Friday, December 16, 2016
Threeboot: Legion of Supr-Heroes #40
Legion of Super-Heroes #40 continues Jim Shooter and Francis Manapul's run on the title, a sort of darker peek into a team in disarray. There is an unknown and significant threat descending on the galaxy. The UP is micromanaging the team. The Legion is broke financially. And they are broken in morale. It is clear that the team isn't united in any way. There is infighting. And a villain in the making in their midst.
Much of that stems from Lightning Lad's ineffective leadership so far. Garth is still dealing with the Legion being part of the UP structure and all the red tape that goes along with that. And while he might be a fantastic Legion Leader he is hardly a politician.
This issue turns the heat up on all these plots, having them go from simmer to full boil. It pushes things along. And while I thought there were a few interesting moments within the issue, the overall tone of this book just isn't what I was looking for at the time. It is very dramatic. It is somewhat depressing. It is could be called 'extreme' in the 90s sense of the word. And I was just looking for something more Legion.
The art by Francis Manapul continues to sizzle here. There is a lot of conversation in this issue and not too much fighting but Manapul brings a strong energy to the proceedings. The scenes are heated and the emotion is evident.
On to the book.
Brainiac 5 shows up because he needs Shadow Lass to return to Earth, stumbling onto the fight by accident. In front of Brainy, the construct adapts a hand weapon designed to neutralize the Coluan's force field. These things are dangerous.
Luckily, Brainy can sense a physical weakness and let's Shadow Lass know about it. Using a pole axe, Tasmia cleaves this beast in two.
The scene does a nice job of upping the threat of the constructs. We have seen them evolve several times now. But this is a slyer, more technical adaptation which is scary.
And I don't know if I need to see a Legionnaire cutting something in two. I guess the killing code isn't in the constitution any more.
This wouldn't be a Shooter Threeboot Legion book without some sort of salacious detail. Ayla and Val arrive. Val looks rather 'satisfied' lounging with his shirt open. And Ayla describes the presumed night of sex as being 'zeta-awesome'.
Timber Wolf shouts that Saturn Girl invaded his mind and forced him to stop. Saturn Girl says Brin was about to kill a bureaucrat which would have led to his being thrown in jail. Imra even admits to Garth that she has been tamping down Timber Wolf's emotions for some time as he is prone to animalistic rage.
And this splits the team in two.
Some Legionnaires feel that Imra's acts are a violation. Some say they'll get violent if she does it again. Others think Timber Wolf was a threat. Friend or otherwise, Saturn Girl needed to stop him. Cliques and factions seem to be forming.
And then we get a great moment of leadership from Lightning Lad.
Acting ... finally ... as the leader of the team, he steps in. He tells Brin to calm down. His actions are his own but they were dangerous. If the Wolf isn't careful, he'll get tossed off the team. And then Garth gives Brin the opportunity to name Imra's punishment. Brin says he simply wants Imra to never get in his head again.
Garth then makes Imra promise to never use her powers on any Legionnaire ever again. She agrees.
The conflict seems to have defused. Even Ayla notes that her brother was strong in that situation.
But how does he have the time to do it? What about all the phone calls and meetings? Turns out he has sent out a message that there is a plague in the headquarters, essentially quarantining the team from contact with the outside world.
Meanwhile, Projectra, who stole a bracelet last week, arrives. She is lauded as a hero for breaking up the looting she took part in! The evidence is there on her wrist.
While all this emotional and relationship and team dynamic business is important, Brainiac 5 keeps bringing up the impending threat of the constructs.
I like that Brainiac 5 is the sort of practical, less emotional part of the team. He has tracked the constructs down to a distant part of the universe. He needs a piece of one of the things tech components to try to backtrack their origin. The teams need to head back to prior attack sites. He may even send off away teams without Garth's permission. Suddenly Querl is a potential distraction, just like he was with Waid.
And Projectra? She is being sued. As if her emotions weren't raw enough, she now needs to fight a court battle.
I felt for Garth. After a few moments of being able to do his real job, he is back to being drowned in paperwork and nonsense.
Just last episode she was thinking her brother was an awful leader. Here she commends him for his work with Imra and Brin. She tells him he cannot quit because the team needs a strong leader in this trying time.
I love this understated panel. Beautiful work by Manapul.
Meanwhile the away teams discover that the constructs self-destruct and leave nothing behind. It is only Invisible Kid, back on Triton, who finds a piece intact. At last they have a clue.
These off-planet scenes are interesting. On the rim-world, Triplicate Girl hints that Karate Kid has tantric abilities, another wink back to Ayla's evening.
Meanwhile, Invisible Kid tries to hunt down Gisele. He learns that she was thrown in Juvenile Detention only to then be bailed out by an unknown benefactor. She's missing. Given what we know of her, who would she agree to join with?
The UP doesn't recognize her as an ambassador or even as a citizen of the destroyed world Orando.
Unfortunately, civil suits can still recognize her as the power of the throne of Orando. She is being sued by those who Orando owes money. In a cruel twist, she cannot sue the people who owe Orando for funds because the loss of debt has been a boon for those planets. The UP has forgiven those debts.
No wonder she turns to the dark side.
She might have even killed someone.
I am still pretty down on this run. There isn't anything fun or entertaining about seeing only anger and frustration in the team. Even when there is a small victory it is quickly morphs into something worse. I don't need everything sunny but ...
Waid sort of limped over the finish line. Bedard went off on a tangent Now Shooter is bringing us into an angry, quasi-Image take on the team. All I want is a good Legion story!
And I'll end as I have for the last several reviews. The art is gorgeous, the one true positive in this run so far.