Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #9

Legion of Super-Heroes (vol 3) #9 (April, 1985)
a review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "Reunion"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Steve Lightle
inker: Larry Mahlstedt
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Steve Lightle & Larry Mahlstedt (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Dream Girl, Cosmic Boy, Star Boy, Lightning Lass, Timber Wolf, Wildfire, Invisible Kid, Element Lad, Shrinking Violet, Chameleon Boy; appearances by Shadow Lass, Mon-El, Colossal Boy, White Witch, Blok, Sun Boy, Phantom Girl, Ultra Boy

Guests: 
Yera (Colosssal Boy's wife); SP officer Shvaughn Erin; RJ Brande; Bouncing Boy and Legion Academy students; SP Officer Dvron

Opponents: 
Sklarian thieves
  
Synopsis: 
At a meeting of the full membership (except for Dawnstar and Brainiac 5), the Legionnaires again discuss the need for new members. Cosmic Boy finally convinces enough members, including Star Boy, to convince Dream Girl to authorize an open call. Wildfire agrees to set up the try-outs. As Dream Girl wants to move on, the five missing members walk in under their own power, much to everyone's delight. Meeting adjourned!
Element Lad surprises SP Officer Erin in the park, on duty to rescue a hurt child. She is overjoyed to see him back safe.

Later the Legionnaires hang out and relax. Shrinking Violet meets Colossal Boy's wife, Yera, for the first time. Shrinking Violet confronts her, threatening her with bodily harm if Vi ever hears that Yera has posed as Violet again.
Timber Wolf meets with a lawyer because Karate Kid made him beneficiary to his will, with one condition.
Element Lad leaves the party with Shvaughn, but before they can get too intimate Dream Girl calls him about trouble in Hong Kong. Wanting to get back into action, he takes the call and the mission. He, Invisible Kid, Lightning Lass, Shrinking Violet, and Chameleon Boy all head to Hong Kong. They try to help the Science Police catch the group of thieves as they are raiding the Traders' Mall. The thieves escape, but Invisible Kid sees them, and tells everyone that they were Sklarians.

Meanwhile, RJ Brande meets with Proteans, and SP Officer Dvron is investigating the shooting of Laurel Kent from last issue.
Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid, and Shrinking Violet go under-cover at the Sklarian embassy. Although Violet blows their cover, Invisible Kid finds stolen merchandise. They then go to the Space Port, where they manage to capture the whole band of thieves using the element of surprise.
Finally, Element Lad logs off-duty and goes home to see Shvaughn.

Commentary: 
After eight issues of one continuous story, this issue reads like a breath of fresh air. The missing Legionnaires are back, and now we are ready to start on new adventures. For example, Timber Wolf meeting with a lawyer, the investigation of Laurel Kent's shooting, and Wildfire setting up new member try-outs are three plot points that will pay off in new adventures soon. Besides these new beginnings, there is a fine little adventure of some Legionnaires fighting Sklarian thieves. I can understand Element Lad wanting to "get back out there," and I can understand him wanting to see for himself if Lightning Lass still "has it," but I don't know why he would have chosen two of his fellow "missing" members, Shrinking Violet and Chameleon Boy, to join him. I would think he would let them rest. This felt a little too much like an Espionage Squad mission by accident, but by design. A little too awkward of member manipulation by Paul Levitz, I think. Other than that minor quibble, this issue is awesome.
Speaking of members, though, the issue is made great by all of the great character bits. Besides the great party scene, I really liked the panel where the missing members walk back in. Colossal Boy is happy to see his good friend Chameleon Boy, Shadow Lass embraces Phantom Girl, and Element Lad is pleasantly surprised to see that Lightning Lass is back. (Off-panel, Mon-El and Ultra Boy probably had a playful hug, as well.) These all strike me as "right." And of course, watching what is probably Element Lad about to lose his virginity is pretty awesome, too. Anj has a separate post about those scenes in this week's HOT post. Check it out.

There isn't enough adjectives to describe how beautiful Steve Lightle's and Larry Mahlstedt's art is. Just take a look at that progression from Star Boy to Dream Girl to Wildfire, shown above. Or check out the body postures of Shrinking Violet, Lightning Lass, and Element Lad as they face the Sklarians. Or the facial expressions of Invisible Kid in that panel, or Timber Wolf as he realizes he is now a multi-millionaire. This is great, great work.

How about we say a few things about the beautiful colors by the talented Carl Gafford? He does great work with Lightning Lass' crackles, obviously, but also check out the door panel behind the five missing Legionnaires' entrance and the computer panels behind the Legionnaires in the next panel. This is beautiful work.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Brainiac 5 and Dawnstar are missing, still out searching for the five Legionnaires who return in this issue. 
  • This issue features the debut appearance of the Legion Academy student, Tellus. He has no dialogue, but there is no mistaking him. 
Status: 
Reprinted in The More Things Change TPB.

1 comment:

  1. This was definitely a great issue. The artwork by Steve Lightle & Larry Mahlstedt is wonderful, and Paul Levitz once again proves himself to be a master at scripting a huge cast of characters & multiple subplots. Issues such as this one are the reason why I became a Legion fan.

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