Friday, January 17, 2020

Reboot: The Legion #14

The Legion #14 (January 2003)
title: "Flesh Is Weak"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Olivier Coipel
inker: Andy Lanning
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Jason Wright
seps: Digital Chameleon
editors: Mike McAvennie and Stephen Wacker
associate editor: Tom Palmer Jr. 
cover: Olivier Coipel and Andy Lanning
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Gear (behind the scenes), Invisible Kid, Kid Quantum II, Live Wire II, M'Onel (behind the scenes), Saturn Girl, Sensor, Shikari, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, Wildfire, XS

Chuck Taine, Khunds, Kinetix, Shvaughn Erin, Timber Wolf, Warworld operating system

Computo, Robotica, Sharn Nux

Computo and Robotica have taken over Earth and projected an impenetrable screen around the planet while they attempt to jumpstart machine evolution. The Legion has called U.P. and Khund forces to come and help, and Legionnaires have also secured the Warworld Dreadnought to try and break through. But while their priority is saving Brainiac 5 from his progeny, the Coluan expert brought along for the ride has other plans: destroying the Robotican threat even at the cost of Earth. And then there's the fact that Brainiac 5 has agreed to help Computo...

Apparently the lone survivor of the attack on Titanet, Saturn Girl must still face Robotica's soldiers, but she is helped by Timber Wolf, deputized by R.J. Brande. The shield around Earth continues to hold and Star Boy likely won't be able to balance the gravitational forces at play for more than a minute. And that's when Kinetix, almost through her transformation into a machine Terrorform, uses her connection to technology to open a hole in the shield through which the Legion can teleport.
Sensor can't cast illusions that will affect machines, but Gear has given her a device that allows to at least cloak her team from sensors. When that fails, the Legionnaires must fight their way into Computo's sanctorum. There they find Brainiac 5 helping Computo evolve, which enrages Sharn Nux, but Kid Quantum chooses to trust Brainy. Computo betrays his creator by taking the hypertaxis energy all to himself, leaving his Robotican cohorts behind, but Brainiac 5 knew it would happen. Once evolved, Computo becomes an energy form of pure intellect and has discarded all the petty emotions and immorality that caused his bad behavior, realizing these elements were primitive.
Still, Sharn Nux refuses to abandon her mission, wounds Brainiac 5 and jumps into Computo, trying to give it a virus. They both disappear in a flash of light. Later, in sickbay, Kid Quantum informs a recovering Brainy that the Roboticans withdrew, rebuilt everything they destroyed in the span of a day, and on M'Onel's suggestion, moved to Pluto/Warworld to found a machine planet. Meanwhile, Ultra Boy is reunited with Apparition and meets his son. And at the end of time, a glowing form crashes into a dead world and is welcomed by a mechanical voice...
While in my last commentary, I said I thought Brainiac had a change of heart, I figured he wouldn’t help Computo if it would be against the greater good. I’m glad he was thinking of all these variables when he decided to cooperate, and even more glad that he succeeded in bringing peace back on Earth. The evolution process destroyed basically everything of the old Computo, and by expending his intellect further than what his mechanical body could offer, it became a pacifist. How poetic that the greatest intellect ever created would condemn violence.
This felt like a proper ending to the Robotican plot… But is it?! A bit of mystery remains thanks to that last panel presenting a fused Computo/Nux being greeted by an unknown being. Different font in the speech bubble makes me think they’re not speaking Interlac. Or maybe they’re just of a different species and that is accentuated by a different font the way Computo’s was also different.
I have one comment and two questions left:
-I just LOVED every single panel between page 14 and 18. This whole issue is beautiful to look at but the expressions, the colors, the shadows… Everything stands out in those 5 pages.
-What happened to Zoe and the other Terrorforms?
-And the real important one: What’s with the single-color full-body suit Jazmin and Jo both are wearing at the end? I like it, but I feel like if they were to have a casual Legion-World uniform, it could be comfier looking instead of that epic level of skin-tight. I’m ready for some Legion loungewear!
Hahaha! Gotta say, I am not entirely sure that's Computo and Nux as the end, though you're probably right. I'm confounded by who is receiving the glowing character, see? We're at the end of time, with big mentions of entropy, etc., so the old Legion reader is supposed to think of the Time Trapper here. But the font use is mechanical, as IT were Computo in the farthest future (but you're right, NOT the same mechanical font used by Computo earlier). Looking at the covers of book in the short term, I don't think we get back to this for a while, so it'll probably have to stay a mystery.

As for the story, I knew my boy Brainy had our back, and guessed this is why he dared let Computo evolve. His creation was a petulant child after all, and any enlightenment was sure to make him a better person. Now, is it smart to give Robotica something called "Warworld"? Doesn't sound like it, except that we trust its JLA-programmed A.I. to keep the peace. Right? I think that if the Robotica storyline isn't over, THAT'S where it's more likely to continue, right there in our Solar System, rather than with the mysterious figures at the Omega Point.
Stuff I liked: Timber Wolf realizing too late that the Legion rings are FLIGHT rings. Jo and Tinya being reunited. The Legion trusting Kid Quantum to make the decision to trust Brainy; this is how the Legion should behave. And yes, the moody and expressive art, I agree.
Science Police Notes:  
  • This issue contains a preview of the new H-E-R-O series, as indicated on the cover.
  • This is Mike McAvennie's last issue as editor of the Legion books, passing the baton to Stephen Wacker.