Thursday, November 2, 2017

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #93

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #93 (June 1997)
title: "Knight Shift"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Michael Collins

inkers: Drew Geraci and Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Saturn Girl, Spark, Triad, Ultra Boy

Dr. Welles, Ferro, Inferno, Ingot, Koko, Shvaughn Erin, de-aged seniors, Doc 30's patients, hospital staff

Doc 30, Fangg, Kritter, Psych, Rockslide, Taser

Half of the Legion is lost in time. After meeting up with the other half in the time vortex, the Legionnaires manage to get a medical kit from the future to help a comatose Cosmic Boy in the 20th Century, but fail to actually return home, instead adding Triad to their number (and taking a side-trip to 1958). Currently palling around with the Legion is the 20th Century's Ferro, who escaped from an institution during the so-called Final Night...

The Legion returns from its time trip and is able to awaken Cosmic Boy from his coma, but not thanks to the med kit. Saturn Girl almost magically brings him back to consciousness. In the wake of their return, Gates mentions how his opinion of the Legion has changed seeing them put their lives on the line for one another in the time stream, which sparks something in Ferro.
Ferro decides to return to Doc 30's institution, where his brother and many "freaks" are still held in terrible conditions. The young inmates are neglected and abused, their only hope to become part of the Knight Shift, ruthless inmates-turned-guards.
Ferro is allowed in to see his twin brother Douglas, who says he'd rather stay than be rescued seeing as he broke into Doc 30's office after he was told Ferro was dead, and found papers proving 30 paid off judges to get custody of all these kids, and diverted federal funds for his own use. In other words, no one cares about "freaks" and there's no place for them on the outside. But when the Knight Shift tries to recapture Ferro, Douglas turns on them and is killed. Other inmates are liberated in the ensuing fight and they turn on their captors. Doc 30 is almost immediately killed and the riot only stopped when Cosmic Boy arrives like a white knight.
At Douglas' funeral, Cos gives Ferro a Legion ring, an invitation to join the team when he's ready.

What a sad backstory for Ferro. I don’t recall if it was the same we were told when we rated him a long while ago in “Legionnaires: Hot or Not?”. I sure hope he will join the team, and sooner than later because if he takes too much time to accept the invitation, he might miss the opportunity as they’re still trying to go back to the 30th Century. I’d like to see him adapt to the future.

Interesting powers from the Knight Shift. It’s a bit of a shame we don’t see more of them, I think. I know they’re evil, working for the corrupt Doc 30, but what would you do in their places? It was either join the Knight Shift or be oppressed by them. Of course, they look like they’re having a ton of fun while doing their job, so we can question their motivation. Not all elements of the team are of interest in my opinion, but I do like the look of Psych and Fangg. Gotta give credit to the creative team, they come up with some cool powers and looks for all these characters. Must be tough to avoid repetition, but a fun challenge to meet.
Now on Rokk’s condition: He seems to be doing fine, but clearly there is some sort of problem with his mind. We see him awake and in good shape, but is he healed or is it just Imra’s mind control that’s allowing him to be with them? Imagine if, from now on, Rokk would be dependent of Imra just to function normally. I might be reading too much into this, but to me it feels too cliché and cheesy that all he really needed was for her to call him back. I also think it would bring a whole new perspective on their relationship, making them all the more inseparable. I guess the next issues will prove me right or wrong on this question.
Oh I don't think I like the Knight Shift at all. They're too elaborate for a one-shot threat, and while some powers are interesting permutations on classic abilities, as soon as Doc 30 shows up in his flying wheelchair, the jig was up. Far from original, these guys are just the X-Men, or one of the many mutant groups Marvel was publishing in the horrid speculator-market 90s. I did think Taser looked like a distorted Cyclops. And while there are some interesting costume elements (Psych's head, for example), a lot of it is very 90s X-TREME indeed, which isn't an aesthetic I care for. Throw in uneven art by Michael Collins - women with absurdly tiny waists, difficult to follow action, distorted perspectives - and you've got a real mess on your hands.

After all, this is a story that should have been told much sooner. When Ferro first started hanging out with the Legion, he should have right then and there felt the need to get his brother. Had he done so right after Final Night, it would have made more sense for him to go in alone. Or heck, make the Legion arrive from its trip later. As is, Ferro realizes families/friends should have each other's backs, and then... decides not to ask the Legion for help? Doesn't work. Not to say the tragedy doesn't work, but the plot is forced and trite. Douglas dies so there aren't two Ferros running around, basically, and to cut any ties Ferro might have to the 20th Century. That last page where he finally gets invited to the Legion is quite touching, however. "They called you a hero. Ferro? So do we."
Now can I FINALLY put him in the Mission Monitor Board?!

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1997/12.
  • The Knight Shift are meant to be analogs of at least some of Marvel's mutants, including Cyclops (Taser), Phoenix (Psych), Wolverine (Fangg), Avalanche (Rockslide) and Cypher/Warlock (Kritter). Doc 30 is Professor X. Perhaps one of the Nolan brothers was to be their Colossus.
  • Douglas Nolan originally appeared in Adventure Comics #354 believing he was his brother Ferro Lad. The Reboot's version of Nolan dies in this issue.
  • Ferro is finally offered membership in the Legion.


  1. See, here's what I don't get thanks to LO3W. How could there have been an Andrew and Douglas Nolan with the power to turn into iron in the 20th Century, and then a COMPLETELY SEPARATE pair of them in the 31st Century?

    Johns, you do not think these things out.

  2. Isn't it possible that Infinite Crisis wiped the 20th Century Ferros along with the Reboot Legion?

    1. No Ferro was integral to LO3W, and they still had a Ferro Lad memorial. Remember, Ferro didn't come from Earth-247. They picked him up from the main DCU's present.

    2. I'd have to read it again, but think of it THIS way:
      During the Reboot, there is no multiverse. Zero Hour has reconfigured history to create the Reboot, and retcon Ferro into the 20th Century, turn Phase into not-Tinya, etc.

      When history is again changed, creating the Threeboot, presumably 20th Century Ferro doesn't join the Legion because they don't take part in Final Night. Or actually, they do, because during those events, Superman remembered the original/5YL versions of the Legion. From this we can infer that in the Single DC Universe, the future is mutable from the present's perspective, so that time travelers might come from (or reach) mutually exclusive timelines, or barring that, the future changes but any trips to the present are not erased. Therefore, we may meet various versions of the Legion who eventually go back to a doomed probability. If that's the case, Ferro went to the future... and vanished.

      Then, Infinite Crisis recreates the multiverse thanks to Superboy punches. This creates any number of changed to history just as Crisis and Zero Hour did, up to and including putting each of those timelimes on their own Earths. Ferro still left from our continuous post-Crisis present, but joined a team that is on Earth-247. Meanwhile, the original continuity and Ferro Lad are restored and put on Earth-2. The Threeboot is said to be Earth-Prime's future. So there really aren't two Andrew Nolan's from the same Earth.

  3. Honestly, both books were abysmal at this time. I haven't read the stories in over 20 years and I have no desire.

    1. While this issue is poorer than most of the run, I have to disagree. "Abysmal" is hyperbole even if one didn't like the Reboot's take.

  4. Filler. They had to do SOMETHING with the five issues before they could start the three-parter climax. But Ferro deserved better.

    I never noticed the whole X-Men analogue thing before, but it's kinda obvious now? But it's an issue that simultaneously annoys me with wonky character design AND makes me wonder why they went to all that work on a set of one-off villains. I feel like they could have done a few issues on Ferro's background or had them come after him or SOMETHING.

    The issue felt rushed, and at the same time, it wasn't over fast enough.

    At least the other book was firing on all cylinders with the Mordru storyline. And if nothing else, the "team stuck in the past" saga got me into Impulse, and that in turn into Young Justice, so it was worth it.