Thursday, October 20, 2016

Reboot: Legionnaires #28

Legionnaires #28 (August 1995)
title: "Nightfall"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Joyce Chin
inker: 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, Apparition, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Leviathan, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Triad

Ambassador Wazzo, Buck Bond - Science Ranger, Chief Dunne, Live Wire, Murl Wazzo, President Chu, R.J. Brande, Tex, Spacewatch Post 23 crew, Alamo tour guide

Flint (dies), Roxxas, White Triangle

While human members of the White Triangle spread their xenophobia around the globe, the more powerful Daxamite White Triangle members lay waste to the planet Trom, home of peaceful element transmuters. R.J. Brande just makes it off the world before it is destroyed, ensuring that his stargates cannot be easily rebuilt for lack of a rare element. Meanwhile, the Legionnaires with powers adapted to subterfuge have come together without Cosmic Boy's knowledge as an Espionage Squad. Andromeda has been cured of her lead poisoning by Brainiac 5, but accused of being in league with the White Triangle (which raised her) and confined to quarters. Oh, and Live Wire has quit the Workforce to find his brother Mekt.

Armored, human members of the White Triangle attack tourists at the Alamo, but the Durlan delegation is really the Legion Espionage Squad in disguise who, after a brief battle, capture the racist terrorists (with some help from a local Science Police officer called Buck Bond - Science Ranger).
Meanwhile, R.J. Brande informs Cosmic Boy of what's happened to Trom and that space travel has been restricted until the crisis passes. This infuriates Live Wire who is trying to find his brother Mekt, but has made no headway; his sister Spark calls him out on his inaction. When the Squad arrives, Cosmic Boy tells them the Legion has no authorization to keep prisoners and to take the "White Triangles" to the Science Police. Instead, Invisible Kid puts them in virtual reality and exposes them to their worst fears (aliens) to make them give up their leader. They don't know who IS the leader. Shrinking Violet is adamant they should pursue the Daxamite connection, but no one listens to her.
Elsewhere in the Legion Headquarters, Apparition once again has a fight with her mother on coms and bails early. Winema Wazzo has her hands full anyway, feeding credits to her ex-husband Murl who apparently has a gambling problem. Nearby, after Andromeda chases away Brainiac 5 who has come to check on her, she flies away to confront Ambassador Roxxas who has just killed his underling Flint, the man who put a bomb in Kid Quantum's coffin. And in Antarctica, other Legionnaires learn satellites around Earth are going dark just as the stargates did, and Cosmic Boy calls the rest of the team and the Workforce because this is the big one. Indeed, Daxamites are destroying Earth's entire grid.
The team created by Invisible Kid calls itself the Espionage Squad. I don’t know what I expected but I would’ve gone with something a bit more subtle. The mission was a success and they captured some members of the White Triangle, but at what cost? I admire the way Invisible Kid is trying to take the blame for everything to protect the rest of the gang. He might be doing whatever the hell he wants, but at least he refuses that the others take the heat when he’s the one to blame. I just can’t believe that he went so far as to torture the thugs to get information though. That’s more than extreme, especially when the Legion isn’t even supposed to take prisoners in the first place.
Spark isn’t going easy on Live Wire. She’s dropping truth bombs and it hits hard! Talking about truth, there’s a mother who should be more honest with her daughter. Who’s that guy who looks like Ultra, flirting with Tinya’s mom, that Murl, anyway? *HE’S* Apparition’s father?! It does explain an awful lot about the ambassador’s attitude toward Ultra. It actually reminds me of my own father who didn’t want to give me too much freedom because he saw too much of himself in me... Parents, am I right? Also, am I the only one who noticed the cat-like creatures phasing through the furniture, floor and walls? That’s a neat detail, right there!
Now, the way this issue is ending... I wonder what’s going to happen next. And by that I mean that clearly this storyline is about to hit its climax! Andromeda is turning against the White Triangle and wants to handle the situation by herself since she was played, the Space Boyband of Doom is attacking and Cosmic Boy is calling for all the Legionnaires AND the Workforce to stop them. Let’s get ready for some wrapping up in the next Annual!

Good catch, Shotgun. Indeed, I DIDN'T notice the phasing cats, nor even the fact that Tinya's roguish father was the same type as Ultra Boy. I guess I've come to dislike Ambassador Wazzo so much I've been skimming through her sections. But it pays to look at the backgrounds here because guest penciller Joyce Chin, very early in her career here, before she would become best known as a cheesecake artist, puts in a lot of details, many of them humorous. It's part of the issue's strategy to provide some levity between the genocide of the previous chapter, and the drama that's sure to come in the upcoming climax. Just look at that opening at the Alamo (nice to see places other than Metropolis, eh?), with the walking talking horny toad (takes me back to my youth partly growing up in Central Texas!) and goofy cowboy Science Police (now I want to see Samurai SP, London Bobbie SP, and others).
I am personally loving the Espionage Squad (the name is from the old comics, which weren't always so subtle or sophisticated, SG) because I love heroes with so-called "weak" power thrive. While Cham is in their ranks, it's great to see Violet, Apparition and Triad do so well. These guys are sneaky! Screw the Blunt Force Legion (how's that for subtle?), these guys are able to defeat heavily armored White Triangle members with shrinking and phasing. Yee-haw!
Does Invisible Kid go too far? I'm not sure. In this torture-conscious age, it seems extreme. But using fear (not physical harm) to wring information out of criminals is a tried and true superhero method of interrogation. Batman does worse on an hourly basis. Perhaps our response is more innate to Lyle disobeying Cosmic Boy so blatantly. We've come to trust him as a leader, and Lyle is undermining that leadership. And yet, do I detect cracks forming in Cos' composure? A good "peace time" leader, how well does he do in war time? And this is definitely about to become a war...

Science Police Notes:  
  • Both writers are credited as having the first name "Tex".
  • An anthropomorphic horned toad called Tex wears a DC Comics pin.


  1. This run of both " Legionnaires " and "Legion of Super-Heroes" was a great read !

    I thought the reboot did a terrific job of bringing back the old Adventure Comics issues of my youth during the 1960's !

    Just a lot of fun and memories !

  2. Man, this issue is choppier than I remember. Basically, it's a set-up issue for the big one in the annual, and it's showing its seams because of that. There are some good moments, and some are pretty hamfisted (Andromeda's change of heart seems more like annoyance at being used than the actual change of heart it's meant to be). Art-wise, while the detail is there, some of the panels just don't work for me - faces elongated, odd expressions, etc. I always found myself missing Moy when I read this one.

    On the whole, though, a worthy sacrifice of an issue given the work Moy did on the annual, which he really blew out of the park.

    Not sure if I've mentioned this in a previous comment or not, but I'm loving the weekly reviews with the two of you. I've been reading along as you go, and it really brings back the memories of having to wait a WHOLE TWO WEEKS between issues, which was such a different experience from reading them once the run was over.