Friday, February 26, 2016
Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #6
Legion of Super-Heroes #6 continued the pace set by the last issue, concentrating more on the impending intergalactic war and its fallout than in introducing us to new members. We have gotten to meet a core group of Legionnaires. We have seen them use their powers and learned some of their back stories and motivations. So now is the time for writer Mark Waid to keep the throttle down, pushing the team into this massive conflict. We learn about one new Legionnaire but that introduction is in the context of the bigger plot. What I love about this arc is the wrinkle of the Legion being an independent force, working as best they can with governments and groups whose politics they don't necessarily agree with. Unlike prior incarnations where the Legion is beloved, here they are looked upon as rabble rousers, maybe even feared.
In this issue we finally meet the mastermind of the war, a new villain with an interestingly subtle power. His motivations are just as interesting, working into the politics of the Legion. In another universe, this person might be an ally of the team.
The art on the book is done primarily by wonder team of penciller Barry Kitson and inker Art Thibert. I love the lush look they bring to the book. There is a back-up story with art by Scott Iwahashi who brings a sort of airy feel to his pages.
The new Legionnaire we meet is Princess Projectra! Jeckie has never looked better.
But Waid updates her a little. She doesn't seem to have any power other than her immense wealth. Projectra is the money behind this Legion. There isn't an R.J. Brande.
She has an ornate room in the headquarters. She meets with Cosmic Boy to discuss missions. But she is powerless and therefore doesn't head on missions where there might be action.
In fact, she asks why she didn't go to Rokyn on a mission and Cos tells her it was a boring, routine reconnoiter. That isn't how Star Boy remembers it. They were in a brawl.
Rokyn!! That's the planet that the enlarged Kandorians immigrated to! Love it!
Meanwhile, Brainy is trying to figure out who Terror Firma is and how is the man in Dreamy's vision involved. She seemed to feel he was at the heart of this incursion. And yet, here she cannot remember him.
Brainy can't find any information about him on any information service. In this future where everything is recorded and plugged in, it seems impossible.
Not in any system and forgotten by Dreamy. Hmm ....
Last issue we saw a subplot where Ultra Boy was losing control of his ultra-power, having it switch powers on him even when he didn't concentrate. He cannot trust himself or his powers. Shady (who seems to have a close relationship with this Jo) decides that Karate Kid can help Ultra Boy focus.
In a nice little riff on when Val defeated Superboy to earn Legion membership, we see Karate Kid spar with Ultra Boy in a snow-covered Australia, tossing Jo around a bit. When Jo needs more convincing, Val uses one punch to remove kilotons of snow which had encased the Sydney opera house.
Control can lead to greatness. Ultra Boy decides to listen and learn for once.
Remember, up to this point, the war has been on the outskirts of the United Planets, rimworlds.
Things change when the Legion learns that Orando is under attack. The army cannot be repelled or bought off. Orando is being torn apart. The invaders are talking of genocide.
The Legion is too far away to get there quickly except by teleporter and they will need a massive influx of energy to power that star-leap.
Suddenly this war is very very real.
Brainy sets up a device to absorb tremendous amounts of solar energy that Sun Boy can provide. But that will rip apart the planet unless Cosmic Boy can keep it inside a magnetic bubble. And he can only survive if Star Boy and Ayla keep his gravity well under control.
One thing I love about the Legion, they act like a team. I thought this panel, showing 5 Legionnaires stretching their abilities to the limit to try to join a battle reminded me of everything I love about the team.
Before the device is powered, Orando is overrun, razed by Terror Firma.
This is a tremendous blow to the UP as Orando was the hub of their economic strength. This wasn't just an opening salvo. This was a shot to the heart. This was a strong message.
I love how Sun Boy is sitting here. He looks exhausted and defeated. Apt for both the physical exertion and the news he has heard.
This isn't impending war. This isn't war on the periphery of the UP.
This is war.
The backup story has Brainiac again in his lab mulling over the identity of the mystery man from Dreamy's vision. Suddenly, the man appears!
His name is Praetor Lemnos.
When Brainy hears the name he suddenly remembers. Lemnos is a power broker, an arms dealer, an advisor to the most important people in the galaxy. How could Brainy have forgotten him?
How has everybody forgotten him?
I turns out that Lemnos has the super-power of being forgotten an unnoticed. If you aren't looking at him, you forget him. He cannot be recorded. He is a ghost.
But he has learned how to use his powers. He can effect people's memories. He can walk into a meeting, influence government decisions, then leave and be forgotten. He has manipulated decisions along the way, nudging the universe in a direction he wants.
And here is the kicker ... it is because he is sick of the safety measures and securities that are tying down progress. He knows something needs to happen to shake things up in the name of progress. And unfortunately he thinks the way to do that is through conflict ... through war.
He is starting this war to accomplish the same ends that the Legion is aiming for but with obvious different means.
A subtle power. A quasi-noble goal. But an evil way to get there. Brilliant.
Lemnos even thinks that Brainy and he could have been partners.
But more than a new status quo, Lemnos wants to be remembered for setting things 'right'. For someone who has always been forgotten, he demands a memorial, a testimonial, a legacy. He is clearly mad.
And he isn't ready for Brainy to remember this always. He leaves, erasing this memory from Brainy for the time being.
I have to say it, Lemnos is a great villain. His power, his motivation, his insanity ... I love it.
This book is better on this reread than I remember it being when I first read it. And things are going to heat up more!!