Thursday, November 9, 2017

Reboot: Legionnaires #50

Legionnaires #50 (July 1997)
title: "The Bride of Mordru"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inkers: W.C. Carani and Philip Moy
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson
adult legionnaires: Joe Edkin and Carmela Merlo
cover: Adam Hughes
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Chameleon, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Live Wire, M'Onel, Magno, Sensor, Star Boy, Umbra, Violet, XS; in flashback: Apparition, Cosmic Boy, Leviathan, Spark, Triad

Andromeda, Atom'X (in flashback), Dragonmage, Fleet Admiral Everett, General Hol, Mysa, R.J. Brande, Uncanny Amazers (Kid Quantum II, Monstress), Workforce (Blast-Off, Particon, Radion); medical staff, mystics (in flashback), ship crew

Emerald Eye of Ekron, Mordru; in flashback: Micro Lad

The wizard Mordru has been collecting all his old artifacts so he can use them to take over the universe again. The last of these is the Emerald Eye of Ekron, which has a mind of its own. As he struggles to get it under control, a force combining the Legion, the Uncanny Amazers and Work Force has assembled to bring him to justice for destroying the planet Sklar. One hero, Atom'X, has already been killed by trying to stop him alone. To prevent Mordru from taking control of the Eye, Violet merges with it, and offers herself up as a bride...

"Veye" offers herself to Mordru, and he creates an opaque bubble around them the better to discuss the terms of their partnership. The Legion's task force takes that opportunity to go down to the planet and prepare an attack. Particon uses her power lance to break through at which point a first wave of heroes attack Mordru and don't let up. Destabilized by Kid Quantum's temporal distortions, he is kept from fighting back effectively.
Mysa, Kinetix and Sensor grab Veye and bring her to another dimension where they try to separate Violet and the Eye. When talking fails, Mysa casts a spell that rips them apart. They return to the normal universe just in time to see Mordru, having grown into a giant, overcoming Kid Quantum's power and killing Blast-Off. But this second wave of attacks ends with Mordru de-aging Mysa and asking his daughter - shocker - to join him. She refuses. The missing Violet reappears, having hidden in shrunken form on the Eye, and uses it to join the fray.
Then another wave of attacks designed to confuse Mordru. He tries to turn the tide by grabbing the Eye (actually Chameleon Boy in disguise) and blasting the task force. They appear to all be killed, but this is an illusion cast by Sensor, while Kinetix deprives him of air and Element Lad creates a shell around him. He is once again made dormant, and the Legion is free to treat its wounded and attend services for the dead.
Invisible Kid talks about resigning after losing two men in the fight. Atom’X and Blast-off are lost forever, but what the whole task force accomplished together is incredible, no matter how costly it was. Plus, he can’t really blame himself for Atom’X’s impulsive actions. If he would’ve only followed the plan, maybe the number of casualties would’ve been cut by half, who knows. Invisible Kid was able to organize the attack, to use everyone’s abilities only when needed, provoking a continuous blast against Mordru. This brilliant plan brought them victory. He was able to coordinate his teammates’ power perfectly AND work with volunteers he just met. He had close to no time to learn more about their powers and, yet, he managed to give them all purposes and goals. Lyle’s leadership and tactical thinking are undeniably incredible. He simply can’t quit this position. I refuse. Is that clear? Good!
I’m so glad to see Violet back to her old self. When Mysa isolated the Eye, I thought she was lost. How clever of her to shrink and wait for the best opportunity to reappear. All along, I was torn when it comes to Mysa. I though she orchestrated all this in order to keep the power of the Eye for herself. I was even more scared the minute it was revealed that she was Mordru’s daughter. I think I need to become more trusting of the Legion’s allies. Though, to be fair, her track record is pretty terrible, so my impulse wasn’t all that misplaced. She proved herself many times during the last couple of issues, be it by her input, the way she worked with the Eye – even though Sensor’s the real MVP when helping Vi to free herself from the Eye’s influence – and her way of defying her own father were all key elements in victory. Now whatever happened to the Eye? Where did it go? How can we know it won’t come back to bite the Legion? Will Mysa start seeking it again? Or join forces with the Legion? Again, so many questions!
Oh… And I’m not done yet! What is wrong with Magno? Why can’t they tell us right away? Is he losing his power? Looks to me like the writers are getting the transition ready for the moment Cosmic Boy will come back. It’s sad to say, but two Legionnaires with the exact same skill set, not very effective. About Radion now. The poor kid... Is he gonna be alright? I can’t imagine they will just radiate his face and never address this issue, so what impact will this have on his power?
I think Magno was just injured by the big blast that killed Blast-Off. And Radion? I feel like that metal mask is a reference to something in Legion history, can't put my finger on it... Anyway, there's a lot of attention given to some of these non-Legion heroes, so there's every expectation that at least some of them will one day join the Legion. Too many "energy blasters", so they're the ones that get killed, but start naming your favorites. At least SOME will get a shot at a Legion ring, just don't remember how soon.
Shotgun's Top Picks for Legion Membership: Kid Quantum, Monstress
Siskoid's Top Picks (regardless of what he knows is coming): Kid Quantum, Mysa

And not to say the regular Legionnaires don't get perfectly good moments as well. What impresses me about this issue is that it really is all action, but it's intelligent action. Powers are used well, characters learn from their mistakes, there's something for everyone to do, and the unstoppable villain absolutely isn't defeated by deus ex machina. That's a minor miracle. Plus, the personalities shine through - Live Wire's impatience, Umbra's arrogance, Invisible Kid's perfectionism, and Violet coming out of her ordeal changed for the better. At the end, she no longer lets the Eye control her, she controls the Eye. It asks HER what it should do (so it will live to fight another day, it seems). Hm, could Dragonmage's taste for power make him an eventual threat as well?
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1997/13.
  • This extra-length issue counts 39 story pages, plus a 4-page poster by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer, with short character biographies on reverse, bound by staples at center of issue.
  • Trying to regain his powers, Element Lad handles what appears to be a Horga'hn, a fertility idol from the planet Risa in the Star Trek universe.
  • Mysa is de-aged by Mordru, a mirror of how the Hag became the White Witch in the previous continuity.
  • Blast-Off appears to have been killed in this issue. Radion is maimed.
  • Violet returns to active Legion membership.


  1. By damn, this ia a great issue. You summed it up excellently in your discussion of how purposeful it seemed. And it really had a great feel of just how powerful Mordru is given the tactics -- a lesser foe would have been beaten into the ground and he just kept regaining the upper hand.

    And that scene with all the skeletons -- I mean, we all KNEW he wouldn't have killed that many characters, but it was still a great climax.

    I think the only thing that irks me a little is the whole "supervillain wants to marry the beautiful heroine" trope. A bit cliched, that one. But still, all in all, this one remains one of my favorite issues.

  2. One more thought. It does feel a little like they brought in a bunch of other characters for cannon fodder. Two dead, one had his face blown off. Not that I want to see these characters die, but none of the Legion got it that bad.

    I mean, I write and draw a little superhero webcomic myself and I know how much the tendency is to want to keep characters around -- after all, once they're dead the character development stops unless you resurrect them -- but it did feel like the casualties were pretty limited, at least as far as the protagonists go.

  3. All I can say is that they ultimately died for a reason... spoilers!