Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Reboot: Legionnaires #22

Legionnaires #22 (February, 1995)
title: "Hard Time!"
writers: Tom Peyer
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inker: Tom Simmons
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson (credited as Warden)
cover: Jeffrey Moy and John Dell
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Leviathan, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Spark, Triad, XS

Evolvo, Inferno, Karate Kid, Spider Girl, Ultra Boy

Brain Globes of Rambat, Bur Rac, Planet Hell convicts and their would-be rescuers

Previously... The Legion and the Workforce are both trapped on Planet Hell, a prison facility at the center of the sun, where the warden has freed thousands of dangerous convicts, the electromagnetic tunnel that allowed access has collapsed, and the shield keeping the heat at bay will completely fail in a matter of hours, if not minutes.

In exchange for not harming anyone, Brainiac 5 promises warden Bur Rac to fix the failing shields keeping the star's heat from consuming the prison. He brings Saturn Girl, Evolvo and reluctantly, Invisible Kid with him, while the rest are kept as hostages.
While he works on the problem, tempers flare among the inmates. Bur Rac doesn't trust Brainy and goes out to check on him, finding the Coluan an at impasse. Saturn Girl senses the villain's hidden agenda, his working with racists to recruit an army, and shares his thoughts with the other inmates who go out looking for him. Meanwhile, in the cells, Live Wire and Spark talks things out, Apparition is distraught to find Spider Girl making out with Ultra Boy, Leviathan grumbles about sharing one with Chameleon Boy, Karate Kid breaks out with XS, and Inferno forces Triad to conserve air by merging into a single person.
As things get desperate, Invisible Kid has an idea which Brainy only begrudgingly goes along with, and it works. He reverses the shield's magnetic polarity and the prison is expelled from the star, all prisoners contained. The crisis averted at the last second, the Legion and the Workforce go their separate ways.

My favorite part of this issue is when Saturn Girl checks on the other to make sure they all are okay. It sets aside the fighting long enough for us to see our heroes in a waiting situation. It is quite demanding to fight an army of senseless criminals like they did in the last issue, but it is also pretty tough to sit back and wait while others are trying to save the day. I know for a fact that it is often more difficult to stay put and wait, than to participate in the action. I can’t help but to feel this awkwardness in these panels. They have to occupy their minds and find something useful to do in order to stay sane. For Garth and Ayla, it is through discussing their issues. Far from being a happy family reunion, Garth’s attitude towards his sister still reveals that he cares a lot more than first thought. Is he actually worried that she underestimates the strength of her powers?
I love the conversation between Jenni and Val. It was always pretty clear that no one in the WorkForce were considering McCauley as anything else than the man who signs the paycheck. To have him confirm it while talking with a Legionnaire was just reassuring. Chameleon’s effort to exchange with Leviathan is again pointing in the right direction. He’s kind and wants to fit in so I expect it’s only going to be a matter of time before he’ll be able to learn the basics of Interlac. Then there’s this awkward moment between Apparition, Ultra and Spider Girl. I guess there is a lot of passion between the latter two, but there’s no way that it will last with Apparition now around. Finally, the moment between Triad and Inferno is perfect. Imagine how frustrating it must be to hear Triad literally talking to herself with such a pessimist point of view. Inferno is tired of it all and expresses it the only way she knows. Her violent ways aren’t the best to get what she wants, but at least this time, it actually got some results.
Now for the scientist group. Brainiac 5 and Evolvo are really smart, no question there. The thing is though, they both need to accept that even though their intellect is far superior to the others’, the solution can’t always be found by a logical approach. I just loved how they didn’t trust in Invisible Kid to be of any help during their mission. It’s a great lesson in humility that the Kid taught them. Not only did they refuse to listen to his ideas because they were unconventional, they let him do all the work. In the end, Invisible Kid is the real hero in this story line. Hopefully, this whole situation will help the Legionnaires become even more in sync as a team since Brainiac seemed to show more respect towards his teammates. I actually think the whole situation also brought the two groups closer. I wouldn’t be surprised by a quick switch on the WorkForce side. They had a chance to work by themselves without the ongoing supervision of McCauley and I’m sure they won’t be thrilled to have to get back to it. Both teams are getting comfortable with the other. Fighting alongside one another is a really good ice breaker, I guess. I’m really curious to see how long it will take for them to quit McCauley and ask to join the Legion. Anyway, most of them… Pretty sure we’ll lose Spider Girl with Apparition around!

Before forging ahead, I want to mention the Roll Call. This is a neat little tradition, dating back to the Justice League of America, and that makes a lot of sense for any team with a large cast. But check out these samples from Jeff Moy, because he adds a lot of personality to what could be simple bust shots.
Brainy with a beaker, Chameleon with an off-putting use of his powers, Triad miming her power... Love that stuff.

As for the story, it does a good job of showcasing the scientists on the team. Brainiac 5 is the smartest of all, of course, but he lacks Invisible Kid's intuition. Because the Kid was dead long before I started reading the Legion, it's great to discover him in this series, and like Shotgun, I'm super-happy he's the guy who solves the problem. Brainy nevertheless does well, showing some leadership. He's softening already. Cosmic Boy's own leadership isn't in question though. His interventions, even when he doesn't get to make them (a running gag through the issue), show humility on par with Brainy's arrogance.
Subplots aplenty! Live Wire seems to think the lightning makes one aggressive and could be dangerous. Spark doesn't seem to feel it. Is it that she embraces the aggression, or that he mistakes his own anger issues with the power? Apparition and Ultra Boy are meant to be, sorry Spider Girl. Karate Kid seems more self-centered than I would have imagined. Like Inferno, he'll need to grow the hell up before they ever should let him join the Legion. And the xenophobic plot going on behind the scenes is taking its time, but I happen to know it'll rear its ugly head soon. All will be explained, wait for it!

Science Police Notes:  
  • Mark Waid and Tom McCraw are credited as "Adult Legionnaires", quite possibly as a nod to the collaboration that exists between the writers of both Legion books.


  1. I actually enjoyed the "Archie Legion " with the art of Jeff Moy !

    To me, it had the flavor of the Curt Swan "Adventure Comics" run and I collected the entire run !

  2. It's always a little jarring to get to the end of this issue and see shadows again. The art is still a little rough around the edges, particularly with coloring (missing effects, a countdown timer that doesn't actually show the current level in each shot), but overall I thought it worked very well, and I enjoyed the little vignettes of character development throughout.