Friday, April 10, 2015

5YL Legion of Super-Heroes #30

Recap: The Dominators' control over Earth is growing more and more tenuous. The rebellion has taken control of the Dominators' cloning labs. The United Planets, the Legion, and the SW6 Legionnaires are contemplating joining the fight. And then ... on live TV ... the Dominators assassinate Earth President Wellington when she speaks against their control. Earth was already a powder keg. Suddenly there are a lot of sparks.

Legion of Super-Heroes #30 continued the Terra Mosaic storyline which would redefine Earth in this 5YL universe. We are 5 issues into what will eventually be an 11 issue arc. In classic 5YL style, the pacing of this arc is quite interesting. Some issues streaking forward with progress making me clamoring for more. And then suddenly we have a character driven issue, slowing down the galactic storyline to a near halt to give us extra depth to a single person. Despite this book now being 25 years old, it still feels innovative. Things don't usually get paced this way. The creators are relying on the reader to be in for the long haul, being willing to trust in the ebbs and flows.

Keith Giffen and Tom and Mary Bierbaum use this issue to keep the action quotient high and the plot quickly moving forward. As a reader, you barely have a moment to take a breath as you bounce from one plot thread to another and drink in a great action sequence. Art is done by Jason Pearson and inker Karl Story. This is a solid art issue as Pearson continues to evolve into a slick style.

The book opens with the media's coverage of President Wellington's assassination. With the Dominators' fascistic control over Earth now out in the open, the reverberations are felt throughout the universe.

Realizing that the United Planets and others will most likely intercede on Earth, the Dominion sends a large portion of their fleet into Terran space to defend their grip on the planet. For propaganda purposes they state that a rogue Khund assassin was responsible for the President's death.

Suddenly the Khunds are very interested in the politics of Earth. With most of the Dominator fleet now in Earth's solar system, their home world in the Aetian frontier is suddenly weakened.

The Dominators might be facing a two front war.

I love that Giffen and the Bierbaums continue to think of the big picture. Just as they covered the Dark Circle's attempt to seize power in the wake of the Glorith/Khundian attacks, here they cover what holding on to Earth would cost the Dominion.

Meanwhile, and somewhat surprisingly, Rokk continues to drag his feet about the Legion rushing into the war. Just months ago we saw Power Boy and Northwind die. Violet lost her leg. And Brin and Laurel are near death in the medical station. Is this Legion ready to join the fight?

I am sort of surprised by this. But I suppose the team is a bit unstable right now. Would it be a suicide mission? But isn't it the right thing to do? What do people think?

The compromise is for Valor to head to the UP to feel out what the next play is.

It is clear though that the situation on Earth is going to become untenable for the 'good guys'.

When the residents of Earth start to try to organize a grass roots rebellion, the Dominion opens fire on the groups from space, annihilating the insurgents.

With the curtain pulled away, there is no reason for the Dominators to treat the planet with chicanery and kid gloves. And after years of working in the shadows, the Dominion almost seem elated to cut loose. They think they are superior to us. Of course they want to simply dominate us.

Last issue, Saturn Girl mind-scanned Universo and discovered a connection to the Dark Circle. The Espionage Squad got some evidence proving a connection.

Realizing there aren't many people they can trust in this 5YL world, the Legionnaires decide they need to leave. Even if there is nowhere to run, it is better to be free than in the den of a super-villain.

And yet ...

Universo is playing games within games within games. He wasn't going to let the Circle get hold of these Legionnaires. He set up this whole discovery knowing the young heroes would run. It is clear that Universo wants the power for himself. He is playing all sides here.

Much like Rokk, the United Planets and Weber's World have been trying to figure out the best way to intervene on Earth. In the past, it was hard to jump in when EarthGov was saying that everything was fine. But with several fleets of Dominator ships in orbit and now firing on the planet, it is clear that the UP can't just idly watch any more.

The UP sends a fleet to Earth and then tries to open discussions with the Dominators. You can imagine it doesn't go well. When the UP Chairman tries to draw a hard line, the Dominator 'Ambassador' draws an even harder one.

This isn't going to be easy.

Back in the Dominator lab, the Rebels continue to sit pat. In fact, things are quiet enough that Grinn decides the time is right to get amorous with Sade. She wants no part of him and definitely let's him know it.

But before we can see how that conversation turns out, the Dominator Super-Squad arrives. Flare is outright scary, a complete sadist who wants to kill, kill, and kill some more.

I am going to channel fellow Legion of Super-Blogger member Shag in saying that Sade is hot. The whole 'Lara Croft' tank top, shorts, and ponytail look just works for her.

As for the SW6, they have finally reached their breaking point. Frustrated by sitting back, waiting, not being out in the open, and feeling like they don't know who to trust, they decide to start making their own decisions.

The first decision is for Valor to fly off and reach out to the UP to find out what the next play is.

Hmmm ... two Valors, both heading to the UP, trying to figure out what to do next.

The action in the Dominator lab is fast and brutal and beautiful. We get to see just how deadly a teleporting assassin would be. Sade almost defeats the Dominator crew on her own, teleporting out of the way so Flare fries Elast-Kid, perforating Ghost, and blasting Alloy 12 in the head.
Just fast and furious. Love it!

But she isn't able to take out Flare and Alloy on her own. She needs help. Time for the Subs!!!

Fire Lad can't be hurt by Flare. She he simply chokes her out.

And Stone Boy, thanks to Jacques Foccart's Hypno-Animation... He can move!!! (Originally he could only turn to stone and stay in a frozen form). And he has mad fighting skills, pummeling Alloy until she falls.

Right now, in this book, the Subs are the stars.

The good news is that this Assassination Squad has not only been defeated but have given the rebels a way to escape. They can leave in the same tunnel Flare blasted out from.

I have talked about how the Subs, despite being in this war, try to hold fast to the ethics of the Legion. When Sade says she will kill the defeated Flare and Alloy, Fire Lad stops her. If she wants to stay with them, she needs to follow the rules. Even in this dark place, in these frightening times, they want to rise above. There is no need to kill someone already beaten.

This issue does a great job of building up the pressure of the politics of Earth. Everyone is leaning in now, ready to strike. There is a this sense of suspense as you know Earth is going to become a battleground. The creators have put their foot on the gas here.

What will next issue bring??


  1. For years and years, the Subs were one big joke. Giffen himself made them even more so. And now, the Subs are badass in a way that could never be imagined.
    At the same time, they didn't become "grim and gritty", they just became... good.

  2. So true! Here they basically are Legionnaires! So good.