Sunday, January 17, 2016

5YL: Legionnaires #5

Legionnaires #5 (August 1992)
title: "New Life, New Death!"
writers: Tom & Mary Bierbaum
penciller: Chris Sprouse
inker: Karl Story
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Eddie Berganza
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Chris Sprouse & Karl Story
reviewer: Siskoid

Mission Monitor Board:  
Andromeda, Apparition, Catspaw, Computo II, Cosmic Boy (SW6), Ferro, Matter-Eater Lad (SW6), Shrinking Violet (SW6), Ultra Boy (SW6)

U.P. Vice-chairwoman Jeryl, McCauley's sexy employee

Emerald Empress (Ingria Olav, dies), Emerald Empress (Cera Kesh), Leland McCauley, Mano, Mordecai, Persuader, Tharok

Follows directly from previous issue, in which... a new Fatal Five has been assembled by Leland McCauley, including a rejuvenated Tharok, and new Emerald Empress that is NOT the Emerald Empress the Legionnaires just fought and lost to. The latter is Cera Kesh, a humiliated Legion reject taken over by the Eye of Ekron.

The last piece of Leland McCauley's new Fatal Five is Tharok, whose mechanical side was reprogrammed to obey orders. But those orders may be in the Five's interests: To seize New Earth and run it as they see fit, so long as the new status quo is good for his business. So off they go, most never realizing that he was only there with them as a hologram, and is safe and snug light-years away in a sterilized bubble environment.

A party of Legionnaires go to the United Planets capitol to discuss how New Earth really needs a stimulus package, and that's exactly when the Fatal Five attack and demand they be put in power. A battle ensues during which the Five's new Emerald Empress Ingria Olav, who the Persuader is very protective of, proves unable to cope. She panics, distracts her own team, and eventually, teleports away, even as the other Emerald Empress, Cera Kesh, magically watches from space in anger.
The Legionnaires assembled call in reinforcements early on, and a second group joins the first, though they are forced to parlay when U.P. official Jeryl is taken hostage by Tharok, who is starting to gain more control over his mind as the human side of him is flooded with adrenaline.

Meanwhile, Ingria teleports into McCauley's sterile environment, looking for her lover's comfort, but he never loved her and finds her a terrible disappointment. Just as she couldn't be more crushed, Cera Kesh appears and kills her, leaving only bones. McCauley is shocked. He believed he had the Eye of Ekron, but the sole surviving Emerald Empress reminds him that... Eyes come in pairs!

Mostly action, this issue, but good action, with each character feeling distinct and well-characterized, which in a book like Legion, where there are so many characters (on both sides), is mandated if not always delivered. So Ferro's arrogance and feeling of invulnerability. Andromeda, the only who seems to do her research. Catspaw's instinctive recklessness. Matter-Eater Lad's zingers. Ultra Boy getting his shirt ripped up (I believe that, yes, this is one of his character traits). Shrinking Violet shocked that innocent bystanders have not yet evacuated the area (though here I wonder why she is so shocked; it's a big building). Everyone gets a little something to do and say, and that goes double for the villains.
Leland McCauley obviously has a larger agenda, and his fear of germs and contamination makes him an intriguing villain whatever else happens. And he's a manipulator of women, evidently sleeping with his servant, and leading Ingria Olav to believe he loved her. So how will Cera Kesh, who kills Ingria simply for being an embarrassment to her gender, react to his "charms"? Now that Cera has been "blooded", there's no telling where her character will go, including self-loathing and self-destruction.

So even though the issue is a showcase for what the characters can do in a fight, there's a lot of character behind each specific action. And still, the little character moments outside of battle are the ones that stick with me. Computo feeling the eyes of the boys on her when she responds to an alarm half-dressed, for example, and Matter-Eater Lad in a (heavy metal?) band with Ferro. A panel that always makes me smile.
All beautifully drawn, by the way. I know I tend to talk about story more than art, but the team of Sprouse and Story did a very nice job this month.

Science Police Notes:  
  • The cover is part of a larger picture, connecting with those of issues 2 through 6 to form a complete image of the Legion fighting the Fatal Five.
  • Tharok was found in a "murky dimension", referring perhaps to his falling outside the universe in Crisis.

No comments:

Post a Comment