Friday, August 21, 2015

5YL Legion of Super-Heroes #48

Recap: The universe is reeling as Mordru has attempted total domination via a near unstoppable zombie army. Several Legion factions have converged on Tharn to take on Mordru directly. Not only are there Legionnaires, but also Khundian Legionnaires, the Martian Manhunter, and an Amethyst-possessed Kono. Things look bleak as Mordru has battered almost the entire team, burying them alive.

Legion of Super-Heroes #48 brings the Mordru War storyline to an end. This arc has been something of an interesting one for me to revisit. It has been years since I have read the later issues of this title and so I feel like I am reading these for the first time, although with some vague recollections.

I feel as if this arc started with a tremendous amount of energy but then petered out to this ending. This story had massive scope with a bunch of plot hooks which definitely kept things interesting. From Mysa's anger to the zombie army to the 'Legion vs Dead Legion' subplots, this story had a lot of Legion history infused in it.

But how Mordru is defeated is something of a let-down both in how it happens and what it meant for Mysa.

Lastly, and please forgive me for flogging a dead horse, this read 'normal'. And while I would love to have a 'normal' Legion book on the shelves right now, this simply isn't the high art that we saw earlier in this title. The more I write something like this, the more I think I sound like some effete snob. But it is true. After the dense meal of the first 3 years, this felt like cotton candy.

There are still some good moments. And Stuart Immonen continues to shine on art. From character positioning to a feeling of action, Immonen brings an energy here. You could tell that he was going to be a superstar in this medium.

As I said above, almost all of the Legion strike force had been defeated and buried alive by Mordru. One of the few remaining people is Devlin O'Ryan. O'Ryan's power to reflect attacks thrown at him (Reflecto?) had already killed the Khundian Legionnaire Firefist. While not used to wetworks, he knows he is the team's last hope.

I love how he goads Mordru into an attack. First off, the heroic pose and expression in the first panel is fantastic, especially given the loose sweater he has on. It is a contrast to the tight spandex, ultra-ripped heroes we usually see strike that pose.

The harem jab is just humorous.

Luckily, those verbal barbs spurs Mordru into unleashing a giant fireball onto Devlin. And, as expected, the fireball is reflected back at Mordru, incapacitating the sorcerer for a moment. (I wonder just what Reflecto can reflect? Would a spell to teleport him into space be reflected? Or is it only energy attacks?)

With Mordru distracted, Devlin drags Veilmist from her shallow grave and has her teleport the rest of the Legion from their earthy tombs.

In reading the letter columns in these issues, the comely Veilmist was clearly a fan favorite.

Finally, Amethyst/Kono is able to help the team.

She walks up to the fallen Mordru and embraces him.

I was hoping that Amethyst might have a more active part to this arc. She and Mordru have a history. I would have liked some sort of verbal exchange playing on that history.
The Amethyst spirit has left Kono and gone into Mordru to aid Mysa's spirit. I love how the feisty Kono has no recollection of her time possessed and questions Amethyst's fashion choices. (She calls it a cheerleader outfit at one point.)

The Legion continues the attack. The science-enhanced magic spell that Projectra has been using is again cast, trying to draw Mysa's spirit from Mordru.

So I don't even know if I need there to be this Brainy/Jeckie help. Amethyst alone helping might have punched up her appearance as being more noteworthy. Also, the subplot about Jeckie's magic has been sort of odd. Remember the baby and Samurai Mouse avatars? Were they important? Or not?

The two-pronged attack works and Mysa is finally separated from Mordru. It is interesting to see that she now sports a purple robe and purplish hair. That isn't what she looked like when she went in. Perhaps Amethyst is still with her?

I do like that the lack of Mysa's energy seems to age Mordru. This isn't the fit, shirtless, young Mordru any longer. Again he is the old, wrinkled villain.

He is the epitome of an abuser though. He immediately begins to attack Mysa, both psychologically and physically!
But then, the part that I'm not sure I like. I would love to hear from others.

Despite the horrible way that Mordru has treated her, the absolutely sickening abuse we have seen him commit, Mysa says that she truly loves him. She has always loved him. She loves him more than she loves himself and tried her best to please him by letting him do those things to her.

Now she knows what she must do if she loves him. It isn't really explained but it looks like she rips magical energy from Mordru's body, a spell which causes him great pain. At least that is what I think those 'scree' things mean.

But I don't know if I like Mysa being so compliant, so deferential, so loving. Is she an enabler? Is she just broken by him? But proclaiming her love for him, even here and now, seems wrong to me.
With Mordru completely drained, the zombies disintegrate (again). I think this is the third time the zombie spell has been 'ended' in this arc.

There is nothing left but the clean-up.

One thing I like his how Nura runs to Mysa and says she will always be there for her sister. It is true that Nura seemed to be living a celebrity's life while Mysa was being beaten by Mordru. Was she simply looking the other way? Or ignorant of Mysa's plight?

Still, Legion is family.

Jo continues to be something of a magnet to the available women in the book. Spider Girl continues to flirt with him, even letting her fingers roam a bit.

And Veilmist initially asks Jo to be her new 'master'. Then it turns out she is now Devlin's 'property' since Devlin killed Firefist. Veilmist throws herself into Devlin's arms. But then finds Jo again and asks Ultra Boy to kill Devlin so she can marry him.

Veilmist is trouble.
But then the Khunds say the surviving Khundian Legionnaires still belong to the empire. The Khunds reclaim their own. They then say they will reclaim the planets Mordru conquered. Rokk says those worlds again belong to the UP. It is something of a political standoff.

Deep in Khundian space and battered from the Mordru war, Rokk knows the better part of valor is to retreat now.

This certainly sets up a conflict for the future.

If it is one thing this book has done, it has made this Legion fight the biggest of threats: Dominators, Khunds, the Dark Circle, and Mordru. Only the Fatal Five and the LSV are missing.
In all the confusion, and despite Nura saying she will always be there for her sister, Mysa teleports away. It is clear she is still hosting the spirit of Amethyst.

Amidst the shattered pieces of the Sorcerer's World, Mysa wonders if love can ever truly win. It is a darker ending to contemplate on. And it also hammers home that Mysa seemed to think that what she was suffering at the hands of Mordru was based on her love. And that is an odd message.

I think this is a fine Legion story. It seems to repeat itself a little in the middle with several issues focusing on stopping the zombie spell. Elements seems to be important but never pan out (Laurel ending the spell, the magic avatars Jeckie summons, Brainy's spell augmenter). The treatment of Mysa seems off. But this does delve deep into Legion lore. And it is beautiful.

And so I open it up to discussion. What did you think of this arc?

1 comment:

  1. I guess I'm one of those people who think this era of the Legion should have called it quits with the end of the Dominator War. The post-war Legion were more like pre-5YL stories, and not very good ones.