ve added a post from that thread at the bottom of this one.

In the first epilogue, the holoplate of the White Witch is added to the Mission Monitor Board, by Brin as Ayla arrives to talk to him. Brin’s pressure on the plate breaks it as Ayla tells him of her decision to leave the Legion the following day. If he wasn’t to stay with her, he’s going to have to leave with her.

Supergirl returns to her own time. She teases Brainy as he tells her that he’s over his crush on her. It’s a relationship that adds a lot to Brainy and one that was missed after Crisis. Clearly Levitz thought so too.

The epilogues bring the team down to the interpersonal level quickly after such a huge battle and ominous ending.

By the time I read this story, I had seen V. There, a child grows unnaturally quickly and develops deus ex machina powers. While it may have antecedents in a myth regarding Hermes, I thought it was a really poor plot device. Seeing the Highfather child do the same didn’t change my mind in the slightest. Reading it in Crisis, with the Luthor child, and in the creepy Avengers #200 hasn’t changed altered my thoughts, although the Highfather child is probably the best of the bunch.


* post on Darkseid’s Curse

"I leave you my curse , Legionnaires... doers of Izaya's work.

The curse of darkness growing within you, destroying you from within...

… and that which is purest of you shall be the first to go!"

The trade paperback of the Great Darkness Saga contains the plot breakdown for issue 294.

“Anti-climax, part one: After he vanishes, LSH left hanging in space….weary but triumphant. Wildfire, ever boastful, laughs in his triumph…and ghostly image (like a camera-after-image-) of Darkseid appears to give them all his curse, which he promises will catch up to them when they least expect it and balance accounts for him. Close on White Witch particularly, and let’s plant the seed that somehow the curse will be fulfilled through her. In fact, let’s have Darkseid say up front that one of them will betray the LSH and send it to its doom.

Anti-climax, part two: A couple of page epilogue, back on Earth: For services rendered , the White Witch is sworn in—Light Lass announces her resignation saying the Legion nearly wrecked he brother (killed him, cost him an arm, gave him a nervous breakdown) and is ruining her relationship with her man. If TWolf loves her, he’ll quit with her -- and she walks out. We don’t learn in TWolf will go too. Cham gets a pardon, everybody else back to status quo.”

In the published book, Darkseid’s face towers above the stunned Legion as he delivers his curse. There’s no focus on the White Witch.

We then get a well-executed combination of both subplots. In the next main panel, following Darkseid’s curse, Timberwolf places a close up of the White Witch’s mission monitor symbol up on the board, confirming her as part of the team. That completes the first plot, with a lot more subtlety.

It also allows for the seamless transition into the second subplot, as Light Lass tells Timberwolf about her intention to leave. That completes the second epilogue.

From the above plots, “The curse of darkness growing within you, destroying you from within” refers to, if not Mysa directly, then to her as a focus. It’s hard to picture this as not being Mordru related. But no hints are given. Mysa was shown as knowing one of the Dark Circle later, for example, so perhaps Levitz has something else in mind.

There’s no mention in the plot breakdown of “that that which is purest of you shall be the first to go!" Levitz add this dialogue in the published book.

There, it’s Supergirl who is the first to actually leave, as Ayla only states her intention to do so. Kara’s departure is in a scene not in the plot breakdown, but perhaps inspired by that additional part of the curse. She returns back to her own time.


"...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."
#937773 - 09/20/17 04:44 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Dev-em tries to fight them off and is rescued by the Heroes of Lallor, heading to Webers World to help stop the invasion.


He's come a fair way from his Knave of Krypton days. Shame it won’t last.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Mysa’s spell of survival; she retains consciousness and vows to do something to save them. She awakens surrounded by Imra, Chuck and Lu who say they responded to her call for rescue.


While they were well written, Mysa essentially became a proxy for our little God Kid. My memory cell tells me that Mysa used Glorith as a conduit after the latter needed more power in one of Levitz’s later runs.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Darkseid commands his son Servant to kill the child, the White Witch and the Legionnaires.


For all the bad guy attempts to fulfil their master’s plans, there’s a surprisingly low body count in this story.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Darkseid belittles them and sends Orion for the child, but falters at the sound of a motherbox.


I very much liked the New God of Darkness being unnerved, not at the sight of some mighty heroic army, or at facing the opposite of his world view, but at a sound.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Tasmia is teleported to rescue Mysa, floating in space. Darkseid and Orion wage the final battle in which it was prophesied that Orion would kill him.


I quite liked the Kingdom Come follow through where, having presumably killed Darkseid, Orion becomes like him, at least visually.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Indeed, they wouldn’t have won without the child, who turns out to be a fragment of Highfather.


Like the nod to Hermes growth as a child, Highfather is like a shade escaping from a Grecian underworld. Just typing that reminds me of the Naltorians calling on Cassandra, and I wonder just how many other classical references Levitz enjoyed adding in.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Is this why the bearer of bad news will later pay the price through her child?

It could well be. I’d need to see if the Annual mentions anything specific. Taking out anger on the messenger of ill tidings, seems to be something Darkseid would do. Good spot that the other Legion villain used in this saga was Validus. It does make you wonder.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
I had remembered the “purest among you” curse but not the claim that the darkness within would destroy the Legion. Now I wonder if the Legion’s dissolution in the five year gap, not to mention the angst brought by the Conspirators against the Time Trapper, had its seeds in this curse of Darkseid.


It seems to have been a reference to Mysa initially. That’s the good thing about vague prophecies. You can fit them into almost anything. If Darkseid had arrived in the Adventure days, we’d be wondering if Universo’s takeover, Computo’s rampage and Mordru were dark signs. smile

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
The artwork is really striking; Mysa’s spell to create a void, the double-page of Tasmia protecting the child as Darkseid reenacts the Creation of Adam, the flaming battle scenes, Darkseid’s “ENOUGH” page, his assault on Supergirl (in which reality itself appears to fracture).


Yeah, all of these add extra layers to the plot and dialogue. I really got a sense of the sheer power of the individuals behind each of them.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
It’s not you, it’s the time thing.

smile “It’s not you, it’s the breathing on land thing” is what Supergirl tells he Mer-Boyfriend. I don’t want to know what she tells Comet. 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."
#937809 - 09/21/17 03:30 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Dave Hackett]  
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Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
I'm curious how the creative process behind this worked, because if the Deluxe edition is to be believed, the actual "Script" for this issue is just a few pages of outline, some of which isn't even followed. So did Giffen really "Marvel-Style" the entire issue and Levitz just fill-in balloons? Or did they sit together and plot it out (or spend countless hours on the phone? Not even sure they were both in New York?). I doubt either would talk much about it now, but it would be fascinating to know.



From Keith Giffen's interview in the Legion Companion:-

The Legion Companion: How long was it before you started playing an active role in the plotting?
Keith Giffen: Almost form day one, if the artist wants to be involved in the plotting, Paul brings [them in]. Paul used to give me the co-plotting credit, but you have to understand, that was nothing more than chatting with him in the hallway or talking on the phone. ... Paul would write a plot, and I might poke around with it a bit... Eventually it would evolve into "Can you top this?" where we would be bouncing things off of one another. I was never actually a co-plotter in terms of sitting down and working out the stories with him, but he gave me a lot of latitude to play my little games."


"...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."
#937818 - 09/21/17 06:26 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth
Elsewhere, the Daxamites unleash death and destruction across the galaxy. We mentioned the UP response a couple of issues again. Whatever forces and defences they had are nowhere near enough to combat an army with this level of power. Whatever the outcome, and whatever the destruction’s true source, no one is going to view the Daxamites in the same way again.


True – or it should be. The Daxamites went back to their bioscience, but were there comments later indicating how wary other races must have been of them? No one can sue them for reparations – talk about an act of God!

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But it’s not going well for the Legion either. Ayla tells Blok that she thinks that the old days of the Legion were simpler. The changing nature of the threats as well as the breakdown of her relationship with Brin are leading to a decision for Ayla. But I think she’s wrong, The old Adventure stories were full of near death encounters, and in the case of Mask Man, had the biggest body count this side of a reboot Event.


She forgets the bad stuff, suggesting that this may just be an excuse for her to leave the Legion and have Brin leave on her terms. He already changed his appearance for her, so why not ask for this?

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The Legionnaires are left to die in space as the child is kidnapped back to Darkseid. Perhaps they wonder why “Orion” didn’t just portal into the room where the child was kept, if it was so easy for it to go anywhere. “Orion” wants to handle the child personally, finding something displeasing about the evil in the other servants. That’s a hint of the true nature of the creature from the cells that were used as a basis for the clone.


I hadn’t thought of that; a little bit of good triumphing over evil, or at least the endurance of loyalty.

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The child’s lack of control over his powers is a good early sign on the effectiveness of the rest of his race later in the issue. It helps to explain the much lower than expected body count.


Yeah, imagine if they’d had time to practice. Unless they were mind-wiped afterwards, you have to figure some conniving Daxamite would yearn to have that sort of power again. And why not? Were they prohibited from leaving the planet thereafter? Don’t recall.



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As good as the Vi panels are, this is a bit of a fill in scene, tying up the loose end of one of Darkseid’s minions. It’s hard to believe the Legion didn’t lock up the Mallor mockery the last time it awoke. Nor do we see Gim ever use the gear he’s there to collect.


Holy script continuity! Why wasn’t Lydea locked up after she was defeated? Or did she escape again?

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Darkseid utters a “No” as the change occurs. It’s a response we’d see from Mordru as realities shifted in the early TMK issues.


Every great villain deserves his or her “NO!” panel.

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There’s hope for the Legion, but it lasts only a moment. Darkseid ends the threat decisively with a thought, inflicting almost biblical curses on the heroes. Garth loses his arm. I think it becomes Proty’s protoplasm ; Chuck loses his power again, not that this has ever stopped him, while Lu loses another body. Dream Girl loses her looks, something Levitz has shown she doesn’t need to rely on. Timberwolf is the android he always feared he was, and this is a clear forerunner as to who should have been the Legion’s Manhunter. Jo is swallowed once again by an Ultra-beastie while Wildfire is dispersed. Imra’s mind is opened to the terror her friends are feeling. Her pupils and irises go completely white, reminiscent of the telepathic overload in the film Scanners.


Really, Garth should have feared discovery that he was Proty, although we don’t know that yet.... That would have been a shocker. They could have done another sort of adult Legion story, showing horrible things that would happen to each of them later – Brin is Furball, Jo loses Tinya, Imra gives birth to Validus, Lu does lose another body, Nura got fat (that last one not particularly terrifying IMO).

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It’s interesting that, as much as he mocks Shady’s use of her power to hide herself and the child, Darkseid doesn’t enter it himself. There could be a lot of things about the source of Shady’s lineage that we don’t know about. Shady resists a further temptation and is ready to fight against a god, so it’s a pretty good moment for her.


I wish they’d explored that further, it was a pretty impressive feat to stand off Darkseid.

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Giffen’s version of the Creation of Adam showed the beginning of one creation myth, and the confrontation between Orion and Darkseid portrays the end of another.


Is that scene also based on some famous painting? Wrestling with angels or the devil or some such?

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Imra points out to Darkseid that it’s no longer the universe he knows. She seems to know the extent of his power in a time long past his previous awakening. Perhaps as Darkseid opened Imra’s mind to the terrors of others, she glimpsed something of his mind too?


She never tried to read his mind (didn’t dare or couldn’t) but some such glimpse makes sense. Did she try to read the mind of Lydea and fail? She said that Lydea was beyond her powers to defeat, but it’s not clear if she meant physically or mentally.

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By the time I read this story, I had seen V. There, a child grows unnaturally quickly and develops deus ex machina powers. While it may have antecedents in a myth regarding Hermes, I thought it was a really poor plot device. Seeing the Highfather child do the same didn’t change my mind in the slightest. Reading it in Crisis, with the Luthor child, and in the creepy Avengers #200 hasn’t changed altered my thoughts, although the Highfather child is probably the best of the bunch.


I didn’t realize it was such a popular trope. (Cub in the reboot was another rapidly aging child.) The mysterious child was good for suspense, but it would have been pretty impressive to have Highfather just pop out from nowhere and take charge.


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“Anti-climax, part one: After he vanishes, LSH left hanging in space….weary but triumphant. Wildfire, ever boastful, laughs in his triumph…and ghostly image (like a camera-after-image-) of Darkseid appears to give them all his curse, which he promises will catch up to them when they least expect it and balance accounts for him. Close on White Witch particularly, and let’s plant the seed that somehow the curse will be fulfilled through her. In fact, let’s have Darkseid say up front that one of them will betray the LSH and send it to its doom.

Maybe the “one will betray” was considered too biblical.

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Anti-climax, part two: A couple of page epilogue, back on Earth: For services rendered , the White Witch is sworn in—Light Lass announces her resignation saying the Legion nearly wrecked he brother (killed him, cost him an arm, gave him a nervous breakdown) and is ruining her relationship with her man. If TWolf loves her, he’ll quit with her -- and she walks out. We don’t learn in TWolf will go too. Cham gets a pardon, everybody else back to status quo.”


I’m glad they didn’t throw in the Cham pardon bit – too hasty. Let that story play out a bit more.

Quote
From the above plots, “The curse of darkness growing within you, destroying you from within” refers to, if not Mysa directly, then to her as a focus. It’s hard to picture this as not being Mordru related. But no hints are given. Mysa was shown as knowing one of the Dark Circle later, for example, so perhaps Levitz has something else in mind.


So we might have gone through many issues expecting Mysa to be the traitor....

They didn’t use an epilogue to show Mon-el reviving. Did his coma end when Darkseid withdrew? I’d prefer to think that his later instability was a result of his encounter with Darkseid rather than that Eltro nonsense. (Blame everything on Darkseid, so convenient.)


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#937836 - 09/22/17 10:33 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Real Life has once again interfered with my ability to turn in a timely review, but I want to chime in on a few things:

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Originally Posted by thoth
Elsewhere, the Daxamites unleash death and destruction across the galaxy. We mentioned the UP response a couple of issues again. Whatever forces and defences they had are nowhere near enough to combat an army with this level of power. Whatever the outcome, and whatever the destruction’s true source, no one is going to view the Daxamites in the same way again.


True – or it should be. The Daxamites went back to their bioscience, but were there comments later indicating how wary other races must have been of them? No one can sue them for reparations – talk about an act of God!


One of the aspects I found wanting in this story--as good as it is--is the lack of long-term consequences. The Daxamites, for example, have been content to live under their red sun and not explore the incredible powers they must know await them elsewhere. Aside from the deranged Ol-Vir, we never learn of any other Daxamites taking advantage of the terrible gift Darkeid gave them. And, yes, other worlds should have regarded Daxamites very differently after this.

The reboot did a much better job of exploring the potential of Daxamites in the Legion universe.

Quote
Originally Posted by thoth
But it’s not going well for the Legion either. Ayla tells Blok that she thinks that the old days of the Legion were simpler. The changing nature of the threats as well as the breakdown of her relationship with Brin are leading to a decision for Ayla. But I think she’s wrong, The old Adventure stories were full of near death encounters, and in the case of Mask Man, had the biggest body count this side of a reboot Event.


She forgets the bad stuff, suggesting that this may just be an excuse for her to leave the Legion and have Brin leave on her terms. He already changed his appearance for her, so why not ask for this?


Ayla does not come off very well in this story--but, like Jan, she comes off as more human. I see this arc as part of a growing up stage for Ayla--separating herself from the only man she's loved and the only group of friends she's ever had: coming of age, as it were.

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Originally Posted by thoth
As good as the Vi panels are, this is a bit of a fill in scene, tying up the loose end of one of Darkseid’s minions. It’s hard to believe the Legion didn’t lock up the Mallor mockery the last time it awoke. Nor do we see Gim ever use the gear he’s there to collect.


Holy script continuity! Why wasn’t Lydea locked up after she was defeated? Or did she escape again?


I inferred that she had escaped again, but it doesn't really matter. One of the lessons I learned about writing from J. Michael Straczynski is that not everything needs to be spelled out.

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Every great villain deserves his or her “NO!” panel.


It's in the Super-Villain Training Manual, Appendix 3B.

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...Nura got fat (that last one not particularly terrifying IMO).


It would have been to Nura. smile

The funny thing is, the things we are afraid of when we are young become less important as we get older. When I was the same age as the Legionnaires in this story, the worst thing I could imagine was losing my hair (a very real possibility considering my cueball-headed grandfathers). While I would still prefer not to have a wispy hairline, there are so many more important things to focus on. Vanity is one aspect of youth I don't miss.

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Originally Posted by thoth
It’s interesting that, as much as he mocks Shady’s use of her power to hide herself and the child, Darkseid doesn’t enter it himself. There could be a lot of things about the source of Shady’s lineage that we don’t know about. Shady resists a further temptation and is ready to fight against a god, so it’s a pretty good moment for her.


I wish they’d explored that further, it was a pretty impressive feat to stand off Darkseid.


Yes, this is a huge Shady moment but it is glossed over. Warrior culture be damned, she's alone and has only a sphere of darkness protecting her and the child from a god who personifies darkness. She should have been terrified, yet she made a bold and (for all she knew) final stand. Shady rocks here!

As for Darkseid not entering the darkness himself, generals always send soldiers to do their bidding.

Quote


I’m glad they didn’t throw in the Cham pardon bit – too hasty. Let that story play out a bit more.


Me, too. As with Mon-El's recovery, some things can be saved for later. Less is more.

I'm also glad they left out the implication of Mysa as a traitor. As scripted, the curse was much more ambiguous--still is. (The Validus revelation was shocking, but it didn't destroy the Legion.)


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#937875 - 09/23/17 01:59 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
True - or it should be. The Daxamites went back to their bioscience, but were there comments later indicating how wary other races must have been of them? No one can sue them for reparations - talk about an act of God!


And…

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Yeah, imagine if they’d had time to practice. Unless they were mind-wiped afterwards, you have to figure some conniving Daxamite would yearn to have that sort of power again. And why not? Were they prohibited from leaving the planet thereafter? Don’t recall.


In v7 Mon El said that Daxam was in isolation due to concerns about lead poisoning. At least one Daxamite didn’t agree with this, and thought that the UP was using that as an excuse. There did seem to be an isolationist stance present in things like Invasion and from what a remember about the reboot.

Here, the population have got to come to terms with destroyed lots of things; reshaping a world and in dealing with that world now being in a new location under a yellow sun. All those powers must be tempting. Daxamites like Ol-Vir won’t help.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
She forgets the bad stuff, suggesting that this may just be an excuse for her to leave the Legion and have Brin leave on her terms. He already changed his appearance for her, so why not ask for this?


Just as well Brin has super acrobatics, to jump through all those hoops smile


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Really, Garth should have feared discovery that he was Proty, although we don’t know that yet.... That would have been a shocker. They could have done another sort of adult Legion story, showing horrible things that would happen to each of them later - Brin is Furball, Jo loses Tinya, Imra gives birth to Validus, Lu does lose another body, Nura got fat (that last one not particularly terrifying IMO).


Dark fates await…
Garth is Proty; Brin is a Manhunter or Furball; Rokk is the Time Trapper; Jan the Progenitor (oops wrong boots on, but still…); Val, Dirk and Thom are dead and Lar dies for a while…


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
She never tried to read his mind (didn’t dare or couldn’t) but some such glimpse makes sense. Did she try to read the mind of Lydea and fail? She said that Lydea was beyond her powers to defeat, but it’s not clear if she meant physically or mentally.


A glimpse would also help to establish her connection to Darkseid in the later Annual.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
…(Cub in the reboot was another rapidly aging child.) The mysterious child was good for suspense, but it would have been pretty impressive to have Highfather just pop out from nowhere and take charge.


In order to keep the relevance of Mysa, the Sorcerer’s World and the mystical nature of Darkseid’s return, the macguffin could have been a search for an artefact. It’s fossilised appearance and location makes it more magical than technological. But in it is contained the connection between the mystical energies and 30th century technology: The living energy of the Source. From it will appear the shade of Highfather. Just a thought. Anything to replace Rapid Growth Lad. smile

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
So we might have gone through many issues expecting Mysa to be the traitor....


It would have been quite a switch to have a long-term traitor within the team. Perhaps they thought it was too similar to Terra to continue with. The Conspiracy saw a sub team working against the others, and that has its critics for undermining aspects of the Legion concept.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
They didn’t use an epilogue to show Mon-el reviving. Did his coma end when Darkseid withdrew? I&#146;d prefer to think that his later instability was a result of his encounter with Darkseid rather than that Eltro nonsense. (Blame everything on Darkseid, so convenient.)


I think it might be explained in issues to come? I quite like the Eltro one. I can’t rally get to enjoy the Garth one without it. smile

Originally Posted by HWW
Ayla does not come off very well in this story--but, like Jan, she comes off as more human. I see this arc as part of a growing up stage for Ayla--separating herself from the only man she's loved and the only group of friends she's ever had: coming of age, as it were.


She’s certainly a lot stronger for having had the break, when she returns.

Originally Posted by HWW
I inferred that she had escaped again, but it doesn't really matter. One of the lessons I learned about writing from J. Michael Straczynski is that not everything needs to be spelled out.


Thanks to French cinema, I’m fine with loose ends and things going unexplained. smile But this was really more of a case of Levitz having to spin some wheels because of scheduling the Annual. So we get some similar scenes.

Originally Posted by HWW
Yes, this is a huge Shady moment but it is glossed over. Warrior culture be damned, she's alone and has only a sphere of darkness protecting her and the child from a god who personifies darkness. She should have been terrified, yet she made a bold and (for all she knew) final stand. Shady rocks here!


Yups. The trial of her origin would have made her, more than any of her comrades, able to stand up to things like the personification of Darkness. It’s a shame that wasn;t hinted at.


Originally Posted by HWW
As for Darkseid not entering the darkness himself, generals always send soldiers to do their bidding.


In the same way that Legion Worlders always like to plant plot seeds 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."
#937877 - 09/23/17 02:13 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 inferred that she had escaped again, but it doesn't really matter. One of the lessons I learned about writing from J. Michael Straczynski is that not everything needs to be spelled out.


Thanks to French cinema, I’m fine with loose ends and things going unexplained. smile But this was really more of a case of Levitz having to spin some wheels because of scheduling the Annual. So we get some similar scenes.


I'm not sure what you mean; maybe it will become apparent when we review the next annual. I did think the scene was intended to give Gim and "Vi" something to do. One of the challenges of this type of story is that it fulfills every fanboy's dream to give every Legionnaire something to do. The fact that Levitz accomplished this without weighing down the overall story amazes me.

By the way, I love the fact that we come to the same conclusions from different routes. You mentioned French cinema while I learned the same lesson from JMS. Earlier, we were both familiar with the "murder your darlings" advice to writers, though we attributed it to different sources. There are universal concepts/standards at work here, and it's interesting to see how they apply to Legion stories.

Quote
Originally Posted by HWW
As for Darkseid not entering the darkness himself, generals always send soldiers to do their bidding.


In the same way that Legion Worlders always like to plant plot seeds smile



Plot seeds are well and good, but sometimes a Coluan pipe is just a pipe.


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#937899 - 09/24/17 04:14 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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294:

Re-reading the finale of the GDS is like visiting my old neighborhood: It’s still grand and full of fun memories but much more mundane than I remembered. That isn’t to say that the story is small—it’s quite large in scope—but, when all is said and done, it’s treated like an unexceptional ending to this very exceptional story. “Darkseid” does everything it needs to—bring all the Legionnaires and assorted allies together, give everyone in the cast at least one or two spotlight moments, solve the mystery of the child, and show the defeat of the villain—and little else. Darkseid’s defeat is treated pretty much the same as any other villain’s defeat—he lives to fight another day—and no sense of consequence or life-changing significance is shown or even hinted at for any of the participants.

I mean, sure, Ayla’s departure was a big deal at the time. One did not leave the Legion unless one got killed, married, or drafted. The notion that not everyone was happy as a Legionnaire was new and unsettling. Her criticism that the Legion destroys lives stung; in one sense, she looks at the past through rose-colored myopia, but there is also truth in her words. She watched her own brother and her friends pay the price of being heroes, and she’s had enough. It was, at the time, a very mature and compelling decision. (Of course, we all know how it turned out.)

Yet the story should have been much more impactful than Ayla leaving. The Legion went up against a god and won—a god who caused untold destruction on multiple words, who enslaved the entire population of one world, and who forced them to carve their world into a likeness of his own image. Darkseid was by far the most powerful villain the Legion had ever faced, yet they come through the battle no better nor worse off than they were before. Imagine if Satan were discovered to be real, living entity, had come back to create havoc and been defeated by whatever forces of good exist in the world. There would be some serious paradigm shifts, a lot of people would be in denial about what had happened, and cults of darkness would be formed (other than the deranged Ol-Vir). The heroes would be lionized, and some might use their new status as an excuse to succumb to their own darkness (which, ironically, would fulfill Darkseid’s prophecy). Think of how much our world has changed in the wake of 9/11. The Legion’s world, too, should be very different.

(I can’t help but review this story through the lens of Babylon 5, in which the heroes also went up against gods and won. This was a defining moment in the story line and the turning point—for better and worse—of their universe.)

“Darkseid” is very good for what it is. Levitz, Giffen, and crew broke new ground in terms of stylistic choices for the endings of superhero epics. The finale looks good, and the images and layouts frequently surpass expectations. Levitz manages a very large cast yet keeps us engaged through revealing glimpses into the characters (such as the White Witch lamenting how much the others misunderstand magic). The story builds to an exciting final battle which resolves in an appropriate way. Darkseid capitulates and simply goes away, much like the god-like races on B5.

B5 was more than a decade into the future, of course, but, like that show—and Star Wars—Levitz borrows heavily from mythological stories and archetypes. But unlike both shows—which basically reinterpreted myth—the Legionnaires felt more like guest stars in someone else’s epic story. This is really the story of Darkseid, Izaya, and Orion (or, if you prefer, Darth, Obi-Wan, and Luke) with the Legionnaires simply arriving in time to remind us this is still their magazine. The fight between Darkseid and the Orion doppelgänger was full of passion and personal significance for both characters. By contrast, when the Legionnaires and their army of billions show up, the fight seems less personal and holds less at stake for Darkseid. Is it any wonder he simply quits? Why didn’t he try to re-establish his hold over the Daxamites? The answer, I think: It wasn’t worth the effort.

For its time, “Darkseid” was a mind-blowing Legion story and a harbinger of things to come in terms of expanding the scope and stylistic choices of multi-part super-hero stories. In hindsight, it is still a good read but fails to challenge the characters, their universe, or the readers.


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#937905 - 09/25/17 04:41 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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On 293:

Originally Posted by He Who
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


Howzabout Tharok (the real Tharok, not the Dark Man) returned to life, having eschewed science in favor of magic and the cosmic arts?

Originally Posted by He Who
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.


Thanks for sharing that. I was, as I noted earlier in this thread, 22 when I first read this story in 1996, and deeply disillusioned at the time with comics in general. 1992 and the first half of '93 had been the best of times, the worst of times -- Marvel was hitting what I would, in retrospect, come to view as their all-time zenith, while DC had already started losing me with Death of Superman (yes, I've come to appreciate in recent years that the subsequent story arcs about the rest of the DCU mourning Kal, the 4 pretenders to the throne, and the real Kal's resurrection were all very well done, but nothing will ever completely take away the sting of the Supes vs Doomsday arc being a punch-up so simplistic that it felt to me like an insult to anyone over the age of 10!) In the second half of '93, the rot began to set in at Marvel, though I mark the exact beginning of its all-out decline as late '94, with Tom DeFalco quitting as EiC and being replaced by...a committee of five, count 'em, five EiCs (groan.)

Anyhow, I walked away from it all not accepting things as they are, but rather feeling that I could do this kind of thing much better than them. And, as arrogant as it may sound, I still feel that way. Hence, the birth and rise of Fanfic Lady. But I've also learned, more recently, to better prioritize the things I feel I have to offer to people; thus, I only have one more fan fiction in progress before I concentrate full-time on original stuff...but it's a work-and-research-intensive doozy which probably won't be finished for at least a couple more years.

Originally Posted by He Who
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.


Originally Posted by Cramey

He does fail to stop Servant and Master, which also contributes to the sense of transition, while preserving his idealism.


Agreed, and agreed again.

Originally Posted by He Who
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.


That was a lovely scene...buuuuuuut...I still wish Broderick had penciled it and Patterson (or someone equally good) had inked it, rather than the perennially under-achieving Giffen/Mahlstedt team. smile

Originally Posted by He Who
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.


I still feel that the pre-Baxter issues (and possibly the first year of Baxter as well, with Levitz spread thin across two monthly Legion books) are a very, very, VERY long, awkward, and creatively erratic transition from the old ways to the new. And that a less impulsive, more detached penciler/co-plotter than Giffen would have been a better fit for Levitz. Just my 2 cents/2 pence.

Originally Posted by He Who
As a writer, I've always wanted to work with an artist in the Marvel method. I've got a script for a graphic novel if anybody who's really good wants to talk.


Weeeellllll...I don't quite have my artistic chops back to speed yet (a 20-year hiatus from drawing will do that to a sentient,) but I've got the hunger, the drive, and, most importantly, the free time. Let's definitely discuss this via PM at either LW or FB.

#937938 - 09/25/17 06:08 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 thoth lad


Originally Posted by HWW
I inferred that she had escaped again, but it doesn't really matter. One of the lessons I learned about writing from J. Michael Straczynski is that not everything needs to be spelled out.


Thanks to French cinema, I’m fine with loose ends and things going unexplained. smile But this was really more of a case of Levitz having to spin some wheels because of scheduling the Annual. So we get some similar scenes.


I'm not sure what you mean; maybe it will become apparent when we review the next annual. I did think the scene was intended to give Gim and "Vi" something to do .


In the TPB, Levitz notes to the other members of the creative team that the Annual was to come after 290. It shows that the plot, and therefore the pacing of the story, was pretty fluid. Something I like to bear in mind when doing the reviews, is just how many alterations are made for all sorts of reasons behind the scenes, well into the production of the book.

For a story of this scale, where lots of advance plotting is needed, such changes can be hard to fit in smoothly. It’s something often painfully obvious in Event books. For the GDS there are a few bits of pacing that essentially go over the same ground (Mockery Mallor/ Jo, Tas and Tinya being knowcked out all the time) as a result.

It all means that …

Originally Posted by HWW
One of the challenges of this type of story is that it fulfills every fanboy's dream to give every Legionnaire something to do. The fact that Levitz accomplished this without weighing down the overall story amazes me.
Quote


… is even more impressive when the writer is having to go back through things at various points to adjust.

Originally Posted by HWW
By the way, I love the fact that we come to the same conclusions from different routes. You mentioned French cinema while I learned the same lesson from JMS. Earlier, we were both familiar with the "murder your darlings" advice to writers, though we attributed it to different sources. There are universal concepts/standards at work here, and it's interesting to see how they apply to Legion stories. [quote]

Seeing how others view the same story, and its construction, is a huge part of the Re-read enjoyment for me too.

[quote][quote=HWW] As for Darkseid not entering the darkness himself, generals always send soldiers to do their bidding.


In the same way that Legion Worlders always like to plant plot seeds smile



Plot seeds are well and good, but sometimes a Coluan pipe is just a pipe.


But is it a pipe, or is it…

A Durlan spy! We’ve just seen loads of them on Takron Galtos! How many Durlans are there because of UP xenophobia? The only way to free these political prisoners is to have them imitate common retro objects, such as Coluan pipes!

A Lotus Fruit Bong! Poor Brainy! His sanity medication has led him down the path of addiction. If only Brin hadn’t left all that Lotus Fruit in the Legion canteen by accident.

The Pied Piper’s Pipe! Lost for centuries, mainly because Rokk pinched it on a Time Bubble Trip. This artefact will control minds faster than Imra saying “I don’t like meddling in people’s minds, but since it’s a day of the week…”

Can’t…stop…LW…plotting… smile

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
294:

Re-reading the finale of the GDS is like visiting my old neighborhood: It’s still grand and full of fun memories but much more mundane than I remembered. That isn’t to say that the story is small - it’s quite large in scope - but, when all is said and done, it’s treated like an unexceptional ending to this very exceptional story. “Darkseid” does everything it needs to - bring all the Legionnaires and assorted allies together, give everyone in the cast at least one or two spotlight moments, solve the mystery of the child, and show the defeat of the villain - and little else.

Darkseid’s defeat is treated pretty much the same as any other villain’s defeat -he lives to fight another day- and no sense of consequence or life-changing significance is shown or even hinted at for any of the participants… Is it any wonder he simply quits? Why didn’t he try to re-establish his hold over the Daxamites? The answer, I think: It wasn’t worth the effort.


With hindsight, and a handy TPB, there are a number of things that I’m sure Levitz would change or tweak if given a second chance to write GDS. Given the constraints of the time and putting out a monthly book, it stands up really well. It went a long way to setting the bar for Crisis level Events.

Although the villain lives to fight another day, I think the circumstances of why that is make this story stand out. You mentioned there are universal constants and in comic publishing both parties needed to leave here roughly intact. That’s the case in a lot of books, and the trick is in the execution. Levitz had worked to build the whole thing into a mighty crescendo… and then switched the pace. In another nod to some classics, hubris played an important part in shaping the acts of both sides. Darkseid could have gone to war against the UP. He might have won. But it would have been at a cost. Perhaps of power, but certainly of his desire that the universe should fall to him effortlessly. His overconfidence extends not to his power, but to his place. . It’s not just that he’s given up a war, it’s that the universe he finds himself in isn’t the one he thought it would be. Which is what Imra picks up on.

For the Legion, the hubris comes in the form of Wildfire’s parting taunt that has consequences for the team (although to be fair to Drake, there were a couple of other bits of overconfident dialogue before his)

Reading further into your post I agree that the Legion were essentially pawns of the gods in the end. Although it’s a common mistake to have your protagonist drop out of their own story, those classical touching points in the Legion mean it could be deliberate.

I think the way in which this one ended was a big step up from a cackling Darkseid escaping after a battle vowing to “Get you Legionnaires, if it’s the last thing I do!” or “I’m sure that three billion strong blast of heat vision destroyed him…but there’s no body!”

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Darkseid was by far the most powerful villain the Legion had ever faced, yet they come through the battle no better nor worse off than they were before. Imagine if Satan were discovered to be real, living entity, had come back to create havoc and been defeated by whatever forces of good exist in the world. There would be some serious paradigm shifts, a lot of people would be in denial about what had happened, and cults of darkness would be formed (other than the deranged Ol-Vir). The heroes would be lionized, and some might use their new status as an excuse to succumb to their own darkness (which, ironically, would fulfill Darkseid
‘s prophecy). Think of how much our world has changed in the wake of 9/11. The Legion’s world, too, should be very different.


We do get to see some repercussions concerning Daxam, but it’s not front and centre in the book. It would have been much better if the three billion Daxamites had destroyed the UP infrastructure, with the resulting economic disaster prompting the book to jump forward five years… hey…wait a minute… smile

The Levitz paradigm model perhaps lacks a bit of follow through once a plot/ subplot has been completed. But it’s head and shoulders above so many other books…

We did get to see a cult of darkness in v6 or v7 and there was recognition of the Legion’s status at the start of v4 (and in the RPGs I think). But those are off panel, rather than being a fundamental shift. In story, it depends on how the threat was perceived by the UP denizens. Not many people actually saw Darkseid. As you said, a general always sends his soldiers. We see a lot of the mockeries and a lot of the Daxamites. But Darkseid doesn’t reveal himself until late on, and not to many.

We’ve seen a lot of attacking armies over the years in Legion stories from the Khunds through the Dark Circle to the Dominators. Technologically advanced aggressors with terrible weaponry are nothing new to the UP. Beyond the UP, there was the advance of Mordru across many worlds.

So the Daxamites going rogue, while devastating, is not outside the world view of many. They won’t know who was really behind it. Even if told, just hearing about Darkseid doesn’t have the same impact as being in his presence. They’ll just blame the Daxamites or whoever is politically convenient to lash out at. A lot of cultures deal with external and internal warfare on a regular basis, and are already living well beyond other people’s paradigm shifts. So the appearance of a new army isn’t anything new. Putting a Big Bad Darkseid face on it isn’t new to them either, and isn’t on a par with dealing with all the pressing day to day issues such a life brings.

If this was a later Event, we’d have had spin off books and there would have been a concerted effort to use the GDS to redefine the characters. So, its no bad thing it ended as it did.

I agree that Ayla is the only one we see an immediate change in. Imra’s involvement with the Curse would perhaps come later. We don’t see any of the members deal with the repercussions of Darkseid’s transformations. Brin having to face his humanity over his “android” past could have been a touching point for the next issue and in his conversations with Ayla. Lar’s recovery could have gone along the lines of a later episode in the Baxter run. While I think there were a lot of story opportunities, there’s an ins troy answer to why that was. Highfather restored all of the Legionnaires with his Plot Powers, healing them. He enhanced the founders too. So, by the end of the story the Legion are actually at the peak of their health. That’s probably yet another reason why Darkseid saw his dream die: he saw the strength and resolve of the restored Legion.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
For its time, “Darkseid” was a mind-blowing Legion story and a harbinger of things to come in terms of expanding the scope and stylistic choices of multi-part super-hero stories. In hindsight, it is still a good read but fails to challenge the characters, their universe, or the readers.


Can’t argue with that. It does what it sets out to do and does it very well indeed. It’s not a story that changes the universe of the characters, but a massive story within the confines of that universe.

I like your alternate version of the curse. I can’t think past Dirk for some reason… smile


I don’t think my feelings for the story have changed much over the years since I first read it. I still don’t like the use of the Highfather kid. This reread has brought out a number of classical references, and I wonder if the deus ex machina ending was a deliberate conceit and not just a convenient bit of plotting.

It’s a big scope epic but, for me, it’s too early in the Levitz era and the Levitz/Giffen partnership to be my favourite story, and there are plenty of top moments 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."
#937940 - 09/25/17 06:11 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Ann Hebistand Offline
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On 294, and the GDS story arc as a whole, I'll keep it short and (bitter-) sweet by quoting one of my heroes:

[Linked Image]

Tee hee.

#937948 - 09/25/17 06:47 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
Thoth:

Those are all excellent points. I'm missing out on quite a bit, it seems, by not having the Archives; I appreciate your summaries of the behind-the-scenes factors which shaped the stories.

You also made a good point that some of the long-term ramifications of GDS happen off center stage. This is understandable to a degree, given the constraints and expectations of the medium. Still, I can't help feeling it should have been central for a while. Good call on hubris being shown by both sides, and, I agree: This ending is superior to most such battles at the time.

You made a very insightful observation about this story coming too early in Levitz and Giffen's partnership. After GDS, they had almost nowhere else to go. The stories which follow, which focus on quieter, run-of-the-mill adventures, are very good, as I recall, and a lot of surprises are in store. But it was inevitable that they would be expected to create the Next Big Epic, which happens in the form of the LSV War. While these issues are fan favorites, they seemed a letdown to me. If Levitz and Giffen had built up to GDS over the course of their partnership, it's long-term implications might have been different.


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#937959 - 09/26/17 12:26 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 18 [Re: Future]  
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Fat Cramer Offline
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LSH #295 The Origin of the Universe File! By Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen, art by Keith Giffen, Howard Bender and Dave Hunt, colours by Karl Gafford, letters by John Costanza

[Linked Image]

Blok is relaxing when Brin asks if he can talk to him. Brin is upset over Ayla’s demand that he decide in one day whether or not he will leave with her. Blok suggests they watch an archive tape together.

The tape recounts an early Legion mission to deal with a fire at The Time Institute. After Gim rips the roof off, they discover that the fire isn’t very serious. They meet Chronarch Circadia Senius, who explains what happened: they had tried to view the beginning of the universe, saw a big hand cradling the galaxy, then tried to look beyond that. A bolt of lightning shattered their time viewer.

Ayla walks in and is annoyed to find Brin casually watching a holofile. She sends him floating to the ceiling and reminds him to make a decision. Blok is nonplussed.

The holo resumes; Senius tries again to view the beginning of time. Another lightning bolt strikes, which Garth stops. The face of an Oan Guardian appears, telling them this is forbidden knowledge. Suddenly, the Time Institute is flown away on a green beam. The Legionnaires are brought before a council of Guardians, but not before battling with some Green Lanterns.

Brin has had enough and heads off to “wreck something”, but Blok puts a heavy hand on his shoulder and suggests that he continue watching.

The Guardian explains the history of the Oans and the story of Krona, who also tried to see the forbidden beginning of time and who thereby unleashed evil to the universe. They once again forbid the Legionnaires to view the beginning of time and send them back to Earth, with the promised aid of the Lanterns.

Two Lanterns restore the Time Institute to its foundation; one named Vidar decides to stay behind. Rokk explains that they are going to test a Time Bubble and try to get Superboy and Supergirl to join their club. Vidar claims that their dreams are small.

As the three founders travel through time, they drag some creatures along with them. Then the controls stop working, so Garth shorts out the system and they return to their origin, although the beasts have followed. They subdue the animals, then find Vidar in the Time Institute, trying to access the forbidden knowledge. They try to stop him as he angrily tells them he could have controlled the event with his ring. Imra breaks his will-power and Rokk slugs him. The Guardians appear and take him away, saying he will be banished from the Corps. Rokk explains that Earthgov considered their interference destructive and banned Green Lanterns from Earth. The Guardians feel that the Legion can handle anything a Lantern might have, and depart.

Brin announces that he has figured things out; he runs off to Ayla and begs her to stay, as he loves her and wants to stay with his family, the Legion. She refuses and leaves.

Blok discovers the connection between the rogue Lantern Vidar, Universo and Rond Vidar, but assumes he must be mistaken since Brainiac 5 would have figured this out long ago.

Comments:

An interlude issue, which I never really appreciated until this reread. On its own, and read out of sequence, this issue lacked the impact it has immediately following GDS. We don’t know what’s happening with most of the team, but have a sense that the Mission Monitor Board has been unplugged and everyone is chilling for a day or two.

We meet Circadia Senius, observe an early development in the Imra-Garth romance (although Imra seems to want to keep things between “team mates”), discover why Green Lanterns aren’t allowed on Earth. Oh yeah, Gim was a bit of a doofus right from the start.

Although facing down Guardians and Green Lanterns is no picnic, this old Legion adventure is far from the deadly menace of Darkseid. It’s a reminder of simpler times for the superhero group. (I’m also reminded of the 5YL scene between SW6 Violet and Devlin, in which Violet proudly recounts the important missions the Legion has tackled, all of which are kid stuff compared to the Dominators.) Nobody gets hurt, there are big animals and the bad guy is apprehended. You figure the kids then head off to Nine Planets for some ice cream. Bender’s uncomplicated art captures this atmosphere perfectly.

The banning of Green Lanterns from Earth is handled in a real Adventure-era fashion: one sentence. In a similar manner, the know-it-all Guardians express their full confidence in the Legion to protect Earth. Does that mean that when Rond Vidar later assumed the GL job that the Legion was failing Earth?

Does Blok choose that holo for the message of teamwork, or does he just figure any holo will help Brin calm down and sort out his thoughts? I’m not sure if something in particular finally clarified the Ayla issue in Brin’s mind. Blok is so relaxed; he’s just going with the flow among these strange humanoids, to the point that he finds it perfectly natural for Brin to watch the holo from the ceiling.

The ending is quite moving. Brin makes a heartfelt plea but Ayla departs, surrounded by darkness. Brin’s shadow on the closed portal looks a bit like the silhouette of Darkseid. The couple is another casualty of Darkseid’s ambition.

Even this scene is lightened, however, with Blok’s ending comments that Brainy would have figured out the Vidar-Universo connection if it really existed. Blok has yet to learn that Brainy doesn’t know everything.

FC doesn't know everything either, having just realized the origin of Universo's name is linked to his quest to view the origin of the universe. But since he failed, why take the name? Or was it given to him as a joke by Takron-Galtos guards, and it stuck? Vidar apparently abandoned his quest for ultimate knowledge and settled for galactic conquest, like every other A-class super-villain.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
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