Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #42

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #42 (Jan, 1988)
title: "To Sleep A Thousand Years"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Greg LaRocque
inker: Mike DeCarlo
ink assist: Arne Starr
lettering: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Steve Lightle
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Polar Boy, Tellus, Sun Boy, Shadow Lass, Invisible Kid, Chameleon Boy, Brainiac 5, Element Lad, Shrinking Violet, Timber Wolf, Dream Girl, Colossal Boy

Opponents: 
Laurel Kent, who reveals herself to be a member of the Manhunters



Synopsis: 
At LSH HQ, Polar Boy is beside himself with glee that Star Finger's crime organization has been destroyed. He is so enthralled with himself that he doesn't notice when Tellus leaves him. Tellus is disheartened to notice that his friend is stuck on himself.
Sun Boy and Laurel Kent have just come home from a night of dancing. She says good-night to him, but then secretly heads to the Multi-Lab.
In the gym, Tellus is surprised to find a crowd as he begins to swim in the pool. Chameleon Boy arrives to pick up some of Colossal Boy's personal training equipment. Colossal Boy is bed-ridden after Star Finger's attack on him. Element Lad sees Cham off on his "social call," although he says that Dream Girl had a vision about him that she was concerned about.
In the Multi-Lab, Laurel is manipulating data from the Legion's computer banks when Brainiac 5 interrupts her. She attacks. His force-shield manages to protect him, but eventually she knocks him unconscious. The others arrive, so she grabs the data that she can and escapes.
Chameleon Boy visits with Colossal Boy, then heads off to investigate whether Star Finger is really dead or not.

Brainiac 5 has matched the geological research that Laurel was checking with a similar type of computer found at a temple in the Himalayas. A team flies there to investigate. Upon landing, Tellus "feels" that the monks welcoming them are actually androids. When they attack, the Legion is ready. Laurel shows herself and admits that she was a "sleeper agent" for 1,000 years, since the time of (the DC cross-over event) Millenium. She admits that she needed the Legion's computer to trace any possible immortals, but now that her identity is known she will kill them.
Commentary: 
I originally read this and the next issue separate from the actual Millenium cross-over, and I didn't mind that I had. This is more of a "follow-up" to the actual crossover, not a particularly tightly linked story (such as The Outsiders issues were, as I recall).

I know that some fans were disappointed that Laurel Kent turned out to not be a descendant of Superman after all, but I think this reveal was clever. Now that time travelling was off the table, this was a clever way of allowing the Legion to participate in the story-line.

On the other hand, the execution of the good idea leaves something to be desired. Are we to believe that Laurel Kent never ever took a chance to down-load any data from the Legion computer until this particular night? So she had an "alarm clock" that told her to strike on this particular night? I don't understand that. And if she had actually lived (?) the entire 1,000 years between the Millenium and "today" (2988), wouldn't she already know whether there had ever been any immortals around?

Besides that particular plot point, this is a good example of the best "tie-in" stories: fine on its own, but a little bit more interesting if you actually read the companion issues.
The one complaint I have, as always now, is the art. Are my standards getting higher, or are Greg Laroque & Mike DeCarlo getting lazier, or both? The pages without backgrounds are numerous. The stilted poses and unattractive faces are likewise all over the place. So-called action scenes are dull, and explosions take up huge panels. Check out the full-page art that accompanies the explanation of who and what the Manhunters are: it is dull, plain and simple. The scene where Brainiac 5 interfaces directly with the Legion computer could have been wild and crazy (like the page shown above where Laurel first starts to collect the data) but instead we get a whole PAGE of Brainiac 5 sitting.

The cover, by Steve Lightle, however, is another masterpiece. Could we please have him back? Please?

Science Police Notes:  
  • The logo on the cover claims that this is part of Millenium: Week 2. 
  • Polar Boy mentions that Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, Blok, and Magnetic Kid have been dispatched to search for The Wanderers. Did this ever lead to anything? And why wouldn't Dawnstar have gone along, as her power is the ability to track? 
  • Chameleon Boy admits to Invisible Kid that Colossal Boy is his oldest (and dearest?) friend. 
  • Tellus admonishes Timber Wolf for calling him "Fishy," telling him to use his code-name or his real-name, and not use any made-up nick-names. 
Status: 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  

3 comments:

  1. Millennium, the event, sucked. Individual crossover issues were generally better, but it all depended on whether or not you liked who the Manhunter was revealed to be, whether it blew up the supporting cast, and whether or not it was shocking enough. With Laurel, while it made sense of her story post-Crisis, divorcing her from Clark Kent while we could still believe the pre-Crisis version of her HAD Kryptonian blood (which we saw shed in that Legion Annual where she gets shot by an assassin hunting the Justice League's descendants, in seeming contradiction to this reveal), I actually felt the loss of the character. One of the first Legion stories I read was about Legion Academy, and I liked Laurel as a character who wanted to do good, but knew she would never join the Legion with her oft-repeated power.

    In other Millennium tie-ins, Booster Gold's manager was revealed to be a Manhunter, which made me angry because it hurt the supporting cast. In Blue Beetle, it turned out to be the villain Overthrow, which was a complete cop-out because he wasn't someone close to Ted. So damned if you do, and damned if you don't, I guess.

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  2. I know that many mourned the loss of Laurel, but I thought this was an almost elegant solution to two continuity problems; de-linking her from Supes mythos and the compulsary cross-over. It's a pity they didn't keep her around though.

    The other thing I liked is how Tellus & Polar Boy receive some great characterization. I love how cranky Tellus gets when he thinks he's being disrespected and his sadness at Brek's shallowness.
    I also love Brek being portrayed as not the best leader (when you look at the Subs stories they're always more effective being directed by someone else. Cos, Brainy, Jaques & even Tenzil).
    I love Brek to bits and having this weak spot in his capabilities adds more to him as a character, not less.

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  3. I don't think the hunt for the Wanderers was followed up in the LSH, but in their own (short-lived) series the Legion showed up and mentioned that they had been searching for them for a while. The real Wanderers were dead, but a Controller cloned them (with some alterations) and implanted the originals' memories.

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