Thursday, November 17, 2016

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #73

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #73 (October 1995)
title: "End of the Road"
writers: Tom McCraw, 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:  
Brainiac 5 (behind the scenes), Cosmic Boy, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Spark, Triad

Dirk Morgna (discussed, not seen), Shvaughn Erin, Valor, Lightning Beasts, Science Police

Lightning Lord, Luto and other ruffians at Koochie's

Legion morale is fraying at the edges, with leader Cosmic Boy so stressed, he's been taking it out on the rest of the team. Saturn Girl has lately been seeing and hearing someone in bright flashes of energy, most lately during a battle with Dr. Regulus which left a young Dirk Morgna alive but aflame. Meanwhile, Garth Ranzz AKA Live Wire has resumed his quest to find his brother Mekt...

On the planet Bisbe, Live Wire interrogates ruffians in a dive bar as to the whereabouts of his brother Mekt; they've broken their promises to him and kept his money. When he uses his electrical powers, they scatter, thinking HE'S the similarly-powered Mekt and the Science Police, thinking the same thing, intervene and arrest him. He's rescued by Mekt, now calling himself Lightning Lord, completely psychotic from the current running through his brain. When he balk at Mekt killing several officers, he gets zapped into unconsciousness.
The news that Garth has killed these officers reaches Legion HQ via their Science Police liaison, and Spark runs off to find her brother and clear him. Cosmic Boy is irritated at this turn of events, just as he is of the power outages and surges apparently caused by Brainiac 5's secret work. In one such surge, the figure of 20th-Century hero Valor briefly appears, asking for help. Meanwhile, young Dirk Morgna is said to be under Science Police observation, his powers out of control.
The Ranzz brothers next reach Korbal, the planet where they got their powers from grazing Lightning Beasts. Mekt starts killing them and absorbing more of their power, vowing to become the only living electrical generator in the universe, which doesn't bode well for Live Wire and Spark. Then a large force of Science Police arrives to take Garth in for murder...
Let’s just say that I’m not a huge fan of Mekt. He’s awful but my overall feeling toward the character is “meh”. I just don’t care about him at all. He received his power from these beasts, abused it and lost control. Now he wants even more power and to be the only one to wield it. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Why would someone be that evil without a purpose? What’s driving him to do all this? He kills without hesitation, fine. That’s a thing, sure. But planning on killing his brother and sister just for the sake of being unique, that’s twisted and, to me, it makes no sense. I just hate it when a character doesn’t have a motive. Whatshisface from the last issue at least had vengeance on his mind. We might find out more about Mekt in the next comic but, as of now, I just want to get it over with and move on to the real problems facing the Legion.

I was surprised when Siskoid pointed out Invisible Kid’s presence in the last issue. I didn’t even notice how he was presented in the roll call. I’m afraid Siskoid was a bit too quick to say that Cos was in on it though. The way he interrogates Triad in this story pretty much proves that, like most of us readers, he didn’t even notice that Lyle was behind the president. Or maybe he’s really good at faking it… I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S REAL ANYMORE!!! Does Triad know about the stunt? Was Chameleon and her a part of this plan as well? It’s going to be really interesting to discover what exactly Lyle stole from the office and how Cosmic Boy will react to this insubordination, if that’s what it was. That’s what I want to see! Not a crazy lunatic shooting at lightning cow-rhinos.
What about Valor, now? He’s supposed to be dead since forever so what are these visions? Is Brainy doing some sort of experiment to try and contact dead Daxamites? If that’s the case, then I’m really sad for him. If only he knew she was still alive.

Mekt's motivation? I think it's meant to be madness. Garth talks about how he wasn't like this before the lightning, and there was a seen way back when Spark showed up where the twins expressed fear that something could happen to them if they weren't careful with the powers. His brain has been "rewired" by the current, and it's turned him into a psychotic killer. I kind of dig the idea that he wants to be unique in the universe, because it's likely the opposite. For a non-twin to be born on Winath is exceptionally rare, and has been described as a kind of handicap. What if, knowing he can never have a twin, he has resolved to make himself as unique as possible, using lethal force to accomplish that goal? The very idea that the cops arrest Live Wire, in other words mistake HIM for Mekt, is a manifestation of that lack of uniqueness. Speaking of unique, I quite like his adaptation of his power to serve his ship's needs; haven't seen that before.
Now, the fact that Cos is still stressed and shouting at everyone doesn't mean he's not working with Invisible Kid, but you're right, there's no real indication he is either. The Kid is a member of the self-proclaimed Espionage Squad AND known for his insubordination, so Cos could well be in the dark regarding this operation. Man, when the Legion finally holds an election (a Legion tradition), I think Cos is going to be more relieved than anything.

I must, however, use a paragraph to complain about the lack of continuity cropping up between the two Legion books despite being written by the same guys. It annoys me that one issue ends on Dirk Morgna being on fire - expressly makes it a cliffhanger - and the next tells us what's happening with him off stage. It annoys me as well that Valor up and shows up, and everyone seems to know Saturn Girl was seeing Valor all along when this is the first time the name is used in connection with the phantoms. Anti-climactic reveal! I DO like Shotgun's theory that Brainy is trying to breach the netherworld to get Daxamite souls out, but I don't think the evidence would bear this out (he's appeared in a stargate and a fireball to date) though I could be surprised.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Though the Reboot's Lightning Lord officially first appears in this issue, Mekt has been seen before in flashbacks to Garth and Ayla's origin.
  • Likewise, Valor has appeared in a Reboot comic before, but was never actually drawn. He started being glimpsed by Saturn Girl in Legionnaires Annual #2.

First Reboot appearance of Mekt Ranzz as Lightning Lord, and of an identifiable Valor.

1 comment:

  1. This one is a mixed bag, alternately exciting and frustrating. I appreciate how it starts off with a bang and barrels forward with all cylinders, but there are some seriously bizarre choices along the way.

    I do like the interactions between the clearly unhinged Mekt and Garth, who still wants to believe that his brother is inherently good (sorry kid, he was a bad apple long before the lightning). I like the interactions at the bar and with that purple cop.

    On the flip side, there are some ridiculous jumps in logic on the police side. So first they mistake him for Mekt, but really ... the moment they scan him they should know he's not.

    They show him videos of people Mekt has killed because ... why? What would they get from him if he IS Mekt?

    Okay, so the purple cop figures it out, does the research, then gets fried. He never logged that info anywhere?

    And somehow, at the end, the science police show up to arrest Garth? I mean, what the heck. There's an INSANE ELECTRICAL STORM right next to him, who they MUST know blew open the prison and freed Garth, but they assume it's GARTH who killed the guy??

    Worst police ever. No way any of this holds up in court.