Friday, October 30, 2015

5YL: Legion of Super-Heroes #57


Recap: The Legion which reformed 5 years later is on the run, branded as traitors working with the Khunds. Hiding out on Rimbor, with new codenames and some aged/de-aged from a battle with Glorith, the team tries to stay one step ahead from everyone. But they also know they still need to do good. So despite being labeled outlaws, the team still is trying to uncover who has been lying about them as well as stop more Khundish expansion.

Legion of Super-Heroes #57, plotted by Stuart Immonen and Tom McCraw, written by McCraw, with art by Christopher Michael Taylor, is an incredibly fast-paced, action filled issue. McCraw has been shaking up the book since he took over writing it and we haven't had much of a chance to catch our breath. If people complained about the long form plotting of the early 5YL issues, they must have loved this run. Things happen fast and furious. And every issue seems to be punctuated by a brawl.

"Friends and Foes" is an issue long fight at Starfinger's stronghold in the Darzyl system. And there are plenty of factions. And everyone is fighting everybody else. There are few friends and a lot of foes in this issue. The Legion, the UP (formerly Legion) Academy, the Khunds, the heroes of Lallor, and Starfinger are all involved in the melee, each with their own agenda.

The art by Taylor is a very 90s, fine-lined look which works well here. There is a lot of big action here and Taylor does a fine job of showing it.


On Xolnar, the UP Military Academy is running drills fighting the Legionnaires. In a danger room sort of place, robot/hologram versions of Laurel Gand and Wildfire blip in and out of the exercise, training the recruits for battle.

How the mighty have fallen! The Legion are true villains now.

Well, mostly. Chuck and Luornu aren't quite convinced by any of this. Chuck in particular is convinced that the Legion will find a way to clear their names.

Suddenly, an alarm signals a Khundian force entering Darzyl's space. The Academy is relatively close. A team of recruits is put together, even if raw.

Meanwhile the Legion has also arrived. They learned that the Khunds are hoping to eliminate Starfinger III. With Starfinger out of the way, the Khunds would be able to easily take over the sector both in a military and an economic fashion.

In 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' sort of thinking, Vi sends the Legion to Darzyl to protect Starfinger. The whole team is there and ready again to fight the Khunds.

As we have seen over the last few issues, Rokk seems more and more unhinged, prone to violence and generally sullen.


But they aren't alone there.

The Heroes of Lallor are there, working with the Khunds, along with Tenzil Kem! The Legion assumes the Heroes have been mind-controlled by the Khunds. But the Legion is somewhat confused by this as well.

I can't remember the last time I saw the whole Lallor team. So kudos to McCraw for continuing to delve into the Legion lore.


The Khunds do arrive to try to assassinate Starfinger. And the team looks awful familiar.

These are mostly the members of the Khunds who were dubbed Legionnaires during the Mordru war. Firefist was thought dead, but has been rebuilt. And there is Veilmist and Fledermaus as well. Draginclaw died and has been replaced by this four-armed bruiser.

And then the UP military arrives.


Back on Weber's World, Ambassador Relnic has invited the Khunds to try to hammer out a peace treaty.

Even Universo knows that is a bad idea. He knows the Khunds will eventually backstab the UP. There is no appeasing them.

When Universo contacts the person he has been working for, he is surprised to hear that he has been fired.

Whoever the big bad is here, the person pulling Universo's strings, he is done with the hypnotist. This is one of the more fascinating parts of this run. Usually Universo is pulling the strings. Who could be controlling him??

The other faction fighting in Darzyl is Starfinger himself. His energy concubines, Starlight and Starbright, are fighting the Khunds and trying to help the Legion.

Unfortunately, the brawl is just too insane. Starfinger is killed. With their mission accomplished, the Khunds start to retreat.

I never really liked this version of Starfinger. Who knew someone could make me miss Starfinger II!


One of the things that has been percolating along these last few issues is that time has gone wonky.

We saw Glorith get killed. And then since then, there have been ripples of continuum chaos.

This issue we see it unfold before us.

Mon-El is on Daxam fighting Dev-Em. This is the desolate Daxam and the mohawked Dev-Em.
Suddenly, the planet seems to go back in time. It is a thriving planet, heavily populated, appearing as it did before Glorith killed everyone.

And then we wind back time further. Suddenly the planet seems desolate again. And Dev-Em is in a purple body suit. This is pre-Crisis! Get ready for timey-wimey nuttiness.


Meanwhile, the Khunds have just about all scattered. Rokk again says he is ready to kill people. And again, his teammates have to rein him in. During the fight, we learn that the Tenzil in the films which incriminated the Legion is the Durlan Chameleon Chief. And the Legion is able to capture Fledermaus but the rest of the Khunds escape.
 
I don't know if I think McCraw's run is memorable or stands the test of time. But if there is one part I don't like it is this Rokk side plot.

The Legion team has to also escape because the Science Police want them.

Fledermaus turns out to have been mind-controlled as well, ratcheting up the concern for a major bad who has been working a conspiracy.

And Rokk has decided he has had enough. He jumps into a solo starship and leaves the team.

As for the rest of the Legion, we see that things are very different. Mysa continues to vamp with everyone.

At first I thought that this was a good turn for Mysa. She is suddenly very confident. But then I recall the abuse she suffered and I wonder if this new attitude is a healthy response. I just don't know. Flirting with a bureaucrat so Vi can sneak into an office is one thing. Coming on to Brin is another.


And things get even nuttier for Ayla. During the battle her lightning powers left her and she had her anti-gravity Light Lass powers instead. Now on the ship, she de-ages more. She is a kid. And she is getting younger.

More timey-wimey stuff.

Kid Ayla is adorable. But hasn't she suffered enough as a character.

Again, McCraw isn't afraid to shake things up!


The issue ends with this splash, showing that Zero Hour is around the corner.

I suppose, given all the crazy time stuff, I can forgive the inclusion of Circadia Sensius here. Circadia died heroically, sacrificing himself to launch a gravity pod to replace the moon at the beginning of Terra Mosaic.

It is nice to see Rond Vidar in the time bubble again.

Whew ... we are sprinting towards the finish line. In a mere three issues, my time with the 5YL Legion will come to a close. It is hard for me to know if Tom McCraw had been told that there would be a reboot and he should just have fun or if he was told to radically change things to try to save the title and continuity. Either way, he certainly writes an insane arc.I don't think this run will ever make me forget the earliest 5YL or the Levitz/Giffen 80s stuff or even the Bates/Grell stuff. But it certainly is very different. I have enjoyed reading these more now than I think I did then just because these issues are punch-em-up insanity with some deep Legion cuts. It feels more like a popcorn movie than a drama.

How will all these plots end? And how does Zero Hour impact it? We'll see!

2 comments:

  1. I don't know if they have had more than a half dozen appearances since their introduction, but I always loved when the Heroes of Lallor appeared. I need to look up this issue!

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