Friday, February 20, 2015

5YL Legion of Super-Heroes #23

Legion of Super-Heroes #23 is the penultimate chapter of The Quiet Darkness, the swan song for Keith Giffen on art for the book and as a result, I believe a turning point for this title as a whole. This book is split between the main story, the 'thematic sequel to The Great Darkness Saga' and the continuing plotlines for what is happening on a disaster ravaged Earth. As usual, this book's creators do a good job of stringing us along as readers, giving us just enough crumbs of plot line progression to keep us hungry for more.

But the bulk of the book is The Quiet Darkness. As the 5 Year Later period has shown us, this is a very different universe from the classic Legion landscape. This is darker and grimmer. People die. The Legion was scattered. The usual villains were running everything.

And Darkseid seems ... tired ... depressed. Gone is the power-mad conqueror gobbling up worlds in the Great Darkness Saga. Gone is the schemer, toying with mortals lives in The Curse. Instead we see a nattily attired dark god, hanging out in a lab and sighing when the Legion gets involved. Things are different!

The usual creators are all here - Keith Giffen, Al Gordon, Tom & Mary Bierbaum, and Jason Pearson. And there are great moments in this issue. And the best part of the cover is Lobo's smoke obscuring the title logo. He doesn't respect them at all.

First off, Jo, Kent, and Celeste were heading to Zuun to try to help Brainy and Timber Wolf. Darkseid does not want them to head there. So the trio is detained on a Zuun space station in orbit. And the captain on board means business, bringing out not only troops but retro-fitted construction bots. Ultra Boy and Kent need to cool their heels.

But I love Jo's response. First that sly smile in panel one, telling this Zuunian soldier that he doesn't want a fight because they both know the Legion will win. And then that look of bemusement in the last panel when the troops don't back down. Classic Jo!

The ensuing brawl is funny as Jo and Kent shout out Legion code words for attack formations, some remembered others not. And Kent (called by his super-hero codename Impulse for the first time) spends the greater part of the fight being tossed around while Jo lays waste. Here we see just how powerful an all-out blast of Flash Vision is. The lower panels, all in white, with Kent bounced around like flotsam, is fun. And Kent's wry 'I hate this' makes it a touch humorous.

It is always fun to see Jo switching his energies around in battle, bobbing and weaving as he ruins people.

Meanwhile, on Zuun, Lobo decides that the time for niceties is over. He will take Aria back to her father and Darkseid. And no one will stop him.

We see that Lobo's powers haven't diminished over the millenia. He lays out Brainy. And we get a feel for his power in that first panel when Furball is punched away from the scene.

Things get muddier when the Zuunian ship tries to obtain Aria for Darkseid but teleports Lori (Aria's friend) accidentally. With Kent and Jo bringing the ship down around them, both Celeste and Lori are suddenly in danger.

That is ... until Celeste's latent powers kick in. We saw her glow green when she was healed earlier in the series. Here, under duress, she turns green and incinerates everything in her vicinity. She then goes 'transparent' and passes out.

What are her powers? Clearly they are somehow connected to Green Lanterns. But no thorough explanations here.

With the Zuunian forces defeated, the Legionnaires head back to their cruiser. Jo and Kent again try to head to Zuun to pick up their friends. Meanwhile, Lori sees Lobo take off with Aria in his clutches.

With their new uniforms destroyed from the battle, Kent and Jo don the old Legion togs. Funny how this red dragon shirt suddenly feels retro!

Kent's uniform is akin to Star Boy or Donna Troy's. Or maybe he is borrowing Star Boy's?

Brainy meanwhile has discovered a recording in Aria's belongings, a sort of confession by her father. He did experiment on Aria's mother. He did experiment on Aria and her brother Coda. He did try to solve the mystery of the Gemini Matrix. But he realized that bringing this experiment to its conclusion would mean Aria's death. He is the one who freed her and told her to run ...

Is this man now sympathetic?
Foolish to think Darkseid would be a good partner?
All of the above?

Brainy finally figures out that Darkseid has to be behind this and it is time for the Legion to confront him.

And Darkseid, who has been watching all of the Legion's actions through a sort of scrying mirror, realizes he has to prepare for his 'guests'. Prepare for his guests, look at his feet, shoulders sort of slumped?? This is a different Darkseid! He isn't preparing for battle. He is asking his butler to prepare for guests! Incredible!

Where will this go!?

The second half of the issue brings us back to Earth. 

Laurel Gand and Bounty decide to meet up with a new potential ally in the fight against the Dominion.

I like how bold Laurel Gand is, strutting her stuff with her thong and Legion uniform on. But Earth is in turmoil; Bounty knows she needs to be undercover. (I do love the 'bun factory' joke.)

I don't know if different clothes and hair color would camouflage the 7ft tall buxom Gand (that's her in the third panel with red hair). But I guess it'll do.

The new ally is someone interesting ... Circe, the Dominion shill who has discovered that her loyalty to her troops in the Science Police is stronger than her loyalty to the Dominion. Even Laurel is shocked.

And while Devlin is still nursing his injuries with whoever escaped from the SW6 chambers, Mon-El is still reeling from the revelation that there is a doppelganger Legion. Which Legion is the real Legion? He is scared enough to leave Shady and start investigating things on his own.

I mean ... how would you feel if you found out you might not be the real you?? (That sentence is why I love comics!)

Things are coming to a boil ... can't wait for next issue's conclusion!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry, Darkseid in a frilly shirt is hilarious.