Saturday, January 23, 2016

5YL: Legionnaires #6

Legionnaires #6 (September 1992)
title: "An Eye for an Eye"
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:  
Alchemist, Andromeda, Apparition, Catspaw, Chameleon, Computo II, Cosmic Boy (SW6), Dragonmage, Ferro, Gossamer, Invisible Kid (SW6), Matter-Eater Lad (SW6), Saturn Girl (SW6), Shrinking Violet (SW6), Triad, Ultra Boy (SW6)

U.P. Vice-chairwoman Jeryl, Science Police officers

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

Follows directly from previous issue, in which... The Fatal Five have attacked the United Planets capitol on New Earth to take over the "station" on behalf of Leland McCauley. Their Emerald Empress panicked and teleported back to McCauley however, who was her lover. He's abusing her verbally when another Emerald Empress, Legion reject Cera Kesh, appears and kills her "double". Meanwhile, the Five have taken U.P. Vice-chairwoman Jeryl and hope to use her as collateral against the Legionnaires.

In the corporate-owned Gallan system, the new Emerald Empress pits her Eye of Ekron against Leland McCauley's. Back on New Earth, the Legion tracks her energies there and a team is dispatched to apprehend her, while another is sent to help the Legionnaires currently tangling with what's left of the Fatal Five at the Capitol.

The latter conflict is resolved after the unlikely trio of Invisible Kid, Matter-Eater Lad and Shrinking Violet make the Persuader let their hostage go, and the Five (now Four) attempt to escape in a sky car. Ultra Boy throws Ferro Lad at the escape vehicle, smashing it, and allowing the Legionnaires to finally capture the villains and send them to jail.
On McCauley's estate, Gossamer, Dragonmage and Triad take care of security robots before coming on the scene of the emerald battle. Their interference gives the Empress the upper hand, she steals McCauley's eye from him and she flies away faster than the Legionnaires can with both Eyes in tow. Without the Eye, McCauley is transformed for the worse; his youthful appearance was apparently sustained magically. He kicks the Legionnaires off his world.

The Emerald Empress soon breaks the Fatal Five Four out of jail and promises great things under her leadership.
And they were never seen again.

Seriously, Zero Hour came along and made liars out of the Emerald Empress, so we never really got to see a 2-Eyed Fatal Five go up against the Legion. The things that get wasted in continuity reboots, eh?

Well, mostly an action issue, and as usual, the Bierbaums are quite good at giving "low-powered" Legionnaires nice bits that make experience and cleverness triumph where brute strength sometimes fails. Case in point Gossamer, who leads a team to the Gallen system extremely well, keeps a cool head, and uses her "lightness" powers very well to get rid of the security robots with but a gust of wind. Similarly, the kids who tackle the Persuader all have "weak" powers and do well anyway, especially Matter-Eater Lad who chomps a bit out of the Atomic Axe's staff.
And the fights all highlight the different personalities, which is certainly one of the series' strengths. No one's a cipher. Okay, I wish Violet weren't so wishy-washy. I know that was her personality in the Silver Age, but she seems hardly capable or even willing to BE a Legionnaire in this opening arc. And it's not to say the brutes on the team don't get anything to do. The Five's take-down via fastball special is certainly a fun bit.

If the issue has problems, it's with the villains. Tharok, for example, can switch off his metal half so Computo can't control him, so what was the point of McCauley doing the same a few issues earlier? For someone who used to be in charge of the Five, the arc doesn't really sell us on him as any kind of badass. It's really only about the new Empress, and her getting two Eyes of Ekron, and her motivation and personality. Her disdain for McCauley, a man who must own everything (and probably does, but at least Earth's greatest artistic treasures made it off-world before it blew up, though they might get singed here given the Empress' lack of respect for them), makes me wonder where she would have taken her team next. Power, not riches, seems to be her agenda. Getting both Eyes is certainly a first step, and I like that when she gains control of his, one of his actual eyeballs bursts. Not too gory, just a nice symbol, thanks.

And this review wouldn't be complete without my tracking why I still contend Ayla Ranzz is the hottest Legionnaire (a point of debate among the Legion bloggers), even if it's icky when you think about the fact she's a teenager in this form. Not only is she a great leader and a skillful Legionnaire, but Chris Sprouse has drawn her getting a tan... topless. Just a drawing, folks. That's now how I swing in my guise as a human being. But man!
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.
  • The timeline collapses before the Fatal Five can make good on the promise made here that they would return.


  1. How about you guys putting the covers of issue 2 through 6 together for us so we can see what it looks like on this site?

  2. I'll get on that! Watch the skies!

  3. Thank you for the scan of one of Matter Eater Lad's finest moments. When people ask why I like him, I always site him eating the Atomic Axe.

  4. He's one of my favorites! And never better than in the 90s.

  5. I've had the art for this cover for about 20 years. There's a thumbnail of the cover on the back in reverse but not in detail and a yellow post it note on that says "... The Fatal 5! Don't forget UPC & Code".

  6. Honeybee: I've added the full cover in the Science Police Notes.

  7. FINALLY! And it only took 18 months.

  8. That is one sweet connecting covers image.

    The other problem with this issue is that it does seem to underplay the FF a bit. Granted, it isn't the exact same line-up that fought the Legion in the past, but I did think it didn't help that the Legion members this young did so well against them. And Matter Eater Lad biting through the axe? Um, no. Just no.