Saturday, February 20, 2016

5YL: Legionnaires #11

Legionnaires #11 (February 1994)
title: "The Astonishing Return of Kid Quantum"
writers: Tom & Mary Bierbaum
pencillers: Chris Sprouse, Joe Phillips
inkers: Karl Story, Wade von Grawbadger, Jason Martin
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Chris Sprouse
reviewer: Siskoid

Mission Monitor Board:  
Andromeda, Apparition, Brainiac 5 (SW6), Catspaw, Chameleon, Computo II, Cosmic Boy (SW6), Dragonmage, Ferro, Gossamer, Inferno, Kid Quantum, Matter Eater Lad (SW6), Saturn Girl (SW6), Shrinking Violet (SW6), Triad, Ultra Boy (SW6)

Proteans, Sadi, Science Police (Liam), a wounded kid

Grimbor (behind the scenes), Dominators, Khunds, an angry mob

Previously... Matter-Eater Lad, Shrinking Violet, Dragonmage and Catspaw are on the Protean planet Antares II and have just found the long-lost Legionnaire Kid Quantum in a crash Khund ship. Meanwhile, on New Earth, Cosmic Boy is at death's door after getting hit by one of Live Wire's discharges, and so is a boy off whom Brainiac 5 registers unknown energies. Elsewhere, Inferno is on a date with Sadi. And back at HQ, Chameleon is let his irritation show at Computo's decision to have Kono infiltrate Sklarian raiders whose crimes have caused New Earth's food shortage.

On Antares II, the Proteans explain that to protect their race, they uploaded their collective sentience -the so-called Soul of Antares - into Kid Quantum and smuggled him off-world. Now, they need the Legion's help in completing the ceremony that will release their souls from his form. While the Legionnaires defend the Proteans' cave from the Khunds, Dragonmage uses magic to help the process along, managing to save Kid Quantum, who was ready to die doing this, and internalizing his stasis powers in the process.
After Andromeda rejoins the Antares team, they head back for New Earth, where Chameleon would gladly accept Kid Quantum into the fold. But he really should have discussed it with acting team leader Computo, who's really quite irate about it. 
Meanwhile, Inferno's date with Sadi is interrupted when giant chains block the way to Paris Dome. In Acapulco Dome, doctors operate on Cosmic Boy whose magnetic field has been disrupted by Live Wire's discharge; he may even have brain damage. Trying to apologize to Saturn Girl, Live Wire only makes things worse for himself by saying Cos was to blame. Outside, Brainiac 5 still tries to help a wounded boy despite the crowd growing violent once again. And then the kid explodes with a strange light and the Legionnaires present are caught in the effect.
Kid Quantum is a very strange character. He wasn't in the original stories, he's a continuity plant, but unlike Andromeda or Kent Shakespeare, he's not really replacing anyone that's been erased in a Crisis or other. So he's a shortcut, a Legionnaire meant to have history with the team even though we weren't aware of it, part of a retcon to explain how Proty I and Proty II were "pets" and yet much more than pets. And retroactively inserting him into the early Legion means they did have a black member long before the exploitative creation of Tyroc in the 70s. He remains an oddity. And really not sure what this means for the Proteans at this point.

His return also bolsters Dragonmage's confidence, while also driving an even deeper wedge between Cham and Computo. This is one relationship I find very engaging, myself a veteran who works with young people, it's sometimes difficult to let go of the reigns of leadership and follow THEIR lead. But you must, and I hope Cham learns this before the end (which is way too soon given we're still introducing characters here).
The other relationship in crisis is Garth and Imra's, and at this point, I want it to end very badly indeed. She doesn't have to pair up with Cos - nor anyone! - but she really needs to ditch this loser. At this point, I'd even call for his dismissal from the Legion's ranks. When Inferno is the more positive character - here shown knowing the names of lowly Science Police officers and taking action against what is surely the return of Grimbor - you know you're in trouble.

Art-wise, we've got another patchwork issue, half by Sprouse, and it looks great, the other by Joe Phillips who pales in comparison, and whose pages look a little rushed, as if he'd been asked to draw them at the last minute. Or is it an inking problem? So not surprisingly, my favorite bits are all from the front half of the issue, like this fun gag where Matter-Eater Lad stops in his tracks and Violet rams into the back of his head.
Science Police Notes:  
  • The story of Kid Quantum and the Soul of Antares is told here. Kid Quantum's stasis powers become internalized, and he rejoins the Legion. See Who's Who: Kid Quantum I for more on this character's complicated history.
  • The chains found by Inferno are surely Grimbor's, but the villain will only revealed in a couple of issues.

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