Thursday, February 22, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #56

Legionnaires #56 (January 1998)
title: "The Better Part of Valor"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
penciller: Todd Nauck 
inker: Pamela Eklund
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Jeffrey Moy and W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
M'Onel, Monstress, XS; Brainiac 5 (documentary footage), Chameleon (cameo), Cosmic Boy (documentary footage), Sensor (cameo)

Athramites, Chuck Taine, Dreamer, Graydon Peters, Lume, Lori Morning, Magno, R.J. Brande, Rond Vidar, Superboy (documentary footage), Superman (documentary footage), Tenzil Kem; Braalians (flashback), Daxamites, Valorians (documentary footage)

Dark Circle, Khunds

The 20th-Century Daxamite hero known as Valor was held in stasis for a thousand years before being released in the 30th and joining the Legion as M'Onel, unable to use his real name because a religion had sprouted around his now legendary deeds...

M'Onel still hasn't found his place in the world, and after watching a documentary on Valor's life in which a woman on the street says she suspects "M'Onel" is really Valor, he takes a ship and flies through the galaxy to think. Coming upon the Sylvan star system, he sees a Khund ship around Lume's planet and helps the luminescent hero defeat the alien invaders.
Lume tells him that he overheard the Khuns talking about recruiting Daxamites to their cause, so he heads home, finding it pretty much as xenophobic as when he left a millennium ago. M'Onel comes upon a Khund leader making a speech about how the United Planets are trying to oppress other worlds and assimilate them, so hoping he won't be recognized as Valor (he isn't and feels silly about the whole thing), he confronts him with the truth and the crowd turns on the Khunds. The alien warriors attack M'Onel to shut him up, but he has enough power to fight them back, with a little help from the crowd. The Khunds leave, and M'Onel is soon asked to as well.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Dreamer is looking for Star Boy, but he's nowhere to be found. Up in orbit, the still-powerless Magno comes to see Chuck and is likewise surprised all the Legionnaires are missing. M'Onel reports in and is called back to Earth to help puzzle out this mystery. Elsewhere, the Dark Circle meets, revealing it is the true power behind the Khunds.
To be perfectly honest, I’m glad we got a recap on M’Onel’s history with the Legion because I hardly remembered any of it. I find it extremely interesting that the new Legionnaires are not briefed on his true identity. Keeping this secret is of utmost importance, but I simply assumed that they would trust the entire team with such information. Now, let me prove my level of rookie-ness and ask: Isn’t he from Daxam? Isn’t it what they said in the documentary? I’m really confused as to why his powers remain even under the red sun. Did I miss something in this story or in another one about his abilities? ANYWAY… It sucks that he had to witness how the Daxamites haven’t really changed even after a millennium.
Now M’Onel’s lineage and race put aside, this issue was interesting to me as it created many new mysteries. Every Legionnaire is now missing, and we can’t confirm if they were brought to the 20th Century or elsewhere. We know there are some chronal energy traces left around. I wonder if they’ll show up with the rest of the team to battle against COMPUTO. Maybe it’s all COMPUTO’s doing, with the time portal being open on their side and all. Maybe it’s someone else entirely. The same enemy that’s been messing with the team and bringing them in different time/universe. And then there’s the Dark Circle. It might very well be their doing. Or it can simply a coincidence. Either way, their anti-UP agenda is crystal clear, and it might lead to some exciting challenges for the team.
Is it just me who reads the Lumen speech in a Yoda voice? Just can’t help it!

M'Onel's powers derive from absorbing solar power from yellow suns, just like Superman, which means he has power stored up when he encounters a red sun, but it's quickly expended. So he had residual energy left, enough to throw the Khunds back and destroy a few guns, but not enough not to get beat up.

I want to say a few words about the art here, because I like Todd Nauck. His figures are chunkier and more angular than Jeff Moy's, but his cartoonyness has the same youth and energy. It's of a piece with the style the Legion books have developed since the Reboot.
The recap on M'Onel is partly because they really haven't used him much since he returned, but I think that if the Dark Circle is going to make a return (always been a fan, so yay!) and try to undermine the United Planets, then Valor could be a symbol for the U.P. to rally around. So there's probably a connection there. Speaking of revenants, I had to look Lume up because this minor character appeared some three years before. Even at our accelerated pace, he didn't ring a bell. What a weird call back. And as for the disappearing Legionnaires, it's all going to pay off next time, but I still want to mention that it's sweet for the Legion to name their new HQ after one of their fallen (Leviathan, so sorry Kid Quantum), and that it seems Magno's story isn't over after all. I'd forgotten all about him... is he going to become part of the supporting cast? I guess so, but since he's gone from no-name to a rather touching character, I'd have voted yes.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1998/1.
  • Lume was last seen in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #66, a potential recruit unable to physically leave his world.
  • The new Legion Outpost is named after Gim Allon, AKA the fallen Legionnaire Leviathan.
  • The Dark Circle first appeared in Adventure Comics #367 (Apr 1968).

First Reboot appearance of the Dark Circle.


  1. Does the anti-lead poisoning serum have some impact on Mon-El's retention of powers under a red sun?

  2. At first, I thought that might be it, but no, the explanation in the book is the one I referenced.

  3. Hi,
    The dark circle first appeared in adventure 367 (not 267). It was the second legion comic that I ever bought .
    Yours nitpickingly
    Pedantic Kid

  4. Congratulations, you just spotted a typo in the original Who's Who!

  5. I think they really played fast and loose with the whole red sun vs. yellow sun thing in the Reboot. It's not the red sun that saps his powers -- it's absorbing the energy of a yellow sun that should give him his powers, right? So why doesn't a long trip in space by itself leave him powerless?

    But I do like how they had that one panel where the ship indicates that it was sealed off against the red sun.