Thursday, August 9, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #64

Legionnaires #64 (September 1998)
title: "Time Out!"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
pencillers: Jeffrey Moy and Philip 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, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Ferro, Gates, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kid Quantum II, Kinetix, Live Wire, M'Onel, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, XS

Guests: 
Admiral Everett, Andromeda, Chuck Taine, Composite Girl, Condo Arlik, Kono, Lori Morning, R.J. Brande, Shvaughn Erin, Tenzil Kem, Wynema Wazzo; Durlans, Science Police

Opponents: 
Composite Man, Dark Circle, Evolvo, Gil'Dan (Brain Globes of Rambat), Gil'Dishpan, Khunds (Amilia Crugg), Leland McCauley, Sklarian Raiders, Time Trapper

Recap: 
The Dark Circle has been manipulating things for a long time. They created the Affiliated Planets, drawing worlds away from the United Planets, caused Durlan hysteria, in part by using the Composite Man to commit acts of terrorism and the recent murder of a Winathian president. But speaking of manipulating things for a long time, the Time Trapper may be involved as well...

Synopsis: 
The Affiliated Planets, under the Dark Circle's control, have maxed out the Fires of Creation by jumping ships and troops to Durla. Now it's breaking down, and time itself is at risk of collapsing. As the Legionnaires arrive at Durla, time stops. But they do not. In fact, anyone who had contact with the Time Trapper seems immune, including Lori Morning who gets a visit from the Trapper, appearing as a beautiful adult version of... herself? Brainiac 5.1, meanwhile, deduces that all their previous meetings with the Trapper were part of its plan to train them for this exact occurrence. Now they must save time itself, and the Trapper.
But while a team heads off to do just that, the rest take advantage of the time stop to stop the invasion of Durla. They capture troops and disable ships before they can do any damage, Umbra and Andromeda showing hitherto unknown powers (solid darkness and destructive light, respectively).
To stabilize the anomaly, one of the Legionnaires must potentially sacrifice their life by flying through it and Brainy's cleverly modified stargate. They argue about who it should be, which stuns and inspires the Composite Man, also free of the time stop thanks to his duplicating whatever ability the Trapper gave the rest of them. He sees how the Dark Circle misled him and chooses a different path, flying into the anomaly himself, and succumbing to his injuries soon after, redeemed. The anomaly disappears, time resumes its course, and Durla is saved.
Commentary: 
Shotgun
Could it be that the A.P.'s greediness will be their undoing? Could it be that relying on the energy of the Fires of Creation and McCauley was a terrible mistake? Who would’ve thought? I guess now it makes sense that Brainiac mentioned the Time Trapper while on Colu. He orchestrated everything. I’m still wondering if he actually foresaw that he, himself, would be stuck in the anomaly though. We’ve come a long way since the first time travel story and finally, all that chronal energy paid off. I’m not a writer, I’m sure everyone reading this can tell, so it always surprises me when writers think so far in advance when creating their material. Or maybe they just go with it and find some ways of making every bit of information useful in the end. I don’t know, I’m not in their heads. Should ask Saturn Girl to help me crack this mystery!
I’m a sucker for a redemption arc. Still, I feel this one was a bit forced. Composite Man has been evil for so long and gave the Legion and his own kind so much trouble that I find it hard to believe that in this short period of time, watching heroes being, well, heroic would be enough to turn him. I also wonder if he was being used by the Dark Circle all along or only since we met the organization. Why is this important? Because if he wasn’t before, then there’s nothing that can explain his behavior since we met him, and it gets even more difficult to accept his change of heart.
I though that, with the anomaly gone, the group that investigated it would revert back to their previous appearances and personalities. I guess I was wrong. While I’m now accustomed to the others, I still hate Kinetix’s new attitude. Please bring back her personality. She’s so boooooring!

Final remark before what I assume will be the end of the Dark Circle’s storyline: On page 5 - Dear God, Cham… calm your eyes please!!! You couldn’t just raise your head like the others?
Siskoid
I agree about Composite Man's turn (and Kinetix). A line or two to tells us he had been indoctrinated by the Black Circle long ago would have helped. Brainy almost seems to acknowledge the weirdness of this when he says redemption is just something that happens now and again. But there's so much going on in this issue that a lot of the details fall by the wayside. Umbra and Andromeda's new powers are something of a throwaway, for example, and what of the Khund Ambassador's OWN turn? But all of that is secondary, for this old reader, to the Trapper's enigmatic meeting with Lori Morning.
This was sadly never confirmed before the writers moved on to other books, but the dialog very much suggests Lori will one day become the Reboot's Trapper. Or replace him as Glorith as one happened in a continuity long, long ago? Dead ringer for Glorith, and she does speak of the Trapper in the 3rd person, and of course, the Trapper seems to be trapped in shards of time at this point, so... who is she? Personally, I like the idea that the Trapper has different origins and identities, each a manifestation of a different reality. Might she be the never-seen Threeboot's Trapper, succeeding the present one and crossing over from another reality? Or is she the Trapper who created itself (since it's been manipulating her timeline since we've known her). Theories abound. Alas, they won't get far beyond theories.
In a way, I sort of resent that this big Dark Circle storyline gets crashed by the Trapper, even if the different strands are pulled together rather cleverly. The Circle deserved its time to shine (if we can apply that to darkness) and the story had a very different feel from the Trapper's. I wonder if having purplish hoods in common is what gave the writers the idea to pair them up?

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1998/17.
  • The issue includes a Dark Circle Rising banner and a circle in the background, as does every issue in this story arc.
  • Lori Morning is visited by the Time Trapper whose dialog and appearance (though clearly based on Glorith) suggests Lori will one day become the Trapper, at least in this continuity.

1 comment:

  1. The Legion, Supergirl, Superboy, et al., have made me realize that I DID miss a lot of good stuff in the nineties. Man, those comics full of characters posing with swords, guns, pouches and gritted teeth really turned me off!

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