Friday, November 13, 2015

5YL: Legion of Super-Heroes #59


Recap: The Legion is on the run from the UP having been labeled as allies as the Khunds and therefore traitors. However, the team is also rushing to Weber's World to stop the Khunds from destroying the planetoid headquarters of the UP. The team is also dealing with the ramifications of a battle with Glorith, their ages and bodies tampered with. And on top of all that, the time stream seems to be unraveling. 

Legion of Super-Heroes #59 continues to speed towards the continuity-bomb of Zero Hour. Things are about to change ... again. And writer Tom McCraw takes this issue to pause briefly, take stock of the characters, and check in on everyone.

McCraw basically blew up the existing book when he took over, changing the roster, and changing the characters who stuck around. And he has made this book into an action book, whipping along as the Legion deals with the political intrigue of the universe they inhabit. And yet, intertwined within the super-heroics, McCraw has also been dealing with the tsunamis of a time stream gone mad, slowly folding this book into the mainstream DCU and the next universe altering crossover event approaching. As a result, it has been easy to speed through these issues when so many pages have been devoted to punches and hand beams.

While there is action here, this is much more a reaction issue. And, like many Legion fans, I love the characterization issues, deepening the Legion mythos.

Stuart Immonen has been co-plotting the book. He is finally back on pencils with Ron Boyd. But this issue has a more rushed feel than I have been used to with Immonen's prior work on the book. Still, it is lovely.

Lastly, as a Supergirl fan, this issue resonates a bit more than many. You'll see why soon.


Last issue ended with one of the Khund bombs detonating on Weber's World. The bulk of the Legion team was on a Khund starship fighting their version of the Legion. Meanwhile, Vi and Laurel were speeding through the guts of the planet trying to dismantle to explosive devices. As we saw, one went off.

Now the UP, their allies, and the remaining Legion has decided to team up to deal with the ramifications of the device. That includes the Substitute Legion. And it also includes Valor, Shadow Lass, and Dev-Em.

But Dev-Em is still the old school 80s version. The time stream continues to roil.

During this event, we learned that the Legionnaires who have been working with the Khunds were impostors. Also, the mind controlled heroes who have been aiding the Khunds have been freed from control as well. It was enough for the powers that be to exonerate the Legion.

And finally, Jacques has the evidence he needs to implicate Universo.

Now why Universo, notoriously someone who wants to be in control, would work for the Khunds is beyond me. This feels like McCraw just trying to tie off a couple of loose plots into one neat ending.


That said, it was great to see Infectious Lass stopping Universo from escaping by giving him OOmarrian plague.

I like Infectious Lass.

We finally get to look in on the other characters and see what has happened to them in the aftermath.

Dawnstar, now psychologically healed, has returned to the team. And she finally seems to have come to terms with her feelings on Wildfire. She wants to reconcile. Maybe even get together.

But Wildfire, who has always wanted to be romantically involved with Dawny, oddly takes a step back, he isn't the man he once was. Not that he has even been a man.

As a Wildfire fan, I didn't understand this at all when it was released. I also didn't understand why Dawny hadn't sensed Wildfire's presence last issue. This will all be explained soon. But at the time, I was screaming about it.

I will add that I like Dawny's new costume. The front is wing-like in design, harking back to who she was while also maintaining enough of the old design to be familiar.

As I said, the time stream is more like choppy rapids right now. The younger SW6 Invisible Kid and Brainiac 5 have been working with Rond Vidar and have been noticing the insanity around them. They need the elder Querl's help.

The weirdness keeps swirling though as 'Neon' quickly seems to shift to a Darkstar. Her history has been re-written.

Everything is in flux.

The trio have been entering the time stream and have noticed this blackness eating away at things.

Even within the stream we see Circadia Sensius disappear. Since he died earlier in the series only to be brought back for a couple of scenes, I actually didn't mind seeing him disappear again. His history has reverted to what it once was.

As for Jo, he continues to want to search for Phantom Girl.

Valor then drops a knowledge bomb. Valor worked with Phase, a Bgztlian amnesiac on LEGION a thousand years earlier. Jo is incensed that Valor never said it before. But Lar has a decent response. One, it was a thousand years ago. Two, why would he think that it was a time-displaced Tinya.

I haven't quite glommed onto Jo's sudden desire to track down Phantom Girl. I thought Giffen and the Bierbaum's dealt with Jo's grief wonderfully early on. But it seems McCraw wants to bring it back. And now there is a handy-dandy time bubble he has access to.

I do think answering the 'Valor knew her' problem was gutsy of McCraw. I just assumed a thousand years in the Phantom Zone would do something to your long term memory.


There has been some anger among the team however. It is clear that Laurel has been injured during this trip to Weber's World. Should the team have been wasting time on the Khund ship when the bombs were on the planet? Would Laurel be fine?

Moments like this, emotionally charged and with people you work very closely to, can bring out hidden intense emotions. Here, a now youthful Ayla clings closer to Vi.

And the young and now uninhibited Mysa decides that she has fallen in love with Timber Wolf. I love Ayla's semi-disgusted response.

But I also think it is somewhat icky. She might have years of experience. But she is in a teenager's body now. And with all of her history, I don't know if this newfound embrace of sensations and emotions is healthy.


But then things get even more serious.

Laurel has died on the operating table.

This is a nice pose, looking down, grounding the cast. I like that Querl and Rond are consoling each other.

But Laurel has died ...

I would say that she was one of the most popular and lasting changes of 5YL. She was loved. And then she was gone. In a needless adventure. Where she gets taken out by a bomb.

Let's just say that when you remove the popular Supergirl analogue in a silly way ... well I knew this book was on fumes. This let me know they were desperate.

But the workings of Glorith, the time manipulations and age manipulations has effected Brainy. He has become much more robotic. Even less emotional. He seems to take Laurel's death almost too easily. The young Brainy can't believe it. But I don't think was an act.

Meanwhile, the team heads to New Earth where Rokk has gone crazy (as seen on the cover).

This was a needed issue for McCraw. We needed to have the action ratcheted back if only to give the characters a time to breathe. We also needed some moments to catch up on the plot lines. We knew Dawnstar was back. There needed to be a Wildfire/Dawnstar moment.

Still.

This book is a sort of mess now. Nothing is set. Characters are very different from what they were. And it feels a bit desperate. But with Zero Hour coming up it is as if nothing was going to matter. So why not go all out.

4 comments:

  1. By this time, the only attractive left on the book for me (besides the personal moments you mention) was to see what other kooky time distortion was to appear. But yeah... the reboot was coming, and nobody cared too much.

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  2. Thanks for comments.
    This whole review run has been an experience for me. I thank you for sticking it out for the end of the ride!

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  3. Two thoughts:

    1) Re Brainy taking it too easily, and whether it was an act: the tear rolling down his face in that last panel tells me he was just putting up a stoic, logical front.

    2) Re the end of the book approaching: I recall an email exchange I had with (I think) KC Carlson after Zero Hour wiped things out, and he allowed that several plot lines were knowingly launched, never to be resolved, because that's how the universe ended... Suddenly, and without a nice, neat bow. I don't know when it was even announced that the book (and continuity) was ending, so I think in fact that they hoped readers would indeed continue to care. I know I did!

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  4. It is interesting seeing how things played out. Looking back, it does seem like they knew the ending was on the horizon, which is probably why the "Legion on the run" story just whizzed by, and gets wrapped up so quickly in something of a nice, neat bow. While it was enjoyable, it did need to go on longer. Maybe when it started, they didn't know the end was near, and that is why feels so truncated?

    Brainy was definitely putting on an act. Laurel's deatn did affect him, as the tear down his cheek showed. And I like how the younger Brainy called him out for that. At least, that's how I always saw it.

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