Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #55

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #55 (Holiday 1989)
title: "Different Paths"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller/co-plotter: Keith Giffen
guest pencillers: Ernie Colon, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Erik Larsen
inker: Al Gordon
lettering: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
asst editor: Art Young 
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Steve Lightle
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Polar Boy, White Witch, Brainiac 5, Dream Girl, Blok

Apprentice Harlak, Star Boy, Atmos

lack of faith, ego, Atmos (?), the Inquisitor and his dwarf slave

On Earth, Polar Boy has asked Computo to re-boot the Mission Monitor Board and it's not responding.

On Zerox (the Sorcerers' World), White Witch has run away from the Legion over an argument between light and dark. Another sorcerer has a message that must be delivered to the Legion, but White Witch turns down the opportunity to deliver it. She is content to stay on the Sorcerers' World for now. Young Harlak, a Khundian apprentice, asks White Witch to be his teacher, and she reluctantly agrees. (Art is by Ernie Colon.)
On Colu, Brainiac 5 wants to do any and all the experiments and research that he didn't have the time or opportunity to do when he was a Legionnaire. However, he is told by The Council that experiments in time are not allowed. Disheartened, he decides to seek out his peers and try to forget about Earth. (Art is by Keith Giffen.)
On Xanthu, a columnist on assignment reports on the goings-on there. After Dream Girl and Atmos returned, Atmos fought Star Boy. Then Star Boy flew off-planet in a huff.
Later, Dream Girl is shown moping around Atmos' home. She doesn't understand what is going on with her life. (Art is by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.)
Somewhere else, Blok is being held captive by the Inquisitor and his slave in their attempt to learn more about immortality. Blok begins to mutate...or perhaps it is his race's version of puberty? He doesn't know, and it frustrates him. (Art is by Erik Larsen.)
The idea to check on the Legionnaires who are "off-stage" as it were is a good one. However....this issue is dull dull dull. It fails to provide any movement or change to any of these characters.

Part of the problem is the characters featured, but part of the problem belongs with creators Levitz and Giffen and what they are choosing to do with these members. Specifically, White Witch and Blok have always been two of the less-dynamic Legionnaires. To feature them is to invite criticism, but if we had actually learned anything about Blok's race or origin here----!! That would have been fantastic! Instead, we get...well...nothing. Likewise, if we had more of a conclusion with White Witch instead of a "woe is me, I don't know what to do" characterization it would have served everyone better.

Dream Girl gets the absolute worst of it, as she is literally a side-character in her own "spotlight." Although the art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (PBHN) is awesome (of course), Dream Girl doesn't actually DO anything. Nor do we actually learn anything about her situation. Levitz again chooses to tell her story via someone else's point of view, so we are still maddeningly frustrated by what is actually happening. It is nice to see Star Boy again, though. Why isn't he back!?!

Science Police Notes:  
  • The date for this issue listed on the cover is "Holiday," after last issue's "Winter." LSH (v3) #53 is labelled as December 1988, but January 1989 does not appear on a cover until LSH (v3) #56
  • The paper for this issue is not the usual "Baxter" quality, but a cheaper newsprint type. Paul Levitz apologized for the mistake in LSH (v3) #60. 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  

1 comment:

  1. IIRC, the "winter" and "holiday" designations were to get the cover dates aligned with the actual on sale dates.