Thursday, October 4, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #66

Legionnaires #66 (December 1998)
title: "Missing Persons"
writer: KC Carlson
pencillers: Mike Collins
inkers: John Stokes
lettering: Pat Prentice
colorist and story input: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Jeffrey Moy and W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Chameleon, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, Violet

Chuck Taine, Danielle Foccart, the Foccarts, Invisible Kid II, Lori Morning, the Norgs, President Chu (flashback), Proty, R.J. Brande, Tenzil Kem; Science Police

Charma, Grimbor (flashback), Luck Lords

Invisible Kid has taken time off his Legion duties recently, to go on a secret mission...

We catch up with Lyle Norg, the Invisible Kid, currently a prisoner of Charma, a woman with pheremonal control powers over men. In her casino suite - a casino he was investigating for economic manipulation - she forces him to relive the trauma of seeing his unofficially adopted brother, Jacques Foccart, die from drinking his invisibility serum.
She forces him to recount his life story. A latch key kid, he mostly grew up with friends of the family, the Foccarts, and thus with Jacques who was about his age. Lyle invented the invisibility serum early, but Jacques would never try it. They got into all sorts of trouble with Lyle's invisibility powers, but that got him noticed by President Chu who enrolled both boys in the Black Hole Commandos, getting training and going on previously untold covert missions for EarthGov. A girl called Mara Grace was in their class, a girl with mind control powers who used her abilities on Jacques to help her steal the serum so she could advance more quickly. This led to the incident that cost Jacques his life. Unbalanced, Mara's alien body chemistry made her mature overnight. Renamed Charma, she left Black Hole and pursued a life of crime.
She tries to kill Lyle, but his bonds have been lockpicked by an invisible presence. After a struggle during which he puts his transsuit on, protecting him from Charma's pheromones, he captures her. He calls out for Jacques who he knows must be his rescuer. This was his true mission after all (only known by Saturn Girl), trying to find his long-lost and not-so-dead brother. No answer. As he leaves, Jacques appears, disconsolate that he can't talk to his brother. But Black Hole secretly saved his life and he owes them, so he goes on missions for them as the world believes he's dead.
Meanwhile, at Legion HQ... Violet has a date with Chuck Taine, and it's a wonderful one. One of Triad's selves had her sights on Chuck so she's none too pleased, but Vi tells her she's the one Chuck likes, and that she's not going to stand in the way of that. The date was just a good time, and the last step in her breaking out of her shell. The two (four?) girls embrace, and there's a giant sundae to be had.
Lyle’s origin story wasn’t explicitly covered before so it’s a nice add-on to the individual stories. I wasn’t sure if Jacques would be part of this continuity, but I find it interesting that he is. Does that mean Lyle will eventually die?... That’d be a shame. While I understand Mara’s will to be invisible - what teenager never wished to be unseen - I can’t seem to feel anything for her. She learned to use her powers and manipulate men to her advantage, which I will never be able to forgive. Mind control can be bad enough as is, but to be gender-based like that, I think it simply plays on the sexist trend of women using their bodies to seduce and control men. I know there’s more to it in this story with the superpowers and what not, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth.
If that stupid last encounter with the Eye brought Violet to where she’s at now, then fine. I think I can pardon the lateness of this development after all. I loved her when she was confident under the Eye’s influence, so this is bringing her back to this state and is a big improvement. She deserves to be more accepting of her strength! Now, going on a date with Chuck was a bold move in and of itself and I just enjoyed seeing Triad’s reaction to this. Bringing up the Eye to discourage Chuck was a bit of a low blow, but jealousy can be pretty ugly. Glad they still end up on good terms though. The team clearly doesn’t need infighting.
Charma and her powers belong to a past era of the Legion, so I didn't blink, but gender-based or not, she's definitely not the only character with powered feminine whiles (Spider-Woman is another). Maybe they should've gone ahead and broadened her powers (I mean, Marvel's Purple Man doesn't have discriminating pheromones, right?). But then, this issue quite enjoys its references to the past and for all its reinvention, sometimes is trapped by it. I'd say the same is true of Violet leaving Chuck to Triad (does he get an actual say in this?). In the past continuity, Luornu ends up with Chuck, and so Chuck it must always be. I don't agree. It's nice that some of the famous power couples stay together (Apparition and Ultra Boy, for example), but the Reboot should be able to surprise readers with different twists and turns in the Legionnaires' personal lives.
Combining the histories of the two Invisible Kids, for example, is inspired, and I'm quite intrigued by their time as "Black Hole Commandos". Seems Lyle was more than up to the task of leading the Espionage Squad based on his background. I likewise like the idea that his parents were "invisible" while he grew up. And if you're tracking whether or not Invisible Kid is gay, there's a small hint in this issue, him saying Charma is not his type (though he is still biologically predisposed to follow her orders). Disappointingly, this is a one-off. I don't think Jacques shows up again. A tribute to the Invisible Kid legacy, yes, but not something that's followed up on later. This is a consistent problem in this era (and perhaps others): There are so many characters to service, a plot thread might dangle so long, it may never be resolved if a creative team leaves the book. And that's due to happen in about a year (publication time).
Fun subplot with Vi and Chuck. Loved seeing Triad steaming, but the sisterhood ending was nice too, even if I wanted different 'shipping to occur. That was a very elaborate date for people who aren't meant for each other! Plenty of hijinks with Tenzil and many Legionnaires are seen interacting in the background even if they don't get as much to do. Is Kinetix on her way back from her daze? Couldn't tell, but I enjoyed that look at her closet! She is a bit of a fashion designer, after all!
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1998/21.
  • Not only does the issue recount Invisible Kid's (Reboot) origin for the time, but it also folds Jacques Foccart - the second Invisible Kid - into it. Note that this also provides a first Reboot appearance for Danielle Foccart, Jacques' sister, who in the previous continuity would become the Legionnaire known as Computo II.
  • Invisible Kid II's costume is his classic yellow on the cover, but white in the interior.
  • Invisible Kid II's powers working differently from Lyle's echoes the effects of the invisibility serum in the previous continuity. There, they included uncontrollable teleportation/warp powers. Here, they are painful and life-threatening, but provide greater undetectability.
  • Charma also makes her first and only true appearance in the Reboot. She seemed to have appeared in Legionnaires #43's crowd scenes. Whether she actually tried out for the Legion is not clear.
  • The classic Legion villain Grimbor appears in a flashback fighting the Black Hole Commandos. He was originally Charma's partner in the previous continuity. He has appeared once before in the Reboot, in Legion of Super-Heroes: Secret Files & Origins (1998).
  • Charma's casino appears to be run by the Luck Lords (they appear on a screen in her suite).
  • Kinetix's closet includes Shrinking Violet's original Silver Age costume and a Wonder Woman-themed bathing suit.
  • Chuck Taine would rather be drinking gingold, which is the strange pop extract that gave Elongated Man his stretching powers, no doubt a reference to Chuck's other self, Bouncing Boy, a rubbery hero who got his powers by drinking from the wrong bottle.
  • The haircut on one of the unnamed members of Black Hole might identify him as Ron-Karr, a member of the Legion of Super-Villains in the previous continuity. His power to turn two-dimensional is in line with the stealthy powers other members of the squad would one day develop.

First (and only) Reboot appearance of Jacques Foccart, the second Invisible Kid.


  1. I am doing this from memory, but wasn't Mara the name of the ghost girl the original Invisible Kid met and fell in love with in the issue he died?

    1. Her name was actually Myla, and the story was from Superboy/Legion #203. Sorry. :(

      Here's a link if you want to read it:

    2. Thanks. I owned the issue and read it dozens of times decades ago. My memory is not what it was^^