Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Reboot: Legionnaires #24

Legionnaires #24 (April, 1995)
title: "Me, Myself and I"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inkers: Tom Simmons and W.C. Carani
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Jeffrey Moy and W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Andromeda (flashback), Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy (flashback), Kinetix (flashback), Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark (flashback), Triad, XS

Marla Latham, R.J. Brande, Triad's mother, father and grandmother, doctors

Ambassador Roxxas, Roderick Doyle, White Triangle members (all in flashback)
Previously...Half the Legion left on a mission to apprehend Kid Quantum's killer, Tangleweb, leaving some unhappy Legionnaires on Earth. One of Triad's selves left the HQ in a huff, and when another went out looking for her, she was attacked by racist White Triangle thugs - just like the ones Andromeda said she "took care of" during a recent outing - leaving her at death's door...

Triad-Neutral is in a coma and seeing as the doctors don't know Carggite biology, and Cargg's government won't help, Brainiac 5 is put on the case. Meanwhile, Saturn Girl, XS, Violet and Triad-Purple try to get justice by tracking down the thugs who did this. They find a deserted hide-out filled with hate speech, but none of the White Triangle members. Violet does have a bad feeling that Andromeda might know something about all this, given their ambiguous run-in with such men earlier.
Brainy needs information to save Triad's life and asks her other selves to break their seal of silence concerning their origins. He is told that the three personalities Triad exhibits is considered an aberration on her world, that her mother tried to keep it secret and that her father left the family over it. After her mother died, she was raised by her grandmother, who encouraged her three selves' individuality. When she, in turn, died, revealing she too had three individual selves and believed this was a healthy state for Carggites, Triad was committed to an institution where brutal methods were used to make her conform. She escaped and found her way to R.J. Brande, who gave her the job that eventually led to her becoming a Legionnaire.
Armed with this knowledge, Brainy finds a way to awaken Triad from her coma just long enough for her other selves to reintegrate and heal her with their "presence". This done, she is expected to make a full recovery.

I’m glad we got to learn more about Triad’s past. There was a lot to cover and it hit me so hard. I can’t believe that this comic was released in the mid-90s. This issue is the perfect example of social criticism. It must’ve been powerful back at that time, but resonates so very fiercely today. Triad was and still is a victim of a society that cannot bear to look at something or someone that’s different. They see it as a plague, as a menace to their comfortable existence. People will go to such lengths to protect their precious little lives, it drives me crazy! Yeah yeah... I know it’s only a comic, but seriously, just take a look at the state of our world. It’s alarming that these issues were addressed through all media, comics included, long ago, but are still problematic 20 years later. For a species considered so “evolved” you’d think we would learn from our past mistakes and be more accepting. And I do realize that the white-triangle-space-boyband-of-doom are the same radicalized and heartless creatures that are turning us against one another in real life today. I mean, it’s just too close to reality...
I’m sorry... Enough with the big social talk. It’s just so revolting...

Now as for the other characters... COME ON, VIOLET! This isn’t a small issue that you can put aside and forget. You need to speak up and trust your instinct, girl! Miss Perfect will have some explanations to give once she gets back from fighting the swarm of giant spider monsters and I sure hope that Violet will be the one leading it. I doubt it, but I foolishly hope. It’s funny how Saturn Girl’s reaction to Triad’s story were matching mine. The way she reacted when Mr. Brande completed the story, it was perfect! So glad that the old man didn’t let us down. Then there’s Brainiac. I try my best to like him but, unfortunately, I can’t help but be mad at him. His attitude throughout this comic is too analytical. I know it’s just how he is, but couldn’t he show some empathy for once in his life? Triad’s life is at stake here! Plus, what was that at the very end? Why is he already absorbed in something else? It scares me. There’s something strange going on. I don’t know what, but I don’t like it. Is he hiding something? Did the procedure really go as planned? My pessimist self is taking over right now and she’s not impressed! I guess we’ll see if I’m wrong in the next issue.

I got Shotgun's text with a note attached that said "This comic kicked me in the feels", and I couldn't agree more. Whether the world changed or I did, this issue felt more relevant today than it did in 1995. Making Triad the victim of a brutal xenophobic attack, given the context of a childhood that might be that of a gay or transgender kid, adds a layer to the story I don't think I noticed at the time. This isn't just the story of a girl who is "different" on Earth, but who has always been considered different, even on her own planet, even in her own family. Triad's story includes a harrowing scene in a  reeducation camp where she gets electroshock therapy and though that perhaps harks back to an earlier time, there are still people calling for gay teenagers to be brainwashed into heterosexuality. We live in an age when hate speech is more accessible than ever. All that to say I teared up reading the book.
I certainly appreciate how the writers explained Triad's not-so-unique psychology. According to the grandmother, this is the natural Carggite state society has learned to repress. Their abilities allow them to see the world with three different perspectives, then integrate them into one wiser whole. Most Carggites use their second and third selves as "slaves" to the "neutral" personality, which is not coincidentally how Triplicate Girl was presented back in the day. The 90s gave us this much more interesting version of the character, and she's being well used. Orange and Purple, AKA intro and extrovert, can fight, for example, but this very issue shows how they are complementary, not opposite, and stronger together.

We're heading for some important reckonings now, between Tangleweb and the White Triangle, some villains really need to be punished.

Science Police Notes:  
  • This issue features the secret origin of Triad.
  • Valor (AKA Mon-El) is seen in saintly pictures in Triad's home, pointing to a faith centered around the 20th-Century hero.


  1. I liked this story and was a long awaited origin of Triplicate Girl / Triad !

    I would have liked them to have done the same with the other Legionnaires.

  2. The Threeboot did start its run with a number of origins, but it's more spare in other continuities.

  3. If a pregnant Carggite triplicates before she gives birth, will she have three offspring who can also triplicate, thereby resulting in nine "identical" people? And if so, being essentially the same person, I wonder if those nine could then integrate into a single individual.


  4. If I were to apply the logic seen here, I'd say the mother would give birth to one of three babies who could integrate.

    Later and in another continuity, Luornu learns to duplicate herself infinitely, so anything's possible really.

  5. I like this issue, I really do. The themes it covers are important, and I think your analysis is spot on. But at the same time, it always pales for me next to Legion #70, which came out just a few months later. Same idea of Brainy being the mad-scientist/doctor/psychiatrist trying to save a teammate's life while exploring her history ... but the character conflict and the arc of the storyline seemed much stronger there. I like this story, and it's great to explore the character ... but the dramatic arc seems shaky to me.

    Also, this issue has a good example of my pet peeve about Triad's costume, right there on the first page. They screw up the colors all the time! I like how when she splits she's got one orange costume, one purple costume, and one that has both orange and purple ... but pretty much every issue they get at least one of them wrong. What's up with that?