Thursday, June 21, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #61

Legionnaires #61 (June 1998)
title: "If I Could Turn Back Time..."
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inkers: W.C. Carani
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Jeffrey Moy and W.C. Carani
adult legionnaire: Carmela Merlo
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Gates, Ferro, Kid Quantum, Kinetix, Monstress, XS; Silver Age: Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dream Girl, Duo Damsel, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Light Lass, Lightning Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Projectra, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Superboy, Supergirl, Ultra Boy (Hall of Heroes: Ferro Lad, Triplicate Girl); Bronze Age: Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel (monitor), Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, Karate Kid, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Timber Wolf, Wildfire (Hall of Heroes: adds Chemical King, Invisible Kid I)

Lori Morning, Rond Vidar, Superman; Silver Age: a fire control team, Metropolis citizens

Time Trapper

SOMEthing has been recasting Legionnaires into different lives, parallel realities, but why? Recently, some Legionnaires had been investigating a space-time anomaly called the Fires of Creation, which may have something to do with...

The young people who, in another life, were Gates, Ferro, Kid Quantum, Kinetix, Monstress, and XS, along with Lori Morning, are watching the Silver Age Legion of Super-Heroes on parade and decide to take a tour of the headquarters. There, Andrew Nolan is shocked by a memorial statue of himself as Ferro Lad. This shocks him into remembering who he really is, then making his friends remember too.
While the Legion founders investigate an explosion and meet the famous Superman, displaced in time, the group seek out temporal physics expert Rond Vidar, who posits that they have been protected from changes in the timeline in some way (coming from the 20th Century, quantum powers, energies from the Fires of Creation). When he activates his time scanner to find out more, it throws them first into the time stream, then into the Bronze Age Legion timeline.
Treated as intruders, they run away from the Legionnaires and eventually find themselves in a time lab. Lori impulsively fiddles with some controls and the group find itself in a strange space and time, faced with... the Time Trapper!
So, we’re back with the time anomalies. Not gonna lie, I had completely forgotten about these twists at this point. While reading the comic, I thought surely the series of adventures the team experience back and forth in time couldn’t be caused by the Dark Circle. There’s a limit to what these bad guys can do. Then I thought surely it must be related to the Fires of Creation. Without any basic knowledge of what’s coming next, I can’t say for sure if the time traveling and this anomaly are related in any way. Is the Time Trapper the one who captured the team investigating the Fires of Creation within it? It would be so much easier if there was a voice associated to the character. We would know right away if the voice is the same as the one trying to imprison part of the team back in their timeline.
I’m not a big fan or revisiting past continuity, probably because I know nothing of them. For diehard fans, I’m sure these moments bring forth nostalgia. For new readers, I don’t know... It kinda fell flat for me. I can only imagine how confusing it must be for the team to see these parallel timelines, for one. On top of that, to learn about deaths and unions, it feels risky. What if it impacts the future in their continuity? I’m overthinking this as usual LOL! Very quickly, to finish, I’d like to address the past costumes by saying this: the more I see the Legionnaires' appearances in other continuities, the more I enjoy their costumes in this one (the Reboot). Not too flashy, better color palette, safer style. Overall, I think our heroes look good in this series!
Definitely, this is for the older fans. No ifs and buts about it. And yes, the Time Trapper is behind it all, as I knew he was. Again, it's for older fans who can read the signs. The issue even has a weird continuity plug connecting to a Superman story from years before, as if we really needed an explanation for how Superman met the Legion now that it's a different Legion (he wondered about it in Final Night, if you remember). But even from my wizened perspective, there's not much of a story here, just an excuse for Jeffrey Moy to draw the older versions of the Legion. I'm not opposed! I love the look (give or take his Superman who looks too young and is easily confused with Superboy).
I do like the cast of characters chosen to be aware of the situation, though I think they're wrong about WHY the were spared. After all, if being in the Fires of Creation is enough, where are Brainy, Umbra and M'Onel? No, the real reason is that they are the characters who AREN'T in the other Legions. All but Ferro are unique to the Reboot, and he's dead even in the earliest continuity seen. Having no equivalents, they can break free of the illusion (or whatever it is). The resolution to all this when next we speak, then we can get into the Dark Circle story line for realz.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1998/11. 
  • The issue includes both Silver Age (late 60s) and Bronze Age (mid-70s) sections that match the history of the Legion in those eras.
  • Editor Mike McAvennie is credited as "Mort McAvennie" as in editor Mort Weisinger, the Legion's Silver Age editor.
  • Tenzil Kem is called Tenzil Kim in the Silver Age section.
  • During the Silver Age section, we see events from Adventures of Superman #476 (the Time and Again storyline), perhaps explaining how the post-Crisis Superman could have interacted with Legion history that is not part of the Reboot era.
  • The Time Trapper has been in the background for a while (most notably creating alternate realities and helping XS get back to the 30th Century), but only now makes himself known in the Reboot era.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, the five-page interlude with Superman didn't really seem to be anything other than a plug for that other book. I wish they could have used that space for some more development of the ideas here. Or, you know, someone noticing that Rond Vidar is still basically a child!