Friday, March 20, 2015

5YL Legion of Super-Heroes #27

Recap: The Dominion's control over the planet is now out in the open. Angry that they have lost the coveted SW6 Legion clones, the Dominators release BION, a sort of Amazo of the Legion with the hard drive of Computo. Mistaking the original Laurel Gand for the clone, the two battle on Earth until Laurel needs to retreat to Talus. She doesn't know that BION is following her. Meanwhile, on Earth, a group of rebels from the Underground have taken over a Dominator lab with more pods. But this isn't a united rebellion. The Substitute Legion, led by Jacques Foccart, and Grinn and his troop, loyal to Universo, have different ideas about warfare.

5YL Legion of Super-Heroes #27 is a great follow-up issue to last month's action-packed chapter as it continues to push forward the multiple plot threads that the creators are weaving in The Terra Mosaic. With the Dominators out in the open, the political landscape of the planet is unraveling. And that will always lead to violence. This is war.

Last issue we saw tremendous action as the two heavyweights BION and Laurel Gand sluged it out in the streets. This issue we see BION tearing through the Legion headquarters, taking out the original team. While this sequence is great fun, showcasing again the leadership of Rokk, it is the Earthside story with the underground that intrigues me more.

On Earth, we see the Subs, now grizzled rebels, uncovering more of the Dominion's cloning and mind-wiping technology. We see what happened to more of the Legion characters in the last 5 years. The SW6 Legion and their reaction to what has happened to their world is fresh. How do they react to upheaval of (for them) 17 years of time?

It is all rich and interesting. Keith Giffen, Tom & Mary Bierbaum, and Jason Pearson are on the top of their game here. With the first two years behind us, with the 5YL universe revealed and the Legion back together, it was time to move this book forward. What has happened is in the past. It is now time to change this universe into something more recognizable and good.

I love Pearson's work on the book. While inspired by Giffen in many ways, this is definitely his own style.

On to the issue.

The higher ups in the Dominion military are not happy with how all of this has unfolded. They didn't want Triple Strike to occur. They certainly didn't want to lose the SW6 Legion. And now BION is off-world and The Underground has taken control of one of their labs. They are angry and that isn't a good thing.

Here are the occupants of the pods the Rebels have taken. Take a good look at that list (maybe with some spelling errors). We know a lot of those characters. Here is who I recognize:
Dale Meron: Polecat
Kirt Niedrich: Absorbancy Boy (and in later incarnations Earth Man)
Chi Tsan: Caress (of the second Fatal Five)
Flynt Brojj: super-fan from the Bates era now with powers
Cocheta Drisden: close enough in name to be Charma
Myg: Karate Kid 2, now with sonic powers
Mick Yardreigh: Black Mace
Shannen Dreys: Quake Kid
Annie Foxmoor: was listed as a rebel that Mordru killed in the other timeline of 5YL LSH #5
Bobb Kohn: Crystal Kid
Roy Travich: Radiation Roy
Rhent Ustin: Visi-lad

Some have been mind-wiped. Others haven't. That is a force that could have been a mindless drone in the Dominator army.

There are names I don't know. And the Dominators make a point to say how upset they are to potentially lose Monica Sade.

As for Universo, how could the Legion ever trust him, even if this is the 5YL universe where things are topsy-turvy. We have seen that he isn't necessarily magnanimous here, wanting to increase his own power from behind the veil of the rebellion.

And here we learn that he is allied with the Dark Circle. We know how deep the roots of the Circle are in this time. I am not surprised they are worming their way onto Earth.

But Universo seems above their demands too. It feels like he is playing all sides here to wrest as much control for himself that he can. And I love his suave putdown of the Circle member. How do you drink with a full face mask?

Since we learned about the clone Legion, since we saw them unveiled two issues ago, I have been waiting for a scene where the two Legions meet.

Here is the first (sort of) as the clone Legion gets in touch with Jacques' Underground cell. Invisible Kid ... meet the other Invisible Kid. Matter-Eater Lad ... meet the other Matter-Eater Lad.
Imagine meeting your younger self. Or someone who you never met because he was dead! I love these scenes. As old time Legion fans, we have reacted to how awful this future has become. As young Legionnaires, they must be repulsed.

The action then switches to the older Legion headquarters. Laurel barely made it back before she collapsed from her injuries.
It is the small personal moments that enrich these characters for me, making them so much more than just two-dimensional comic book heroes. Laurel and Brainy have been basically denying their feelings for each other in their thoughts since she joined the book. We see that again here as Brainy worries about her as a teammate ... but then adds that emotion to his thoughts, telling himself she is just another Legionnaire, thinking about her as the only woman who loved him.

Why don't these two kids just say they love each other?
Maybe because right now she is with Rond Vidar.

But BION is on the planet. And he has a mission to capture all the SW6 Legionnaires. He thinks these older versions are the clones. He ignores Kono ... she isn't on the list. But Brainy? He's there.

Remember, the hard drive of the BION matrix is Computo. I love how BION seems to feel regret after shocking Brainy with lightning. BION calls Brainy his creator. He pauses. But then heads back to the mission.


Those of you who have read this blog and my musings elsewhere, know that Ayla Ranzz is one of my favorite Legionnaires.

She shows her bravery by confronting BION, unleashing all of her power at him. But this is BION, three times invulnerable! He shrugs it off. And then, tapping into his powers, uses Element Lad's powers to make the air an anesthetic gas, knocking out Ayla.

Incredibly, Rokk has a plan. He hooks up with Loomis and they figure out a place to take a stand in the bowels of the facility. But BION has all the powers of the Legion. He telepathically eavesdrops on Rokk.
But before the actual plan is revealed, Cham shows up and tries to fight BION.

Like all the Legionnaires who have faced BION, Cham falls.

With Rokk acting as bait, BION is lured onto a floor panel that Loomis has rigged. All the artificial gravity of the place is focused into that panel, pinning BION for a moment. And in that moment, Kono reaches into his chest and rips out a chunk of his wiring. Just like that, BION is defeated. Defeated by a powerless Braalian and a phasing Sklarian. Slick!

Now BION here tries to uses his super-strength to escape. He could have gone phantom, used Jan's powers to change the panel to air, heat visioned it, used his telepathy to control Loomis to turn it off ... etc.

But he didn't. So he loses.

Back on Earth, things in the rebellion are even shakier. Grinn wants to open up the pods. Fire Lad wants to wait for orders from Jacques. These squads clearly aren't allies. Between last issue's murder of the Dominator lab tech to this friction, I don't think this is going to end well.

The back matter continues the story of Spider Girl and her theft of the Stancio Dazzle Gem, arrest, and subsequent escape. The text pieces are supplemented with a page of Spider Girl in action, steering clear of Science Police and wondering what 'Lord Dirigible' had her swipe. With this much text devoted to her, it is clear Spider Girl is going to be part of this book moving forward.

This book continues to be a dense, complex, fun Legion title. It has action. It knows its history. And it is beautiful. I am amazed by this book and wonder why it is regarded as a failure by many.


  1. This is one of the best balanced stories (not just the issue) of the whole run: you have one main story (Bion) with several related and unrelated threads, character moments, set up for the future, pick ups from the past. And even levity (love Tenzil's reaction when he's called)

  2. Hold Atavio is Holdur, Pulsar Stargrave's minion from S/LSH #223 or so.

  3. If it helps, it's read like a train wreck to me from issue one of your recaps. I'd imagine that the Legion (and different eras of it) appeals to different people for different reasons, but for a certain set of people (like me), this grim, brutal misery seems to directly oppose those reasons. (But hey- some people are Trek fans, some are new BSG fans, and many are both. I'd say you're a 'both' kinda guy, and the folks for whom this didn't work are the kind who get nothing from the 'gritty' approach).