Thursday, August 22, 2019

Reboot: Legion Lost #11

Legion Lost #11 (March 2001)
title: "One Billion Years of Solitude"
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:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Element Lad (flashback), Kid Quantum II, Live Wire, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Shikari, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Wildfire

Omniphagos, Progenitor, Progeny

Several Legionnaires have been lost in a spatial rift, winding up in an unknown part of the universe. The first to wake up was Element Lad, but he had to leave his friends behind in stasis to find a way home. They woke up to find him gone. Now, captured by the xenophobic Progeny and brought before their leader, the Legionnaires are shocked to find the Progenitor is none other than Element Lad...

Jan Arrah tells his story to the confounded Legionnaires. He turned himself into trontium to survive the rift, and sheathed his friends in the same material, and found they had been thrown outside space-time. He spent months trying to calculate a path back and eventually had to go outside to push the Outpost into reality. He got separated from it and while the Outpost reentered space at the proper time, he did not. Instead, he floated at the dawn of the universe, and functionally immortal as tromium, he experienced the birth of the stars. Longing for companionship, he used his powers to alter and create life in that galaxy, effectively becoming the god of many civilizations that rose and fell at his whim. Now, it has been billions of years, and Jan hardly remembers his time in the Legion. Only the name, and that, dimly. To show his goodly intentions, he closes a micro-lesion in Brainy's brain that would have led to a stroke in a few decades, and he gives Live Wire his human arm back. And he still wants to complete his mission, and for that he's captured the Ark Shikari had led the Legion to, released the Omniphagos from it, even fed it just to see, and he's offering to return with his team mates to the United Planets.
Under cover of a telepathic screen, the Legion debates whether Jan hasn't changed too much, become too powerful and disconnected, to be allowed anywhere near Earth. Only Monstress is confident he is still on the side of the angels. Still, she goes along with their plan. Brainiac 5 and Shikari investigate the Ark and find they could use it to get home, thanks to her tracking powers. Most of the rest of the Legion lie in wait ready to strike at the Progeny and take their ship back, waiting on Saturn Girl's signal. She, Monstress and Chameleon confront the former Element Lad. He hardly even remembers them from hours before, his mind working on an incredible scale. He readily details his plans for the United Planets - destroying them, remaking them, playing god. Monstress protests. He doesn't remember making her, but finds her faulty. He disintegrates her. Saturn Girl gives the signal...
OH MY... I don’t even want to say God anymore. When reading this issue, my jaw dropped and literally stayed that way for several minutes. Monstress wanted so much to believe their fellow Legionnaire had no harmful intentions. She believed in him until the end and that’s how he repays her… Please tell me this is but a bad dream. I LOVE Monstress! She’s a bit much, but still sincere and so positive. Obviously, there’s no way she survived this, and I should just accept that she’s gone. I just hope the number of casualties will remain low. Like being lost in time and space wasn’t enough, now the team will have to deal with the loss of some of their teammates.
Ever since the Blight, these stories have become so dark. I’ve always known Jan was an odd one, but this is just too extreme. I don’t care if another species' life expectancy is making them look ephemeral, you won’t see me murder them just for fun! (Except maybe mosquitoes... but they're a nuisance, that’s different!). I just don’t understand why he needed to get rid of Monstress. Did he feel the need to cut every remaining link to his past? Meh... It was probably just getting rid of someone he knew would get in his way. I don’t think he “feels” anything anymore. UGH! I hate him and his eyes are freaking me out.
Pretty harrowing. With his powers, especially exercised for billions of years, Jan is indeed god-like, and Abnett & Lanning tell a classic science-fiction story using that idea. A man is present at the birth of the universe, starts to meddle with creation... doesn't that tick almost all the boxes? And it's a tragedy. The nice, even naive, boy we knew is gone. He thinks he's doing good (healing Legionnaires etc.), but on our scale, he's a madman. He kills Monstress, a character that's grown more and more interesting under these writers. And if he's ever redeemed, he will have to live with her death, and indeed, that of the countless civilizations he destroyed over the eons. The word "dark" is bandied about, but if the Legionnaires win the day, it may just be the dark before the dawn. It is, however, quite tragic. And given Element Lad's story, I'd say it's epic as well. Riveting stuff.
Science Police Notes:  
  • This issue is not technically told told from Element Lad's point of view, but includes an extended flashback told in his voice.
  • Monstress is killed in this issue. According to writer Dan Abnett: "When we took over Legion, Monstress was deeply unpopular. We'd regularly get letters and posts demanding we bump her off. We actually liked her, and through 'Legion Lost' we did our best to make her an appealing, interesting character. When she died, tragically, at the end of 'Lost,' people were suddenly upset!" (Source:

Death of Monstress.


  1. Monstress wasn't a favorite, but I didn't object to her or ask for her removal, much less petition for her death. But this series really got into her character and made me feel for her. Knowing what would happen, it was tricky to talk about it here without spoiling what happened to her.

    But yes, this was classic sci-fi. It firmly established that anything could happen in this story. Legionnaires have been killed in the line of duty before, but not by their teammates. It was a great (and tragic) illustration just how far Jan had fallen. It also illustrates just how powerful the character has always been - and illustrates the restraint he has used since he was introduced in 1963.

    Alas - not a dream. Rest in peace Candi.