Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #62

Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #62 (November 1994)
title: "Forced Friends, Deadly Consequences!"
writers: Mark Waid and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Lee Moder
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Kid Quantum, Leviathan, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Triad, XS


The United Planets are brand new, and so is their symbol of unity, the Legion of Super-Heroes, billionaire R.J. Brande's pet project. After these five kids have shown their mettle, the U.P. has sent orders to exceptional teenagers from various member worlds to join the group ASAP...

The five first Legionnaires are surprised to find new members from various U.P. worlds at their headquarters, including the enthusiastic speedster XS, the immediately mistrusted Durlan Chameleon, the sharp-minded Invisible Kid, the egotistical Kid Quantum whose belt boosts his stasis field powers, and the leader the U.P. has selected for the team (to the first five's surprise, as they'd chosen Cosmic Boy), Science Police all-star Leviathan, who brings the team their first official mission.
The Legion is to go to Starsector 247-A to investigate the disappearance of freighters carrying cargo to U.P. worlds, a presumably easy task mostly meant to enhance the team's public profile. For the first, Leviathan makes mistakes as leader, which Cos tries to check as best he can. But eventually, the Legion gets trounced by Tangleweb, a large spider-like creature responsible for consuming freighter crews in the sector, and the arrogant Kid Quantum is killed, in large part by his own inflated ego, before Tangleweb escapes. Leviathan quits as leader in the wake of this disaster and names Cosmic Boy as replacement, but Cos won't then accept his resignation from the team. Lessons have been learned, and Cos wants to forge ahead as a team.

Now that each planet of the U.P. has selected its champion, we will see them in action as the Legion. Let’s talk about them! First, Colossal Boy has a new name. Is it Leviathan as in the giant sea monster thing? I mean, I can see the connection with the size but is he in any way connected to the sea? If that’s the name you were referring to last week, Siskoid, then yes, you are absolutely right, I’m not a fan. Kid Quantum isn’t really good on first impression. He seems to be nothing more than a spoiled brat with a big ego. Hopefully they will put him in its place sooner than later. XS is the weirdest code name but I always loved super speed as a power. I guess that the Durlans have a bad reputation since they are shapeshifters. I can see why, but I feel that their reaction to the presence of a Durlan was out of proportion. Are they really that dangerous?
I also wonder, will Chameleon Boy ever be able to speak English - or should I say Interlac? And the best one by far: Invisible Kid! He seems so humble and nice. I love him even more! I like how they dealt with the introduction of the characters. I can only imagine how forcing a bunch of kids from different regions and cultures to work together might create a mess. To send them on a mission that quickly might cause some major problems as they don’t actually know their teammates yet.

Leviathan explains the mission and leads the group to the freighter. I was afraid that giving him the leader position would create hostilities between the originals and the recruits. If we put aside the comments from Live Wire, the original gang seems to deal as well as they can with the change. The creature they have to fight is super gross and the situation turns rapidly to chaos without real bonds between the heroes. Quantum is just an ass. I just hate the kind of person who can't listen and does as they please for their own personal glory. It’s too bad he had to die, but he was asking for it. After reading this comic, I feel sad for Leviathan. He’s really harsh on himself. He wasn’t that bad a leader. Kid Quantum got into trouble due to his own ego. I know it’s only logical that Cosmic Boy becomes the leader of the Legion, but I could’ve seen Leviathan stay in that position as well. I think the events from their first mission will help the group build a better chemistry between its members. Now I wonder what Cosmic Boy will do with XS since he saw her run away when things got messy. I’m also pretty pumped at the idea of learning more about Chameleon and Invisible Kid! This issue was focused on Leviathan and Quantum so hopefully we’ll see more of the rest in the next comic.

The Reboot offers a great opportunity to give some of the early Legionnaires personality implants. Due to the era in which they were introduced, when "hero" was nearly the entire characterization, many members of the large cast could be indistinguishable. I particularly like how it's becoming clear Triad's three bodies don't manifest the same personality - one of them gives a studly boy her number, which horrifies the other two - and Leviathan's total, but misplaced, self-confidence drives the story towards its ultimately tragic end. You're right, Shotgun, Kid Quantum was hardly Gim's fault, but he was his responsibility. Though the Kid from the previous timeline was a weird continuity implant, this version was basically designed to die so that the Legion could learn some difficult lessons about what happens when you don't use teamwork. He wasn't really one of the original Legionnaires, he's a total jerk, his powers need a technological boost... Killing him off won't be too distressing to the readers. And for a "straight hero" like Cosmic Boy, who needs a little more help I think to seem interesting, the whole situation creates a nice showcase for his leadership abilities. The entire Legion needs to learn from him, but it's quite interesting to track their progress in these early issues.

The other thing I'm keeping a close eye on is the how the Rebooted United Planets are taking their first steps. We see that though Imra and Cos' planets were once at war, they aren't tied to their parents' prejudices, but when it comes to a Durlan, some of the kids aren't so trusting. There's normally a shapeshifting ban on Earth, probably for fear of infiltration, but Durla is definitely part of this uneasy alliance, so put up or shut up. Good thing Invisible Kid can interpret for Cham, who is set up as the ultimate outsider. Being used to him as one of the pillars of the Legion, and the leader of its Espionage Squad, I'll admit to disappointment that he's not immediately given his due, but that's me. The UP clearly believes it owns the Legion and can assign missions and members - and leaders! - as it wishes, which creates all sorts of trouble. I can't wait for the day the Legion decides to shrug off these bureaucratic bonds. I think they need a constitution already!

Science Police Notes:  
  • The same way Star Trek's Captain Picard seemed to show up in the background of Legionnaires #0, Data here appears in a crowd scene.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v3 #62 also featured a Legionnaire's death and a giant spider enemy.
  • Starsector 247-A, where the action takes place, is a reference to Adventure Comics #247 (1958), the Legion's very first appearance.

The Reboot Legion suffers its first member death, Kid Quantum.
Other firsts: XS in costume. Cosmic Boy is officially named team leader. The Legionnaires get trans-suits that allow them to survive in the depths of space.


  1. I know you know this, but the last issue of v3 was #63, not #62.

  2. V3 #62 did have the giant spider and the death though so the symmetry still exists.

  3. "Leviathan" is a giant creature mentioned many times in the Hebrew Bible, so it's fitting that a devout Jew like Gim Allon would use it for a code name.