Thursday, September 12, 2019

Reboot: Legion Worlds #2

Legion Worlds #2 (July 2001)
title: "You Are Here: Winath"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
artist: Enrique Breccia
lettering: Comicraft
title: "A Change in Climate"
writer: Dan Abnett
art and lettering: Darwyn Cooke
inker: Andy Lanning
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
seps: Digital Chameleon
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: John Cassaday
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Spark; flashback elements: Brainiac 5.1, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Kinetix, Live Wire, Saturn Girl

Begz family, Blane and Syra Gulz, Kirth and Dalya Ranzz, Lylia Ranzz, Mekt Ranzz; Science Police, Slo-boat crew

Millhaven Farming Collective (named: Kalin Gulz and his brother)

A year ago, a bunch of Legionnaires were seemingly killed, including Spark's twin brother Live Wire, closing a space-time rift, even as the United Planets council was debating whether or not to mothball the Legion...

With the stargates closed, it took Ayla Ranzz six months to get home to the agricultural world of Winath. Trekking to her family's farm, she hitches a ride from neighbors who fill her in on the hard times the planet's been experiencing - from financial hardships to a breakdown of the weather-controlling technology, and how many farms have had to conglomerate to stay afloat. She visits Garth's (empty) grave where she meets her older brother Mekt and reacts violently. He quickly reminds her he was given parole and is working on their parents' farm, monitored and medicated.
Her parents are happy to see her, especially since her dad was recently hit by lightning in a freak storm, and can't do the work he used to. He's also quite down on farming cooperative, who he sees as corner-cutting polluters; he has refused to join them. The next day, a tornado hits and Ayla saves a neighbor's family, but their house is a total loss. She is suspicious of Mekt soon coming to pull her from the wreckage. And so she starts following him, to the farmers' market, then to the county's climate control center. She surprises him there, but he explains he's been investigating the freak weather storms and uncovered evidence of tampering. Sure enough, the heads of the Millhaven Farming Collective have been causing disasters on their rivals' land. Ayla zaps them all, but it fries the controls which have just been set to cause a massive storm.
It's up to her to try and control the storm, but it's too much for her, so Mekt lowers a lightning rod into the cloud and attracts the lightning. She can get away long enough to destroy the storm-causing machinery. Later, she visits her brother's grave again, but Mekt comes running with news that the Legion Lost has returned. Her hopes soar, and Mekt, still jealous of his brother, destroys the grave stone, believing it isn't needed anymore.
In "A Change in Climate", just before Ayla arrives home, her mother and aunt discuss Winath's problems, Mekt's progress, and of course, the death of Garth and absence of Ayla.
I’m fortunate enough that I haven’t lost a lot of friends or family in my 30 years on this Earth. I fear the day it will happen because I don’t know how I’ll deal with grief. While I understand why people would go out of their way to express their sympathies and condolences when a tragedy happens, I think that it simply is misplaced good intentions when it’s been so long after the fact. Really, one year has passed and you still need to remind that poor girl how she lost her twin brother... At that point, I just think it’s better to keep it shut and let them move on from that traumatic event. Ayla isn’t defined by her loss. I realize it’s weird for her people to see her as a “solo” now, but that’s precisely why they shouldn’t mention it.
How ironic and sad that Ayla spent 6 months traveling through space to get back home, only to learn a couple of days after her arrival that the Outpost is back. Imagine going through losing your brother, hoping for him to return anytime, slowly feeling that hope fading away, accepting your loss only to have all hope returned to you in a single moment. And then, learning it was all in vain. That he is really dead. And how learning he died a hero will never make up for the roller coaster of emotion you just experienced. I fear for her well-being. That poor girl...
Now concerning Mekt. I guess he was actually getting better, but of course the moment he was shocked, the custody tag malfunctioned, and he let go all pretense. Nice touch from the writers to have him stutter when giving Ayla the “good” news only to have a proper control of his voice seconds after she left. I wonder what his next move’s going to be. I thought he might only be mad at Garth’s return as Ayla won’t be a solo like him anymore. But even when he’ll learn of his brother’s passing, I doubt it will calm him. Without medication and a way to prevent him from using his powers, I fear he will be back to his old ways very quickly. Could he be the first menace to be faced by the returning Legionnaires before having them handling the threat coming from Robotica?
I don't know about you, but I'm loving Legion Worlds to bits. I love the world-building it allows the writers and artists to do (even if robot bunnies and cows are a little ridiculous). I love the different art styles (every bit of Darwyn Cooke art is precious). And, well, the character-driven writing is just very strong. By rights, Spark investigating corrupt farming practices and sabotage should have been a little dull, but no. Ayla's a great character, looking and feeling more hardened now, shades of the 5YL era. We can believe her mistrust of Mekt, even as we believe he has reformed and is probably doing something good - and he is.
Shotgun, your observation is keen about how he loses the stutter, but I would rather believe it's most ambiguous than your take is. If this is a good Spark story, it's an even better Lightning Lord story. Yes, his powers and anger are suppressed artificially, but working on the farm and, especially, getting to act as Ayla's twin, is what's making him better. Every story we hear is a tragic one, of an unpaired brother whose anger issues stem from his loneliness and jealousy. It seems he was close to Ayla, but never as close as he wanted to be. She couldn't be his surrogate twin because she had her own; Garth always got between them. With Garth gone, that relationship resumes, and culminates in their teaming up (I could have used a bit more clarity in the action, but it's a minor point). Then, the news that Live Wire might be back. He stays behind, expresses bitterness as he once again loses his sister, and an act of violence that could just as easily be seen as precipitously getting rid of something no longer needed. He's bitter, he's disappointed, but has he turned to villainy? Maybe (Lightning Lord is a major Legion villain mostly ignored in the Reboot era), but was he play-acting through his parole? I choose to think he wasn't, which makes his turn even tragic. Especially given we know Live Wire did NOT come back. That ending made me weepy, guys...
Science Police Notes:  
  • The issue is told from Spark's point of view and takes place on Winath.
  • Mekt Ranzz was arrested by his siblings back in Legionnaires #30. He has not been seen since, except in flashbacks to Live Wire and Spark's origin story.
  • Murakami Seed Concern is a reference to Glen Murakami who artist Darwyn Cooke worked with on the DC animated series. Cooke also throws in background references to Moebius, Joe Prado, and Mike Mignola


  1. Robot Bunnies in a Legion book? HELL YEAH!!!! Never say no to robot bunnies!

  2. To be fair, I also think Mekt intentions were good and genuine. He was doing better. I just fear his reaction to losing his newly found realtionship with Ayla was too much and Garth's being actually dead won't be enough to bring him back. The absence of stutter makes me think he snapped. That's also what makes me think there's more to the destroying of the stone than believing it wasn't needed anymore.