Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #18

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #18 (Jan, 1986)
title: "Has Any One Noticed A Crisis Going On?"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Greg LaRocque
inker: Larry Mahlstedt
colorist: John Costanza
lettering: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Greg LaRocque & Larry Mahlstedt (signed)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Element Lad, Mon-El, Shadow Lass, Dawnstar, Ultra Boy, Star Boy, Tellus, Lighting Lass, Magnetic Kid, Sun Boy, Wildfire, Polar Boy, Blok, Invisible Kid, Dream Girl, White Witch, Quislet

Rond Vidar, Circadius Senius

The Infinite Man; members of the Legion of Super-Villains, Persuader, Validus, Darkseid
At the Time Institute on Earth, Brainiac 5 is confronted by Rond Vidar, who is upset that no one is doing anything about The Crisis. Legion Reserve member Kid Psycho has died, but Brainiac 5 doesn't remember why or how. Rond is frantic, crying, "This isn't just history, it's crushing us now...!" Elsewhere, Element Lad is eulogizing Kid Psycho when he and the other Legionnaires also forget how and why the Reservist died.
On Takron-Galtos, an anti-matter wall careening through space is destroying everything in its path, including the prison planet. Several Legionnaires arrive to help shepherd inmates into security cells for transport. They, too, feel as if they know who or what is responsible for the anti-matter, but can not remember.
Tellus finds the inertron cube that houses Validus, and feels compelled to free him. Sun Boy, Star Boy, and Tellus try to coax him towards the transporters, but they fail. At the last possible moment, however, someone coaxes Validus into a mode of transportation, and the creature disappears. Moments later, the entire planet is destroyed.
Back on Earth, Brainiac 5, Rond, and Circadius deduce that it is the time beacon of the Time Institute that might be causing a perpetual re-alignment of time, causing them to forget The Crisis. The time beacon was designed to guide time travelers "back" to "now," and to avoid alternate realities, but now they think it is somehow deflecting the Crisis anti-matter energy. The three scientists decide to boost the time beacon's power in an attempt to stop the anti-matter wave.
Polar Boy, Mon-El, and Wildfire are drafted to add their energies to the time beacon's. Although this increases the power of the beacon, it also allows the Infinite Man to free himself from "the void" where he was trapped. He immediately calls forth troops from the past and future to battle the Legion. He also turns his attention to killing Rond Vidar, who he blames for "creating" him.
Dream Girl and a second team of Legionnaires arrive to help battle the minions of the Infinite Man. Element Lad wants Invisible Kid to teleport the Infinite Man away, but Invisible Kid does not know how to control his powers well enough to do that. However, this gives Brainiac 5 the idea to ask White Witch to cast a spell of affinity between the Infinite Man and the source of his power. When she does, the Infinite Man reverts back to scientist Jaxon Rugarth.
This is a much better Crisis tie-in than #16's Mourn For Supergirl story. With this, writer Paul Levitz clearly has his cake and eats it, too. Yes, there is a Crisis. Yes, it's cross-chronological. No, the Legion didn't stop it back in the "past" of 1986. And yes, it's going to wreak havoc on the Legion timeline. In fact, when this story was published I doubt anybody could have guessed just how chaotic the Legion "history" would become after The Crisis.
The story itself is a good one, well-paced and well plotted. Tellus and Magnetic Kid get to earn their keep on Takron-Galtos, and the Infinite Man is probably the only really good bad guy Levitz ever created. He's no slouch, that's for sure. Overall, it's a fun story that adds to The Crisis epic.
Science Police Notes:  
  • Kid Psycho actually died in CRISIS #3.
  • Sun Emperor is shown "charged down" on page 19. He appears to look a lot like Sun Boy, although in his initial appearance in Superboy/Legion #208 he had dark hair, not red as is shown here. 
  • The "Meanwhile...." column by Paul Levitz on The Mystery of Sensor Girl appeared in this month's Direct Only books, including in this issue. 
This story has not been reprinted.

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