Thursday, April 5, 2018

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #101

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #101 (February 1998)
title: "Jump"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jason Armstrong

inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Spark, Star Boy, Violet

Doctor Gym'll, Insect Queen, Lucy, Shvaughn Erin, a scientist, a zookeeper

"Big Brain", Lightning Beasts; flashback: Lightning Lord

While she was in the 20th Century, Spark was remade by the Source and had her powers changed from electricity projection to anti-gravity. Back in the 30th, she started feeling dizzy after using her new powers...

Live Wire, Saturn Girl and Spark stop a criminal from stealing a deadly virus, but things almost go wrong when Ayla gets one of her spells and almost drops the virus. Her brother sends her to Dr. Gym'll who can't help her because the cause is psychological. Winathian twins suffer from psychic shock the more different they are from their twin, so Ayla won't feel better until she has the same powers Garth does. It certainly doesn't help that he's been disdainful of her new power set.
She attempts to get her old powers back by reproducing the original accident and climbing into a lightning beast cage at the zoo. Unfortunately, "Lucy" has been fixed for the public's safety and doesn't have any lightning to fire at Ayla. Meanwhile, Star Boy's conversation with former team mate Insect Queen of the Amazers is mysteriously cut off. Looks like Xanthu is being invaded.
Ayla steals a shuttle and flies back to Korbal in search of wild lightning beasts. But because of her power changes, she's unable to kickstart her powers and is instead killed. The Legion arrives just then, having tracked her to the planet, and Garth, in his despair, explodes with electricity. This momentarily seems to revive her, so the team embarks on a plan to give her a "boost" using the electricity in the atmosphere and Garth himself. They quickly build the necessary equipment and working as a group, accumulate the greatest possible charge. It blows out Garth's mechanical arm, and saves Ayla's life. At first, she doesn't seem to have any powers, but her anger finally releases her original electrical projection, perhaps at an even greater level than before.
Ok, so you’re telling me we get to have Ayla remembering her origin with the lightning beasts, her confrontation with Mekt AND trying to get her power back the same way she did before in this issue, THEN we’ll hear her story again in Legends of the Legion… I mean, come on! I wonder if the next Legends will actually be about her getting her gravitational powers instead of lightning? Talking about the gravitational powers, did she lose them while regaining lightning or is the mix between both powers the reason why it’s so powerful all of a sudden.
Something I’m glad was addressed in this story is Jan’s condition. There was hint here and there about something wrong with his ways ever since he battled Mordru. At the very least, he seems to also be aware that something is wrong with him. The fact he asked Cham about what he said is proof enough he’s not completely lost. I’m not sure exactly to what extent they will explore this illness of his, but I sure hope they’re going to cover it properly at some point. Compared to all other Legionnaires, I feel Jan has been left out a lot since they introduced him.
Sidenote – Woah! It’s been a while since we saw the Legionnaire in their everyday clothes. It’s nice though, and helped reminding me that we’re dealing with teenagers here.
Having looked ahead a bit, I think you'll be pleased with Ayla's Legends story. And I don't seem to remember there being a melding of powers, we'll see. What does seem strange is that they would go to the trouble of turning her into "Light Lass" while Live Wire isn't around (she wasn't redundant), and do away with that now that 1) there's another electrical hero on the team and 2) she'd become quite good at using her new power set. Maybe they couldn't find a good name for to replace "Spark"? (When they tried in the SW6 Legion, they called her Gossamer, which wasn't great.) So I have questions. I DO like the idea that Winathian twins are psychically linked and have a need to stay in sync. Mekt having no twin, for example, kind of drove him mad. There's something to it. Still, on a strict plot level, it's an odd choice.
Aside from the "Call the Lightning" riff (see Science Police Notes), we do get some fun character development for some Legionnaires. Ayla, having played match-maker for Garth and Imra, is now kind of sorry she's become a third wheel. As you mention, Jan having his wits scrambled by his transformations. Cham, Spark's secret admirer, properly distraught at the situation. Star Boy keeping in contact with his old team mates in Xanthu's Amazers. And all that stuff about Monstress being a girl's girl, obsessed with fashion, and... getting a pap test from Dr. Gym'll? [We talk about this, Shotgun and I, and she refused to see the inference, so maybe it's just me.]
A couple of words about the art before I sign off. I noted Jason Armstrong's stuff wasn't anyone's favorite in issue #100, perhaps too loose and cartoony, but I don't dislike it. I think it gets a bit sketchy the farther you are from the characters, which was the problem in the previous issue, which was all wide shots as we went around the new station. Here, it's much stronger, especially with the characters' expressions.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1998/4.
  • Ayla's resurrection as pictured on the cover and in the book's interior is a direct call-back to the resurrection of Lightning Lad in Adventure Comics #312. The costume is even incorrectly colored to make it look more like Garth's back then.
  • From this point on, Ayla Ranzz's powers are once again electricity-based, undoing the change wrought in Genesis #4.
  • The villain at the beginning of the issue is never named.
  • Shvaughn has a Superman cup that she may have acquired in the 20th Century.
  • Star Boy seems to refer to Atmos when he mentions the "bald kid" in the Amazers. Atmos, however, sports a mohawk.


  1. I don't think Star Boy is referring to Atmos. That line seems like a callback to LSH #82, page 15 -- where Star Boy says "I call the bald guy" when they're about to fight in the cage match. A few pages later the guy is knocked out and you can see some weird lines on his head, which don't seem to match the mohawk we've seen Atmos sporting (as noted above). I'm not sure if this guy ever even got a NAME. Poor bald guy.