Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reboot: Legionnaires #43

Legionnaires #43 (December 1996)
title: "New Blood"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inkers: W.C. Carani and Philip Moy
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
associate editor: Ruben Diaz
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Jeffrey Moy & W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Chameleon, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Live Wire, M'Onel, Magno, Sensor, Star Boy, Triad, Umbra, XS

Arachno, Athramites, Blast-Off, Brad Majors, Cannus, Cat-Claws, Chlorophyll Kid, Chuck Taine, Derek Morgna, Dirk Morgna, Dragonmage, Dreamer, Hectorrr Arroo, Keema Delf, Lori Morning, Macaw, Night Girl, Particon, Polar Boy, Radion, Spider-Girl, Splitter (Arm-Fall-Off Boy), Stone Boy, Tenzil Chem; Cameos for Blockade Boy, Charma, Color Kid, Comet Queen, Crystal Kid, Dev-Em, Fire Lad, Graffiti King, Kid Psycho, Infectious Lass, Ladybug, Monstress, Plant Lad, Sugar & Spike (as teenagers), Tellus, Weight Wizard; lots of would-be heroes

Leland McCauley

At the end of a battle with the Emerald Eye-possessed Shrinking Violet, half the Legion disappeared into the time stream. Now, the 30th-Century team is lacking in manpower...

The Legion holds try-outs and hundreds of sentients show up at Legion Plaza to show their stuff. New leader Live Wire gets rid of a large chunk of them by reminding them artificial powers are not allowed. That still leaves 445 applicants!
Among those rejected, radiation-powered Blast-Off, Radion and Particon are recruited by Leland McCauley for the Work Force. He passes on the diminutive Polar Boy who soon meets Night Girl and wonders how they might put their powers to good use. Live Wire summarily dismisses Dragonmage after learning his powers are mystical in nature, something the teenage sorcerer predicts the Legion will regret. And there's Dreamer, whose powers have a narcoleptic side-effect that drums her out of the competition (amusingly, she foresees it), but not out of Star Boy's heart!
In the end, five applicants make it to the final test, one that uses Chameleon to simulate an attack to see who has the requisite bravery and resolve. Former U.P. Academy enrollee Cannus and the arm-fall-off youth known as Splitter fail. Those who make it are a Braalian code-named Magno (even if Garth is loathe to replace Cosmic Boy), the shade-casting Tasmia Mallor of Talok VIII AKA Umbra, and Sensor, an illusion-projecting princess who is revealed as a giant snake, to everyone's (surprising?) delight. These three happily join the team.
Oh wow… Quite the cover we have there! I’m sure there are plenty of references and winks to past eras in this one picture plus the one at pages 2 and 3. From the try-outs, I recognized what seemed to be members of the Legion of Substitute Heroes. There was that Chespin guy (Pokémon reference), the one that made tree grows… Can’t remember his name. Was Floyd one of the rejects we rated? Splitting into pieces, creepy! Then there’s Dirk’s comment about being part of the Legion in another reality. Nice touch! Way better to have him stay out though. No need for the most hated Hot or Not contender to get back in the ranks. I think the most interesting guest appearance has to be Lydda Jath. She’s Night Girl, right? The one Rokk was dating in the previous continuity? I like how they made her a fan of Cosmic Boy. Considering that we just read the Final Night run, in which Imra and Rokk got together, I feel like her arrival in the main timeline is a way to keep the original readers on edge. Can Imrokk survive the pull from Garth and Lydda once they come back? Interesting!
It seems the recruitment went as smoothly as it could. I love how they decided to erect a privacy field to protect the contenders from unwanted attention and mockery but, in a way, I’m sure it helped them feel more at ease when showing off what they could do. Trying out for the Legion must be stressful enough as it is without having your exploits – or lack of them - broadcasted everywhere. It was definitely a bad call from Garth to stop Dragonmage only because of their past experiences with sorcery. I get it, but still… Now the Legion has one more sorcerer against them. Can’t be good for the team. I like Umbra and Sensor a lot. Terrific additions to the team! I wonder how Cosmic Boy will react once he’ll be back and realize another member now has super-magnetism as well. Again, I can’t wait for the whole group to be reunited.

I love Legion try-outs, they're my favorite Legion trope. So I took up the task of tracking down as many references to the past as I could, and probably still missed some. I'm sure our readers will help.  And yes, that is totally Night Girl, glad you remember those discussions, and in point of fact, being a fan of Cosmic Boy and wanting to join the Legion so she could meet him and flirt with him isn't new - it was always part of her back story! Simpler times. Try-outs invariably come with fun comedic moments featuring silly superheroes who really don't deserve a shot at the Legion. Whether it's Cat Claws flying into the air, the Graffiti King in the background, or Stone Boy being carted off at the end of the day, there's lots here to smile at and chuckle over. (Even a good old-fashioned spit take.)
It's part of the trope that Legion rejects tend to go bad, proving why they weren't good picks in the first place (the lovable ones become Subs instead). Blast-Off et al. going to Work Force isn't quite that, but their apparently interest in money kind of fits the bill. Anyway, energy blasts are kind of a boring power. I refuse to think Dragonmage was making threats though. I think he knows there's worse than the Emerald Eye and Mysa out there; can Mordru already be in the works?
As for the Legionnaires they DO pick, I can't make myself are about Magno, who if you noticed, wasn't great at team work. He pushed Splitter out of the way in rude fashion. Bring back Cos! Shadow Lass - I mean, Umbra (hey, if they changed her name, why an "S" on her costume?) - is an old favorite, and I really want the series to explore her role as planetary champion and all that. Note the change in her powers, the darkfield semi-permeable, a trap for those within, which makes her stand out from the team's new illusion-caster. As for Sensor, that is a ballsy reinvention of Projectra, but one that makes sense and adds to the team's non-humanoid contingent (which has recently "lost" Gates). I think she's pretty cool, and it seems the Legion has moved beyond its xemophobic phase; they do too!
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1996/22
  • The cover shows the Uncanny Amazers' Monstress, but she does not appear inside the issue. There with her are teenage versions of Sugar & Spike (talkative babies from DC's '60s humor comics; this, according to artist Jeffrey Moy), and what appears to be caricatures of the creative team (one of them as Kid Psycho).
  • As in the original continuity, the following characters try out for the Legion (either on-panel or not) and are rejected: Night Girl (originally rejected in Adventure Comics #306), Polar Boy (in Adventure Comics #306), Radion (formerly known as Radiation Roy, in Adventure Comics #320), Splitter (formerly known as Arm-Fall-Off Boy, in Secret Origins v2 #46), Stone Boy (in Adventure Comics #306), Chlorophyll Kid (in Adventure Comics #306), Color Kid (in Adventure Comics #342), Comet Queen (in Legion of Super-Heroes v3 #14, introduced in Legion of Super-Heroes v2 #304), Crystal Kid (in Legion of Super-Heroes v2 #272), Fire Lad (in Adventure Comics #306), Kid Psycho (in Superboy #125), and Infectious Lass (in Superboy #201).
  • Some characters who were inducted in the Legion in the previous continuity, are rejected this time: Dragonmage (a member of the SW6 Legion), Dreamer (formerly Dream Girl), and Tellus.
  • The following characters, who never tried out for the Legion in the original continuity here do (either on-panel or not) and are rejected: Blockade Boy (introduced in Adventure Comics #344), Charma (a villain and partner to Grimbor, in Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #221), Dev-Em, Ladybug, Plant Lad (in Adventure Comics #344), and Weight Wizard (in Adventure Comics #344).
  • There are also a number of original characters who try out for the Legion (either on-panel or not) but are rejected: Arachno, Blast-Off, Cannus (who first appeared in Showcase '95 #6), Cat-Claws, Ladybug, Macaw, Particon, and Graffiti King.
  • The following characters make their first appearance in the Reboot and join the Legion: Umbra (formerly known as Shadow Lass, who first appeared in Adventure Comics #365), Sensor (Princess Jeka Wynzorr's name, homeworld - Orando - and initial illusory appearance make it clear this is the Reboot version of Princess Projectra/Sensor Girl, nicknamed "Jeckie", who first appeared in Adventure Comics #346), and Magno (first appearance).
  • The Legion Constitution is evoked, specifically Article 3.1.ii, which requires members to have at least one genuine super-power not assisted by technology.
  • Dirk Morgna muses about the joining the Legion in another reality; he did, as Sun Boy.
  • There is talk of starting a Legion Academy, an institution originally introduced in Adventure Comics #371.
  • In the original continuity, Dream Girl's real name of Nura Nal seemed suspect as she came from Naltor. In the Reboot, it is explained she changed it from Schnappin specifically to sound like her homeworld.
  • The original Dream Girl and Star Boy were one of the Legion's most famous couples. Not coincidentally, they strike up a romance here despite her being rejected as a member.

First Legion try-outs of the Reboot era.
First Reboot appearances for Umbra (formerly Shadow Lass) and Sensor (formerly Projectra) - both join the team, along with Magno Boy - as well as Night Girl, Polar Boy, Stone Boy, Dragonmage, Chlorophyll Kid, Color Kid, Comet Queen, Fire Lad, Infectious Lass, Tellus, and a number of lesser lights.


  1. "hey, if they changed her name, why an "S" on her costume?"

    It's not an "S." On her planet, it stands for hope.

  2. Radion's not an original character, he's the Reboot version of Radiation Roy.

  3. I always loved the old tryouts. They were great comedy relief and, of course, a chance to introduce new characters who could become either heroes (like the subs) or adversaries (like Jungle King or Ron Kar). I always pictured, say, Matter-Eater Lad saying to someone: "Your power just isn't good enough." And the rejected applicant replying: "Oh, yeah! Well, you eat stuff! Oooh, mighty power there!"

  4. I'm always amazed at how Jeff Moy manages to pull off those crowd scenes -- not just the hundreds of people on panel, but all the cameos to boot!

    This was a fun issue that manages to lay the groundwork for some future storylines and introduce a ton of characters that willa ctually show up later. Pretty successful overall, I'd say!

    There's even what looks like a Borg drown on Page 5. Makes me wonder what all we're missing in here!

    But I do have one question. There's a woman wearing a duck on her head on the cover. Who the heck is that supposed to be??

  5. That a character looks like a Borg is probably nothing more that Moy being a fan of Star Trek (he's inserted TNG characters in backgrounds before).

    As for the duck thing, I'm sure that's a real person, possibly working at DC, and the duck is an inside joke.