Friday, September 11, 2015

5YL: Legion of Super-Heroes #51

Recap: The Legion is in a period of flux. The main group is recuperating on Talus. Kono has left the team. Wildfire has joined the team. And the team is wondering what their purpose will be, what their next mission will be. Two members of the team, Kent Shakespeare and Celeste Rockfish, have been on the medical satellite Quarantine helping with the patients there.

Last issue, the main creative team on Legion of Super-Heroes of Tom & Mary Bierbaum and Stuart Immonen took a tour of the Legion headquarters, taking stock of their cast, having some characters leave and some characters join the team. It felt like a sort of 'to do' list for checking in on everyone and setting the stage for the future. Two of the bigger characters of the book, Kent 'Impulse' Shakespeare and Celeste Rockfish, were absent from that issue.

Legion of Super-Heroes #51, titled 'A L'il Legion Adventure', looked in on Shakespeare and Rockfish as well as a couple of other characters that were introduced in the earliest issues only to be basically forgotten for a long time. We get to see Ivy as well as Garridan Ranzz!

Writer Tom McCraw, along with artists Christopher Taylor and Wade Von Grawbadger, brings us a fun story of a Younger Legionnaires story. Perhaps this was the next generation of Legionnaires even beyond the youth of the SW6 group. But as much as one little bit of this issue made me smile, overall this felt forgettable.

It also doesn't help that the excellent Stuart Immonen art is absent here. Taylor and Von Grawbadger bring a strong 90's feel to this book (I mean ... it was the 90s). There is a sense of Image here. On top of that, many of the players in this issue are children but Taylor and on Grawbadger draw them more like squat adults than kids. They all look like Puck from Alpha Flight.
Back in Terra Mosaic (specifically Legion #27) , we learned of superpowered beings that the Dominators were brainwashing. One was Concheta Drisden who could hypnotically control males

Later in Legion #40, we saw her use her powers in an attempted jail break, only to be taken down by Universo. During that issue, we learned that the brainwashed beings were being taken to Quarantine to try to be deprogrammed.

Now in this issue, we see her again try to break free from Quarantine which she considers to be a jail. All males are in her thrall so luckily some female troopers arrive to incapacitate her.

But check out those rad 90's outfits. Totally shoulder pads, big guns, and pouches. Even there odd leg placement feels like Liefeld.
Meanwhile, we see that Kent Shakespeare has been on the satellite to help care for the children. In the earliest issues, we saw that Kent was on staff there and was lured away by the call of the Legion. We also met Ivy at that point, someone who I thought would be a big part in the title given her place of prominence on the free team poster in Legion #13.

In many ways, I was glad to see this call back as neither Kent nor Ivy had much to do recently. So giving them a spotlight felt right given how much of a reset this time period was.

But I don't like the way Ivy is drawn. She looks like a hobbit.
We also see the Celeste has stayed on board to help the kids as well. What are her qualifications? She was a P.I. on Earth. Now she's helping with medical cases. I suppose this satellite seems to deal with the oddest cases, including kids evidencing powers. So maybe her recent transformation to a quasi-Green Lantern might be helpful as a mentor.

But when did Celeste get so ... alien looking. Between the skin tight costume, the punk hair, and (I swear in some panels) pointy ears, she doesn't look like the Celeste we know at all.

Here she is Mara Williams, a young girl given super-speed by Dominator genetic manipulation. As many would, she is struggling with her powers, moving too fast for the normal world and feeling like a freak.
As I said above, Celeste has been sort of missing recently and we haven't seen her use her powers. We haven't even really got a good explanation of her powers either.

But here we learn that she has pretty precise control of it now, making an intricate dragon out of her inherent energy, almost embracing it.

I always thought that Celeste would be a sort of 'fish out of water' character, also struggling with having been normal and now part of a hero tactical team. She seemed like she would be the character to ground the team, reminding them of what the average person deals with.

So this jump to established 'ring-slinger without a ring' also felt rushed. It is as if, much like in last issue, the creative team was hoping to tie up a bunch of loose plot strings quickly.
Now I assumed that Concheta might be a 5YL version of classic Legion villain Charma. But it turns out that in this older universe, she is Charma's daughter. That means her father is Grimbor, the Chain Master!

And he isn't happy about his little girl being 'captive' on Quarantine. He is going to go get her.

Again, check out the 90s aesthetics on this new costume of his.
Okay, so far this issue has been an average read. But for me, this moment made the book suddenly very interesting.

We know that Garridan was at one point Validus. Here, finally, we see a glimpse of that power set. Garridan has mental lightning! Nifty.

May I also say I like that he is sporting the old school Colossal Boy outfit. Is that some nod to his bigger stature when he was Validus??
When Grimbor arrives, a melee erupts and he, as the master of bondage, is able to hold his own.

Then the kids come out.

I don't know any of these 'patients' except Garridan and Ivy. There is some Tellus-like kid. There is a fire breathing kid.

So I don't know anymore. Is this a medical ship? Or a training facility? Do I want sick kids fighting a villain?
In the end, Mara saves the day, removing Grimbor tech at superspeed allowing Kent to deliver the knock out blow.

With that, Ivy decides to stay on Quarantine to train with her friends. Kent and Celeste will move on, heading back to the Legion. And the side adventure is done.

Overall, this is another fine issue. Between this issue and the last, we have caught up with the cast. Things will be moving forward and changing soon.

No one wants a comic to be just fine. You want it to be awesome. And unlike other side adventures which only stoked my interest in the main plotlines, this one just sort of was. Maybe because there aren't big happenings in the main book right now.

Things are more streamlined and easier to understand in this book ... but I still don't think that was the right decision. 


  1. Those costumes with the pads and pouches look like the ones Giffen designed in his last run before the 5 Year Gap.

    Presumably Celeste has been sent there by Brainy, since he has other things to do, and Kent and Quarantine are perfectly capable of handling the grunt work of monitoring her condition.

    1. And even before the 5 Year Gap, Giffen also redesigned the Legion costumes (during the Magic Wars, if I recall correctly). You seem to be an expert in the heroes of the 31st century. Anyway, I also wrote about the series in my blog (wich I encourage you to visit):

      I hope you enjoy my review, and please feel free to leave me a comment over there or add yourself as a follower (or both), and I promise I'll reciprocate.



  2. Nice to see these characters again (including Grimbor!), but dreadful, dreadful art. Great cover, though!

  3. Thanks for comments.

    It is true that even the Legion was not immune to pouches in the 90s. I think it was more palpable for me in this issue because we also saw the Cable-sized guns!