Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cosmic Boy The Mini-Series

by Tim "the Substitute Blogger" Wallace 

Before jumping into the Cosmic Boy mini-series written by Paul Levitz, with art by Keith Giffen, Ernie Colon, Bob Smith, and Pablo Marcos, I decided to re-read Legends to see just how it was Cosmic Boy found himself in the 20th Century. When we first meet him, he’s sitting in a diner “eating an actual greasy hamburger, reading an actual newspaper” enjoying a vacation of sorts in the 20th Century. Within a few panels he’s pulled into a battle with Brimstone and meeting the JLA. I couldn’t help but picture Cosmic Boy/Rokk Krinn a little like “Die Hard’s” John McClane for the rest of the read. During that initial battle with Brimstone in Legends #1 I couldn’t help but hear McClane’s lament “Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..." Rokk, on an innocent trip to the 20th Century as an “amateur historian”, finds nothing goes as planned and is quite unexpectedly thrust into an adventure.

The thing about Legends was that Darkseid, by way of G. Gordon Godfrey, had turned the people of Earth against costumed heroes. So what happens after Cosmic Boy shows up in the 20th Century for a little vacation and steps in to battle the monster Brimstone? Well, in issue one of this miniseries he gets attacked by a mob of people he just saved. I know…like me, you were thinking “if he’s from the future, shouldn’t he have known about all this anti-hero stuff?” Keep reading!  Luckily he’s not alone…Night Girl appears just in time to grab him up and take him away. She also appears just in time to give us a little flashback explanation of a few things, like her origin. She loved Cosmic Boy from the first time she saw him on the holo-monitor (future TV) and coerced her father, a bio-engineer, into giving her powers so she could join the Legion. She mentions that those powers fade in sunlight (hence the name Night Girl), so I’m guessing she was using her patented Legion flight ring to save Rokk’s butt! She wraps up her back story as they arrive at their hotel. Cosmic Boy, still delirious from the Brimstone battle and mob beatings, begins his own flashback. Borrowing a Time Bubble from the Time Institute he thought he’d take a vacation to the past, with Lydda/Night Girl, but 1986 wasn’t what it was supposed to be. When he ran into Superman, Supes had no memory of Cosmic Boy or the Legion…! After Rokk comes around and he and Lydda start connecting the dots, they soon realize that in this timeline Superman was NEVER Superboy!

BOOM! Crisis strikes again! Even I know that fact shakes the very foundation of the Legion itself! They decide to do some investigating and try to get to the bottom of why things are different. While walking the streets of New York they become aware of a potential disaster. A space shuttle carrying a satellite with a nuclear payload is in trouble, so Cosmic Boy races to the rescue. Arriving just in time to save the day he’s not welcomed with open arms, instead the military opens fire, accusing him of being an alien spy. Alone and injured on a beach, he wonders how he can fix history…without the Legion to back him up?

Rokk and Lydda start working more details out back at the hotel. This should be the point in history when mankind starts colonizing space, but they’re not. Superman was never Superboy. History is not what they thought they knew or expected. Lydda is fed up with this ruining their vacation and decides they need to figure it out and fix now! She heads out and grabs tickets to Houston. They’ll go to NASA and get to the bottom of things! Once there though, they sort of blur the line of futuristic heroes and common thugs by breaking into the NASA base. Luckily they’re discovered by an astronaut named Jason, who recognizes them from the news…and still believes in heroes! Rokk explains that someone is tampering with history, trying to prevent man from reaching space. The conversation gets cut short by protestors outside causing a security issue on the base. “No Nukes In Space!” they shout, before climbing the walls around the NASA compound, determined to prove the existence of…well, nukes. Still in civilian disguises Rokk Krinn and Lydda Jath try to help push back the mob, until Rokk’s jacket is torn, revealing his costume underneath. Throwing caution to the wind the dynamic duo of the future go full superhero to safely clear the mob, and save the scientists. As they fly off, Night Girl asks why it is so important. After all, it’s only history. Cosmic Boy reminds her…it’s THEIR history.

That final panel reveals Jason, the man who they helped, is named Jason Krinnski. Important? We shall see...

Rokk and Lydda have made it back to New York and have decided it’s time to call an end to this trip! No more primitive 20th Century technology and no more secret identities (apparently only Sensor Girl still uses one…memo to self, check that out). Just then, Rokk remembers time is still messed up and decides they need the Legion’s help to fix it! Using Night Girl’s strength and Cosmic Boy’s magnetic powers they pull their Time Bubble out of its hiding spot in the ground. It doesn’t work though, or work well…they can’t break the time wall. 

They’re still stuck in 1986. Normally they’d go to Superman for help, but he doesn’t remember them. Who else do they know in the 20th Century? Astronaut Jason Krinnski! So after working all night, doing what they could with 1986’s best tech, the trio thinks they’ve got it. Sadly, round two goes about as well as round one. They still can’t break the time wall. Rokk now figures it’s a power issue. Luckily his magnetic powers are even stronger on Earth due to the planet’s own strong magnetic field, and he uses that to his full advantage. Pushing with all his might, he breaks through the time wall! So why don’t they stop in 2986? Why do they find themselves thrown all the way to the end of time? Three words…the Time Trapper!

Rokk and Lydda find themselves face to face with the Time Trapper at the end of time! The Trapper tells them he's willing to allow them a partial understanding of his actions...and then things get weird! Surreal! Cosmic Boy and Night Girl fall through the floor, into a room whose walls quickly fade into a Salvador Dali-esque world where they find themselves in the palm of the Time Trapper's hand.

He tells the duo of his plan to extend the end of time all the way back to the beginning so he can rule it all, before giving them an hour to get back to their own time to "live in fear until I reach back to destroy your epoch." See what I mean? Weird! They make their way back into the Time Trapper's citadel through a sewer, in search of their Time Bubble, and are quickly attacked by a sewer squid. It only slows them down a little, as Night Girl drops it with a single punch! They split up figuring they'll cover more ground that way. They both find themselves facing off against Nazis, barbarians, Stormtroopers and more, but both manage to make their way to the Trapper's throne room...and the Time Bubble! There's one problem. The Time Trapper is there too and he tries stalling them, till time runs out...and then laughing, he allows them to leave. As they travel to their own time, though, the Trapper warns them the next time a Legionnaire tries to travel through time will be the last! Back at Legion headquarters Cosmic Boy decides to rally the team to take on the Time Trapper, not realizing that's exactly what the villain wants...

And there you have it, an experiment in time travel...we've just revisited my very first experience with the Legion of Superheroes as a quest to find out if I love the Legion (see my first post here) I'll say this much...rereading it now has me pretty curious. I googled the astronaut Jason Krinnski...he's the great-great-great-great...he's Rokk Krinn's ancestor. But, why does Sensor Girl keep a secret identity? Has the Time Trapper really been behind all this? Cosmic Boy seems to think so, but me on the other hand...I'm as confused now as I was in 1986! I thought Superman not recognizing Rokk and never having been Superboy was a result of DC's Crisis, but this story seems to indicate it was part of the Time Trapper's plan. Help me out Legionnaires...what am I missing? Is there a particular issue or story arc I need to follow this up with?


  1. This was a fun mini-series, and a cool "prelude" to the Time Trapper vs Legion story that was coming up. Nice job, Tim.
    And yes, eventually, all your questions will be answered. :-)

  2. Superman not recognizing Rokk was, technically, a result of Crisis, but this story provides the nice, convenient retcon that sets up a couple years worth of Legion stories (big payoff in Baxter Legion #50). Though this was a title I think I read once and boxed; to look back like this, I guess the Cosmic Boy mini-series was pretty important. Thanks for reminding me, Tim!

  3. Thanks guys! So, what would you recommend I follow this up with? Sitting on my shelf now are the Legion/Star Trek crossover, a DC Comics Presents issue featuring the Legion, and JLA 147-148 with the JLA/JSA/Legion team-up

  4. I someone else doing Legionnaires 3, because that's the related mini, but all good ideas there, so long as you leave me DCCP 59 with the Subs and Ambush Bug, which was, the very first comic I bought and is special in my heart. ;-)

  5. Have you gotten answers yet to your questions about Sensor Girl yet Tim?