Thursday, September 26, 2019

Reboot: Legion Worlds #4

Legion Worlds #4 (September 2001)
title: "You Are Here: Xanthu"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Duncan Rouleau
inker: Jaime Mendoza
lettering: Comicraft
title: "War Makes Us Weapons"
writers: Dan Abnett
penciller: Rick Leonardi

inker: Al Williamson
lettering: Kurt-Hathaway
colorist: Tom McCraw
seps: Digital Chameleon
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: John Cassaday
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Star Boy, XS; flashback cameos: Chameleon, Kid Quantum II, Live Wire, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Shikari, Ultra Boy

Atmos, Dreamer, Insect Queen, Jork, Q'Bahl, Sulis; Khunds, Xanthusians

Robotica; flashback cameo: Progenitor

Half the Legion's been missing, thought dead, but they've just now returned after a year. While they were gone, Leland McCauley became president of the United Planets, disbanded the Legion. For some reason, Xanthu, one of the Affiliated Planets, no longer answers...

Four months ago, Robotica attacked Xanthu, killing billions despite Khundia coming to its aid, with both conventional and unethical bio weapons. Over time, the Affiliated forces have found countermeasures like EMPs and acid guns to fight the A.I.'s army of machine drones, but for the most part, they are reduced to fighting with blades and clubs and fists. In the wake of societal collapse, XS is a living, running voice mail, ferrying information to military units at superspeed.
Star Boy and the surviving Amazers - Insect Queen and Atmos - are in the fight, as is Dreamer, who has learned to control and focus her prescient abilities thanks to Khundish training. Holed up in the only surviving city of Xanth Prime, she has been helping the allies stay one step ahead of the Roboticans while some eight million refugees are brought to the shielded metropolis. But now it's at full capacity and it's time to leave the planet. A hole in the Robotican defenses could be exploited, but the enemy has put a force field around Xanth Prime's to crush the city should its own shield come down. A mission to destroy the generator succeeds, but not before the launch window has closed and there's no escape.

But over the objections of Khund Major Jork, XS and Star Boy captured the A.I. leading the projector's defenses alive, and it can be hacked to recreate the hole in Robotica's defenses. It works, though Star Boy, XS and Jork are part of a rear guard covering the evacuation. As Dreamer and eight million refugees make it off Xanthu (and weeks later, reach Khundia from which she will help plan a retaliation), Star Boy and XS are surrounded, perhaps lost. Dreamer may even have secret dreams of Thom's tombstone...
Before jumping into my comments on the story, I must say I have some issues with the art. First of all, what happened to Thom’s face? What did he ever do to deserve looking so bad? The artist that drew him should stay away from male close-ups like his life depends on it! I can’t even understand what’s going on with his face on page 11. It’s so ugly, it’s distracting me from the tragedy of the story. The other thing that bothered me is Jenni’s appearance. While her face is fine and looks normal, the color of skin looks too pale. Is it just me or does it look like they whitewashed her? You look at her next to Thom or Insect Queen and you can’t even tell there’s a difference in the tones that were used. It’s driving me crazy, honestly!
All graphic distractions aside, this story hit me hard. It’s devastating to witness such destruction caused by an enemy whose motivations are completely unknown. When I started reading, I was afraid of Jenni’s tone, as it felt to me like she was enjoying herself in her new messenger role. That feeling faded away fairly quickly though. It’s good to see Thom and Nura having incredible control on their powers. It makes all three of them valuable assets in this war. Nura is so gorgeous. I love her, I love her, I love her... I LOVE HER! But I would hate to have her powers. First, sleeping is the best, and second, I couldn’t handle predicting the deaths of my friends and loved ones. As much as I sometime fear the unknown that is the future, I’d rather experience every second of it than get it spoiled by trailers! She must’ve known for a long time that Thom wouldn’t escape Xanthu and, according to her last vision in "War Makes Us Weapons", that it would be the end of him. I wonder what it means for XS... Is she also gone...? As in dead... I know there was a ton of characters, but dear God, writers... you’re making this so hard on me lately... I hope that’s the one vision in a million she misread, and that epitaph is going to be erected for a very old Star Boy. Or should I say Star Man? Star Guy?

Well, this is certainly an ACTION issue, with dynamic art (no matter how cartoony the faces get) and like XS, it moves like a freight train. Robotica is certainly being set up as the next Blight, and has a lot in common with it, destroying and taking over entire worlds, only it's mechanical instead of gross  bio-mass. Within pages, Xanthu is attacked and we're down to 8 million people out of 4.76 billion. Our heroes have become soldiers in this war, but haven't lost their Legion values no matter how much their Khund allies grind their teeth about the no-killing clause. And indeed, the story shows killing would have been the wrong thing to do. The powers of all three Legionnaires (I'm including Dreamer) have grown and are used for epic feats, especially Star Boy who's finally stabilized as a power set. He's got the gravity powers, but he uses them like a power house, which ultimately blends the two versions into a character it took too long to arrive at.
It's all very exciting and desperate and beautifully written, and it's not gonna stop until they procure a Pyrrhic victory in the form of a successful evacuation at the cost of Thom and Jenni's... I'm gonna say CAPTURE because WE DON'T SEE NO BODIES! Nura has a dream of a sad future, sure, but she's not ordering the tombstone quite yet. This one was EPIC and I can't wait for the Legion to come in and hand Robotica its collective metal butt. And rescue our heroes. And ask Dreamer to join. I'm not prescient, but I think the story's definitely driving in that direction.
Science Police Notes:  
  • The main story is told from XS' and Star Boy's point of view and takes place on Xanthu. The back-up is told from Dreamer's, and takes place on Khundia.
  • The non-Legion Amazers seem to be down to Atmos and Insect Queen. Presumably, Konk and Phrenologax Lad have been killed.
  • Star Boy's joke, calling XS "Levity Lass", is a reference to Light Lass, who used to be his opposite number in the gravity power sets. In this continuity, he can both increase and decrease gravity and so has both powers.
  • Dreamer's ability boost now puts her on par with the Dream Girl of the previous continuity.


  1. Surviving Amazers? You mean the one that can detach her head and have it float around is gone? NOOOOO!!!!! She was the mightiest of them all!