Thursday, February 23, 2017

Reboot: Legionnaires #36

Legionnaires #36 (April 1996)
title: "To the Rescue!"
writers: Roger Stern 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:  
Andromeda, Apparition (flashback), Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Invisible Kid, Jan Arrah, Kinetix, Leviathan, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, Valor, XS

Dr. Micah Aven, President Chu, Science Police, Titan Home Guard, TV anchor, the President's body guards

Empress, Mano, Persuader, Tharok, Validus, Winema Wazzo

After arresting Ambassador Winema Wazzo, Apparition's mad-with-grief mother, for trying to kill the Legionnaires, the team was sent on a wild goose chase to assemble the evil Fatal Five to help them destroy a Sun-Eater bearing down on Earth. Except there is no Sun-Eater and someone is working with the Five behind the scenes to free them from their various prisons. As the Fatal Five attack and defeat the Legion, XS has just arrived from the past...

XS is racing back to HQ from Australia when she's stopped by hooded Daxamites. These turn out to be Valor and Andromeda, who are assembling a rescue squad at Cosmic Boy's behest. The three of them are joined by Jan Arrah, Ultra Boy and Live Wire, and then go off to Takron-Galtos to stop the Fatal Five with the help of the just-returned Kinetix (with a tail she never noticed). The battle ends in their favor, but the Five manage to escape to a planet on the Braalian border.
Tensions are indeed mounting between former enemies Braal and Titan, and though cooler heads hope to prevail, the Fatal Five, under the direction of a mysterious voice/figure, send a missile from Braalian space - part of a weapons cache uncovered by Valor - in Titan's direction. Saturn Girl almost immediately gets a call from her home world telling her not to associate with Braal's Cosmic Boy. In response to all these crises, Cos splits the team in three, sending one to retrieve the Fatal Five, one to Titan to stop war from breaking out, and the last, the Espionage Squad, to Earth to deal with Ambassador Winema Wazzo who may be behind the Sun-Eater scam and the Five's escape.
When the latter get to Earth, they are apparently defeated - and two of them killed! - by the Ambassador behind closed doors. Wazzo next shows up at the president's office where Brainiac 5 is in the middle of surrendering after his mostly accidental escape from Takron-Galtos, and shoots Brainy, Chu and her bodyguards...
Glad to learn that Cosmic Boy wasn’t completely inactive all that time while obeying the President’s orders. Garth was perfect for the rallying job. He’s been an important part of the Legion since its very beginning and he remains essential to its success even now! I’m already a fan of the Rescue Squad! Having everyone back together is great. I’m also happy to see that nothing happened to Ultra Boy after his encounter with Ambassador Wazzo. I went back to issue #34 to have a proper look at Kinetix and there’s no hint of a tail at that point. I mean, there’s a black shadow but it could’ve been anything. It doesn’t make her appearance less interesting though! Finally, I must address Brainy’s reaction when he realized Andromeda was alive. The shock on his face is priceless! I’d love to know what Cham whispered to bring him back to the living.
Like destroying the Legion wasn’t enough, now whoever’s controlling the Fatal Five wants to reignite a war between two worlds. Is it just me or is this all a bit too much? The Sun-Eater to bring in more planets in the U.P., I understood. Getting rid of the Legion? Sure. Starting a war? What does this evil mastermind gain from that? And the comic is leading us to believe that Wazzo’s behind all that. OK… ok wait… what? I’m sorry but I’m not buying it. She doesn’t have that kind of power. Most of what happened at the end must be fake. The skeleton and goo-ish substance must be a disguise by Chameleon, and Lyle is simply invisible for the time being. I won’t believe for a second that the team survived the Fatal Five to be killed by her. Maybe I’m wrong, but this seems all too farfetched to me.
Definitely. This is the espionage squad we're talking about. There's something going on. Trying to expose President Chu, maybe? But you're also right that this is all "a bit too much". Either because there's a new writer on staff (Roger Stern) or the editorial gods have decided to move things along for whatever reason, this issue feels like it's resolving things left and right to the point where you wonder what those subplots were all about in the first place. Andromeda isn't benched for long at all. Valor was a vigilante for a split second. Kinetix is magically back with the Legion, not exactly on her "quest" (but it'll all tie in, don't worry). The Fatal Five are on the run and Gates didn't even have to prove himself. And they're into a new plot already, with the Sun-Eater already abandoned. Wazzo, Chu, it's all in here and by next issue, that whole phase of the Reboot Legion's story will be over, as everyone who's been invited to the Legion is back. I'm not exactly complaining, but the pacing of this first year and a half has been all over the place.
So it feels rushed to me, or at least suffering from a sort of A.D.D., jumping from plot to plot without really satisfying the reader, but I'm ready for Stern's considerable experience to stabilize the books and give the Legion a cleaner through-line.

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1996/8.
  • Live Wire, Andromeda, Valor, Ultra Boy and Jan Arrah (soon Alchemist) all join or re-join the Legion.
  • Live Wire's cybernetic arm is an echo of similar paraphernalia used by Lightning Lad in the previous continuity, after he lost his real arm to the "Moby Dick of Space" in Adventure Comics #332.


  1. I loved this issue and I loved the pacing, everything has been set up and now it's all coming together. I remember how excited I was for these issues. I can't wait to read Shotgun's reaction to next issue.

  2. Skeleton + goo = Lyle (invisible except for skeleton) & Cham (goo).

  3. Oh man, I can understand what you mean about the breakneck pacing, but still... these issues were amazing. I never got a sense that they were rushing through things -- although I do still suspect it had something to do with a certain upcoming miniseries -- just that the issues were jampacked with action and story and new developments and man, when these were new it was sooo hard to wait for two weeks for the next issues to come out.

  4. Magical-cat girl Kinetix seemed to be the point they started losing any clear idea of what to do with the character.

  5. Since this is more or less her first story arc that would mean they NEVER knew what to do with her. But I agree they never really let us get to know her before changing her.