Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #25

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #25 (Aug, 1986)
title: "Revelation"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Greg LaRocque
inker: Mike DeCarlo
ink assist: Arne Starr
lettering: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Steve Lightle (from a design by Ed Hannigan)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Dawnstar, Wildfire, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, Brainiac 5, Sun Boy, White Witch, Element Lad, Lightning Lass, Invisible Kid, Blok, Star Boy, Colossal Boy, Polar Boy, Dream Girl, Tellus, Chameleon Boy....and Sensor Girl!

Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad

Emerald Empress, The Persuader, Caress, Flare, and their Fifth Fatal Fiver......?

This is your last chance to not find out who Sensor Girl is. 
If you don't want to know, don't read any further! 

Somewhere undisclosed, Emerald Empress has crated a new Fatal Five with the Persuader, Flare, Caress, and an unseen member who has secrets of the Legion...!

Leaving Earth, the Legion is trying to follow Sensor Girl, who quit the Legion last issue rather than explain her story. Ultra Boy tells every one that he didn't see any face under her mask. Brainiac 5 is afraid she has left to join the Emerald Empress.

Back on Earth, White Witch creates a giant emerald to help the SPs find the Emerald Empress. At the Medi-Complex, the Universo-controlled Dr. Fashir is trying to kill Rond Vidar. He insists that Rond stay at his hospital, even though the young man is not getting better (thanks to Dr. Fashir's poisoning).

On Titan, Colossal Boy's team is looking for Mentalla, who has gone missing. Tellus "reads" the records on her home planet, and learns that she has gone to her uncle's mansion on the planet Stratus. They decide to go after her.

Dawnstar tracks Sensor Girl to Shaghalla, where Mano tries to kill Brainiac 5. Ultra Boy and Timber Wolf stop him, but Dawnstar has lost Sensor Girl's trail. Brainiac 5 suddenly realizes why Sensor Girl must have been at the cemetery planetoid.

Above Stratus, Colossal Boy's team is attacked, as their cruiser destroyed by Flare. The Fatal Five attack the four Legionnaires as they head into the atmosphere.

Back on Earth, Element Lad goes to Saturn Girl to talk over whether Sensor Girl would go rogue and join the Fatal Five. Saturn Girl tells him that she would not go rogue, because Sensor Girl was actually already a Legionnaire....!
Sensor Girl arrives on Stratus....but is she with the Emerald Empress, or with the Legion? After a dramatic pause, Sensor Girl attacks the Fatal Five. Suddenly, their fifth member is revealed: Mentalla, who causes Colossal Boy to shrink against his will. Mentalla is angry that the Legion admitted Tellus instead of her. Emerald Empress faces down Sensor Girl, blasting her with the Emerald Eye, revealing Sensor Girl as.....Princess Projectra!?

The pacing of this issue is nearly perfect. Starting with the Emerald Empress and the Fatal Five's un-revealed fifth member, Paul Levitz keeps us guessing as to who is what until the last page reveal. The tension builds as Mano suddenly appears on Shanghalla hoping to kill a Legionnaire. I did NOT expect to see him! Then separately, Brainiac 5 figures out and Element Lad learns who Sensor Girl really is. Because Saturn Girl had vouched for her I didn't really expect Sensor Girl to join the Fatal Five, but having Mentalla appear in her place was an inspired choice.

Levitz chose a great group of Legionnaires to find the Fatal Five. Polar Boy couldn't wait to get into the battle, letting his youthful (?) exuberance get the better of him. Colossal Boy has a long history of fighting the Fatal Five, but Dream Girl doesn't. Newbie Tellus suddenly has a very specific reason to help his friends, as he is the target of Mentalla's wrath. And of course, Princess Projectra was one of the members who helped form the Fatal Five in the first place. Every time I read this issue I can't help myself, I pick up the next issue and devour it.
As for the reveal....when this series was new I was in Japan as an exchange student. My parents sent me a few comics every few months. While I was reading the Who Is Sensor Girl story-line, before #25 came out I took the only other American there aside and told her, "I think she's Princess Projectra. I just want to commit to that guess, so if I'm right someone will be my witness that I guessed right." When this issue came out, I showed it to my friend. She was only mildly impressed.
My critique this time is minor. Although we saw the Emerald Empress recruit Flare, we never saw anything about Caress (or Mentalla). It would have been nice to have gotten a little background on her, or how the Empress found her. Besides, for all the disgust the Empress used to show Mano, isn't Caress basically just the same character?

And lastly, what in the world does creating a giant emerald have to do with finding the Fatal Five? Was it supposed to glow green when it got close to the Eye of Ekron or something? I absolutely didn't understand the White Witch's mission this issue.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Although the records on Titan tell the Legionnaires that Mentalla went to Stratus, last issue the Emerald Empress and Persuader were on the planet Starshire. 
  • The Persuader references the last time he battled Colossal Boy, which was Tales of the Legion #319. 
  • Why in the world would Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad be lounging around the house in their uniforms?  
  • Steve Lightle signed the cover with an "EH" because although he was commissioned to draw it, he was provided a design by DC Cover Editor Ed Hannigan. Not wanting to take sole credit for the work, Steve added Ed's initials to his signature. 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  

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