Thursday, September 20, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #1,000,000

Legionnaires #1,000,000 (November 1998)
title: "Come Together"
writer: Tom Peyer
artist: Sean Phillips
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Sean Phillips
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 417, the Chameleon, Cosmicbot, the Dreamer, Implicate Girl, the M'Onelves, Titangirl, the Umbra, Wildflame; flashback (Reboot era): Chameleon, Ferro, Live Wire, Star Boy, Thunder, Wildfire; flashack (Legends of the Dead Earth): Argent, Magno-Boy, Membrain, Silverwing, Triplicate, Wildfire; flasback: a number of Superboys from across the centuries

Superboy (Cris Kend); Braalians, Carggites, Chameleons, Coluans-Bgtzilians, Cris Kend's classmates and robot teacher, Daxamites-Imskians, Science Asylum Professors, Talokians, Titanians and their caretakers

Agent If, extinct mineral-eating animals

In the 853rd Century - exactly one million months after the dawn of super-heroes - humanity prospers in a utopian society beyond our imagining. From the data-foundries of the planet Mercury to the floating coral cities of Neptune, the great legacy of super-heroes lives on. And far our in deep space, the heirs to the glorious traditions of the Legion of Super-Heroes continue to fight the good fight. Cosmicbot, Implicate Girl, Brainiac 417, Titangirl, the Chameleon, the Umbra, the M'Onelves - together, they are Justice Legion L, defenders of the United Planets Cluster...
The United Planets are under threat by Agent If when he uses a Realitoy to make his wishes come true, among them the destruction of the star around which the worlds revolve. Members of Justice Legion L arrive on the scene to help the Science Asylum capture him, but he escapes to the sun where only Titangirl, who only exists as a mental projection can get to him. She tricks him into wishing he not exist and he's gone, but not before he causes trouble.
With the help of the combined knowledge of the entire population of Cargg contained in her soulstone, Implicate Girl flies the Legion's ship into the star to go and repair the damage made to the artificial star's sunware. A half-Btzlian, intangible Brainiac 417 manages to stabilize the mechanism, but violent solar flares result, damaging the ship. The Chameleon must break his people's most sacred taboo and shapeshift for something other than camouflage, turning into a ship to save his colleagues.
Cosmicbot, like the rest of Braal, a man of metal, is still concerned that the Dreamer's premonition has not come to pass because she still dreams of a dying sun. Could it be Earth's? He decides to consult the Wildflame, an artifact that has been around since the days of the original Legion, to see what it knows. It remembers how, as Wildfire, it worked with the Superboy of the 843rd Century to save Earth's core from Braalian separatists, but before he can really come to a conclusion, metal-eating animals, supposed to be extinct, attack Legion HQ.
After the battle, the Legion is mystified at what these events mean, but the magnetic integrity of the system is degrading, and Brainiac 417 believes there's only one person who can help them restore it before it's too late - the aforementioned Superboy of a thousand years before. He travels to the past to get him, accidentally outing his secret identity...
I feel like I would be able to enjoy this concept a lot more if I was more accustomed to the lore of every Legionnaire’s world. I’m sure the changes and similarities to the 30th Century worlds are well thought out and clever, but I can’t talk about them at all as I don’t recall much of their history. I am definitely more interested in the characters than their home planets. I’m not even sure who Implicate Girl is supposed to be the descendant of. Triad, I guess, but my oh my did her power change! Overall, I quite enjoy their looks, except Cosmicbot's. I hate how he basically looks naked – don’t define his muscle if you are going to only give him a single color; use the same design as for Brainiac or something – and how his head is so much bigger than it should be. He’s the only definite “Not” there!
The story, once we leave behind the over-explaining of everything because this time, place and characters came out of nowhere, I’d say is intriguing, but also confusing. I guess it was needed to have Agent If use most of the comic to get some backstory and fill two issues within this millionth edition concept. I’m not even sure how this guy’s power was working? Was it all that enhanced toy's doing or did he have some sort of powers on top of it, or was he only saying “IF” over and over again just to make his name work... I... I don’t know. And then we have extinct creatures sent to attack the Legion of--sorry, I mean Justice Legion L. Brainiac goes back in time to find yet another Superboy and, I guess, recreate the vision experienced by CosmicBot.
Let’s hope next issue will shed some light on all of this and wrap this up coherently. I’m ready to move on with our regular story now.

I get it, we've been away from the main storyline a while, but I bloody love this kind of stuff. I'm into What Ifs, Elseworlds, imaginary stories, parallel worlds, and yes, DC One Million. I love Morrisonesque super-futures, the crazy science everyone takes for granted, and seeing the Legionnaires reinvented with that lens. (It's indeed much better than the Legends of the Dead Earth Annuals, which are, unusually, referenced here, with Wildfire a surprise connection.) Anyway, if you have more questions about continuity, look down at the Science Police Notes, below.
Really liking Sean Phillips' art and kind of sorry he's not doing the second chapter (somehow, Shotgun, I don't think the choice of artist there will be your cup of tea and make Legion 1M "less confusing"). You're right that a gray Cosmicbot is a bit boring, but I do like how most of the designs have an asymmetrical belt'n'stripe combo that evokes the Reboot Legion' symmetrical two stripe design. Her design is pretty ordinary, but Implicate Girl is still my favorite just because she has the inverse powers of Triad. Instead of splitting into three, she contains all the Carggites inside herself and can tap into their knowledge and skills. That's really neat. Everyone's got a cool twist, but this is easily the most clever. Still, Umbra's line about moving at the speed of dark is the kind of stuff I read comics for.
As for Agent If, I think yes, it's just the gadget, though I do wonder how parents manage this "toy" at home. He's just there as a low-level problem while we get familiar with the team and is dispatched fairly easily (in Mxyzptlk fashion, I'd say), though there are other dangers and mysteries on the horizon. Contacting a version of Superboy is very "Legion", and I'm happy for the call-back to the legend that started it all, but I'm also glad that, with the Agent If stuff, there wasn't really a direct line to older stories (I mean, the Miracle Machine and the Sun Eater maybe, but it's not super-obvious), as I don't want to just reread old stuff remixed.
Science Police Notes:  
  • This issue was part of DC's November 1998 event DC: One Million, which reimagined each of its series as taking place in the 853rd Century, when every series hits #1,000,000.
  • Each of the 1M Legionnaires is a futuristic take on 30th-Century Legionnaires, with some combinations: Brainiac 417 (Brainiac 5 and Phantom Girl/Apparition), the Chameleon (Chameleon Boy), Cosmicbot (Cosmic Boy), the Dreamer (Dream Girl), Implicate Girl (Triplicate Girl/Triad), the M'Onelves (M'Onel and Shrinking Violet), Titangirl (Saturn Girl), and the Umbra (Shadow Lass/Umbra).
  • Wildfire is still alive in this era, just as he was in the Legends of a Dead Earth era, though he is now relegated to a sarcophagus and called Wildflame.
  • In a flashback, we are getting our second indication that the Shazam-related heroine Thunder, and Wildfire himself, will become members of the Reboot Legion. The first for Thunder was in the most recent Secret Files and Origins issue (in a team portrait); the first for Wildfire was the Legends of the Dead Earth Annual.
  • Though a flashback, this is the second (of three, they are also in a flashback in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #1,000,000) appearance of the Dead Earth-era Legion.
  • Though the 853rd Century setting includes the United Galaxies, a reference to the Legion's United Planets, some planets have decided to get together in the same system as the United Planets of old.
  • The Superboy of this story hails from 1000 years in this Legion's past, just as the original Superboy came from 1000 years before the original Legion's time. Cris Kend's name seems to evoke that of Chris Kent, the foster son of Lois and Clark (born Lor-Zod), but that character would only make his first appearance in 2006.

1 comment:

  1. While the idea of alternate realities or possible futures or whatnot can be intriguing, more often than not they frustrate me because they get in the way of the "real" storyline. It's like that issue with Violet facing the Emerald Eye where it turned out to be a dream. Give me something that moves the plot forward, at least incrementally, please!

    It's funny, because the Dead Earth annual with Wildfire is one I actually really enjoy -- perhaps partly because it was an annual and didn't delay the real issues at the time? These #1,000,000 issues quickly moved to my secondary stack of Legion comics.

    Perhaps it's just a matter of caring about the characters. Anytime they do something like this the creative team has to set up the world and characters and make you care about them, AND give you an interesting plot that's worth the digression from the main storyline. That's a tall order, I think!

    Overall I remember this event being kinda bizarre. Something about the Original Superman returning after centuries in the sun?