Saturday, April 23, 2016

5YL: Legionnaires #18

Legionnaires #18 (September 1994)
title: "Changing Times"
writers: Mark Waid and Tom McCraw
penciller: Chris Gardner
inker: Dennis Cramer
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Stuart Immonen
reviewer: Siskoid

Mission Monitor Board:  
Alchemist, Bouncing Boy (both), Brainiac 5 (both), Celeste, Chameleon, Chemical King, Cosmic Boy (both), Duo Damsel, Dragonmage, Dream Girl (both), Element Lad, Inferno, Invisible Kid (SW6), Kono, Live Wire, Matter-Eater Lad (SW6), Polar Boy, Projectra, Reflex, Saturn Girl (both), Shrinking Violet (both), Star Boy (both), Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy (both), White Witch/Jewel, Wildfire/N.R.G

Amethyst, Night Girl, Rond Vidar, Science Police, Superman

Glorith, Mordru, Time Trapper; evil Legionnaires pulled out of time to fight for them, including Blok, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Chemical King, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Element Lad, Invisible Kid I, Karate Kid, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, and Ultra Boy.

Between Legion of Super-Heroes v4 60 and Valor #23. Time is falling apart. Legionnaires from times past (and times impossible) are appearing out of nowhere and others are disappearing. Mordru and Glorith are taking advantage of this to reshape reality in their image, and have just killed the Infinite Man and absorbed his power for just this purpose. They have also captured Rokk Krynn and placed him in the Infinite Library for as yet unrevealed reasons. Several Legionnaires have gone to the 20th Century to track the source of the temporal trouble, but most are at loggerheads with Mordru and Glorith...

The Legionnaires are outmatched by Glorith and Mordru's power as reality starts to warp and the universe becomes a twisted version of itself in their thrall. The magic users of the group start an incantation to rob the two off that power, but things are made difficult when the evil wizards summon an evil version of the Legion to fight the group, and members start vanishing as the timeline collapses. The White Witch, imbued with Amethyst's power, eventually breaks their link and disrupts their spell, but perhaps only momentarily.
"Meanwhile", in the 20th Century, the founding members of the Legionnaires join up with the adult Ultra Boy (AKA Emerald Dragon) to uncover the truth of the temporal distortions. They are immediately contacted by a hologram of Superman, projected by Metron, and told to assemble to fight this Crisis in Time.

And outside time, Rokk Krynn learns his destiny is linked to Glorith's great enemy and spends what seems like an eternity studying the secrets of her library. We see him grow old, then use a spell to rejuvenate himself, then grow back to adulthood. When he is finally ready, a door opens, and he enters the domain of the Time Trapper!
Obviously, it all comes to a head in Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #61, so this issue feels a bit slim in the plotting department, and just makes me wish the SW6 Legion had gotten a proper farewell. No such luck. They're not featured more than any other version of the Legion, and the characters that vanish and for whom you might shed a tear are all from the adult team.

What we do get is the comic playing for time. Glorith and Mordru summoning an evil Legion is a distraction for heroes and readers alike, and doesn't really do anything with the concept except give the characters red eyes and more ruthless strategies. The hint that the universe is changing for the worst is the Science Police turning into an army serving the evil wizards, but the comic doesn't go much further than that. Likewise, there's a lot of time spent on the magic-users trying to break the wizards' spell, which comes to nought, and then White Witch just goes "enough is enough" and does it all by herself. Throw in an obligatory page to tie in more directly with Zero Hour and you've got a lot of skippable material.
The only reason the issue is of any interest at all, is the Rokk Krynn sequence, which shows the progression of time in bottom-page banners and leads directly into Time Trapper stuff that harks all the way back to the Cosmic Boy/Legionnaires 3 mini-series of the 80s. But of course, that's something already covered by my good friend Anj as part of the 5YL timeline's finale, though Valor #23 does contain an invaluable chapter.
I haven't really mentioned the art, but I think I've made my opinion clear on Chris Gardner already. No need to rehash it here.

Science Police Notes:  
  • This is Part 4 of the End of an Era crossover event. It is its first chapter to bear the Zero Hour banner.
  • Devlin "Reflex" O'Ryan is heard to say "I canna take much more!" which seems to be a Star Trek reference.
  • Temporal anomalies mean Legionnaires from different eras are collaborating: Duo Damsel, Polar Boy, Dream Girl and Element Lad are from the 80s; and Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Projectra from the 70s, according to their costumes.
  • The Legionnaires in the 20th Century continue their story in Zero Hour #3.

Final issue of the 5YL continuity's Legionnaires. Its next issue, #0, will initiate be part of the Reboot continuity, and from there, all remaining issues of the series from #19 on.
This issue technically signals the end for 5YL iterations of Kono, Reflex, White Witch, Timber Wolf and Rond Vidar. Projectra and Polar Boy also disappear, though these were clearly from earlier in the timeline.

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