Thursday, May 9, 2019

Reboot: Legionnaires #80

Legionnaires #80 (February 2000)
title: "Legion of the Damned Part Four: Damned for All Eternity!"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Olivier Coipel
inker: Andy Lanning
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Olivier Coipel & Andy Lanning
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5.1, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Ferro, Gates, Invisible Kid, Kid Quantum II, Kinetix, Live Wire, M'Onel, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Spark, Star Boy, Thunder, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, XS

The Doda, Magno, Shvaughn Erin

Atrophos, The Blight

As the Blight's leader Atrophos prepares to use M'Onel to bring his plans to fruition, the Legionnaires still free of his influence plan to infiltrate the Stem and destroy the Doda, a creature that has been corrupted to spread the Blight's power across the galaxy...

Atrophos' plan is to use M'Onel's powerful energies as a catalyst to send energy through the Doda network that will consume the life force of every planet entwined in it. When it reaches critical mass, it will explode, destroying all life in the universe save for the Blight who will receive the gift of true, non-decaying, eternal life.
The free Legionnaires enter the Stem, acting as the prisoners of a Chameleon, disguised as Blight. It works, but Saturn Girl telepathically senses M'Onel's pain and realizes what's happening. The Legionnaires are forced to abandon their subterfuge and make a break for it, fighting their Blighted friends to try and get to the Doda. When Apparition and the Blighted Ultra Boy meet, he hesitates. Whether it's their bond that releases him or her phasing through him, disrupting the Blight tech, the result is the same: He's free.
The Legion smashes into the chamber where M'Onel and the Doda are being held, and Cosmic Boy pins Atrophos to a wall. But when he goes to a console to stop whatever process has been started, Saturn Girl prevents him from doing so, making his pass out. Has she betrayed the Legion? Atrophos talks smack, making the team believe she's been tainted by the Blight. Cham goes after her, but XS comes to her defense, trusting she knows what she's doing. And indeed she does. Seeing as the Doda's natural growth was blocked, Imra uses M'Onel's connection to the creature to unblock it. And as Ultra Boy throws Atrophos into the Doda's energies, it blooms, releasing benign energy across its entire network and cleansing the worlds of the Blight. The entire race is evaporated.
When the Legion wakes up, the sun shines in the sky again and both the Blighted and the people hit with choke weed, walk free among the ruins of the Stem. Friends and lovers are reunited. And one thing seems to hold true, the world needs the Legion to rebuild.
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe she’s too weak at that point, but shouldn’t Imra be able to determine if someone is acting of their own free will vs. corrupted by the Blights? Why would the writers decide to make her think to herself that she might betray them? I guess she might not have known what releasing the Doda would do to the ones that were blighted. That could explain why she immediately thought she lost Garth. At the very least, this I can accept, but I can’t see why she thought for a moment the team she was working with couldn’t be trusted. Basically, it felt like a forced suspense.
All’s well that ends well! I’m not surprised and I’m not unhappy about it. It’s a nice way to finish this storyline even if it means seeing a whole civilization destroyed. The Blights couldn’t be saved and that makes it all very sad. Most of them had nothing to do with Atrophos’ stupid plan. The mark that stayed on Earth, and on plenty of other worlds, will remain and remind them of how close they were to losing everything. I wonder, now that we have different writers, how much time they will spend on the aftermath. If they’ll skip right to the next action-packed storyline or jump on the opportunity to focus on rehabilitation, both physical and mental. I hope they will take time to explore existing and new relationships and how they deal with the mess the Blights left behind. In my humble opinion, those stories are worth telling as much as the next fight against an evil presence.
Well, it's a good sign that in the immediate aftermath, all the pairings we see are grounded in relationships that have evolved over the course of the last five years. Legionnaires gravitate to friends, confidants and lovers, with Thunder even looking into the distance because she never got to that point with anyone. DnA are aware of the characters and where they've been. And yes, totally agree that the betrayal angle was manipulative, though I guess the reason is that if someone should fall to the Blight, they couldn't reveal the plan.
My actual first impression of the issue was: "ALREADY?!" What an anti-climax. The Blight are built up as the major baddies, so I expected a little more of a tussle. The Legionnaires basically slip in, beat up a couple of Blighters, speak some techno-babble, and the not entirely comprehensible Doda plot is turned on the Blight's collective heads with an even less comprehensible Doda solution. And it all looks like big special effects, more than a little abstract. I'm just not sure what just happened, or how it did. You almost NEED Saturn Girl's weird betrayal just to add something, anything, we can get a hold of as readers. I also don't know what the heck the deal with the choke weed was, or how everyone is returned to life that was "choked" there at the end. Maybe the next issue will have more of an explanation, but that doesn't help this particular issue.
At least everything isn't magically undone. Metropolis has seen better days, and Earth, perhaps the galaxy, is in chaos.

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 2000/3.
  • This marks the last appearance of the Blight, but the consequences of their invasion of the galaxy will make itself felt for a while.

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