Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #71

Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #71 (August 1995)
title: "Heaven and Hell"
writers: Tom McCraw, Mark Waid, Tom Peyer
penciller: Lee Moder
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Shrinking Violet, Triad

Alchemist, Ambassador Wazzo, Garra Arrah (dies), President Chu, R.J. Brande, Tarn Arrah (dies), Trommites (die)

Roxxas, White Triangle

Recently... Kinetix has lost her powers and though unable to quit the Legion, has left to find a solution. Meanwhile, the Daxamite xenophobic group known as the White Triangle, secretly led by Ambassador Roxxas, has planted Andromeda in the Legion - they've just been made aware of this - and are responsible for destroying parts of R.J. Brande's stargate network, the very thing that makes the United Planets possible.

Daxamite members of the White Triangle have just attacked Nullport, a major United Planets shipping center and are discussing a certain planet's entry into the U.P., a world that would make that organization too powerful in their eyes. They leave to deal with it. Back on Earth, Legionnaires with abilities related to subterfuge are banding together without Cosmic Boy's knowledge to investigate Andromeda's connection to the White Triangle. Meanwhile, Kinetix is in hyperspace when she is told her stargate doesn't exist, forcing her to come out of hyperspace manually, leaving her stranded in a damaged ship.
R.J. Brande arrives on Trom, a peaceful, idyllic planet where the inhabitants have the ability to transmute any element into another. He needs his friends, the Arrah family, to manufacture more of the rare element that powers the stargates to replace those destroyed. The patriarch, Tarn Arrah, will be too busy negotiating the planet's entry into the United Planets, a sensitive subject given the potential for the abuse of Trommite abilities, but perhaps his son Jan might help. After Brande leaves, the Daxamites reach Trom and he witnesses their wholesale slaughter of the population, the planet left a barren, molten rock by their heat vision attack.
Whoa... These comics keep on surprising me. This one is so sad and terrible! I mean, it starts off with dead bodies floating in a space station with blood spilling out of their wounds. If there are still some person that might think that comics are only for kids, please bring them to me so I can show them this issue! Even by putting the destruction of a whole planet and civilization aside – I’ll talk about this real soon – you just have to follow Kinetix's story line here to see how this comic takes a dark turn. At first I was happy to see that she would still be part of the story even after leaving the Legion. Now, I’m too concerned for her life to rejoice at her presence anymore. Then the genocide happens. Can I… I just… Like what?!!?? How can it be even possible for a race to hold that much power!? To decide who lives and dies? I never hated a villain that much before, but this White Triangle crap is really getting out of control and I wish for them all to die in as much suffering as they are causing other races! I keep saying that we’ll see them fail eventually but the more time passes, the more this situation is becoming hopeless. They’re so powerful! If they decide to unite again against our heroes, the Legion is doomed! I can’t wait to see how the group will handle them but I’m also worried that their victory will only happen thanks to a lame gimmick. I mean, they need to be able to outsmart their opponents, obviously. But if it becomes too easy to win, what’s the point of showing us all this frightening power?
Invisible Kid is taking it upon himself to create a stealth team and investigate the White Triangle association. I must say that it makes sense to work with everyone’s strength and the team he created will definitely be useful in the long run. Plus, I’m super biased because the stealth team joins together most of my favorite characters. I actually can’t wait to see them use their talents to spy on enemies and/or ambush them. Then again, what the hell does Invisible Kid think he’s doing by going on a mission without talking to Cosmic Boy beforehand? This could end so badly and I’m afraid it will. Plus Cos is currently fighting the government to gain more independence. How can he claim that they can manage themselves when the team is working against each other? After the demonstration of destructive power that the White Triangle just showed off, I fear for the well being of the stealth team. Let’s all hope that they either get stopped before even being able to leave on their mission OR that the investigation goes all as planned and that they come back to the headquarters without anyone getting hurt.

Oh yeah, the Legion Espionage Squad is back in business! I don't know why it's so important to them not to keep Cos in the loop - Invisible Kid does have that ambitious streak, doesn't he? Next Legion leader? - but I love how they all hide using their various powers when he pops his head in. Shows just how well suited they are to be sneaky.
And while I knew very well that, with Roxxas in the mix, Trom had a very good chance of being a goner somewhere down the line, the sequence still shocked me. Jan's parents go from smiling ambassadors of their people to burnt skeletons in the blink of an eye, and then the whole world is laid waste in a horrific double page splash. Strategically, it makes sense. Trommites could defeat Daxamites very easily if they ever went to war, turning everything around them into lead. Not to mention to economic superiority it would lend the United Planets, and the full implementation of stargates that keep the U.P. viable. But genocide is an extreme reaction to this political problem, and should lead to a blockade around Daxam... Who will ever trust them to leave their world again? Really raising the stakes here, Legion scribes!
Trom, we hardly knew ye, but I really enjoyed the look at their culture and ethos, how they see death as just another transformation, and the wistful eulogy Brande gives them. It's powerful stuff, and we'll see how Jan grieves (or doesn't) based on this belief. Because yes, he's got to have survived even if we don't see his reaction. They're hiding his survival, but it's there if you read between the lines.

Science Police Notes:  
  • The Legion Espionage Squad is a sub-team within the Legion, which in the previous continuity, was formed by Chameleon Boy and Invisible Kid as a secret resistance group who undertook missions the Legion of Super-Heroes were not authorized to be involved in. Its members were Chameleon Boy, Shrinking Violet, Timber Wolf, Phantom Girl, and Invisible Kid I and II.
  • In the previous continuity, Roxxas was not a Daxamite, nor the leader of the White Triangle. He was much more intimately responsible for the genocide of the Trommite people and became known as Roxxas the Butcher.

First Reboot appearance of Jan Arrah, AKA Alchemist, formerly known as Element Lad. Formation of the Reboot version of the Legion Espionage Squad.


  1. As a huge Element Lad fan(Alchemist was the SW6 version-not Reboot), this issue devestated me! To be shown the beauty and serenity of Trom and it's people made it's destruction so much more heartbreaking.

  2. A much better story than the original " Mystery Lad " nonsense !

    Did anyone really miss Roxxas and his band of pirates riding around on space motorcycles and destroying a culture that could have changed them all to dust !

    A much needed and better explanation of what happened to a race that can transmute matter !

    Motorcycles my a......!

  3. The Legionnaires are hardly even IN this issue...

    And it's still amazing. I guess it's kind of a self-contained story, inasmuch as it has significant ramifications on the ongoing plot lines, and that just makes this a tightly contained tale. It's very effective.

    Also horrible, with the genocide and all. Moder's art is something that I'm hot and cold on, but this is one of his best.