Thursday, July 27, 2017

Reboot: Legionnaires #44

Legionnaires #44 (January 1997)
title: "Taking a Licking"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeff Moy
inkers: W.C. Carani
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
associate editor: Ruben Diaz
editor (licked the spoon): KC Carlson
cover: Jeff Moy & W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainaic 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Live Wire, Magno, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Spark, Triad, Umbra, XS

Athramites, Chuck Taine, Commissioner Arolak, Koko, Lori Morning, Marla Latham, Rond Vidar, Tenzil Chem

Legion of Super-Rejects (Cherry Bomb, Density, Phantom Lad, Tongue); Mordru (behind the scenes)

The Legion, split in half when part of its membership was lost in time, has recently held well-attended try-outs. Sensor, Umbra and Magno were selected to join.

On her 11th birthday, Lori Morning is lured to the canteen where the Legionnaires offer her cake. Rond Vidar, whom she has a crush on, takes the opportunity to sap the chronal energy that has aged her to her twenties so she reverts the body of  child. She runs off, humiliated. Rond wants the energy so he can contact the lost Legionnaires in the past, but that communication is all too brief, and he doesn't have time to get time machine specs from Brainiac 5 before it collapses. Both XS and Live Wire do notice how close Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl see to be, however.
Meanwhile, the three rookies, Magno, Sensor and Umbra, have been sent on a routine mission to an asteroid mining facility which has suffered a cave-in due to the interference of the Legion of Super-Rejects, would-be "heroes" who want revenge for not having been selected in the recent try-outs. Early on, Sensor and Magno are taken out of commission, leaving the warrior-like Umbra to deal with all four Rejects. Which she does. The other Legionnaires are impressed, but worry about what appears to be a tomb broken open during the cave-in, its resident, a "MORD--" missing.
Back on Earth, an angry Lori feels like she has no friends, but XS and Kinetix come to her quarters and assure her they are. XS even confides in her about her crush on Cosmic Boy and how she's accepted it was never meant to be, just as Lori should accept her true age.
Oh, dear god what have they done to poor Lori? I mean, I didn’t really like her, but imagine going through all this! I’m sure she would’ve never agreed to be brought back in the body of an eleven-year-old but considering that it was to help retrieve the other members of the Legion, I’m sure she could’ve become more reasonable. I understand Rond’s motivation to keep this to himself, but it's still pretty cruel to do all this without asking permission. I’m glad XS could make her understand that she’s better off living an illusion-free life.
We’ve been covering so many different comics and showcases, that I had already forgotten about the newly recruited Legionnaires. Sensor’s always calm and you can see that the others respect her. She seems wise and respectful. I like her a lot! I think Magno's positive attitude might be a little too much. It’s great that he’s pumped to be part of the team, but with the other members so close to coming back, will he even be needed? Anyway, much better to have a cheerful attitude towards everything than act like Umbra. From what Siskoid wrote last time we saw her, I get that she is the Reboot version of Shadow Lass. It is quite obvious when everyone is still calling her by that name. She isn’t the best team player and seems to question authority a lot. Why would she even want to be in the Legion? Plus, she spits on French accents... Well ma chère, you’re definitely not winning me over right now. Fair enough, Tongue was repulsive and I hate reading that French accent myself, but still...
Mmmm I’m sure Siskoid will understand the hint coming from the tombstone, but I don’t. I guess it reveals a hint concerning the next villain the Legion will have to face.

Why does Tongue even talk like that? Why does he look and sound like a hybrid of Marvel's Toad and Batroc the Leaper? Why didn't these Rejects even appear in the try-out issue? Wouldn't it have made more sense to pick from people we saw in the crowd? Not that they give any BUT Tongue their due (I get it, his powers are crazy and it's amusing, but then don't do the whole Legion of Super-Rejects thing). Though that's also the case with Umbra getting the lion's share of the action. I kind of get that a darkness-projecting character might need a proof of concept story - it seems like a weak power on paper - but if this is to be the rookies' first mission, they really should ALL have shone. And yeah, Umbra's a bit abrasive, but I don't necessarily dislike that, especially since it comes with a wicked sense of humor.
As for the Lori stuff, I kind of like that the surprise party is more or less engineered using Umbra's powers, which means that's twice in a row she'd have been asked to do something she thinks is beneath her station. Getting Lori back to her own age is necessary, I think, because stuff like romantic subplots between tweens and older teens makes you squirm no matter what body the younger character is actually wearing (see Arisia of the Green Lantern Corps), and it becomes a bonding moment for Lori, XS and Kinetix. I like the smaller friendships within the Legion's large ranks, and putting these characters, essentially characters born of the Reboot, together allows for something new to happen.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1997/1
  • The issue has one scene in common with Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #88, which explains where Brainiac 5's monkey, though Koko's first appearance is actually Impulse #21, which comes before that issue.
  • In the original continuity, the Legion of Super-Rejects first appeared in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #212 (Oct 1975); Phantom Lad is the only member it has in common with this group. Note that while they all complain about having been rejected by the Legion, did were not seen during the try-outs in Legionnaires #43.
  • At one point, Tongue calls Umbra "the shadow-lass", a reference to the original continuity's Tasmia Mallor.
  • While Mordru does not make his first Reboot appearance yet, the cave-in in this story does seem to release him from his tomb/prison, so this is the first indication that he exists in this reality.
  • Lori wears an oversized sports jersey with Blue Devil on the front.


  1. I think Tongue sounds like that because he looks like a frog and that's a derogatory term for the French, right?

    1. Frogs b Frogs.

      Honestly, as someone who's been called a frog in derogatory fashion (like, shouted at from a car sort of thing), I probably didn't want to face up to it, but of course, you're right. That's exactly what it is. Doesn't make any kind of story sense though.

  2. I would totally accept that an alien species developed a "French" accent, as a parallel divergence sort of thing (every planet has a North...), but then having him cry out "Sacre Bleu!" makes no sense.