Tuesday, September 10, 2019

L.E.G.I.O.N. '89 #6

L.E.G.I.O.N. '89 #6 (July 1989)
title: "Heroes...and Villains!"
plot/breakdowns: Keith Giffen
script: Alan Grant
penciller: Barry Kitson
inker: Mark McKenna
letterer: Gaspar
colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
assistant editor: Art Young
editor: Karen Berger
cover art: Kevin Maguire and Al Gordon
review by: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Future L.E.G.I.O.N.airres: The Durlan, Garryn Bek, Lobo, Lyrissa Mallor, Stealth, Strata, Vril Dox.

Their Opponent: Kanis-Biz

Recap: Upon learning that Vril has sent Lobo to kill Kanis-Biz, drug lord and father to Garryn Bek, the team travels to Cairn to stop him. Vril has mislead his companions though, and actually travels with Lobo to Cairn to take over the corrupt police force of Zalman City.

The opening to this issue catches us up on the Computer Tyrants of Colu, who are having some difficulty adjusting to their new humanoid form. Fortunately, they have found someone to help them teach them the behavior and lifestyle expected of a bio-organism, and the first lesson involves how to wear clothes.
Back at Cairn, the Durlan is explaining to his companions how Dox had only pretended to send Lobo to assassinate Kanis-Biz, and was instead using Lobo to persuade the police force to switch allegance to him. Dox has installed himself as their new Chief Comissioner and taken control of Zalman City. The Durlan tells them that Dox is planning a large assault on Biz and the team goes to warn the crime lord but is too late.
The team encounters Lobo and they tell him they will take no part in Vril's plan. Bek is disgusted with Vril's constant manipulation and Lobo's cavalier attitude, and in his anger he lashes out somewhat foolishly.
Despite his agreement with Dox not to kill Bek, this puts him in a murderous mood. The team tries to stop Lobo while Bek flees but their efforts are not very successful. Meanwhile, Vril is confronting Biz.
Our heroes do not do a very good job of stopping Lobo, but the chaos of Vril's attack on Biz's palace at leasts provides Bek some temporary cover. He eventually catches Bek though and honors his agreement with Dox by only breaking both of his legs.
Dox continues to force Biz to watch the battle unfold, clearly waiting for some reaction. He finally gets it when Biz notices Lobo and for the first time shows some fear. In fact, Biz tells Vril he could have just mentioned that he had Lobo on his payroll up front and they could have avoided all of this death. Vril explains that the battle was necessary, as his police needed the experience and will rally to him after their victory. And an encounter between Lyrissa and a police offer after the battles is over proves Dox correct.
As disgusted as they are with Dox, and fearful of how far he may be willing to go to achieve his plans, even they would probably not have guessed at how he ultimately chooses to deal with Biz.

Commentary: Once again we see a plan of Dox come to fruition exactly as he had hoped and we also see the lengths he is willing to go to make sure that happens. Out team has for the most been spectators over the last two issues, having been tricked by Dox into going to Cairn but not playing any direct role in his becoming Chief Commissioner or his defeat of Biz. But we have gotten to know their personalities a bit more and it is clear that they all have a higher sense of morality than Dox does.

As dark a character as Dox is, however, his goals have ultimately been good ones so far. He freed his people from the computer tyrants and is beginning to clean Cairn of the drug lords that have ruled it for so long. Of course, he is also ruthless and manipulative, and how quickly he amassed an army for himself understandably terrifies Lyrissa.

I really appreciate how Giffen and Grant are taking their time here. In the first couple issues, it was difficult to image how this group could become the organization that L.E.G.I.O.N. was advertised to be, but they have done an excellent job laying the foundation. Lyrissa clearly loathes Dox but it is not hard for a reader to guess that her mistrust of Dox will be precisely why she chooses to stick around, particularly now that he commands so many. And although Dox's goals have been noble so far, the reader also cannot help but feel some trepidation over what type of organization the L.E.G.I.O.N. is going to be. The premise of this series was obviously meant to suggest some potential connection to the Legion of Super-Heroes, but so far there is no resemblance between the groups.

Now that we have seen more clues to his long term plans, the big question is can what Dox is building be a force for good given the type of person he is? Join me next issue as we see his plans further unfold!

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