Friday, March 3, 2017

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #50

Recap: A hard-light world and its army has been invading the United Planets. The actual world exists only in the ether, an 'internet database' that exists only on a virtual level. The Legion is the last line of defense to keep this other culture from erasing reality from existence.

Meanwhile, Princess Projectra is planning her own coup, armed with the power of all Orando magic. A nasty aspect of Brainiac 5's persona has gained corporeal existence and is running around. Cosmic Boy and others have been recruited by mystery heroes from the 41st century. Saturn Girl has had a tryst with Lightning Lad, breaking up the Legion's power couple. And Brainy has proposed to Dreamy.

But none of this really matters.

Legion of Super-Heroes #50 was the last issue of this threeboot run. The book was canceled.

In many ways, I'm thankful.

Jim Shooter has had something of a rough run on the book. His issues have been somewhat scattershot in their approach. There were too many plotlines and far too much sexism and cheesecake for my taste. And while I would have a hard time overlooking those flaws, the biggest in my mind has just been the nasty feel to the book and characters. No one seems to like each other. No one gets along. There is a lot of pseudo-swearing and intersquad battles. It would be hard to believe this group coming together and shouting 'Long Live the Legion'.

I feel that DC may have pulled the plug abruptly on the book. Shooter uses a pseudonym on this book, Justin Thyme. I am sure this is explained somewhere on his blog. And art is not by Francis Manapul here but the serviceable if less polished Ramon Bachs. But with the book canceled, we get almost no closure on everything that had been simmering away.

How sad that I was happy the book was ending.

The virtual world has decided to go all out in their attacks on the UP. Over a hundred hard light worlds have appeared throughout UP space. The saurian like technoconstructs the team has been fighting all along are running roughshod throughout the system. All seems lost.

But Brainy has an idea. He once again explains that the actual villains exist on what he calls 'The Infinity Net'. The planets, the troops, the weapons are all physical avatars of programs on this net which is stored on the wifi signal of the universe itself. That means the Legion and the SciPo can slaughter these unliving beasts without worry.

Realizing it will be impossible to outfight an inexhaustible army, Brainy decides the best way to defeat their foes is to fight them on their own virtual turf. He brings in his assault team, seven Legionnaires against the world.

Why this group? What can Invisible Kid or Saturn Girl do on a virtual landscape?

As usual, I just have to roll with Brainy's science.

He has built a device where he can download the Legionnaires into the virtual world. There they can bring the fight to another front.

How can Brainy do this? It all seems very much like The Matrix. Their bodies will be vulnerable in the physical world while they fight away in fake world.

Invisible Kid was inexplicably one of the Legionnaires brought to war. I'm not sure why.

But Kid is a bit too self-conscious of his scrawny real physique to show himself finally to Gazelle, the hero he has been crushing on. Lyle gave Brainy a program to modify and augment his avatar's appearance. Now brawny and manly, Invisible Kid can have some confidence around Gazelle.

And of course, Gazelle can't help but throw herself onto the musclebound Invisible Kid. Even Saturn Girl wonders just what the hell is going on.

I still wonder what Shooter's issues are with women.

Inside the Infinity Web, the Legion encounters the UP Ambassador that was de-rezzed and downloaded within the last issues.

The ambassador gives us some backstory of these aliens. Long ago the race decided that the physical world was a place of violence, war, and sin. As a result, they opted out. Creating a device, the entered the Matrix. And they decided that everything should be converted this way.

The technoconstructs became their vanguard, downloading everything into the database and removing the physical construct from reality.

The Matrix environment is an idyllic place. So with little defenses to skirmish with, the Legionnaires on the inside are able to march along basically unimpeded.

But as noted before, the physical bodies of the Legionnaires are helpless. The constructs break into Brainy's lab and rips their bodies to shreds.

Unlike the Matrix, being 'unplugged' doesn't killing the Legion members. They are still running around the Infinity Web.

But there is a bit more to just roll with.

Brainy is able to activate his force shield in the real world protecting himself. And somehow ... somehow ... Invisible Kid's extra programming gives Brainy a worm into the actual operating system of the virtual world. With free reign on the virtual world, Brainy makes the virtual environment a hellish chaotic landscape, smashing the other culture and shutting it down. The real world is safe.

So basically, Brainy saves the day. The Legionnaires on the inside don't do much of anything.

It's a deus ex machina.

But what about the dead Legionnaires.

Well, Brainy was able to somehow regrow the dead bodies completely. Brainy has basically discovered immortality.

The 'new' Legionnaires are back and as good as ever.

And if he can do this, download personalities into grown bodies, what is to stop him from doing more?

He uploads Dream Girl's spirit from his mind into the Legion computer and then downloads it into a new body he grew for her. She's back. Let's plan a wedding.

And that ends the series.
What about Projectra? Brainy's personality? The woman sending love letters to Ultra Boy? The heroes taken to the 41st century?
All dropped.

I wish I could wax poetic about this. I wish I could write something of a wrap-up of the series with this issue. But I can't.

I'm tired of this series and Shooter's stories. So let's just say, the series ends suddenly and rather blandly.

I'll do a big Threeboot review post next week.

What did you all think? I would love to hear from someone who loved the book.


  1. Well, I'm not the one who can chime up in defense of the Shooter run. I actually just finished writing up the threeboot myself on my blog, and I feel like my thoughts paralleled yours:

  2. I thought the threeboot started excellently, although with some easily-correctable flaws (i.e. villains not memorable, pace a little slow, etc.). But then the Lightning Saga happened, and it took the wind out of the book's sails. Waid and Kitson left the title shortly thereafter, and that was that. I didn't care for what Shooter did with the title, although I recognized that at least he was trying something original, in contrast to the way Geoff Johns was using the retroboot Legion for nothing more than an exercise in nostalgia. The threeboot could have been great. But it wasn't.

  3. Shooter added some interesting elements and did have a strong idea of the characters both historically and the Waid run changes, but the stories seem to get bogged down in endless sideplots, I'm sure at least some of them editorial mandates.
    And that pseudo-swearing got ridiculous really fast!
    It was sad DC didn't let him at least have the extra pages to finish the series with some grace.

  4. The Legion had a history of being okay with cloned bodies (even if they only lasted a day) so I'm not sure what Brainy does here is any worse than that.