Thursday, July 26, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #63

Legionnaires #63 (August 1998)
title: "Winds of War?"
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 5.1, Chameleon, Gates, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kid Quantum II, Kinetix, M'Onel, Monstress (on screen only), Saturn Girl, Sensor, Spark, Triad, Violet

Admiral Everett, Andromeda, Composite Girl, Koko, R.J. Brande, Shvaughn Erin, Wimena Wazzo, Zakk and Feg Arn (Feg on playback only); an A.P. councilor, Durlans, Science police

Ar'by, Ar'dn, Composite Man, Dark Circle, Dominators, Evolvo, Khunds (Amilia Crugg), Kono, Leland McCauley, Spider-Girl, Tyrazzians

The Dark Circle has been working behind the scenes to dismantle the United Planets from within, scapegoating the Durlans as a dangerous enemy by having the Composite Man kill a Winathian president for example, and pushing some planets to leave the U.P. and join their "Affiliated Planets". But the Legionnaires have also been working hard to counter their unknown enemy's moves...

Thanks to Violet's recordings on Gil'Dan conversations, the U.P. learns there are Circle spies in their midst. Apparition even finds anti-Durlan propaganda meant to sway other delegates in the globed telepaths' quarters. At Durla, Andromeda attempts to bypass the A.P. blockade and finds spy equipment in a derelict ship. A team of Legionnaires posing as Science Police hope to reach Durla as well, the SP allowed in where others are not. Another heads for Colu. And somewhere in A.P. space, Dominators are studying a Durlan captive as Kono starts to wonder if the Dark Circle have really done anything for the Sklarians except use them.
On a "holding asteroid", the Composite Man and his sister, also a "living weapon" created by Durla's Holy Council then made captive, have an argument. He's loyal to the Circle, but she isn't. He leaves her to die on that barren world and joins Circle agents. The volcano prison they freed her from has been more or less destroyed, and Chameleon is helping his people find survivors of the attack. The SP/Legion team finds him in time to help save one Durlan from a rock slide. Unfortunately, the injured Durlan dies anyway, but not before giving Cham coordinates.
They follow these to the barren asteroid in time to save (lets call her) the Composite Girl, who rejects her brother's actions. Her new-found freedom has made her want to experience life, not destroy it. Cham is now sorry he didn't follow his destiny and become a member of the Holy Council upon his father's death, though other believe he would have been a small cog in an unstoppable machine and can do more good as a Legionnaire. He pledges to save his world from the Circle, but also from itself and the isolationist values that made these circumstances possible.
So much information in a single issue. It was overwhelming to read through the pages. Lot of dialogue and contextualization. The whole comic felt, and well WAS, a huge build-up for what’s to come. I’m confused when it comes to the Composite Man’s sister. Was she also created by the Durlans as page 10 seems to indicate? If that’s the case, does it mean she also is able to absorb powers from her opponents? She could be really useful in the fight against the A.P. that seems to be very fast approaching.
Speaking of the approaching fight, I feel like it’s a bit too heavy right now. Not a fan of everyone getting on their high horses this quickly. They’re all playing the A.P. game! Can’t they see this is EXACTLY what they want? Once war begins, there is no turning back. Resentment will leave the U.P. scarred and vulnerable forever. I guess it’s already pretty fragile; it’s been proven plenty of times already ever since the Dark Circle’s arc began. I think I just can’t accept that Chameleon would agree to fight this easily. Maybe it’s grief, maybe it’s all part of Invisible Kid’s greater plan with the Espionage Squad… I doubt my last supposition is true though, seeing how he reacted to Cham’s speech on the last page.
Could this mean war is really upon us and there’s no turning back?

A lot happening, lots of jumping around, and I think in the coordination of the two books that's required here, I think they kind of lost the plot. I had to flip back through previous issues to see where the volcano exploded and the Composite Girl was freed, but it's not there. We go from Cham meeting the acolytes, to the Composite's sister being already free and the volcano demolished. So she seems to come out of nowhere. The Legion is quick to accept her story, which made me think she might be a Reboot version of Yera (Chameleon Girl), but I don't think that's it. Doesn't help that she's still nameless. This may be just a ramp-up to bigger events, but it's a confusing ramp-up. Unsatisfying for a number of reasons.
Still, the art is pleasant as ever, and there's some joy to be had in the subplots and character bits. Violet's spy mission yielded results. Gates hating to be dressed as a (to him) fascist police officer. Kono showing signs of flipping. McCauley getting a sexy massage from a Khund. Cham's determination (will he, in fact, spark a socio-political revolution on his planet?). Kid Quantum wanting to explore her powers more. It's just unfortunate that some of those pages (Andromeda's, Brainy's, even McCauley's) aren't that important, and could have been given over to the A-story to make it clearer.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1998/15.
  • The issue includes a Dark Circle Rising banner and a circle in the background, as does every issue in this story arc.
  • Gates is seen reading Karl Marx's Das Kapital.
  • Saturn Girl recently interacted with the Science Police 4-issue mini-series.

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