Tuesday, December 3, 2019

L.E.G.I.O.N. '90 #18

L.E.G.I.O.N. '90 #18 (August 1990)
title: "From the Jaws of Victory..."
co-plot: Alan Grant and Barry Kitson
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: Dox led an attack force on the asteroid base of the pirate Dragon-Ra but things went south very quickly. He had sent Lobo to infiltrate the base and expected that by the time they arrived, Lobo would have killed Dragon-Ra. Instead, the pirate had used his ability to transmute matter to subdue both Lobo and Lady Quark, and he was expecting Dox's attack. Dox was hoping that Lar Gand would be his ace-in-the-hole but he was quickly taken out of action when Dragon-Ra turned his blood into molten lead.

Dragon-Ra gloats over how easily he defeated the L.E.G.I.O.N. but tells Dox that he will restore Lar Gand's blood so he can keep him as a pet. He then changes the air into an anesthetic, which causes the forces of L.E.G.I.O.N. to pass out.
Later, when Dox is brought before Dragon-Ra, he curses at Lobo for betraying them and failing to stop the pirate. Lobo mentally asks Telepath why he cannot just take Dragon-Ra now, but he tells Lobo it isn't time yet. Dragon-Ra changes Dox to rock and tosses him over a cliff, but his body pauses in midair before striking the surface. Telepath tells Lady Quark and Lobo that it is time and they both attack Dragon-Ra.
Catching him off guard, they knock Dragon-Ra unconscious and are just about to kill him when Lar Gand intervenes. He insists that they are a force for good and cannot stoop to Dragon-Ra's level but Dox calls Lar Gand off. Dox notices that a boulder has come loose from the cliff and momentarily distracts everyone until it has fallen and crushed Dragon-Ra, which takes care of the pirate without making the L.E.G.I.O.N. appear responsible for his death.
Dox is unsure of why he did not die when he was thrown off the cliff but Captain Comet appears and explains that he was responsible. He used his telekinetic powers to halt his fall, which caused Dragon-Ra to lose his concentration and left him open to attack. He explains that he had gone after Dragon-Ra after discovering that he was selling slaves to a Khund group, but that the pirate overpowered him. He was kept chained until the arrival of the L.E.G.I.O.N. provided him the opportunity to escape.
Dox confronts Telepath as to why he did not act against Dragon-Ra sooner and he admits that he was too afraid. While he expects to be imprisoned for working for the pirate, Dox surprises him by offering membership in the L.E.G.I.O.N. Dox makes a similar offer to Lady Quark, who explained that she had initially approached Dragon-Ra as a potential mate, but learned his true nature only after it was too late to stop him.
Lady Quark accepts his offer but also mentions that Dox resembles someone she heard about on Earth, a green alien from the planet Colu. Dox orders the L.E.G.I.O.N. to finish up and move out, after realizing that his father, Brainiac, somehow survived the Computer Tyrants and must be dealt with.
I enjoyed the Dragon-Ra arc a great deal, but I have to admit that this wrap up was a bit abrupt. It was definitely enjoyable seeing Lobo and Lady Quark finally make their move, and there was still a lot to like here, but it just felt a little too pat after how much he had been built up to be so formidable. The fact that Lobo had not betrayed the team had been teased the entire time but Lady Quark's loyalties were less certain. While the moment of them confronting Dragon-Ra was rewarding, the battle went a little too smoothly. Perhaps I just expected a little more resistance after Lobo and Lady Quark attacked but they seemed to dispatch him pretty easily. He even stayed unconscious while Lar Gand and Lobo fought it out, which surprised me. I kept expecting him to wake up and for the battle to start over.

Still, I did find the manner by which Dox ultimately dispatched him to be amusing, and it was also a great example of how quickly Dox can turn situations to his advantage. Letting the boulder fall was a great way to take him out while not letting Lar Gand believe he was responsible.

There were some big changes in the wrap up of this issue with the addition of both Telepath and Lady Quark to the team. And while Dox did not specifically offer membership to Captain Comet, he will become a regular castmember from here on out. These are all welcome additions who will play important roles for the foreseeable future. Lady Quark's ego will nicely add to the tension that already drives the dynamics of this team, while Captain Comet is fun, refreshing call back to the more innocent days of DC. That is not to say he will be played as being a naive or silly character, not at all in fact. But personally, I recall being very excited at his addition when I first read this series and I am happy to see him show up now.

Next up...our first crossover!

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