Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #68

Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #68 (May 1995)
title: "Sticky Situation"
writers: Tom McCraw, Mark Waid, Tom Peyer
penciller: Lee Moder
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Andromeda, Apparition, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Leviathan, Saturn Girl, Spark, Triad

Durlans, Science Police

Tangleweb, members of Tangleweb's species

Previously, while Triad rests up from a xenophobic attack on Earth, a group of unaware Legionnaires went after Tangleweb, Kid Quantum's killer. Invisible Kid, not assigned to the team, nevertheless borrowed a ship to follow. Their first encounter resulted in Cosmic Boy and Spark being captured. Pursuing, the rest of the team land on Tangleweb's planet where it is surrounded by members of his insectoid species...

Surrounded, the Legionnaires spring into action, but the insects overcome them and cocoon them in their webbing. In the melee, Andromeda's transsuit is breached and she goes down. Invisible Kid finds their abandoned ship and goes delving into the cave system, seeking his friends. Meanwhile, Andromeda awakens, feeling stupid that her fear of lead poisoning gave her an hysterical reaction. She frees the rest.
A pair of subplots: Saturn Girl scans Triad's mind to discover the identity of her attackers. On Durlan, hooded shapeshifters bring three crystalline figures out of a boiling volcano; energy escapes from the vessels...
Back on Tangleweb's world, Invisible Kid finds the spider-creature's lair and frees Cosmic Boy, Spark and a captured Science Police officer, but the villain shows up. Elsewhere, the rest of the team come upon Chameleon, speaking with an insectoid. He reveals that they only reacted as they did because they thought the Legionnaires aggressors, while Tangleweb is, on their world, a supervillain who used salvage from a crashed ship to augment himself. Also, that he eats brains, which boosts his intelligence, and intelligence he's using to convert more insectoids into beings like himself. The two groups meet up and fight Tangleweb, their success hinging on Andromeda overcoming her fear of touching an alien. Leviathan pushes her until she finds a way and she defeats the monsters. In epilogue, Cos has some encouraging words for Leviathan, and lets Invisible Kid's behavior slide. Kid Quantum's soul, they all hope, can rest easy.

Back to the other group, the one sent to stop Tangleweb for good. The group formed by Cosmic Boy is so bad at working together, it’s almost too ridiculous. It's quite clear now that Cos’ leadership is the main reason why this team is held together. All along, during the first encounter, I was wondering why we didn’t see Chameleon do anything. Of course he’s the one who’s going to communicate with the “enemy” and find out what is really happening on this planet. I loved how he used his powers to communicate with the rest of the gang. He’s becoming even more interesting with time. Plus, his Interlac is getting better with every issue. I love this kind of slow character build-up. Speaking of Cham, what is actually going on on Durla? Are they accidentally releasing a new villain now that Tangleweb has been dealt with? I guess we’ll have even more Chameleon action coming our way in the future!
I’m a bit disappointed though. The way Cos reacts to Invisible Kid’s presence annoyed me. He just jokes around about possible consequences for his disobedience. Kid is cocky! Yes, he helped, but really, they could’ve probably managed without him. All he did was rescue Cos and Spark so they could communicate with the rest of the group. With the homing devices, Leviathan could’ve probably found his way without having to talk with them. I’m not saying that Cos should’ve banished Invisible Kid or anything that intense, but there should be some sort of consequence for his behavior. The one who really showed great leadership in this issue is Leviathan. I’m impressed with the way he dealt with Andromeda. Hopefully this will help her to take her place as an essential part of the group. She is so powerful, they can’t give up on her. They just need to get her to change her ways and attitudes toward alien societies. That brings us to the White Triangle group. Can’t wait to see how the Legionnaires will all react to the news of the attempt on Triad’s life. I am especially interested in Cosmic Boy’s reaction since, as Saturn Girl put it, none of this would’ve happened if they'd all gone together to fight Tangleweb.

Okay first, and this is something Shotgun isn't likely to get, I have to mention the cover by Alan Davis. He's an amazing artist and he gets to do a lot of Legion covers in this era. Yes! As for the Durlan scene, yeah, I don't know what's happening there either. Nor why Invisible Kid was used the way he was. You're right. His presence wasn't necessary, Cos didn't necessarily react the correct way, and even if he HAD been necessary, it would have meant a reprise of the hellish prison story where the Kid isn't considered useful, but proves instrumental in the Legion's victory. Is he, in fact, heading for a fall? (At least in the Hot or Not girl above's esteem?)

Andromeda is another problem character, but we're seeing how she might overcome those problems. And the story reveals how important isolating herself from others is important, lest she get lead poisoning. As with the old Mon-El stories, she can't be too useful a team member until that particular wrinkle has been ironed out. So in this case, she's the unlikely Legionnaire to get all the lion's share of the XP (to use a gaming metaphor), which really is the same trope as the "Planet Hell" Kid story. Maybe we need to change things up.
But at least the Tangleweb story is put to rest - I don't really care for this guy, nor for the guy he killed - even his defeat is a bit cursory. And comes with a lot of backstory we don't really have time to process - eating brains? making more of himself? Whatever. He's done. Next!

Science Police Notes:  
  • Though several issues in, the comic uses its text page to explain why and how the Legion was rebooted.

1 comment:

  1. Not sure I entirely agree that Invisible Kid was unnecessary. Basically, if he hadn't shown up, Cosmic Boy and Spark wouldn't have been woken up in time. Which isn't to say that they could have written the story in a manner that either didn't need him or had him playing a bigger role. Lost opportunity.

    Leviathan dealing with Andromeda really is the best part here. That and the charades bit.