Tuesday, October 22, 2019

L.E.G.I.O.N. '90 #12

L.E.G.I.O.N. '90 #12 (February 1990)
title: "Alone Again, or..."
plot/breakdowns: Keith Giffen
script: Alan Grant
penciller: Barry Kitson
inker: Mark McKenna
letterer: Gasper Saladino
colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
editor: Art Young
cover art: Kevin Maguire and Al Gordon
review by: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Vril Dox successfully conquered the Planet Cairn, overthrowing the drug lords that ruled it, and uniting the police force into his own army, before being murdered by Stealth. She was apparently "in heat" as is typical of her race. Meanwhile, Garryn Bek and his wife successfully cloned Dox and brought him back to life with his memories intact. After he defeated an angry Lobo, he resumed control of l.E.G.I.O.N. but left most of its day-to-day handling up to Lyrissa.

Garryn Bek was leading a mission into deep space when they encountered a strange Emerald Eye that seems to have attached himself to him. 

Dox is less than thrilled with Bek's report and presumes that the Eye will only lead to trouble. He is also not so happy to find out about their mysterious visitor, Phase, who appeared out of nowhere with no knowledge of her past. Her test results did not make him any happier since it did not yield any useful information on her physiology or even her clothes.
Stealth confronts Dox about his tests on Phase but their scene is at best...awkward. She is not in the best position of calling him out after she literally raped and murdered him. Despite his enormous ego, Dox is understandably uncomfortable around her, although his readouts soon reveal that she is pregnant. True to form, however, he just files that away as another problem to deal with.

Dox goes to meet Lyrissa, who is expecting Dox to reclaim total control of their organization. He does not, although she remains suspicious. She does try to reach out to Dox by asking whether he has discovered where the Durlan has disappeared to but he reacts angrily and tells her he has not. The passion behind his response catchers her off guard.
Meanwhile, Stealth has checked in on Phase, who has been researching current affairs in hopes of sparking her memory. She struggled with their language but eventually got it, and math was easy, but she does not know anything about the current state of the galaxy.  

Bek reports from his ship that the Emerald Eye has killed one of his crew after they had a quarrel. The eye picked up on his thoughts and acted before Bek could stop him. Anger directed at the eye seems to have no effect so Bek is trying to guard his thoughts.

Back at headquarters, Lobo confronts Dox after his defeat last issue. Lobo is sure that Dox tricked him and once he figures out how, he plans to rip his head off. On a calmer note, Lyrissa visits Strata, who is trying to come up with a name for their new organization but is still struggling. She does have an idea though...Licensed Extra-Governmental Interstellar Operatives Network? L.E.G.I.O.N.?

Stealth visits Dox to tell him about her condition but he explains that he already knows. He suggests that the last thing the team needs is an unwanted child and that the only sensible thing to do is for her to have an abortion. She reacts angrily, punches him, and says its no wonder the Durlan ran away. This hits Dox especially hard who flips out at the possibility that the Durlan may have done just that.

Back on Bek's ship, he reports that his entire crew is dead as the hands of the Eye. He tried to guard his thoughts, but the Eye seems to be able to tap into his dreams.

There is so much going on in this issue but before getting to that I want to comment on Kitson's art. In the first few issues, his art was somewhat crude and unrecognizable from what would become his usual style. But he has quickly evolved and what we see now will remain his style for his entire run on this comic. While not flashy or in keeping with many 90s comics, I think its very appropriate for this title and his work on L.E.G.I.O.N. made me a fan.

The storyline with Bek that was teased several times this issue reminded me of a horror/sci-fi film in keeping with Aliens. It was very well done on the creators part and made me both excited for, and dreading, the next issue. 

I am still very uncomfortable during the scenes involving Dox and Stealth. If there is one thing that has been established in this series it is that Dox is a jerk and the coldness of his reaction in finding out that she was pregnant reinforced this. However...the circumstances under which it happened do make a reader feel sympathetic to even him, and it once again reminds me how surprised I am to see every one quickly accept Stealth and feel comfortable around her after what she did. Since the issues involved here are difficult enough under normal circumstances, and we are dealing with alien cultures here, there is probably no right or wrong way for everyone to be reacting. But the complexities underlying everything were part of what initially attracted me to this title when it first came out.

As I have noted before, this is a title that often lacked a villain in many issues because the interpersonal dynamics among the team provided more than enough drama. And speaking of the team, I had almost forgotten that they still had not been officially named in-story. That had to make meetings and Lyrissa's outreach to other planets somewhat difficult, but thanks to Strata for finally giving a name to the L.E.G.I.O.N.

1 comment:

  1. I agree you with you completely regarding the Dox/Stealth situation and the 'Alien' of the whole thing.
    Dox is an arsehole but he was also raped and murdered by an Alien in her natural life cycle (which is made very clear in the future when Giffen returns to handle the birth), but rape nonetheless.
    By Dox insisting abortion and Steath's reaction seems to showcase Vril's cold heartedness yet again, but it is a child of rape.
    On Earth the victim is the one impregnated, so the decision of abortion is theirs, but here the rapist gets to decide not only about keeping the child but also all future decisions for the child are in Stealth's hands unless Dox tries to mend bridges with his rapist and murderer.
    Truly Alien and truly a 'Mature' comic set in the DCU proper. This was done very well by the titles published by DC on the more expensive paper before everything got claimed by Vertigo and Grell left GA.