Friday, April 29, 2016

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #15

Recap: The United Planets is recovering from the war against Praetor Lemnos and his Terror Firma. The Legion is also recovering, picking up the pieces of their destroyed headquarters, bunking at family homes, and ultimately signing on with the UP for funding. But remember, the Legion is just the team ... it's a movement. How are the followers coping?

Writer Mark Waid had a difficult task ahead of him when he signed up to write the Threeboot Legion. Who would dare recreate the Legion, satisfying the die-hard continuity-loving older fans while being fresh and accessible enough to bring in a new fandom. It couldn't have been easy. And frankly, I wasn't following things on social media back then enough to really know what the reaction was.

Legion of Super-Heroes #15 was something of a retro issue, perhaps throwing a bone to the older fans. It was obvious, just based on the cover, that this was going to be something different than the usual Threeboot book. There is Dawnstar, Blok, and Tyroc ... all nowhere to be seen in this new continuity ... standing proudly, front and center. And those are some flashback uniforms too. Behind them are thernew Legionnaires. One thing I can say from this, cover artist can draw a great Dawnstar.

I don't if this was considered a tease or an homage. But it at least showed that Waid was trying to reconcile old histories with new.

The art on the book is done by Pat Oliffe, Adam DeKraker, and others. As I have said before, Kitson's art was definitely a big part of this book's appeal and feel. To see him off the book for another issue was something of a letdown.

Looking ahead, this was the perfect 'rest issue' before the bold new direction we see next issue, both a look back and a pause before the future.

The issue starts with the Legion acolytes, sitting around a campfire at the site of the ruined Legion headquarters. Gone is the positivity of their movement. They are in ruins and trying to figure out if they pick up and go home or continue to rally around their heroes. One of the believers steps and says they need to remember what the Legion stands for. This leads to campfire stories of the Legion.

The first is a Silver Age tale. It starts with the Earth-1 and Earth 2 Green Lanterns and Flashes teaming up. The Flashes have been placed in some sort of indestructible bubbles. The Lanterns aren't sure if they will be able to free their friends.

Suddenly a very classic appearing Legion appears. We see Element Lad, Duo Damsel, Bouncing Boy, and Brainiac Five. This is straight from the old Adventure Comics days. So retro-cool.

Showing some of the lunacy of those early days, Bouncing Boy thinks he can use his powers to 'billiard balls' the Flashes free. The whole things becomes a silly disastrous situation of Chuck and the Flashes bouncing all over the place.

In the end, Element Lad turns the Flashes into oxygen so they can slip through the cracks of the globes. Of course, Element Lad could have turned the globes into oxygen, a much easier, less bizarre solution. But that was the joy of the Silver Age.

Next we hear a story from the Bates/Grell/Staton era. Think mid-seventies.

Wildfire and his team of Saturn Girl, Tyroc, and Dawnstar at Weber's World trying to convince the diplomats to help the Legion stave off a war.

This was my first Legion. Remember, the Legion was my first comic ever. So seeing Imra in the pink bikini outfit was very nostalgic. And, of course, Wildfire is my favorite. So seeing him as leader in a classic containment suit was pretty cool.

Who shows up? The Secret Society of Super-Villains!

I mean, this is totally Seventies. The second Star Sapphire, Angle Man, Gorilla Grodd all spill through a portal. Behind them is Karate Kid still enjoying his jaunt in 20th century in his solo book as well as Captain Comet.

Odd that Angle Man has the power to have them time jump.

The whole thing is filled with fun. Someone says that it is always wise to focus on a gorilla if you are fighting one.

Second, Wildfire blows himself up to take out the villains. Tyroc flatly says he does it ever six months or so. And that was true back then.

And Imra talks about how she put in a post-hypnotic suggestion so none of the travelers will remember the future. That was the stated excuse why Superboy and any other time traveler wouldn't recall anything they learned. I can't get enough of Imra in that suit! Shades of my youth!

The last story is set square in the Eighties. We jump right into the classic death of Flash scene in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8. As Flash runs around the Anti-Monitor's cannon, he feels his life slipping away.

But then, shockingly, a team of Legionnaires shows up. Blok! Quislet! Sensor Girl! White Witch! This is pure Baxter series joy. There is Mysa with the big eyelashes and Sensor Girl with her big shoulders.

In a strange turn, the Legion ends up being responsible for the destruction of the Anti-Monitor's weapon. Between White Witch and Quislet, the cannon is destroyed and the Flash is spared!

Imagine that! What if the Legion saved the Flash in the Crisis? Insanity.

I love how much of this section is taken straight from Crisis, much like I love the look of the other sections. As someone who has read issues from all of these eras, the look and tone was perfect.

Waid basically was tipping his cap at the Legion history.

These stories inspire the youth. It re-affirms their faith in the concept of the Legion.

They declare themselves Legionnaires and defiantly say 'Eat it Grandpa!'

I wonder if any of those alien names represent real fans or creators who love the team.

And, to throw one last little wrench in continuity, we see Quislet fly away.

Lastly, we get another illustrated letter column.

These aren't just letter excerpts but also little peeks at the characters. Throughout this one, Bouncing Boy (who has leapt out of a letter) is flirting with Triad. Older fans know these two had a romance and were married. So seeing him flirt was fun. But seeing her reject him and be embarrassed by his attention was also a blast. A final joke has Bouncing Boy turn out the be Chameleon.

As a long time fan of the Legion, I liked this issue. We got to look back at other versions and times. It honored the team's history. I wish I knew how it was received back then.

Next ... One Year Later! And a certain Girl of Steel!

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