Monday, July 17, 2017

Legion of Super Heroes S02 E03: Cry Wolf

"Cry Wolf" was written by J.M. DeMatteis and directed by James Tucker, original airdate: October 6, 2007, review by Glenn 'Continuity Kid' Walker

Mission Monitor Board: Timber Wolf, Cosmic Boy, Chameleon Boy, Superman X, Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, and Phantom Girl.

Opponents: Dr. Mar Londo, Dr. Yin Des Neerg, Biogolems. 

Guest-stars and cameos: Duo Damsel, Star Boy, Dream Girl, Blok, Shrinking Violet, Element Lad, Tyroc.

Just as the second story of the first season was Timber Wolf centric, so is the second story of the second season. We open on Dr. Mar Londo bringing his newest creations to the Interplanetary Federation of Scientists – biogolems, synthetic beings engineered to follow his slightest command. They kind of look like naked Chitauri from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before any demonstration can take place, Timber Wolf comes out of the crowd to confront his father, stating that he usually experiments on living beings, like his own son.

Dramatically the Legionnaire takes the stage and as he makes more accusations, Timber Wolf begins to mutate and become more vicious, even howling before lunging at his father. Just then the action stops, letting us know it's video of something that happened in the past. Timber Wolf is on trial by the Legion… for murder!

The episode was directed by showrunner James Tucker, and written by J.M. DeMatteis, who while a very good comic book writer, I remember him more for my least favorite runs on favorite series like Justice League and Defenders. However, that said, this story seems to riff more off the animated series than any comics source material, so this might be good. But any questions about the law and a murder case being handled and tried by a bunch of teenaged superhero types are considerably iffy.

Nevertheless a tribunal of Legionnaires led by Cosmic Boy sentence Timber Wolf, defended by Chameleon Boy, to a life sentence on Takron-Galtos. Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy, and Lightning Lad, those who know Timber Wolf best, according to Cham, are not present, said to be halfway across the galaxy battling the Dominators. This ties in to last episode's revelation that Imperiex had formed an alliance with the Dominators. At that moment however, Timber Wolf chooses to unleash his strength and escape. After a skirmish with a handful of Legionnaires, Timber Wolf is revealed to be Chameleon Boy in disguise, with the real thing free.

On the run, and still suffering from headaches that those of us watching carefully believe to be the work of his father, Timber Wolf heads to a bar ironically called Dark Side, above which is the lab of a friend of his father's named Dr. Yin Des Neerg (roughly Sid Greene spelled backwards, maybe an homage, but I don't think the Silver Age inker ever touched Legion). His internal monologue speaks to his animal nature and he is always fighting for control, and worst of all, he's not sure if he killed his father or not. But of course, as we didn't really see it onscreen, we can't be sure he's dead at all. That aside, I dug Timber Wolf's horror/film noir voiceover.

Meeting with Neerg, with a Peter Lorre vibe to his voice, Timber Wolf tries to interrogate him to find out what happened as the little fellow has all his father's notes. When the Legion finds them, another clash happens, spilling into the bar, where Brin enlists the help of the scum and villainy there to distract the Legion. When Wolf once again turns bestial he is able to best the Legion, and escapes with Chameleon Boy as Neerg back to the scene of the crime. Phantom Girl is also on board as well, maybe hinting at the romance that existed in the later reboot comics.

Once on Heisenberg 7, the scene of the crime, Timber Wolf conjures Wolverine by 'doing what he does best' and scoping out the scents in the room to see what really happened there. As he realizes he actually did it, he becomes his giant savage self again. He escapes again, and this time heads home, not to Zoon as in the comics, but to his animated home at least, the planet called Raal. There he finds Dad, or at least a clone of him. He set him up to prove how his new invention works – nanites that mind control people, nanites used to control Timber Wolf. When the Legion shows up, Mar Londo sics his son on them, along with those biogolems as well.

While his dad gets away again, making some noise about having new sons (possibly the biogolems) but also new friends who require an army, that he could now provide with the biogolems and/or nanites. Could that be Imperiex or the Dominators? Time will tell. In the end, Timber Wolf gains self-control over the feral transformations, and possibly a new power to… shall we say, wolf-hulk out when needed? There is also a re-confirmation that the Legion is Brin's family.

A few Science Police notes here in this one. This is the second episode of the series not to feature Superman. Also it does prominently feature Sun Boy, without much of a speaking role however. His costume is a dramatic version of his usual comics costume, but with long flowing fire-like hair, similar to Starfire of the New Teen Titans. There is also more of a fire motif to the boots, and gloves which are new, an opal chest symbol, and no sleeves, also new. His eyes are pupil-less as well, and yellow like the sun. No matter how you slice though, it's miles better than the costume he wore in the Bugs Bunny/Legion of Super-Heroes one-shot a few weeks back. That was truly hideous.

There is some friction between Cosmic Boy and Superman X in this episode, and all I could think is why is Cos taking that crap from him? For someone who was so adamant to convict and imprison a longtime teammate like Timber Wolf, Cos should have had no problem striking down the new kid for mouthing off, right? I just didn't get it.

And one Science Police note on the actual Science Police. Remarks are made about getting the Science Police after Timber Wolf, and that he'd never be able to handle all of them. Are the Legion afraid of the Science Police? And what kind of fire power are they packing to handle Timber Wolf? These are offhand comments but that really got to me as to what they really meant. If they're so tough, why not send the Science Police after Imperiex and the Dominators?

Next: Chained Lightning! 


  1. Cosmic Boy in the animated series was written as so wholly unlikable in pretty much every appearance except the Legion's origin that any kind of jerky behavior felt believable. I don't know why the writers made that choice.

    1. I think the fact that Cos was not chosen as a lead to begin with says volumes about how the animated showrunners felt about the character. Shame.

  2. Having not seen the episode or anything, I'm just kind of spitballing here. But with a film noir-style voiceover and a Peter Lorre voice, it may be that Yin Des Neerg is a reference to Sydney Greenstreet, who was the main antagonist in The Maltese Falcon. (Bogart, Greenstreet, and Lorre also appeared together in Casablanca.)

    1. That is an excellent spitball, my friend, and I bet you may be right. I can't believe I didn't think of that reference. Good call.