Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #43

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #43 (Feb, 1988)
title: "..And Wake to Find A Dream"
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:  
Sun Boy, Tellus, Brainiac 5, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Element Lad, Polar Boy, Timber Wolf, Dream Girl, Invisible Kid, Chameleon Boy

Guests: 
SP Chief Zendak, SP Officer Shvaughn, Atmos

Opponents: 
The Manhunter known as Laurel Kent

Synopsis: 
At the Manhunters' hidden base in the Himalayas, the Legion digs itself out from under rubble after Laurel Kent blasted the sanctuary to bits. They find no trace of Laurel, but all the robot "monks" were destroyed.

Back at the LSH HQ, Polar Boy calls in all Earth-bound members because of his concern regarding Laurel Kent. They have a discussion as to what to do next, but can't come to any decision. During this time a message from Chameleon Boy is played: he has signed off for detached duty. This upsets Polar Boy, who frets over having enough man-power available. Also, Wildfire and Quislet are found to be missing. Timber Wolf checks Quislet's quarters and is surprised to find only one floating black dot among pure whiteness.

Later, the Legion investigates thefts of energy in the Amazon Basin. They are attacked, but Shadow Lass, Tellus, and Element Lad shake out the natives, who are not a threat.

Later still, Laurel Kent attacks the Grand Canyon, looking for the chosen immortals, aka The New Guardians. The Legion responds, and Laurel says that although she is an android, she is as powerful as Superman. Brainiac 5 used a radiation detector to track her, so she steals it and escapes. She hopes to use it to find The New Guardians.

On Rimbor, Chameleon Boy turns into a Rimborian named Mo Seh. This is his first move to sneak his way into Starfinger's organization.
Back on Earth, Laurel has converted Brainiac 5's detector to find the New Guardians, and it leads her back to the Himalayas. She thinks she has found the New Guardians' secret base, but when the Legion attacks, they admit that they created the mock-up to fool her. She admits that the New Guardians must be gone, and that she waited too long to try to find them. Telling them that her mission is over, she explodes herself. The Legion buries her on the mountain top.
At LSH HQ, Polar Boy doesn't know what to do about the missing Quislet and Wildfire. Suddenly, Atmos arrives asking to join!

Commentary: 
This is another cool idea which loses most of its appeal in its execution. The idea that one of the Legion's allies would turn against them is a good one; it was done dozens of times in the early days (most famously with Nemesis Kid, but there were several others). Here however there is little emotional depth to the confrontation. Sun Boy and Tellus seem to be the ones having the most problems fighting Laurel, but there could have been so much more done. Dawnstar, for example, would have been a great addition to this mission team, as Laurel was her first friend from their Legion Academy days. Speaking of the Academy, where is Wildfire or Magnetic Kid? Both of them counted Laurel as a friend. The drama would have been increased exponentially if all of these members were around. I did like the way Tellus' sense of indignation grew during the story, though. He was initially willing to give Laurel Kent the benefit of the doubt, but by the end of the story he was ready to rip her apart. I did like that.

As it is, Paul Levitz seems to be content to boil this down into nothing but a simple "mad robot on a rampage" story. And maybe it's a problem with time travel stories, but let me see if I have this right: Laurel Kent was a "sleeper" agent assigned to find and murder the New Guardians if/when they reappear, right? She has "lived" on Earth for 1,000 years. Yet she never ever went after the New Guardians during all that time? What, she was like an alarm clock that suddenly went "off" after her date with Sun Boy last issue? That seems.....like bad programming.

Speaking of bad programming, Levitz is telling us that neither Saturn Girl nor Tellus could tell that Laurel Kent was an android? That, too, seems wrong. And while we're at it, why didn't the Legion call in Sensor Girl to create a super powerful illusion of the New Guardians? That would have been a better trap than a hastily made ancient city. (How is that even possible?! Oh, never mind....)

Polar Boy complains that the original mission team wasn't strong enough to defeat Laurel Kent, so he adds....Dream Girl and Invisible Kid? Why in the world didn't he assign himself and Timber Wolf, both better fighters than the others. Surprising no one, Dream Girl and Invisible Kid are absolutely no help at all in taking Laurel Kent down.

The art continues to be dull and lack imagination. For a story set in the 30th Century, this is sad.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Sun Boy is mis-colored on the cover, marring an otherwise HOT illustration. 
  • Atmos returns to the LSH universe this issue after being gone since the Universo Project story arc. 
  • Chameleon Boy becomes a Rimborian who he says has a face "looking for trouble." However, he looks more like a male model. Or is that what he means....?
Status: 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  

10 comments:

  1. Let's see... the Legion is dealing with a homicidal android whose mission is to kill the New Guardians, but activated 1000 years too late? Seems to me the best overall solution would be to give her a time bubble to go back to the right time period, and maybe spare us one of the absolute worst comics DC ever published. Problem solved!

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    1. Don't hold back, Green Luthor, please, tell us how you really feel.
      My nominee for worst comic ever will be here next week.

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    3. "spare us one of the absolute worst comics DC ever published"

      Sorry, but no way is this worse than Identity Crisis.

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    4. To be fair, I only said Millennium was *one of* DC's worst, not necessarily *the* worst. (You're probably right that Identity Crisis is worse, except that I've read enough about it to know not to read the actual story...)

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  2. Weren't the new immortals supposed to become prominent 1000 years in the future which is why Laurel was in the 30th century as a last ditch fail safe in case all of the other Manhunters failed? I can't remember the details of Millennium so I might just be mis-remembering.

    I do remember hating how once Laurel removed her "human" skin her figure went from curvy/sexy to boxy. Maybe it was a Spanx skin suit?

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    1. Yes, the new Immortals were to bring the next MILLENNIUM (1000 Years). Hence the name of the series and crossover.

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  3. Laurel had not "lived" on earth for a thousand years. She turned herself off and turned back on a thousand years later.
    Other than that, I agree with all your problems with the story.

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    1. The panel I reprinted above has her say clearly, "Over the Centuries in hiding...." so I think she was awake.

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    2. The panel I reprinted above has her say clearly, "Over the Centuries in hiding...." so I think she was awake.

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