Thursday, January 12, 2017

Reboot: Legionnaires #33

Legionnaires #33 (January 1996)
title: "The Inhuman Touch"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inker: W.C. Carani
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
special thanks: Mark Waid & Karl Kesel
cover: Jeffrey Moy & W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Leviathan, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Star Boy, Triad

Chuck Taine, Dalya Ranzz, Lori Morning, Mysa, President Chu, Rond Vidar, Warden Kreyton, Science Police, a shop owner

Emerald Eye of Ekron, Starfinger

As the Legion's relationships continue to be strained, Brainiac 5 is arrested for illegal time travel experiments and two new members are foisted on the team - Star Boy and Gates - a practically non-verbal assassin we'll call Starfinger attacks Saturn Girl at the Time Institute. Elsewhere, Kinetix has been taken in by a mysterious crone called Mysa.

Saturn Girl and the Science Police fight Starfinger, but lose, though something seems to prevent the assassin from killing Saturn Girl and he flees. Next thing you know he's causing mayhem on the planet Guron and the Legion is sent in to stop him. They don't fare any better than Saturn Girl alone, and Shrinking Violet is left alone to face him.
In between the two attacks, Spark gets a call from her mother telling her her brother Garth has left home and should have been on Earth by now. Star Boy shows his stuff in a training session, but has an inexplicable fit of "electric vision". Violet reminds Imra and Cos they are friends. Lori Morning plays hooky and winds up insulting an alien merchant. Brainiac 5 resists Takron-Galtos' interrogation methods. And Kinetix is shown the Emerald Eye of Ekron but warned not to "fall in love" with it.
Back in time... in Impulse #10: After fighting some Speed Ninjas and getting slightly wounded, XS is asked to stay with Iris West and Linda Park while the rest of the Speed Force take on Savitar. Max Mercury hints at a greater role for her before the war is over.

There’s too much going on in this comic. Everything seemed rushed and it was really hard to follow for me. The worst part, clearly, is the training session with Star Boy. Did he really lose control? He just said that his powers are to make things heavy though… So what is this lightning thing? Was it Gates who took control of him? I don’t even know what Gates’ powers are… How did Star Boy end up in a pool? Is he drowning? EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING ON??! (Have fun clarifying everything for me Siskoid.)
Our main focus should probably be on Starfinger, but there is so much stuff going on that by the time I saw him again at the end of the comic, I had already forgotten that he ran away after fighting Saturn Girl. I wonder why he hesitated. Clearly, he wonders the same and that explains why he decided to run. He realized that he became vulnerable the minute he stopped himself from killing. The character reminds me of a mix between a Dalek and a Cyberman because of the way he has to repeat the type of attack he’s using. He’s clever though. Disintegrating the oxygen to paralyze all Legionnaires at once is pretty brilliant. I’m glad Violet will be having another chance to shine!

Now real quickly: Spark thinks Invisible Kid is her secret admirer. I understand why but… really? I feel like it’s too obvious. He might be helping someone else if that’s really him bringing the perfume. I just don’t see it. Kinetix will never be able to stop herself from stealing that eye/orb thingy. Her thirst for power is what’s giving her a purpose. She was probably brought to the Sorcerer’s World for that exact purpose. She’ll get herself in another mess if she doesn’t use more self-control.
Impulse #10... Jenni has her power back but again has to stay behind. She has to act as a bodyguard until further notice. It’s almost insulting for someone of her talent. At least, Max knows her role isn’t over so we’ll probably see a lot more action coming her way in the near future.

Gates' power is teleportation, so that's what it was. Doesn't mean it's a very clear sequence and I agree completely that there's too much going on and that the narrative isn't always clear. We're cutting corners to fit everything in. The worst part, for me, was how quickly Starfinger got to this other planet. One minute he's fighting Saturn Girl, the next he's on another planet and Imra is looking for Lori everywhere. It's very confused, and like Cosmic Boy, we sometimes feel like we skipped a page.
Now what can I say you haven't already? Well, being dead tired of the team angst that's been building over the course of the last year's worth of books, I'm happy for any ray of sunshine. Specifically, yes, that Violet will get to fight Starfinger alone (I love underdog stories and I love shrinking heroes as underdogs), but also that Chuck is already proving his worth by giving Imra and Cos a gentle wake-up call. Of course, that's mitigated by Gates' terrible attitude, Brainy's jeopardy on a prison planet, and the Eye of Ekron's promised corruption of a Legionnaire. That thing is definitely ominous for long-time readers.
I've often admitted my love for Ayla Ranzz, so yes, I'm the secret admirer. Surprise! Not-so-secret admirer, I guess. Love that moment with her mom nagging her about her haircut. I bet that resonates with a lot of girls.

Science Police Notes:  
  • This issue continue the common numbering system between the two Legion books started with Legion of Super-Heroes #76; this is 1996/2.
  • Star Boy has an uncontrollable bout of electric vision, a power he originally had in the previous continuity before his powers were reduced to gravity increase.
  • This issue marks the first Reboot appearance of the famous prison planet, Takron-Galtos, as well as of the Emerald Eye of Ekron usually attached to the Fatal Five's Emerald Empress.
  • On page 13, Moy inserts cameos of Red Dwarf's Lister and Kryten.
  • Impulse #10, "Dead Heat Second Lap: Disaffected Youth", was crafted by Mark Waid (writer), Humberto Ramos (penciller), Wayne Faucher (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Tom McCraw (colorist), Ruben Diaz (assistant editor) and Brian Augustin (editor). XS' participation is minimal.


  1. "Love that moment with her mom nagging her about her haircut. I bet that resonates with a lot of girls"

    You have NO idea!!

    Shotgun "I love my white/grey/platinum blond hair with the half shaved cut so shut up dad!" Godin

  2. Oh I think I have a LITTLE idea.

    At least from hearsay ;-).

  3. Man, I feel like I missed all the Starfinger hints back in the day. Like, the whole "Garth is missing" conversation is just so ... pointed when you put it in context. Did I realize this was Starfinger at the time? I must have, right?

    Agreed on the compression of time thing. It does feel pretty sudden, even if they do have Saturn Girl say they've been looking for Lori for "hours." It's just not obvious enough.

    I'm thinking plotwise, they're cramming in so much because they really wanted to finish this storyline and the next one, and they were on a deadline with the whole "Final Night" miniseries coming up. They must have known in advance it was coming, so they had a deadline to meet!

    Which would also explain the general shift in feeling in this year of comics. They're really going pedal to the metal with storylines and plotlines and character arcs. It's pretty intense.

  4. Also, on the Cameo Watch side ... Moy loves his cameos in crowd scenes, but he only has the one opportunity here. I see Lister and Kryten from Red Dwarf on Page 13.

  5. But he ISN'T Garth... :)

    Yes, I know, "hours", but the pacing of the book is such that it looks and feels like less. It's just confusing.

    Final Night is still almost a year off, so I don't know that it's the reason for the rush. The cramming is probably due to just having so many characters to work with, I think it may have gotten away from them.

    Thanks for the cameo spotting!

    1. Well, yes, he isn't Garth, but obviously that's what they wanted all the long-time readers to think!