Friday, March 11, 2016

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #8

Recap: Praetor Lemnos, a being with the power to influence people and then be forgotten, is inciting a intergalactic war on the United Planets. His advance super-powered team, Terror Firma, has razed rim worlds and Orando, the economic core of the UP. And now he has attacked Colu, the data hold of the United Planets. But his machinations have been discovered by the Legion who vow to fight Lemnos and stop the war. If only the Legion could quite squabbling amongst themselves!

Legion of Super-Heroes #8, more than any of the preceding issues, shows just how different this Threeboot Legion is from prior incarnations. Yes, we are in a sterile future here. Yes, the team espouses a political agenda. And yes, there are new members or secret identities. All of that feels very new.

But this issue, unlike just about every version of the Legion I read before, shows just how internally splintered the team is. Every other Legion has seemed united in their purpose, even if there were cliques. This Legion? It is divided. There is anger.

I suppose this is a more realistic approach to characterization. This is a big group with different personalities and motivations. They are in highly charged and stressful situations all the time. There are two people vying to be leader. It makes sense that there would be factions.

Once again, Barry Kitson isn't on art. Kevin Sharpe does pencils here and does a fine job. But it is clear that Kitson's work must be time consuming because he isn't able to be here month in and month out. I suppose it might have been a better launch if the proposed creative team was able to run with the ball. Kitson has already missed several issues. And it's a shame. I love Kitson's take on the team.

The book starts out with an opening side adventure. A spaceship is filled with young people hoping to join the Legion movement on Earth. It turns out that the ship's crew are pirates who kidnap these Legion wannabes and sell them into slavery.

It turns out that two of the prisoners are actually Legionnaires undercover to close down this trafficking operation. Colossal Boy and Element Lad pound their way through the riffraff. In particular, Element Lad does so in a painful alchemical way, temporarily turning a kidnapper's teeth to sulfur.

Element Lad says 'I hate pirates.' It is loaded with history though given that Roxxas was the pirate who slaughtered the Trommites in prior incarnations. I don't think we know if that is true in this version. For those of us older fans, the line means a lot. For new fans, it makes sense but lacks the gravitas of history.

Back on Earth, the Legion is internally conflicted. Cosmic Boy is the current leader and has his confidantes. Brainiac 5 thinks he should be leader. The two have a rather prickly relationship and things have come to a head.

With Brainy dealing with the crisis on Colu, Cosmic Boy broke into Brainy's lab to root around a bit.

This is a clear breach of trust and Brainy is unhappy. Cos tries to address the issue, realizing that if the Legion is heading into war they need to be open with each other and trust each other. But Brainy wants nothing to do with it.

Even the body language shows these two dislike each other. Brainy is scowling. Cos, while trying to hold out an olive branch, has his eyes crossed and looks stern.

With the identity and existence of Praetor Lemnos now known, the Legion tries to engage the Science Police to help them in their fight. I do like that Saturn Girl has used her power to put mental blocks in the Legion members' minds. They will remember Lemnos. They will be able to see him.

But the SciPo (here Invisible Kid's father) can't believe this fairy tale of a disappearing man. He tries to escort Imra and Garth out of the building.

This is a good scene showing just how deep this threat runs. Imra wants to scan all of the police to see if there are Lemnos allies in hiding. Garth pushes Officer Norg on how the officer got promoted so quickly. Does he remember the discussion about his job? Who backed his promotion? Could Lemnos be behind it? Norg clearly doesn't remember.

And, of course, Garth loses his temper and lashes out against some troopers. This isn't a Legion which is beloved.

Meanwhile, Projectra is in mourning. When Ayla goes to check in on the Princess, she is rebuffed.

Projectra is still aloof. She still has an air of superiority. But she hints she may have gained something from this tragedy.

Hmmm ....

Sun Boy, who we saw was conflicted with being on the team earlier, tries to resign. He feels his life has been designed by others. His progressive parents pushed him into the Legion to relive their political days. Cos has defined him as the second in command, field leader. Dirk doesn't know who he is. He wants time.

I actually like this turn in Sun Boy. We saw in 5YL how low Dirk can go. This is surprisingly mature. This is the first time in a long time that I liked Sun Boy.

But Cosmic Boy can't allow Sun Boy to quit. War is imminent. Sun Boy is a valued member. He is loyal to Cos. He has skills. He can't leave.

In this heated conversation, Rokk cuts loose, saying what he truly thinks about the other members. And it isn't nice. He really disparages a number of members.

Again, this shows just how dysfunctional this team is.

In a passive aggressive move to wrest control of the team, Brainy had opened up the comm-link of Rokk's flight ring. This outburst has been broadcast to the team. Everyone has heard Cosmic Boy's insults.

But Brainy is able to back up his maneuver by echoing Cos' cry for open communication from their earlier interaction.

Nice double page splash here showing the response of all the Legionnaires.

This leads to internal fighting.

The Cos' allies actually skirmish with Brainy's friends. The insulted people aren't happy and want some answers.

There may have been disagreements in the past Legions but I can't remember the last time there was an actual fight among members of this caliber.

We hear just how little Brainy thinks of Cos. Brainy wants the Legion to be a cohesive team. But he doesn't think Cos is the person to lead them. Cos could 'get the Legion only so far.'

Brrrrr ......

How can this team survive such a rift.

And what would this schism say to the throngs of Legion followers around the galaxy?

I can say it. I don't like this Brainy. He is haughty. And pride comes before the fall.

But things end on a cliffhanger.

Braal has seceded from the UP. Braalians need to return to the planet or be considered an exile.

So will Rokk return home? Or will he stay with his team?

I actually liked this issue quite a bit on this reread. The Lemnos War is actually put on the backburner for the issue. Instead we showcase the team's political landscape. And things don't look good at all. This issue added a layer of complexity to the team. And it adds a feel of peril to the upcoming war. This isn't a united team ready to commit to battle. How can they come together to repel the threat?

Once again, kudos to Mark Waid for a reboot which has a foundation of familiarity but right now feels like a house of cards. Fascinating.


  1. Wasn't this around the time Kitson nearly sliced off some fingers and couldn't draw for a few months?

  2. Huh! I have never heard that before!
    Off to research!