Thursday, May 3, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #59

Legionnaires #59 (April 1998)
title: "Friends, Lovers, and the Calm Before the Storm"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inkers: W.C. Carani
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Jeffrey Moy and W.C. Carani
adult legionnaire: Carmela Merlo
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Ferro, Gates, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Live Wire, M'Onel, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, XS

Guests: 
Andromeda, Chuck Taine, Condo Arlik, Dreamer, Koko, Lori Morning, Magno, R.J. Brande, Tenzil Kem, Broggian ambassadors, not-French ambassador, robo-ball players and fans

Opponents: 
Khunds (flashback)

Recap: 
Star Boy and Monstress are on Xanthu where the United Planets have just been undermined by Khund saviors stopping an alien invasion without real U.P. help. Part of the Legion is studying an anomaly Andromeda calls the Fires of Creation. The rest are on Earth in need of some R&R...

Synopsis: 
With the events on Xanthu, Invisible Kid and President Brande decide now is a good time for the Legion to get some rest before something hits the fan (Lyle himself has a meet-up message with someone who simply signs "C". Meanwhile, at the Fires of Creation, M'Onel feels days pass while the others are only aware of minutes, so Umbra protects him in darkness to prevent him from freaking out.
On Earth, Live Wire and Saturn Girl decide this is a good day for a picnic at the beach, a double date with Apparition and Ultra Boy. Dreamer arrives knowing full well that Star Boy won't be there for their scheduled date, but happily invites herself and Tenzil Kem to the beach... as she foresaw it! Ferro and Violet stay in; she updates her diary while he draws a portrait of her, telling her how beautiful he thinks she is. Hey, she likes him too.
Triad goes on three dates, one for each duplicate. The party girl goes to an ambassadorial do with Chameleon, Spark and Sensor, where she attracts unwanted attention from lusty diplomats - one a lizard, the other an alien with a French accent. Her quieter self goes to a Japanese tea house with Element Lad, who levitates through his meal. And the core Triad goes to a robo-ball game with Chuck Taine and has a great time.
Frustrated with her romantic failures (namely, Cosmic Boy and M'Onel showing no interest whatsoever), she confides in Magno who pretty obviously offers himself as a potential boyfriend. When she doesn't get the clues, he leaves in a huff, at which point she realizes she put her foot in her mouth. That evening, Invisible Kid returns from a clandestine meeting, catching Lori Morning about to go out to Dial a Hero, but she's saved from his questions when the beach party returns. Lyle steps down as leader, putting the team in Imra's care as deputy leader. A briefing is scheduled the next morning...
Commentary: 
Shotgun
Let’s first talk bout the “important” stuff. It’s interesting to see that the team sense that something major is happening with the Khundian Alliance. For the reader too, this little break they give the Legionnaire indicates that something big is about to happen. On another note, I find it dull that we only see glimpses at a time of the Fires of Creation and of the work the team there is doing. I wonder if M'Onel is right. Were they away for so long or is it just his past experience playing with his mind? I think the HQ would’ve questioned their absence, if they’ve really been away for that amount of time. I’m eager to find out more. Finally, concerning Invisible Kid stepping down, I don’t know what to think. I do remember who that message came from (we’ve explored that avenue when we rated him on Hot or Not?) but I can’t remember if we’ve seen that character already. Also, is this date the only reason Lyle is stepping down or does it have something to do with the Espionage Squad perhaps?
Now for the actually important discussion: As readers, we might as well enjoy this little break in plot to witness some character development and to give a bit of spotlight to the non-Legionnaires in the cast. I’m always down for more Chuck and Tenzil in the story, but it’s Nura I cared a little more about this time. She is a lot of fun and I love how she deals with her power with confidence while being very aware of its shortcomings. Concerning the dates now… GAAAHHH I WANNA GO TO THE BEACH TOO!! Why can’t it be Summer yet??! *ahem* Sorry about that. Even though I love the beach, I've got to admit that my favorite day off would’ve probably been the one Violet and Ferro had. Or maybe the Triad-Chuck date. Ball games are great too! I’m definitely not into the clubbing scene, that’s for sure. I can’t decide between staying put, relaxing and watching a movie with Ferro, and the game with Chuck. What about you guys? Which activity would’ve been your first pick?
Siskoid
I'm clearly Ferro in this situation (or Magno, haha!), though the tea house would have been a good alternative if I were to step out. I'm a bit of a foodie, after all. And no, we haven't seen "C" before this issue, and it's perhaps premature to call it a date. What if he's just an informant? Then yeah, totally a matter for the Espionage Squad and an extended mission for the Kid.

The Legionnaires on R&R is one of my favorite Legion tropes, especially during this era (which in a way starts in the previous one, with the Atlantis issue of the SW6 Legion's Legionnaires), and it never fails to charm. We need these if only because there's such a large cast of characters, and only so much you can do with them while they're in action situations. So many possible combinations and dynamics to explore, and the lighter touch is perfect for the Moy/Carani art. Just look at those bathing suit designs... the Legionnaires are never actually off-duty (or the Athramites a really big on branding).
Even in sequences that are kind of idling until they become bigger stories, like the Fires of Creation, they service character development. Gates proves more of a techie than I realized, there's the worry that Kinetix will fall into vice, and Umbra gets closer to M'Onel (it's fate!). Dreamer indeed brings some nice narcoleptic comedy, and speaking of fate, it demands Chuck and Triad become a couple. It's especially fun that in this version of continuity, her three selves are very different people and have dissimilar tastes. It's shown in the three dates, which are superimposed in a two-page spread. How is THAT going to work out? Cute bits for Sensor, Cham & Ayla, Jo & Tinya, Tenzil literally eating sand and liking it, and even Lori. I don't miss the superhero action at all.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1998/7
  • First Reboot appearance of Condo Arlik, who in another continuity became Chemical King.
  • Chuck Taine is a robo-ball fan, just like in the previous continuity. It was at a game that he accidentally drank the chemical that turned him into Bouncing Boy. Triad even asks if his drink is safe. That drink is a "Dr. Gingold", a reference to the pop that gave Elongated Man his stretching powers.
  • Editor K.C. Carlson is one of the robo-ball stadium patrons, the one who gives Chuck a high five.
  • Tinya's hair in this issue evokes her hair style in the '80s.

3 comments:

  1. My Legion studies continue, and I can't wait to read more nineties stuff. Let's see if I understand this correctly. According to notes I take from wikis and synopses of individual issues, Legionnaires from 1-19 was a "Five Years Later" story about new heroes who replaced the classic members who scattered, but from issue 19 (Nov 94), the Reboot began and this series became a kind of companion series, like Action Comics is to Superman. Is this correct or am I totally off here?

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  2. Almost.

    1-18 was 5 Years Later, and starred young temporal clones of the Legion (or were the adults the clones?), basically the late 60s version of the Legion living at the same time as their older selves. They defended New Earth while the adult Legion had adventures out in space. Towards the end of the run, the timeline started having problems and the two books (LSH vol.4 and Legionnaires started crossing over into one another.

    Then the Reboot (because of Zero Hour) and then 0 issues of each title. From then on, it was really one story spread into two books as you describe. So from #0, #19-onward (for Legionnaires) and from #0, #62 for Legion of Super-Heroes vol.4.

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    Replies
    1. Sigh. Not quite, but getting closer....

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