Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #6

Legion of Super-Heroes (vol 3) #6 (Jan 1985)
title: "Silver Linings"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Joe Orlando
inker: Larry Mahlstedt
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Steve Lightle & Larry Mahlstedt (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Lightning Lass, Cosmic Boy, Wildfire, Invisible Kid, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Ultra Boy, Chameleon Boy; flashback cameos by Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Sun Boy, Star Boy, Brainiac 5, Superboy, and Timber Wolf

Opponents: 
Lightning Lord, Zymyr


Synopsis: 
On Zymyr's uncharted laboratory planet, he (it?) has teleported with Lightning Lass and Lightning Lord, having escaped Orando last issue in the middle of the battle between the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Legion of Super-Villains. As Zymyr puts the Ranzz siblings to sleep he begins to read Ayla's mind to try to learn how they got their super-powers. He learns that they and Garth (Lightning Lad) grew up on Winath, but because Mekt (Lightning Lord) was not a twin, he felt different, and alienated, and took these feelings out on Garth and Ayla (Lightning Lass). Then one day they were traveling together when their space ship ran out of power. They crash-landed on Korbal, and hoped that the lightning beasts there would replenish their ship's battery. Unfortunately, the beasts' lightning bolts somehow powered *them*. They wake from Zymyr's trance, and Ayla tells Mekt that although she is willing to work with him so both of them can escape, she was happy to play a part in the destruction of the Legion of Super-Villains.

On Earth, Dream Girl communicates with Cosmic Boy, Wildfire, and Invisible Kid on the state of things out in space where Orando had been. Invisible Kid apologizes for "taking" Wildfire away from that mission, but cannot control his powers to help try to find the missing members.

Back on Zymyr's world, Ayla and Mekt break free from their constraints, then jump/fall into a body of polluted water. Ayla passes out again, remembering that the initial reason she left Winath was to claim Garth's dead body, but then she as his twin decided to pretend to be Garth, and took his place as Lightning Lad. Sun Boy had seen through her ruse, but she was allowed to stay as Lightning Lass. When Garth was revived, she had her powers altered by Dream Girl so that she could make things super-lightweight, and became Light Lass. Then when Timber Wolf joined the Legion, she felt like her emotions had taken over her heart for the first time. She knew where she wanted to be.
Even the coloring seems rushed this issue, as Ayla is consistently mis-colored
Ayla escapes drowning when she and Mekt are rescued by Zymyr's cyborg guards. However, they have somehow gotten to his (its?) zoo, and several animals attack them. The Ranzz siblings fight them off with lightning as they also fight against Zymyr's guards. Zymyr himself (itself?) is sick and tired of the interruptions and problems the humans are causing him (it?), so he (it?) agrees to send them back to their solar system just to get rid of them.

In the inner-dimensional space where five Legionnaires are stranded, Element Lad continues to refresh the air in their gerry-rigged time bubble. As they discuss options, Ultra Boy thinks he sees an inhabited planet in the distance, and they make their way towards it.
Lost ins Space, or lost in-between dimensions. Looks like space to me.

Now on Winath, the Ranzz siblings continue their bickering. Ayla is content to let Mekt go, but Mekt demands that she listen to him as the elder brother. When Ayla's friends fight back to help protect her, she has no choice but to fight back as well, knocking Mekt unconscious. She realizes that she has to fight evil wherever she finds it, so decides to rejoin the Legion.

Ayla's reasoning is odd, as I would be hard pressed to find anything more evil than Darkseid...!
Commentary: 
As much as I hate to say it, this is the first issue of the new Baxter series that disappointed me. The art by multi-talented Joe Orlando is good, but is not great. Too often what is supposed to be happening in the story is not clear. For example, how and/or why are Ayla and Mekt being held captive by Zymyr? Is there some sort of force-field going on? They wake up with some sort of handcuff bracelets on, but are they tethered to something? They appear to be floating, but then they break free and fall, then jump/fall into a body of water that they didn't see? It is just not very clear what is going on. Once we get into the jungle, and during the flashback sequences, the art is easier to follow. However, the Legionnaires, especially those lost in space, all look similar and indistinct.

The story is also not one of Paul Levitz' best efforts. Like the art, there are a few points that are just not clear. Specifically, at the end, how exactly does Ayla stop Mekt? Isn't he more powerful than she is? After all, he has been using his lighting power longer than she has. Also he's a man, so in theory he is "stronger" than she is. And she has been saying all issue that she is exhausted. Yet she seems to be able to knock him out with one punch? The dialogue then makes it sound like she collapses into her friend's arms, but....in the picture she doesn't. Also, the flashbacks totally skip the important point of Garth leaving Winath to search for Mekt. I guess it is not an important point for her, but it IS important to the whole narrative. Then when she goes to Earth to claim Garth's body, she is shown with Chameleon Boy and Saturn Girl *before* she pretends to be Garth. Obviously, that could not have happened. In the actual story, Ayla does not meet anybody before she appears as Garth, and Saturn Girl is away on a space mission. Otherwise the charade would have been over in a moment, right? Most importantly, however, the story fails because it does not make it clear why Ayla has decided to return to the Legion. She says "The Legion may have changed...but without realizing it, I became a part of those changes." Huh? The whole point of this story should have been to explain/show why Ayla Ranzz is returning to the Legion, and for me, that goal was not met. I'm glad to have her back, but I don't understand her rationalization.

The best part of this issue is the cover, Steve Lightle's first for the Legion. It would not be his last. 

Science Police Notes:  
  • Lightning Lass' new uniform, designed by Joe Orlando, makes its debut in this issue. 
  • Although twins are supposedly the norm on Winath, we see a grand total of zero in the five pages we are on Winath. The little boy who attacks Lightning Lord is not a twin, nor is his mother or any of the bystanders shown in the background. 
  • This issue falls between Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #5 (when Zymyr teleports off Orando) and Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #318 (when Dream Girl and the other members have returned to Earth). 
Status:
This issue was reprinted in Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #331 and An Eye For An Eye TPB.


MILESTONE: Ayla Ranzz re-embraces her original Lightning Lass identity and decides to rejoin the Legion of Super-Heroes in this issue.

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