Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Reviews Rebooting: The Zero Issues

By Siskoid & Shotgun

Last November, the Legion of Super-Bloggers lost one of its members in David Sopko. He was all set to cover the Reboot era when he fell ill, and now it falls to others to take up the mantle. And to do it in our own way.

As this is the Reboot, a fresh start and jumping-on point that shouldn't require any real Legion knowledge, but at the same time work for dedicated Legion fans who get all the little references, you'll hear/read BOTH voices in these reviews.

Shotgun, you'll know as a near-Legion virgin from our Hot or Not feature. Although not quite as pure as she once was, after critiquing the looks and personalities of all the main Legionnaires and most of the Subs by now. But the stories, relationships, villains, etc. will all be fresh to her, and she can at least compare the (new) reality to her expectations.

Long-standing member Siskoid will nevertheless be there as the old dog whose seen it all and gets the call-backs to the original continuity, and the differences too. For him, it's a re-visit and re-evaluation of material he read and enjoyed at the time.

So you'll get impressions from both ends of the spectrum. This week, since David's last posts did a fine job recapping Legion of Super-Heroes #0 and Legionnaires #0, we're not going to retread the information. But we will give our impressions of those two issues taken as a unit. How was the re-origin of the Legion for us?

The main characters
Alright... Let's do this! First real introduction to the Legion universe and I'm already a bit lost after the first page. Glad to see that it was a dream sequence and that the reboot will actually help newcomers get a grip on the different back stories.  So Rokk Krinn is Cosmic Boy. I feel like we've already asked this question on "Hot or Not", but seriously, how many K's do you need in your name?! Really cool that the guy cares so much about his family but his agent seems crooked... I love how the Internet gave him the name Cosmic Boy. Nice to know that, even in the 30th Century, the Internet still exists and it's still its same old self!

Garth Ranzz, he must be Lightning Lad. I guessed that the dream sequence, which I've decided to call "Boys will be boys", explains how he got his powers? By being exposed to electric... a space-rhino-thing? Doesn't his sister have it too, and calls herself Lightning Lass? Sorry, I have a terrible memory! He's on a quest to find his brother which sounds pretty cool, but then he starts being kind of a creep to Imra, so my overall feeling towards him is a solid "meh". I can't shake the feeling that he just wants to get visibility so his brother might find his way to him.

Imra Ardeen is Saturn Girl. (I will totally forget their names in, like, seconds...) Mind-reading powers always sounded awesome, but I can see how it might make a lot of people uncomfortable. I feel it's a reality that isn't shown enough in superheroes stories. I pity her. She was born with this power and people resent her because of it, that's just unfair. She seems to take it very seriously, so as to not become intrusive. But it really sounds like something that she can't just shut down. It must be overwhelming... In case, I haven't made myself clear already: I like her... a lot!

That's an interesting point about Garth's motives. Whether or not he's trying to attract Mekt or not, I think the character's always been a bit of a glory hound, while Cos is, despite his fame back home, rather humble. He's the responsible one, while Garth leads more with his impulses - pride, lust, etc. In a past continuity, she married Lightning Lad, but you'd think Cosmic Boy would be more her jam. Then again, opposites attract, and that's especially true of an electro-magnetic character, right? Huh, I don't know if I'd ever really thought of it before, but both male founders' powers are facets of electro-magnetism. Anyway, this is a NEW continuity, so it could go an entirely different way. 'shippers rev your engines! It's not just about Garth and Imra either; that's a sweet bromance that just started between the two boys (can't believe Imra called it a "strokefest"!). The new thing here is that Imra starts out as a member of the Science Police, which I suppose ties into her great discipline. A good debut for all three founders, but even though we (naturally) start with them, I don't think they'll EVER be my favorite Legionnaires, but they're always solid.

Legion of Super-Heroes #0

Alright now that I know the characters, it's great to see them in action. They obviously form a great team and I just love how Imra sasses the guys when they are battling their first enemies. Saving R.J. Brande sealed their fate and now they are approached by his assistants. That girl needs to calm her tits! There's flirting and there's this sentence: "Any time you want to move me around, please do." A little subtlety wouldn't hurt here, girl! Maybe that's why I'm single... CARRY ON!! Okay no, Brande's assistants just freak me out... I understand that they should wear the same clothes, but have the same look on top of that. It's just creepy! I hope he got sued for hiring similar-looking women. AH! I knew there was something wrong with Comic Boy's agent! Again, Saturn Girl is just awesome! ... OH MY GOD, I'M SO STUPID!!! Of course the assistants are all the same... You got me, Triplicate Girl! And I can see that you're confusing the boys as well in this panel:
They also introduce the villain, he wants the United Planets to separate, prefers chaos, makes his ""servants" call him Lord Doyle, nothing new there!

I want to talk about the origin, because I've never thought it was great. Three kids with powers are on the same ship, they save an old billionaire from assassination and decide to stay together as a "Legion" of three heroes. The threat isn't epic, it's easily dealt with, and they just save one guy, no matter how rich and powerful he is. They don't really change it, but what they do is explain it better and make it part of a greater story. This time, Brande is one of the architects of a very recent United Planets, so his life matters more, and he's used to deliver exposition on the fact the UP is new, that his stargates have made it possible, and so on. To keep the UP together, he'll need a symbol of unity, and these three kids from different member planets could be just such a symbol. They're young and idealistic, like the treaty, and have skills perhaps better suited to defending the UP from the threats it now faces. Just the idea that Cos and Imra's worlds were recently at war, and that it doesn't create anxiety for them, shows just how youth can be a force for positive change. In the original Legion story, the kids were merely inspired by Superboy (a character that no longer exists in continuity) to become superheroes. Here, it's Brande who takes his inspiration from the Justice League, which kind of makes more sense (a team for a team). The next issue will show more of Brande's strategy, but he's very much the driving force behind the Legion's creation.

Oh and these references won't mean much to you, Shotgun, but the issue also introduces Science Police officer Shvaughn Erin (whom you'll remember as Element Lad's trans girlfriend) and mysteriously references "Black Mace", the name of an old Legion villain.

Legionnaires #0

The TV spot is pretty cool and it helps new readers stay in the loop. I'm not sure about the name Live Wire... It sounds weird to me, but then again, Lightning Lad might've been too obvious. They will be introduced in front of the United Planets Assembly? That cannot end well! You're asking for it, guys, come on! We go back to the villain to reveal that I was right. My question is why bother covering his face when we see him clearly in the previous issue? As for the girl who can phase through stuff, nice way to introduce a new character. I'd love to be able to do that! I would have much fewer bruises! The presentation begins and they have costumes that are a lot more colorful than what the TV spot showed. I prefer it that way! The costumes are great, I would wear the hell out of every one of them! Time to show their skills and, well, they're all a bit clumsy. Good job alarming the whole room, Imra, and then the whole neighborhood, guys! I guess they were successful, but it was way too close! The chase scene is pretty fun. I'm just confused about how that girl "saved" Saturn Girl since the bullets went right through her? Comic book logic?! With that, we add Triad (again with the wrong name) and Apparition to the group. Then the elaborate sequence of recruitment. One "champion" per participating planet, I guess? I recognize Brainiac 5 and I think the hooded one is Chameleon Boy, and the member of the Science Police is Colossal Boy... But I might be terribly wrong. We'll see I guess!


"Live Wire", "Triad" and "Apparition" were names given to "younger clones" of the Legion from the preceding continuity. Not really so we could tell the versions apart (because a lot of Legionnaires kept the old names), but I think because DC felt the Legionnaires' names were on the whole too old-fashioned and similar-sounding. It's interesting that a new reader would still regard the old name as the proper one. As for Apparition (the former Phantom Girl) saving Imra's life, I'm going to say she provided a nice distraction that allowed Saturn Girl to get away, and Live Wire to arrive and zap the terrorist.
I will confirm they're pretty much following the original order the Legionnaires joined in, and despite the team's 1950s origins, for a brief moment there, this was a team with more female members than male ones! Interesting! You've done well figuring out who's who in the recruitment sequence; of the ones you haven't recognized, two are new (or newish, in the case of Kid Quantum), and the other is Hot or Not favorite Invisible Kid! But expect at least one of the recruits to have his name changed in a way you won't like, haha! An interesting surprise is that Star Boy isn't Xanthu's chosen representative (nor is Atmos, thank God). Plus, appearances by Science Police officer Gigi Cusimano and time stuff expert Rond Vidar. No idea if they'll rise to any prominence in the Reboot, but for old-time fans, it's cool to see old friends show up.

In closing

To be honest, I loved how they managed the Reboot! It was easy to follow and I actually got quite invested in the characters, especially the original three, duh. This is gonna be much more fun than I anticipated. Thanks a lot, Siskoid, for offering me this opportunity! Here's hoping I don't sound completely stupid or boring!
You did fine! For me, the task is a re-visit and re-evaluation, and while I remember liking this run - I certainly bought most of it! - I couldn't be sure whether I'd like it as much 20 years on. Surprise, surprise, it was actually better than I thought it would be! Fun writing, clean art, winks to the past, but not too slavish to what has gone before... I'm looking forward to this as well. Thanks for accompanying me on the journey, roomie!


  1. Welcome aboard, Shotgun, I look forward to your future reviews! And kudos as always to Siskoid.

  2. Great review you two. This was "my" Legion. I had never read any Legion comics prior to this. The Zero hour, for whatever else it did, was a great jumping on point for me. Several years (decades!) and several Archive editions, Showcase Presents, and tons of back issues later I've caught up on most of the pre-zero hour continuity. I love it all but this era holds a special place for me. I have been looking forward to you guys getting to these issues. Thanks!

  3. This is the Legion era that I know the least about. I bought issues when I came across them, but for most of this run I lived in Japan so didn't have access to them. I am looking forward to re-learning what the Legion was like during this run.
    And glad to have you aboard, Shotgun!